300621 – Morning Pages

A quick post about two things that cloud my mind – food and work. And of course, Starbucks!

9:58 AM. Woke up 10 mins ago. This must be the latest that I’ve written my morning pages. I was up till about 2 last night, working. And then I did not charge the phone (and thus no alarms). I am not sure if I got a sound sleep but I do remember that I woke up without an alarm. I feel ok, except for the neck. I think I will need to fix the pillow situation.

So, in the “good things that happened yesterday” department, I did not have coffee! I did go to two Starbucks outlets and yet did not have coffee. Yay! Settled for a Green Tea. It tasted like shit but at least it wasn’t coffee.

In the “bad things” department, I couldn’t do OMAD. Ended up eating a lot of food (and a lot of rice at that and my favorite Egg Soup). On the menu today, is eating less. One time. Now that PD has commanded me to, I can’t say no. Let’s see.

I dont know what else to write.

Ok. There’s a lot open at work and thankfully I worked a lot yesterday. Worked means infinite calls, daydreaming, powerpoints, and more! I think it was after 2 weeks that I did as much work. I guess I am slowly getting back to my mojo on that side. In another week or so I will be ok. So that’s a good thing.

I want to reduce my reliance on Starbucks. It is tough, to be honest. I need to see people around me. In fact, this is the very reason why I am dreading working from Delhi. There’s no cafe per se near my place. No co-working space that’s open. I think Delhi was not built for knowledge workers and these newfangled gigs. You know, most people are traders and have regular jobs. So the ecosystem hasn’t been built for that. Plus I suspect there is more generational wealth in Delhi than in any other city. Not in terms of mega-billionaires but in terms of upper-middle-class that has inherited houses and cars and businesses and all from their fathers et al.

Ok, I digressed. I was talking about Starbucks and I launched into a rant about Delhi.

Wait. I did not. Why did I write this? Well for a couple of reasons.

A, I am thinking of going to Delhi in July and spending some time there. No specific reason. I just need a break in scenery. Prior to the pandemic I would routinely get such breaks – travel, work, whims etc.

But when I go to Delhi, I will have to find a Blue Zone of Work that is within walking distance for me.

B, There is a fleeting chance that I may take a 15-day break in September and do the EBC trek hike. Catch my words. Fleeting. Chance.

In case that happens, I will have to anyway cross Delhi (I mean I can take a direct flight to Kathamandu if I have to, but I have this irrational thing where I want to see my parents every time I travel “north”). And since I can work from anywhere, I can spend a few days in Delhi around that time as well.

So may be I can travel to Delhi around August and then move onward to EBC. If EBC is happening. And if that’s the case, why bother with going now in July?

So I need to make a decision if I want to push my trip to August. Or I go in July, come back. Go again in Sep.

Not sure right now. But yeah, this is what’s on my mind right now. Of course, I know whatever I do will be hardly this well-thought-out. I would just pack my bags on a whim and just leave!

Anyhow.
That’s about it for the day.
Time to move on.
It’s almost 11 and work Starbucks beckons.

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 199
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 111
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

290621 – Morning Pages

Note on PD (and her birthday), attempt at removing caffeine from my system and ideas on what ails my eating (habits).

2906.
PD day.
Nothing else matters.

For someone that I’ve met just once in my life, she holds a very special place in my life. She’s this constant friend that I’ve had since I was I don’t know how old young. It was somewhere between 1999-2003 when I made her acquaintance first. Since then we must have exchanged hundreds of words over scores of emails. Some short, some long. Mostly irregular. Of course, she was in the US (and still is) all this while. I was shuttling across cities in India for education / work. Since she was so far away and there was little overlap in who both of us knew (except a couple of people), I felt safe in sharing the fuckeries of life with her. Mostly it was about love, work, and regular things you expect me to rant on. She had a very very patient ear (or eyes, may be) and she would always come with a word or two of consolation. To be honest, I don’t recall if her words helped me back then but I do know that I would eagerly await her emails.

I think I’ve met her all of once, somewhere in the LA, way back in 2010. And that too wasnt for too long. Maybe an hour or so. But i distinctly remember that while I was out of place and awkward, she was good and easy to talk to in IRL as she was when I sent her emails.

With time, she got busy, got married, raised a family. I got busier than her. But we have remained in touch. Very intermittently now. Far less frequency than what I would ideally like.

