Lessons from American Gangster

My thoughts and lessons from American Gangster. These are not in any order and are more reflections than lessons for myself and my team.

I saw American Gangster the other day. The film is on Amazon Prime Video in case someone is interested. Here are the ideas and lessons that I could take away from the film. These are not in any order and are more reflections than lessons for others. And no, this is not a review.

Oh, here’s the trailer…

So here are my lessons. These are not in any order.

A/ The loudest voice in the room is often the weakest.

This is very very common and oft-used. If you are in a conflict, the person that raises their volume first would often be the weakest one. And you can find a way to exploit the weakness.

Oh, please don’t mistake this for the loudest kid getting fed the first.

B/ In business, the basics are often the most important and yet the most ignored

These are trust, loyalty, long-term thinking, brand, honour, partnerships, conduct etc. While these are very very common words and are often thrown around in conversations, you rarely meet people that live by these.

With C4E, I want each person to follow these. Lemme write a line about each.

Trust. If you trust others, and others trust you, the cost and time needed to conduct business are reduced drastically. Even if you lose money, you shouldn’t stop trusting people.

Loyalty. Nothing worth building gets built if you don’t have a set of people loyal to you (or you are loyal to). And loyalty is used very very frivolously but at a deeper level, true loyalty, the kind you can die for, is very very rare. Even though I am not loyal to anyone or anything at that level, I am close. And that is enough!

Oh, and loyalty takes you far. Really far. In the film (and I have seen it in real life with numerous people), Frank had a meteoric rise because he was loyal to Bumpy for 17 years. Over the 17 years, Bumpy taught Frank things he knew and Frank would do things that Bumpy did. I can see this happening in my life as well. I am doing things that Suvi would do, Raj would do, Rajesh Sir would do.

Long-Term Thinking. I have spilt enough pixels on this one.

Partnerships. You need to know what you ought to work on and let the other person do what they are good at. There is no way you can do everything. For 39 years of my life, I thought I could do everything but I got nothing done. In the last two years, I have started to cede control and I have got done an insane amount of work!

Conduct. You may be rich, you may be poor. You may be privileged, you may not be. You may be smart, you may not be. But at no point does your conduct ought to be of an asshole’s. When you are about to lose your shit, it’s ok to take a deep breath. If someone on purpose does things that will fuck your head up, train yourself to not give a fuck. Operate from empathy. Be polite. If you are angry, either you will get killed or you will draw a wedge in between your relationship that will never ever heal.

C/ Your wealth should never be overtly visible.

Not that I am wealthy. Not that I have a lot going for me. But I know that I am now at a place where I am responsible for a tiny contribution to 10 homes. And that means I have this really heavy responsibility on my shoulders. And I need to ensure that I provide for those. And this means that I need to keep finding avenues of making money. And these would be created if the world sees me as a person they like and who can deliver. And often people are not really kind or ambivalent towards people who are flashy, overtly obnoxious, and all that. Plus, I am not the kind to anyway flaunt what I have. Yes, I like to eat at nice places (for service and not for the food), and travel in comfort (stay at star hotels and not motels) but none of that requires me to show off.

I will not hide it per se but I will not make overt claims about easy access and availability of money. And I definitely don’t need Chinchilla coats, Rolex watches, Birkenstock, Tumi, Ray Bans, Mercedes, Prada, et al (btw apart from the first two, I have wanted to buy EACH of the things listed here).

Oh from today on, I am dumping brands. Especially luxury or mass luxury. I will buy comfortable, long-lasting, value-for-money brands like Zudio, Decathlon, Ikea et al. The only exception would be computers and gadgets (these are the things that I use on a day-to-day basis to get things done and work). Actually, anything I need to spend on to make my work better, faster, more effective, easier etc etc, I will put in the money. But that’s that. And anything that I need for health (I recently bought a refrigerator, I will buy comfortable shoes, I will get a meal subscription etc).

So, the low profile may not be a bad idea. And yes, I know there are people that want fame and all that. Good for them. I hope they get it. But low profile it is for me!

D/ Brand

I don’t understand people who don’t understand the power of brands.

In one of the scenes, Frank says something like, I sell a product that’s twice as better than the competition and at half the price as the competition. And he has a distinct brand for the product he sells. At a point, he even gets into a tiff with one of the “distributors” when he fucks with Blue Magic.

If a gangster in America in the 70s could understand the power of the brand name, in the day and age we live in, we better do!

E/ Operating under the influence fucks you up!

