Morning Pages – 201220

In today’s morning pages, I talk about how I miss my routine and a Starbucks outlet as I start getting comfortable in Goa.

Hello Morning Pages!

I slept late last night. About 3 if I am not wrong. And as I write this, its not even 9. I am back to those ways where I would sleep and wake up at ungodly hours and I would be perpetually devoid of sleep and I would have unhealthy food and drinks to make up for the loss in cognition caused by all this erratic sleeping. It sucks. And I need to get out of this.

I think the best way to snap out of this is to get back into a routine. I am probably the biggest creature of routine ever. I do my best work once I know where I am supposed to be at certain times. I am a Type A creature where I want to have control over things. I don’t like depending on others. When the lockdown happened, I was reasonably sure that I would be able to get the book out, write like a MoFo, get fit and I don’t know what. I could not do a single thing. While it’s my laziness to blame, the deeper reason, I think, is the lack of routine.

Of course, I could have created a routine while I was locked down. In fact, it would have been the easiest – there was nothing to disturb me, you know. But I could not. and I think a large reason is that I did not have anywhere to go to. Ok, lemme park this here. Let’s call this A.

So, the point is, I need to get back into a routine. Of course the routine I had in Mumbai and the one I had in Delhi and the one I will try and create in Goa are all going to be different. But that’s ok. As long as there is a predictable routine I follow, all’s cool.

As I think about this, this disruption in routine has been caused by two things – lack of Internet and, believe it or not, lack of Starbucks. Lemme park this as well. Let’s call this B.

While writing this, I realized that I have now been away from Mumbai for almost 45 days. Do I miss Mumbai? I am not sure. But I do miss a few things – My routine for starters. And then, Starbucks. And the sight of others rushing around all the time, at all the places to God knows where. And of course. M.

Lemme talk about each.

M. Not that I meet her every day. Heck, I don’t meet her even once a month and when I do so, I am with her, its with a million people around and for like 10 seconds. Of course, if I met her by myself, I’d get bored in 7 seconds. She’d get bored in 3. Anyhow. Rant. Point is, I miss the thought that I can call S / V and hop over to their house to see her putter around. Now I can’t.

The other thing that I miss? The other lady love of my life. Siren!

What is it that I miss about her and her home? Lemme try and put it on paper. So while a Starbucks outlet is different on different days (Baristas change, people change, the mood of the day changes), it remains the same. Here’s how. The “ritual” they’ve created that you use to order coffee is the same. The regular “kind of” patrons that go to each outlet remains the same (Powai has Startups, Bandra has rich kids, BKC has bankers, Lokhandwala has aspiring actors, Infiniti has writers, etc). Even though each outlet has a different decor and layout, the place is familiar with the brown and green, and grey colors. The people that work there are different but the experience they offer (the way they greet, the way they talk, the way they conduct) remains the same. I don’t know how they train people but they are probably the best set of people in the hospitality business that I have come across. No, the hotels don’t stand a chance. Hotels are fake. More on this some other day. Just realised. Such a powerful message on building experience-led brands. Can go as a post on Marketing Connect / Linkedin. May be.

So yeah. Routine. And coming back to A and B, the thing is, I need to have a routine if I want to do my best work. I need to “step out” from where I sleep at. And I need to get to a place that offers me things in just the right manner (wifi, table, and chairs, yellow lights, ambient music, others hustling hard, etc). I need a cafe, a co-working space, a Starbucks, if you will.

I know this sounds like an extravagent and irratioanl quirk of someone who is probably away from reality and is merely pounding on the keyabord to put some point across. May be. May be not. But I guess that’s all we are. Our quirks. Our whims.

No?

Research for #book2, meeting with artists in Goa

As I research about characters and the plot for my next book, here’s an invitation (and a request for help) to the artsy folks based in Goa.

Hello!

So I am Saurabh Garg. More about me is on this page.

For this post, the relevant introduction would be that I wrote my first book, The Nidhi Kapoor Story (#tnks) in 2014. It is contemporary crime fiction, a whodunnit where a Bollywood actress, Nidhi Kapoor, is being tormented by a mystery stalker. There’s a cop, Prakash Mohile, that’s trying to solve the case. And there is this third character, Rujuta Singh, doing a photo-essay on Mumbai police and is tailing Prakash as he tries to solve the Nidhi Kapoor case.

