210421 – Meditations

A confession that I am experiencing what Adam Grant calls “dulling of delight or the dwindling of drive”

6:30 AM.
Been up for quite some time. Was pottering around.

I now wake up at 6 without an alarm. Even if I sleep at 1ish like the case was yesterday. Of all the days recently that I have felt listless, lonely, confused, scared, yesterday was probably the toughest. I just couldn’t find the peace to sleep. I am not the kind to get fazed by things happening around me but yesterday was bad. I don’t know what triggered me. And yes, I walked 10K steps. I climbed 8 flights. I did 10 Surya Namaskars in the morning. On each leg. I ate clean. No snacks. No Diet Coke. I don’t consume drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. Oh, I did eat a lo-carb chocolate mousse that I am sure uses some alternative to Sugar. And yet I was in this weird zone where nothing seemed to make sense. For a change, I was left questioning the meaning of life. No, I did not find the meaning. Or the answer to the misery shrouding us right now.

I don’t recall a lot of things that I thought about. I think it’s like a bad dream that I want to forget. What I do remember is that I couldn’t sleep. In fact, sleep has been my superpower. Even when I’ve faced my biggest challenges, I’ve slept peacefully. I mean, I am a light sleeper and I sleep fitfully but I am rested more or less. Yesterday I couldn’t get sleep. No, the phone was away. It was not even charged. It was a dark room. Reasonably cold (as much as a tired AC can make the room cold). And yet I could not sleep.

But then I did drift at some point. It was past 1 for sure cos I remember a friend wanted help and it was some 12:30 or something. It was 12:50. I had called her before battery died. I just checked.

So yeah. That.

Apart from that, it was a regular day with a million calls and a billion emails and all that. But the night, last night was tough. I need to find a way out. I don’t know what could help. I read this recent piece by Adam Grant. He puts a word to my (and other’s) misery. Languishing.

I am experiencing, what he says, “dulling of delight or the dwindling of drive” and a possible antidote could be a project that stretches my boundaries and gets me in the flow frequently, and gives me a sense of progress.

Now, the job at hand is to identify that! Let’s see. Will report in the next few days. Some options could be…

  • Killer Boogie ;P
  • Code – build an app from scratch? I used to be good at code and I would often get in the flow when I did that.
  • Write (I consider writing regular work and thus I don’t want to put a separate tag to it).
  • Fitness. It’s been my anathema. I have had some start at it with a two-day streak of Surya Namaskars. Today would be third.

If you know me, do tell me what you think I could pick

Before I end this piece, I am thinking if I am finding it tough to continue, what about other people that are not as indifferent as I am about life and misery and fuckeries? Must help them in some way. #note2self

So that. Here’s the streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 129
  • #aPicADay – 110
  • 10K steps a day – 1!
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 42
  • #noCoke – 42
  • 10 mins of meditation – 7
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 6
  • Surya Namaskar – 2 (added today. Will track from now on)

This tracker now has 11 things on it. At this rate, I would track more than I would do! Lol!

Fuck, getting the mojo back.
Is it writing?
Is it the hope of a better life?
Or is it this video from the film Dangal that I saw to start the day?
See here…

Chalo, onto original work.

Day 7.

Yesterday, I added a few characters. I tried to find the conflict in Roshan’s life. I added a reluctafcnt love internest. Outside of this page, while walking, I saw a refresher on Hero’s Journey. I felt that my story has nothing so far. Which is true.

So, to push things forward, I think I will think/write about the plot in general. You know, freewriting. It’s 7:32. I will write till 8:15 or so. Need to be working from 9 onward and need 45 mins for yoga, potty, shower, etc.

Here we go.

[START]

So Roshan’s normal world is that of a happy-go-lucky, cheerful guy. The film could open on his hosting an event – he’s after all an MC and stand-up as well. I am thinking of Parijat as I create Roshan (the only stand-up I know). The opening scene must make Roshan likable. Right from the start. So when he gets to know that he has 14 days to live, the audience must gasp as well. Need to establish his charm, his mastery over this world. And then showcase the normal life.

The call to adventure could the death sentence. No, wait. That is not the adventure. That’s a crisis that he’s going to face while he works on the adventure. So, I need a part that’s his adventure. Could be a property dispute with his cousins. Could be COVID. Could be Cholera. Could be someone wanting to attack his family’s name. I need to work on this for sure. I don’t have this!

His moral dilemma about his limited time and all that he could do (ensure that his mother is safe and happy after he is gone, put his affairs in order etc) has to take the back seat. This would provide the conflict and will make his choose one over other eventually. This is what would probably divide the audience.

Refusal and the mentor could be the doctor. In fact the adventure could be something that relies on the expertise of a doctor. The mentor could be the mother as well.

The threshold is crossed when he embraces that he is at the point of no return. He is anyway going to die in 14 days. But while he is alive (and fading in faculty – he can’t just pop-off), he has to accept his mortality and jump onto the other side and become the savior. Of course, he has to fail to a point that he realizes that he needs the help of a mentor or something to battle it out.

Team, tests, etc. are simple. Need to develop sidekicks that assist him on the task. And things that stop him from reaching the place with the magic potion.

Innermost cave / apotheosis. This is where he seems to have lost everything in the battle. As a result of his own actions. This is when he would accept that he may die before he resolves the issue at hand. He should almost die. His medical condition must make it impossible for him to continue. But he will prevail.

Wait. I am only listing the steps of the Hero’s Journey. I am not adding anything to the story or pushing it.

Boon. This is where he would get the weapon needed to slay his monsters and

Not sure if I am well-read enough about the refusal to return but once he has mastered t his world, his “refusal” could be the want to live in the new world that he has created. The refusal to die. The grief that he had overcome when he set on this mission. Because he knew he was going to die. Now, he may want to live. Which is literally impossible. By this time, we should be on the 12th day or something.

Master of two worlds. This is when he eventually dies. People celebrate his death. Stories are written about the sacrifice he’s had to make along the way. Becomes a role model. This could be the thing that he wanted to become when he was alive but he gets his after his life. In the beginning, I can add a part where he declares to his mother that one day the entire world would thank him for what he’s done. His entire world is all of Indapur. Like Mohan’s world was limited to Charanpur. Roshan’s actions have to impact Indapur irreversibly. That is what he would be remembered for. In the story. And outside.

So that.

Ok, now I know the gaps (the central conflict, the personal conflict and more).

[END]

[NOTES / THOUGHTS]

  1. I am thinking, if the mother accepts Roshan’s terminal state, it would be too easy for Roshan. I must make it difficult for Roshan to communicate this to his mother. He will prepare her for his death but it has to be gradual. This is where he would need allies. May be Diksha gets to know by accident and Roshan leans on her to get the message across to the mother.
  2. The death sentence is the ticking timebomb.
  3. Can he become a killer or something of the characters in the village that are a pain in the ass? You know, imagine Sholay but only with Jai and Veeru about to die. They know they are gonna be dead. They are fearless. This taking of law in the hand could split the audience.
  4. There could be a mystery that all these problematic people in the village are dying. And they pin the blame on Roshan. And they can’t find evidence. And Roshan is not the one who’s doing it! He in fact is told that if he doesn’t find who’s the one murdering, his mother would get killed. Sounds interesting.
  5. I still need a backdrop. Draught? Drugs? Crime? Dispute? Religion? What else could he want to fix? What else may need fixing?