One of the key reasons for Frank’s fall is the drug-induced actions of one of the flunkies. He makes a mistake that the cops capitalize on. And then all hell breaks loose. I am all for people needing intoxicants to “let loose” but it’s not for me. I am not much of a drinker anyway and starting today, I will quit whatever social consumption I engage in. Mgo-toto beverage from now on is Sparkling Water.

Oh, I am not trying to preach here. I would love to own a business that has alcohol, intoxicants, and parties at the core. But I would not engage in those. I would not partner with people that enjoy a drink or two. The ones that I am a partner with, I would try to get them to quit. And the ones I enter into new agreements with, I would ensure that they don’t give in.

The point is, like Frank believed, we don’t want to be swayed by the vices when we work.

Yeah, I am your regular uncle next door who likes to preach the importance of virtue. Sue me.


Guess this is it.

Of course, a lot of what they’ve shown in the film is fictionalized and things may not work like that in real life. But then it does not stop us from acquiring lessons. No?

So that!

If you’ve seen the film, lemme know what you think of it. What do you think are the lessons that you may share with people that work?

Over and out!

FAQs for LFWc3 (Long-Form Writing Cohort 3)

A quick FAQ about Long-Form Writing Cohort where people get together and help each other become better writers.

Hi! 

These are some frequently asked questions about our Long-Form-Writing-Cohort 3 (“LFWc3”). Should you have a question that is not listed here, please send us a tweet. Our handles are listed below. 

Regards,
https://twitter.com/joshi_hemant_
https://twitter.com/pradx
https://twitter.com/saurabh
#LFWc3

Let’s get started!

What is LFW?

LFW is an attempt to create a cohort of people that love to write long form. And like with all such cohorts, you better write if you are here. And when you write, you MUST write long-form. Pieces that are longer than 2000 words. 

The obsession with long-form is only and only to encourage us to build a writing habit, and give each other a goal that is a little tough and yet achievable (you know, just outside of our comfort zone). This is where people shine the most! And now, it is your time 🙂

What would we write about?

You can write about anything, really. As long as each piece has more than 2000 words. These could be articles, essays, blogs, books etc. 

Of course, you may write poetry, as long as each poem is part of a compilation that goes beyond 2000 words! Dr Shruti wrote a lot of poetry last time around and actually published a book

When do we begin? 

You start by filling out this form. This is your first step to showcasing your commitment to this.

We are gathering interest right now. Plan to start from the first weekend of Jan 2023. We would be together for the next 6 months, meeting each other each week. 

Who is this NOT for?

If you are…

  1. Unable to commit 4 hours a week for the next 6 months 
  2. Unable to commit to the time that we decide for each other. If we decide that we’d talk at 7, we will start at 7. Time is THE most important commodity! 
  3. New to writing. The cohort is best for people that have built a writing habit already and are looking for an accountability group to up their game. Think of this as an advanced-level writing class!

Time Commitment? 

You need to carve out 3-4 hours a week. Out of this, 2 hours for a weekly group call and another 2 for hour-long 1v1 calls with your two buddies. 

We hope to meet each other for the next 6 months, once a week. So essentially we are together for the next 6 months. 

Money?

The first two cohorts were free. We volunteered our time. 

This time around we are thinking of keeping a nominal fee to pay for running this cohort. In the ballpark of Rs. 1000 per person per month. Mind you, this is a ballpark. The actual number could be 500. Or could be 1500. Or even zero for that matter! 

Mind you, we would not take this home. We would use this money to ensure that the cohort runs smooth (paying volunteers, tools etc) 

PS: In case you are unable to pay this fee, we are happy to waive this on a case-to-case basis. 

How many participants? What’s a buddy?

We would have no more than 16 people in this cohort. Anything more than this, managing, accountability and other things become uncontrollable. 

Each member will have two “accountability buddies” and one from the organizing team. The idea is to keep you and your buddies on track! 

The buddies would be allocated on the basis of your shared interests, geographies (we want people to meet), writing motivations (film writers need to be buddies with each other) and general whims of SG ;P

When do we usually do meetings?

  1. The larger, group meeting would be on the weekends, post 7 PM IST. On Zoom. Or any other tool. So, if you have an active social life on the weekends, you may not be able to participate. 
  2. The other is between you and your buddies. You choose the time / tool. But you must be on a weekly cadence.  
  3. We communicate with a Discord group. Discord. Not Whatsapp. 
  4. Since we are a remote-first cohort, we want your camera to be on when we are meeting. If you are camera-shy or live in a bad network area or the camera is broken, request you to NOT be a part of the cohort. 
  5. We would encourage in-person meetings as well. This depends on various factors – people in the same city, time, local travel etc. 

