060921 – Morning Pages

A note on what I am seeing and experiencing in Ahmedabad. From the lens of a people watcher and a consumer behaviour enthusiast.

9:12. Starbucks. Ahmedabad.

Last night, could not get to sleep. Kept fiddling with apps and all that. Hoping someone would give me attention. Guess this thing about loneliness is real. And it sucks. I mean I’ve never felt the need but if I am feeling it now, well, God bless me.

But then, I woke up refreshed. And better. Guess the cold is sort of gone and thus I feel more human. So all in all, it was a good night.

Yesterday was interesting. Did not do much. Killed time on random things. Spoke with Krishna about things that I would otherwise not admit. There’s something about meeting people face to face that brings out the super candid honest dude in me out. I mean I am honest most days most times but when I am face to face with people, I am even more open.

Ok. Lemme try and talk about something that I fail to understand as a consumer behavior expert enthusiast. I dont understand Ahmedabad. There are clearly a lot of rich people here. I am guessing per capita GDP would be the highest here. I am assuming all luxury brands would be here. And yet, people dont sort of spend money. I have been parked at a Starbucks for the last three days and I have never seen it more than 30% full. Maybe it’s not their culture to work from coffee shops. Or maybe people are stingy. But then these are “rich” people. Lemme talk of others.

On the other side, for all the expected richness, I see as many poor people around. I mean there are beggars on the streets. Every crossing, every intersection, every empty patch of land has people loitering around. There are numerous roadside markets that hawk the kinds of things that I’ve not seen in a long long time. The behavior of “aam aadmi” on the road is of the ones that are tentative with money. As a third-party, casual observer, I feel that things are not as hunky-dory as you would imagine them to be! And yet everyone is content.

So that.

And lemme talk about the weather here. It is hot. AF. To a point that I am literally sweating as soon as I step out of the AC. I am told this is how it is throughout the year. And yet people eat out. I mean they sit outside in the sun. They are, as a friend says, “simmering in their own juices” while they wait for food to be served to them. I dont know how they manage this. If we were in Europe, I get that people want sun and thus they do this. But we are in Ahmedabad. It’s sunny even at night. How do they even do this? Of course not that Delhi or Mumbai has any better weather. But then there are few months in the year when it’s pleasant. I dont think it’s ever pleasant here!

The last thing about this place is the peculiar absence of chemist shops / pharmacies. I needed to buy Vicks. You know, for my throat. And I could not find a chemist for a good 40 minutes. And I am in a fairly central part of Ahd. For all the food that gets eaten here by people, in the quantity they eat, it’s amazing they don’t need a chemist as often!

And finally, Starbucks. It is uncanny how Starbucks is able to offer such consistent service, experience, and ambiance at places that are not mainstream for the coffee junta. This is my third day here and I haven’t felt for a single second that I am not in a Delhi or a Mumbai. Kudos to them! Must learn from them! I wish I could see how things work at the backend. How they manage the diversity and yet offer a consistent experience.

So yeah. This is it. Time to get going with the day. Today marks the beginning of the week. So I will probably have a lot of work. And that too while I manage things in Ahmedabad.

Let’s see how it goes. Meanwhile, here’s streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 179
  • #noCoffee – 23
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Money spent – 5523
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -2 +1 (ease of shifting)
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 269
  • NOFAP – 5

050921 – Morning Pages

A recap of how I spent yesterday in Ahmedabad. I met people, thought a lot and then learnt a few lessons. It was awesome!

9:19. Starbucks. Ahemdabad.

I had an eventful day yesterday. No, not in the sense of things happening to me but meeting new and interesting people, face to face. I’ve done this after a while. You know, meeting loose connections, talking to them about everything under the sun, and dreaming about possibilities. I’ve missed this meeting with new people and jamming with them. Damn, COVID! Of the people I met, there were a couple of fund managers, an entrepreneur, another aspiring entrepreneur, and another person that runs his family’s business.

