261220 – Morning Pages

I talk about where to take these morning pages next. And I post a few ideas that I have been toying with as I live in Goa.

910 AM

I woke up late. Even though I slept early. And not that I worked or thought hard last night. Just that I walked some 22K odd steps. Did that after a while, in Mumbai during the partial unblock, I would routinely do 20K. But since a month before Diwali, I hadnt been doing it. If I can do it for a week or so and get into the habit, that would be nice.

So yesterday I was podering who to make morning pages better. I think I have an answer. Here it is.

  • Krishna says that I need to stop thinking about the past and future and talk only about ideas. I don’t agree. It has to be a mix of all. But yes, I need to lean on ideas more.
  • Atul tells me that he would not want to see them on the broadcast. I understand it could be spammy. He recommends that I put it out as a status update and whoever wants to click can click.
  • I will make another broadcast list of people that I think like me and I will send these updates to them. This is similar to that bade log list where I email once in a while and update about how I am doing. I have learned that if you keep people posted, they know how to react and how to extend help.

So that. If you have any other inputs, am a tweet away.


Now, coming to ideas that I’ve been toying with lately.

Here’s one. I have been tripping onto Dil Haare even now. On loop. So much so that it has become the track that I am listening to non-stop while working, while writing, while walking, while putting myself to sleep. I am thinking, I will make a fan video of the track. The artist may or may not like it but I really would like to tell a story with Dil Haare as the background. I’ve already put things in motion as of yesterday. Let’s see where it comes.

Here’s another. I’ve been taking tons of pictures with the phone and I think I am doing a decent job at em. For a change, I am ok to take credit for things :D. So, I am thinking, I will start to focus a little more on photography and see if I can learn more about it and get a bit better at it? May be.

Here are a couple of pics for you to look at. Lemme know what you think of these. Can I make a career in this?

Calangute beach. Crowded af. Gorgeous af.
The filters of Snapseed make average photos look gorgeous!

Third idea. Get a bungalow or something here in Goa and convert that into a cultural space where doers hang out and do their things. I am not sure where to get the money for this one, but could be interesting to look at. It would allow me to hang out with the creative kinds, the kinds that I get my energy and ideas from!

Idea 4. On similar lines as the third one, open a co-working space in Goa. This again is with the intention of meeting interesting people. I use Clay once in a while here and it’s fabulous! If I was any closer to Anjuna, I would probably literally live there!

Idea 5. How about C4E Goa?


The trouble with all these ideas is that these are what I call, lifestyle ideas. These are good when you have one large income stream coming in and you want to augment that with little trickles. Or you want to give back to society. These are not really sustainable ideas on a standalone basis. Neither do these have any potential to scale. Am yet to accept that I can not create a unicorn and reach a billion people. May be when I do accept my inability to create a world-class impact, I would open up a cafe. But today, no!

So that.

What else to talk about? I feel like I want to write more and say more but the words are escaping me. Not words. The ideas, thoughts are escaping me. I dont know what to write.

Maybe I will come back during the day? May be not. It defeats the purpose of morning pages.

May be tomorrow.

Till then, over and out!

9:49 AM. Almost 30 mins.

251220 – Morning Pages

There’s nothing specific that I talk about in this one. Except for ranting about a few inane things. You may skip reading this one.

7:41 AM

The promise I made yesterday? About eating better and all that? Well, here’s a report on what all I had yesterday.
A sandwich
A green salad (yay!)
4 black coffees
2 Diet Cokes
2 large servings of Hummus, one with some veggies and some roti
1 medium pizza

I guess I did ok.

BULL SHIT!

Plus, as I write this, I have this lingering headache and my body does not seem to be moving. I guess this is what a hangover feels like. No no, I haven’t had alcohol in a while, except rubbing it on my hands. But everything is sore. Am I catching colf?

So anyhow.

Continuing for the day. I want to spend today planning and plotting for 2021. I am big on these yearly plans and I spend a lot of time doing these yearly planning exercises. Here is the plan I made for 2020 (and for 2019, 2018 and 2017).

Most years I tend to make decisions on the basis of these plans. And every year since I started doing these, I have sort of failed to achieveve things that I have listed in these plans. I aim so high so high that even if I get to a fraction of a percentage of these, I am happy. This time around it would be the same. I would So that’s on agenda for the day.

Ok. What else to talk about?

I got myself a hair cut yesterday. I mean the amount of hair I have, it was more of a shave than a cut. I entered a salon after I think 10 months and I quite enjoyed the experience. Each thing reinforces that I am not meant for a life where I do things by myself. I am more of asking others to do things. Even if they are personal ones.

I can see Goa getting crowded. There was a traffic jam on the road yesterday. The kinds that you normally associate with Goa’s most populous street (Tito’s Lane). While I enjoyed the melee, I was also worried about COVID. I now have had way too many close ones that have suffered and recovered. And some haven’t. And it doesn’t seem to be going away. And it’s impacting the work I do and the money I make and how I live. I was talking to a senior from MDI yesterday and I realized that I miss all the travel that I was forced to when I ran those events. I like being in new places, seeing new things, experiencing new things. One way to think about it is that I chase the new. The other way to talk about the same thing is that I don’t want to think about things deeply and thus I continue to chase newer experiences and get buried in novelty.

