140121 – Morning Pages

I talk about an important lesson I learnt – the difference between being a blogger and a writer. And the changes I’ll make in how I operate.

7 AM

Morning!

So, Rajesh Sir’s house is bang on Baga beach. And that’s a good great thing. And a bad. And that means that there is more hustle-bustle here than what an average road in Goa has. This means that I am not bored and there’s something to look at all the time.

And this also means that there are people at all times in all states of mind – sober, inebriated, happy-high, free, and so on and so forth. And that doesn’t auger well for someone that seeks peace of mind. No, I don’t. But others may. No, I am not complaining at all. Merely stating a truth. The fact that I can live here without worrying about basics is a blessing in itself!

So, yesterday was a mixed bag. Got some work done, got some mind-fuckery happening (even in Goa), spoke to some friends, met new people, passed on an opportunity to meet more people. But I think I am getting to understand how to go about it if I want to be known in multiple circles. A large part of it involves putting yourself out there and pimping yourself subtly. Truth be told, I don’t understand either – pimping self or subtlety. My life has been about muted peacocking. Lol, muted and peacocking in one sentence 😀 Lemme explain.

Muted. I don’t like the limelight. I don’t want to be seen. I don’t want to be known by the aam aadmi per se.

Peacocking. Without trying to be a PUA, the kind of clothes I wear and the way I talk and the way I behave, and the energy I have, all these make me stand out. Often as a misfit. Often as someone that people balk at. You don’t want to talk to someone that doesn’t care about how he looks. Someone that you don’t think of much of when you first lay your eyes on them.

That. Needs to change.

Talking of change there’s another thing I need to change in my personality.

This is something I intuitively knew and got reinforced in Goa. It is…

People want tangible things. Finished things. Finite things. They don’t respect a WIP.

For example, if you say you are a blogger, you get respect at, say, 6 on 10. On the other hand, if you say you are a writer and working on a book, the respect goes up to 9. Both are essentially the same but the subtle difference is in being a blogger and a writer. Just that the Blogger is a WIP. Ongoing. A writer is finite. Something that has been shipped.

People respect finished ones more than they respect WIP. We want to see output more than we want a process. The journey may be the reward for a few but most want a destination. The best part? They don’t care about the quality of what you’ve shipped. They just want to flip the pages of the book, see the URL of the film that is on Hotstar (not Youtube – youtube is WIP, an OTT platform is a finite destination). They don’t want to even do the work required to read or see. Just the signal that it’s out there is enough!

I have seen this in action in Goa like no other place. Probably because there are far less ‘finite’ ones than the ones that are ‘WIP’? In fact, this tweet that Krishna shared made this point beautifully well. And gives me further reinforcement.

I think that’s about it.

The lesson for the day is that being a finite is large in itself and will require me to make substantial changes in how I think and operate.

Here are two that I am making immediately.

A, rather than using all those adjectives that I think do an honest job of describing me (Jack of all trades, curious, marketer, podcaster, etc), I will introduce myself as a writer / storyteller. To hell with what people think about this. I am a writer first and then everything else. And that’s that. This is a sg5stars thing for sure.

Since this is new to me and not really my core personality, it will take time to implement. Do course-correct me if you see me doing otherwise.

B, the SoG series I’ve been writing for a few months? I will restart it at some point in time but I will also release the same as an e-book. And I have already initiated work on that. In case you want a copy, drop your email address on this form.

So that.

I also caught up with friends from the Long-Form-Writing Fans (LFW) Group. With the sketchy internet and a million mosquitos trying to sweep me away, the call was short and there was hardly any rasa but it was phenomenal to speak with them after this long. All of us shared our writing goals, issues that we’re facing (with writing and otherwise) and even spoke about our goals for this year. I wish we could meet more often. I wish we had more things to talk about. I think apart from Prak this set of people is going to be super-helpful as I go about book2.

Oh, I also met someone really interesting after ages on Lunchclub. Not to say other people that I meet are not worthy of a mention. This person was all of 27 and had so much clarity about life that I am left in awe. Apart from Shikha, I don’t think I’ve met someone with so much clarity ever. So that.

