I failed.

A note on how I failed Viny (C4E’s CCO) and myself by not being able to ship a printable draft of book2.

Towards the end of Ocotber (or may be early Novemeber), I made a promise to Viny (and myself) that I would have a printable first draft of book2 (of at least 80K words) by end of Nov 30, 2022.

Today is the 29th. And I dont have that.

I failed.

Even though a lot was riding on it. Lot was Viny’s complete loyalty and the first right to get her to work with me once she passes out of college. I can’t stress enough how much I need someone like her around me at C4E. And yet, I failed.

This post is an attempt at reflecting on what I did to create an environment around me that would ensure that I dont fail. I will talk about habits I stacked to ensure that I dont fail. Of course all these are meaningless – after all, I failed! Maybe lessons for the next time?

Here we go…

Four things.

A/ I was off Social Media.
Like really.
I removed all apps from my phone and the only time I would check twitter / linkedin etc was to check on something for work. I was even able to reduce my screentime to about 4 hours a day. This meant I had more time than I could’ve ever asked for.

B/ I was travelling.
This is an excuse.
People that travel write books all the time. Look at them travel bloggers. They are literally on the road all the time and yet they are firehoses of content. I did travel but it does not mean I couldn’t write. All I had to do was write 3K words a day. Which, btw, is NOT a big deal for me.

In fact, truth be told, I “found” 75K words for book2 written over various drafts. I compiled all those into Scrivener and I could’ve “cheated” to write the balance 5K and declare the draft ready. I mean the very thought is making me puke. Why would I cheat? Especially to my own people?

The point is, I could not write.

3/ I was snafu’d at work.
True there’s a lot going on with work. I am struggling. And I am thriving. And I am somewhere in the middle. As a small business owner / manager, you are always somewhere in the middle of these three. As a small business owner you have to try to do multiple things while paying your people fair and square. As a small business owner time is not a commodity that you can control.

The point is, I should’ve known these before I made the promise. So, this one doesn’t hold. This is an excuse.

4/ I controlled my “desires”.
Lol. Sounds fancy.
Lemme talk about it with little more rationality. So, most of November, I did not have coffee. Or coke. Or any random snacks that I keep munching on all the time. I wanted complete abstinence from anything and everything that may distract me. I managed to stay away for a large part to be honest. But it did not help concentrate.

What could I have done different?

A, I could’ve been a tad more pragmatic. I could have taken a long time hozion to work on the draft. Instead of a month, may be two, three. Or whatever. Just that pragmatism is not my cup of tea.

B, I could have made and followed a routine that’s non-negotiable. That I would sit at a Starbucks everyday at 7 AM and do nothing but write for 2 hours. I know that I am extremely good at this (getting up early and reaching a starbucks and sitting with my laptop open). There is nothing that stops me from this. I guess I got lazy 🙁

C, I could have found a writing buddy to write this with. In my experience, it always helps. If not that, I could’ve found an accountability partner if nothing else. Again, I did have Viny to reach out. But for some reason, I was unable to get her help.

D, I could have reminded that age old adage – Real Artists Ship. In fact, if there is one takeaway that I want from this, it would be this. While writing this, I made this wallpaper that I would use on my desktop. Till I get another slap on my face next time. PS: Other things that have made to my desktop wallpapers are Mememto Mori and This Too Shall Pass. Will make these wallpapers as well.

Guess this is about it. I know I failed. And it’s not a good feeling to have.

And, in the end, Viny, I am sorry. I let you down. I’ll try harder. If you want to give me another chance. Do lemme know.

The MDI Gurgaon Impact on Saurabh Garg’s life

So, I met a couple of friends from MDI for dinner over the weekend. While bantering, one of them said that the time at MDI was not the best phase of her life.

To me, this came as a shocker. For multiple reasons.

For starters, I couldn’t relate to what she said. I mean at least for me, I sincerely believe that the most glorious period of my life was at MDI. I had a ball while I was there. My worldview expanded. I found the teachers that I never had before MDI. I made friends that hopefully would last me a lifetime. I learnt that I was capable of more. The ambitious young boy in me turned into a man that wanted to win the world (yet to do so, tbh).

In fact, the best things in my life came from MDI. Every milestone in my life can be traced back to an event, a thing at MDI.

Here are some. My first real job came from MDI (campus placement of course). The job that changed my life (made me travel the world) came to me because of the MDI alumni network (Suvi, Gravity). The only book I wrote happened because the publisher is from MDI. My first short film (as a producer) could happen because a friend from MDI connected me with the director (Anshul). Heck, my company is called C4E and the name came from the game I played at all hours at MDI (Counter-Strike). The house I live in (and dont pay the rent of) is of a friend I made at MDI. The top 5 3 people I will call when in trouble are from MDI. My agony aunt (and mentor and client and all that) is from MDI. The work I do, a lot of it comes to me because of connections I made at MDI. A couple of business partners (most notably the Podium) came from MDI. The investment vehicle I want to create is with friends from MDI. I went to the Everest Base Camp only because a friend from MDI egged me on and lead me there. The only child I am emotionally close to is an MDI friend’s daughter (who painfully is growing fast and discovering her own world, which I may or may not be a part of).