But I do think that this distant friend that is seeing you from an objective, unemotional, once-in-a-while manner is an important person to have in life. The friend obviously cares for you. And yet she is so far away that in case you need a shoulder to cry on, you can’t access it. You know she’s out there, somewhere and around in case you need. And you know that for all practical purposes she’s not there. I think this is what God is. Right? You have faith that there is this thing called God that is looking over you from a distance and will open doors when all is lost.

PD is like that to me.
No, not God. God doesnt exist.
She does.

Ok, moving on.

Yesterday was mad. I had so much coffee and even a Red Bull (yeah) that I couldn’t sleep. As I write this, I am groggy. Eyes won’t open up. In fact, this sleep thing has become a recurring problem and I need to solve it. I don’t know how but I need to.

Starting today, I am going back to a low-carb diet. I will also stop having coffee. No more caffeine in any form. Even at Starbucks, I will get back to green tea. The thing is when I make such promises to myself (eat less, no coffee, etc), the first two or three days are the most critical. If I can not have coffee today, if I can avoid eating carbs today, I would have won a big big battle. And if I do it successfully, I need to merely repeat it tomorrow. Once I hit the third day, I know that I have set a streak and I merely need to not break it.

So let’s see how today goes.

On the work front, I have a lot happening and there’s no time to even, you know, die! To a point that I am getting more and more people on board and yet there seems to be a lot to be done. This to be honest is a great thing. I need to find a way to scale the business. Maybe this is what they say when they talk about spotting opportunity in the times of adversity? Let’s see.

I am sure there is more that I want to talk about but the mind is so blank and so distracted that I dont know what to write. Damn the caffeine and sleep depravity. Wait something dawned onto me. I think I am one of those people that have this scarcity mindset.

Lemme explain.

Case 1.
Imagine you are stuck in the Sahara for 10 days. You are rescued and you are now in a comfortable hospital with an unlimited buffet to eat. What do you think you would do when you saw that buffet?

You would attack is right? Your body was deprived of food for so long that you want to stack it with all you have. You want to nourish it. You want to ensure that should there be another famine, you have some energy stored in your body.

Case 2.
You know you are going to a distant island that you know is inhabited. You know that you won’t have a Starbucks there. You know that you won’t have a Swiggy or a Zomato. You know that you can’t order a meal even if you have all the money in the world to order. What would you pack?

I don’t know about you but I would pack a million things that would last me as long as possible.

Case 3.
You have a big ass presentation to make. It’s going to be a long night. While some cloud kitchens operate throughout the night, you may want to munch on snacks et al. Those would be a pain to find at that hour. Plus, no coffee shops. No places to order a Red Bull from. What would you do?

At least I would order in snacks worth a thousand bucks and get ready for a long night of work.

Club all three cases. If your first instinct is to order in and save yourself from scarcity, you are like me. You want to stack. And no, stacking is not the problem. The problem starts after that. Once you know that you have a Red Bull in your refrigerator or a packet of Kurkure within your arm’s reach, you can’t help but pull open the tab, tear the crimp and eat like there’s no tomorrow.

So that.

I suffer from this. And I need to fix it. Even if I have to stay hungry for a few hours, I will try and resist the temptation to stack things in. If I am unable to deliver at work, so be it!

This. And then other issues that you typically have when you eat.

A. You know, I am the kinds who HAS to finish whatever is on my plate. If I get served 10 slices of Pizza, I will have to finish all 10. I can’t save them for later. So I need to start eating only as much as I must. Not polish the serving plate.

B. Then I am the kinds to see something on YouTube while I am eating. Which is good – multitasking. But there are two issues. You don’t really get to enjoy what you are eating. You feed only the stomach but not the soul. You are merely going thru the motions of eating. Second, you train your Pavlovian brain that food means TV. And TV means food. So every time you see something, even if you are full, you reach out to a pack of snacks. In fact, this is one of the reasons why I do not have a kitchen or stock food things at home.

So these three issues. Scarcity mindset, eat all that’s on plate, eat while engaged in other activities. I am sure there are more. Lemme discover those as we go along. Now that I am firming up a trip to the EBC, I better start working towards it. I dont want to die yet. You know.

Wah, what pep-talk! Mr. Garg!

Ok. Over and out. Long day. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 198
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 110
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

280621 – Morning Pages

Short post on affirmations, one of my life goals and other things.

6:32. Woke up a few minutes. Again, from a sleepless night. I dont know what is wrong but something is. I think I need to change the house for a few days and see if I get better sleep. Let’s see.

