260521. Good Job!

I talk about how negative motivation is a thing and how I get affected by all the emotional and yet rational things that people throw at me.

7:56.
Woke up a few minutes ago. Slept at around 11. Was tired af. No, I did not walk. I did not do Surya Namaskar. Nothing. And yet I was tired. In the head. Plus I worked from where I live. I still refuse to call it home. This is one of those houses that I really hate. Can’t wait to get out of here. Coming back. I even slept during the day, even though I had a venti Americano. I don’t know what to do about this sleepiness during the day. None of my friends that I seek medical advice from seems to have an answer. Sigh.

So that.

Yesterday was one of those days that began and ended in a jiffy. I don’t even know where it went. Plus the aftereffects are so severe that I don’t know what to write. I am so blank. So nonfunctional. And this when I slept well for almost 8 hours. More than 8 actually. So, not sure what’s wrong.

Anyhow.

So lemme try and talk out loud about things that affect me.

Let me talk about the emotional blackmail that friends and family pile on you. Often inadvertently. They are well-meaning people and are acting from a good place. However, the thing is, people tend to act from the lens of their experience and their background. A thing that has worked for them in the past may or may not work for you. And this is where things do south.

Let me talk about one of my bosses that I admire and can’t seem to stop thanking for all that he’s done for me. Let’s call him A. So A ran a fairly busy business and was on the road a lot. That meant that he had very little f2f time with his team and most interactions were on emails and phones. Now, this is way before the time when even kids know what to do with Zoom and how to behave appropriately on these non-personal mediums. Thus when talking on the phone, the context would often get lost. Often things would get construed differently. To a point that people would find it tough to cope and all that. Plus what made things worse is that A couldn’t use anything but the ‘negative motivation’ to inspire you. Negative motivation is where you when you get 98% marks, you are reminded that you could have done better to not let that other 2 getaway. Mind you that the parents goading you for this missing 2% are proud of your achievement and they are happy for you. It’s just that they are designed to talk like that. As a child, you may find it tough to understand this behavior. But if you dig a tad deeper, you’d realize why they spoke to you as they spoke to you.

See this clip from Whiplash for context.

So, every time we would do a great project, A would point out tiny flaws in the team, rather than praising us for delivering the impossible. Back then, I used to loathe him. And I would hate him.

But then I realised, he is doing it for two reasons and two reasons only.

  • A. He has been trained like that. He sees that as an acceptable kind of praise.
  • B. He probably saw potential in us. To do more. To excel at what we were doing. And thus, push us.

Could’ve been more. But these two.

Now, in the team, people reacted different to his responses. Some would get disheartened and get drunk. Some would feel the pressure and quit. I would hate it to be honest and would just take the longer route back home. But there were a couple of us who would take inspiration. See the point he was making. And improve on the next project. Just like Whiplash scene about Charlie Parker.

Oh, A? Well, for a large part he never understood that his motivation was killing people in his team! That!

The point of this story?

Two.

  1. People often act based on their experiences. When they do, they may or may not realise that they are putting others in harms way. Most people need to learn this and start reflecting on how they behave.
  2. I want to put on record (and I will send this to people :D) that everytime they pile emo trips on me, I tend to balk at that. I resist. Even if those trips are rational and. common-sensical and obvious. While in their experience, these emo trips work and all that, but someone like me actually runs in the opposite direction when someone throws these emotional guilt trips at me. In fact, I become this stubborn child that does exactly the opposite of what is expected from me!

So that.

Phew.

The other thing I realised while writing this is that when I know what I want to write (like this emo-trip thingy), I am filled with this insane energy and words flow. I mean I am not even listening to music as I write this and yet I seem to have written some 400 words in like 4 minutes. The fingers are moving so fast on the keyboard that there are sparks flying!

May be, for #book2, I need to plot things and then write? You know, when I sit and think about Raunak, Mrs. Gomes, Ankit, Siddh, Rujuta and others, I do enjoy thinking about them as real people but I often dont know what to write to move story forward. Maybe each day I need to just write write write and see where I reach?

Let’s see.

Guess this is it for the day. Need to get moving. It’s almost 9.

