100121 – Morning Pages

Today’s edition of morning pages is tad rushed. But I am glad I could still get it in. And write a few words for book2.

10:03

Morning. This one would be a short one. I have a few things to do and I woke up late. I need to be out of the house by 11:00. And that means I have about 30 minutes to get this done. Yeah yeah, I am to blame – waking up late and all. Let’s get going.

So the exuberance around the new year is now fading away. 10 days in the new year, I am now at a point where I am back to thinking about existential things (the last few days of December and the first few days of January were spent in that dreamy state where I imagine the bright possibilities that the future represents and how I’d get to that state). Now the reality has started to hit hard. Things are real, immediate, and scary.

I can talk more but lemme try and prioritize. I have limited time today. First-order is a freewriting paragraph for #book2. Here we go…

He woke up with what seemed like a hangover. The back of his head. was thumping like someone was playing drums up in there. It couldn’t be a hangover. He’s been sober now for almost 10 days, the longest he’s been. No, he didn’t plan for this. It just happened. How do you get liquor inside the confines of a jail? Hypothetically you could. There was always what Red called a Sears inside every jail. In America. In India. In Goa. And in every other place on the planet. He could get his Gin if he wanted to. He’s been around jails a long time. But he was hurt – physically and mentally. How could things go so wrong? They had everything planned. With the meticulousness that they were known for. Well, they weren’t really known – that’s why they could avoid getting caught for so long. But between the five of them, they always planned every scenario, including getting caught. And what had happened on that morning, they couldn’t have ever imagined. Or planned for. Even the failsafe they had that included all of them killing each other in case of adversity didn’t work. Well, it did. For Santosh at least. But not for Raunak. And in none of the scenarios they planned for, Raunak was getting caught. He was the linchpin of the gang and he was the only one that knew all that they’ve been up to over the last 3 decades. With him out of action, the gang was as good as non-existent.

Ok, enough. Just a short para. No time. But I am glad I got this para in.


The other thing that has started to happen lately is that I am getting way too many calls from way too many people interested in knowing about Bitcoin and crypto in general. While these have been around forever (since 2009 really), I think it’s time I jump into em with all I have. Lol, yet another thing that I want to work on. Mera kya hoga?

The other thing that I need to note is that I am struggling to stay off carbs. And I haven’t been able to add any workout, exercise to my routine. I don’t think I will ever be able to. How am I to then run that Marathon or climb that Everest? In fact, yesterday only I was finalizing my #in2021 goals and living long featured big in there. And I need to get going on it. I don’t know how to.

Its funny.

Really. On one side, I give gyaan to everyone about how to achieve their goals and climb their Everests. On the other, I am unable to get to my own. I am disciplined (for a large part), very stingy with my time (for a large part), cautious about what I spent my attention on (for a large part) and get things done (for a large part), and yet eating clean and working out is something that I cant seem to do. Take yesterday. I started with a lo-carb breakfast. But then was too stressed about the yearly goals and money in the bank and started popping Diet Cokes. And before I knew it, I had 7. Then, I had to meet Gaurav (he’s leaving today). He called me to a bakery and I just couldn’t avoid the temptation of having some chocolate croissants Pain Au Chocolat. Which, if you ask me is the best damn thing ever invented in terms of food. Just the act of writing about it is making me salivate and think of the time spent at LPQ at Powai, which to me was the best damn place in the whole wide world. Too bad it shut. Someday I’d love to bring it back. Fuck I have way too many things that I have planned for someday.

I digressed.

The point is, while all other things (work, money, relationships, etc) will figure out by themselves, I think the fitness piece is what I need help on. What can I do? What is the way out? Maybe pickup some sport?

Anyone?

090121 – Morning Pages

Today I think out loud about alcohol, its effects, its aftereffects – both intended and unintended. And lessons in ego. And of course, book2.