Do we keep a specific objective in mind while participating in LFW?

Preferably yes. 

You could be wanting to write books, film scripts, short stories, and even academic writing! As long as the output is more than 2000 words. 

Because this allows you to stay on course. Otherwise, it becomes a generic room you go to, enjoy the banter and get out. We want people to be a tad serious about writing. Like they said in Fight Club – if you are here, you better fight. We want people to be the man in the arena. We want you to participate. And not just be a critic

What happened in the last LFW cohorts? 

In the first cohort, we failed. More on a different post, on a different day. 

In the second cohort, one of us wrote and published a book, and another wrote a couple of drafts of her book. I found friends that I would probably last a lifetime! 

What language can you write in? 

Any language but prefer English / Hindi so that more people can consume your work. 

Assuming that these are the two most popular ones. Open to more languages as long as there is one more person that can comprehend that language and give you feedback et al 

More questions? 

Send me a tweet. I am at https://twitter.com/saurabh.


That’s about it! 
Thank you for reading. 
Team LFWc3 
PS: LFWc3 is brought to you by Hemant, Pradeep, Saurabh, C4E, PPP and friends. Show these people some love 🙂 

Celebrating Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar

A short note on my love for the Aamir Khan, Ayesha Jhulka starrer, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. I talk about how it’s a lesson in filmmaking!

Poster from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar

If you are an Indian and you don’t know about this film, you must have lived under a rock. It probably is among the most iconic films of all time. While people dismiss it as a school / student rivalry film, I think the right category to slot it in is that of bildungsroman (aka coming-of-age film). It was after all about a boy, Sanjay Lal Sharma (aka Sanju) that had seen just the rosy parts of life and how he was shaken into growing up and standing up for his brother, father and community.

In terms of a standalone film, JJWS had everything going for it – a compelling story that never gets old, a plot with enough ups and downs to keep you hooked, almost perfect casting (with dreamy-eyed small-town kids to the English-speaking expensive-blazer-totting flamboyant privileged kids to the simpleton, the common folks that you’d find in any small town in India to others), music that instantly becomes an earworm, characters that you want to root for (you want Sanju to do well and you want Shekhar to suffer) and a climax that literally forces you to get on your feet and clap out loud!

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Even though the film is more than 30 years old and the last I saw it would have been a few years ago, the visuals are so fresh in my mind that I can recall the narrative with scary accuracy. I can reproduce shots as if I am staring at a photo grab from the film. I can relate to (and even empathise with) each action taken by each character in the film – even if the character existed in blank, white or grey. Back then when I was younger, I may not have been able to. But today I can.

I mean look at Ram Lal – the father of Ratan and Sanjay. By the day he is at the school and then whatever time is left, he runs Ram Lal’s cafe. While he holds no ambition of his own, his salvation is in providing for his two sons (one, the picture-perfect obedient and the other, picture-perfect petulant). He wants his son to win a bicycle race and come out on top as a champion. The real desire is not the success of his son but the chase of the glory of the days gone by and the satisfaction of having taken his revenge. He wants to live his life via his son. Even with his flaws, he makes personal sacrifices in the way he lives. He’s saving as much as he can and for that, he’s literally pinching pennies. If this is not how a father ought to be, I dont know what could one be. And despite the flaws, he is perfect and commands respect.

PS: Back then, I couldn’t identify with Ram Lal with as much nuance but thanks to SoG, I have been able to appreciate the limitation of us humans (in our ability to do things) and want of living the life you’ve wanted (and are unable to get) through the life of the ones around you. I understand the need of creating winners, even at a personal cost and the sacrifices you must make to even give these kids a shot at winning!

Look at Ratan. The elder brother. His sole reason for existence is to get his school and thus his father the glory they believed they deserve. He spends all his time, his entire life chasing that one dream. And just when he is almost there, he is left injured. To see the scenes unfold from the sidelines. The injury itself is a result of a freak accident triggered by a frivolous act by his yet-to-grow-up younger brother. And no, unlike the modern-day young people, he submits to fate and moves on. Unknown to him, he plays yet another important role in the film. Probably the most important role. That of the trigger, the inspiration, the reason for young Sanju to want to grow up.

Aamir Khan as Sanjay Lal Sharma aka Sanju

If Sanju became Sanjay Lal Sharma and lifted the trophy, it was not his hard work or dedication or anything. It was Ram Lal’s sacrifices and Ratan Lal’s inability. And no, I dont mean to take anything away from Sanjay. He has had his ups and downs but eventually delivers on his destiny.