I think this is about for the day. The morning pages are now like a public journal but that’s ok. I think I like the idea of writing something to start the day. After all, remember what I said? I am a writer 🙂

Oh, here’s the #freewriting piece for #book2 for today. A writer has to write. Right?

Here we go…

Fire is probably the most misunderstood among all the things that nature made for us. Most people revere it. They don’t revere it really, they are merely scared of it. It is impossible to stop, is all-engulfing and all-consuming. It’s hungry. And it does not relent. The older Paul once told Mrs. Gomes that each fire is as distinct as people are. Each fire has a character. Each fire has a voice. The fires speak. Fire growls. And whispers. Fire can creep up on you silently. And fire can leap on you when you’re least expecting it. Like a person, a fire has its own life. From a spark to a tinder to a flare to a blaze to an inferno and to the biggest of them all, Sun. Sun is probably the only share that the fire takes that we truly respect.

Ok, that’s about it. Love this short para that I’ve written. Among the best, I’ve ever written. Don’t want to spoil it by adding more 😀 What do you think?

130121 – Morning Pages

Conversations with friends and strangers. About Ikigai, writing, life purpose, success, failure, and more. Oh, and scarcity of time!

7:22. This one should be ok (unlike the last one). I have no pressing agendas today. Just the way I like it!

I think these morning pages have found a rhythm. I talk about what I did the previous day. Pick on a thing from what I spoke about. And then try to think more about it, while I write. And then I write a para for book2. The entire thing takes me about an hour and it is enough to put me in a good mood, to be honest, even if I wake up with a shitty one. In fact, as I type this, I have a smile on my face.

So, lately, I have found comfort in music from Suits. People have made a playlist of tracks from Suits and even though I don’t understand half of those, I love em. In fact, I have been discovering new music here in Goa. Like the other day at a hotel, I heard this track called Jerusalema. Since it was playing on a shitty speaker, I thought it was in Hindi (really) and even when I put my head to it, I could not make it out. And when I Shazam-ed, I realized that it’s in one of African languages!

The other thing was that I got to meet Karl yesterday. He’s been one of those that I look up to in life. He had a couple of interesting things to say about things that I thought i had a deep understanding of.

A, Ikigai. You know, the Japanese concept that helps you find purpose? I thought I knew where I want to (which is to enable and inspire others with what I do and create opportunities for them) but when I was talking to him, I realized that I need to sharpen this. My notions are idealistic (something Rashi also tells me all the time) and are not practical at all. He said (and I agree) that no one would pay me to inspire them unless I become a motivational speaker or something. My personality is anything but that! So, need to think more about that.

B, On account planning and strategy. He said that as a planner you have to get into execution as often you get sucked into Blue Ocean thinking and you don’t know shit about how your strategy is translating into actual work. This is very similar to being a management consultant where you don’t have any skin in the game. Now, I want to be anything but that. So, next time I get a gig, I will try and be a part of actual execution and implementation as well. This is a very very important lesson for me. #sgP1.

The other unintended consequence of my chat with him was that I read that Gaurav Jani passed away last year. I did not know him at all and to be honest, his passing was more news to me than a personal setback. But he has been one of those people that I have been incredibly inspired by since I can remember. When I was young, he did something that I would have, well, killed for. He rode to Ladakh on a bike and made a film about that. All solo. I mean imagine taking shots of your bike, all by yourself. How’d you even do it? And he did all this way back in 2006 when all this was not even known, let alone be cool. Plus there was no ubiquitous Internet, phones, mounts, cameras. I cant even imagine how’d he charge batteries and all that. The dude must have been another level shit.

Lesson? Time is a bitch. You gotta do things now. Err on the side of action. #lifeTheme!

Moving on. On another work call, where I was giving my opinion on how things ought to happen, I was asked to shut cos what I said was in direct contrast to what apparently Kunal Shah, the grand-daddy of all start-ups folks in India, had said. A, if he has said what he apparently said, he needs to be taught. B, even if he said what he said, it may have worked for him but in the specific case, it would never work. You can’t use one-size-fits-all with startups. Of course, this is not about him. This is about me. The conversation hit me like a tight slap on my face that you could be the most educated, well-read, opinionated, caring person in the room but unless you have tangible success to show for, no one gives a fuck about what you have to say. Your opinions are not important. They are invalid. You are asked questions that, well, question your credibility.