***

#notetoself – Continuing point 3 from above, if I know that I would die in 14 days, I get fearless and do things that I thought were impossible. I know that I would be dead in about 40 years (I hope I have longer!) and yet I am scared of a lot of things! Need to change this. This is exactly what Steve Jobs said!

So yeah.
That’s it for the day.
Need to find the flow thing.
Over and out.

200421 – Meditations

Quick post on how things are with me in probably the toughest times we’ve seen as a race. And an attempt at pushing the story forward.

6:04. I just woke up. A minute ago. Without an alarm. The room was too hot. The AC conked off. And so did the phone. Or maybe it’s the charging cable. I will get to know by the time I end this post. I am trying to charge it with another wireless charger I have. Ok, the cable is the problem.

It’s funny how mundane like is, on a day-to-day basis. You plan for grand things, the ones that can change the world and you struggle with basics like devices, tools, etc give you a hard time. Life has its ways.

It was a terribly busy day yesterday. Way too many meetings and calls. To a point that I ate while I was on a call. I had to pee and I had to put 11 people on hold to do that. Which is ok. I don’t mind this at all. I like the idea of spending my time on things other than mindless consumption of all the content floating around on the internet.

But the good part is that I managed about 9000 steps towards the end of the day. I went a million times around the cramped space around my building. Thanks to the calls that allowed me to not get bored. I think I will schedule all the calls that I can control at that time so that I can walk and not get bored.

So, what happened yesterday? And what do I want to log-in here?

  1. This
  2. More and more people are moving to Goa. This means they are finding better internet and phone connectivity. And thus the Goa post needs to be updated. Done.
  3. A very very good friend was found positive. This is one of those people I care for. Damn. Hope he recovers fast.
  4. I’ve decided to stay away from any negative news of any kind. Even if it’s supposed to be funny. Including jokes, WhatsApp, tweets, and others that have been going around. I am not even hanging out on Instagram anymore. There’s way too much negativity masked as comments and critiques. If I endorse something, they would add to your life and not take things away. I had to log in about the friend (point 3) but that’s that. I don’t plan to delve any further into it. Need to practice equanimity. You know, this too shall pass.
  5. Believe it or not. I did 8 rounds of Surya Namaskar yesterday. I followed this video. I was dead by the 4th. Wanted to quit by the 6th. But persisted. I plan to do 8 more today. At least. I will see if I can push myself to do 10. The lofty goal is to be able to do 100. I don’t know how I would get the time out but let’s see.
  6. Last two days, I’ve been using Headspace on a computer (and not on a phone). This again is better. Cos I switch off phone when I do and thus there are no distractions.

Plan for the day?
Lol. Calls. What else.

Here’s the streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 128
  • #aPicADay – 109 the quality of photos is going down everything. There’s nothing to click in the tiny place I have access to 🙁
  • 10K steps a day –0.
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 41
  • #noCoke – 41
  • 10 mins of meditation – 6
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 5

On to the original work. Day 6.
Yesterday I was at a point where Roshan has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and he will be dead in 14 days. He tells his mother about it. I did not write it entirely. But I did manage a part of the conversation. I had identified a few questions and pointers. I needed to find out other characters. I need a larger battle as the backdrop. And I need to generally find out what would Roshan do once he knows that he was going to die in 14 days.

Lemme introduce Roshan’s love interest.

[START]

Diksha’s family was as old as Roshan’s was. And had the same lineage. Her’s was the lineage of teachers and had the distinction of teaching even Shivaji for a brief period. She had continued to the tradition and now ran the only private school in Indapur. Like Roshan’s, she also had numerous cousins in the town and most of them were teachers at various schools, including some at her school.

Like any two old families in a tiny town, the two families knew of each other. Many people had married within each other. The relationships were more or less cordial. However, there was no way Diksha and Roshan would cross paths. They had contrasting worlds and world views. Diksha was a lot more serious and had no serious ambitions. As long as her students were happy, she was ok. Roshan on the other hand planned to move beyond to at least Mumbai in search of his dreams. The challenge was, he did not have a dream. Yet. He remained in search of opportunities.

The only time they spot meet each other during the day would be when Roshan would walk back from the temple with his mother. It was around the same time Diksha would finish her work and on the way back stop at the temple for a bit. She did she Roshan as an obedient, respectful person that took extra care of his mother. And that was that. Beyond that, she had no interest in his physique or the flurry of jokes that he seems to have handy all the time.

Neither was Roshan interested in Diksha. She was, what they call, a simpleton. A woman next door with nothing special to write home about. Probably boring as well. Plus Roshan had seen her grow alongside. The large families would meet often on various occasions and since they were both from the only two illustrious ones, they always had special status reserved for them. Most times, these interactions would happen at their respective homes. They weren’t anything like the glorious ones of the past, with each successive generation, the patch of land that they could lay claim to would get smaller and smaller. Most times these splits would be amicable. At such places, pragmatism took over the need to argue.

Except when Roshan’s family got dealt an unfair hand. Roshan’s father was the younger son and thus when the split had to be done, he was left out with parcels of land that none of his elder brothers wanted. He was content with what he was handed over. Pritha had a large part in Kishore’s decision to take what was given to him. They were happy that they got a house to live in, a gala next to the temple where his Kishore could start a business, and a barren patch further beyond the town. This is where Roshan would go on to establish his akhada.

This was clearly unfair as this was not even 5% of the total fortune that Roshan’s family should’ve inherited. If not for Diksha’s grandfather, Kishore wouldn’t have got even this much. His elder brother, Dinesh believed that as the younger brother, Kishore had no claim over any inheritance and must live on the alms. If not for the sense pounded in to his head, he would have probably got his henchmen to do the same. In fact, even now Roshan and Darpan, the two cousins would often spar.

Now Darpan was unlike his father. He believed that whatever his father gave away to Roshan’s family, he still had the rightful claim over that. But then he was a reasonable man. To a point that when the elders started talking about getting him and Diksha married, the pragmatic Diskha had no opposition to the match.

[END]

[NOTES]

Nah. Did not flow. I couldn’t think of a lot. Need to do better. Experienced deja vu while writing this! Woah! After a long time!

Also, need to think on the following…

  1. How to make Roshan likable?
  2. Can I reveal Roshan’s actions at the very end of the film? You know, he did all these because he was terminal? Similar to Sweet November.
  3. This Diksha – Roshan escapade is not happening. Seems forced. May be it’s Diksha’s pain that Roshan is trying to solve? May be Diksha knows that Roshan is terminal and is empathetic? May be she’s a doctor herself? May be she doesn’t know that he was going to die?

I just realised that I think FAR better when I am writing. Or when I am talking to others. #epiphany

Over and out!
See you guys tomorrow.

190421 – Meditations

Yet another rant. Damn this COVID crisis. It’s making me dystopian and think of dark things only. Read at peril.

6:19. Woke a while ago. Did not feel like sitting on the computer. This was new. Too much in my head. Decided to take matters of my health in my hand, despite the COVID scare and hernia that seems to be back in full force. I will start with OMAD today. Plan to get onto the Yoga bandwagon all over again. Let’s see if I can manage these things.

There are quite a few other things that I need to think about – more on those on the echochamber. Quick bullets…

1/ Need to find a better house pronto. My 6-month lock-in expires in May. I am less than 2 weeks away from that. I will give the notice and get going. Even if I have to be homeless and sleep on the floors of friends’ houses, I will. But then with the lockdown, homelessness may not be a good idea. Will think and decide on this. Or I will get a grand fancy house with all the bells and whistles. Lol. Wishful thinking.