Now Sanjay is a curious case. On one side he had his father, his brother, his sidekicks, and the never-leave-my-side love interest. On the other, he had a formidable adversary, tall odds stacked like a mountain and the weight of the monster of expectations on his back. He was bang in the middle and each time any of these moved, he was churned and polished. And oh boy, did he shine like a diamond?

What made the film even more special is those tiny moments that seem to mean nothing and yet added to the layers of the story. There is this scene when Shekhar and his flunkies are at Ram Lal’s Cafe and Ratan is forced to wait at them. There is this instance when Sanju is imagining Devika dancing on top of a car in her The-Woman-In-Red-ish dress. Anjali on the other hand is imaging herself when Sanju is air-kissing someone. Uff!

The music from the film is a tome in itself. An entire generation grew up proposing to their loved ones with Pehla Nasha. Yahan Ke Hum Sikandar made me want to be a part of a school of cool kids. Rooth Key Humse made me pine for a brother that I could be with (sorry SG2 :D). The track was used to break the monotony and showcase the growth of Sanju as a person. There were more tracks – each written, performed and shot as well as any other.

Since the film is from 30 years ago, I found the direction and camerawork dated. But the team got the art spot on. From the sets to the decor to the costume to even the side characters, everything was spot on. I mean look at this signboard for Ram Lal’s cafe.

Ram Lal’s Cafe

The green background and white, serifed text, in all caps is gorgeous. The apostrophe is missing. Maybe on purpose. The RC logo looks like something done in a small town. The blue and yellow shade is in contrast to the green board.

Look at those scarves that Anjali is using to tie her hair. Look at those simple tees and shirts that have their buttons open. The fence they are leaning on looks weathered and looks like something you would imagine at a cafe from the pre-Starbucks era! Each scene of the film seems to have been made with a lot of attention to detail. Exactly the kind of work I would want to do.

Let me talk about the story. You know how a film ought to follow a three acts structure where tension rises at each point. The protagonist needs to accomplish a hero’s journey. And all the while the story must be technically sound, it needs to keep people hooked. JJWS scores on all three counts. In fact, it does it so well that each incident can be plotted on the charts even by a novice writer like me!

In fact, as an aspiring filmmaker, I think this film deserves to be made into a mandatory study. As the film celebrates its 30th anniversary, I can only congratulate the filmmakers for a job done well and invite my younger friends to go see the film!

And as I end this, what do you think of the film? What are your favourite parts? What do you recall the most about it?

Lemme know!

071121 – Morning Pages

A quick note from how I spent yesterday. It was not the best days per se but I am inspired to make today a better one.

Morning! Straight to the point.

Here’s the journal!

  1. Emoticon: :). Even though I did not get a lot of things done, I was engaged and I was happy. I guess this is cos I met people and talked about work and life.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 1. I am better than zero. And less than 2 of yesterday. I focussed largely on things but I was unable to not context swtich.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I am able to find things that allow me to create opportunties for myself. This is something that has held be in good stead.
    2. I have access to people that allow me to engage in deep conversations about life and all. I love those. These conversations help me evolve into a better human. I am hoping. And this betterness allows me to help the ones around me do better.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. Work. Mr. Garg, you need to buck up, please! There’s a lot open on your plate.
    2. Work. I mean it.
    3. Work. Really.
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I am a superhero and I will save Mr. Garg from drowning into the pile of misery that could potentially fall on his head if he does not work.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. I met a client and talked to her about how her podcast can go further. I hope they action it.
    2. Decoding Draupadi took birth. Thanks, PS and CM.
    3. Had these amazing momos at Ladaki at Galleria. You must try em when you are there.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. I had carbs, late night coffee, wine and I dont know what all. Need to avoid these strictly. I wont be able to control today either – I have a lot to do and I need simulants. Sigh.
    2. While I was checking in the hotel, I lost my shit with the front desk staff. I was tired and all that. I shouldn’t have. #note2self.
  8. Quote for the day
    “Not giving up is the only way to get to where you want to be.” – Harshit

What do I want to add beyond the journal? Quick commentary.

In a broad sense, yesterday was a bad day. I had carbs, coffee, and wine. As a friend quipped, Gurgaon is making me into an alcoholic. So, I am glad this trip is ending soon.

The highlight has to be the epiphany that I am at a place in life where I cant do things by myself. I can only give gyaan and hope others would do things. Along with a few colleagues, I am trying to build up a new idea. On that, the only thing am doing is giving gyaan and I am loving it. The team may hate it but I am on a literal trip. I put in less than 5 minutes a day on it and I can see the ball rolling already. That’s the kind of thing I want to be doing. Guess it’s the age!

