020221 – Morning Pages

Regular updates. Nothing special. Did #freewriting on #book2 after a few days. Totally enjoyed. Read if you can and gimme feedback.

7:57 AM. Woke up a little less groggy than yesterday. I don’t know what changed. I still ate as much crap as I ate the day before. I slept around the same time. I had the same battles with the phone and the internet as I have had in the past few days. I am still thinking about the same things. I am still not moving as much as I would want to. The human body is a funny thing.

Anyhow. Time for morning pages. I am surprised that I have written these for more than 50 days now. Without missing a day. Even on the day when I was not in the mood, I came here and wrote something. Even if I felt crappy, I ensured that I poured my heart here. I felt lonely, I wrote about it. I took a loan. I recorded it here. The pages have become a companion, dear diary of sorts.

The day yesterday was ok. Went to Clay. Did some work, did some non-work things. I loved hanging out in the middle of so many people that are doing their own thing and are generally interesting to talk to. I love the place! If only my mobile phone worked better :D.

In fact, I must copy-paste their model when I get around to creating a physical space where I want creatives to hang out! I mean I can copy the model easily. The challenge would be to create a vibe. That takes more effort. Anyone can put some chairs and tables and an Internet connection. The sauce is how you run it, how you get people to bind into a community. How you ensure that they feel the same for you as you feel for them. For me, this community of people, the camaraderie between that community, the feeling of belonging, the safety in the group, the shoulders to stand on is the thing that makes life worth living. Let’s see when that happens.

I need to decide on where to live. Come hell or high-water, I will take a call by EOD. It is important that I do so. Like I keep saying, I need to happen to things, rather than things happening to me. The decision essentially depends on the work situation. There are a few things that I can do in Goa but the size of opportunity here may not be enough to feed all the expenses that I have. Of course, life here is better (no pants, no traffic, everything accessible etc) but I do miss the action of a large city.

Wait.

Can I create a life like that in Mumbai? You know, get a place, do it up, create a vibe like Clay, serve food like Nicky’s, attract creative people do bind into a community? In Aaram Nagar or something. Of course, the costs are like 5X to do something like that and competition is like 10X there (with all the Starbucks, Blue Tokais, and others) but I am told a lot of things are now available for cheaper.

That’s the other thing. I was trying to explain something to Mudit yesterday when I realized that I have forgotten the names of the landmarks in Mumbai! In the para above, it took me 5 minutes to come up with the name of Blue Tokai! Guess I am growing old. Anyhow.

So today’s one of those days when I feel I have a lot to write about, a lot to think about but I don’t know how to write. The thoughts are all over the place. I am unable to make them in a coherent narrative. But then I still am trying. Arrghh.. Frustrating it is.

Guess, a writer’s block?

Dont know.

But then Kunal told me yesterday that these morning pages, in the way I do (daily journalish, self-talk, pouring of thoughts etc) is apparently a great mental-health hack. And since I anyway write in public, I am not scared if these are “leaked” someday. Lol!

Chalo that’s about it.

On to #freewriting for #book2. Oh, today’s prompt is something that I think I saw in my dreams last night. Not kidding. I now have faint recollections of what I saw but I did see the scene play in my dream. Let’s see how it comes out on paper. Here we go…

ABC and his flunkies settled into probably what was the most uncomfortable spot at Caravan Serai. He took the long bench, the flunkies fanned out around him. Udita spotted them and knew there was trouble. Even though she was alone this afternoon, she was not the one to get perturbed. She walked up to the group with a bunch of menu cards. She showed her irreverence by slapping the menu cards on the table in between the group. The smack made by the plastic menu cards killed the chatter in the group. The boss looked up from his phone. He realized what had happened. He remained indifferent and went back to his phone. Meanwhile, Udita did not wait for them to place an order and walked back at a leisurely pace. These guys were not used to this open display of insubordination. As it often happens in such herds, when faced with uncertainty, you look up to the alpha. Everyone looked at the boss for what to do next. He was still buried in his phone and the scene had actually escaped him. The uncomfortable silence started to escalate. Someone had to break it. One of the enthu flunkies that wanted to make his way up in the foodchain stood up and yelled at Udita, “aye bitch, bring your tiny ass here. Don’t you know who we are with?”

At this, the boss looked up. The eyes remained calm. So did his body language. He looked so composed that you could’ve imagined him to be in a temple. He was as indifferent as he could be. He merely looked on for an instant and went back to his phone. He rested the phone against the small vase on the table. The vase had a money plant curled up in it and it was just the right size to act as a makeshift stand for a phone.

Udita shot back, “what did you call me?”

The flunky was clearly not used to the insubordination. “Bitch. I called you a bitch. And you are one.”

Udita was anyway worked up to see ABC at Caravan Serai. Now this flunky and the language he used had enraged her even more. She stomped to the table, shovelled another man away who was sitting between her and the flunky, held him by his tee-shirt. The guy was easily a foot taller. She looked him into his eyes and asked again. “What did you call me?”

The flunky was lost. He hadnt been attacked like that. Singled out. Especially with his boss around. And by a tiny woman. And he had higher ambitions. He did not know what to do. The boss continued to watch on with his stoic eyes.

“Tell me, you bastard”, Udita raged on.

The flunky did not have an answer. His voice was sort of clipped. Udita clenched her fists and thus his tee tighter.

“Uh”, he made some indescript noise.

One of the other flunkies tried to get up to save his friend from the apparant misery. Udita saw that from a corner of her eye. Before the guy could stand fully erect, she pushed at his chair that sent him toppling back with a thud.

It was clearly out of hands now. The boss thundered, “stop it!”

He continued, “apologies to the young lady”

The flunky found some strength when he saw his boss intervene. But all of it was lost when he comprehended what he heard. He was being asked to apologize. Weren’t they ABC’s gang? Where they routinely roughed up people for things smaller than this. If someone had done this at some other place, at some other time, he was sure that the boss would have literally killed the guy! And this was a girl. A waitress at some random bar.

“ABC Sir?”, he was still confused.

ABC repeated. The calmness was back, “I said apologise to the young woman.”

Udita was confused herself. The stories she had heard about ABC were anything but this. He was being polite. And he was taking the right side, even though Udita was the one to have attacked. She left the collar and took a step back. She folded her hands in front of her chest, like you would do when you sensed danger.

“How can I? The bitch was out of her place. She disrespected you.” The flunky tried to make his case.

The boss merely shook his head. With the agility of a table tennis player, he picked up the vase in a shift motion and smashed it against the head of flunky. The glass shattered on his forehead and sent tiny pieces, water and even the remnants of the money plant around him. There was this messy puddle of hair, skin, glass, leaves and blood on his forehead. Some blood was his. Some was ABC’s. He had cut his hand in the process.

The flunky stumbled back, tried to support himself on a chair. He leaned on it with one hand and tried to hold his head with the other. ABC however was not done. He pounced on the flunky and sent him sprawling on the floor. He sat on his chest. Held his tee, from the same place Udita had held him and said, “next time I tell you to do something, you will listen to me. Ok?”

The flunky could merely nod.

“I did not hear you” ABC growled.

“Yes, yes, ABC. I will. I am sorry”. He said with whatever strength he could muster.

“Good boy. Now, say sorry to the young lady. And you better clean all the mess that you have created here”. ABC instructed him.

“Yes…”, the flunky could come up with just a word.