10:33 AM

I woke up a while ago. Had a late night last night and had way too many carbs and some other things that I can’t talk about on a public forum, lest I am called an alcoholic. I remember I had a fitful sleep and while sleeping, I had way too many thoughts running in my head. I don’t remember what those thoughts were, to be honest, but they were there for sure.

Anyhow.

So, morning pages.

I want to think talk about loud about alcohol. And what makes people want to get intoxicated to be able to have a good time. Thanks to my parents, I have sort of hated alcohol. I don’t know when they planted this abhorrence to alcohol but with time and with experience, it has only grown stronger. I have seen way too many people lose control to a point of losing valuable things (including their reputation). I have seen them falling in gutters. Puke like they were gutters themselves. Spewing their bowels in their beds, on their clothes, and at places they were at while getting drunk (I have puked as well on at least two occasions that I can remember). Getting into drunken arguments that have no basis. Lose inhibitions and morality and take decisions that they’d regret later on.

I have never ever understood this.

Neither have I understood this need that people have for letting their hair down. And needing alcohol for that. I know it’s primal that we want something to latch onto, something that makes us feel connected to others, something to help our bodies move and pump the adrenaline. But why club it with alcohol? I am sure great music can do that for you. Runners get a high after they’re back from their runs. I get super happy and trippy when I’ve had a great conversation. Some people love what they’ve created. I am not sure what drug, what spirit can give you the high an empty road gives you! The adventure in knowing new things, the exhilaration of opening new doors, the kick of creating the new in itself is high like nothing else.

No, I am not making a case for prohibition. I’d never stand for prohibiting anything ever. I am merely lamenting at my inability to understand people that need alcohol.

Yes, I have had alcohol. A lot of times. But almost every time, I have done it to “fit-in”. At the request of people I care for. At the behest of people that I don’t want to disappoint. At my own insistence that I need to indulge in the act of drinking to give company. No, they are not to blame. I am. While others may have asked for it, I did it of my own free will. And almost every time of these almost every times, I have stopped at one or two.

This self-imposed limit is what I find missing when people want to consume alcohol. This self-control is what makes alcohol a bitch in my opinion. This is where I want to question the ones that get drunk often. When they’re sober.

Oh, of course, there are good things that come out from indulging in alcohol. The company becomes vibrant, the conversations go beyond superficial levels, you make friends that last you literally a lifetime! Lol I am the last person that should talk about how to make friends.

Moving on.

So yesterday, while getting drunk (lol). I had this brilliant conversation with this lawyer about egos. He practices civil law at a court in Goa. He mentioned that 70% of cases wouldn’t even exist if people kept their egos in their pockets. He said more often than not if people sit and chat and talk about their issues out, they would need courts. If they empathize with the other party, hear them out, they probably will never fight. Of course, if someone is being unreasonable, you can’t help matters. If someone does not want to keep their ego aside and try and resolve things, you can’t avoid arguments.

But more often than not, if you keep your ego in check, you can do a lot more things.

That’s a lesson that I am taking away from last night. The more I think about it, the more I realize that almost all the negative experiences I’ve had in life (including disagreements), they’ve escalated because the egos came in the way of resolution. In fact, I was to talk to shop with Nikhil and I almost took it on my ego that the 25-year old does not see the world the way I see it and thus must be wrong and thus I can’t work with him. But then once I apply the ego lens and the opportunity lens, I see my folly.

Moving on. The other epiphany that has happened is that the businesses that cater to “sins” seem to make the most money – food (gluttony), fashion (vanity), gambling, alcohol, tobacco et al.

So yeah. That’s for the morning pages.

And, here’s a free-writing piece for #book2…

Jails are not the places where you make friends. You make acquaintances. Or you make families. Well, you cant make families really but you become a family. You look out for each other, keep each other’s backs and if one of you fucks up, you excuse and continue to patronize. Don’t all families do that? Don’t the patriarchs patronize the awry ones and let them run amok?

Raunak did not realise this first time he was put up in a lockup. You cant blame him. He was all of 14 and thus too young to know of the worldly ways. And he was put in a lockup in direct line of sight of the station incharge. That one tiny mercy, more of an oversight by an orderly, of not locking him up in the darker parts of the jailhouse is what probably kept Raunak alive.