While talking to people I realized my limitations. I learned where I am often wrong. I even saw places where I was more right. I missed the fact that I was not carrying a notepad and thus couldn’t take notes. There were some really interesting conversations. I must do this often!

So, for posterity and note-taking, lemme make a list of things that I learned yesterday. About myself and others.

  1. I know the names of a lot of people. And a lot of people know my name. This is a good thing. I just to find a way to convert this knowledge into transactions and work and business.
  2. Most people that are loose connections dont know what I do. I need to fix this. #sgP1. Simply because opportunities do not come to me if people dont know what I do. I need to have a singular definition. I know I want to do a million things but the world works in a manner where they want a singular answer to problems. So, that.
  3. I am a bit wierd. I want to operate in greys. And I want to operate in black and white. These are two different things and there is no way both can go hand in hand and yet I want to have these work in sync. I need to think more on this.
  4. A third-party person seeing my twitter feed recalls the negatives that I have posted about. Even though I have stayed away from rants for a long long time, people still tend to remember that. So, need to be careful about rants. On twitter. On FB. On every possible social outpost. Except here. And on echochamber. This is where I post things to sort of get my head clear. I can bury this link deep. I mean if I were someone with huge successes, people would probably celebrate my outbursts. But then, I am not. And thus.
  5. One of the people I met mentioned about Max Gunther’s work on luck. I am going to spend time on it today. Here’s the book, in case. This link summarises the book well, in case. Even this is not bad.
  6. Another person said out loud that you need to have the balls to call a spade a spade. I dont have this at all. I am the kinds that makes people into soy. Even though I believe in “good job”, I still spoil my people rotten. To a point that they become, well, soy. I need to get better at this for sure. #sgP1

Guess this is all I recall from my meetings. If I remember something else, I would make changes in my Roam graph (and not here :D)

Oh, I have this fuckall cold for the last three days. Running nose, heavy head, and sore throat. Today’s the third day so I should be hopefully better by tomorrow. No, I did not take medicines. And yes, I have been feeding the cold. I hate being unwell. I hate being sick. I hate when I dont have the energy to perform. I mean the very act of living is an ongoing performance that I am on. I just hope I can regain some strength and still have some leftover as I go for the walk up the EBC. I would’ve liked to be a far stronger shape but I will have to do with whatever I have.

Guess this is about it. I am glad that I could find the time and energy to write this. More later. If I can.

Here’s streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 178
  • #noCoffee – 22
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Money spent – 7396
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -2 +1 (ease of shifting)
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 268
  • NOFAP – 4

040921 – Morning Pages

A quick post from my first day in Ahmedabad. Nothing specific to be honest but since I had the time, I wrote.

8:24. Ahmedabad. Starbucks. Where else?

I am here to meet Krishna. There are a couple of business ideas that we want to jam on. And if things go well, I may go on board as his partner. If not that, an investor for sure. So that. I also want to start getting into the mood for EBC. Start using fewer devices. Reduce screen time as much as I can. Staying more offline. Thinking deeply about things. And so on and so forth. I feel I am at this juncture in life where I want to get things to work and move. I have had enough of an unsuccessful life. I think that quote comes to mind.

एक ज़बरदस्त तूफ़ान आए और उड़ा दे ये चुप्पी की दुनिया

I think Faiz. Not sure.

So yeah. I need that zabardast toofan in life. I dont know how or when it would happen, if left to self. But I want to bring it as soon as I can. And I am willing to shake the damn tree and see what falls out of.

Oh, I am slightly under the weather. I have a runny nose, a little cold, and a sore throat. I do have somebody ache as well. But not something I cant manage. I just hope it would be ok soon. Must be all the in and out I did from the coffee shops of Mumbai.

I think this is about it for the day. Super short post. I dont even know if this counts at a morning page. Maybe tomorrow.