The gang was in a state of shock. They knew of ABC and his quirks. They knew it was best if they stayed shut.

ABC turned to Udita. “What’s your name ma’am? I am sorry for this boy’s behaviour. He is new and does not know how to speak to people.” He wiped his hand on his white shirt, leaving it crumped and stained.

Udita managed, “it’s alright. I am Udita. I manage the place when Mrs. Gomes is not here.”

“Ah. I have seen you here but did not know that she trusts you with the place. Whatever I know of her, she is tough to please”. ABC was back to his clam self and was now small-talking with Udita as if they were in a club.

Udita was not sure how to react. She looked around. There was this guy on the floor who was bleeding. There was this guy who was indifferent despite the scene he had created. There were other burly men who were as confused as Udita was.

ABC sensed the confusion. “Oh, dont worry about him. He’s a strong boy. He would be back in action by tomorrow. He’d help you clean the place now. Just get him some water, if that’s not too inconvinient?”

***

That’s it! I loved writing today’s piece! Yay! Need to have more such days 🙂 If you read this, do gimme feedback. Of course, haven’t fixed typos, edited, or checked for sanity.

Till next time!

010221 – Morning Pages

Woke up tired as if I was a 90-year old. Couldn’t think of what to write. So, this one is more rant than anything nice or deep.

8:05

I woke up at 7:55 and I feel like I’ve been hit by a train. There is no energy in the body and the eyes are groggy and I don’t know what all. The good part is that I remember a couple of dreams from last night. So that means I slept ok. But I feel tired. I don’t know what to do about it. I did stay up a couple of days ago for a project. But I was ok after that. Maybe it’s all the crap that I am eating? May be it’s the weather? May be it’s something in the head? If nothing else, I probably need to start working out? I don’t know 🙁

I am so groggy that I cant even think straight, leave alone getting work done. Or putting my thoughts on paper.

Wait, Mr. Garg. This is a game. And your power is down. You need to get a power-up. What could that be? Music? Food? Sleep? Sunshine? Workout? Hugs? May be I am groggy cos I didn’t brush my teeth yesterday? Is that a punishment that my body is giving me?

Lemme think.

Ok, a few things are clear. I need to fix the food thingy for sure. Matlab, I need to not eat. Eat less, if nothing else. And if I eat, OMAD. And fewer carbs. This should be standard.

I then need to fix the office situation. Half my ideas and thoughts and work suffer because I don’t have a “desk” per se to work on. This is contingent on the place I will live at. I still need to close on Mumbai vs Goa and then an office desk. I had decided that I would have a decision by end of January. And no, I don’t have it. There is hardly any work that you can create from Goa. You need to rely on work that can be done remote. The Internet situation can be fixed. Getting work however is a pain. I’ve struggled with that in the past. And that I think is literally impossible remotely.

I need to get into some sort of a workout routine. Lol. I remember I have been hoping to have one since I was 22. I probably need to admit that I can’t do this! No, I can’t do an online session. I have to have a physical, in-person thingy. Remember what I wrote yesterday? Reminds me. Years back, I would go all the way from Powai to Bandra to attend a 45-minute Yoga glass with Shameem Maam. I think those were the fittest days of life. May be, get back to Yoga? If I do decide to live for long in Goa, I will probably move to some secluded part and start a cafe there 😀

Lol. Dreams.

So yeah. These three.

Funny how when you have a stable life, with money coming in, you think of grandiose plans of changing the world. And when the going gets tough, all you think of is the basics – roti, kapda, makaan.

Anyhow. So need to fix those three.

Moving on. The other day Vivek shared this Twitter thread about some athlete that just went missing and ended up at a beach. I think I should do the same. Delete all my social media profiles, websites, accounts, etc. And go poof in thin air. And do what? I don’t know. Yet.

I’ve often thought if there was a reset button in life, that if pressed sort of took you back in time and undo all the things you have done. You can then live your life again, but since you’ve retained lessons from the life that you’ve already lived, you can avoid mistakes.

That’s about it I guess. Need to get going. Have a few things to work on today.

But before that, here’s a thing that I’ve been tripping on. A guy called Punit Pania. He doesn’t make me laugh per se but his insights are spot on. Look at this one for example. Such insight into being Indians! I think that’s a great place to be in life. The ability to see through stupidity, idiosyncrasies, opinions, and actions of people and then comment on those and then present those in a way that people can relate to and laugh at is a great great skill to have. I wish I had that. I have a few friends that are that and I can see the amount of effort you need to do even a fraction of that is tough af! Lol, yet another skill that I wish I had!

And before I go, the track of the day is this one from a film called Saathiya…

O Humdum Suniyo Re – Saathiya

Oh, and, Day 3 on the trot when I am not writing about book2. I’ve not lost the motivation per se, I do have the ideas as well. I am just being lazy. Let’s see if I can fix this tomorrow. Or during the day.

With that, over and out.

310121 – Morning Pages

More of a journal on how I spent the day yesterday than anything else. Read if you want to. Skip if you may.

10:37. I am up since 7. I slept at 330 something. And this is not the first thing I am doing. Plus, this is not what I had planned for today (yesterday I thought that today I would write about only #book2 and nothing else, but I am not). Which is ok. Idea is to dump my thoughts in public. Plus, I wrote these notes on my phone last night and I am merely editing. Plus, I haven’t brushed my teeth. TMI? Lol!

With these few disclaimers, here we go!

So yesterday was special. And nice. I was part of the session that we at Podium did to get some startups to meet Dr. Malpani. We had a cracker of a time and I learned so so much. Here are my notes…

via @saurabh

I have to mention the great folks at Design Centre – not just they have the best Internet anywhere in Goa (the parts to where I have been), they are incredibly kind as well. They are normally shut on Saturdays but at my request, they kept space opened. I am so grateful for the kindness of strangers. Need more people like that.

Another example of kindness yesterday was when I spoke to Sheba. Sheba is a life coach, a busy one at that and yet she took out time to chat with me about things clouding my head. I can’t say I found answers but it’s uncanny that she pointed out the exact same thing that I felt stifled for. Movement. I even wrote about it a few days ago (point 5). More on it some other day (once I have processed all that Sheba and I talked about). Someone has to remind me 😀

Finally, I paid the salaries of my team. I was late by a day (I try and pay on the last working day of each month) but I did pay within the month. Had to take on another tranche of loan. But that’s ok. This is the last month I am doing so. If I dont get anything substantial, I will get a naukri. Whatever it pays me.

So that’s that.

Apart from these two few sparks, yesterday was kind of disappointing. I was supposed to fast for 48 hours. I lasted all of 25. While 25 in itself may sound like a large number, the thing is, I can do 24 easily. Without breaking a sweat. And thus, to make the task worth investing time and effort into, I had decided on a 48-hour one. But I could not.

I can blame it on all the work I needed to do and all the stress that made me break it. But come on. I am better than that. Remember Marshmallows? To make it worse, I ate at the McD. But then that was the only place where I could sit with a computer for a while and get some work done (remember I was up till 330?). Of course, I could’ve worked from Rajesh sir’s place but I need some action around me when I work. I need people, movement, activity, non-descript chatter, and all that. I need a public place. I can’t work from home. Even if I have the fanciest home in the world!

Lemme tell you another story.