The next time he was sent to jail, he was not as lucky. But then he was neither young nor inexperienced the second time around. At 21, he was a full-blown man and he had survived in the slums of Delhi. These slums are nothing like the ones dotted large cities. In Delhi, each day is a battle to survive, and the “tu jaanta nahi mera baap kaun hai” attitude coupled with inherited bravado makes fatal fights as commonplace as a cow shitting on the road.

The first time Raunak saw a fight where someone was killed was next to a thela where he was having his lunch at. Two boys, not much younger than him were exchanging blows. One held onto a piece of rock and the other was using a metal plate that he had somehow snatched from the thela that Raunak was having his lunch at. The blood was flying off in all directions and the thelawala continued to whip rotis and curries with the indifference and nonchalance of someone that’s been around too long. If he did look up to the fight, it was to check if he could still reuse his plate once one of the kids had died.

This very fight almost got Raunak his second ticket to jail, if not for the thelawala. The boy that clutched onto the stone had died and when Raunak tried to intervene, the thelawala stopped him in his tracks with a knife to his neck. Raunak could not comprehend the swift transformation of a gentle road-side ordinary cook into a mercenary wielding a knife. He told Raunak plainly that in these slums, people settle their matters. Raunak asked him with his eyes that if people are to be left alone, why is the thelawala stopping Raunak from breaking the fight.

Raunak had to intervene though. There was no way he was not going to. He asked the thelawala to allow him to save the young boy from dying. Thelawala was unrelenting. Raunak had to intervene and he found trapped himself between his ethos and the knife to his neck.

Damn. Not happy with how this has come out. Need to work harder. Tomorrow! For the time being, lemme talk about what I was trying to do here. It is this – I was trying to establish Raunak’s character as a toughie that stands on the side of the right. The right that you believe in and what I believe in is different. Raunak is my attempt at creating an alter-ego and establish a character that stands for what I think is right. I must say that I have another character in the book that stands for the other right. Someone who’s my anti-thesis. And Raunak’s. Hope I can get that going.

Time to get out and get going.

Fuck this took almost two hours to write. Started at 1030 or so. It’s 1210 as I am hitting the publish button. Need to wake up early from tomorrow on.


PS: When I say sin, I am not the one to qualify those as sins. I am merely going by the traditional definitions of sins that I’ve read while growing up.

080121 – Morning Pages

Among other inane updates (about life, time, writing, work et al), I finally get started with writing book2. With a tiny paragraph. Yay!

8:34 AM

Woke up some time back. At Rajesh Sir’s place. Came back after spending two long days and a night at a hotel. For some reason, it felt like coming back home. Home this has been for over a month now. I have seen the quirks that a place offers. I have started to remember what buttons switch on the fan or the lights. I now can reach em in the dark. I remember I saw Naseer Sir do that in his living room when I met him a couple of times for a film that I was hoping to have him feature in. Damn, that was the closest I was being a Bollywood celeb. Anyhow.

As I was writing this, I realized that it is the 8th of January. Of 2021. Time is flying like crazy and I seem to be chasing it. Perpetually. All the time. Of course, not ranting but that’s how it is.

So, yesterday, I decided that I would write a para for book2 on these morning pages each day. That’s the only way I will get something done. So here I am. Para 1 for book2. I call it FreeWriting. I don’t think about the story or the character or anything like that. I just start typing whatever comes to my head and then see where it goes. No edits. No filters. No judgments.

Here we go…

Book2 – FreeWriting

The first thing I noticed about him was his firm handshake. You did not expect a man that looked 70 to have that. At that age, you should be counting your days and not trying to pick 20-year old girls at your neighborhood bars. Nonetheless, he was. He clearly couldn’t walk straight even before he came in and once he was there, he guzzled I don’t know how many beers. Each time I served him a can, the grip seemed to get stronger, the hand seemed to linger a tad longer, the eyes seemed to water more. I have been bartending for a while and I could handle ten such men without batting an eye. This time, however, I was not sure. I was clearly not attracted to him. I wanted a man in his 40s. A man who knew his words and had the gift of the gab and can outdo me in a drinking bout. That. Someone like Chintan.