The other thing that I want to catalog is that I am no longer taking those copious notes that I was taking till before I left for the Base Camp. Guess I’ve been busy? And no, I dont like this. I dont like not taking notes. I dont want to miss out on things. I want my notes to help me remember things. I want to grab each opportunity. This being busy is great (I am thinking less and executing a lot) but I am not building my repertoire. I need to get back to spending time with my notes / dreams / ideas etc.

Finally, the highlight was that I had a fascinating conversation yesterday with someone about life, age, death, and meaning. I wish I could reproduce it here. In one line, the other person thought I was afraid of dying (I was telling her about my will and my wanting to die the richest man in the world and my Memento Mori wallpaper) and I told her that I am afraid of the uncertainty of the afterlife (if there is one) but I know it is an inevitable end that all of us will have to reach at some point in time. And I told her that death inspires me and tells me that my time is limited and I need to act. Actually must write more on this. Let’s see when I get to do this. Adding to #toWrite list.

Ok enough for the day. Need to get going. Need to crunch a week-long worth of things into one day. Let’s see how I do this. May the force be with me. 

As I end this, here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0. Lol!
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 4. Yay!
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 31
  • Money spent – 2999
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 31
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0.
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 31

061121 – Morning Pages

A new format of doing these morning pages. Start with journal, add some commentary. And then end with the trackers. What do you think?

7:13. Slept at 4 something. Blame it on all the coffee I had. The good part is that I ate very little and I did not have Diet Coke even though it was a stressful day. So, pat on the back for that.

In terms of the update, I want to experiment with doing just the journal and see what I write. And once I am done with it, if there are things that I want to add onto, will add. And then I will add the trackers. Lemme know what you think of this new format. If these are still interesting for you to read? I mean I am a random guy on the internet. Would you want to read the musings in such an open manner? Is living in public cool?

Anyhow. Here’s the journal!

  1. Emoticon: :|. I was not happy per se. But I wasn’t sad either. So that.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 2. I think I did ok yesterday. I focused on one task at a time and I did serial multitasking. If I can amp it up, I will be ok. So +1, Mr. Garg.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I can find a comfortable bed most times I want to. This is a big big blessing. Grateful for that.
    2. I am grateful that I have access to enough water, at a time I want, in a shape I want. And I love sipping onto it. As I am writing this, I am sipping on to warm water.
    3. I can choose how I want to spend my time. More or less. I mean right now, I would like to be with my parents but work demands that I spend time away from them. But within that, I can choose my time and all that. So that.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. I have a lot of important things open. If I can work on and close those, it would be awesome. These things affect my work, my present and my future. All at the same time. It would be great if I could get those things done.
    2. If I can make do with OMAD, nothing like it. And if not that, I need to eat less. And eat well. You know, good things – no sugar, no carbs, no oil etc.
    3. If I could avoid giving into temptations (of any kind, that appeal to any of our senses), it would be awesome.
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I can consistently create amazing opportunities for myself and my loved ones.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. I could avoid eating kachra. Even though I had the opportunity. And access. And on top. whatever I ate was healthy. I mean I am assuming it was healthy. And I avoided Diet Coke. I did have couple of coffees but that’s ok. I will reduce that also as we get along.
    2. I tried to and successfully avoided context switching. It felt great to actually see things happen. With context switching, I open a lot of threads but I have a tough time closing em. If I can make this a recurring habit, I think I would be happier. So, more of it today.
    3. The cab ride from home to Gurgaon was fabulous. Even though it was dangerous, I loved the speed, the control of the cabbie and the wind in my (non-existent) hair. I just wish I was the one driving. I miss driving. Must get a car soon. #note2self. No, not before I take care of the debt.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. If I could have avoided coffee, it would have been fab. Today as well, I may not able to avoid. I have a meeting that I need to be at where I will be forced to have coffee.
    2. I was up till 3ish. If I could sleep on time, it would have better. I know sleep is important for functioning but I was unable to. Guess I will have to avoid coffee.
    3. If I could end the day with a dinner with someone, anyone, it would have been better. I like the idea of meeting people face to face and I feel off their energy. I ended the day on the bed staring at my phone. Rather I should have been sitting across a table and chatting about plans to take over the world 😀
  8. Quote for the day
    “Leave people better than you found them.” – Anon

What do I want to add beyond the journal?

I would have liked to talk more about context switching. But that’s a subject for another post altogether. Which knowing me, would never happen ;P

Also, the sections in the journal are overlapping. I need to find a better way of doing it. May be I will talk to SM from whom I literally copied this (see this thread) and I will ask him for his thoughts on the overlap. Let’ see.

