The February Hits (and Misses)

A few things that I am not happy about and helpless about. Mostly a rand. Read at peril.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you would have noticed two not-so-happy posts back to back. Today I have a few things to talk about that may not be happy either.

Read on.

One. Whatsapp.

For some random reason, yesterday I got logged out of WA and I haven’t been able to log in since. I’ve read all support things, mailed Meta, and tried all hacks – including deleting, installing, taking the sim out, switching devices etc etc. And yet nothing works. I dont know what to do.

While I find an answer, am mindfucked that all my work has come to a stop. I can NOT even tell people that I am not available. I can NOT access links / files. My effervescent notes are stuck in the limbo. Thank God I moved to Apple Notes and Roam last time my data got wiped.

Oh, that reminds me, this is the second time I have lost access to my WA account. Last time around I was angry and pissed that I lost all chats and photos and all that. This time, I am ok with that. Just that my work lives on WA and I feel handicapped and helpless. I wish I had the power to know someone like Mark and get him to rest my account from the server.

So am mindeffed cos my work is pending. And I dont know what to do about it.

Two. Asking People to Leave.

This is the first time since I started working that I will have to ask people to leave on my own. And it’s not a nice feeling at all. I’ve always believed in building the village and the collective and this is anything but that.

In the past people have moved away from me while working – some at their own accord, some I’ve had to ask to leave. In one instance, there was this misunderstanding that I couldn’t solve and we had to part ways. In any case, it was never about my inability to pay.

This time, it is. Despite me doing ok with work and money, I am unable to pay for the people that I’ve hired. No, it’s not about overstaffing – just that at C4E, we hire for projects and once a project ends, we need to part ways. So that. In most cases I’ve been ok to let go of people once project ends.

This time, I feel bad cos I’ve worked really closely with these people for almost a year and I’ve come to like them as my own. Plus each of these is hardworking, dedicated and committed. And am having to let go of these folks cos of money. Double damn.

I keep getting these shockers but I am unable to do anything about these. I dont know when I’d wake up. Funny that I wrote a few days only that I dont know when this bubble would get burst.

So I am sad that I have to take this call. And I dont know what to do about this.

Three. Work. Future.

All I do in life is work. And since we are close to starting the next financial year, I was planning for what I would do in the next year and how I would go 10X from where I am right now.

While doing that, I realised that unless I do something large and drastic, the way we’ve been going, we are staring at ruin. Not that we are not good, just that the world is changing very fast and there’s way too much unpredictability around us. Surviving itself is a problem. And I am thinking of 10X-ing from here. So that.

Plus, I’ve never had to plan things – I was always at a tiny scale and things would come to me easily. Now we are larger than I’ve ever been (while we remain tiny in the grand scheme of things) and this means that the ship needs to be a lot more stable. And I am finding it hard to imagine how to do that.

I know I will do ok. I know we will do ok. But I need to work harder than I’ve ever worked. I would’ve if not for my gut. Read the next point.

Four. Gut.

Remember I said that my guts are apparently made of steel?

Well, they aren’t gutting.

It’s been more than 10 days now and I am still running between my desk and the loo. If I show some strength and resolve and go to a Starbucks or a meeting, I run back home faster than PT Usha!

And each time I get to the loo, the walk back is more laboursome and tiring. And I am left thinking if I should even make an attempt to get up the next time. And then I think I’d just stop eating. Let me spew out everything that I have in me. I’ve done almost 3 days of fasting in the past. There’s no reason I can’t do this time. May be starting tonight. Let’s see.

Oh, I refuse to go see a doc. I am hoping I will be better in a few days. been 10. Should take another there or four. Let’s see.

To be honest I am ok with it. Just that work is suffering. Same as the WhatsApp snafu. I dont think of anything more than that lol. I really need to get a life. Any tips?

Five. My failure to be a good shishya.

One of THE most important mentors I have ever had seems to be angry at me. To the point that he’s not even keen on talking to me. I know I’ve fucked up. And I’ve said sorry. And I will never ever repeat the mistake. But I think I’ve broken the relationship to a point that it’s beyond repair.

