Day 6. 161220

On day 6 of my daily morning pages, I write about how poker could be a career for me. And how it may not be! And ofcourse I rant a bit!

16th December. More than half of December is gone. Also, 10 days since I’ve moved to Goa. Probably the longest I have been away from Delhi or Mumbai without any work / agenda. I do have a sense of how this is going (not good, to save you suspense) and I do know how to fix this (get a better Internet connection, fix a schedule, a public space that has 24×7 access, etc) and I will if I know that this is where my base is going to be. PS: I miss this 24X7 bit more than I miss anything else in the world, btw.

But as I write this, at 6:23 AM in the morning and funnily, work and base are not the first things on my mind. I am increasingly thinking about ideas and I am itching to start executing one. I wish I was paid to think of ideas.

I think it’s an outcome of people finding out that am in Goa and then assuming that I am working on my next book (which is based in Goa) and asking me the same question. In fact, at least three people asked me about the book just yesterday (Daku, Kamat, and Aka). High time I get going. If only I can find the time. I think I will have to make time (and not find the time), if I need to get the book out.

Like I said, I don’t have thoughts about any one particular project but about something. Something that I can do and kickstart. It’s been a few months since I did something new. I guess this is what happens when you get bored and the ennui induced by the day to day living makes you restless.

So yeah. That. Apart from this, I don’t know what to write. The heads got a million thoughts but I don’t know what to write. I want to quit this post here but JC says you need to write three pages (or 30 minutes in my world), I will write till it’s 7 AM.

Let’s see what’s been clouding my head. I have to deliver a few presentations today. Each will take me 2-3 hours to deliver. So that. I need to finish editing a book. That will take a few more hours. I may get to play poker in the evening. Not sure though. Poker needs at least 5 players and it’s often tough to find people that like that game like I do, even though I am lousy at it.

In fact, poker could be a thing that I can talk about. Poker is probably as perfect a game as they have invented. There is luck, there is skill. Even with lousy cards, with some skill (bluffing, reading people et al), you can do well. I think Poker could be my sustainable vocation. Just that the learning curve is steep and I need to put in some 10000 hours (or play a million hands) to build a mental repository. It is much like chess. You build a repository and you can play from experience. The difference is that chess is more or less a finite game where each move can eventually lead to a certain conclusion (and thus computers have beaten humans), poker is not.

Poker requires patience. It requires a bankroll (that you can build up with time. Random trivia – I have a record of more or less every poker game I have played since 2012 and numbers tell me that I not a good player).

Poker is excitement. The adrenaline that you get after you win a tough hand? Wow. The validation of getting out of a tough spot? That. The feeling of achievement after you have won? Yes! Tangible results? Of course!

It has everything that I want.

Sense of achievement. After all the results are tangible. With books, films, they are not. You are left guessing about what you’ve written.

Ability to travel the world (COVID-19 withstanding). There are probably as many casinos as there are rich, touristy destinations.

Opportunity to meet interesting people (most poker players have interesting lives, the kinds that make interesting stories).

Better with age. Rather than sports like Tennis and Chess, you get better with time (till a point, of course).

There are a few things missing as well. Here’s a list.

No impact. Even if I become a Kid Poker, I wouldn’t be able to make an impact. May be I will if I go the Chamath or Jason way.

No scale. It’s a solitary game. How do I create a community? How do I do things at scale?

No physical effort. Apart from being able to sit at the chair for long.

I am sure there are more things that I can write on both how poker has everything I want and what is missing. But the point is, it sounds like a thing that I could easily do for a living! Just that I need to make a commitment and then not move from it for 3 years.

Wish I had the means to do so! Damn them means. Have chased means all my life and I am losing the race and I can see that. And I can’t find a way out. If not for friends and family, I wouldn’t know what to do. This Goa trip has been made possible only because Rajesh was kind to give me his house. Nupura was kind to chaperone me. My parents were kind to not frown on my decision to stay away. My sis was kind to fund the last few months (and probably a few more). If not for all this kindness, I wouldn’t know where I’d be.