The book was essentially an exploration of Panch Dosha (five universal afflictions that humans suffer from). More about the book is on www.tnks.in.

The Next Book, Caravan Serai

These days, I am working on my next book, tentatively titled The Caravan Serai. This one again is a crime-fiction and again has roots in a fundamental, philosophical human truth. This time, of the Navarasas.

There are 9 characters, each inspired by one of the Rasas and there are three parallel stories. Each character has an artistic bent (between the characters, I have a painter, a sculptor, a writer, a music composer, a filmmaker, etc.).

The parallel stories happen in 1600s, 1980s, and 2010. Each of the 9 characters is interlinked, even intertwined with each other, and has seeds planted across the timelines. Think hyperlink cinema. Oh, and each character has a coming of age story.

Binding all these is a treasure hunt, a land dispute and a murderer on prowl.

I know this is a lot and I know this may never see the light of the day (I have been trying to write this since 2014) but now that I am in Goa for a few days, why not start?

So here I am!

What do I need from artists in Goa?

Truth be told, I don’t know where to start. I don’t have a questionnaire per se. I just need to talk to people that call Goa home. People that are artistically inclined. You could be a writer, a singer, a painter, heck, even an Instagram influencer!

I want to talk to you and pick your brains about what makes you who you are. Why do you do the things you do. You know, get to know you and your work. Get to understand what ticks you. Get inspired by it. Get to know about your interesting life. And then write about it in my book. Make you the muse, if you will.

So yeah, that.

I like open-ended, meandering, flowing conversations. Think of me as your alter-ego as you talk to yourself about things that you talk to anyone freely about. Think of me as the fly on the wall as you ramble. Think of me as the voice in your head that you jam with as you go on a longish walk next to a flowy river.

In case you want, I can feed you with thought-starters. I can give you prompts. Here are some questions…

  • What makes a person quit everything and move to Goa and start chasing a vocation that does not guarantee success?
  • What are the greatest fears?
  • What inspires you?
  • What are some great misconceptions that the world has about artists?
  • Are all artists promiscuous?
  • Why do people think that all inspiration comes from drugs?
  • How do other artists help you with what you working on?
  • What about money?
  • What do you struggle with as an artist?

This is of course an indicative list. And by no means exhaustive. I just want to jam and learn.

So yeah. That. I guess you’ve got the drift.

What can I offer in return?

Definitely not money.

I know how this works. I am one. If I asked you to create something for me, I would pay. Right now, I am not expecting you to. All I want is about an hour of your time. And I am, of course, happy to pay for the coffee, beer, Gin etc.

Credit, if you’d like in the book. May even call the character with your name. And yes, I can keep whatever we talk confidential.

Oh, and in case you need some inputs on marketing, content, communication, etc. I am happy to volunteer my time for that. See my Linkedin profile for more about me.


So, that’s about it, I guess. Do let me know if you have any questions. Please do share this with others that you think could help me.

Thank You!

PS: I know you would wonder why would you talk to a stranger. I don’t have an answer. May be I can don the hat of the marketing consultant that I am by the day and help you with what you are working on? You know, ideation, jamming, marketing, community, etc?

PPS: Here is a list of key characters in the next book, in case. These are the ones that I want to write about. And I am researching about. These are not in any order.

  • A guru. A preacher who’s religion agnostic but draws inspiration from Hinduism, Christianity, and even Atheism. I know this is literally an impossible combo to look at. But still.
  • An out of work writer who’s researching on the history of how various religions evolved in Goa. Going way back to the time when the Portuguese first came in. And may be earlier. The writer was a news reporter at a point in time and has since quit.
  • An 80-year-old lady that runs a bar / hostel / cafe. She’s some 4th, 5th generation Goan and has been around since forever. The entire world respects her and there is not one person in her part of Goa that does not know her.
  • A taxi driver that ferries people around Goa. Been around for a while and thus knows his way. And knows all the shady things that happen around here. And knows his way around any sticky situation that you may imagine.
  • A traveling musician that has been around the world with his guitar. He’s been couch-surfing since it was still not even a phrase. He’s now been in Goa for a few years and speaks Konkani as well as he speaks English or French.
  • A management professional that’s burnt out and is now drifting through life. He never planned to be in Goa but such is life. Right? You don’t plan for things and they happen to you!

191220 – Morning Pages

Morning Pages for 191220. I talk about, well, Morning Pages. And how life is shaping up in Goa.