2/ Need to stop trying too hard with relationships. The ones that would want to stay, will stay. The ones that will want to move on, will eventually move on, even if I tried hard. So, need to stop chasing.

3/ Need to streamline work. Way too many tiny things are taking too much time. You know, Pareto. But I must say, I am glad that I have work in this day and age.

4/ Need to stop whiling time on social media. I do want to develop a personal brand that attracts opportunities. But the unintended side-effect of that is that the perfect lives of others is leaving me with incredible FOMO. To a point that it is digressing me from my ambitions of impacting the world and inspiring others and all that.

5/ Need to get my sanity back. COVID is wreaking havoc all around me. To a point that family and close friends are suffering. These are the people that I actually care about. The ones that I want to keep close. The ones that I exist for.

Of course, my EQ and pain-avoidance behavior is making it impossible for me to handle the crisis. I am unable to carry conversations that heal them. In a first, I am unable to even be that man behind the scenes that would make things happen. It is not helping how I live.

Every time I open WhatsApp (which I have to, all day long – most of the work happens there), I am saddened. Either someone close is suffering. Or someone closer needs a shoulder that I am unable to give. I am not programmed for it. I can try and change but what if it’s at the cost of my own survival? I think more than their suffering, what saddles me is the guilt about my inability to help. I am not sure how to reconcile with it. The escapist in me wants to get away from all this. To a far away land where I don’t get to hear about any of these things. But then poor people like me can’t. Lol. Poor. This is being typed on an expensive laptop from an expensive place to live! It just plain sucks. See the conundrum that I am in?

Anyhow. Every time I open the Internet, I see the suffering of the world at large. I see the apathy of policymakers, government, politicians, and people in general. It fucks the head even more. I’ve never seen this much helplessness and this much lack of avenues to seek help.

6/ As my escape mechanism, in the past, I have had significant others to lean on. Now, I find myself alone. While I was thinking about the words to write this, a picture popped into my head. Imagine Mahabharata. The battle is raging at its most ferocity. You are one of those lucky soldiers that is yet to be injured.

You take a walk on the battlefield in the evening. You see dead bodies of people you’ve known all your life strewn around you. They had it easy. They died. Then you see others that have been decapitated and left there to die. They are no use in the battle after all. They cry to you for help. You decide to help one of those. But if you helped one person, you’d lose a portion of your blood. So, to be of help to others, you need to sort of slash yourself and bleed. At this rate, before that walk is done, you’d probably die yourself.

Which is ok. Death is an inevitability.

What is tough is for him to explain this to ones that he sees suffering on the battlefield and has decided to not extend help. The one dying on the battlefield cant comprehend this behaviour. Of course, he wont. At this time, he would see his pain more. And he cant see any apparant scars on you. He sees you as a brother, a cousin, a friend, someone that he’s spent all his life with. He thinks if you were the one on the field dying, he would have given his life to help you. And here you are. Walking over them nonchalantly.

Ok, too dark. Too much honesty. Moving on.

7/ I will reduce my screen-time drastically from today on. I will also reduce the number of phone pickups. Only when it’s required. Today, while writing this, I have been on this page for about an hour and I haven’t touched my phone. I intend that to be the case. I will ignore every notification unless it’s a phone call from someone. That too shall be answered only if I am not engaged in any other thing at the time.

So that. Wow. A lot. I am sure more. But these are the ones at the top of my head. More on these on days when I have more time to write.

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 127
  • #aPicADay – 108
  • 10K steps a day –0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 40
  • #noCoke – 40
  • 10 mins of meditation – 5
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 4

Day 5

Onto, original writing and thinking.

Here’s me trying to crack the story for NFDC’s competition. Yesterday I finally stumbled onto a plot that I seem to like. Though I am not sure if it’s compelling or unique or whatever but it is still worth exploring. Since it is getting at an interesting juncture, I have made a copy here where I will compile more notes / thoughts / structure, etc.

Here we go with today’s text.

[START]

Once Roshan knew he had 2 weeks, he went through the set of predictable emotions. From denial (The doctor is wrong. They may have made a mistake. I must take a second opinion.) to anger (How could this happen to me?) to bargaining (Damn this is happening. How do I escape? Can I goto some Pandit that may make this go away like a bad dream?) to depression (sadness about leaving this wondering life behind. Especially his mother who’d be left alone in his absence. And Chandani, the love of his life) to finally acceptance (Now that this is happening, what do I do to put my affairs in order?).

Unlike most that take months to go through these stages, Roshan was surprisingly calm. It was at the doctor’s clinic itself that he accepted and decided to take fate in his hands and fix things. Some things would be easy. Most of them would be hard. The toughest would be to talk to his mother. He was the world for her. The easiest for him was to dispose of the gym.

It had to start with his mother. Luckily, Pritha, her mother was like him. Or, he was like her mother. He remembered that when his father passed away, his mom was as calm as a secluded lake on a full-moon night. No amount of cajoling could make her shed even a single drop of tear. People around them gossiped for months about this indifference of his mother.

He just needed to find a way to tell her. In his limited world view, if he confronted the problem head on, it would probably make life simpler. Well, life.

Anyhow. He decided to bring up his father’s demise as an excuse to ease her into the state of pain.

He went to the temple where his mother volunteered and literally spent all her time. She was probably more attached to the temple than she was to anything else. People do need something to latch onto. If not a God, then an idea, a hope of something in the distant future, something grand.

Pritha was sitting cross-legged on the marble floor and rubbing cotton into wicks that they would use in the diyas.

“Maa, remember when father passed away, you did not shed a single tear. How did you do that?”

“Huh?” She responded.

“Arey, I am asking how did you come to terms with the fact that Pa was gone?”

“What’s wrong with you? What’s this?”

“I just want to know that if I die tomorrow, would you cry? That’s it”

“Mare tere dushman. You are all of 27. Dont say such things. Not in the temple. Bhagwan ne teri sun li to?”

“Maan lo sun li. If I told you I will die in 2 weeks, what would you do?”

She laughed. “I will do exactly what I am doing right now. Wake up before the world does. Come to the temple. Stay here till it’s dark. And then walk back home and sleep.”

“You wouldn’t miss me?”

“Well, I will miss walking back home with you.” The mother and the son had a routine. Each day, irrespective of where Roshan was, he would ensure that he would walk back home with his mother. It was hardly a 5-minute walk but this tradition was passed down by his father and had stayed. Earlier, the father had a tiny trading shop next to the temple. So that made logistical sense. However Roshan’s akhada was a little further away, next to the state highway 71 that connected Indapur to Pune. Even with the distance, Roshan had maintained the routine.

That’s how relationships ought to be. No grand gestures, flourishes, etc. A routine that may sound boring to the world is what you need to establish if you want your relationships to go deeper. These mundane routines are what define you and your loved ones and your relationships. These predictable patterns are remembered long after you are gone.

Roshan knew he would miss this when he was gone. But how could he miss things when he wouldn’t have any consciousness? He was not sure of Pritha. She seems to have accepted her husband’s untimely death in a jiffy. She was back to the temple the very next day. the pujari and other women opposed the decision vehemently but you could not stand up to Pritha. She spoke with reason and was respected for all she’s done for the temple over the years. She even dismantled her husband’s shop and donated the same to the temple, to be used as a godown. They did not mind. Even the Gods don’t mind hoarding onto additional assets!

[END]

[NOTES]

Here are some notes that popped up in my head, as I was thinking about it.