Like a mature adult, I went to him to apologise face to face. But I dont think it’s working out. So that. Like a mirror, it’s broken. I can put it together but I will always see a crack 🙁

So that. It was important enough to capture here on the blog.


So yeah. These five things.

The whole of 2024 and February specifically seems to be jinxed at so many levels. I need to find a way to fix this. Any pandits around?

Freedom!

A manifesto of sorts about how I want to live my life.

Do me a favour. Listen to this song while you read this.

From this one, I love these lines…

On bended knee is no way to be free

I would have heard this song a million times if not more. And each time I hear it, the emotions it evokes are the same. That of a life lived on my terms, spent chasing things that I want (and not others), of being free. 

The song talks about something very very fundamental to us humans. The want to be free. The need. Not in a mythical manner that gets romanticised where you say you control your time outside of your office hours. But in the real sense of the word. Where you are the master of time, the driver of your destiny and the only one who makes decisions for you on a day-to-day basis. 

No, I am not saying that we become hippies and start roaming around free without an agenda or a mission. I dont want us to start running wild and amok and go back to the days of jungles and caves. I am not implying that we quit everything and wait on patrons to provide for us. Let’s park this thought as A. We’d come back to this. 

So, Naval says that you are free when you are not a slave to your calendar.

I love that idea.

Of course, we all have calendars and deadlines and meetings and tasks and all that. But having all of it without being a slave. You are free when you control a “large part” of what you want to do, who you want to do it with and how you want to do it. This “large part” is where the spectrum could be. For Naval, it is 100%. For me, it would be 80%. For someone else, it would be 10%. You need to find what your “large part” is and then aim to get to it. That simple. Like I said, mine is 80%

The thing is, the world is governed by two things and two things only – the fundamental laws of physics and the ego of people. One you can’t control and have to submit to. The other you can manage. And in this management is the freedom. This is the lever you push to see if freedom pops on the other side! 

Lemme talk about C4E for a bit. This avatar of C4E started post-COVID when an old client and a friend from MDI got me started on a couple of projects. Since then, C4E has largely been an experiment. And a good one at that. That has allowed us to grow into a collective of some 15 people, each almost free. At least from my vantage point. While we dont make enough money to live a lavish life, we do have enough to pay our bills (I think so) and yet have a large control over our time. It’s so good that I often think that the bubble would someday burst. I often wonder when would the penny drop. I know it would someday. I know this too shall pass. 

However, the experiment over the last three years has given me the taste of life as a free man. I now know what is independence. And I dont think I would ever want to be chained. 

In fact, looking back, I realise freedom has become one of the most important drivers of my life. Even simple acts of rebellion (not wearing shoes or pants) is a struggle for freedom for me.

I hope most people at C4E are like that – free, not wanting to ever go back to the clutches of a timesheet and trap of a fixed salary. 

Of course, this freedom has come with a certain price – that of working harder than the ones that are not free. This is the first time I’ve brought the W word in this note.

Remember I had parked an A a few paras ago?
Time to revisit that. 

So in the ideal world, most of us would have patrons that allow us to chase our respective bliss. But the world is not ideal. And we dont want to become hippies. So we have to work. And word harder. Hard work is indeed the price of freedom. All of us know about the recent brouhaha around the 70-hours of work per week. I am proud that I clock more than 80 hours a week. I wish I could do more. Laws of physics dont allow me to (old age, you see). No, this is not a norm at C4E. There are people that work “full-time” and yet clock 10 hours a week. And others are probably in between. Of course, these numbers are estimates – we dont have timesheets. 

But the point is, we have earned our freedom by paying for it with our hard work. And with one other thing.

Reliability.

At C4E, we’ve taken vows to ensure that we are reliable. And that is the only promise we make to our clients. We dont claim to be the most creative team. We dont win awards (we may at some point in future but that is not our ambition). We dont pull rabbits out of hats. But we deliver. We’ve designed our work to have redundant structures so that we dont miss deadlines. If we say a thing will happen at 5 PM, it happens at 5 PM. There is no if or but or when or doubt about it. We typically over-communicate and in case we are getting delayed, we will tell you. 