When they eventually shut at 3 and I was on my way back, I passed by this road-side thela selling Maggi. On some random hunch, I took a U-turn. Asked the old man and the woman (she looked like his wife) manning the thela to make me an anda-Maggi. Nah, it was nothing to write home about, to be honest, but while I waited for them to prepare my order, a few things dawned onto me. Lemme try to articulate those.

The poverty and contentment. The anda-Maggi cost me 80 bucks. Their direct input cost is at least 30 (Maggi + Eggs), just for the raw material. Then there is consumables (salt, pepper, gas etc), regular expenses (packing material, water, electricity etc), capital investment (the thela, pans, pots, spatula, etc), and of course miscellaneous expenses (bribes, cartage, etc). I am not even talking about the money that they’d charge for their time. I am not sure if what they run is a profitable business. But the two of them looked in peace in the company of each other. They were smiling at some inside jokes, gossiping about what I am assuming are other local fixtures, and of course, trying their best at my order. They were content in their poverty (I am assuming, of course).

The company is the reward. For them, it looked like that all that mattered was the company of each other. And the order they were working on. And that’s that. They did not seem perturbed by the farmer’s protest, COVID-19 crisis, drunks falling over each other on the main road where their thela is, the latest Kapoor to have got onto Insta or ever what day it was. Compare to me. I have so much happening in my life that I don’t even know where to start the list from.

The love, camaraderie, togetherness. I loved their camraderie. Their togetherness. Their compassionable silence. I hope they stay like that forever.

Oh, they made an epiphany happen. They made me realize something about myself (something that I probably knew deep down but never admitted). That I crave for company. I may be the biggest introvert and I may be trying to live in public but I need company. And I need physical intimacy. No, I am not talking about sex per se. I want to be able to hug others. Touch them. Feel their handshakes. Smell them. See their frailty, ogle at their smiles, pull their legs. In real life. All this. And more. With my people. Not with strangers. Not with those one-night stands. Not with acquaintances. Not with all the random junta that I know. Even though I want to know everyone and their nani-nana and dadi-dada. I have to be physically around my people. And I am anything but that. My parents are in Delhi. SG2 is like saat samandar paar. We as a family are anyway not really touchy-feely. M&m are all grown up now and have started to find other people that they find cooler. The lesser I say about my love life, the better it is. Most friends that I want to hang out with seem to have become richer and cooler to continue to hang out with (no they don’t discriminate per se but their choices in life when they want to hang out? You know, places to eat at, places to travel, kind of activities they want to do? I can’t afford those. Neither do I understand them). So that. The ones that I can still access seem so ignorant to what’s happening around us (the world at large) that I cant seem to hold conversations with them.

So, I crave for company. For the reader – this is NOT a cry for help or for showering me with unwarranted attention. This is merely my thoughts. I may or may not want to act on these.

May be this is what growing old is all about? When parents told me that you’d start needing people when you are old, may be this is it? Guess so.

Also, being in Goa is not helping matters either. People are nice but they are not my people. And I take time before someone becomes my people. Plus the recent incident at the podcast has sort of shook my value system when it comes to adding people in my life.

Nah, if I were in Delhi or Mumbai, I don’t think I could help matters either. It’s a battle that I need to fight and tide over. Maybe I need to borrow Sheldon’s playbook where even the coitus with his girlfriend / wife was planned via a relationship agreement!

As I write this, I realise that most times I dont feel this need of company. There’s enough and more work that doesnt allow me to even breathe, leave alone feel lonely. Plus the never-ending search for Internet is Goa makes even work an adventure. Yesterday, if not for that old couple, I’ll try to click a picture of them, I probably wouldn’t stare at the moon and the empty road and think of all these things!

Phew! That was heavy!

So here’s something cool. My new favorite track? This.

A mashup between Shaggy and Sting. Love the groove of the track. Would love to write a track like that. Damn, there are so many things that I want to work on. To write on. On life!

So yeah.

This is it for the day.

No, no book2 today either. Too grumpy, too stuffed in the head to do anything. Guess it’s the lack of sleep and lack of movement and lack of intimacy. Lol!

300121 – Morning Pages

I talk about some large decision I am hoping to make with life and all in the next few days. Long rant. Read at peril.

7:02

I’ve been up for a bit. Have a lot on my mind. Have a lot to do as well. Lemme start writing and see where we go.

So, yesterday was big. I took another debt. To make ends meet. To pay a handful of young people that work with me. To keep the lights on at those projects that I hope someday would become large beacons of great work. And on the other side, one of those projects is putting three startups in front of an investor, for a shot at investments. Ironical? Nah. By design? Nah. Poetic? Yes, I guess.

I mean here I am. Taking a loan to run those pieces and using those as vehicles to make others rich, famous, and better known. All in hopes that someday they would be big enough that they would start paying me back. You know, delayed gratification. The Marshmallow Experiment. Hoping to let go of the fun and comfort and joy of today. To hopefully enjoy it tomorrow. What if there’s no tomorrow? Damn!

Anyhow. So the large decision is that if I am forced to take another loan at the end of Feb, I would give up on this staying independent thingy and warp up everything that I am personally working on and take the first Naukri that comes my way, even if it pays me shit. As a vocal advocate of self-employment and not letting someone else command your time, I will bite the dist and stop advocating independence. I will stop virtue signaling. I will relook at the way I live life and the pseudo-krantikaari thoughts that I have. I poker parlance, I’d fold.

Talking of kranti, I am a tad more well-read about the farmer’s protest now. I spend a large part of yesterday reading about it. Of course, I read opinion pieces and perspectives of people from both sides – farmers and government. And I am now leaning towards the farmers. No, I am not saying that the new farm laws need to be repelled (I am still reading about those laws) but I have come to a conclusion that the way the government is handling the issue? That is not right.

I saw this video where Yogendra Yadav is literally in tears as he talks about how the movement was derailed. And I sympathize with him. He and other farmer leaders have called for a one-day fast and I support them. In solidarity, I will keep a fast as well.

Of course, this is a symbolic gesture and amounts to nothing. Armchair activism. Tokenism. But that’s the least I can do. And since I had this huge-ass Vegetarian Thali at 11:30 last night, I will fast both today and tomorrow. Penance. For my unawareness of the issue. Let’s see if I hold up.

I also saw this video yesterday, thanks to Parijat. The comedian, Punit Punia talks about how the middle-class is anything but that. There’s a part of about 30 seconds that leaves you dumb-founded and sucks the air out of your gut. Do see it. It’s just sickening the way we are.

Here it is. Do NOT miss it. Please. Lemme know how you feel after you’ve seen it.

I also had this longish chat with SG2 yesterday about life and all that. She asked me if I’ve seen my confidence go down in the last 2 or so years. I had to think hard and I don’t know the answer. I feel as if my confidence levels have remained the same but my self-image has probably taken a dent. Lemme explain (this is exactly how I explained to her :D).

So even though I am staring down a barrel, I am fairly confident that I will get acche din at some point in time in life. You know, this too shall pass. This means I will have all that I seek – impact, wealth, access, etc. At some point. SG2 dismissed this as optimism. I think this is confidence in my abilities to get things done and open doors and create opportunities etc. She doesn’t agree.

However, I know that I am no longer confident about myself. You know, self-image. That I think has taken a hit. A large one. Like this…

BOOM!

What do I mean by this? Simple.