  1. Need a metaphor to showcase the emotions that he goes through. Its a film and I cant take more than 5 minutes to get over those.
  2. I am not sure where to take this. Here are some directions that this can go in…
    1. There is some calamity in the town and he dedicates the rest of his days fixing that. You know, Swades. There was no ticking clock there but Mohan solved something larger than himself.
    2. He commits a perfect crime and solves a large issue confounding his people. This could be killing a zamindar, solving a business deal, preventing a calamity from happening. A la Majboor.
    3. Propagate his family’s DNA by impregnating someone? Lol.
    4. Some treasure that has been left by Shivaji in their keep? But this will become way too close to #book2 and I am invested in that like nothing else. So, I may skip this.
    5. I want him to fall in love in these 2 weeks. I want to show this woman’s heartbreak. I want him to not want to die, only for this woman. I want to talk about how cruel fate could be in such cases. Sounds similar to Wo Saat Din or Sweet November?
    6. No, I don’t want a happy ending where he is miraculously saved. I want a realistic story that has a realistic end.
  3. Roshan’s arc seems to be emerging easily. From a happy-go-lucky dude to a man on a mission. Need to discover where he ends up.
  4. Need to start introducing additional characters that bring out Roshan’s character. You know, show, not tell. May be the film opens at an event that Roshan is hosting. This would establish his present world, the milieu, the conflict (someone may want to compete with Roshan). This is where I can also showcase the challenge (while performing, he could collapse). Reminds me of a scene from Majboor where Amitabh Bachchan is holding an aquarium and crossing a road. Bang in the middle, he gets a stroke, drops the aquarium, and strews all the fish on a hot tar road. Wow! What cinematography!
  5. I must add Majboor to the list of films that I am inspired by. Again, the character is on a clock and does something to deliver riches to the family.
  6. What I need is the large conflict as the backdrop that makes Roshan’s life and death trivial. Could very well be COVID. I mean what’s better than someone on the clock putting all his energy into fixing others around him? But then I’ve had enough of COVID and I want to get away from that.

So that’s it for the day.
Over and out!
7:57. Andheri. Wow, two hours! Still haven’t touched the phone. #win

180421 – Meditations

A quick rant and a longish attempt at writing a script. Nothing special for you to look at.

07:19. I am really struggling to keep my head sane with this lockdown. I have become unproductive, I don’t have the inspiration to push myself. I do start the day with a lot of enthusiasm but within minutes, I am left dead with literally no energy to even start the process of starting. While the lockdown is not affecting me directly (I can move around in my tiny house whenever I want to), it is devoiding me of human connection. You know those thought experiments when they ask you if you would be trapped on an island, who would you want alongside? That. I think I will never want to be trapped like that. I would rather live near the busiest street. Here’s the thing. Even when I am with people, I don’t talk a lot. Most of my conversations are superficial. I am fast with my judgments, faster with my approval or dismissals. I don’t do parties. I often avoid traveling even if that means I get to meet the people that I want to be with. But all those things are optional. If I wanted to, I could. It was my choice to not go to Ghatkopar each time people met. It was my decision to not attend a wedding at Kolkatta. I was in control. Here I am. I can’t even step out of my house. I cant see others. What I miss the most is the energy I would get from others around me at a Starbucks where they would be hard at work to make their dreams come true. I am inspired by the ambition of others and the relentless pursuit that they are engaged in. Trapped on my writing table with a 13″ screen, diagonally, of a laptop, I am stuck. I have at least 13 more days to go before the lockdown is lifted. Each of these days is going to get tougher than the previous. You know, misery will compound. But may be with time, I will learn to live in a cocoon? May be I will accept fate and kill that ambitious kid in me? May be I will start faking emotions and actions and other things to get approval from others on Instagram? Let’s see what becomes of me in the next few days. Here’s a tiny chart that probably does not showcase my misery but if there was a horrific chart, it would be this…

The most scary thing that I can ever see.

Anyhow. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 126
  • #aPicADay – 107
  • 10K steps a day –0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 39
  • #noCoke – 39
  • 10 mins of meditation – 4
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 3

Coming to the script am hoping to write.

While I am struggling to even find the next word, I will try and persist. Like always, I will try to write for an hour. It’s 7:38. Yet again, I don’t have a story per I do have an idea that struck me while I was writing the rant above. What if there a 38-year old underachiever was told that all he had was 13 days to live? How would he react? How would he live the rest of his days? What would he do? Lemme pound the keyboard and see what comes out.

Day 4

[START]

“Roshan, I have a bad news”, declared Dr. Khambata sombrely as he stepped into the examination room where Roshan was lying buck naked.

“What can be worse than totting around my nakedness in front of middle-aged men for I don’t know how many days now! Bring it on.” Roshan knew that something was terribly wrong with him. The local doctors at the tiny government hospital at the hamlet of Indapur were inadequate to figure out why would he get shooting pains up his spine that would end up in a headache so bad that he would pass out.

As a local jester, comedian, master of ceremonies, gym owner, trainer, and more rolled into one, he was quite popular in his town. He had to be. His family was the descendent of the munims of Maloje Bhosle, the grandfather of Shivaji. Between the cousins, literally half the town was related to him.

After a few weeks of inconclusive examination, he was asked to go see someone senior at Pune. Or if he really wanted a solution, to Mumbai. He settled on Pune’s KEM Hospital purely for the ease of logistics.

“I am serious Roshan. You have a rare disease that we havent the medical expertise to give you a solution to.”

“What do you mean?” He still did not understand that his life, or whatever was left of it was about to change.

There’s some fibrous growth in your brain. It’s some form of a cancer but we dont know what it is. And it is increasing everyday. To a point, we suspect, you have… less than 2 weeks.”

You’d imagine that such death sentences would be delivered with little more gravitas, a little more drama, a little more empathy. But when you’ve worked all your life with patients that are terminally ill and the families that are eternally hopeful, you learn how to abstract emotions and facts.

[END]

Additional text that I will probably use somewhere…

  • Roshan’s father died when Roshan was all of 5 and he was raised by his mother.
  • A middle-aged Parsi doctor, Dr. Peston Khambata was attending to Roshan. That was any way the thing with Parsis. You could never guess their ages.

Notes…

1/ I think I have stumbled onto an interesting plot. I feel I have heard / seen it elsewhere. Some names that come to mind are Anand and Sweet November. In both, the protagonists are sitting on a ticking bomb and they attempt to use the time they have to bring happiness to others. There’s another that I think I saw where a guy decides to rob a bank and leave all the money to his family so that they don’t feel the pinch after he was gone. Then there’s Lootera, an adaptation of The Last Leaf where leaves on a tree become the harbinger of death. I am sure there are more. Need to research.

My concept is similar in the sense that my character has a clock ticking, just that there would be a crime / psychology angle to it, rather than a relationship piece. I don’t understand relationships.

2/ I need to find a disease that gives you 13 days to live.

3/ I still write like I write a book. Need to change tracks and start writing like a script.

So, that’s it for the day. Over and out. See you guys tomorrow. Or maybe not. Let’s see.

170421 – Meditations

Woke up late. Couldn’t find the words. Struggled to write. But got in a few words none the less.

9:02 AM. Yeah. Really. I woke up about 10 minutes ago. What can I say, I am living a thug life!

So morning meditations. Things clouding my head. Without any order, here’s a list. And the “solutions”.