And despite being reliable and working harder, longer, and more rigorous than others, I want to claim that most of us are largely free. While we continue to be a slave to our calendars, like I said, we choose where we are when we work, what kind of work we do, how we work and who we work with. We are a fully remote team, we work on our schedules, at locations of our choosing (am mostly at some Starbucks) and we respect each other’s freedom. And while we do that, we ensure that everyone is paid fairly (at least to the best of our abilities). On top of this, each person is encouraged to build their dream life (not the life that any one person would want to impose upon them). 

Of course, we have clients and deadlines and their business goals and we need to deliver to those clients. And we like to be reliable and available and good. Plus, at our scale, we are unable to say no to a lot of clients but we remain very very choosy. Each time we get an opportunity, we ask ourselves if we’d have to give that client our freedom. 

If the answer is yes, we pull back. 

If the answer is no, we do whatever we can to ensure that they get what they expect. And more. After all, if not for them, how would we survive? And the world we live in, power equations are biased – some people have work that needs to get done and they have multiple options to get their work done. If they choose us, we are grateful about it and we do everything we can to serve them to the best of our ability. And this is where I mentioned, that I am not sure if 100% freedom is possible. 80% is. 

I also think that this service mindset is what has kept us going and has given us freedom. And now that I have tasted it, I really wouldn’t want a life where I am not free. The best part is that we’ve been able to build a village (not a family, not a sports team) where we look after each other, cheer for each other’s success and work to ensure that the village continues to thrive

Oh, one more thing. 
Here’s an invite to the village. 
I want others to taste freedom. 
Do read this post and write to us if this speaks to you. 

Till we speak next,
SG

Further Readings
1/ Naval and Kapil Gupta on Freedom – Link

Thank you to (in no order) Anshika, Krishna, Pradx, Riya, Vivek, Vanita for leaving comments on the first draft.

The Guts of Steel (or not)

The heroics and sobering of a man who overestimates his ability with his health.

Hola!

So, growing up in Delhi and binging onto street food and eating all sorts of things made me believe that I have guts of steel. I could eat anything, made with any kind of oil, laced with sweaty palms and the dust and grime and all that that is all around us. And yet continue functioning like I am Rajnikant or Flash or any of those superheroes that are quick on their feet and all that. After all, that is what I am, at least in my head.

I would flaunt these heroics and guts and often participate in competitions around eating gol gappas, vada pao, pao bhaji and dunno what all. In fact, even alcohol. No, I don’t drink per se but on the VERY rare occasions I drink, I can outdrink any fish in the sea and yet walk in a straight line. Really. Try me sometime. Or not.

But, you know life has a way of humbling you and showing that you are an insignificant speck on a pale blue dot and you are meaningless in large cosmic things.

That happened.

Read on…

So, like most large forest fires that start with a tiny spark that often would die without disturbing anything of importance. But once in a while, these sparks help raging fires that engulf civilizations!

In my case, it started as dizziness. I thought my eyesight was finally giving in. Then I got the first burp. I could sense bile building up in my food pipe. And I knew I was going to puke. I know my body like that. Oh, I was on a call with some new colleagues while that was happening. Funnily one of the people on that call was a doctor and we were working on a pharma client.

Anyway coming back. I was on a call. And I knew I was gonna puke. And since this was a new team, I had to maintain my reputation as a sakht man. But then life had the better of me. And I had to puke. So I excused myself. Ran to the loo and spilled some. I thought it was gonna be ok after that. I came back, and finished the call.

And as soon as I hung up, I had to run to the loo cos there was more. And this time, I realised how much my stomach could hold. It all came out. And then for the next 2 hours, I puked and pooped.

Each trip to the loo became tougher. To the point that I could no longer walk the 2 feet distance from my bed to the loo. I walked with some support. I leaned on the doors. I got onto all fours. And then I crawled.

One time I couldn’t even build the courage to crawl and reach in time. Finally, I decided to lie down on the floor of the bathroom itself. I will let you fill in the other details. You do not want to know. I will make detailed notes in my Roam lest I forget. 

