040721 – Morning Pages

A short rant on how I feel after I went for a walk yesterday.

7:45 AM. I slept at 10. Woke up a few minutes ago. More than 8 hours. I dont think I woke up in the night except to have some water. I have recollections of an epic dream where some battles are being fought and all that. No, I dont remember the specifics. Chalo this is a good thing.

So, yesterday. Lemme do a quick recap. Did some work in the morning. Then ate. In one window of 2 hours. So OMAD! Yay!. Then slept in the afternoon for a couple of hours. That’s what I do if I am at the place where I live. When I can’t go to Starbucks or a friend’s house to work. I see the bed and I am magnetically attracted to it! Sigh! And once I woke up from the siesta, I just couldn’t work. I kept wasting time. Towards the evening I tried to go for a run. Lol. I went out and all I could run jog was for 60 odd seconds! Kaise hoga EBC?

Those 60 seconds were straight from hell. The phone flapped around so much that I felt like a circus artist trying to balance all the weight and the movement of the phone. My balls hurt (damn Hernia). My breath didn’t come back to normal for like, forever. I was literally sucking on the mask and I almost swallowed it! The heat in my toes was unbearable. I eventually had to take the shoes off and walk barefoot. I even had to lie down on the beach and had sand all over me.

Damn!

The saving grace of this 2-minute health experiment is that I found a one-rupee coin on the beach while walking.

I plan to go today as well. Let’s see how it goes. I am thinking I will buy an Apple Watch to track movements and sleep. Just that I am unsure if I would like to have another device. I mean I am ok with an Oura or something similar. But a watch or a band is not my jam πŸ™

Anyhow.

So, after the excruciating walk, for some reason, I did not want to come back to an empty house. I put some emo tweets as well. Guess am growing old and in absence of any tangible achievements or things to look up to, I am forced to look at things like relationships and people?

We’d never know the complexity of the human mind πŸ™

Moving on.

On the work front, I have a lot to do. To a point that I am so overwhelmed that I don’t even know where to start from. Thing is, most weekdays, I am stuck in meetings that take away energy and motivation. And on the weekends when I want to work, there’s no place to go work from. Damn this lockdown. One way is to lock two days in a week for no meetings, no calls, and just work. You know, Maker-Manager?

Apart from these two, to be honest, I have nothing else on my mind. And it’s not cool. I must have more to life than work. I mean I have always hated the concept of people that define themselves with the work they do! And here I am. Defining myself with the lack of work and options to work out from! Not cool.

Will try and change this over the next few days.
Wish me luck.
This is it for the time being.

Here’s the streaks. Changed the order to make it a little more visually appealing.

  • OMAD – 4
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 115
  • #noCoffee – 4
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 205

Quarterly Update – AMJ 2021

My quarterly letter to friends, mentors, seniors, co-workers and others about how and what I did in the three months gone by.

This is a letter that I send to some of my mentors, friends, clients, and others that have shown a disproportionate interest in my life. Since I am embracing living in public, here is the unedited letter for everyone to see, read, consume, comment on, etc.

Hello! Hello! I hope this letter finds you well. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was very devastating. I hope you and your loved ones came out safe.

For me, it wasn’t as good as I would’ve wanted it to be. But we shall prevail and continue to move. Ahead.

So, here we go…

Summary

If JFM was a turnaround compared to how 2020 was, AMJ has been about consolidation. Thanks to the work I got in JFM, I have some cash flow happening. And thanks to that, I hired some people across all projects that I support. I even started investing in newer projects. And most importantly, I started saving.

On other things apart from w0rk, during the past three months, I did a month-long cycle of Keto. While I could test my willpower to eat only what the service provider sent, I am not sure if it helped me – I am as fat, as unhealthy as I have always been. This quarter, I plan to add yoga and running. Of course, these things take time to materialize. Maybe the next quarterly update will have some good news!

So without further ago, here is the update.