So, as I end this, here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 3
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 30
  • Money spent – 3654
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 30
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0.
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 30

051121 – Morning Pages

The the day after Diwali, here are some firecrackers from Will Smith!

8:09. Home.

I Hope Diwali was great for everyone. Here’s to new beginnings and may each of you get what you wish for. In case you know me and trust me, send me your Diwali pics? You would have my number!

So in terms of what to write, for some reason, I am blank af. Let’s see what I come up with in the next few minutes. Lemme dump the things that are at the top of my head.

  1. am starting the lo-carb life today. It would be tough to manage it with all the travel and stress and all that. But I will. 
  2. I am thinking where to go live after 15th Nov. I want to not live at home and yet I want to be close to Delhi. At least till the 10th of Dec. I am leaning towards Gurgaon. Let’s see.
  3. Post the 10th of Dec, I will most probably be in Mumbai for a week or so. Thing is, I am driving to Goa from Mumbai on 21st or something. So I need to be around Mumbai. Lets see. May be Pune.
  4. There’s a lot of work open at my plate. Since I dont have a lot of pressing client calls today, I will probably focus on those and get those done.

While listening to music, Youtube played this Will Smith video where he’s talking about his upcoming book, Will. See the video.

Fuck the guy’s insane!

I have to have to have meet him someday. Universe, please make my dream come true? Not sure what I would do when I meet him, though! 

Of course, the cynic in me says that it’s all coordinated marketing efforts. I mean three-four things all at the same time – King Richard, Welcome to Earth, Best Shape of my life. And now, Will. All in Nov-Dec! All at the same time!

But the dreamer in me says, why not? The guy has what it takes to release all these at the same time! 

And here’s a quote. From Will. I may have used this earlier. “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on a treadmill together, there’s two things – you are getting off first. Or I am gonna die. It’s really that simple.” 

See it here.

That’s about it for the day I guess. More tomorrow.

Here’s the journal!

  1. Emoticon: :|. Even though it was Diwali, I am still unable to find what would make me happy.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 1. I think I was a tad better. I did not multitask while doing whatever little I did. I kept my phone on the side for the large part of the day.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I have enough water to drink when I want to.
    2. There is enough potential work on my plate that makes me want to get up everyday.
    3. I stumble onto people like Will Smith that by their thoughts (at least) are very very inspiring.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. If I can finish pending work, it would be great. To do so, I need to go sit at some Starbucks. Let’s see which one I end up going to. Most probably, somewhere in Gurgaon. There’s a lot open 😐
    2. I am so pumped looking at and reading about Will Smith. I hope all that pump translates into action!
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I will do what I have set out to. Not eat carbs. OMAD. Nothing that fucks my body. I need to be fit af.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. Diwali! My entire family was together. That was amazing!
    2. I went for a walk around my house home. It was probably a 500-meter one but it was great to have my limbs move again. I realised how much I love walking. I wish where I live was more walkable.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. I did not do any work. Even though I had the time, I did not touch work. I should’ve.
    2. I would have got some 100 messages about Diwali. I did not know how to respond to those. I am weird like that. I dont know how to be festive. This is the reason I escape on my birthday. I make a big deal out of it. For no reason.
  8. Quote for the day
    See above…

And here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 2
  • #noCoffee – 2
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 29
  • Money spent – 0. Was home and did not spend a single rupee. Yay!
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 29
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0.
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 29

041121 – Morning Pages

Here’s a morning pages on Diwali.

8:48. Home.

I have started to do a new thing. Rather than the morning pages on this blog, I start my day by writing an email to Team SG. And then I copy-paste it here and redact some parts of it that I want to keep within my team. So while I still live in public, I get even more honest than I can be on a public blog. In fact, I want to reach a point in life where I am able to open my emails, WA chats, and conversations to the world and yet sleep in peace. I know I am far from that but I hope I am there someday.

So, yesterday was a blur. I dont even know where the day went. I did nothing significant or special. I dont know what it was but I was literally a zombie. I, as they say, sleepwalked thru the day. I slept at like 9. And then I woke up at 8ish. 11 hours. For someone like me, if I sleep more than 6 hours, I get mindfucked. So there.

Anyhow, Today’s Diwali. Happy Diwali to each of you!

Growing up, Diwali was an important festival. For two reasons. One, each Diwali, I would come back home to my parents from wherever I was. Most times it’s been easy. At least since 2010, the work I do allows me to control how I spend time around these large festivals. Super grateful for that. Two, I’ve for some reason treated it as the beginning of the new year. Not sure if it’s true. But it has stayed with me even though I have stopped identifying myself as a Hindu. So, to date, I consider this as a new beginning and I try and start planning the next year with all the gusto that one can imagine. 