A. In most relationships, I tend to give a lot more than I want to receive. You know, low expectations. However, at times most times, even the little I expect does not materialize. And it sucks. It’s a recurring pattern that I have seen time and again with multiple relationships, businesses and transactions. Of course, if there is are recurring incidents, I must be at fault. So, I need to fix this. Dunno what else to say.

Further, I think I survive on this give and take (even if my “take” is insignificant) and I start hurting when this “transaction” is not complete. I have literally lived my life to help others and yet I am told that I am not around when people need me. It just plain sucks. Takes the air out of me, like you know, I got sucker-punched in a bout that was supposed to be a mere conversation. So that.

B. I realized yesterday that I am so so lucky on so many counts. I have enough to eat. I have a comfortable enough house. I have some great relationships. My family is safe in these times. I am generally a cheerful, helpful person that’s mostly on the right side of the law and society. And yet I seem to spot and then crib about things that I don’t have. Now that’s a good thing – you want to do better and I am anyway inspired by fear more than by greed. But I think I woke on this negative reinforcement to a fault. I may need to tame it.

So that. Surprisingly two things. When I set out to write, I thought I would have more. Funny I am. So, here’s the streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 125
  • #aPicADay – 106
  • 10K steps a day –0 because of the lockdown, I am unable to get the two hours out to walk 10K steps 🙁
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 38
  • #noCoke – 38
  • 10 mins of meditation – 3
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 1

And here’s the original work. I will write for an hour. It’s 9:26 on the clock and I will write for an hour. However, I still don’t have a coherent story idea in my head. Let’s see if it emerges as I write. Here we go…

Day 2

Satish stirred as he woke up with a heavy head. It had become a recurring pattern. He would stumble back to his house after spending hours and drinking bottles of hooch at the dance bar. No, he was not an alcoholic per se. He was forced to order something while he sat there and admired Janki. One of the backup dancers at the bar. She was not the prettiest. She was not the one with the best moves. She was not the one to dress provocatively. Even on the days when she was dressed the best, she could pass off as a regular woman in the chawl that Satish lived in. There were clearly more and shinier objects of affection that Satish could lust over. And yet Satish seemed to have a thing for her. Lust works in funny ways.

Satish was not a bad man otherwise. He was a graduate and held a respectable job as a security guard at a bank. He even could speak a few words in English if there was a need. He got lot of people from his chawl to get their accounts open at the large bank that were otherwise inaccessible to people like that.

That’s the thing. For people like that, everything was ok. The battles are of survival and not for love or honor or whatever. These words don’t mean a lot when you know that you need to be up at 4:30 and you’d have to walk 3 KMs to stand in a long queue to fetch two buckets of water that you would use during the day. At that time, honor could a hike. Pain could take a pause. Love becomes a long-forgotten thing that happened only in films. Or at these dimly lit dance bars.

Even though Satish was now a regular at the dance bar and he had made no bones about his affection for Janki, apart from him, everyone knew that Janki was not into him at all. Maybe he had an inkling as well. May be not.

But he was back. Day after day. Night after night. To stake claim at the tiny table placed bang in the middle of the hall and ogle at Janki, even when there were other pieces at display. The only time he would saunter his gaze to others was when she would disappear towards the back of the stage to change her costume or take a break.

[END]

Notes…

  1. The words did not flow. I think getting up late is the reason. Must ensure that I sleep on time so that I can wake up on time.
  2. These pieces I write, these are great narratives. But they do not look like or dead like a film script. So that needs to change. I need to reduce the wordiness. And shape these like a script. I am not chasing a book here, you know.

So yeah. That. Was a struggle but that’s it for the day. Over and out.

160421 – Meditations

Quick update on what I did yesterday. And day 1 of an attempt to write a film script in 15 days.

6:17 AM. Andheri.
Woke up at quarter to 6. Some fitful sleep. I think it’s the AC. Need to fix it.

Lets not be digressed by that. Today’s when I start writing a script or something and focus less on thoughts. Let’s see how it goes. To be honest, I dont have an idea in my head right now. Let’s see what comes out when I start typing. I will be at it for at least an hour. That’s the point of “forced creativity”.

Before that, there are some updates from the day gone by and things on my head…

  1. I went out! Yay! I walked up to the nearest Star Bazaar and brought some dry fruits. Grocery was an excuse – I just wanted to step out. On the way back I spotted more people walking than on other days on the Lokhandwala backroad. So I can walk too. I just need to find a time when it’s not as crowded. May be in the morning? Right after morning pages?
  2. Work has started to become hectic. Which is ok. Just that I need to be on the computer for like 10 hours. The only thing I am worried about is my eyes.
  3. KG told me about how Michelangelo would go hungry for up to 7 days and then pick up the chisel to work his masterpieces. Now that’s incredible. I haven’t been able to find any conclusive evidence on a cursory Google search. I am sure, I will find it if I dug deeper.
  4. Yesterday, I talked about Coconut Milk as a beverage. It’s the second day and I love it. To a point that I have stocked the refrigerator with it!

So that’s about it.

I can write more. But I am trying to shun negativity and live in denial. I am assuming that there’s no COVID out there. At least for the next 15 days. I will of course continue to write my thoughts on #sgEchoChamber. And here

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 124
  • #aPicADay – 105
  • 10K steps a day –0 🙁
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 37
  • #noCoke – 37
  • 10 mins of meditation – 2
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0

Now, onto the “original work” that I will write for one hour. It’s 6:43 on the clock. Here we go…

Day 1

What do I write about? Writing itself? A writer struggling to find his spot in the sun? Another trying to prove a point to the world, and to himself; that he’s worth a lot more than what the world gives him credit for?

Or I could write about someone intriguing that I read about. You know, a true story. Of someone’s heroic. Of someone’s extraordinary journey of becoming extraordinary. The world is full of such people. They do simple things in such a unique manner that you are left inspired. Just need to find someone like that and merely narrate what they were up to.

Then there is the question of my ability to look at these people with a lens that makes the story worth telling!

Or it could be about someone’s dreams, hopes, aspirations, ideas, and thoughts. Funnily most of these are so damn simple that you wonder if there’s a story in there on not. I mean at the end of it, each person seeks those basic things that our monkey mind has trained us for – safety, survival, propagation of the genes. For most, safety comes from a house (people call those homes), survival comes from a stable job that pays enough to build their house and propagation from a spouse.

Of course, this simple monkey-mindedness becomes an impossible chasm to leap over when one person’s wants start to collide with another’s. I mean you have a stable job. This stability threatens your colleagues’ survival in the same workplace. He would then try and do things that would jeopardize your stability. You on the other hand would not tolerate this game and you would first secure your place. And once that has happened, you would go back with vengeance. Even if you don’t want to. You are guided far more by your monkey mind than you can imagine.

I can also write about this image that I have held in my brain for I don’t know how long. Lemme narrate it. Let’s see what comes out of it.

So, I was at one of the busiest local train stations in Mumbai. I think it was Kurla. Or it was Dadar. The trains were jampacked. To a point that even the people that were hanging out of the doors were stacked like lego blocks. One on top of another. Interlocked so well that even the biggest canons, the wildest wrecking ball couldn’t make a dent if they tried it at the same time. Packed so tight that even air couldn’t pass through. Whatever gaps you could spot were shuttered by the sweat and in some cases, the blood. The greatest architcet in the world couldn’t build something as grand if she tried for decades. And here we are. In Mumbai. Train after train, bogie after bogie, day after day was so packed by strangers that you are left marveling at the sheer capacity to bear hardship, the sheer will to get things done despite odds, the sheer tolerance of pain, and heat and hunger!