A. Losses / Shortcomings / Failures

As against the planned goals for 2021 (listed here), here is what I have missed…

  1. No action on #book2. πŸ™
    I dont know what to do to help push this. I have done literally everything and I am unable to push. Even the inspiration that I derive from others (in terms of validation from others) doesnt seem to inspire me πŸ™
    So that.
  2. I had planned to do a project a month.
    I havent been able to do any. I guess I overestimate myself?
  3. On fitness, I tried Keto but I did not see any benefit. May be I’ll try OMAD all of this quarter? From what I know, OMAD would require a far larger discipline that I have ever mustered. Let’s see.

Apart from these, here are the things that I could’ve done better.

  1. We started doing events and masterclasses with The Podium. That experiement did not do well. However, inspired by that, along with a couple of other people, I have taken a step in the direction of becoming a VC. More on this in a bit.
  2. I am still unable to close windows. Read more about it here.
    There are so many projects that I started that are withering away in various stages of ignoring. Shumbur, WorkInGoa and many more.

B. Wins / Achievements

  1. As we speak, I am on a 200+ days streak of writing every day.
    Yay! Some posts are here.
  2. I continue to ‘live in public’. It translates into my intention of getting my thoughts, actions, and reality in sync. See some posts here. This was one of my goals for the year. I am embracing it and I count that as a win.
  3. On the work front, I continue my work as a brand planner for a digital agency and for cloud-computing tool. Still looking for more work. Till I can evolve into a . Help me find this additional project?
  4. I wanted to start the Marketing Connect Podcast Season 2 but I haven’t been able to. I had to prioritize and focus on work that gives me revenue and a stronger shot at connections.

C. New projects that I am excited about? What do I plan to do in the next 3 months?

As always, I am that kid in the candy store and I keep looking for things to work on. Here are some old / new toys that I am incredibly excited about. Maybe these could be the things that I will ship in AMJ!

  1. The SoG Book. I want to bind some of my best letters into a book that I share with people. For some reason, a finished product delivers a better impact than an ongoing one.
  2. The Investor Thesis podcast. Along with the marketing podcast, I am now working on the investor’s one. I want to learn more about how to make investment decisions as I move beyond what I already know. If you know any VCs, do connect me, please.
  3. The Killer Boogie routine. See this. I am told you can master this in 20 days. I am giving myself a quarter.

Apart from these three large things, I also will also work on the following…

  1. The SoG Grant. The idea is to support creators with a no-strings-attached, microgrant for a project of their choice. More here.
  2. Get active on doing video. All this while I did not want to be on the Internet But I realize that with time, I cannot avoid that. So, why not embrace it? And thus, I will get active on video. Just that the world has had enough and more gyaan on youtube. Who needs yet another person paddling common sense on Youtube? Plus, the production quality is already through the roof – better cameras, tight scripts, slick editing, gaming of algorithms, and all those hidden tricks of the Internet! I don’t think I stand a chance. But that’s the fun. No? Let’s see though how it pans out.
  3. I wanted to raise capital to become a micro VC. The structure in India doesnot allow you that. So I am doing this with the help of LHV. Oh, I may also raise about 5 crores from friends and family to create a micro VC fund to support aspiring entrepreneurs with angel rounds. I am doing this with a couple of friends. In case you have money that you are ok to lose in order to support other entrepreneurs, please do let me know.

D. What help do I need on?

So, apart from the things that I talked about above, there are indeed a few things that I need help on. Here’s a list.

  1. Connect me with the biggest hustler you know of. You know, someone who’s out there seeking work, delivering work, making connections, doing things that are out of their league.
  2. Help me get “meaningful” work and keep me away from a Naukri! In the past, I have worked on events, brand strategy, digital marketing, product, and more. I know this sounds scattered but I do have the requisite expertise and demonstrable experience. Do help me find gigs (freelance please) with businesses that are doing interesting and impactful things. I want to stay away from the run-of-the-mill stuff, please. 

E. Finally, what can I help you with?

If there is anything that I can help you with, please do let me know. I am very handy with marketing, content, the Internet, and more. Plus, I am told I am very resourceful ;). Please DO ASK!

***

So, this is about from the update. Thank you so much for reading this. And your patronage and attention. Means a lot! 

Thank You!
Saurabh Garg
Andheri, Mumbai
4 Jul 2021

PS: Should you want to give me anonymous feedback on this email (or anything else under the sun), please use https://forms.gle/28bVP8DYz2WGdHdp8. And yes, I LOVE not-so-kind, brutal, and honest feedback.