Even though Chintan’s been here for more than a month now, I haven’t been able to figure him out. It is not tough for me to do so. Men are predictable like that. Not him. All this one wants is his one Gin and Tonic for the night and I don’t know how many glasses of water. So much so that Mrs. Gomes has asked me to put a couple of bottles of water next to him. Which I promptly did. I wasn’t going to miss any excuses to linger around him. Basant would laugh at me all the time. As per her, these were all juvenile attempts at getting attention from a man almost twice my age. Fuck with what Basant thought. I liked Chintan and I’d like to be around him as much as I can. Even if he’s lost in his papers all the time. He does need a refill of his water bottle. He does walk across the courtyard to use the loo.


Ok, that was tough. Hope tomorrow’s paragraph is easier to write.

So that. Phew.

While writing, I realized that I such with could and can and had and has and so and so forth. Must study grammar.

I also realized that I love it when I am writing or editing. I am not sure if that could be a vocation – I am not the best, to be honest. I recently started working on an idea that is making me talk to young content writers and I am amazed at their ability to craft words into narratives that you don’t want to stop reading! It is humbling and it is inspiring. I mean there is this kid from Calcutta and if you read what she writes, you would want to adopt her! Ok, I am probably being patronizing here and drifting away from the agenda. Lemme make a final point before I move on. If you are talented and you know it, it’s criminal that you do not work hard to hone your skills and sharpen your craft and deliver things that spread joy. It is your moral obligation to work on it. May be I need to double-down on writing? I mean writing does give me joy but I know that I suck at getting an audience that is willing to pay. #tnks hardly sold any copies. SoG had to be discontinued for lack of response. The blog I’ve been writing for 16 years now hardly gets any readers. I have easily given in more than 10000 hours of focussed attention to the craft of writing and yet I am far from seeing commercial sustainability from what I do. If I had infinite time, I would probably belt out a Shakespeare. But time’s something I don’t have. I am almost dead in the world full of bright, energetic, action-oriented 20-year olds.

See that’s the point.

Our lives are so short that you spend decades learning a discipline and when you know enough to start contributing, you are half-dead. And for people like me that want to do multiple things, one lifetime is not enough. It plain sucks that we can’t stop time. We are all sitting atop a ticking time bomb that will go off someday. And to make matters worse, we don’t know when this bomb will go off. There is no timer. For most, it goes off unannounced. Poor souls.

For some lucky ones, the bomb gives you a warning and often gives you time to get your affairs in order. You can say your goodbyes, lament the potential you were sitting on, think about the time you could’ve used better to do more things to make life better and easy for others. When I go, I really really want to have a warning. In fact, I am thinking I will put affairs in order by Jan 1, 2026 and disappear. For the ones that care for me (if there are any left by then), I’d be gone. I’d give them closure. I’d not appear again. And then treat each minute here as a bonus.

Sounds like a cool idea. I already have a will, in case the bomb goes off without a warning. But if I can disappear by 2026, I would be 44-45 or something and I would have some useful years left and that would be a great place to do it. May be I will walk into the woods?

And with this, over and out. See you guys on the other side.


PS: Just realized, I spend more than 10 hours a day on my phone. I need to stop with that. May be that’s one of the reasons that I am perpetually short of time? Today on, I will try to stay away from it. Let’s see how the experiment goes. And, expect a delay in replies.

PPS: I think this is what morning pages ought to be. Reflection, ideas, thoughts. I need to talk to myself about things that I am thinking about and allow those to crystallize. And then act on those. And talk about how those actions have helped. Let’s see.

070121 – Morning Pages

I talk about life at a hotel, things I want to do in life and living in Goa.

Hello hello!