I feel know that I have spent 40 years here and I have yet to do anything that will make people take a note. Fuck people. I’d not take a note of what I’ve done. If I walked upto myself and talked about all that I’ve done, I’d shoo myself away. Like you ignore those unwanted creatures that sort of hold you from doing things that you want to be doing.

I need validation. From myself. From sgMS (am surprised that I thought of her, more on this later). From the world. In terms that they understand (thanks SG2 for helping me articulate). Here are the terms for the three cohorts that I spoke about…

  • The world believes that you are great if you have a fancy house, luxury car, 2 kids, and a 7-figure salary. If you have some awards and accolades, the world gives you more credit, more validation, more respect.
  • sgMS evaluated the worth of a person from some internal metric that I have not been able to figure to date.
  • For me, I’d be happy if I see the impact of my work (it’s zilch right now) and the doors that my work, my brand, my reputation opens for me. Right now, them doors shut on my face!

I have none of these three right now. The most important is validation from self (the kinds that helps you with your self-image). And I lack that. In its absence, I could rely on signals that I could project at others about me having arrived. Even that is missing. I know so many people that are crappy, average Joes (and Janes) that are able to get by purely because they have fat salaries, lofty designations, and all those things that the world uses to validate your existence.

Lemme get back to sgMS. So she and I were sort of together long long ago. We’ve since then drifted and are great friends. She is still the keeper of my moral compass. If I need to make a decision that would border on ethics and all that, I would go to either Vanita, Hemant, or her. She continues to be that important.

I think my self-images issues go back to sgMS. Really. I have never admitted this ever in my life. But she was one of those hyper-critical people with super-strong perspectives and opinions and misguided views on people, things, heroes, and all that. At the time, I was blind in love and did not realize but now that I can think a tad better, I know that being with her sort of dented the way I thought about things. Of course, all the ambition I have was probably fuelled by spending time with her. If not for her, I would be more content. I got the push to do more because she saw that I was capable and she was like Terence Fletcher (of Whiplash fame) and she would not settle for anything ordinary.

I can trackback even more and go to a time when I was growing up in a lower-middle-class part of Delhi. Because the ‘nurture’ I was getting was sort of ‘limiting’, I think I was programmed to believe that the good things are not for me. See the Punit Pania clip above. When I had to go to a 5-star hotel for the first time by myself (I think in 2007 and I was 25) for an interview, I had to prepare myself mentally and I had to check if people like me were even allowed in there! May be this dented my self-image issues.

Ok, I digressed a lot. Good thing is that no one is reading. The point anyhow was that I think my self-image has taken a hit. And I need to find a way out.

The last thing I was to put on paper, in continuation with this topic is the thing about being eccentric and a fool. For some reason, in my head, I attribute this to SRK, though I can’t find the source.

So, he says if you have perspectives, ideas, thoughts, and actions that are counter-intuitive to people, are opposite to commonly held beliefs, people would take note.

And if you are poor, you are insignificant, you haven’t “achieved” anything, they would call you a fool for your ideas. Even, a mad man. An outcast. An anomaly. However, if you are “successful”, rich et al, they would call you eccentric!

The road from a fool to an eccentric needs you to have a fancy Rolls Tesla to drive on top of. Till you get one, stay shut. #note2self, Mr. Garg. If you want to tweet like Elon and impact the BTC price just by changing your bio, you need to be Elon in the first place. Or you can keep changing bio for the rest of your life and probably get banned from twitter.

Chalo. Over and out.

Oh, no time for freewriting today. Missed it the second time in recent days. Must not do it tomorrow. Or may be I will only write #book2 on the morning pages? Let’s see.

290121 – Morning Pages

One of those days when even though I have slept for hours, I am unable to write :(. The post has nothing interesting. You may skip.

7:32. I woke up a minute ago. My eyes are still not open. And I slept at some 9:30 last night. I think I’ve slept for this long after ages. No, I wasn’t tired. No, I wasn’t mindfucked (I mean, I am about things but not the kinds that make me sleep for long!). No, I don’t have any recollections of any dreams per se.

It’s almost the end of Jan. I need to start thinking about moving into a permanent house in Goa. Or not. I mean if I am going to be in Goa then I need to have a more permanent house. I can’t pile on Rajesh Sir forever. The decision to move to Goa needs a couple of factors – work (how do I make my money) and people (the ones I love and want to spend a lot of time with, they are not in Goa).

Ok, the mind is so blank that I can’t think of anything to write. Tomorrow is a big day – we have that pitch event and I need to work on that during the day today. Also, I will probably manage NickyM’s today. If you are hanging around Baga / Calangute, come drop by.

I know what to talk about. Mental exhaustion. For some reason, I feel exhausted af in the head these days. Goa was supposed to do the opposite. No? Make me feel relaxed and easy in the mind and all that. But no. I am anything but that. No, I am not agitated either. I am ok in the head. I function normally. I am as kind as I could be to anyone or anything. I am better than I was at most times in my life. Just that I am tired. You know the kinds that make you want to do nothing but lie down in the bed and hope you had a personal masseuse to give you champi as you interviewed on national TV.

I think I need to add some workout routine in my life. I dont know what though. I am famously inept to do any sort of workout. I can walk at best but that’s no workout.

Nah, the words aint not flowing. Is this what writer’s block is? Dunno. I think I will take a break for the day. Lemme see how I do on #freewriting for #book2. Here we go…

It was a Wolf-moon night. And in absence of those blinding lights that humanity has installed to dispel the darkness, the sky was lit with a million stars. And of course, the moon. Raunak had seen many a nights like that in his life time. He was born in a time and place where what they called the human development had yet to touch their village. They slept under the stars most days, even if it was in a courtyard of the house, or on the roof. He remembered that as they drifted to sleep, his father would look at the sky and the moon and stars and could guess the date and time. These moons and the stars were the only clocks that people had in that era.

Raunak had to stretch his rickety limbs to reach the top of the window that allowed him a glimpse of the infinite sky and the neverending, never-resting ocean that spread out just beyond the jail. And his window. And his grasp.

He loved the moon. His father had often told him that he was like a Wolf and he got his energy from the moon. He believed it for the longest time. Till he started traveling and reading. Once he knew that the wolves did not howl at the moon, he was tempted to burst the bubble but his father was almost on the death bed. He knew that you don’t pop bubbles of people that are dying soon. Their entire lives start to seem meaningless to them when them bubbles pop. Let them remain in their cages made of biases stronger than the iron rods.

Raunak could finally spot the moon and he beamed at it. It’s the most beautiful thing that Mother Nature had made. Well, to him, at least. If others saw today’s moon, they probably would concur with Raunak. But then, what others? Raunak was in isolation for so many years that he had lost track. His conversations were limited to asking for the guards to help him run errands and those too materialized only if the guards felt like.

He continued to stare at it. Continued to think of the times that were long gone. Continued to imagine a different life if only he had decided to not leave his home all those years back. On yet another Wolf-moon night.

***

Phew. That was tough. But I think I like how it has come out. What do you guys think?

280121 – Morning Pages

Inane update. You may want to skip this one.

7:12.

Been up for a while. The fuckery of yesterday about the inability to comprehend the Farmer’s Protest is sort of fading. Most sane people I know are asking me to stay away as each side has vested interests and are working on the narratives. But then I am not sure if that’s the right way to go about it. I need to know what’s happening around me, in my country. I may be insignificant but I do have opinions and I like the idea of knowing. Vegetating is not for me.