Here are previous updates.
2021 – Annual Goals, Jan-Feb-Mar, Apr-May-Jun
2020 –Β Annual Goals,Β Jan,Β Feb-Mar,Β Apr-May,Β Jun-Jul-Aug
2019 –Β Aug,Β Sep,Β Oct,Β Nov,Β Dec

030721 – Morning Pages

Rant on how I look, courtesy a glance in the mirror at a friend’s place. And a promise to myself. To do something about it. And fix it.

8:49. Just woke up. Slept at 3 or something. I dont know why I couldn’t sleep even though I haven’t had coffee in three days. I had a lot of green tea (or as Ankita calls it, ghaas ka paani) but I am not sure if that affects the sleep. If it does, I will be forced to stop going to a Starbucks altogether and my productivity will drop to like zero πŸ™

Anyhow. Moving with the morning pages. I was at a friend’s place last evening and I saw myself in a full-length mirror. And I was shocked at what I see. Shocked at two things.

A. I realized that I hadn’t seen myself in a mirror in a while. The place where I live doesn’t have a mirror. I mean I have a tiny one in the bathroom but that’s so tiny that all you can see is your face. See this tweet. I also have one in the lift of the building . It is fairly large. I think from waist up. However most times I stand facing away from it. And when I do face it, I am wearing a mask and I am in a hurry.

B. I saw my reflection and found a fat, aged, wrinkled man staring back at me. And no, the guy wasn’t hardened or something. He was just aging faster than what mother nature had planned for him.

To be honest, I was shocked when I saw myself. In my head, I looked better, was better dressed, I “felt” better. But the mirror showed me I had such high perceptions about myself. I am surprised that people allow me to stand next to them in a queue. No wonder at a Starbucks most people avoid sitting next to me. No one makes small talk to me. Damn damn damn.

It’s insane how this world uses shortcuts like physical “beauty” to make perceptual decisions about you. I mean, I understand why they do. We are still hunter-gatherers that are trying to find our way around.

So, I need to get fit. This is like a slap in the face that I needed. The best is that it’s come from no one else but me. You know, like this…

Even he’s got a good mirror to look into while he slaps ;P Damn I love him! Can’t wait to see Toofaan!

Coming back. I need to get fit. I know it has to be tiny gains over a long time if I want to be like Jason Statham. Lol!

I’ve been trying for the last few months (controlling what I eat, trying to sleep better et al). I know I can’t work out. I can’t continue with Yoga unless I have a teacher to go to. Online sessions don’t work for me. I can walk but then I am perpetually short of time with all the work I am on. May be I can start with an extreme calorie deficit? You know, consume only about 1000 calories a day? That can’t be healthy over the long run.

I dont know the answer. I will find one. But I will ensure that I look better. No, I refuse to wear better clothes. I need comfort more than anything else. But I will ensure that I am fitter. At least I can ensure that I am on OMAD. It’s been 3 days now. Last night I was so so so tempted to order in dinner but thankfully I could avoid it. Took immense willpower to do so!

Anyhow. Moving on.

So I decided that I will go to the EBC. In Sep-Oct. At least make an attempt. Come hell or high water (COVID-19 withstanding). Apparently, the success rate is 90%. I could be in that 10% for all you know. Will make the bookings as soon as I get paid for the next gig. Mumbai-Kathmandu-Lukla-EBC and back would be about a lakh and 20 days. I have 2 months to prepare and I start today. Not tomorrow. Not day after. Today. Starting with food and walks (at least).

So, in other news, I have a new play-on-loop track. It’s this. Lovey-dovey mushy piece but I love the beats and rhythm and all that. Give it a listen!

Guess this is for the day. Need to get going. Long day. And even longer tomorrow. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 204
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 3
  • #noCoffee – 3
  • #noCoke – 114
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

020721 – Morning Pages

I normally dont rant about work. But this is exactly that. A long rant. About work.

6:10. Woke a few minutes ago. I slept ok. Plus I slept for almost 7 hours. I was in my bed at around 11 I think and I woke up at 5:50ish. My back and neck are sore, like most days. I either need to find a new mattress or a new pillow. Actually, I need a new house. Damn!