As a newcomer to Mumbai, I would often sit at a busy station to see these men and women and the mass of humanity go through this grind every day. Twice. Every time I sat on one of those benches that were invariably donated by the kin of a rich person that is now long forgotten, I was probably the only person who was still amidst all the cacophony.

So imagine you are in the midst of this scene of life playing like a film. You are marveling at the scene unfolding in front of you. Pretty much on auto-pilot. A train stops right in front of you. Like a well-orchestrated symphony, the wall of people shifts shape. Some bricks come out. Some go in. The wall remains steadfast. The wall gets stronger than ever. People are packed tighter than ever. Anyone even thinking of breaching it would get discouraged by even looking at it.

The train starts to move, the wall starts to take it easy. And unknown to it, a young girl of not more than 14 starts walking towards it. She is unassuming. She is not rushed. She is relaxed. The train picks speed. The girl continues her easy pace towards the train that is now almost a blur.

The last of its bogie is in sight. The girl is now a few feet away from the train. From where I am, I can’t see her face. I don’t even know what she’s upto. But she’s upto something for sure.

As if on cue, she breaks into a sprint and hurls her tiny frame at the wall. And just before she’s about to collide into the sea of people hanging from the doors, she turns around. And her back thuds into a man that’s wearing a distinctly blue shirt. Out of reflex, the man grabs her. The wall comes to life. More hands appear and support the girl. Some bricks shuffle. They make the space that no one could have imagined existed.

While the reengineering was happening, while she was slowly becoming the part of the wall that was almost out of my sight, I saw her. And for a fleeting second, I saw the smile on her face. I saw the determination in her eyes. I saw her punch the air with her fists clenched tight. I saw the unbreakable, the immovable wall of humans make way, shift its shape and bow down to this young girl that I did not even know the name of.

[END]

Notes…

  1. Was tough to start. But once I started typing, it was easy. Takes me a lot of time to get to a point.
  2. There no no story right now. None seems to be emerging. Need to work on it if I am giving myself 15 days.
  3. What I write is very very descriptive. It does not move the story forward. I have only narrated one scene. Took like a million words for it. Screenplays are not that. The story has to move. I need to think differently.
  4. I, of course, need three tracks (A, B, and C). I need clear character arcs. I need conflicts. I need release and resolution. I need to follow the three-act structure. I need the inciting incidence. I need so much more!

Let’s see how it goes over the next 15 days.

150421 – Meditations

Yet again, a rant about how things are and how I am coping (not too good, if you want hints).

7:12. Andheri.
Woke a few minutes ago. The minds blank. I don’t know what to write. Even though I have a lot on my head.
Lemme try bullets.

a/
So, we have a lockdown from today in MH. That means I wouldn’t be able to go for my walk.

Damn.

The only thing that was keeping me sane. But that’s ok. I will prevail. I am stronger than that. I hope so.

This entire COVID situation is getting out of hand and the government seems to be failing at controlling it. From stupidity around election rallies to gatherings like the Kumbh, to allow the country to remain permeable, to even fudging the data, there have been numerous slips.

Also, honestly, I can’t blame just the government. You and I and People are to blame as well. For example, I can’t sit at home (if I call where I live home). While I may claim to take precautions, how do you enforce everyone to be sensible? How do you ensure that there are no slip-ups? We are human after all!

Plus people will die hungry if they do not step out! I mean, they can’t be at home. I don’t even know how to fix that. Damn, it sucks to be a mere armchair activist.

b/
On my way back from the walk last night, I took a rick. Got talking to the driver. I quipped that now that traffic is less, he must be having it easy while driving.

No, he was not amused.

He said he liked it where there was traffic. The meter doesn’t stop. The passengers don’t stop coming. The wheel of life continues to move. He said that if there’s a lockdown, he would be forced to go back to his hometown, somewhere in Bihar. And this is when he had just come back in December after an 8-month-long hiatus.

Funnily, minutes before this conversation, I had a friend tell me that the pollution levels in Mumbai would fall and it will get green and nice and gorgeous. Can’t say no to that. Mumbai is beautiful if you remove the filth that we spew on it.

In my head, what was contrasting was that these two worlds — one of the people that are perched atop their high-rises and the other of those that are literally crawling on the street — will never see the world from a similar lens.

The worst are people like me that are stuck in the middle. We don’t belong at either end. We are not privy to how either lives. We shuttle between resignation, acceptance, denial, and hope. We merely chase vanity and comfort. The high-rises inspire us. The streets are the epitome of negative reinforcement. We chase the comfort and go-getter-ness of the two extremes. We shun pain and try to unsee what these two worlds are going through – one behind the closed doors, the other, communal. Out in the open.

For someone like me, I dont even know how to communicate my anguish.

Someone that drives a rick, has an option to go back to his hometown. He will somehow find a train ticket and go. Someone on the 29th floor of a building that has 5 levels of parking to prop the 29th even higher, has an option to continue to live without getting affected. The only bummer for her is that her “maid” would not come to help on the next party they’ve planned at home – lockdown or no lockdown.

For someone like me, the one in the middle, I have no hometown to go to. Even if I had, I would never be able to jugaadofy a ticket. Of course, no savings per se to talk about. No backup plans in terms of where I could go or what I could do. No birthday parties to host. No domestic help to worry about.

Of course, like I said yesterday, lately I’ve been doing better and I am seeing some signs of how life is at a point where things are a little more stable. With lockdown and the random madness it has thrown on me, I don’t even know if I’d be able to deliver effectivity and continue this stability.

It’s just a weird situation. I am clueless. I have even lost the ability to think straight. My writing has become mundane. Boring. Assuming it was interesting earlier. I took pride in my strong mental framework and how I never got affected by things around me. People could come, go, die, live, win awards, lose jobs, I remained steadfast.

Not anymore. I find myself thinking a lot about people that have lost someone close, lost something important, lost hopes for the future. To a point that I am becoming less and less effective at work.

Thankfully I still sleep ok.
Thankfully I still try and cook up ideas.
Thankfully there is a continual adventure. Like yesterday I realized that all domains that I have hosted on net4 (literally all!) are at risk of obsolescence. I can’t even log in to the control panel. Trying to salvage some of those but let’s see. All the hard work of the last so many years will go for a toss. How are you to imagine that a 20+-year-old company, listed on the stock exchanges will go down? Damn!

Anyhow. Enough. Moving on.

c/
Here’s a thing.
Starting tomorrow (today I wanted to rant), on these morning pages / meditations, I will write not more than 200 words about the day gone by or about things clouding my head. I would rather gun for writing something original. I have a few options.

I want to write a script and enter the NFDC Scriptwriter’s Lab. While it is not impossible to write a script in 15 days, I will try. I could do that. Would make for an interesting challenge.

Or I could write towards book2. Lol!

Or I could work on SoG Book.

I dont know. I want to write something original. Let’s see what I choose to do.

d/
Even though I knew of Coconut Milk all this while, yesterday, I bought a pack on a whim yesterday and it was delicious. The pack says that they don’t put any additional sugar and I want to believe it. I will see if I can sustain my taste for it for the long term.

e/
sgM1 is giving me trouble. Heats up randomly. It may be because of the stand that I have put underneath to prop it up? I tried to search online if this is a common occurrence and I couldn’t find others that have the same issue. So, mine is a unique case.