Hello, Morning Pages! Ssup!

I woke up with my head full of vague dreams about the person whose book am editing. I am that obsessed about it! Which is a good thing and a bad thing.

Staying with things, the thing with these morning pages is that this is becoming a journal, a blog of sorts. And if this is to become a blog, I already have one that I have been writing for so many years. Why would I want to have a blog at two places? And the echochamber that I have on Roam? And those notes I make

Anyhow. So morning pages. Today is the 9th day. And so far so good. In fact, I look forward to writing these. So much so that I am ok to not shower, not meditate, not work to make time for these. Yesterday I was really crunched for time and yet I ensured that I write something. I did not call Monu but I took the time to write about him. I am missing work deadlines because I want to write these. I am missing appointments cos I want to write this. HH is waiting for me and I am yet to even move my butt as I write these!

I think this is a good habit. It cleans the muck in your head. And for someone like who’s get a sewer line running, I need this!

So life in Goa seems to be finding normalcy. I have stopped being a tourist. I must write an ultimate guide for remote working in Goa. I have this co-working space that I go to around 930. Stay there till 6ish. And then come back. I will implement maker / manager as soon as I can.

There are some gaps that I need to find though. Here is a list.

A. Clay does not get a signal on the phone and I don’t know what to do about it. I can’t take calls and even if I have to take internet calls, I need to step out.

B. I like to work late in the night. And I need to thus find a place that I can sit at and work after I am back from coworking.

C. I also need to find time to adjust some sort of fitness regimen in somewhere. I had hoped and planned to run around but I think that’s not going to happen. I cant do it in the morning for sure. Evenings are unpredictable. During the day, with all the heat and humidity, its impossible.

D. I don’t know what to do about food. I am getting unhealthier and fatter by eating all the temporary shite.

E. I am spending a lot of money, to be honest on the co-working spaces and food and coffee and whatnot. Even though a lot of its being offset, thanks to Rajesh Sir’s house, it’s still a lot. I need to find a revenue source. Or maybe find a house that I design like an office and that allows me to work! May be in the new year. Let’s see.

F. I am not waking up early. In Mumbai, I was up by 6 AM and by 7 I was itching to go to a Starbucks! Here, I am in the bed till late. I need to change that. Lemme get some alarms ;P

So yeah, that’s about it for the time being. I know its not much. But that’s cool.

See you guys tomorrow.

181220 – Morning Pages

Morning Page for 18th Dec 2020. I talk about a friend, book2, general humdrum in Goa and a random rant.

This will be a tough one. A, I dont have time today. I slept late and there are a few things pending that I need to get done. B, I have to rush for a meeting. Lol. Rush. Meeting. Goa. C, I had thought I would write a page for #book2 in today’s morning pages. I may not be able to. D, I do have a lot to say today but I dont have time. It’s 8:47 and I have to leave at 9:15 and I need to shower before that. And meditate.

So, let’s go.

To start with, I did not write this the first thing. I had a pressing deliverable and I had to work on that. So that. And once I was done with it, I was left with very little time to actually write this (like I said, another meeting to rush to).

Then, yesterday, I broke the meditation streak. I was on a 6-day streak and I could not continue. I did sit for it but for some reason, I just could not concentrate. Not even on my breathing. I do a 10-min session but yesterday, after the 4th minute, I was so restless that I quit. I thought this combination of morning pages and meditation was supposed to help. But it clearly hasn’t. So that.

It’s Monu’s birthday. He is probably the oldest friend I have. I literally grew up with him. I think I know him since I was in the 6th standard. That makes the friendship go back 25 years at least. No time for exact calculation ūüėÄ. While I am at it, must mention this distinct memory that I have of him as we were growing up. One time, we were playing some game (can’t recall what it was) and I was one of the team captains or something. There was this one other person, probably the alpha of our gang, that I was up against for the team. Every kid there chose to side with that guy but Monu. So that. Of course like all such bachpan ka dosti, we’ve had our ups and downs. There was a time when we fought over something stupid and I did not speak to him for months. Our mothers had to intervene to get us to talk again. And am I glad that we talked! I know that come what may, Monu will always be on my side. So that. Happy birthday! May you live long and prosper. And if you ever read this, help me document more instances from our bachpan. But knowing his talent with reading, he may not!