No this is not the first time something like this has happened to me. But thank God it happened. I am inspired. Need these bouts often. In fact, I am so so so much inspired to create a fucking massive success that when someone asks me such questions, I can tell them that I’ve built massive shit and they are fuck off.

I know revenge and being sore is not a good emotion (#note2self – Pale Blue Dot, This Too Shall Pass, Seneca’s lessons) but I am human. And I hate when people I care for do this to me.

Anyhow. I think I am ok now. Last evening I was seething in anger. To a point that I could not operate. The world thinks that I am a loser and that’s ok. I have no complaints. But when the ones that I am close to think like that and operate from that place, I hate it. Really.

Lemme talk of something good. Spotlight is finally taking shape. We are gunning for the first edition of the event on the 30th. More here. In case you want to pitch your startup to Dr. Malpani, here.

So, today on, thanks to the kick in the butt by Karl and this nameless-faceless person that told me that am useless, I will try to be a lesser loser. I’ll try harder.

The other thing that I want to talk about this party with some strangers that I was in. The host introduced me to some people as a famous author. For some reason, I felt like an imposter. I mean, all I have is one book. That too has failed to make any dent in anyone’s life. The kinder reviews say that it’s average at best. I don’t even want to read honest or negative ones. The second book is nowhere. Been on it for like 10 years and have nothing to show for that. I hated it when I was introduced like that. Yes, please do introduce me as a creative consultant, creative producer, writer (not just of books), marketer, podcaster et al. I am ok with that. But I don’t want to be just a “famous writer”. I want to be the person that tried. Not the person that rests on laurels. That too, not well-defined.

So that’s that for the morning pages.

As I edit, I realise this has become dark and harsh and ranty. But that’s that. The smile on the face of having typed all this is still around. So that’s some comfort.

So, on to #freewriting for book2. So, for this one, I have talked Prak into giving me a prompt every day to get me started with my thinking.

Today’s prompt is…

Red. The color of love and hate. Of life and death. Blood and rivers, hellfire, and heaven song.

– Prakruti Maniar, Jan 2021

Here we go…

Red was a funny choice for the color of the gown that she wore. Even though the host had clearly mentioned that the theme for the evening is white and blue, she wore red. Red stood out. What was supposed to be a party where dreams were to be talked about, futures were to be looked at, she chose Red. The color of love and hate. Of life and death. Blood and rivers, hellfire, and heaven song. She did not choose red on purpose. She did not have a choice. This was the only gown she had that could pass off as a decent dress into the party where the invite cost her a night with that old bastard, Paul. The party has been the talk of the town for a while now and who’s who was expected to be there. Together they were going to plan the future of the sleepy state of Goa. There were talks of taking the casinos on land, thereby greatly reducing the costs for the owners. One of the proposals was to allow for new high-rise construction near the beaches. They wanted to make coal mining a priority for the state. The coast was going to get opened for large scale music festivals that would get the who’s who of the world down to Goa.

The gates were being opened for the world to make its home in Goa. And at the same time, those very gates were being shut on the faces to keep out the ones that rightfully could call Goa home. The promoters blamed the locals for their lackadaisicalness. The locals wanted to be left alone. The two sides were never going to find a common ground. And this party was an attempt in the direction. In attendance were going to be socialites

Ankit Paul had put all he had and pulled all the strings he could to make this happen. His entire fortune and the reputation that his family had earned since forever was at stake. More so, after his father passed away, his personal credibility and integrity was being questioned. No, he did care for what people thought of him. He had more skeletons in his closet than the ruler of African countries had. But he did care about his bank balance. The power he wielded. The political ambitions that he couldn’t seem to find a route to.

This party was going to change all of that. Hopefully for good. And give Paul the respect that he’s craved for since he was a child. Respect that his father never accorded him. Respect that he had to fight hard to get. Respect that made him do all the things he did. Respect that mattered to him more than life or death.