These small things like comfortable place to live and other things that make it convenient to live in are so so important for a day to day happiness. I know there are people that would consider my house as lavish. I know there are people that get things done even if they are living with one-hundredth of what I have. And I know they do far better than I. Guess this is where people are different. You know, they can perform miracles. I, on the other hand, need comfort to do that!

This is what I think is the toll of the lockdown on me. The productivity levels are at lowest I’ve had in the last few months. I am sure it’s evident from the output on these morning pages. It at least evident from my Screen Time (which is at 10 hours right now). Guess I need to move to a non-smartphone for a few days. All I need on it is Whatsapp. Will try.

Thing is, I am unable to do any meaningful, deep work. I can blame it on too many meetings that I am a part of. But than that’s that. A blame. I think it’s the inability to get in to a regiment and create inspiring, designed-for-work places around me. I need to have a largish table and a chair at the right hight. I need to have the AC on. I need infinite supply of water (and access to a loo). I need my music on headphones. I need to have people around me. I need everything to be perfect before I can do my work.

As a knowledge worker, this is the worst you can do. To a point that I need to stop calling myself one. The idea is that I could have a location independent life that allows me to work and earn. With this kind of want of perfection, I don’t think I will ever have such a life!

Or maybe I need to stop work altogether and have my network work for me! You know, find an avenue for passive income. Let’s see.

Staying with this work conundrum, I tried to list what all could be wrong. You know why is that I am uninspired despite me needing work. Here are some plausible reasons.

  1. No access to an inspiring place to work from. I just can’t seem to get work done from where I live. I slack a lot more than I should. I lie down more than I should. I waste time on Youtube and Instagram a lot more than I must. I just can’t work once I am back from Starbucks. So today, I plan to stay there till they shut and do things. Let’s see how it goes. I have a lot to do.
  2. I am unhappy about something else and it’s rubbing off on my work. What could that be? Relationships? Health? Money? Not sure.
  3. I have work that’s beyond my capability to deliver? Dont think so.
  4. I have too much work? No. I am at a point where I turning down work. This is for the first time that I am doing this! Plus, it’s not a capacity issue. I have added people wherever I can.
  5. Too many meetings? Yes. I mean I spend way too much time in those meetings but then that’s part and parcel of work.

Guess these are it.

From the looks of it, these look like excuses and rants and third-party projections about slacking. I don’t know a way out. The city is still under preventive shut-down. Co-working spaces are still not open. The ones that are open don’t put their AC on. They remain filthy. Starbucks is a viable option but that shuts at 4. And I can’t take calls from there. Which is ok. I am ok to stay quiet on calls and come back to where I live for serious calls.

Need to find a way out!

Ok.

Enough of rant, Mr. Garg.

Moving on.

So in good news, yesterday, I literally assaulted my stomach. With oily paranthas, ice-cream, street food reheated in stale vegetable oil, chips and I don’t know what all. I need to start eating clean. And order in from places that probably understand fitness. If there are places like that. They sell vegetable, low-fat, high-carb things as fitness food. Lol. Anyway, yesterday, the saving grace was that I ate in a 3-hour window.

I am hoping to fast today. Since I plan to stay at Starbucks till 4 today and I want to avoid bread and all that, let’s see if I can manage to not eat.

So that.

In other news, I finally published my Ode to She. It’s here. This is one of those pieces that took a long time to happen but am I glad it happened! I am still not sure if this is good enough for a wider circulation but I am not happy with it. That’s the thing. When I write things, even if I dont like those, I still go ahead and publish. For that allows others to read and give me feedback. When I dont publish, the output that I have created remains hidden and there’s no way for the world to discover its awesomeness or patheticness. And I want to know both things about it. You know, if it’s awesome, I want to write more. Push it even more. If it’s pathetic, I want to know how to improve. Even if readers are unable to point out the problems, at least I know that the piece is not being appreciated. So yeah, I publish.

If you want to write for a living, you have to embrace this. You have to publish and share it with as many people as you can.

Ok. Enough.

I will try to fast today. Let’s see.