I am grateful that no one saw me like that. As someone who’s kept his spine straight through thick and thin, this would have been the lowest point of my life. I remember the look on the faces of my parents when I got my nasal polyp operated on. I remember how C4E Junta looked at me when I broke my tooth at a picnic. I had decided that I would never let anyone ever see me in pain. I’ll walk in the rain if I have to cry. I found out that I may not command rain at a whim but I can sit under a shower for sure. Thank God for that shower!

So while I was dying (no the thought did not cross my mind – I knew this was a temporary thing and I will be ok; unrelated, there was a time when I was in Bangalore and I thought I would die. I called Poo and told her to take care of my people once am gone), I had the presence to tell people that they shouldn’t wait on me. I texted a couple of colleagues that I had to work with. 

I then switched off my phone. 
And slept. 
At least tried to. 

The bed was way too comfortable, the floor too cold. I couldn’t find a way to rest my head – neither on the pillow nor on the towel that I had rolled up. There were way too many mosquitos. Somehow I drifted to sleep. I remember waking up once to go puke again. And then finally finding it comforting to sleep on the mattress.

All this while, I did not think of work at all. In fact, the work be damned. I have some really fabulous people to work with and they managed everything. Phew.

I woke up late, I dont recall the time. I read online what to eat. Ordered a Gatorade, and some electrolytes. Called for boiled rice and toast. Ate the soggiest toast ever and yet it was yummy. Ate the blandest rice and each grain was full of taste. Slept again. Tried to. Was tough. But I slept. 

I woke up the next morning (Saturday), showered, had idli and more toast. The idli was how and what you expect an idli to be. The toast was ok. Went to Starbucks, had half a green tea, some yoghurt (which was really bad tbh; Starbucks need to up their game), some bananas (read about BRAT diet) and then off to the airport. I had curd rice, hummus, pasta and a Diet Coke at the lounge. There, I spotted Subhash Ghai – each time I see a star from the yesteryears, I feel sad about what age does to them. Ghai had to be chaperoned by some flunky who was more keen on filing his plate with pasta. And I will ensure that I dont have a flunky for clutches when my time comes.

So, here I am, now, on 8D, typing things away. Feeling ok. I am grateful that I dont fall too sick for too long. I dunno why – my lifestyle is not the best. Irrespective. I am committed to doing better. I want to rebuild my gut. I want to gnaw at Steel and laugh while I do that. I want to bombard the gut flora and fauna with all sorts of food and fluids and everything in between. Maybe yoga would help. Maybe it won’t. Let’s see. 

I am on the road for the next few days. Once am back in Bom on Thursday, I promise will not set a foot out till the Dubai trip (mid of March). I will have about 20 days that I will strictly do Keto! No cheats. No tiny carbs. I will find a way to resist temptation. I will also do yoga. As we speak, a yoga mat has been ordered.

In fact, I’ve been thinking about health for a long long time. If the incident of Friday is not a wake-up call, nothing would be. And this came in quick succession of my uncle’s passing. Since Friday (and the episode), I have only eaten kachra and I vow to never eat shit again. The body is the damn temple bro. I dont sit in a place that is not nice. I returned the in-flight meal cos the air hostess did not serve it with politeness. If I can skip a meal cos it hurts my ego, can I choose what I eat for my health?

So that.

Anyhow. My throat is still sore 48 hours after the incident. The only good part was that I finally weighed less than 91 KGs after I had emptied my gut into a gutter. I just hope it’s not something large. Like I said in the beginning, I want my heroics to never end and continue to operate like a superhero! More on these later. For the time being, over and out!

The 5 AM Calls

A personal note about losing a loved one.

I wrote a large part of this en route to Delhi on board UK 970 on a Sunday morning. The other part I wrote over the last few days, as and when I could get time.

When your phone rings at 5 AM on Sunday, you know that something has happened. And that something can’t be good. While this knowledge primes you to hear what the person on the other end has to say, it never prepares you well. It helps that you are typically in a slumber at that hour and you process things slower. Plus you are on the bed. So you are in a stage to accept things. 

So today when I got one of these 5 AM calls, I figured something was wrong. No, I was not ready. I did try to make all the scenarios that may have warranted a call at this hour – I do this for a living – make scenarios and strategies. I couldn’t guess what was the call going to be about. 