Quite a few things on my mind. I will talk about each of those and this post would thus become a list of haphazard thoughts without a connecting theme or idea per se. So, will divide into sections.

Wait. Is this what Morning Pages supposed to be? This is becoming a journal and a very public one at that (which is ok, I am not worried about having my thoughts out there in the open – I like the idea of Living in Public). I need to nudge towards deep reflections, ideas, lessons et al. Not rants. Maybe in a few days I would reach there.

Anyhow. Post for the day.

So yesterday was probably the worst day of 2021 – physically, mentally, emotionally, and in every other lly that you may imagine. I had way too many carbs (I had Biryani, Rissotto, Pizza, Cookies and I don’t know what else). I had like 5 cans of Diet Coke. So much so that the gums are swollen. I spent more money yesterday than I have spent in a day in months. On a hunch, I stood on a weighing machine in a hotel room. I am disappointed that I am still 85+ KGs despite eating clean(er) for more than a month and hoping in my head that I am eating clean. Someone I trust more than my life fucked me over. For a simple thing. And they were unapologetic about it. I am running behind schedule on each project that I have undertaken. I know I lag at times, the curse of doing so many things but this time I am really behind projects. To a point that I need a month to cover the backlog! Of course, I have a lot to blame. Starting with myself. Internet second. I mean I did not even write yesterday’s morning pages as the first thing. I wrote it around 11. Then throughout the day, I had this headache that literally killed me. I wanted to kill myself. I know why patients that have terminal pain want to move on. I had to alternate between catnaps, food, and coffee to even breathe. I am ok right now. I don’t know what caused it to be honest. Plus I had a million calls on top of that that I could not avoid. And I dont really crib about health when am on work calls – so I had to fake and I tried hard. I am sure they would have seen that I was slacking. Arrrghh.

Ok. Enough.

Let’s talk of good things now. So Nikhil is here for a recce. And he invited me to stay with him and talk shop. As I write this, I am sitting at a comfortable cafe on the beachside to the following view…

So this bit is nice. I like the idea of comfortable seating while I work. And with some sort of open expanse around me. Like this one.

No, I am not helping him with his work even though I am itching to. The event is his baby and my unsolicited opinions may not be welcome. I miss the time when I would do such large events and talk to multiple people and control the show. I miss Dipanker by my side in the hotel room and on the console. I miss yelling at Paras to get his ass moving. Sigh. Kya din they. I think I may become whatever – marketer, podcaster, writer, investor, publisher – my heart would always be in an event. Or as Shikha as increasingly made me realize, on a film set. I like the organized chaos, the uncertainty, the rush. May be I need to deliver my dent in the world via other people while I am shouting orders around an event? Fuck! Writing this is making me happy and nice in the head. How would it be to actually do something like that again!

Lets see when that happens.

Come on, Universe!

In fact, I think I miss the feeling of being in hotels. Even though hotels are the most impersonal, fake, and obnoxious places in the world, I like the idea of hotels. To a point that I want to live in forever. I anyway have sort of made my mind about letting go of everything I own (including the guitar and the books – two of the most prized possessions that I have. I am still undecided about all the notes that I have made. May be I can digitize those?). I can totally live out of a suitcase for the rest of my life.

So yeah, hotels.

As I type this, the screen of my MacBook Air literally fell off on me. The machine is now almost 5 years now and I need to get a new one. The thing with Goa is that the one I want to buy (M1 Air) is not available here. Plus even if it were to buy, I want to buy it only from a Croma (I have some points that I want to use, you see). I have to get a new one. Before this one conks off on me and I am left without an option! Maybe I’ll make a trip to Mumbai? Spend 10-12K on travel to save 50K odd that I would if I bought from Croma? It’s funny the kind of decisions I am left to make ūüėÄ

Talking of decisions, I have now been in Goa for more than a month now. I need to start thinking about work and come to a decision. I have two thought starters. Here are they…

A. I need to have the capital to survive (and invest in all the ideas that I am putting money behind) till this patch is around. Can I make that from Goa? As of today, looks tough. Can I make it from Goa in the long run? Definitely yes. How do I navigate this short-term to long-term? I don’t know yet.