So, the internet worked well yesterday! For a change. Thank you Design Centre. If you need a great place to work from, do check them out. I think I will go there again. Even though they are at Provorim and it takes some time to reach there but I am ok with it. At least the Internet is reliable and since they don’t have any kitchen, I am away from crap. Oh, that’s what I’ve realized. If I have no options to eat, I tend to stay away.

Goa is now reporting lovely weather. The kinds that I’d love to live in year-round. There’s a nip in the air in the morning. The afternoons are bearable and the evenings get pleasant all over again. I think if someone wants to come to Goa, this is the best time to do so! In fact, I am thinking, I should have come here at this time – all year-end tourists would have been back, all locals would have started to spring out. But then, I am here now. So that’s cool. I am also close to my self-imposed deadline of Jan 31 of making a decision about living in Goa.

I am still on the fence, to be honest. A lot depends on work. A lot depends on money. I think the Internet and mobile connection is a challenge if you want to live in Goa. But if I do decide to live here, I think I can throw money at the problem and solve it. Mobile phones, not so much. But the internet is solvable for sure. It’s only about getting 2-3 connections that are fast enough. Hope something works out that allows me to live from here. Oh, I am in Mumbai for a few days I think in the next week. I have some errands to run. Let’s see.

Oh, I am also gonna pick Shumbur.com back. I haven’t had the time to act on it at all. Among other things, the hunt for a stable internet connection has kept me busy. I don’t know more people but the ones I do, I need to engage with them, get into a conversation with them. Write on those experiences. Showcase them, get feedback and then scale efforts.

So that’s that. I don’t have more things to write in today’s morning pages. Except that I am grateful to be alive, grateful to have access to a roof, grateful to have some people that I can call friends. Damn lucky I am! Talking of luck, the Spotlight is just 2 days away and I am in jitters. I have been to so many other events in the past, have managed, arranged, and produced so many of these smallish events that this should be like the back of my hand. But no, I am in jitters. Guess cos this one is super close to my heart? See this thread.

So, I think this is about for the day. I feel as if I should write more. But I dont know what. Guess will pour some thought on #book2. But before that, today’s track is this.


And here’s #freewriting for #book2. Missed it yesterday but I am back.

Rujuta was curious. “ABC, what are those red bottles doing all over your house?”

“Oh those? They are to keep the monkeys away.” ABC sipped onto the coffee that she had just brewed.

“What do you mean?”

“This place has a lot of Monkeys. We are a jungle remember? And it’s their jungle. We are mere visitors”

“Yeah. So?”

“These red bottles keep them away.”

“How so?”

“I don’t know. But you start picking these tricks when you start living in the jungles. Not that we’ve left a lot of it. Look at all those towers coming up. I know that people want homes but at what cost? Us humans fuck everything up. But listen. Don’t let my ideas spoil what you are here for. Shumbur.com you said? Tell me more?”

“Well, Shumbur is my attempt to talk to 100 people from Goa and chronicle their journeys, lives, and all that. Plus I needed a new project and this looks and sounds like a good idea.” Rujuta said.

“So who all have you talked to?”

Rujuta couldn’t understand why this was almost the next question that everyone asked them!

“Wait. I am intrigued by these red bottles and monkeys. Do they really work? Tell me what other tricks did you pick up?”

Just then a branch snapped and some leaves rustled in the trees that Rujuta was facing. ABC had her back to those trees and she motioned her head and said, “there they are. Ask them what keeps them away.” She laughed and took a sip onto her coffee.

Rujuta noticed that even though ABC came across as a happy cheerful person, there was a tinge of sadness somewhere. She couldn’t put a finger on it but she knew. Her years and years of experience with seeing people from behind the lens had trained her to spot these patterns. She considered herself a fairly good people-watcher, but not as good as Tarana. And that was ok. Tarana had many more decades over Rujuta!

“And Nah, no more tricks. You just need to get used to the dogs and mosquitos and snakes. Oh, and those insecure vultures and sharks that want to take you for a ride.” The comment from ABC was uncalled for. But Rujuta sniffed an opportunity of a story there. These instincts are what makes a good journalist stand out from a great and she was no doubt among the greatest ones!

She knew she had to get to the bottom of it and fish out a story. If not for Shumbur, then for her curiosity. But she knew she had to be patient. So, she made a mental note of it and continued to smile at ABC.

***

Ok, that’s it. Couldnt find the right words 🙁

Maybe tomorrow I will. Maybe tomorrow is better! Over and out.

270121 – Morning Pages

Rant. Don’t read. Trigger Warning (TW).

6:25.

I have had a fitful sleep. And I had a really bad day yesterday. And I am mindfucked like I’ve never been before.

I had an important meeting and like all important meetings I ensured that I was on time and I was ready and all and just when I had the meeting, the Internet stopped. I mean I know that Goa doesn’t offer the most reliable internet but it sucked af that it went away a minute before the meeting was to start!

Today I have another important meeting. If there is any interruption on the internet today, I promise I will fucking go back to Mumbai. Or Delhi. I have to include this in my ultimate guide of working from Goa that if your work requires synchronous video calls, you either live in Panjim (the city) or you do not consider Goa as a place to be. I am not even sure what would happen in monsoons.

The other thing that I am thinking a lot about and I don’t know how to stop thinking about is the ongoing farmer’s protest. I thought I knew all about the issue and how the new laws will fuck the lives of farmers even more. How the laws are against the long-term interest of farmers. How large companies will dictate terms and squeeze farmers even more. But then more narratives, probably sponsored by the very large companies (that stand to benefit) started coming out. And those are compelling, paint a contrasting picture and so lucid in their arguments that I am actually thinking that the laws may actually benefit the farmers. And the nation. Fuck, now I don’t even know what to believe anymore.

Which to be honest is ok. I anyway don’t know a lot about a lot of issues that I should be knowing about. I don’t vote. I don’t know a thing about anti-muslim propaganda. I don’t know about issues of the LGBTQi community. I have been on the fence about the battle between natives and migrants in almost all states. I don’t know the reason why people are super attached to the idea of their God being better than others. Or why your community, city, state, religion, the country is better than others, and how everyone else needs to convert to your religion. I remained out of action on the CAA and NRC even though it was as archaic, unfair as anything else ever has been.

But I don’t like the idea of divide and rule. And brainwashing simple people (like me — I don’t understand complex arguments, neither am I bright to know the long-term repercussions of the new rules and laws that we are creating). The worse is the use of force. Fucking barbaric. Something that we could have done when life was all about survival in caves. The world is almost ready to establish a colony on Mars and here we are. Gloating over the victory of mandir wahin banaenge. I mean Bhagwan Shree Ram was for real, would he want to bless a temple that took years of battles and I don’t know how many dead bodies to make?

God is a mythical thing. I understand that some people may want to take solace that there’s a higher power, omnipresent that looks after you. Heck, in my weakest moments I have also thought about God. I have asked for kindness. I can remember two distinct times when I had to rely on God. Once to save a friend from a disease. Once for an event that I made a mess of. Both times things worked out. I don’t know if it was God or what. But I can totally see how people can get attached to these and start believing in God. I mean even I walked some 20 km to Siddhi Vinayak once. May be there is God after all. May be we do have meta-spiritual mystical powers that help all those tarot card readers and astrologers make a living. Good for them.