I wasn’t left guessing for long.
My mom told me that my uncle had passed away.

No, I wasn’t close.
Yes, he was an important man.
No, I don’t know how old he was. I found out that he was 81 or 82. Back then they did not keep records as meticulously as we do now.

But I know that he lived a fairly full life – he saw ups and downs and fortunes and ruins and happiness and sadness. He has 5 kids, 10+ grandkids (most married) and a great-grandkid. I don’t think he was a man of knowledge or if he travelled far and wide; but I do know that like most people in my family, he operated from his heart and emotions and not from his brain and maths. 

I can’t recall when I was the last time I saw him. I am not particularly close to my family except a cousin or two. Plus I don’t do goodbyes well at all even if it was with someone I care for. I don’t like the finality of these goodbyes.

And I definitely don’t take death well. At least of the ones I care for am related to. Strangers and celebrities – I am indifferent. I get filled with dread and existential one at that when I hear of someone close passing away. To a point, I start questioning the meaning of life and all. I recall last time someone important passed away, I had to go to Faridabad. I distinctly remember me trying to think how would I greet the ones that are mourning. I somehow managed. The days after that were tough.

This time, I knew I’d manage well. And as I write this from the familiar safe space of a Starbucks, I think I managed well.

Life goes on. You know, Pale Blue Dot.

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot.

When I go, I swear to go, I want to go without anyone ever knowing. I would walk into the jungle when I know my time has come – if I can walk. Or I will ask someone to put me to sleep – with no one around me. I don’t want anyone to see the frail me. I have lived my life with a straight spine and I would not bow down to anyone, even when I’ve aged. Like I said, most folks in my family operate from emotions and not from logic. I am no different. Just that my will needs to be executed.

Ok, I have made this about me and not about him. Lemme come back. 

To be honest, I don’t know him enough to be able to write a proper eulogy. As a kid, I would’ve met him a lot – summer holidays, festivities, festivals and all that. At least in the last 5 years, I haven’t met him. Three lost to COVID-19. I didn’t take any holidays, I haven’t travelled back to my home town and I’ve been missing from most of the festivities in my family. I think my decision to live in Mumbai has a large role to play.

Plus from what I know, he’s not been in great shape for some time now – nothing major, just old age. I recall that he smoked bidis like a chimney – as many as he could, as fast as he could. I remember him liking stale rotis with mirchi ka achaar. We’d make extra so that there was enough for him to eat the next day. I’ve seen him watch cricket with the fervent passion of a teenager and having opinions like you expect a die-hard fan to have. From the simple deewan-bed placed in his tiny hall, he ruled his kingdom like you’d expect a patriarch of a family to. And from what I recall, he had a temper and yet he was kind and loving. Despite him growing up deep in the villages in Haryana, he’s as modern as they came. He ensured his daughters and granddaughters got due respect and he was always supportive of any decision that the family took.

Knowing what I know of him, I think he’s in a better place.

Heart goes to my aunt. I don’t know where she came from or what she really wanted in life. May be she didn’t really want anything? I don’t know. Maybe she did, as a child. She would’ve probably loved something – music, art, fairs, something! I don’t know. I won’t ever know. I can only hazard a guess that as a woman in the patriarchial India of the 60s and 70s, she probably didn’t even know the concept of free will or ambition beyond a kind family to get married into. All I know of her, all she did post her marriage (at a young age, mind you), she was a pillar to my uncle. I may argue that she was reduced (I use this word with a lot of deliberation) to a supporting act for my uncle as he went about with his life. No, I don’t know what that life amounted to in the large scheme of things. I know that they are well-to-do as a family. I know they have great values and each member of their family is humble, honest, caring and has all the virtues that you expect a human being to have. My uncle and aunt raised a great family. And this wouldn’t have happened without my aunt’s unwavering support. She is exactly the kind that I wish I had. I know I am making this about me again but this is what someone’s passing away does to me – makes me reflect on my life.