And here’s streaks…

  • OMAD – 0. Ate a lot yesterday. Blame it on cold.
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 177
  • #noCoffee – 21
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Money spent – 1201
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -2 +1 (ease of shifting)
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 267
  • NOFAP – 3

PS: I was not going to write this, to be honest. The post I made yesterday was going to be the last one. But now that I have some time, I thought why not? Habits die hard. Let’s see if I can write tomorrow.

030921 – Morning Pages

This might very well be the last post on Morning Pages till the mid of October. And no, no grand revelations.

7:30. Shelter. Last day here. Phew.

Did not sleep a wink on my last night in Mumbai. No, I was not anxious. I think it’s all the tea I am having at Starbucks. Plus I have been thinking about life, work, success, achievement, contribution, health. And how despite all the wisdom I may have, why and how I remain a failure. And about friendship, relationships, romantic partners. And why I am unable to maintain these. And the thoughts of moving away and looking forward to the road. And how I like to drift and refuse to call one place, one person, one thing home.

So, I leave late in the night. And then I dont know when I would be back to Bom.

This is for the first time in years that I would not have an address in Mumbai. I can use VGs or SJ2s place as an address if I have to, but they are not mine really. Their homes, houses are theirs. And that means I am borrowing from them. And enough of borrowing. I am going to have to borrow to fund the short film I was recently a part of. I will have to borrow again to fund my team’s salary. No, I dont want to cut the losses. To me, people are important, even if I am unimportant to them. I’ve learned the hard way that you can’t really trust others. For all the talk that I may indulge in about being reliable and trustworthy and being there and all that, it’s impossible to have that going with others. Except maybe with your parents. Every other relationship is a transaction. #famousLastWords 😀

Ok. I am ranting. Deep breath.

Moving on and coming back to borrowing things, I think what I need to learn and internalize is that most of our lives are essentially the time that we’ve borrowed from destiny. The debt collector can come calling anytime, unannounced and you have to give in. And while we wait for the Yamdoot to come in, it’s what we do in this borrowed time that defines who we are. And no, nothing I’ve done seems to have defined me. As Naval says, once you die, you would be forgotten by the third generation. Which is a very very useful concept to internalize. I know about it subconsciously. I try to live each day with the assumption that we are all ephemeral. And I try to keep my emotions at bay. But then, I am human. I falter. And I make lapses in judgment. So that.

Oh, I have a very very sore throat. I dont know why or how. I did not really drink anything cold. I was more or less indoors. I dont know what’s caused it but I need to be careful. Just 15 days to go and I can’t afford to fall sick. I mean, for starters, I haven’t been training. Then, I dont know how to wear shoes. And then there’s a load on my shoulders as I would walk in the mountains. Not to forget my nasal polyp. And the damn hernia. And the persistent back pain. Lol. I sound like a rickety old man that does one thing and one thing only – complain about old age!

In fact, funnily last night only I sort of made a bet with AS about getting abs. She mentioned that she’s gunning for 2-3 by December. Not that she’s not fabulous already but she still wants to go beyond and aim for a better state. So, I am so inspired by her resolution that at a whim I promised her that I would also try and get them abs. At least 2. Right now, I am 38. And to be able to get to abs, I need to be 32 or something, I think. Probably as tough as climbing Everest but I will try. September has been good. While I am not walking per se, I have been able to manage OMAD for three days now. Let’s see if I can manage other things. So that.

I guess this is about it for the day. Funny how history repeats itself. The last time I left Mumbai, I was on a train. Just like this time. Though, last time, I was going away from sgMS. I dont remember if she had come to drop me but I do know, with the advantage of hindsight that I should’ve stayed back with her.

But then, this time, there’s no one to say goodbye to. Or the regret of walking away from someone. There have been relationships that I value but I think those are past their expiry date, their borrowed time. Apart from maybe, M. But then my love for her is probably as lopsided as they get. She wouldn’t even realize that I am no longer around. If the world forgets you after 3 generations, I think children forget you in 3 minutes and move on.