***

Damn tough! But I like how it has come out!

What do you think?

And over and out. Hope it’s a great day!

120121 – Morning Pages

I talk about the two kinds of people – the one that want to stay with their families and the ones that leave the safe havens behind.

7:51 AM
This one would be short, I have to be somewhere. I have till 8:30 to write this.

I slept fitfully (guess that’s cos all the coffee I had?) but I did have a dream. That I can remember. Been a while since I had one of those. About Lucky Ali. And Rabbi Shergill. Both rolled into one artist. I somehow track this hybrid artist down and get to spend time with him and talk to him about all his friends from the past. It’s funny that I created an artist that’s the combination of these two. In that chat, this new artist mentioned KJ Paji, Vishal Bhardwaj, and another one that’s lost forever. Funny are the ways of life!

So, apart from this, yesterday was an eventful day. Among the most exciting things to have happened is that I found some money on a random hill near Baga. This is the second time this year that I have found money on the road. Like the one I spotted on the 1st of this year, even this one was uncanny. I was on a random hill, in almost pitch-dark (save for the glow from a mobile phone). Are these the signs of the tide turning? I even got a call from a placement consultant about a potential role. Again, something that hasn’t happened in a while! Yay!

Of course, I fucked my system by eating Maggi, Fried Rice, Ajinomoto (:D), and our old nemesis, Diet Coke. I have to say, I love eating. Thing is, I love eating things that I love anyway. I am not much for experimenting with food. If I were the kinds to have a great metabolism, I would love to eat Dal Makhani every day. I’ll probably eat Maggi often. I love the crisps like a man possessed. But then, all these are foods that are “rich” in complex carbs and oils and I don’t know what all. Need to stop with these.

The other thing that I did yesterday and I have to talk about this evening I spent with some locals. Well, local not as in someone from Goa but someone who’s been working here for over 5 years. The dude has been around and had his family back home.

So he took me to this rock beyond Baga that most people just ignore. It’s a 5-minute hike from the hustle and bustle and once you are there, all you see is darkness all around you. Except for this restaurant (called Tulum, is romantic af) on a rock, in the middle of nowhere, and the Baga-Calangute-Candolim shoreline (the way you’d see from a boat in the sea). Neither the photos nor the words I use would do justice to the sight I had access to. I am recommending the spot to everyone I know for when they come to Baga. Some may romanticize the idea, some may balk at the trek but it is worth a visit. It is THE IDEAL example of a place that I had ever imagined in my head. In an earshot to civilization. Secluded. Offers a bird’s eye view. You know the kinds you get from a high-rise? This is just high-far from the shore. I’d love to make it my home if I could!

Tulum, Baga
Baga Calngute Shoerline

The thing that I want to think out loud about is that when I spoke to this person, the “local” from Goa, he talked about how life in Goa is good and not good at the same time. From the perspective of someone who works here. He talked about how he’s the only one from his family that has to miss his family functions. When the entire world is partying (around Diwali, New Year, Summer Vacations etc), he’s hard at work. He then took me to a place where the locals eat (cheap food, BYOB etc) and there we had few waiters that were from North-East. Again, hardworking boys. Quick on their feet. Good service. But inherent sadness in how they moved. The owner of the place seemed like a kind man but guess the sadness is of being away from their loved ones.

I think the world has two kinds of people.

One, where family, neighbors, friends, community, etc become everything that they stand for. They are content with less. When I say less I do not want to undermine their work or achievement. I am merely suggesting that they would put their family and relatives over anything material. And there’s nothing wrong with the choice they are making. Their life. Their choice. But at least till the time they are alive, they get to give peace, comfort, happiness to the ones around them. They become the rock of their structures and they add to the fabric of their cultures and societies.

And the second, like me, where the family is important, relationships are important but more important is the dent we make. And for that, we are willing to leave behind everything. Some of us get to make the dent and go down the history books. Some of us don’t and die in anonymity. But most times what we do impact a larger number of people than the type one. Again, I am not glorifying people like me. I am merely postulating.