Coming back to my uncle and his passing away. So the best thing that came out of this was that I could see my entire family together in one room. I had my cousins and their spouses and their offsprings under one roof and I realised that I’d never known the concept of a family. Whatever I knew before I moved out of my house to go to MDI and beyond, I have forgotten. I have chased billions of dollars and an impact on a billion lives and yet I have not built anything for myself. I wondered yesterday that when it was my time to go, I wouldn’t probably have another person next to me. No, I don’t want anyone next to me to be honest when I go but if I wanted to, I wouldn’t have. No, this doesn’t make me sad. Today it doesn’t. Maybe it will, in the next few years as I grow older.

Anyhow.

So, while I was there, as a son, I participated in the last rites for my uncle. In a full-blown, Hindu tradition, I got to see from my eyes that the process of going away is as messy as the process of coming in is. In both instances, you are on your own and you are aided by others. When you come in, you are a lump of pink flesh and water. When you go, you are a stack of half-burnt bones, ashes and dust. And the time you spend from being a pink gobble to a pile of black pebbles, you create things – memories, objects, things and we get attached to those. And worse, others get attached to those as well. And you then are ready to die or kill to preserve those.

Sigh. I am rambling at this time now. I think I will close the note and hit publish.

I did click this picture at one of the places I visited and I want to leave it here as I end this post.

I will try and bring a change in the way I live from here on. I will try and build a family of sorts. I will be more mindful with people. Let’s see where I end up.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for indulging.

PS: This if probably for the first time that I have written about my immediate family on a blog in a serious note. I like the idea that I am so open about things with the world that I can do this.

A secret. A confession. And a solution.

A longish note after a few hard days at work.

TW: I talk about dark days of my life as an entrepreneur. I talk about things that may be construed as triggering, depressing and of mental health challenges. PLEAES PLEASE PLEASE do not read if these things affect you.

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Here’s a secret.
If you want to derail me and my life, all you need to do is talk to me in an impolite, rude or condescending tone. 

Let’s park this. I will come back to this.

Now, another secret.
More like a confession really.
The last few days at work haven’t been the best. Dont think people who work with me or know me apart from work would’ve spotted it. Or may be they would’ve. I don’t know. The point is, all I do is work. My life starts and ends with work. I wake up, work, eat, work, nowadays try to catch the sunset (see this reel that I posted today), work, sleep and repeat. 

What I do may not be meaningful in the grand scheme of things but it gives meaning to my life. It probably helps anchor the lives of a few other people as well (but I am not sure). So when I don’t have great days, it affects me and my raison d être and I don’t know what to do about it. Most people have a family to go back to. I have a Rubik’s Cube. That too I crammed the solution to and I have since forgotten. So, all I end up doing is closeting my emotions on my echochamber (on my Roam) or writing cryptic posts on my blog (or twitter) or eating crap (Dal Makhani mmmm).

This time, today, I choose to do none of these. I am going to put it out. On my blog. Here. After all, I chose to live in public and live more authentic this year. 

So that.

Now, why’s that I haven’t had great days at work? 
Simple. Go back to the line I opened this piece with. 
“…talk to me in an impolite, rude or condescending tone.”

In the last week, almost EACH of my clients has spoken to me (or my team) in a tone that’s not the best or polite. And today yesterday, a friend who’s also a client spoke to me like never before. That was probably the last straw that made me think this much and all.

Of course, he can’t be wrong, he’s almost never wrong. He knows more than me and all that. And as a result, things in my head have spiralled down an abyss. You know, like Alice fell down that Rabbit hole?

And I know that I am not bouncing back to my A game anytime soon. I take time. Of course, I will fake it and the world will continue to see me functioning as I do on other days – reliable, high-functioning, in a hurry, high on energy, dreamy-eyed, lost and other such things. As I write this, its 8:30 AM, I am at a Starbucks 20 KMs away from home, sitting on a table facing the wall with my back as straight as I can stretch to. Someone looking at me would see a old man going at it!

To be able to find my groove, I would need to find peace over the next few days. Not inner. Am ok on that front. But the outer one. Like you know, get my space. Since the last relationship went sour, I’ve become this loner who likes to have his space and his freedom.