B. I need to make an impact at a large scale. Wherever I am in life, I don’t see that happening. I don’t know what to do about it. I know I can say that I am taking a break (induced by COVID) but then age does not take a break.

So yeah. This is more of a dialogue with self as of now. At some point, it will crystalize into something concrete. Let’s see when.

The last thing for the day.

The day before I decided that on each morning page, I would write a para from #book2. These paras may or may not make it to the final edit but I would write. But I would at least get in the habit of writing (and thus thinking – I think by writing). I haven’t been able to do so. Maybe will start from today (not right now, later in the day, can edit the post or make another one once I have delivered things that I need to work on). There’s just too much hangover of shit that happened yesterday. Hope today is better. For me. For you. For the rest of the world.

See you guys tom!

060121 – Morning Pages

I missed writing a piece in the morning. Here is an attempt to cover up.

11:05 AM

I am late for this one. Bummer.

And this is not the first thing I am doing today. Bummer.

So I am writing this at 11 AM from a hotel room. Been a while since I stayed at one. This one is in Goa and am with a friend who’s here to manage a wedding. Yeah, events business is back! The world has more covidiots than I imagined.

And as I write this, I have to admit, I miss being in hotels even if they are the most impersonal places in the whole world.

Anyhow, so, today is the first day since I missed the morning pages, since I started a few weeks ago. Wow! Been few weeks!

Which is ok.

I have learnt to prioritise things and this was more or less impossible. So I am ok.

So to come to this hotel, I had a long cab ride (about an hour and half long; this hotel is in South Goa) and while in cab I realised that I love seeing the empty roads and the rising run and life puttering to, well, life. And this is what I probably miss about life in Mumbai when I am not there.

Lemme explain.

At Mumbai, I wake up and in the next 30 minutes, I am out of the house. Even if I am up by 5 AM. I am then either walking to the nearest Starbucks or I am on my way to whatever meeting I have planned for the day.

So, I essentially see the city come to life.

I like new things taking shape. I like new beginnings. I like when I see people doing new things with life.

This is what I miss when I am in Delhi. I am at home and thus after I wake up, I have nothing to do but stare down from the balcony. At Goa, I wake up and I look at the trees that hide the rising sun and the sun tries to peak through. I then write my morning pages before I even take a dump.

And at both places, by the time I am done and I am out in the world, its like mid-day and life is all around us. I miss the beginning. I don’t see it springing out. And I don’t get to feed of the energy of the world coming to life.

Maybe I need to add a morning walk to my routine? But I don’t like the fuckery of sweat, shit and shower after that. When I am in Mumbai, this morning walk to the Starbucks worked perfectly alright. Maybe I need to find a location like that in Goa that opens early and allows me to work for a bit?

So yeah, that.

The other thing that happened is that I got to talk to a native Goan about what he thinks about people coming to Goa and making it their home. The guy was so full of angst that I did not know how to tame it (in general, am able to manage most such people). He was sore about all the tourists that come for a few days, all the people that come for long-stays, all the ones that are even thinking about spending anytime in Goa at all. He had valid things to so – people leave filth and dirt behind, people spoil the ecology, people are disrespectful.

But he missed two large points IMHO. A, what about all the money that flows into Goa because of these immigrants (permanent or temporary). And B, who is he to say that Goa is his home? Agreed he was born here and his parents bought some land. But they would have come to Goa from some place for sure. What if the natives at that time did not approve of them being immigrants?

Of course, I am just about a month old here and not informed at all about such issues. I am trying hard and I hope at some point, I get enough wisdom to either accept or rebuke such arguments. And I am definitely no one to pass judgements. But I do think that his opinions are misplaced and he’s fighting a battle that he would lose for sure.

What do you guys think? Is he right? Are my arguments ok? Help me make a thesis please?

And with that, over and out. More tomorrow.