If the laptop conks off (in less than 3 months of buying it), it would be unfortunate. Thankfully, I still have sgAir. Even though it doesn’t work as well as it’s supposed to, I at least would have access to a computer that works. Without a computer, my ability to make money would get dented.

I can only hope that the computer continues to work as expected. At least till this lockdown is over.

f/
My back has been troubling me lately. I think it’s all the hours of sitting in front of the computer. To fix it, I decided to try and sleep on a yoga mat.

I must report that the experiment failed miserably. I had to get back to a mattress. Old age. Lol! Plus, classic example of shit people do when they are clueless about what to do and are bored!

g/
Finally, even though I touched it briefly in point “a” above, I am surprised that I am this affected, triggered, anxious. I am clueless and I have like zero energy / focus / attention during the day. I always considered myself far more stable, far more sorted than this. I am clearly not. Must work on this!

Let’s see what the future has in store for me.

As I end this, reminding myself that starting tomorrow, 80% of what I publish here would be original work and not just thoughts. Wish me luck!

Before I end, here’s streaks

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 123
  • #aPicADay – 104
  • 10K steps a day –3
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 36
  • #noCoke – 36
  • 10 mins of meditation – 1
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – -1 (starting tomorrow).

140421 – Morning Pages

A ranty post on the mindfuckery imposed by the lockdown. In case you read, please excuse the expletives.

7:02 AM. Andheri.
Been up for a few minutes. Had a fitful sleep. Guess it’s all the food that I’ve had yesterday. 4 full meals! Will try to fast today. Let’s see.

So they announced the curfew in the whole of Maharashtra. Plus no deliveries after 8 PM. So basically, I am fucked. I can hit the road today but I don’t know where to go. Goa is an option but the cases there are on a different trajectory. Plus irrespective of what people say, it’s impossible to get things done there (no phone / internet). Also, I am thinking if I have to get affected by COVID (of course I will try hard to not get the virus), I want to be at a place that has better medical facilities and I have a better shot at not dying! From what friends tell me, the scene in Goa is scarier than what it is at other places (cases, medical staff, general carefulness of people, etc). So that.

One thing is for sure. If I am stuck for these 15 days in Mumbai, at this place, I will have to find something that allows me to stay sane. I don’t know what that could be. Meditation? Some sort of home workout (this place does not have enough to spread a yoga mat – not sure how would the workout happen)? Keto? Ideas anyone?

The other thing I am worried about is all the time I would waste cleaning the house. I know I am not cooking but the metro construction across the road spews a lot of dust and particle material in my house. There’s a thin layer on top of literally everything. I will be forced to put in a lot of time just with dusting.

Sigh.
The fuck is happening.
And yes, I am one of those people in the favour of the lockdown. But not in the favour of not allowing me to walk on the road. Damn this powerlessness sucks.

Ok. Deep breath. Deep breath. I will find a way. And too dark. Wont delete.

First things first. I will restart meditation from today. I will restart OMAD. I will be religious about these things. Meditation right after I wake up, once I have opened the windows and all. I will sleep by 10, come what may. I will try and wake up at 5. 7 hours of sleep is good for me.

Lol. I sound like a desperate man.
Lemme change tracks. Lemme talk of three things that I am grateful for.

A. I walked 10K steps yesterday. I could’ve walked more. But I just took a rick and came back home. I did 15K the day before. Today, I will get about 20K for sure. Before the lockdown shit at 8 PM.

Walking is not important but what I do while I am walking is. I spoke to a couple of friends and helped them with what they are thinking about – one wanting tips on marketing. Another wanted inputs on how to do better.

Grateful that people seek my counsel.

B. I have money in the bank for the first time since mid-2019. I mean I still have a big debt that I need to repay but I am finally not worried where would I get the rent from. Or where would I get the money required for paying my people. Even though the cards are still maxed and I am merely rolling them over, I know that I have enough inflow to roll those over.

I am grateful for these opportunities that have come my way; that, in turn, has allowed me to get to this stability. This feeling is very very liberating. To a point that I am probably sleeping better.

I just need to augment this.

C. For all the cribbing and ranting and hate that I have for this house that I live in, I am sincerely grateful that I have a roof over my head. I may have complaints about the lack of space, I am grateful that I don’t have to share this with anyone. I may not be able to remove all the furniture, I am grateful that I have found some space to put my writing table and work on that.

So that’s that.

What else? Yeah! I am going to get started on Diet Coke. I havent had it more than 30 days. It’s time I get back to it. For a month or so. And then I will quit again. Help me decide?

Help me decide!

So yeah, this is it. No book2 today. I have a lot of work. To end the post, here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 122
  • #aPicADay – 103
  • 10K steps a day –2
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 35
  • #noCoke – 35
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0

130421 – Meditations

What started as a recap of the day got converted into a rant. Lol. Read at peril.

6:56. Andheri.

Slept for some 7 hours. And I feel I have overslept. Even though I had a looooong day with a million phone calls and a billion things to remember, I feel overslept. You know how you feel you should’ve woke up earlier? I don’t think I can do 8 hours of sleep. But 7 I think is doable. Must aim for that.

So, I did a 10K yesterday. Walked on Versova Beach. Among other things, a lot of people play cricket there. While I was passing by some of those, I tried to catch a ball or two. I tried to stop one from my feet. I even threw a ball towards someone.

I remember as a child, I was pretty nifty with all these. I may not have been a Jhonty Rhodes but I definitely was among the better ones with my reflexes and hands and feel. I could stretch myself like a rubber band and dive further than a swimmer to take impossible catches. I could outrun the balls racing towards long boundaries. I could then throw right on top of the wickets, if not hit the wickets. I rarely missed.

However, yesterday, I felt I was reduced to a pale memory of my former self. And it hurt, it pained to observe that something that I was good at, I am not longer even considered eligible for. Guess this is how oldies feel when they sort of retire. It’s the worst feeling in the world!

Picture a young man of 22 who’s take a bus to reach the large departmental store where he was a security guard for years. Just that after 40 years in the service, he no longer looks strong. His actions are slower. His reactions are labored. And he knows that there are murmurs of them trying to find a replacement. Replacement of a person that has literally given his entire life to an establishment! Old age. Sigh. I hate this.

Anyhow. The good part is that I did 15K steps. I was tired but I continued to talk. One of the main issues why I can’t do some sort of a work out (apart from my Hernia that is troubling me all over again – need to get operated finally) is the boredom that sets in after a while. I think the secret is that I need to schedule the calls that don’t need me on video or a computer for the time I walk. For example, yesterday, I had calls from 6 till 830 that did not require me to be on a video and I walked for the most part of it!

Earlier I would listen to podcasts but I think I need something more engaging. More involving. More proactive. You know, like a conversation. Agreed that there’s background noise but I think most people are ok to make that concession. The world is kind like that.

In other news, there are rumors of a lockdown from tomorrow in Mumbai at least. If that happens, I will probably not survive. I mean humans are like cockroaches. They’d find their way through even the nuclear war (remember Wall-E?). But I can not be closeted in a house. A small one at that. I need space. I need to move around. I need people. Even if I don’t talk to them. I am ok to not talk to them. But I need to observe. Make secret jokes to myself about how they are dressed, how they behave et al. But I need them. I need the fresh air that the “modern homes” in Mumbai are not capable of providing. I need to, need to have access to literally an open sky. Of course with an AC in that room. Lol.

