310521 – Morning Pages

A sad rant on the mental state I am in for the last few days where I cant seem to function as a human being. I dont know whats the way out. I hope I figure out soon!

6:30. I woke up a few minutes ago. I was on my bed at 8 last night, to be honest, and then I tossed and turned and did everything I could, and yet I could not get sleep.

I am probably at the lowest point in my life ever. I mean I am sure this is not the lowest per se but this is as low as they come. I am in that zone where I am so uninspired to work that I don’t even open my email. I know am slacking. And I am not doing anything to help these matters. My work is the most important thing to me in life – means more to me than my own survival and yet I am not working well. And I know it. I can fake it and deliver just enough that colleagues and clients will probably not know. But even that is becoming impossible these days.

I am so affected that when I met a few friends on Saturday, I couldn’t keep up the conversations. I was so uninspired and so sad and so mindfucked that I actually did not want to meet them. But then I did nonetheless – I had traveled an hour in Mumbai traffic. I am sure they must have noticed that I was not myself. Actually don’t think they did. Not sure they are that deep. Plus, if they did they would’ve asked me. Anyhow. That’s not important.

The thing is, I don’t know what’s wrong. And for a rational-answers-chasing person I am, it’s bugging me that I can’t pinpoint the fault. And thus unable to fix it! I mean I am at a great place in life. I am doing yoga at least thrice twice a week. I am walking 10K steps often. I am even seeing the beach for the last few days. Plus, I am not eating any kachra. Apart from the low-carb meal that I get delivered, I don’t eat anything. I have coffee often. No milk, no sugar. I am even ok with lime water now – something that I’ve balked at all my life. Work is financially rewarding enough to inspire me. I am working on a documentary with a friend and that’s helping me meet new people. The 4 goals of Dharma, Artha, Kaam, and Moksha (as defined by Purushartha) are almost aligned. Wait. I think I am lagging behind on Kaam but the other three, I think I am doing ok there. I am ok healthwise in this pandemic. My parents are ok. The news of second-degree connections passing away continues to trickle in but I don’t really get affected by that. This is probably as good as life has been to me!

And yet I am deeply unhappy.
Yet the dark clouds don’t seem to dispel.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

May be its validation that I miss. Not from strangers but from people that I like and want to be around. Maybe it’s the feeling of helplessness at my inability to do large things at scale. Maybe it’s my inability to move things and seeing the world pass by as I sit on the sidelines and twiddle thumbs. Maybe I just need to get out of this house and find a better place to live where I would have enough space to move around and appliances and things would work as expected. Maybe I need to get out of Mumbai and go live in a different place – Goa, Pune, Panchgani, even Delhi. Maybe things will be better once this lockdown is lifted and I am able to see others around me. After all, I need to have people around me, even if they are strangers and I don’t talk to them at all. And while I was ok in the last lockdown (probably because I was in a space where I could move around and all that compared to this time when I can do nothing but sulk; or maybe because it was the first time and I played it like a game and now I know that I don’t want this game!), this time it’s hard.

Maybe it’s all the windows that I left open at work and in my personal life?

Maybe because apart from work where I am directly responsible for the output, the three babies I have – TRS, PPP, Podium – are all struggling. To a point that I want to not even put my name up there. Of course, I am to blame. The partners and teams there are doing a fantastic job! In the sense that if not for them, whatever little they have achieved, we wouldn’t have. And while I know what’s wrong with these babies, I am unable to fix things. Maybe my meaning is derived from seeing the things I create eventually reach a point where they start making a tangible difference in the world?

Maybe all this is because I am spending way too much time on my phone and chasing vanity like a 16-year-old?

I dont know the solution.

Wait. I dont even know the problem.

But if I met someone like me who had symptoms like me (general disinterest in everything, a former excellent team player slacking at work, lack of sleep, etc), I know I would have thrown a set of usual answers at them. I would tell them to work out, eat better, reflect on things, stop seeking validation, quit social media et al. I would recommend them to stop reading the news. I would ask them to quit all whatsapp group. I would ask them to seek newer experiences and chase more novelty. May be pick up a hobby or something.

I have done EACH OF THESE. And yet I am not any wiser.