The thing is, I can rant about things but I have decided I will not. The last few days have been overly negative I will try to stop thinking about those. And focus on things that are not negative. Plus, today is a long day and I need to be at the top of the game if I have to achieve things that I have planned for the day.

So, I started the day with Danapani’s video on affirmations. See it…

It was eye-opening! Even though I have been a believer in the power of affirmations, I stopped thinking about it somewhere along the way. I used to do that on a notepad (I will start again I think) and then I moved to a spreadsheet.

However, when I saw Dandapani’s video, my eyes sort of open. He says (and I did not) that affirmations have to have three things…

  • Concise choice of positive words
  • Clear visualization
  • Corresponding feelings

While I had clear choice of words, I never had the other two. I did have try visualisations once in a while but I did not take that serious. Today on, I will try to do all three. Will probably order a Rudraksh mala, like he has!

Moving on.

I have to say that it’s funny how the dots connect. It’s uncanny. Really. Few things happened that makes me want to become a believer in the mystical world!

Lemme use bullets.

A. Surbhi called and asked me if I want to go to Everest Base Camp in September. The timing is just right – I like to disappear around that time and Base Camp is a good place to disappear.

Plus the Base Camp would be a great opportunity to get a feel of the mountain that I want to summit. Of course, Base Camp is like a stroll in the park. It’s easier than most other treks, just that the altitude is an issue.

But still. It would be a step in the direction.

Plus when I checked, I realised it’s not as expensive as you’d imagine it to be.

B. Shravan called. He’s the kind that’s super tough to catch. Not that I had a lot to talk about with him but he’s the only guy I know who’s passionate about serious hiking and trekking. So among other things, we talked about the Base Camp. He knows my fitness levels and quirks. And he affirmed that I can do that.

On the call, he rattled off the entire itinerary with names and altitudes and other things that only a local would know. Shravan, obviously knew those things!

C. I’ve been feeling listless last few days and I think this could be a good milestone to work towards?

So clubbing A, B and C, I will probably start to plan for the trek in end Sep.
I just need to get fit for that. Lol!

Also, I bring this chat of Base Camp because one of the three affirmations I used to repeat was that I want to climb Mt. Everest by Jan 1, 2026. It’s uncanny how yesterday I was talking about the Base Camp and today I spotted a video on affirmations!

So yeah, may be I need to restart with affirmations. If I can do the base camp this year, I think I will get some sort of a push to get serious about climbing and preparing myself for the big summit in the next few years. Let’s see.

Also, while writing this, I realized that I absolutely love dreaming about things, like the potential trek to the Base Camp 😀

So, I think that’s it for the day. Hope today I do better than the last few days. I need to get my act back on track. I can not afford to slack on work! And here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 197
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 109
  • 10 mins of meditation – 1. Did 10 minutes yesterday. Plan to do it today as well as soon as I publish this.
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

270621 – Morning Pages

After the longish post yesterday, I am sort of black. Don’t have a lot to talk about. So, a non-meaningful update.

6:15 AM. Up a while ago. Tried sleeping at 10 but by the time I finally hit the sack, it was 12. Lemme start by recapping the mile-long rant I wrote yesterday and how I am faring at various things I talked about.

  • Filled water container and bottles. To a point that I don’t think I will have to order in for the next few days. Good!
  • Since I couldn’t work from my place, went to a friend’s. Promptly fell asleep. Lol!
  • Saw no Netflix. But ended up seeing almost all the videos on this channel. You must check them out! Bad.
  • No coffee but had a RedBull. Bad.
  • Ate one meal of just Dal. But then ate chips and assorted kachra throughout the day. VERY bad.
  • I think I need to find a non-carb thing that I can munch on all the time. I use chewing gum often but it’s either too sweet or a ball of rubber in the. I prefer something savory. Or something like Diet Coke 😀
  • Did 3 minutes of meditation and 5 push-ups (in 2 reps. For someone like me, 5 is like infinity. Super stoked. I need to be able to do 500 in a day. You know, if I want to build strength in my arms! Good!
  • Walked some 3K steps. The plan is to get out more and reach some 15K a day.
  • Slacking on work yet again. I still haven’t figured this as an answer.

So, more bads than goods. But then some goods nonetheless. So that’s a good thing. Need to have more goods and less bads. And then monitor these closely so that I only have goods and no bads. Ok, enough of this good and bad wordplay. Has stopped making sense.

Lemme think what I want to talk about today.