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 164
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 76
  • 10 mins of meditation – 2
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

The good work I did the day before, I undid all of that by not doing yesterday. 🙁

250521. Meditations.

An inconsequential update on the music I am listening to and some pop-psycholgy pieces that make me feel good.

8:06
Been up since 7 I think. Slept around 11. So about 8 hours of sleep. I think I slept well apart from the AC making those chuckling noises all night long. So yesterday was a long long day. To a point that I had so much work that I literally slept on top of my laptop! And I will have to keep today’s piece short to be able to deliver a presentation by 10. So that means I have less than 30 minutes to do this.

Let’s go!

The music am tripping on these days is by Indian Ocean. I picked them up after I heard Rahul Ram belt out an ode to Modiji. While that itself is a fabulous piece of music, I am more enamored by Bandeh. Here.

Lemme start with this image that I got on WA yesterday. Lemme spill some ink bits and bytes on this.

This 2×2 is brilliant if you ask me.

It encapsulates everything that I was internally judging people on. And I want to be judged. It’s the intersection of ability and intent (if I try and loosely translate those words). And depending on how you fare, you could be, from bottom left to top right, waste, fuck all, dreamer that doesn’t deliver or cool.

While I know deep inside where I am and who I am (ask me if you are curious), I wanted to know what the world thinks of me. I even made a Twitter poll to see whats the world thinks of me.

Here…

I don’t have any comments on what they are telling me but I will keep this framework handy to evaluate life on. In fact, you can actually track your progress and movements between the quadrants over time.

That reminds me, I often evaluate myself on a spider chart about how I am doing in life. While writing this post, I took a 2-minute detour from the post to see where I was and did a self-evaluation.

Here…

May 2021

I dont know when or how I got introduced to this chart but I thought it was a great dashboard to have. Especially if you want a single view of where your life is and how you are faring in areas that you often dont even know or track.

In fact, I have been maintaining this spider since Nov 2018. I go back to it every quarter / six months and fill it in. For context, this is how I was when I started.

Nov 2018

I have to admit that the Nov 2018 chart has been the best so far in life. But if I could compare where I was in Jan of this year and where I am in May, there’s a marked improvement.

And the biggest factor, the biggest cause of the change is that I have some work that gives me some money. And that money has allowed me to do a lot more in life in other spheres as well.

So that.

Money, kids. Money.

Ok. In other news, a few days ago, I started volunteering with a friend’s charity. The first few days I could manage the time and energy and effort. But for the last few days, I haven’t been able to contribute at all. To a point that I am feeling guilty for other people’s loss that my inability has been causing. So that. I know I need to fix it. I know I need to start delivering. I plan to. From sometime later in this week. Let’s see when.

So yeah that.

Guess this is about it for the day. Here’s the streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 163
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 1. Plus I walked up 8 floors.
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0. Had an Americano Venti with 1 tablespoonful of butter.
  • #noCoke – 75
  • 10 mins of meditation – 1
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 1. 12 rounds. Followed this lady.

So all in all, for the streaks, it was a good day. I dont have time for the Surya Namaskar right now but I will try to get in the meditation bit in for sure. And then maybe towards the evening, I will try to gun for 10K.

Over and out.

240521 – Pause. Move.

I talk about how I finally managed to not feel sleepy during the day yesterday! And a few other things.

6:20 AM
Woke around 6. Scrolled the feeds of Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Whatsapp. In that order. While still in bed. Yeah, installed all these apps yesterday. After a hiatus of a few days. Realized that I need constant engagement and action and interruptions. I need to be moving all the time. No, not cool. Will come back to this later. Time to make a log of things on top of my head.

So yesterday was the second day on the trot when I worked from a friend’s place. And it was the second day when I was not sleepy during the day. I think it’s the unavailability of the bed. Or may be it’s the fact that I am away from home. However, his place has two issues that I need to solve. A, there’s no desk that I can sit and work on. There’s a table but it’s cramped. Plus, it’s his. I need mine. Second, there’s no AC and in Mumbai, life without AC sucks. Nah, the unavailability of good chairs don’t affect me. I anyway move around a lot.

A solution is to order a desk on Ikea or something. I like Lagkapten. I know he will find space to put it. I think I will. If I go to his place one more day and spend more than 7 hours working, I will order. Let’s see.