Now I know how shallow, how fake, how ineffective my inputs and advice have been for people. Now I am wise enough to stop recommending things to people that confide in me. Now I know I need to find better answers to things that I seem to have ignored all my life. I did not know that the world could come crashing down like this on me when on the outside, all seems ok!

Ok. That was a long rant.

And here’s some disclaimers for whoever may read this. And if they get worried.

  1. No, I am not doing anything that I shouldn’t be doing. I am far more strong than that. Or weak. Or whatever. I have way toooooooo many miles to go.
  2. I am a problem-solver at heart. And like other problems that I try and find an answer to, I will work on this and will not rest till I find a solution. At least for myself. I know I am already on the path but I need some more interventions. That I shall work on. Shall? Will? Would? Damn my grammar!
  3. I have a deeper understanding and newfound empathy for people who are in this place. Luckily, I am privileged enough to have some money, some connections, and some friends. I think, the fact that I live in public and I am ok to share whatever I am feeling deep down inside helps.
  4. And last but not the least, this too shall pass!

Guess that’s it for the day. Here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 169
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 81
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

300521. Morning Pages

A personal account of how I am feeling (not good). And no, there’s no plan in terms of what I will do to fix it.

7:50. Even though I slept at 1030ish, I woke up groggy. Similar to yesterday. I don’t know what’s wrong. Or may be it’s good to get sleep this deep. I don’t know. But I don’t like this grogginess first thing in the morning.

It makes me unable to think and it’s hard when I login and cant write. Like today, its almost 30 minutes and I am yet to write anything.

Lemme try from the recap of yesterday.

I didn’t do anything, to be honest. I was like a zombie. I indulged in some ice cream (lost self-control :(). I slept through the day. Even took a shower in the evening. Did not walk. Did not write. Did literally nothing 🙁 No yoga. No writing. No meditation. No call home. Need to think and reflect if I am depressed or something. I am not sure. I am lucky to have a solid mental state most days and times but this is not cool. I am not even working. For people that are paying me. If not my laziness, my moral compass (of delivering work and value to people that pay you) ensures that I deliver. And yet I have been slacking to a point that work is suffering and everyone – my partners and my team – can see that. If there’s one thing that I hate the most in this world – it’s the loss of reputation. Each action of mine is guided by up or down on this reputation. I don’t want to lose it ever. For whatever price!

Anyhow. Moving on from rant. Yesterday evening, I met some friends and then went to play the match of my life. It had to be “pushed” due to “technical” issues. Issues like M’s tablet running out of juice! Till the time we played, I was comfortably leading. But then, in a game of Ludo, things can change real fast. The battle remains unfinished. Will pick it up again sometime next week.

In other news, broke the screen of the phone again. Don’t ask me how. I can no longer afford to get it repaired. I will move to an Android phone I had got for myself when I moved to Goa. Goodbye, all those steps and expenses and all the other things I was tracking. Goodbye, all the messages and links and tabs and notes and photos that I had saved in the last few days. Goodbye, the ability to click ordinary pictures and the use of Snapspeed to edit those. Goodbye, the ability to make phone calls while walking (I don’t have headphones that connect to the 3.5 mm jack). Goodbye, feeling cool about flipping open an iPhone and being able to navigate blind. In fact, the first order of the day is to install shit on the Android phone. All my life I have stayed away from signing into an Android ecosystem with my personal email address (you never know what all they track) but I will now have to. Sigh! I guess I will get used in a few days. But, I shall be back to the Apple ecosystem as soon as I get the next client. Pray for me.

Oh, I finally found a solution to my music thingy. I will only play the 80s and 90s music for the next few days. I am hoping that would be enough for Youtube to reset the recommendation engine and start recommending more variety. The change is, I must say, refreshing. I am listening to this right now. Prior to that, I heard tracks from Taal.

Ok. Dont know what else to write. I am at 9.06. More than an hour since I started writing. And yet I managed like 200 words 🙁

Guess this is about it for the day. Need to get back in action. Oh, here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 168
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 80
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

290521. Morning Pages

Attempt at working on #book2, with the help of a Coursera course. You may want to skip this to be honest.