Look at Elon. Bill. Steve. Jeff. They probably left their families for a long-time to be able to do what they’ve done.

Of course, the best option is to be able to do both one and two. And the odds of that happening is rare and takes a while before that happens. Except for some freak incidents where you are lucky and you find a vocation while you are with your family. For the large part, you need to assume that you will have to make a choice. And once you do that, you better stick to it.

So, it is imperative for us to understand who we are and what side are we on. Once that clarity happens in the head, I think things fall in place and life seems to start making sense. In my case, I know what side I am on. What side are you on?

And that I think is the message, note of the day. What do you think?

Oh, no #freewriting for #book2 today. Not right now at least. May be during the day. If that, I will add to this post. And if not, see you guys tom!

110121 – Morning Pages

I write about how I spent my Sunday and all that I thought about. Mostly inane updates yet again. You may want to skip reading.

7:30.

Up for about 10 mins now. The idea was to wake up at 5 today. And I had slept early last night (around 11) and I had turned off my phone while I did that. But I think I still had a fitful sleep. Jetha was right. I think I am missing sleeping next to someone. Is this what they mean when they say you’d feel the need when you are older?

Maybe.

So on with the morning pages. Quite a few things happened yesterday. Lemme use bullets.

A. I ordered a new laptop for myself, the MacBook Air with the M1 chip. Annkur and Shravan have been raving about it since it launched. I was anyway up for an upgrade for almost a year. So I did. I will get it towards the end of the month though – In Goa, you can’t just go and pick a thing off the shelf you know.

B. I published my 2021 goals. I am not happy with how the list has come out. But the list is here nonetheless. It is here. Lemme know what you guys think.

I do need to write a longish post on this (how and why and what etc). Lol. Meta content. Post about post.

C. Bumped into someone that I used to work with some 6 years ago. He did not know my name. I knew his. Walked up to him and chatted. This is unlike me where I would hide from people from the past. So that’s new. It took an effort to get over the awkwardness. But I did.

D. Dr. Malpani gave a go-ahead to our Spotlight Pitch event. We need to ensure that it goes well. More about it is here. Even though we won’t make money with it, the pitch event is important to me because it checks multiple boxes in terms of where I want to be – impact, helping others, venture capitalism, people connection, etc. Plus, both AD and I will try to build this property in public. This means that we would share everything on various blog posts as we build this. Keep watching this space for more.

E. I may get to meet Karl today. The bugger is here, on a bicycle. I mean WTF. People do bikes, cars. The dude is here on a bicycle. Insane. I have been inspired by him since the first day I met him. I see shades of Raj Kurup in him. Really.

F. Oh, the other thing am doing starting today, is using tags for each person that I talk about in these morning pages. This will help me catalog thoughts and ideas as we go forth.

Of course, I am aware of how privacy is important to people and I would thus not use tags for conversations that are not supposed to be in public domains. My rule of thumb is if I am unsure if they’d like their name out there in public, I will not put their name out. What do you think? Would you be ok with your name on my blog? And fuck, I have way too many names for one day!

G. I told Nicky (of the NickyM’s Kitchen) that I could host a writing workshop for him on one of his lean days (to get some traffic going). And that workshop could be the beginning of NickyM sessions where he could do multiple sessions that allow people to come together. These could be dance, wine-tasting, stand-up, etc.

The thing is, while this will help him, it was a big decision for me. Apart from NFG, I have remained at the backend. With this (and with Spotlight Pitch Event), this year I am taking baby steps of coming on camera. Let’s see how it goes.

H. Finally, the bruhaha over the new Whatsapp privacy policy has reached a peak. I now have to maintain three apps – WA, Telegram, and Signal. I mean really! And why three apps? Cos people I want to stay in touch with are moving. V is on Signal. AG is on Telegram (though she has not told me that she’d stay back on not).

So that.

That’s some recap.

No, this was not the idea of morning pages. But it’s ok. Oh… I forgot to mention that I finally finished watching Coolie No 1 last night. And I enjoyed it. The story, the acting, the direction, the music was nothing that you’d expect from a Bollywood film but I enjoyed it. I also realized why Rohit Shetty is the king of contemporary entertainment, the way David Dhawan would have been in the yesteryears. I remember someone once said that since Govinda was getting old, David Dhawan created another one in his son, Varun Dhawan.