The other thing yesterday was that I attended the second day of the Docedge pitching session. I have to say and I don’t say this loosely or frivolously, it was a transformative experience. I will write a longer post on it soon. But thanks to Docedge, I know the kind of stories I want to tell. Non-fiction (or at least inspired by non-fiction), human-first stories that shift the way we think, the way we approach life, and the way we operate. While masala, mass-market Bollywood films are great and help us escape, it is these human stories that move me as a person. I think this is what filmmaking ought to be – real, alive, human-first.

In fact, if you look at the kind of films I like (Sarkar, Swades, Chak De come to mind), while these may sound like Bollywoody, star-studded fictional narratives, at a deeper level, each has a thread of humans and their struggle for finding meaning. There’s a definitive human purpose that the protagonist in each is trying to seek. I am at a loss for words right now but at some point, I will write this at length.

The third thing I have on my head is this entire debate on having your work out there. Or continuing to remain anonymous and chip away till you have chiseled an entire David and then talk about things. I have remained an anonymous antelope all my life and I like that. But I now realize I need to be out there. I need to get shameless about projecting myself and cultivating an image that allows me to get access to more opportunities. It will be a big big move. I have already started to be honest. This podcast is out with me being me, in full glory on video. But then, I am yet to “market” it! I can no longer claim that my picture is not on the internet. I routinely put it on dating websites now. I just need to make the shift in my head and start putting myself out there. I don’t know if it’s the shame at how uncouth I am. Or if it’s the deeper guilt at my underachievement. There’s some deeper emotion at play and I need to tilt that out of my system.

Oh, yesterday, a couple of friends from Goa send a few messages. Even though I may not subscribe to the susegad lifestyle and choices, I for some reason craved to be out there with them. Maybe it’s their eccentricity. Maybe because these were the only people I’ve hung out with lately. Maybe the conversations with them were deeper and richer and beyond the rigmarole that we have in a large city. Maybe because we were closer to nature. I am not sure but I wished I had easier access to them.

In fact, each passing day I am thinking of moving on from Mumbai to Goa. And then keep shuttling as and when required. I know it’s not advisable that you straddle two boats at the same time but then I am one of those that believe that Ajay Devgan could have continued on with his life like that.

Not just bikes, our man has been on cars and even trucks!

I know Goa doesn’t offer me reliable, stable Internet. I know Goa doesn’t have the ecosystem and amenities that I need (Starbucks, AC, people around me who want to work, public transportation et al) but I know that there’s something about the place that attracts me. Or may be, I just was to escape from where I am.

Damn I love the idea of being on the move all the time.

I know I had given myself till the end of May to figure out my next destination. I am yet to take that decision. Let’s see what happens.

Anyhow. So as I end this, here’s a gift for you. A playlist of music I listen to as I drift to sleep. Here.

Guess this is about it for the day. Here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 162
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0, I will probably remove this. I am making coffee a constant companion.
  • #noCoke – 74
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

230521 – Ennui and my attempt at fending it off!

A quick post on my attempts to fend off the boredom that has set in. And an attempt to find some sanity.

8:13 AM
Woke up a while ago. The alarm first rang at 5. I was supposed to record a podcast at 830 but canceled it last night. There’s so much pain around me that I was in no position to make a coherent conversation. It’s really affecting my work and all 🙁

In fact, the last night I was on the bed for hours and couldn’t find sleep. I was so fried that even playing a game of chess was a pain. I just couldn’t even surf Youtube or any other website. I think ennui is back.

Actually, come to think of it, it’s not ennui per se. I think it was the mental fatigue that you feel after you spend a hard day at work. While it was not a hard day per se, I did do a few things. In fact, during the day yesterday, I had a breakthrough of sorts. Since I was sleeping all the time while I was home house, I decided I will go to a friend’s place.

And I did.

I went to a friend’s place to work. While the table there was cramped and the chair was uncomfortable, I managed to spend enough and more time on a computer. To a point that I even put the writing page live! Of course, I need to add a lot more to this page. But I made the start.