But force? Coercion? I mean, a comedian is in jail in MP for saying something derogatory against the Hindu Gods. An educated family killed their daughters over something that a priest told them. The Dalits are oppressed to date. Wait. WTF is even a Dalit? Or a Hindu? Each person is human irrespective of caste, gender, sexual preference. Arent we are freak accidents? Did we not get dealt a had that we could not choose in the ovarian lottery? Who decides that someone is a Dalit or a Suvarna or Upper Caste? That baba with a long flowing beard that plays frisbee and drives Mercs and teaches you the art of “living” is talking about how the government needs to cede control over places of worship to the devotees. Isn’t that inciting people?

Fuck I am so so ignorant. Vegetating. Happy in the bubble around me in my head that, “Wow, Mr. Garg, you are in Goa. You are the coolest. You are away from the mess. And you have all the sunshine and stray dogs and fucking unreliable Internet for company.”

Fuck!

Back to the incidents of yesterday.

I remember I called my parents (they live in Delhi) and I remarked in passing that there’s a rally and I hope that it’s peaceful and all. My father commented on how it would be – he grew up with farmers! And then I forgot about it (yeah, forgot about it – I am that indifferent, that casual). And then while I was in a meeting, I took a break to pee and checked Twitter. And saw images from the Red Fort. About how the protest had turned violent and people (both on the side of the farmers and cops) were hurt. Some farmers died, some cops got injured, and how the separatists have infiltrated the movement.

Since then, I have been reading non-stop. My eyes hurt. My head hurts. There’s no internet and yet I am non-stop tapping on refresh on my phone even in my sleep. About how Nishan Sahib is different from the Khalistani Flag. And how the Tiranga was disrespected. And how religious symbolism (a saffron flag atop Babri Masjid) is never good. And yet these symbols move nations.

It took my country to burn to make me take note of how ignorant I am.

The thing that makes it worse is that people I respect, the ones that I believe are progressive and think of India first and humanity first and are apparently good in their hearts and heads are making some of the most flawed arguments. No, I don’t want to name them. And yes, the arguments I think are flawed may be the most sensible ones and yet the commonsensical brain in me is unable to digest those.

Someone rightly said once. Heroes fall. I need to get over this hero-worship mode that I am perpetually in.

Oh, any in Goa, at least the places am hanging out at? They don’t even know what’s happening in Delhi. They are happier that unlike the rest of the country, there’s no dry day in Goa on Republic Day.

Fuck it’s sickening. I can totally related to Chris and other such people. There’s merit in being a hippy. And there’s merit in being a Satoshi. Or even a Che for that matter. Take shit in your hands and dictate terms on how you would live, even if the understanding is limited or flawed af.

No, I am not saying Chris, Che, Satoshi, Mohandas, or any of those legends were flawed. They could have been. But they took a call and did things that they felt or thought or considered right. Unlike me. I can’t even seem to make a living, leave alone thinking independently. I am a random fuck stuck in a rut.

The other day I was happy ecstatic that I seem to have found yet another way to discharge my calling as a person. And today, I am

I am reminded of three lines as I end this. I may get the articulation wrong but they went something like…

One. “jinhe naaz hai, hind par wo kahan hai?

Rabbi did a brilliant take on this. Here. We need more Rabbi’s. More Dylans. And not Badhshahs or Gurus. Fuck, not even Lucky Ali. I don’t believe that I am saying this. I’ve been a fan since I was a child. We don’t need stories and hymns of unrequited love no more. We rather need poets and writers and singers and other popular people to take a stand and educate the masses on these issues. Someone needs to put some sense. Atleast in me. And others. Fuck it sucks that I don’t have an iota of a clue about what’s happening around us.

Two. “Ek zabardast toofan aaye aur uda de chuppi ki duniya

I first saw this on a tee at People Tree. I think this is by Faiz. I am unable to find a source though. But to me, it means that you need some earth-shattering thing to happen and nudge you into action. I have thought about this often. I have seen some great things, good times, bad times, even times when I thought life was meaningless. But these lines always drag me back. I am waiting for almost 40 years now. Half my life is over. And yet there’s been no toofan. And there’s been no impact, no dent, no headway that I’ve made. It sucks to be like this.

Really.

Three. Pale Blue Dot.

By Carl Sagan. The long-text is here. See the video below. The pertinent lines that I go back to often are…

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

– Carl Sagan
Pale Blue Dot. Carl Sagan.

So that’s that.

I think I am done for the day.

I am still confused, stifled, angry, sad, and all that. There’s so much happening that I don’t even know how to process. All I can do is rant and speak out loud in the wilderness of the Internet.

And no, there’s book2 today.

How can I? My country is burning and fucking am thinking about writing books. To what end? To give that escape to whoever reads what I write? Do we need the escape? Or do we need to act? And fix shit?

Well, who am I to talk about these things? I don’t know a thing about the real world or real life. I don’t even vote.

Of course, I hope tomorrow is better.

And if it’s not, I hope I can move onto the next thing that distracts me. That’s how I think life will pass by – moving from one distraction to another. Without taking a stand on one.

Over and out.

260121 – Morning Pages

What if you could treat life as a video game? You know, you play the game of life. And not just live or go through the motions.

7:09. Woke up about 10 mins ago. With a stomach ache. I think it’s the Maggi and Coke combination that is fucking my system Or all the coffee I had. Or the heartburn from the lack of Internet and all that. Something has to be done about the food situation.

Anyhow. So yesterday was super eventful. I had some million calls to make and in between had to sort a billion other things. And as expected the Internet decided to not work. The Vodafone signal decided to disappear. People decided to be at their worst. Sigh.

But then there was this silver lining as well. The opportunity to talk to a few entrepreneurs that are still building their business, thanks to Spotlight (an event that we at Podium have cooked to get aspiring entrepreneurs and investors together). It was so gratifying to talk to them and try and see that there’s so much that I can do. This is what I have been gunning for, all my life! I wrote this thread about it. It is here.

The larger thing here is that this looks close to what I want to be doing in life. You know, life purpose.

Which is what? Create opportunities for others! I have realized that I may not be the kind to go super deep into things but I am definitely the one that can look at the large picture and recommend simple shifts and nudges. It is amazing to see the aha moment come on their faces when I point out these simple things!

Of course, I am not the only one that is doing this. There are so many more people out there that do a better job. But then that does not diminish what I do. And I think I need to scale these things.

The other thing that happened and what I want to sort of write a #SoG on is equating life to a video game. Lemme give some backstory. As a kid, I loved those 8-bit Nintendo video game machines and game cartridges. You know, Contra, Mario and all that? But these were expensive things and you couldn’t buy either the game or the cartridges. So we’d rent them from local stores. This was probably my early exposure to timeshare, I guess. And because these were rented, we’d have limited time with those. Which meant that within a day or two I had to play out the entire game. I had to play to till my heart was full, till I had killed the boss, till I had got to the princess, till I had found all the hidden easter eggs, till I had found the bug that gave me unlimited lives in Mario, till I could boast that I have cleared all of 8 stages of Contra without losing a life. All this had to be done in a limited time. The time that I did not have – I had a school to go to, watchful parents, one family TV where I could hook the machine, the enmity on the cricket ground and I don’t know what all.

But somehow, I could manage the game.