Makes me realize that I HAVE to become a filmmaker. The idea’s been brewing in my head for a few weeks and I need to act on it. I just can’t seem to find an affordable DOP that I could partner with. Damn. I really want to start working on a project. It could be a music video. Or it could be a short-film. Or whatever. I don’t have the budgets to hire a fancy crew, heck no budget for even a non-fancy crew for that matter! But I want to do it. Let’s see how I go about it.

The last thing before I get to the freewriting part for book2 is the thing that since I’ve come here, I have become tardy with things that allowed me to manage the madness in life – Roam, Twitter, notes, etc. If I look at my notes from the last few weeks, they are not as comprehensive as they were before I came to Goa. My activity on Twitter has reduced considerably. I have not made a post on Linkedin in a while. Yes, I have not missed these morning pages since I started a month ago (the first was on 11th Dec 20). But overall, things that made me social have reduced considerably. I need to get back to those. Maybe carve out a specific time? Let’s see.

Chalo. On to #freewriting for Book2.

The thing with sitting on the barstool for so long is that it fucks with your back. Especially when you are 42. And you’ve merely sat on your butt all your life and have had limited movement. It’s not even a couple of weeks since he came in, but Chintan could feel the effect. Each night as he tried to sleep, the pain in his back would shoot up to his head and he would wince.

As he tried to scribble a character that he was thinking on, he made a mental note that he had to find a solution to this. He could choose to not go sit at the bar and perch up on the tiny stool to write. But he liked the ambiance there and the view from the vantage point. He had a direct line of sight to the entrance and he liked to observe people that came into the Caravan Serai. Each character to him was fodder for this book.

At the lean times, he could chat with Mrs. Gomes, the septarian owner-manager that was still lithe, sharp, and active like a 20-year old. Chintan guessed that people in Goa don’t age as bad as they do in other parts of the country. Probably it’s the clean air and better food they were eating. He had developed an easy rapport with her, Chintan had the knack for it.

He had also noticed Udita, the head-bartender giving him undue attention a lot of times. Back in Delhi, he wouldn’t have ignored her. But right now, this was the last thing he wanted. He was coming on the back of a messy divorce and while he’s always loved the attention from the fairer gender, he was not in the state for the time being. He had to get his novel out of the way in the next three months. He had a point to prove. To his wife. Now, ex-wife. Chintan had a hard time moving on. He did not know that his love for her ran so deep that even after a considerably public split, he would want to be back with her. Mrs. Gomes rightly said that the matters of the heart are the most fucked up. You think you know it all but you don’t know shit and all rationality gets tossed out in the sea with a stone chained to the feet.

Chintan couldn’t stop laughing when he first heard Mrs. Gomes lament about love. From what he had gathered, she was never married and yet she had the deepest insights and the funniest anecdotes to bring those insights out. The woman would have been something when she was younger. He had decided that instant that he would write a character inspired by her.

Of course, he was far from it. He was in love with the notion of writing a book. The book was never going to happen. He had no clue that life was going to hit him on his face with a jackhammer with-in the next hour.

***

Gosh, that was hard! But glad I wrote some. That’s it for the day. With that, it’s over and out! Hope you have a good one.

And it’s almost 9.

90 minutes.

#ftw!

100121 – Morning Pages

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

10:03

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Its funny.

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

I digressed.

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

Anyone?

090121 – Morning Pages

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

10:33 AM

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

Anyhow.

So, morning pages.

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

I have never ever understood this.

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

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

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

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

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

Moving on.

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

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

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

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

So yeah. That’s for the morning pages.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to get out and get going.

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


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

080121 – Morning Pages

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

8:34 AM

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

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

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

Here we go…

Book2 – FreeWriting

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

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


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

So that. Phew.

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

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

See that’s the point.

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

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

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

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


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

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

070121 – Morning Pages

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

Hello hello!

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

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

Anyhow. Post for the day.

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

Ok. Enough.