And as I move on from Mumbai, let’s see where I land and when I am back. If I am back. Let’s see what destiny has in store for me and where I end up. I need to sort of relook at how I’ve lived my life and the failures that I have piled up. Without learning from my mistakes. And I’ve continued to, repeat those 🙁

Let’s see what I come back with once I am back. With this, over and out. Here’s streaks…

  • OMAD – 2
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 176
  • #noCoffee – 20
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Money spent – 1201
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -2 +1 (ease of shifting)
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 266
  • NOFAP – 2. Starting this counter today. Let’s see how long can I go.

PS: This may very well be my last morning pages post till the mid of October. You would know if you dont see a post by 11 AM tomorrow. If this is the last post, this would be the 267th day on the trot when I wrote an average of 1000 words each day. Incredible job, Mr. Garg!

Also, streaks are an important part of my life now. I will keep em going here.

020921 – Morning Pages

A quick post about a day when I am uncharacteristically happy. About nothing in specific. Read on!

8:19. Starbucks.

Second last day in Mumbai for this stint. The move has been surprisingly smooth. I mean it had all the snafus and fubars and all that (shifting, packing, misplacing things, breaking things that I am sentimental about, etc) but more or less it was an ok experience. The advantages of not having a lot of things! Minimalism +1!

Even though I slept with a heavy heart (not sure why – may be cos I am not doing well at work, may be I am not feeling loved by the ones I want to be loved by, may be it’s just because I am moving away from Mumbai) but when I woke up, I was surprisingly in a great mood. May be because I did not eat a lot yesterday and my system is feeling clean. Lol. May be because we wrapped the shoot of the next short (but I did not play any role in it apart from funding it). May be I spoke to an artist (Manmeet Narang – see this video) that I am a big fan of and that interaction left me inspired. May be it’s the fabulous weather – some sunshine, some rains, a lot of wind – exactly the kinds I’ve experienced in my trips to colder counties.

I dont know what it is but I am in the zone. I feel relaxed, content, in the moment. A rarity for someone like me that is all over the place, all the time.

As I write this, I am perched on a high table, hunched over my laptop and I am grooving to the music on my headphones. If you are curious, I heard this, this and now I am on this. I just hope this, whatever this is, continues. I must preserve this with all I have. I must try and reach this place, this feeling as often as I can. If only I knew how to. Let’s see.

So, the best part of yesterday was that I managed OMAD. It was pretty simple actually. All I had to do was not eat till about 12 and then occupy myself with work, meetings, and all that. Reminds me of the rant from a few days ago about food – that you eat when you are stressed, you are social or you are habituated. I removed all three yesterday. And I could manage. Let’s see how it goes today. I do have a long day with a lot of work and a lot of stressful phone calls to make. But I shall prevail. In fact, someone just shared this with me…

This is such a simple statement and yet so powerful. I must make the clear decision to stay away from things that drag me down, even if it’s work. I need to become unfuckwithable. And chase this contentment and chase greatness and chase impact and all that. Of course, these are very very wide statements and at some point, I need to crystalize these, and I will. But, definitely a #note2self

Oh, today also happens to be Shubhi’s birthday. She’s one of those rare people that I can bare my soul in front of. No other thoughts to be honest. Just wanted to put this here. She is that important.

I guess this is about it for the day. Time to get started. Like I said, I have a long day ahead. Let’s see how I end the day.

Here’s the streaks.

  • OMAD – 1. Managed it yesterday. I sort of decided that I will spend the next few days trying to get in some sort of shape for EBC. Even though I am very late for it. But I will do whatever I can.
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 175
  • #noCoffee – 19
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Money spent – 630
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -2 +1 (ease of shifting)
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 265

010921 – Morning Pages

Today’s post talks about the sadness that September brings, the unpreparedness for the walk to EBC and a few others things.