This year is no different. I am home. Yay! And I have started to think about what I’d do #in2022. I just realized that I can type started with just the left hand!

Here are the top three things that I want to do #in2022. These are in order of priority.

  1. Get debt-free. I will not commit to anything that requires substantial money till I can pay off my debt. I will continue to take smaller shots and make tiny investments (these are the ones that create opportunities for me) but I will pay back the loan by end of 2022. I cant live with the stress that I have people that I owe money to. 
  2. Write book2. I have been dreaming about it since 2013-14. I need to write it. I know what I write may not make a lot of noise but I have to have to have to write. It’s something that gives me my identity. Everything else, every other attempt at getting an identity has failed. This is the only one that I think I have left. 
  3. Get fit. I hate the days when I am unwell. Like yesterday. From today on, I am getting mindful about what I put in my system. I am not eating carbs. From tomorrow. Today is the last day of carbs. Ok. Lo-carbs. I cant remove carbs altogether. And I will get regular with yoga at least. I can’t work out and I can’t run. So, yoga! As they say, yoga se hoga! If I have to wake up early for that, I shall. 

Apart from these three, I have a million things that I want to do. I will talk about those as I get along. Funny, money doesn’t feature anywhere in this list. Let’s see when I get to that. 

And here’s a large decision. This somehow dawned onto me as I was waking up. That I would write book2 in public. From 15th November onward, I will replace morning pages with text for book2. And try and complete it by end of this year.

I will seek help from the community and I will post updates on Twitter and Instagram and all that. I will share chunks of unwritten texts. I will talk loudly about my process. And I will seek support and inputs from people on how the book is shaped. Even if the book becomes stale and no one buys it, I will tom-tom about it.

The morning pages would be reduced to the journal bit. Let’s see how the experiment goes.

That’s it for the day.

As I end this post, here’s wishing each one of you a very happy Diwali. I hope the year ahead is full of love, luck, happiness, and abundance. For you, your families, your loved ones, and everyone around you. May each of you gets everything you seek. And if there’s anything I can do to push your agenda ahead, please please do let me know. 

And here’s the song of the day – Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Here…

And here’s the journal!

  1. Emoticon: :(. I have no recollection of the day apart from one or two calls. Was like a zombie!
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 0. I tried sitting down for a session of Headspace but was interrupted.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I was at home and I could sleep in peace. On a day when I wanted to sleep and rest it out.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. Letter to bade log. I need to send it today. Most of it is ready. Today is as good a day to send as any.
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I have what it takes to create opportunties for people around me.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. I could sleep ok, on a day I need to sleep. That was amazing.
    2. I got an opportunity to write for a film. I may not be able to get it but at least I had an opportunity. That in itself is great. Need to capitalise more on these.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. If I did not feel so sleepy throughout the day, it would have been better.
  8. Quote for the day
    “Luck = Opportunity X Preparation”

Here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 1
  • #noCoffee – 1
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 28
  • Money spent – 3856
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 28
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0. I sat down yesterday but I was unable to.
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 28

031121 – Morning Pages

I talk about festivals and unreasonable people moving the world and making us humans!

7:49. So, the Diwali cheer is in the air. There is lights all around and it’s a fabulous scene! I am in Gurgaon and the lights are brilliant. To a point that I would have loved to just drive around looking at the gorgeousness that us humans are capable of creating. Of course, one may argue that anything we create would never be as gorgeous as what Mother Nature planned so effortlessly. But still. It was gorgeous to walk around. 

Anyhow. I like when the world outside is decked up like that. I wish the decking up was a year-long affair. Well, not really. Cos if it was decked up all year long, people wouldn’t feel special about the festivals. You know, how you respect and love things and are attracted to the ones that are rare? That! 

Thing is, to me, the meaning of festivals has changed over the years. It was mostly religious when I was young. And then it became an opportunity to meet friends and family and spend time together. Then it became a ritual – you know, a thing in a year that I would do with my family. Something that I know my parents would look up to. I mean I am assuming they looked forward to it. Not sure if they did 😀 Anyhow, Now it has become a time when everyone is on a break and I can use that downtime to think more and do more. I am sure in another few years it would become an occasion to take breaks!

The point is, festivals are lit! And here’s a film that I love AF. Love Actually. It’s a film about love and belonging and seperation and togetherness. Around Christmas, New Year etc. Here’s a song from the film. See it. You know, I often see this and pine to have a love thingy like one of these people. Lol. 