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

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

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

Lets see when that happens.

Come on, Universe!

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

So yeah, hotels.

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

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

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

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

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

The last thing for the day.

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

See you guys tom!

060121 – Morning Pages

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

11:05 AM

I am late for this one. Bummer.

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

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

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

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

Which is ok.

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

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

Lemme explain.

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

So, I essentially see the city come to life.

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

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

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

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

So yeah, that.

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

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

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

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

And with that, over and out. More tomorrow.

050121 – Morning Pages

You may want to skip reading this. I have nothing interesting to talk about except inane updates and monotonous daily journals. Need to rethink on how I go about these morning pages.

8:05 AM

I’ve been up for a bit. Puttering around, doing nothing significant. Thinking about things. Which I have a lot of.

Yesterday was not fun. Ate crap. Was on a low-carb diet and controlled eating for 3 days. It went for a toss for some reason. I don’t know why but I hogged onto Doritos and all that. Plus I got sucked into this new-found indulgence yet again. For the last few days, once I am back on the bed, ready to call it a night, I get busy with the vice. And I promise to myself that I would not indulge too much. But before I know it, I am full-blown into it! Nah, it’s not doing me any good.

Talking of indulgence, I need to stop with the coffee. I am having way too much. May be this is the reason I can’t seem to find sleep? Plus, lemonade has started to taste nice. So may be I will move to that?

Oh, the highlight of yesterday. With Nupura, I had to a recce for an event and it was at this property in the middle of nowhere. Called Avanilaya, it’s in the middle of nowhere (well, actually in Aldona, Goa) and it is EXACTLY the kind of property that I would like to own! It has everything that I may need.

It is middle of nowhere, on top of a hillock, overlooking mountains and rivers and vegetation, fitted with all things modern (wi-fi :D) and yet full of relics from the past.

I may or may not be part of the event when it actually happens but I will go back to Avanilaya someday and spend a few days there, doing nothing. May be i’ll just sit there and write!

Brings me to this realization.

Each place in Goa that I have been to is dotted with bookshelves and they have an eclectic mix of books – English, always Russian, some German, some French, hardly Hindi / Goan / Hindustani. I think I must get some copies of TNKS and carry them around and sprinkle those at various places. Let’s see if I can crack a deal with Sachin to buy these copies for cheap. I am sure he’s happy to liquidate his stock.

The other thing that I must do is stop imagining about book2 and actually get down to writing. Kitna faltoo self-talk!

So here’s the thing. I am really struggling without the Internet here. I now have a Jio connection as well but even that doesn’t seem to be working. I will have to either find a broadband service provider that is willing to fit in a fast connection at a temp house. Or I need to change the house. The co-working I goto here (Clay), is not designed for handling calls. Yes, I do great work when I am there, I get in the zone and I like it there. But most times I need reliable internet is when I need to be on the calls. And there are hardly any spaces that I can lock myself into when I need to be on calls.

Things that I do for myself, I can manage them with slow, unreliable, and flaky internet that the phones offer me. I mean editing a book is easy without the internet (for a large part), writing these morning pages is doable, thinking about all the projects that I run is manageable on phone / WhatsApp, etc. I can even batch those tasks and work on em when I get Internet. But I can’t do these Zoom / Teams calls without reliable, fast, uninterrupted Internet. This whole Remote Work from Goa won’t happen without it.

Plus since I am sort of rebuilding work, life, cash-flow, etc, I can no longer implement a strict maker-manager. Neither can I dole out time slots to people (and make them work at my whims). I need to be available to those at a time when they are available. And often I am not the most important person in the room anymore and that means that I need to toe the line drawn by others.

So that. Internet. And an office space that allows me to be in the flow while I can take my calls. I don’t have an answer right now and like I said, alternatives range from temp high-speed broadband to moving houses in Goa where I have a rent agreement on my name (anyway I need to find a permanent solution if I am going to be here – can’t take advantage of Rajesh Sir’s kindness for too long).

I kid you not that this is that important to me that I am willing to go back to Mumbai and Starbucks.

Really.

Am that fucked about it!

Let’s see what solution I get.

Over and out!