So, I don’t know how I’d find my outer peace.

I would also want to get a closure on the reason for this. I mean would could’ve gone so wrong at so many places that we have so much trass from all sides? I am unable to understand why do these people, all from different industries, and different parts of the country chose to speak with us like that. Nothing is broken at any of these clients. We may not deliver award-winning work but we are reliable as fuck. Plus, we at C4E work really hard to ensure that we deliver more value than what we promise, often at our cost. You know, underpromise and overdeliver. To each of my clients.

And this has been hardwired in the heads and hearts of each person that agrees to work with C4E. That we would overdeliver come what may. Money is never important. We could lose money on projects (I’ve often done that). I would beg, borrow, and steal to keep the kitchen going. I’ve done that in the past. I would do it again if I had to. I’ve kept my team lean. I dont pay them as much as I want to. All to preserve sanity and not go beyond our aukaat (while taking shots beyond that). 

Wait. Before I digress. So, the funny part is, ALL our clients know this. Each of them. And they see it. And yet they tend to talk to us in a tone unwelcome, uncalled for and unneeded. I know they dont know that am soy and snowflake and easily hurt and their simple act of trying to push me to do more would derail me. I think I am still ok but I can’t imagine how my team feels!

But then, why be impolite? Why be condescending? Why be rude?

Maybe, a large part of this sadness and disappointment is my expectation from life and people itself. Maybe I am too simplistic (and wrong) in believing that people don’t have egos. Maybe people at the core are bitchy and mean for no reason. Maybe people love playing power games. Maybe people like to just poke with harmony and see what comes out of it. What if Joker was right all this while? PS: Even if they are wired differently, I will continue to chart my path. If I had to go live in a village where costs are low, I would. I would retire in Goa or in the hills where at least I can breathe free!

The other part could be that my approach to life could be unsettling for the world at large and they can’t understand it. I am trying to build a utopian world where everyone is kind to each other, everyone is engaged, everyone is chasing meaning (and not vanity goals), everyone sees magical possibilities. Where its one for all and all for one. Where I exist because we exist. But maybe everyone is hardwired into creating kalesh for kalesh’s sake? PS: Dont think this is the case though. I know people are really really good. I really believe that people do create magic.

I’ve been thinking about this for the last few days now and I am at my wit’s end. So, I kinda give up on trying to find the reason or answer. All I know is that I will chase my utopia till I can. 

Truth be told, I am often flexible on morals. I like the idea of doing whatever it takes to build a life I want to live. No, I am not talking about doing illegal things. But I am ok to bend a few rules if I have to. As long as I am not taking away from someone more deserving. I sometimes feel I were a tad evil – I would’ve done so much better! If I could sell my soul, I would probably be rich enough already to pay myself well and pay my people well. But then I get back to my thought about trying to build a long-term, sustainable, boring business that everyone tapdances to work on an everyday basis. 

The other part is these lingering thoughts about the challenges of running a service business in the market that we are in. We work hard to make other people’s dreams come true and in exchange, we get to make just enough to be happy about. Some days we make more than what we need but most days we merely get by. Luckily we are at a good place – on any given day, most of our clients are great companies, folks and all. They pay us ok money. We are challenged enough. All is well. But then when there are days like the last few and especially yesterday, I start questioning what we do.

The last bit is, maybe this is the trigger to push harder on my attempts to build a business that does not rely on just a few people or companies. Maybe build something that has hundreds of customers spread across geographies. Maybe I need to rethink how I work and slowly move on to a product business or something. I don’t know yet. My head’s in a soup. You can see. Lol.

Anyhow. Long rant is over. The point is, when someone speaks to me in a tone or a manner that is not kind or polite, in my head, all hell breaks loose. I spiral down and this is where I am at right now.

Of course, I will be back. I am strong like that. Vanita calls me a survivor. I survived COVID-19. I survived people cheating on me. I have survived so far. And I shall. Maybe i’d get a tee that says, “I am a survivor” :D. Lol!

Ok, more later. Thanks for reading (if you did). And yes, all is well. My back is still straight. I am still surrounded by a team that will move the mountains for me and for our clients. And we would continue to give our heart, head and soul for the work we do.