So yeah. That.

Oh, the thing for the day? Rather than lamenting about lack of means, I am grateful for the abundance of this kindness. Lol, I sound like a Buddhist monk but heck yeah! That’s how it is! That’s that! I am grateful that I can make my fingers dance on this keyboard and express myself. To the void. Or to the world at large. Or may be, to myself!

With this, over and out!

Day 5. 151220

Day 5 of Morning Pages. In this one I talk about it’s started to become a habit and how I was looking forward to write when I woke up.

I did something different today. When I woke up, I did not directly start thinking about the morning pages. But got to work and finished some tasks that have been pending since yesterday. I normally do not leave tasks open but since I do not have internet here, it becomes tough to get things done. And no, things I do can not be done without the internet. The only way I have is to use a connection tethered to the phone. And that too is a pain!

As a result, I am missing out on deadlines, productivity is getting hit like mad and I am in general listless. Yeah yeah. I am that attached to the Internet.

Plus since I don’t have the phone in general either (again, the signals are shit), I cant do a lot of other work that can be done on just the phone

So that.

Sounds like a rant but more of a frustrated comment than anything else.

Coming to the morning pages. Today is day 5 and a funny thing happened. While I was on the bed, drifting towards sleep, I realized that I was thinking about what would I write in the pages when I wake up. I was actually excited about this! Wow! Maybe it’s the excitement of a new project, may be its my way of getting to talk about personal things to someone (something), or may be it’s just that love of seeing my fingers dance on the keyboard! Whatever it is, as a writer, it is good for me! Yay!

The thing that I am worried about though is that these morning pages do not become a blog. In fact, as I write this, I no longer know what is my blog (that I have been religiously writing since 2004) or what is a journal (that I have written intermittently over the years), what is my website (again that has more text than anything else) or what is my public portfolio. Lately, as I have started to interact with more people that are not from a similar background as me, I have come to realize that it’s super tough for me to describe who I am and what I do. Harshit does it really well when he says he’s the happiest man ever. His thoughts have become his identity. Shikha does it well when she says that she’s a filmmaker and runs a film community. Her ambition and her work has become her identity. Sonali may say that she’s an aspiring artist. Her aspiration is her identity. Nupura says she’s an ex-event manager hoping to get active in the cultural space. Her work is her identity. Rajat says he’s a storyteller and wants to be happy. His thoughts are his identity. Heck, Jason Statham says that he’s a transporter. Wow to that!

Coming to self, in my case, I don’t know what is my identity.

Thing is, I don’t have a singular thing that I do. I don’t have a singular ambition. I am motivated to make the world a better place. And make an impact. And live in abundance. I don’t know if any of these could be my identity. Or a conversation starter. Or something that allows others to place me. Slot me.

I am unable to find one thread that binds them all.

Am I a storyteller? Isn’t storytelling an oft-abused word now? They say there are as many stories as there are people. Am I a people-connector? Do I represent an opportunity? Am I someone that gets things done? Do I inspire? Do I make others entrepreneurs? Some people have called me a life coach (I know life coaching works and I’ve friends that are life coaches but I hate this term). Do I teach others how to live better? Wait. Do I live well myself? Lol!

Funny that this note has become a dialogue with self. Funnier that am ok to put these rants on paper and share with the world. Well, not share per se. But talk about these on the public domain.

Coming back. Morning pages. I like them so far. My identity. I don’t have an answer but I would love to find it. My writing. I know I need to get more active with the output. Book 2 is stuck for I don’t know why or how. I can’t write short stories for life. I have been thinking about writing stories of interesting people that are settled in Goa. Thanks to Nupura and Nikhil, have bumped into numerous interesting people already/. Maybe need to act on it.