I can continue to write about other insignificant things but I can not ignore the MDI connection. The impact that MDI Gurgoan has had on my life is immeasurable. If not for MDI, I would be a far different person (not sure if I would have been worse or better) but you simply can’t take away MDI from my life.

While I do understand that she may not feel as strongly for MDI as she has a lot going for her – professional success, a family of her own, holidays and all that. In comparison, I have built a single thing that is larger than the MDI stamp on my CV. If I were to die tomorrow, my epitaph would be painfully empty and the historians would find nothing on my CV that’s worth talking about. But a diploma from MDI. And that speaks a lot. And probably this explains the stark difference in our (her and mine) perspectives towards MDI.

I do understand that she may be talking about the two years that we spent on campus. Even on that count, on a day-to-day basis, living at the MDI hostel was among the best of times. We did not have the comforts that we seek, especially at the age of 40, but we did have hope. We had camaraderie. Not one day was drab!

And no, I am not dissing all the things I’ve had or done. Just that none of those has had an impact closer to what MDI has had on me. And I suspect a lot of others.

So yeah. That’s it.

When my friend told me that MDI wasn’t the best time for her, I was surprised. I simply assumed that everyone from MDI would rate their time at MDI as the grandest and largest.

And with that, over and out!

Perils of being the Creatures of Comfort

A rant on what comfort does to perennial hustlers. And how creatures of comfort are often unable to do what they’re destined to.

Hola! Ranting after a while. Let’s see how it goes.

I started writing this from the hall of a 2.5 BHK house in which I live. It’s a very comfortable place and now that I have lived here for a few days, I know that this is not a good place to be at (or the situation to be in). The rest of the post is about why it’s a bad idea to be in a comfortable place. Especially for people like me.

The thing with a comfortable place is that it gives you the solace you need after a long, hard day of work. But it also makes you lazy for no reason at all. Here are my thoughts on it. And no, not in any order.

A. You tend to get lazy.
You tend to get complacent. You tend to stop hustling. You tend to start to live a comfortable life and then you start questioning the entire idea of even trying to work hard. Leave alone actual hard work. And this is the start of the downfall.

B. This life of comfort is addictive.
Like cocaine. Sugar. Carbs. AC. Monthly Salary.

C. You know entropy?
That happens. Left to yourself, you degrade to a state of non-functioning. And once you are not functioning, you stop moving. Once you’ve stopped, there is inertia and there is a problem in starting. You catch rust. Worse, you start to atrophy.

All these together contribute to making you a weak man. And anyway, someone said these golden words – “easy times create weak men”.


D. There is no opportunity for riyaaz.
And riyaaz as well all know is the stone on which altars of the grandest churches are built atop. In fact, if you dont do riyaaz, you could be the greatest talent in the world with the best damn gift by the lord himself and yet you would be unable to perform when the time comes to do so.

The comfortable places hold you in deep clutches and dont want you to step out of it.

E. The cloistered cocoon.
When you are in a comfortable cocoon, you stop looking outside the walls that you are cloistered into. You stop looking for opportunities. And life just passes by you when you are admiring the pretty pictures that you put up on your walls to create this comfortable cocoon. You know, ivory tower? You have the grandest views of the most lavish expanses that us humans have created. While in theory, you could enjoy those, you are no longer that. You are the man trapped in the matrix. You are not in the arena. You have not lived. You have not fulfilled your destiny.

F. The death of Sisyphus.
When you are comfortable, the Sisyphus in you is no longer pushing the boulder up the mountain. He’s being a couch potato, staring at the boulder. And Imagine the time when he could be back on the mountain and is toiling with it. Imagine a Tom without a Jerry to chase. Imagine a Batman without a Joker. Imagine a Hero without an adversary. The damn joy that you get from your very existence is sucked away.

So that.
That’s the rant.
About comfort and the creatures that are on the fast and slippery road downhill.

Oh, as I end this, I have some disclaimers to make.

  1. The definition of comfort is different for different people. One man’s rubbish is another man’s gold.
  2. These are my thoughts and not my employer’s
  3. What applies to me may not apply to you. So please read with caution and standard disclaimers.
  4. Good to be back to writing. I missed these rants!
  5. I know this is not the best of my writing. But now that I am back at these longish pieces, I hope to continue with these.

PS: Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/saurabh.