Wait.
As I write this, I am back to listening to Singh is King title track. On loop.

In highlights, along with AD, I started with the Podium Writing Fellowship. The idea is simple. We want to add a leg at Podium by adding text content. Now, the niches we operate in (entrepreneurship, marketing and more) has enough and more competitors to even get started but we believe that the content we have is so good that we can rehash is. The first rehash we’d do is text-based content. You know, newsletters etc.

The trouble with it is to find people to write it. For starters, writers are a rare commodity. It’s tough to find great writers. Second, even if we find some great writers, the way we run The Podium, we don’t have enough cash flow to find writers sustainably.

So AD came with an idea to identify young writers and help them get better. Of course, the responsibility to do so is on my shoulders. I have never delivered a longish course to help others learn but I think I am excited. More than anything else, this would help me improve my writing! In the world where AI would eat creative work (you know, GPT-3), this is an attempt to remain sane by actually doing work that creates meaning.

Ok, I am digressing.

The point is, at The Podium, we are taking so many shots and doing so many experiments that I am hoping one of those will stick and make this struggle worth it, at some point. I just hope we can make enough money for everyone that works with us at The Podium. And of course at all other places where I put my time and energy.

So that.

I am back to listening to discourse by Dandapani. Today’s its this video.

He talks about finite among of energy and attention, life purpose, people that uplift you, importance of attention (over money), death (and the finiteness of life), energy vampires, staying affectionately detached to people (super important for me!), passing on the burden of responsibility, happiness (and pursuit of lifestyle that create happiness).

I love how he talks.
I love his content.
I think I am a fan!

Lemme try and take a stab at this. What is my life’s purpose? At a materialistic level, I still want to make a billion dollars, climb Mt. Everest and while I do both, inspire a billion people! In terms of a little more metaphorical level, I want to enable others I know to do well. Do well is an open-ended thingy. I define it by saying that whatever is your end-state that you want to achieve for yourself (make films, travel the world et al), I want you to enable you to do that!

I seek my happiness in yours. I want to see you succeed and I want to derive joy from that. I want to ensure that you live, grow, thrive on a day-to-day basis and I do whatever it takes to enable you to do that.

No, I dont have the resources to do this for a lot of people and for a living and I still need to make my ends meet. Maybe at some point, I reach that place. Whenever that is. Let’s see.

Need to think more. Need to act more.

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

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 196
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 108
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

260621 – Morning Pages

A very lengthy super-rant on all things Saurabh – work, personal, thoughts, health and everything else that makes me.

8:51. Woke up a few minutes ago.

The feeling of listlessness continues. While I am not stressed about any one thing in particular but I am discontent. I am uninspired. I am like a vegetable. I am slacking at work. I am pushing things around unnecessarily. I am wasting a lot of time on Fauda. Thank God I finished all three seasons, some 36 hours of it, yesterday. Here’s a promise to self about not see anything unless something comes highly recommended. Wait. May be that’s not the right metric. May be the right way would be to see just one thing a month. You know system vs goals. So that I can choose only select things.

I digressed. Netflix is not important. I don’t think I am addicted to it. The problem is, I am uninspired and I lack the spring in the step. There’s no, as they say, joie de vivre! You know what I am saying? My shoulders are slouched. I am being lazy where I should not be. I mean I am not even replacing the water container in the kitchen! I order 1-litre bottles. Expensive. Plastic. But then, very convenient. Damn!

And no, it’s not ok to feel like this. While I don’t chase hedonistic pleasures all the time but there’s a reason why I am here. There is things that I need to do to fulfill promises I’ve made to people. Heck, promises that I’ve made to myself. I still remember I’d once said that I would buy Mannat. No, I dont talk about these things frivolously. The idea is to aim very very high. There’s a higher purpose I chase. And so, it’s not ok to slack.

I need to snap out of it. Find a way out. Find an answer. Lemme try on this post.

So, most things that happen, there’s a cause for those somewhere deep down. You know, cause and effect? This listlessness, thus, has to be a direct outcome of one (or many) of my actions. Lemme try and list things that could be the cause. And then change those (once I spot those).

May be it’s all the crappy food I’ve been eating last 10 days?
Maybe it’s fucking with my gut and with my brain and making me restless?

Maybe it’s all the coffee am gulping that’s keeping me up at night.
Coupled with bad food that has upset my system, maybe coffee is acting as a larger catalyst.