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 203
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 2
  • #noCoffee – 2
  • #noCoke – 113
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

An Ode to She – Elvis Costello

An ode to one of the best pieces of music ever created and ever featured in a film! From the lens of a hopeless romantic that refuses to lose hope!

So in the morning yesterday a few days ago, a friend sent me this Instagram reel. I saw it, with audio. And my jaw dropped to the floor.

Someone has taken the track that I love like mad and put it on a happy scene of a woman running in a tight alley. The camera is close on her tail, she’s consumed by her happiness and everyone in the scene is sort of coming together to make her experience even more beautiful! You know, the shared celebrations that the primal us want?

This has to be one of the most beautiful portraits of a woman I’ve ever seen.
Ever.
In my life.

Please please please please see it.
It’s at instagram.com/p/CQJzn9nn_rI.
It’s a pity I can’t seem to embed it.

Ok. Deep breath.

So, She.
Here.
Listen to it, if you want to.

She, from Notting Hill

Lemme talk about it.

My memory fails me but I think I first saw heard experienced this track when I saw Notting Hill all those years ago. I dont recall when was this, to be honest, but I must’ve been very very young. However, I remember that I definitely lived in a lower-middle-class part of Delhi. English was a language of the elites and thus aspirational. English was still making inroads into daily parlance. It was considered cool to listen to English music. The only music to trickle to my remote corner of Delhi was the pop chartbusters like Backstreet Boys, Bryan Adams, and others. No, the rock music scene around me was limited to one or two sightings of a Bon Jovi fan. And in rarest of the rare cases, Sweet Child O Mine by Guns N’ Roses.

So, back then, being able to namedrop an English track immediately elevated your status. It was a sure-shot way to become an anomaly in the group of kids that were otherwise stuck on Super Commando Dhruv and Lucky Ali and all that. You were perceived as cool. You’d get more “followers” to flock at you. You’d become that alpha that every kid at that age aspires to be. All this, without trying if you could blabber names of some English songs.

This is when I probably first heard music from Notting Hill. It would have been a pirated version of the film (with subtitles downloaded separately), this was well before the unlimited Jio’d Internet days.

Oh, those days. I remember I got my first computer in 1999 something and we would have dial-up connections and floppy disks and pen-drives with less than 1 MB of capacity. So watching films meant firing up Windows Media Player. Even Winamp! Films were still in CDs that you could rent from various holes in the walls. Often the print was grainy and often the film would get stuck, you know, scratches on the disks. Damn, those days. Of anticipation. Of hope. Of pain. Of wait.

Ok. I digressed. Coming back.

So I would have seen this film on a computer screen. Sometime around 2003 when I was finishing college and preparing for CAT (and thus trying to deck up on English). It’s been almost 2 decades since I’ve remained hooked to the film!

I would’ve seen this film at least a hundred times, if not more. I have literally rattofied the film. I remember the dialogues and scenes and expressions and costumes and the props that you place next to the actors in those complicated set scenes and everything else about the film.

Thing is, back then, when I first saw this film (and heard music from this film), I would have ignored “She” for sure. For it competed with the more famous “When you say nothing at all” by Ronan Keating / Boyzone. It was the track that each “just a girl” that stood in front of a boy asking him to love her would have heard on loop. And imagined a love as warm, as goofy, and as (im)perfect as that of Anna and Will.

Heck, I have pictured myself in that garden, on the June and Joseph bench, under the trees, on a clear, moonless, starry night. I continue to do so to date. Before I die I want to be in that setting. With the love of my life.

Ok. Digressed again.

So coming back. Fast forward a few years.

To this day and age.

With time, I have traveled a bit, seen a bit of life, and probably evolved a bit. I’ve seen Notting Hill again. With fresher eyes and a deeper understanding of the idea of love, friendship, and relationships. And it is one of these recent viewings that I started to appreciate “She” a lot more.

I now understand the contrasts that Costello talks about. I can now decipher the abstraction of shades from the extremes. You know, pleasure or regret, heaven or hell, famine or feast, and many more.

I now know that “She” is about her. The woman that’s rarer than you. The one that makes you feel alive. The one that makes you want to survive. The one you can stay #foreverAlone for, for decades. The one that’s probably the love that you cannot hope to last! And among other things, the one that you will kill (or die) to see the smile on the face of.