Let’s see when. Right now, there’s a lot that needs to be done on the book am editing and the consulting gig that I am on. If I only had a stable internet connection, I would have pulled off things easy. Ok, back to ranting. I promised Vivek and Vanita that I would not. I think I am not. I am merely expressing shit in my head ;P

Ya right!

So yeah that’s that.

Over and out for the day. See you guys tomorrow.

Day 4. 141220.

In this one, I talk about my #lifeGoal of telling stories of fascinating, non-celebrity people that we often miss.

Yo Morning Pages.
Day 4.
7 AM.
I woke up about 30 minutes ago and unlike when I was younger and I could wake up and jump into action the next second, it has taken me almost 30 minutes to reach a point that I can type this. Old age sucks!

Anyhow. So the thing that I am thinking of since last evening is that there are so so many interesting people in the world and I need a way to be a magnet to those. I mean some people enjoy getting drunk and getting lost in the reverie induced by alcohol. Some like the idea of eating the most exquisite things that they can put on the plate. Some like to merely showoff the company they keep. In my case, what excites me is the opportunity to talk to people that are, well, interesting.

Interesting is an interesting word. I don’t have a definition for this. Just that these people are the ones that are different from the inside. When you look at them, they could be the most regular ones that you may ever know – you know, look and feel like regular people with boring clothes, drab jobs, sleepy routines. But they have stories that remain untold most times. Not for the want of storytellers or the occasions to tell those stories. But because these stories don’t travel far and wide!

And why don’t these travel?

Well, first, these stories are often told in closed circles. I mean why would a banker who retired at 40 tell the world about how he fleeced his bank and amassed a fortune that has allowed him to make a home at Goa.

Second these stories are told to people that are not natural storytellers. No, I am not saying I am one.

Just that stories need to be passed on.
And they are!
But mostly orally. Sometimes, in written shape. Rarely on film.

They have to be passed on, lest they get killed. I suspect that more stories get killed for the lack of a medium than anything else.

Side note. I think my work at Podium and as a writer could be to tell these stories. These stories, if told well, could inspire the listeners, readers, and others. These stories could make the Kumbhkaran wake from his slumber. You know people like Humans of NY and all that? They tell stories of non-fancy people and ensure those are archived for posterity and all that. And in doing so, they allow the world at large to hear these stories and get inspired and probably ink their own!

That!

I’ve often lamented that I would like to inspire the world. I want to make them see their potential. I want to make those people look forward to their lives, even though life may be meaningless in the grand scheme of things. But I want to. I want to stand for opportunity. And I thought that that the easiest way to do so could be the role model that they could look up to. You know, if Saurabh can, why can’t I kinds?

The trouble of course is that I need to do well for myself. And I know I have tried and failed at it. Multiple times. So not sure.

But, what I can do is, gather these stories. Tell them. And try to send them to more places in the world than the micro-plastic particles have reached. You know, to the deepest trenches in the ocean and the highest point in our atmosphere!

Ok, coming back to why these stories don’t travel, the third reason is all the social media and content revolution clutter. Everyone has discovered the power of a search engine and storyfying what they do. They even say that any company that needs to survive in the times to come has to tell their story more than they hawk their wares. And this means that there are more stories than people. And often these stories are made-up, uninteresting, car-salesmen-ly and more. And in all this noise, the signal gets lost! So that!

Next, I think telling a good story takes a heck of a lot of time. And that means you can only tell so many. I mean if I could meet one interesting person daily, even then I won’t be able to tell a million stories. Ok, not a million. Let’s say 100. Let’s say I want to tell a hundred fascinating stories of people that are seemingly commonplace, how much time would I take? I am guessing I would need atleast 3 years to do so if I do it full-time and with all earnestness.