Moving on. 

The highlight of yesterday was that I had this epiphany about being an unreasonable person. So the people I am working on an event with, the owner of that agency is the most polite, humble, good, kind, AND the most unreasonable man ever. 

Let me about his unreasonableness. He is the kinds that will go promise the world to the world. And then deliver. Despite all odds. Anjum Sir said in a class once, “with you, without you or in spite of you”. Anna is like that. If a client wants it, Anna delivers. Inspite of all odds. What’s amazing is not just his ability to deliver things but the fact that he’s got a team of people that can move the mountains to ensure that whatever Anna has committed is done. Come what may. 

That is the thing. Unreasonable man. A team that is dying to deliver what the unreasonable man wants. Each of you needs to become unreasonable in your expectations. Each of you needs to find people that you will give an arm and a leg to deliver what you want. And not in an authoritative, abusive, bossy way. But in a way that everyone is aligned to deliver on that. Everyone understands that the magician, the unreasonable is being that not because he is like that but the unreasonableness helps me create opportunities, reputation, and a virtuous circle that elevates everyone! 

So that. Here’s a question. Who is the most unreasonable person that you know of? Tell me more about him / her. 

And here’s the journal!

  1. Emoticon: :). Was an ok day. I juggled multiple things at work. I managed them quite ok, I guess. I went out for a dinner with some colleagues I am on a project with. Met a friend for wine and all. In all, a nice day. Could do with more such days.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 0. I did a 10-minute session of Headspace but I am still not being in the zone.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. People generally tend to like me, trust me. I am grateful that I give out such vibes.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. Work :D. I have a few things open at work and today most clients will not be working. So I will have some peace with it.
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I am an unreasonbale man and I take shots that are out of my league. And once in a while, I hit those. And it’s pretty amazing when that happens.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    Can’t think of anything specific. It was in general a good day!
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. I got late when I had to meet a friend. I should have been on time. I hate it when I am late.
  8. Quote for the day
    “It is the unreasonable man that is responsible for all the progress we’ve made as humans.”

Here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 27
  • Money spent – 4148
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 27
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 27

021121 – Morning Pages

Morning Pages on Nov the 2nd, the birthday of Shahrukh Khan.

7:56.

Today is Shahrukh Khan’s birthday. I am not sure of his acting or whatever but I know that he’s the guy that comes to my head when I think of love stories coming to life. When I think of hard work leading to success. When I think of the conduct of an individual inspiring generations to come. When I think of possibilities. When I think of ambition. When I think of how life ought to be.

And I think of him everytime I have to ask a girl out. Everytime I have a heartbreak. Everytime I need to think of a sad song. Everytime I meet someone called Kiran. Everytime I even spread my arms.

And it’s just not me. It is probably everyone in my generation. And the one after me. And the one after me. That, ladies and gents, is SRK for me. On his birthday, all I can say is, thank you, Shahrukh Khan. I am a tad better because of you.

Ok. Coming onto morning pages, the real one. Here’s a recap of the day. Yesterday was mostly ok. Did a lot of work, pitched for new work, sent some invoices for work done in the last few months, created opportunities for some people, spoke to a friend who’s getting married, met another one for dinner. In all, had a good time. Today will be a tad stressful. I am hoping I can find a way out but let’s see.

So this is about it for the day. And here’s the journal.

  1. Emoticon: :). Was ok yesterday. I think I have been able to make peace with how things are around me.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 0.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. Even with so many things around me to juggle, I am able to manage my time in a way that I want to.
    2. I love the tastelessness of water! I love to sip on it. And I am grateful that I can have enough and more of it.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. Like I said, I have way too many things to juggle today. Some of those are overlapping. And the ones that are overlapping are the kinds that need urgent attention and are demanding. If I can manage those well, I would be ok.
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I am able to manage all the stress without affecting the moods of people around me. I am good like that.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. PS is back at work after her break. She’s one of those people that I wished I had met earlier in life. Everytime I speak to her, I find someone who I can trust, someone I know will have my back, someone I’d like to work with for the rest of my life.
    2. Met a prospective client. I loved talking to him. As always, I realised that I love it when I am talking to new people. I feed off the energy of others. Need to make a structured thing around it!
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. As always, if I could eat less, it would have been nice. I almost did not eat till about 1 and then I threw my hat in the ring.
    2. At work, I was rude to a colleague. I shouldn’t have been. I apologised but I need to control these bursts.
  8. Quote for the day
    “Two people are always right. The one that says he can. And the one that says he can’t”

Here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 26
  • Money spent –
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 26
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 26