Plus I was not sleepy. I did not sleep. I did not feel drowsy. Maybe it was the venti Americano that I had. And all this despite the place not being to my liking. He did not have an AC in the hall and I was sweating like a pig with all the garmi. But I managed to stay alert till about 6 and I spoke to new people. I was as much in the zone as I would be on a regular working day. I plan to go to his place today as well. Let’s see how today goes. I have to finish three large presentations today. If I can manage these, It would be awesome and I would know that things that

In other news, yesterday, I attended the pitching session of DocEdge. It was awe-inspiring, spell-binding, and eye-opening to say the least. Filmmakers from across the world presented the projects they are working on, on subjects that ranged from personal stories to communities to even national boundaries. I realized that I am living in a cocoon and the cinema I want to stand for is probably in the non-fiction space. I mean I do want to entertain the world and all that but I really want to inspire the world as well and what better way to do that than cinema?

Oh, and in attendance was a filmmaker that has won a Palme d’Or. Adding that to my #lifeGoals!

So that.

Like I said, I have three decks to write today. And attend DocEdge sessions. And think of how I can make a dent in the world. I plan to go over to the friend’s place again today and see how I perform.

So yeah. That’s about it for the day. Over and out. And here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 161
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0 (had coffee yesterday. Will have more today as well)
  • #noCoke – 73
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 1 (did 12 rounds)

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better

If you want to write better, look no further than this ultimate list of tools, tips, tricks and more from some of the greatest writers ever.

Bob Dylan, one of the most epic storytellers, songwriters, activists, and of course musicians once use these few words, “Come gather ’round people, wherever you roam”.

Thing is, writing well is a superpower, and it’s a gift that continues to give, even long after you’ve done the work. At least I have benefitted immensely from my love for writing. I can’t say I write well. But I know that when I write and when people (friends, families, and even strangers) read what I have written, they are deeply moved. May be they are lying, may be they are being polite. Maybe it’s a random occurrence.

Irrespective.

All I know is that a lot of good has come out from my writing and I sincerely think more and more people must write. Write more. Write in public. Write to publish. To achieve immortality. To be able to reach out to more people. To get access to the hive mind that you will never get if you keep your thoughts closeted.

In fact, I am sort of an activist that keeps telling everyone I know to go write whatever they can, however they can and wherever they can. And to do that I have a few things running right now and this page will archive all those.

Hope this helps.

A. A list of recommended books / guides that I think are useful.

These are not in any order. And this is an evolving list.

  1. On Writing. By the legendary Stephen King. Must add that King has written one of the best pieces of film that I’ve ever seen.
  2. Consider This. By Chuck Palahniuk. Of the Fight Club fame. Enough said.
  3. Julian Shapiro’s Writing Well Handbook. Julian has to be among the best polymaths I know. He goes deep into things that excite him, becomes a sort of master at those. And then he condenses the process into easy to consume guides that are better than the most authoritative guidebooks on that subject. Best of all, free! 🆓 🆓 🆓
  4. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. By Murakami. If there’s one writer that I can’t understand and yet the world can’t stop raving about, it’s Murakami. I don’t know what is it about his writing that moves people. When I started reading, I would pick up his books and marvel at the worlds he would create. I would try and make sense of the fetish people have with things as ordinary as the shape of the ears and paintings and distant Japanese prefectures. But alas, despite me trying, I was unable to understand what he said or spoke. However what he talks about in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running makes a lot of sense. As someone who wants to learn writing. And as someone who wants to learn running.

B. A WhatsApp Group.

I run a WA Group where I often share whatever little I know about writing. This include links to various articles that I find helpful, some prompts, tips from acclaimed writers and more things.

Some things that I have posted there are…

In case you want to join the group, it is here.

C. Misc.

Again, this is a WIP list that I will keep adding to / removing from.

  1. ship30for30.com. I have NOT taken this as a challenge as yet. I would have loved to, it not for the prohibitive price. I wish I had the money. In fact, I am tempted to something similar for people that have weaker currencies.
  2. Twitter List (maintained by me). This is a list of other writers that I admire and love. I follow these people religiously for the writing advice they give out.

So that’s about it for the time being. Will continue to work on this.

Oh, I must say, while you may consume all the resources and read all the books and all that, the best way to get better with writing is, well, by writing more!

All the best!


Disclaimers…

  • Last updated on 22 May 2021.
  • In case you want me to add/remove something to this list, please do let me know.