Oh, if you are reading this and you want to hire a great team to work with you – look us up 🙂

Untitled – 1 Feb 2024

Random musings from a bored mind at 8 in the morning.

So, I woke up early and I had a bit before I had to leave (Starbucks opens at 8). So I thought I would write (cos I want to get back to writing and anyway journaling things is a good idea). And here we are. Talking about things at the top of my head.

These are in no order.

1/ Everest
I realised today that my Everest shot is less than 18 months to go. And I am not really in the pink of my health. And the way things are, I will miss it. It has been my biggest goal, dream, public claim, etc etc since I can remember (I cant remember too much to be honest) but this has been a big one on my list (other two are a billion dollars in cash and an impact on a billion lives).

2/ AK
AK’s shareholder letter for Jan 2024. Read here. I have so many thoughts – public and private. One public thought is that I am so much very proud of this woman! I wish I was her when I was 22. At 22, I was getting fired from a job (I can see now that I was wrong), on my way to get in to MDI (thank God, I did) and I was in general a clueless person (am still as clueless but I know more things than I did back then). Life has a way to sober you up.

Also, a note to self to write a letter. Maybe on weekend.

3/ Blue Tokai vs Starbucks
I hang out a lot at Jamjar Diner at Versova. Right next to it is Blue Tokai. And I have come to build a theory about the kind of people that hang out of a Blue Tokai. Lemme don my planner hat and sit on my privileged ass at a Starbucks (am writing this part from a Starbucks) and write about it.

Lemme give context. All three places – Jamjar, Blue Tokai and Starbucks tend to not ask you to leave if you are respectful to their staff and other guests, you don’t occupy too much space and you understand that it’s a restaurant / coffee shop and not a park. In terms of perception, Jamjar feels the most expensive, followed by Starbucks and lastly, Blue Tokai.

I’ve seen similar kinds of people hang out at Starbucks and Blue Tokai – the ones wanting to make films – writers, directors, producers, crew members and more. At Blue Tokai, I spot more actors than I do at Starbucks. But you get the drift.

So, for some reason, the people who hang out at Blue Tokai tend to be more dreamy than the ones at Starbucks. And I don’t blame them. I think everyone wants to find their ilk and I’ve seen conversations at Blue Tokai to be more earthy, more grounded and more dreamy at the same time. At Starbucks, these chats are a lot more in the air. Plus, I’ve realised that people at Blue Tokai tend to thrive in their “struggle”. You know, they assume that a movie is being made on their lives and when they are big, the audience would applaud the effort they made to reach where they are.

While this may not be an emotion that they are aware of, each time you speak to them or overhear conversations, you realise that they are looking for an end goal to be famous. And they are unable to see that this day-to-day life of freedom, control, chase, grind is what success is supposed to be! You may not have fancy cars or gorgeous bags or a million followers but you have your freedom and your dreams and no one can ever touch those, leave alone taking away from you. And that is something that most people tend to miss and that is what causes misery. And that misery is what they want to be captured when the film on their life is made.

So that!

This cartoon explains this the best…

4/ SG’s Clicks
I clicked some REALLY kickass photos at the beach yesterday. Here. No, I cant figure out a way to embed Insta on WordPress. It sucks to be old.

And staying on old age, see this vid and see the raspiness in his voice. The good part, he’s still got the rizz but you can spot that he’s not really, well, young. Sigh!

5/ Modern Day Gurukula
While walking on the beach yesterday, I told AK and C that at DD, they need to cut the umbilical cord to C4E for their own good. And then I gave them a few reasons why. And then I explained them that they need to discover their life themselves and not live a reflection of mine. And then I told them about how I’ve learnt from Raj, Suvi, Rajesh Sir and others and I have picked the best things they did and made them into mine. And while I did this esoteric chat, an epiphany happened.

And that is that I would REALLY love to replicate some sort of a Gurukula where we have sharp young folks interacting with people who have been around. And these exchanges help both the sets of people. May be Base would be that? May be not.

Let’s see.

Bas itna hi for the day. Work beckons. Hopefully, more tom!