8:01. I woke up a few minutes ago. I had slept at around 10 or something. So that’s 10 hours of sleep. Solid! I think I needed it cos I did not sleep well the day before. I know that this covering of sleep deficit doesn’t count per se but I have been more or less consistent with how I sleep in the last few days.

I was to fast yesterday but I could not. I ended up eating some 20 almonds and chocolate mousse. How will I ever lose weight 🙁 But then, that’s the only thing I ate (apart from some buttermilk and no coffee). Thing is, I could have stayed off food but I got bugged and bored, to be honest. And all of you know how it goes when you are bored! More bugged than bored.

Today is an important day. I have an important match to play. On a Ludo board. Against M. She’s bet her entire piggy bank against me! Knowing her, even though it’s a piggy bank, it would have more money than I can afford but I shall play. Not for money. But for pride 😀 Lol!

Anyhow. So, the thing is, I need to discover new music. I need a change from the same Coke Studios and acoustic versions that I listen to over and over again. Plus Youtube’s algorithm doesn’t throw new music at me anymore. Can’t blame. It must be confused that how can someone like Coke Studio and Restoration Videos and CS plays and reruns of Kapil Sharma! Here’s a screenshot from my YT homepage.

Here. My YT page that I start my day with.

So, I am thinking if I want to move to Spotify and if it’s worth listening to ads every 3 tracks? What do you think I can do? How do I find new music that I would like? Help!!!

Guess that’s about it for an update. Time to write for book2. For the book2, since everything else has seemed to have failed, I am enrolling for this course on Coursera where I hope I will be consistent enough to create a novel in the next 6 months. I will write this novel in public. In open. Here. On my blog. More or less on these morning pages. Let’s see how the experiment goes.

The first exercise is to write a few paragraphs to pitch an idea. Let me write those paragraphs. Here we go…

[Start]

The Caravan Serai is a story of an eponymous watering hole on a secluded beach in the touristy city of Goa that gets embroiled in controversy after a brawl. From there on, more troubles come crashing on the place that otherwise is home to cheerful guests and hospitable locals. To a point that the 80-year old single woman that runs the place and some regular patrons are forced to team up to save the place that’s been serving patrons for over 400 years.

On the other side is a local land shark that has been eyeing the Caravan Serai for some time. More than money, his motivation is to teach the old woman a lesson who’s refused to sell the Caravan Serai despite his aggressions over the years.

While this cat and mouse chase between the two sides is played out, the readers would learn that there’s a lot more to Caravan Serai, as a place. And to the story. This includes incidents and a curse going back 400 years when Goa was still a Portuguese colony and the pirates roamed free in the oceans.

Will the old lady succeed? Or will Caravan Serai fall?

[End]

I posted it here as well, in case. Not my best attempt but I think it does tell the story in its entirety. Last year I had written many more log lines. I will try to gather them around in one place. But this is it for the time being.

So, the next exercise is to write a logline. We all know that a logline is essentially that one sentence that describes your book / film in its entirety. It talks about the plot, the characters, the world in which the project is set, the antagonists, and the stakes.

Wow. That’s a lot.
But that’s the starting point. The logline becomes a guiding light that helps you get back on track, should you digress.

They say, this is the hardest part about writing a piece of fiction. And yet I am being asked to start from here. But then, commitment kar di, to kar di!

Lemme try writing some.

1. This is the story of jealousy, greed and lust told through the lens of myriad characters spread over 400 years, each trying to fight their own inner demons and seek closure.

2. Two groups of people spar over a famous watering hole in Goa and discover their own dark pasts as a 400-year curse watches over.

3. After a brawl at a bar, a middle-aged man discovers his true purpose in life.

4. A middle-aged man drifts to Goa and stumbles bang in the middle of a brawl that opens up a can of worms that makes him realise his true destiny.

5. A middle-aged man gets embroiled in a brawl and inadvertently sets in motion a chain of events that awakens a 400-year old curse.

6. A 400-year old curse turns two best friends into enemies out to kill each other and in the process, they unleash a string of crimes and murders on the sleepy state of Goa that will not stop till one of them is dead.

I don’t know which one would I go ahead with. In fact, probably none. I will revisit this for sure. But for the assignment, I will pick the sixth one (the one that I have highlighted). I like the first one as well. But I think 6th is better.