Yesterday when I was thinking about things in life, somehow this dawned onto me – what if I treat life as a game? What if I am in the game? I need to play it out. I need to defeat the Boss. I need to get the princess. I need to find the wrap zones to help finish the game faster. I need to master the moves. I need to find the equivalent of up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start for this game called Life.

And suddenly, all the fuckery, all the issues in life, all the things that have been affecting me started to look like problems that I could try and solve. And to the brain I’ve been given if you throw a problem at me, I will try to solve it and find an answer!

So that!

What if things that affect you, you try to look at those like a problem that needs to be solved? What if you play it like a game? You know, learn for the first few stages, level up your skills, acquire new powers, solve challenges that are increasingly tougher, get rewarded with coins that trick your brain into releasing dopamine. Listen to this clip. Do you think you feel good instantly?

Oh, man! there are so many of these people playing the Mario track. I just went down the rabbit hole. There is a guy on the guitars, another on two guitars, there an entire orchestra, there is a guy beatboxing! I can waste an entire day listening to these. And as I type this, I have this silly smirk on my face!

Wait. Coming back.

If I you treat life like a game, things probably will look better. Life’s a game and you have a limited time with it and you need to play and learn and evolve and beat the boss. As simple as that.

Guess that’s it. There is more that I wanted to talk about. Lemme try quick bullets. Dont want this to become a tome.

1. I realized that working for someone else comes with its challenges of managing other people’s egos. You don’t need to be just good at what you do, but you have to know how to navigate the corporate jungles and dirty politics that people engage in.

2. The freelance life doesn’t exactly set you free. You are still exchanging your time for money. What sets you free is a thing that makes money even when you are asleep. Like Naval says, you need leverage. Need to get to that.

3. For a change, I am not inspired by anything to do with the Republic Day. Far cry from the staunch nationalist that I was growing up. I think this is a good thing and a bad thing. Good – I am not being a jingoist. Bad – I am sort of losing my identity! I am as Indian as they come!

4. I saw that I had written in the last few days on #freewriting for #book2. I realised that most times, what I write for book2 is inspired by what’s happening in life around me. Now that’s not cool. I am not here to write a biography. The idea is to write a fictional story that entertains people!

So that. I wish I had the time to write more. Each time I write, I get some more clarity. I think I think the best when I am either writing. Or talking.

Chalo, onto #freewriting for #book2 for the day. I hope today’s post is not something that happened to me! I am at 8:45. Will write till 9:15.

Here we go…

“You know Chintan, love for me has to be that all-engulfing fire that rages on. I want to be consumed with it. I want to revel in the misery of knowing that you are around and yet you are not.” Rujuta was getting poetic.

Chintan was anything but poetic, “I get it”

“No you dont, you liar. How did you even keep that straight face on TV?”, Rujuta slapped his wrist.

“I was naive. And the cameras were of shitty quality back then!” Chintan replied plainly and ran his hand through her hair.

This was their first time they were alone after they had sort of acknowledged that they were more than just acquaintances. Both of them had scars from their previous relationships – Rujuta’s gashes were deeper than Chintan’s. Their scars had made them nomads, they were drifting through life aimlessly. But both of them were now at a point in life where they felt the need to have that comforting person to come back home to. No, they did not acknowledge this yet. Not to themselves. Not to each other. Not to the world. There’s time and place for everything.

“But you know, Rujuta, life’s not as simple as we make it to me.” Chintan egged on. He had still not told her that he was still married. Not that Rujuta would care. But it was still a big deal.

“You’re telling me?”

“I know what you’ve been through but Raju there’s a lot more about me that you need to know.” Chintan had started to call Rujuta that. In her entire life, no one had ever given that as a nickname. She wanted to hate it but she couldn’t pinpoint a rational reason to do so. There was nothing wrong with it, except it sounded like the nickname of a man. She was still not used to the name though and it still felt alien, impersonal.

“I know I need to know more of you. You need to know more about me. Isn’t that what relationships are about? Each day you discover more of your partner. You get more obsessed with each other. You cant take your mind off each other.”

“Bro, you are talking like a 16-year old romantic in conversation with her 42-year old lover.”

“You are 42. And you make me feel like a 16-year old!”

The playful banter was going exactly how they had imagined it to. If Tarana could see Rujuta reveling like that with another man, she would probably sleep better!

***

Ok enough. Was tough – romance is not my strong suit.

Over and out!

As always, if you want to get these updates on your WhatsApp everyday, lemme know. I will add you to the broadcast list.

Hope today’s better!

250121 – Morning Pages

Got late in waking up. Too blank. Too much. Did now know what to write. You may want to skip this one.

9:13. Woke up a minute ago. Super late. I had literally passed out. Damn age is catching up.

I am in that blank daze state where I don’t know what to write. I can talk about how I spent yesterday – which was nothing to write home about – too many power cuts too often for too long, too many calls that I had to attend but could not, too many things to do that I could not.

Since its 9ish and a Monday, the world has woken up and I am required to make a living, I am breaking the rule (probably for the first time since I started these morning pages). But theek hai. Exceptions are ok. I am writing this as I juggle calls, emails, dark thoughts about life, glasses of water, the househelp cleaning and making a ruckus, the alert from my mobile phone about data that is getting exhausted, and all that. Also, since it’s Monday, Nicky’s is shut and I will have to go to Felix, Clay, or Royal Enfield. Probably, Felix, it’s still free till Feb.

Fuck the minds blank and I don’t know what to write. Lemme write in staccatos.

A friend told me that her 21 resolution is to get abs. No, she doesn’t really have flab per se. But she probably wants those washboard ones. I like the idea of tangible goals. If I could get anything done with my fitness, I’d love to gun for that as well! I love when people take up these self-development projects!

The word staccato itself is interesting to think about, come to think of it. I’ve read it numerous times in the context of gun-fire. I think in Jack Reacher books, if not John Grisham ones. Oh, how I crave to create a Jack Reacher! I do have a Rujuta but I don’t have a second book to talk about it. In fact, yesterday at Nicky’s one of the patrons picked #tnks and we had a short chat about writing, books, and more. Books are those social objects that we can chat over. Just that they are disappearing fast. I think the creators are moving to create content for screens and thus readers are unable to find great things to read. And vice versa. Readers are moving to the screen and hence creators are not incentivized to write books. Wish something could break this and create more books. No, for a change, I am not excited about this problem to actually try and solve 🙂 Guess this is my coming of age!

Chalo enough.

Dont know what else to write. Time to write the piece on #book2.

The #freewriting piece for #book2 today is inspired by a real-life incident that I saw unfold yesterday. Here we go…

The thing with Goa is that apart from the ones that own parcels of land, everyone is an outsider. You could own a flat, a shop, an establishment or whatever. But you are an outsider. And like all outsiders, you either stay within your limits. Or you get bashed up. The scene’s played multiple times over at multiple places in multiple avatars. The local Goan would do what he deems fit. The temporary tourist would do what he deems fit. An argument will follow. Most times it would end in the intervening and breaking the fight up. But once in a while, it would reach a proportion where one of the two would get aggressive and things would take a turn for the worse. This is what happened at Caravan Serai that night.

Chintan was perched on his stool, lost in his pages. Udita was hovering around as she kept an eye on the staff and the patrons. Mrs. Gomes was somewhere in the kitchen. And then one loud, young man pushed Darpan, a staff member so hard that he crash landed into another table and knocked another patron off. Udita yelled at no one in particular, “what the fuck!”