Ok. I am digressing. The point is, I can’t survive a lockdown. I have to escape it somehow. Even if I get fined by the cops or get a whack on my butt, I need to be out and about! Fuck this pandemic. Fuck the stupidity of people. Fuck the majboori of the world that they are forced to risk their lives to make ends meet. Fuck our incompetent policymakers and politicians and others that could’ve done better. Fuck Saurabh Garg. For always being on the sidelines when the crisis hits and not taking any action. I had more than one year to get active, learn more, foresee the crisis, and plan for the contingency.

Deep breath, Mr. Garg. You are ranting. The point is not to get angry. The point is to find an alternative to what is coming my way. May be I will borrow VG’s car and hit the road without a destination in mind. I will probably end up driving to Goa but still. If the North East was not that far, I would probably drive all the way there. Let’s see what the government declares tomorrow. Once that happens, I will decide.

So, It’s 8:14 and I have a call at 9 AM. So I have about 45 mins to write for #book2. Let’s see what I create. I am going to write about something that I have not written so far. I mean I may have written on one of the previous passes over the years but I will stay away from usual suspects (Rujuta, Raunak, Mrs. Gomes, Udita, Chintan, etc). Here we go.

[START]

“How much is enough?”

“More than what the world has to offer.” Despite what he did or what he was infamous for, he was a very well-read person at the end of the day. His repertoire included texts not just from Hinduism and Christianity but also from western philosophers, obscure thinkers, scientists, and statesmen. And he knew he was intelligent and knew all of that. And that coupled with his false sense of insecurity is what made him a highly functional sociopathic. And he knew this as well. And he used it to his advantage. Every time he had to do something that even he would not agree with, he would use the excuse of his sociopathic traits to get justify his actions. Like this time.

“How can one man have all of it already? And still want more?” His father asked.

“That’s the point. I know I am here for a limited time. Maybe another 30 years if I don’t get killed by all the vodka that I love. And I need to be sure that when I die, the world stops moving. If I cant enjoy all that the world has to offer, why should anyone else get an opportunity?” He was bereft of any emotion when he spoke that. As if it’s a universal truth that most pundits would agree upon.

His father was exasperated. There was no point in breaking his head over the stubbornness of his son. “This is not how it works. You are far intelligent than that…”

He cut his father midway and retorted, “That’s your problem, father. You never thought I was good enough to carry the fabled heritage of the Pauls. There was always someone else that had your affection.”

He took a pause. Poured himself some vodka and gulped it at once.

Even though his father was strict about not getting any alcohol in their house, the younger Paul was insolent.

“You think so?”

Ankit smacked his lips and said, “I don’t think so. I know. I am not dumb. You know it. I know it. There was always someone else that you held in higher regard. Ever since I was a child, you have ruled with an iron fist. I was punished for no reason. I was pushed against the wall all time. Why did you not just kill me right away when I was born? Why put me through all this suffering?”

He put his mouth to the bottle of Belvedere that he was carrying and took a big drag. This was not his choice of vodka, he had finer taste but this is what was available at the shop en route his ancestral home.

The father could respond to each accusation that was being hurled at him but he knew better. “Son…”

“I don’t want your fake sympathy. Give that to all of your proteges that you thought were better than me. I’ve come here to ask for the Green Book.” He dropped the bomb.

The Green Book was more treasured, holy, and inaccessible than the innermost Sanctorum of the most revered shrine in the world. It has been passed down their family for countless generations. Apart from the father and son, no one even knew that the book of life existed.

The father was not surprised at the demand. He knew that this day would come. Just that he did not expect it to come this soon, on the 30th birthday of the son. But then, the book did have hints of a big upheaval around the same time.

“What would you do with it? You know far more than what one book can teach you. And you have seen it. There’s nothing in there that you do not know about.”

“Again! I am not dumb, father. I know that that book is as worthless as toilet paper. But that book father is also when a Paul boy becomes a man. That book father is when a Paul passes on his reins to his son. That book father is what a Paul is born to inherit. It belongs to me and I am here to lay a claim to it before you betray the family and give it to someone outside. I will not let the Paul’s name go to ruin.”

It was ironic that the two of them were talking about the legacy of their family and both seemed to on the opposite ends of a river. Neither realized that they were at the opposite ends of a candle that’s burning from both sides. A far urgent, far ferocious inevitability. While the son could not see this, the father could see the writing on the wall. He had tried to delay this as much as he could. But the time seemed to have come. The book is never wrong.

He submitted.

“What you are doing right now is taking us closer to ruin than anything else has ever. The family has survived fires, floods, famines, false promises, and far more. You have read about it. I taught you myself.” He lowered his voice. “You were my brightest student, Son, but the book, the Pauls, you and me, this is where our story comes to an end.”

With a quick motion that surprised even himself, he flung the book into the fireplace.

[END] 8:57! Yay!

Anyhow. So, here’s the streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 121
  • #aPicADay – 102
  • 10K steps a day –1
  • OMAD – 1
  • #noCoffee – 34
  • #noCoke – 34
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0

120421 – Meditations

A conversation with self about a wide range of things that include health, sleep, book2 and more.

7:47 AM. Andheri.

I just woke up. I actually woke up the second time today. I slept at 8 last night. Woke up at 1. did some work till 4. And then slept again. And then I woke up. am a little tired but far better than what I thought I would be like. Guess polyphasic sleep is not bad. No, I am not advising anyone to change any patterns. Yes, I know more and more people have found to be a solid 8-hour of sleep to be life-changing. Anyhow. Different discussion for a different day.

COVID is now knocking on the doors. A good friend got it. Is recovering. Another good friend’s mother is in ICU. A former roommate’s parents got it the day before. An ex-girlfriend’s parents got it. They are still recovering. Quite a few colleagues have it. It’s a matter of time before I or my immediate family get it. I need to be mentally prepared for it. I can say all I want to but how do you cope with something as inexplicable as a communicable disease that spreads like wildfire ravages through tinder?

I don’t know how to escape. I have resigned to fate that it will strike my family and me at some point in time. I can delay it till I get the vaccine (assuming I want to get a vaccine – that’s another matter altogether). However, if it does strike, I am mentally prepared for all eventualities. But like I said, I hope it stays at bay.

In fact, these recent snafus around public health are troubling to be honest. I am scared that time would run out before I get to those lofty goals that I have for myself. The first deadline has just about 1800 days to go. I am thinking, should I try micro-dosing? There are 4 considerations here.

  • Moral – do I want the undue advantage? Guess this is easily answered.
  • Physical (long-term effect) – I am not sure of this. I need to read more and talk to people and see what they say.
  • Affordability – Again, I am not sure. Need to find out.
  • Access – Should not be a problem. If there’s one thing that I am sure of is my resourcefulness. I will get it from somewhere, if I decide to do it.

Wait!

Lemme write about this in #book2 as well. Allows me to conduct research for an unrelated matter. And add another dimension. May be the conflict could be to control the supply? Or could be to created under the influence? Let’s see!

So that. I have a busy day today. And the week for that matter. So, no time to waste. Its 8:13. I need to be ready and up and about by 9. Wait. I spend almost an hour on this everyday. Does this add up? Do I see any benefit in this? Do I get to inspire people from these notes? I am not sure. I may want to relook at this. The only tangible outcome I see is that I have something to look forward to when I wake up! Let’s see how this pans out. Like most things, I will let this simmer in my head and then will see what comes out of it.

No book2. Work needs to be done. See you guys tomorrow. And as I end this post, here’s the streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 120
  • #aPicADay – 101
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 33
  • #noCoke – 33
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0