Ok. That’s it for the day.

Need to move along and get started. More tomorrow. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 167
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 2
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 79
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0. Could not write.
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 1. Did 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar.

280521. Quick Update

Quick and dirty post since I did not have a lot of time to write today. May revisit this during the day.

5:08 AM
This is the exact time when I would want to be up and write every day. In fact, I would want to wake up at 4 and then get in the groove by 4:30 and write from then on. And no, not write this morning pages per se but write to push my book.

But I haven’t been able to.
Neither will I be able to today!

Cos I am up early to work on a presentation that I should have worked on over the week but I slacked and slacked and slacked. I had the opportunity and time to work on it the last evening as well. But then I decided to go for a walk to complete my 10K steps. Which I did. Yay! But I couldn’t do the presentation. Damn!

But it’s cool. I have time before the presentation is due and I typically can wake easily with alarms. So I will manage it.

But, assuming I was up at 5, or 4:30, or something, and I was working on my morning pages (if not the book), today, I would have talked about the following…

1. My disappointment in me. At my age, I have little to show for. At every month end, I feel like a failure. You know, when I need to pay salaries and I find myself awfully short on cash! And often when I read about ordinary businesses doing extremely well.

2. The fact that I did Chandra Namaskar yesterday and I found it incredibly difficult to manage. I thought since I can pull 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar, Chandra Namaskar would be easy. Nah.

Yoga is tough, bro!

3. The promise to self that I will fast today. The last thing I had was around 8 PM yesterday. I plan to eat the next meal at 9 AM or later tomorrow. So, 36 odd hours. Trying to build the ability to do a 7-day fast in July and then 21-day sometime around December.

4. Or the fact that I am sick of Paneer. I’ve been on a vegetarian Keto meal and that means all I can eat is Paneer in various forms and shapes. And it’s been more than 10 days. I am definitely not losing weight. Definitely not losing inches. Definitely getting over whatever tiny liking I had for Paneer. Surprisingly, I have taken a fancy for Olives. Something that I hated all my life. To a point that I did not even eat that with a Pizza, while, I did like Pineapple on it 😀

5. Or I could talk about my laziness. You know, I am so lazy that I order water bottles rather than filing them up from a dispenser.
Ok.
Wait.
I am not lazy.
I seek convenience. It takes me on average a minute to fill in a one-liter water bottle. I drink about 8 of those in the day (and still not losing weight :() and that means I am looking at spending 8 minutes a day on filling of these bottles. Plus the 5 odd minutes I need every 3 days to replace the 20-liter jug on the dispense. Compare this to moving thumbs and magically seeing someone appear on your door with water.

6. I can also talk about how the syndicate I am doing is helping me talk to some really interesting people. To a point that I am enjoying chatting with them and picking up nuggets. I love this chase of new experiences. I really do. I wish I had a shakal that was a little better and I was a little less particular about edits and all. I would have pivoted my work towards becoming a talk-show host! May be, someday.

7. I can also talk about my newfound love for lemon and all things citrusy. I was the kinds to hate hate hate hate the tangy taste of a neembu. It was weird cos I grew up in Delhi where you had to have lemonade and other things if you had to survive the summers there. And then I’ve lived in Mumbai for at least 8 years on the trot now (wow, its 10 years in Mumbai over two stints), I did not start with the lemony things to get over the humidity.

But lately, I did. To be able to replace bland water with some taste that is not cola or sugary syrups. Damn this discipline for losing weight.

Plus, since I want to stay consistent with the thread of seeking convenience, I don’t really buy lemons and squeeze them or pulp them. I buy Dabur’s Lemoneez and just pour. And since I refuse to buy measures, I go by judgment – which in itself is poor af. So some days am sipping onto a concoction that’s sour af and other days, so mild that I crave for a Coke Diet Coke.

Diet Coke, ladies and gents is that love that I will probably never get to be with.

Sigh!

Guess this is about it. The presentation is calling.
Let’s see if I can revisit this during the day to work on #book2. Have made a promise to a Twitter friend that I will try and get a 7-day streak in.

Wish me luck!