They say when you are really angry, you use cuss words from your mother tongue. Udita had no mother tongue. She did not know what it was. Awadhi? Marathi? Konkani? English? Whatever it was. She still cussed in English. That felt the most natural to her.

She had rushed to the table and was trying to understand what had transpired. Other members of the staff were crowding around. Some guests were also hoping to catch a sight of the action. All they could see in the melee was Udita and another young woman talking animatedly. The other woman was clearly with the patron that had started the ruckus.

From his corner, Chintan could see that Udita was trying to reason with them and when she folded her hand to apologize to the guests, Chintan knew that she was way out of her way. Udita that he had come to known would’ve probably tackled this differently. Guess this is what coming of age is? Since Mrs. Gomes had started to rely more on Udita to manage work at Caravan Serai, she had shown surprising maturity.

The young couple continued to yell at the staff. This was not the Caravan Serai that the patrons frequented. Mrs. Gomes was at the scene now and was profusely apologising to the guests. Raunak stood right next to her and like any well-trained second-in-command knew that he lets his benefactor be the alpha. Mrs Gomes on the other hand was being anything but alpha as she tried to calm the nerves down.

And they did. From the time Mrs. Gomes came in, it took less than a minute for the situation to disperse and the cheerful calm to come back to Caravan Serai. Mrs Gomes clapped thunderously with her frail hands and spoke out loud, “ok then, ladies and gents, that was some fun! The next round of the drinks in on the house. Let’s have a great time”. And like on the queue, Josh started to belt out the Piano Man, on well, his guitar!

***

Over and out. Need to get up early from tomorrow on!

240121 – Morning Pages

I have nothing special to report today, except how I spent yesterday. Skip if you don’t have time.

7:52 AM

I woke up some 3 minutes ago. The neck is still hurting. I think it has something to do with the pillow I use. Will see if I want to go back to not using one at all. Similarly, I need to quit coffee and Diet Coke. All over again. I am like a regular junkie. I want to stay away and the moment I see the red or brown, I start to salivate. Something starts creeping inside my skin. I have had times in the past when I have managed to stay away for even a year (I think) and at months at a stretch for sure. Need to do it again. The thing is I like the idea of being able to sit at any restaurant, office space etc, and spending hours as I work from there. Even though I am probably the most non-intrusive and non-demanding customer at such places, I need to respect that am at their business and I need to consume something. It’s not cool to not order. And I don’t know what to. And thus coffee, coke, etc. I need to find a solution. Plus, I think this is more a will power question than anything else. Any ideas?

Oh, while I am writing this, am listening to a mix by DJ NYK (here he is on YouTube). He is my nextc favorite artist. Love how he does it even though I am not a fan of electronic, high-beat, high-tempo music.

So, yesterday, a friend sent me this write-up about friends (see the image below)…

On friends and friendship

I read it and I was like O FAAAK! This is EXACTLY how I feel about friends and people in life. In fact, all my life I have various people for various occasions. I would famously not mix different groups of friends. And like this person said, I have friends that have a lot of keys to a lot of rooms but I don’t think I have any that have keys to each room. Neither do I have keys to all rooms of a friend.

This thought of mansion and rooms and keys is a very very powerful one. This is how writing should be. It should change how you look at things. It should change the way you operate in life. It has to nudge you to question your ethos and make relevant changes in your personality.

Continuing with friends, last night, RD called and spoke to me at length. About me. He said that he sees the sadness in my photos. I thought my photos are anything for that. As a person, I know that I am not really in a great space. But am I sad? Hell no! I am as content as I could be. I told him that if I have all the money in the world, this is EXACTLY what I would be doing, just that the location / scale / output would change.

But then he’s one of those people that I listen to. He thinks it’s sad. I will think more and make changes. Maybe every Sunday I post people stories? Maybe even get started with Shumbur on my Instagram? Let’s see.

So what is that I am doing that I am so incredibly happy about? That I would do even if I had all the money in the world?

Well, the ability to help others reach their lifegoals! This time I am doing it for start-up founders. All thanks to Akshay and to serendipity. I wrote a post on Linkedin talking about it. In one line, somehow we have been able to create opportunities for aspiring startups to get feedback from founders and investors. I believe each of these conversations could be life-changing. The first edition is on the 31st Jan and we have Dr. Malpani – one of those investors that I respect a lot. In case you’d like to attend, please register interest at http://podm.in/pitch.

Of course, this event is subject to I getting access to the Internet in Goa. Lol. I think I have found a pattern. It gets fucked every time there are more tourists here. Like yesterday, there was this huge traffic jam from Tito’s lane all the way to the Dolphin circle. Not kidding. I talked to people who’d reached outside NickyM’s and were sort of walking around because their vehicles were stuck in traffic. Anyhow, I was walking. So that’s cool. The internet was not working. Still not working. I am perched onto the edge of the balcony, hoping that the phone would catch some signal! I think I’ll make a trip to Mumbai or Delhi, just to experience what fast internet could be!

Anyhow. That’s that.

Onto #freewriting for #book2. I am very blank and I have no clue what I would write about.

Here we go…

If you are a traveling musician, Goa could be a tough place for you to find your footing. There are of course uncountable clubs, pubs, shacks, and more that dot the coastlines and that invite musicians to come and perform, there are more musicians here than the tourists. And that means that odds are stacked against the musicians. You can’t perform your originals. You have to tolerate request from drunken tourists that may or may not understand your music. You get paid shit money. Often it’s not even enough to get by, leave alone invest into producing your music.

Josh did not know any of this when he first moved here. He was inspired by the Instagram posts of others from his school. The choice was between India and Indonesia. The travel to Mumbai was on a direct flight and the one to Bali had to stop at two other airports en route. Josh did not like the idea of take-off and touch-down and thus he chose Mumbai. To save his gut from churning, he had thrown his life in a whirlwind.

The first few days were uneventful. He hung out at all the bars that were known to invite musicians. To his shock and dismay, the music that he performed had hardly any takers. He realized he would be lucky to land even one gig. He however had nowhere else to go. He couldn’t go back. He did not know where he was going next. He had to make the most of what Goa had to offer him. So when he spotted a board hanging outside Caravan Serai where they had advertised that it needs hands in the kitchen, he went in.

At first, Udita thought he was yet another tourist that had drifted into the joint that famously stayed a joint for the locals. But this was Goa and there’s was a business. They couldn’t say no. Plus goras were known to come in at all times. She flung the rag over her shoulder and hollered, “hey man, make yourself comfortable, the entire place is yours. I’d be with you in a minute.” She went to the bar and rinsed her hands.

Josh remained tentative. He was not really a guest. Worse he was probably going to work with this 20-something Indian that spoke in impeccable Brit accent.

“Ummm… well… I am here about that job…?”

“What job?”

“The board that’s hanging outside? It says you need help?”

“Ah that!” She measured him. “Lemme fetch Mrs. Gomes. Can I get you some water or something? Don’t worry, it’s on the house!” She knew a drifter when she saw one. After all, Caravan Serai was the home to such people. She was one of such people. Every other character was too.

“Nah, I am good. Thanks though.” Josh liked how Udita behaved. Very unlike all others that he had encountered so far.

***

Ok. enough. Can’t get them words or ideas.

Maybe tom. Chalo over and out. See you guys tom.