Do I have the luxury of 3 years? I don’t know.
Do I want to tell these 100 stories? HELL YEAH! Why 100? I’d love to tell a thou, a lakh, a million. Tell so many of these that when people are seeking inspiration, they just hop onto these stories and they go back inspired! No, I am not talking inspiration in the TED Talks inspiration manner where they share ideas. I am talking about humanizing people and talk about our frailty, our perseverance, our grit, our most irrational actions, most “immoral” thoughts, things that chase convention. Things that need to be told and heard and all that.

How do I even get started?
May be by taking up the challenge to tell stories of the 100 most interesting people I know?

What do you think?

– SG
14 Dec 2020
Baga, Goa

PS, when I did a grammar check on Grammarly, it told me that I was sounding worried! Lol!

Day 3. 13 Dec 2020.

Third day of writing Morning Pages. Not happy with the output and thus not sure if I want anyone to read this.

The third day of doing morning pages. The third day of not knowing what to write but dumping my thoughts. Lemme try and write about yesterday. So it was going to be a day of break where I do not work and just meet others. I had lined up a few meetings with some new people. It started fine with me reading Julia’s book a bit. A friend was to come pick me up but she got stuck and I was left without a ride. Or a plan. Then she arranged for someone else to pick me. But that car broke as well! Beat it!

Had to help fix these two cars. Which is ok.
Had to cancel the meetings. Which is not ok.

Was so fried with the day that I just went back and slept and canceled on dinner plans with some people.

What I did do, while I was helping to fix these cars, is to realize that life in Goa is not the kind that you imagine from books and films and all. You expect an idyllic house with lakes and trees and a gentle breeze and all that. But the actual houses are literally teeming with wildlife and in per square inch of space, there are more insects and crawlers than you have hair in the densest part of your brain. Another friend had told me about this but I had discarded that when I first heard. I thought he was exaggerating. But when I saw it in real life, I knew he wasn’t. May be I am not made for retiring in such semi-commercial places?

Anyhow retirement is like 100 years away. Let’s see where I end up when that happens.

In terms of work, of course, I did not do anything because I was not supposed to work. And that is the second thing that is clouding my head. I need to see action. I need to things moving. I need to see progress. And since I did not work, I do not have that.

The other thing that I realized is that I am dependant on my laptop to get things done. Or even to give myself even a notion that I have worked. The day I don’t spend time on my laptop, I feel I have wasted that day. Of course, I may not have. But the notion needs to change! I need to break from that habit and get more involved with mobile devices.


So this is what Julia means when she says that your morning pages would resemble shit! I mean I was glancing through this and I realized that most things I’ve written here are useless and I can not see how these would aid my creativity. However, like all new endeavors, I am willing to carry on and let’s see where it goes.

Today was day 3. Will do 30 at least and see where I end up. Just that this is becoming a journal and while journals help people get back their sanity, not sure if this is for me.

Day 2 of Morning Pages.

Day 2 of unfiltered stream of thoughts on how I spent yesterday. And whatever is cluttering my head as I plan for the day ahead.

Hello, I have this slight headache. I think it is because I did not get good sleep. I think it’s a result of the heady cocktail of too much coffee, too much coke (not Diet but regular), too many thoughts, and too little rest. But I think I will be ok. I always get ok. I just need to get going and the humdrum of the day gets me going and I tend to get back to action.

Since this is day2 of the morning pages bit, I am not sure what to write about, lemme talk about how day 1 was, things I did, things I thought about and what did I learn from it.

Board Games. I played this game called Risk yesterday with some people. While the game is fun and I am not sure I would play it again, the lesson was that you can observe a lot about people while they are playing these games.

I knew that how you conduct yourself on a Poker table tells you about how you are as a human being. You may or may not get to play Poker with everyone but you can invite even strangers for board games. And the way they play these games, you could look at serious, long-term decisions like hiring or partnering with them!

While playing the game, you realize who’s gonna cheat, who hates to lose to a point of being unethical, who all are trustworthy, who behaves when they’re being their primal self, and so on and so forth.