In case you missed, I lifted parts of the lyrics to write the parts above.

The thing is, while the track by itself is brilliant, the way it’s been used in Notting Hill makes it 100x better. The song appears right at the end of the film.

This is when Anna and Will have had their ups and downs and right before the all is lost moment.

In there, Will asks Anna a fairly complex, funny, and irreverant question. It is loaded with their inside joke. No one but the two of them can make sense of it.

Will has used way too many words, in a room full of people that use words to make their living. While the meaning was seemingly lost on most of those there, Will’s lavish use of words did exactly what he wanted to! Communicate love.

Anna has a measured response to Will’s question. She is guarded. Probably hoping against hope that things will turn in their favour.

This is when another journalist asks a simple, innocuous, harmless question – “Anna, How long do you plan to stay back in England?”

She replies with one word. “Indefinitely.”

If she had use even one more word at that time, it would have killed the entire film. To a point that you’d not want to even see the fim.

This is the instant when they play “She”.

And it starts the recap of the Will and Anna story. And probably the best 3-minutes of cinema ever shot!

In the entire scene, none of the actors speak a single line. Anna is merely smiling, with a twinkle in her eyes and that unmistakable mole on her lips. Will is merely gawking at her beauty. In a room full of strangers, and the ones that have a keen eye, the two lovers speak to each other and pass on more words than the longest of love letters have ever done!

This is when I start pining for love like that.
A “She” like that.
And wants me to be worthy of “She” like that.

Here it is. All over again. Do see it.

She, Elvis Costello. From Notting Hill.

Oh, and if you are curious, I’ve been with some really remarkable women over the years. It has to be me that was unable to keep their attention and interest. Of course, I remain hopeful. For a “She”.

Thanks for reading and indulging!

010721 – 201st Morning Pages

The 200th post (not really) since I started writing these morning pages. Nothing special to report though.

6:52 AM. 1st of July.

β–“β–“β–“β–“β–“β–“β–“β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘ 50% of the year is done.
The time’s flying so fast and is changing so many things that we aren’t even noticing! Guess that’s the thing with time. You know that it’s omnipresent, always on the move, and among other things, a great healer. You could either fight it by reminiscing about the time gone by or you could embrace it by rubbing shoulders and continuing to move on.

Wow so much philosophy first thing in the morning. Must include this in my quarterly update.

So, I thought today is the 200th post on Morning Pages. But when I went to check, I realized I have published for 201 days already! So today’s 202nd. I may have missed updating the numbers on one of these days.

Honestly, numbers dont matter. The thing is that the streak is now 200+ days long. I am very very impressed with myself. Never thought I’d be able to write so consistently for so long. Especially when I typically dont have anything specific to write. And come to think of it, it started as a way to get inspiration for #book2. That of course has taken a back seat with all the work. But I am glad that I am on it!

For the records, here’s the first post from Dec 11, 2020.

The other good thing to report is that yesterday I managed to avoid coffee even though I was at a Starbucks. And I ate in just a 2-hour slot (I did eat a lot but all of that was in a 2-hour window). Yay!

To get closer to where I want to be in life, I just need to add workouts to my routine. And may be stop going to Starbucks to spend all that money! Wait, lemme finish this fast. I need to reach Starbucks by 8 so that I can get things done – as always a lot on my plate πŸ˜€

I dont know what else to write. Will come back to it. Lemme use my electric toothbrush to some use πŸ˜€

Ok. I am at a Starbucks now.

I still don’t know what to write, to be honest. I mean I can write about the mile-long list of todo I have. Or I can talk about how I am having a nightmare with Tata Card and their service. I think Indian businesses take customers too lightly. In the last few days, I’ve had trouble with a credit card company, an insurance seller, and the brokerage that I use. All are in the financial services business and it plain sucks that I am taken for a ride like that.

It’s 9:11 and I need to get moving with work. The idea of being at a Starbucks and spend on expensive coffee is to get things done. And that’s what I am going to do after this call.

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 202!
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 1
  • #noCoffee – 1
  • #noCoke – 112
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

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 πŸ˜€

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 πŸ˜€
  • 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