Last night at a whim I went to this place called the Royal Enfield Cafe. Owned by the same guys that make the bike. The place was unnaturally quiet but it was everything that I like. A big table and a chair at a comfortable height. Just enough wind. Good music. A non-pesky staff. Super strong coffee – I could not sleep last night!. Reasonably ok Internet. The kind of place where I would sit and write. Apart from Nik’s, I can see myself going there often (maybe not on the weekends) to get some writing done. Let’s see.

I think all the things that I need to get the book2 going are falling in place. I now have the thought, the vibe, even the place where the book is based. I am reading Julia’s book :D. I am editing another book. The stars are as aligned as they could ever be! I even made a few posts on FB yesterday (logged in after ages) to try and meet people from Goa to get a perspective on some characters. So, if I cant do it now, I probably would never. Lol. I have been saying this for 6 years now. No no. I am committed this time around. Ha ha!

9:07. I think Ill pause for the day. Not really an hour. Not really three pages. I would have liked to revisit the post later in the day but that kind of defeats the purpose. No? I will come back and add links though.

So, yeah. Over and out. Tomorrow.

171220 – Morning Pages

I ramble about music, writing and how people dont seem to be enjoying what I write on these pages.

171220. 0704. Just woke up. Eyes are not even open and I am on my computer, writing. Have vague recollections of dreams of the book that I am working on. And a couple of projects that I am involved in for an agency. And Dil Haare by Ankur Tewari. And I can’t get over it. Love the rustic sounds, the beating of the acoustic guitar, and his voice. Simple lyrics, repeated over and over again. I am in love.

That’s the thing that I want to try next, apart from making films – write music. Not music. Poetry that I get people like Ankur Tewari and Lucky Ali and more to sing. And use those songs in the films I make! And while I do that, remain anonymous if I have to. Reminds me of that lifegoal of mine where I want to hear a stranger talk about one of my books when I am in the room and the person does not know that I am the author. I am not sure what perverse pleasure I’d get from this but I would love it.

More I think, the more I realize my locus of achievement is outside. I need validation and respect and inputs that what I do matters. And I need a lot of it. And constantly. I want to be known for what I do. I want what I do to open up opportunities for me. I want to be powerful and impactful and all that.

On the other side, I want to remain part of the crowd. I want to be the aam aadmi. I want to get lost in the crowd. I want to be not highlighted in any manner. Little weird but that’s that.

So the first things that I recall as I wake up are work things. And that’s probably not a good thing. Or may be it is. I don’t know yet. Arti told me yesterday even if I were in heaven, I would be busy working. She’s not wrong. I dont know what else is there to life if not work. I know work may be meaningless in large scheme of things. But I do know that this work helps me keep sane. And trust me when I say this, helps others keep sane! More on this someday, when I write my biography.

The other thing is that I am trying hard to not make this a blog. Or a journal. With the sort of public life I live (where I think in public on twitter and blogs), it’s tough to separate what I think and what I say.

Anyhow.

So, here’s a thing. I am itching to get going on book2. Probably all the Goan vibe around me is making me work harder for it?

Ok, the alarm just rang. I had put cos I needed to wake up early and get some work done. But I was up before the alarm :D.

Talking about work, here’s the thing. I think all the world that says that you need to start the day with some workout and all that? Crap. It may work for them, but for me, unless I start the day with some tiny achievement of having created something, it’s not cool. You know, make my bed, write these morning pages (been just 7 days lol), think about where to go in life (even if I am old), conjure dreams like The Brain, and so on and so forth.

So I want to be that person that is like a robot. You hit play and the dude starts dancing. You hit pause and the dude stops. No emotions. Super stable. Very very sharp and alert at all times. I don’t even know if its humanly possible. That’s the point right. Becoming non-human? Detached?

Grrr…

So much rambling. Without any context. Or flow. Or logic. Sigh. In fact one of my most regular readers told me that he’s stopped enjoying what I write. I on the other hand am enjoying these morning pages so much that I actually look up to waking each day. I don’t know if what I write has gone down in quality. Or if what I write has become too honest. Or if what I write has stopped being interesting. But the fact is, if he is not enjoying what I write, I need to fix. May be this is what Julia Cameron mentioned when she said that you must not share your morning pages with anyone? May be I need to take my pages private? Dont think so. Goes against my ethos.

Anyhow. I dont know the answer. Will think over the next few days and figure. Signing out for the day.

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.