I could have said it’s the lack of action on the work front.
I can’t complain there. There is enough and more interesting work that I can engage in. There is of course boring, mundane, dreary things that I need to work on. There are bad colleagues. There is imperfect information. There is a lot that I can complain about. But there is LOT more that I can be grateful for on the work front. There is so many new things to do. Most things I am working on are new to me and like a child in a candy store, I must feel excited about those. But I am not!

May be I am overwhelmed by all that I am working on?
At any given point in time, I have a thousand tasks open on my Asana. Maybe I am so scared and overwhelmed with the monsterity of that list? I mean imagine if you were one of those 300 at Sparta and you saw a sea of more than a lakh well-trained, heavily-armed, dying-to-kill-you soldiers. You would probably lose the battle even before it starts! May be that’s causing me hurt?

I may say that I am excited and I do well when I have so many things to do. But may be, deep down, I am scared and I dont want to do any of those?

I dont know. Looks like a plausible thing. Will come back to this.

It’s definitely not the money.
While I am still in debt and the money situation is far from being ideal, I am ok on that front. I have a fairly generous credit line in Sonali, my father, NG, RD and more.

Could be it sleep?
I mean it’s no secret that I don’t sleep well. Combination of shitty AC + distractions + restlessness + monkey mind. Of course I know the importance of sleep. I know a good night’s sleep is probably the biggest contributor towards well being. And I get very little of it.

Could it be time I spend on social media?
I feel compelled to create an audience so that I can become independent. I am thus forced to spend a lot of time on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And maybe the fancy lives of people is filling me with envy and making me sad?

Or do I need to get active physically?
You know, yoga, running and all that? I had actually started to enjoy Surya Namaskars. But I hated the time it takes to recover after I was done. Plus I hate to waste my morning on anything but work. May be I need to get more protective about my evening time as well? The way I protect my mornings?

Is it relationships?
I am probably at the lowest point when it comes to this. I’ve been away from my parents since Diwali. In terms of friends, most of those have reduced to mere transactions (both work-wise and other societal obligations). There’s no love life – active or passive. I continue to avoid places with a lot of people. Making new friends / romantic interests is an investment that I am unwilling to make. I mean I am willing to but I dont know how to.

Could it be my posture?
I just realised that I am slouched forward as I type this. Nah. At Starbucks, I alternate between sitting and standing.

Spirituality? Meditation? Higher purpose?
I haven’t meditated in ages now. I can look at streaks and come back and tell you guys when I last meditated. Or I can open Headspace. Wait. That’s not the point. No one cares about the date. All I care for is that I haven’t been.

Or do I need to work harder on my tiny acts that become a tsunami of gigantic proportions with time? I mean, rather than trying to find one large reason for this snafu in life, could be it that I need to make tiny adjustments and create systems that impact all of the above? For example…

  1. Rather than ordering in each meal, three times a day, I find a place that gives me home-cooked meals (and I go back to OMAD).
  2. I could stop having coffee altogether. If I have to go to Starbucks, I start having green tea. I know it would waste money with flavored water, but it’s ok.
  3. Each time I have the urge to check social media, maybe I do two pushups? Lemme do two right now. Done! Three. Arms are gone.
  4. I start taking the stairs as much as I can.
  5. I block time after 6 PM for walks. Even if I have to take calls, I ensure that I am walking around. To hell with the world. I can give them time from 10 to 6 and that’s enough.
  6. Rather than blocking 10 minutes for meditation, I start with 3 minutes sets?
  7. I switch off my phone at 10:30 PM each night. One of my friends used to do it. I hated her for that but she would and she would sleep well (I am guessing). I need to do the same.
  8. I start adjusting for not having people around and fix the dependence on others for validation, attention, conversation etc.

You get the drift.

I am not sure if I will do all or even any of these. But the deal is, there is radical change needed if I have to live till 120 and climb the Mt. Everest and all that. And it starts today.

I have this dying urge to order in some food. But I shall not. I will go to a friend’s place and get his cook to make something for me. I will start with OMAD today. Let’s see.

So that.

Kaafi heavy!
Kaafi dil se!

Anyhow. In other news, I am seeing videos by Dandapani. He’s one of those rare spiritual / motivational gurus that I seem to relate to. I saw this before I launched into the above “discourse”.

No, the video did not open any third-eye per se but I will try and practice what he’s saying. That I need to do one thing at a time.

Guess that’s about it for today. Lot to think about. Lot to ponder over. Over and out.

Oh, here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 195
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 107
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0