8:27. Starbucks.

September. The month has continued to send me into inexplicable sadness. All my underachievements and failures come back to haunt me. And since I am in this zone where I am sad about things, I often make errors in judgment and that makes me more prone to mistakes. And that means things that can go wrong, start going wrong. And that means the spiral of sadness starts moving faster. And I dont know what to do about it.

So that. Lemme digress and talk about other things.

Yesterday, I was at the shoot of my next short film. While I was there, I got yelled at, despite me being the one who’s enabling all that to happen. I often dont take credit for things I do. I mean the world doesn’t stop if you stop existing. It finds its way. Always has. I just happen to be at a place at a time where I played a role that moved the ball further. Now when I do that, and I say this with all humility, I want to be anything but the person that gets yelled at.

Plus it’s getting reinforced that a producer really has no role in anything that happens. Apart from being the one that’s bankrolling the whole jingbang. I knew it to be honest but now I know it as well. So that’s that.

The action point is to stop this free flow of money to fuel other people’s dreams, unless I am the one whose work is getting created. Or I am the one that will get credit beyond a producer. And thus, I need to move onto the other side. My writing doesn’t seem to work with people. I have no clue what directing is. I am anything but acting material. Plus I dont watch a lot of films anyway. So need to think hard about this love of making films. Lemme add this to the list of things I want to think about in the break in the second half of September. Let’s see what I come up with. #toThinkOn.

Oh, the internet at the house I live at, aka, the shelter has stopped working. And funnily, I am ok to face the inconvenience of not having the Internet, when compared to the effort required to make calls to the ISP and getting it fixed. Plus, I am around for today and tomorrow. Day after I am gone.

In the happy, hopeful things to talk about, I have just about 15 days left to go for the break (and the walk to the EBC – I refuse to call it a trek. It’s a walk). I am looking forward to the experiment of not having the phone and being cut off from the world. I do plan to use a phone to make a vlog about the journey and take notes about things that I am thinking about. But that’s about it. I want to be with myself for a large part of this journey. Reduce contact to minimal. Talk when spoken to. Not distract myself with news, entertainment, or any modern, pop-culture-y thing. I’ll try to not even be that problem solver that I have this compelling obsession to be when I am in taxing situations. Let’s see how it goes.

For some reason, while I wrote the para above, I was reminded of the time I spent when I went for Vipassana. I think I must go again. I may not be able to do so in 2021 but I will try and do it sometime in 2022 for sure. #in2022.

The thing though is that Vipassana requires little in terms of physical preparedness. The walk to EBC is more taxing. And I am not ready. I have not worked out. I am not doing any breathing exercises. I refuse to wear shoes. I am eating crap all the time. I am making the walk all the more difficult. I think I need to live the next 17 days the best I can. This means, eat less and do some breathing exercises. I can’t work out, I can’t walk – not time to do this. Lots of work on my hands.

Oh, lemme get this load off my head by writing this. On the work front, I am suffering. To a point that I am back to a point where I no longer have enough coming in to keep my team together and will have to sort of seek out a loan each month to feed my team. I think things are different from the last time around (in the sense that the world has finally adopted this work-from-home thingy and people are now investing in marketing, communications, events, etc). I need to make myself different now to be able to leverage these new opportunities and create work for myself. And my team. And my Kutumb.

I also need to find an office space for myself. I can’t focus when I am at home / house / shelter. I can’t be at Starbucks all the time. Way too expensive and inefficient for the kind of work I do (meetings, selling, etc). So, once I am back, even if I choose to live in Delhi with my parents (to save on rent), I will need to find an office of sorts. Let’s see.

Been writing for about an hour now. Guess will take a break and get on with the day. Here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 174
  • #noCoffee – 17
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Money spent – 1900
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -2
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 264. I think I will reach 280 or so days before I go for the trek. Let’s see. Maybe the vlog I make will be the morning pages and I will publish those on the blog?