COVID. A very good friend got COVID. One of those people that I actually care about. I hope he recovers. He doesn’t know how he got it. And he is one of the cautious ones. I read someplace that at some point in time all of us would get it. We just need to ensure our immunity is good. So that!

Hand of God. For no reason, someone sent me some money that I could use to do something that I have been putting off for a while. Also this some money from someone to do things that I have been putting for a while vicious circle needs to stop! I don’t know the way out but it has to. More on this on EchoChamber.

Chota Hustler. This coworking space in Goa that I work from, they have this guy that’s like a car-salesman kinda hustler. You know, the ones that would goad you into taking a decision that you did not know even know you had to take. The guy’s on the phone all the time and is selling I don’t know what to I don’t know who all. I’d probably know is a few days. Also, I think I need to up the ante on people watching thingy that I so enjoy.

Workout. One of the agendas that I had for this Goa trip was to get fit. I have been here for almost a week now and all I have done is eat crap, sleep in bad posture, work (a lot – really!), and no workout. Even though on the second day here I promptly went to a Decathlon and bought a running tee, a phone holder, and whatnot. Oh, and I have been to the beach a total of 2 times even though I live a 3-minute walk from it.

The thing is, when you think that you’d live and work in Goa, life does slow down (you are not traveling for any meetings – this intra-city travel is what speeds up time I think) but that thought that you have in your head about the charming sunsets and beaches and runs and food and parties and people? Well, at least I did not see it.

I know I know, the Instagram stories narrate a different tale. A close friend and wife are in Goa as we speak and if you see his Insta stories, I kid you not, you would question your existence. Another friend is here and all her stories are all full of poets and muses and people playing guitar, dancing, bonfires, and whatnot. Then a work colleague is also here and his Instagram is full of food that’s been plate like it was a jewel. May be it was. May be people love food so much?

The other thing that is not been happening for me since I have come to Goa is that I have stopped being social on Twitter and Linkedin and all that. These have been a large part of my life and I need to figure out how to get back. I think once I solve the internet issue, I will be ok (I am staying at a mentor’s house and there’s no Internet. And the mobile phone connection that I tether to is slow af).

Oh, I have to talk about dogs. Goa has more strays than it has people. And it’s scary. And it’s unsettling. And it is not fun. I have been barked at, growled at, chased down, stared down at in anger, and whatnot. Since these are strays, I am sure these are not neutralized or something. I think I need to get a proactive Rabbies injection or something. May be I will. Assuming there is someone that actually does some work here, apart from the ones that do not belong here.

That’s the second ‘other thing’ for the post. Most small businesses here complain that the locals do not work. They can but they don’t want to. And the ones that are not from here slog their ass off! And as a result, they are in demand, and locals are left in the lurch. And why would they not be? Free markets reward efficiency! Similar to what I hear about in Mumbai. I don’t know the solution but I would like to fix this if I can. It’s a tough problem to bang your heads on. You need to know psychology, vested interests, education, behavior change, long-term thinking, identity, money, and what not.

I also narrated a character of #book2 to a few friends yesterday. They seemed to like it. This probably is the cue that I need to get started with it? May be. You know, the invisible hand!

The last thing am thinking about before I move on to the next thing for the day is, personal brand for Saurabh Garg. I have been thinking a lot about it and I need to figure it out and move on it. Do I get authentic (these posts are a step in the direction)? Do I get all serious and post only long-form articles that has helped establish people as experts in their fields. Wait, what field do I even belong to? I met another friend-mentor day before yesterday (wow, time flies!) and he asked me to define myself and I had no clue what I stood for! I could talk about all that I’ve done and all I want to but it did not make for a convincing story. Need to work on that. May be will add to the agenda of this Goa trip, for whenever it ends!

With that, its over and out.

Like I said yesterday, please ignore the typos.

And in case you are reading this and you have any thoughts / ideas about any of these things that I spoke about, please do let me know.

Over an out!

PS: Can I add some photos to these pieces? May be. May be not. Let’s see what I decide.