And here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 166
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 1
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 78
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 1. I am hoping to write today during the day.
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

270521. Hello, Book 2

An attempt to get started with writing the next book.

7:34.
Woke up a few minutes. The first thing I did was check my phone. I’ve got into this stupid habit of looking at Instagram and Twitter and Whatsapp as soon as I am up. Need to break out of this. Thing is, I primarily look at my phone to check the time (I don’t use an alarm anymore) and as soon as I have access to a phone, I start fiddling with other apps. And then like Alice, I go down the rabbit hole of other people and their fabulous lives! I’ll try to limit that over the next few days.

So, agenda for the day.
Try and write on book2 for an hour or so. Till about 8:30 or 8:45.
No, nothing from the heart or whatever.
Book 2 takes priority.

Here we go…

So on book2, while I know more of my protagonists and I have a vague idea of the antagonist as well, I dont know how the battle of wits would look like. There is this ultimate treasure that both these parties are chasing. I am struggling to write the parts where I would hide these. And while these two parties slug it out, I need to make this about a larger philosophy and the ideology. Let’s see what comes out…

“How are we to decode what people wrote back then? So much has changed since they must have hidden the treasure.” The rational Rujuta asked Chintan.

“Rujuta, it’s similar to any other investigation you run. You have morsels for clues. You chase the trail and it eventually leads you to the place of leak. And then you dig further and you would eventually find the answer. You need to not give up.” Chintan was more articulate than that but guess it was the lack of sleep. Or he was overwhelmed with emotion. After all they had just put one of their closest confidantes to rest.

“I know. But who am I to chase? Where do I go? Which thread do I pick? Who do I ask? Apart from what you have and what we stole from Paul’s office, we don’t have a thing. We don’t know where to go. To be honest, I don’t give a fuck about it. Just that I want to save Caravan Serai. It means so much to Mrs. Gomes. There’s no woman like here.

“I know. I know. You are right. But answers wont come to us if we just sit around here and twiddle. What if we find places and things that have been around since back then? I mean a lot of modern construction has happened around here. There are some places that have stayed around since then. No? I mean look at the churches and temples and buildings and all that. These places have been around since forever. We know that we need to probably start from Dona Paula work the way towards Panjim and then beyond. I know its hard work and we will probably come back empty handed. But in the worst case, we’d discover more of Goa!”

“Arey, I don’t care about discovering Goa. I want to ensure that when that bastard Ankit comes back, I can throw whatever he wants on his face so that he can leave us alone and…”

Chintan interrupted. “Do you think he will leave us alone if we gave him the money or the treasure?”

“No ya! I am not that naive. Men like that are never satisfied. He would keep coming back with more requests. All the time. But at this time, this is what we need to solve for.” While Chintan’s scatterbrain was evident, Rujuta’s pragmatism was on display.

Chintan couldnt do anything but agree.

“You do have a point. We can start with Old Goa. There are families and people there that are as old as Goa itself. It could be worth checking out. Plus Ankit’s office is close by at Panjim. We can stop by and say hi to him.” Rujuta chuckled. This is one of those things that Chintan liked about Rujuta. He couldn’t pin what it was but she had this distinct way of looking at things that made him crave for her company.

“Let’s do. When do you want to start?”

“Maybe from tomorrow. We have to talk to others as well and find a way to do this fast. We don’t have all day…”


This is it for the time being. Not too much but I made a start. Good good.

Also, at this point, I am thinking, do I even want to make it about a treasure hunt? While it’s an intriguing piece, if I am getting stuck, should I change the plot to make it a regular maar-dhaad wali film? Where they fight over a piece of land and kill each other and there’s salvation? Like you know, Godfather had no large treasure but respect, family, and survival. May be that will make sense? The treasure could be a red herring that I would remove. It could be the B story. It could be something that someone else was engaged in while my key characters are busy saving Caravan Serai. Makes sense. Let’s see what I decide over the next few days.

That’s it! And, here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 165
  • #aPicADay – 0. Will start this soon, now that I have started to walk around.
  • 10K steps a day – 0. Did 9980 steps!
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 77
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 1. Today was day 1!
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0. Missed this two days in a row.

So that’s it for the day. Let’s see if I can write more about book2 over the next few days.