Oh, the food bit I talked about? I will try to get into OMAD today. I do have a Christmas dinner that I have been invited to by Nupura and friends. I am half tempted to not go there – for some reason, not in the mood to socialize. I tried a bit of it last night and I failed miserably at it. I am inept at holding conversations with or the attention of strangers. The other half is imploring me to go meet new people. I am on the fence about it. Let’s see. I shall come back tomorrow and report.

With that, over and out.


PS: This one was a struggle to write.

PPS: While editing this, I realized that this post is so inane, so useless, so mundane, so meaningless that no one would probably want to read this. Not even the ones that I send these updates to on a daily basis.

The idea of writing this was to get into the habit of writing three pages of text first thing in the morning. This was supposed to help creativity. I am not sure if this has been of any help so far. But I do know that I am writing regularly. At least for 10-12 days now. That in itself is a big win!

What was supposed to be an unfiltered stream of thoughts has sort of become a journal where I write what comes to my head. Of course, even though this is in the public domain, I redact personally identifiable information wherever I think I need to. Apart from that, I have started to sort of “live in public”. Similar to the building in public movement, I think living in public is a good thing. It will keep me accountable and grounded.

So, I may have digressed from what JC wanted me to do. But I am not complaining. The idea is to find my own rhythm, my own style, my own way of working.

So, while I am at it, there are a few ways to go from here on.

A, I can stop sending this to people. And send only the ones where I have something significant to say.

B, Continue sending these. And expand the set of people that I send these to. People that I think care about me but I don’t get to talk on a daily basis, you know, say Vanita. I can ask those people if they would want to read a daily update from me even if they are as inane as this one. This way, I can stay in touch with people?

In fact, since I have been working on that autobiography, I am learning that what probably matters at the end of life is the relationships that you create. Everything else is a byproduct. This is a far cry from what I would think in terms of spreading impact and cheer at scale. I must say, I am not sure yet. The thesis is still nascent.

C, Or may be a weekly round-up of what I’ve done in the week? That could go to these people that care?

Also, I could make this an opt-in thing, like a newsletter. But with my experience of newsletters that get delivered on emails, hardly anyone reads those. Even if they are from Bill Gates. So, it has to be delivered over WA and that too to people that really want to read.

D, Any other ideas?

So that.

What do you think? Should I send these mundane updates to people that I think love me? Help me decide? I am a message away.

241220 – Morning Pages

Today I rant about how I am eating like a pig. I beat myself about things. And I talk about the mountains and the sea.

6:48.

Woke up after a topsy-turvy night.

Not been sleeping well cos been loading up on carbs like a bodybuilder and Coke (not even Diet anymore) like a man that’s gonna get trapped in the Sahara. And since I am mostly sitting at one place (or riding a scooty to reach these places where I camp at), I am living probably the most sedentary life that I have ever lived. And funnily, it’s in Goa, a place where I was supposed to get active. Run, jog, practise Yoga, see the sunsets, walk for hours. I am doing anything but these.

While it’s easy to pin blame on things like no access to a kitchen, no routine, lot of work, I think the real culprit is me. I am choosing spending time on a screen over spending time on my feet. I am not prioritizing myself. Need to change.

Each day when I wake up I decide that today on I will go lo-carb, if not Keto (which is impossible if you are in Goa). And then I start my day with Kurkure or any of those million snacks available so easy around me. I am a sucker for crisps. And the moment I see something that I know will let me crunch it in my mouth, I want to eat it. And then like going down a spiral, one thing leads to another, and by the time I realize what’s happening, I’ve had butter, oil, bread, potatoes, and whatnot. Oh, and coke. Not just Diet. But coke. And I get bloated.

The other thing I have taken note of is that I get bloated easily. I call it bloating. It may actually be the beer belly or a man who’s too old and eating too much. Whatever it is, it is making me fat. And sad. And slow. And tired all the time.

Need to snap out of it.

It’s clouding my head so much that all I am thinking is food and all that.

The other thing that I am thinking about a lot lately is how would life shape up going forward. Especially with work. I have thought multiple times about quitting everything I am on and taking up a naukri. Even tried hard to get one during the lockdown but could not. I took it up as a sign from the Universe and stopped pursuing it. Now, I am getting itchy all over again about it. Few triggers. The lust for an easy life to start with. Second, the ability to support my people with the money I would make (we are hoping to do PPP awards, there is another short-film opportunity that would help cement Shikha‘s place in the industry, we could do with a larger team at Podium).

Fuck just realized. Even with work, I am more inspired by what I can do for things that I work on. None of those is a chase for things that come back to me? I mean all the people do come back to me. But they can choose to not come back. I may have that voice in my head that tells me that I played a teeny weeny role in their success but that’s just me. The same voice tells me that am the coolest dude around. Am I? Of course not. Similarly, am I responsible for the success of others? No! I am merely a meel ka paththar in their journeys.

So yeah. I think I am not making myself a priority and I need to do that pronto.

Starting with food. And then with work. And then with life. And here’s a postcard to end this post. A view from where I wrote this!

The photo does not do justice to what I am seeing. And how I am feeling as I sit here. The days here are so hot and humid that I am sweating all the time when I am out. Towards the evening, the temperature falls to a point where it becomes bearable. The mornings though are crisp. Fresh. The kinds that I love. There’s a nip in the air, the kinds that would make most people crawl under their rajais. Thanks to my upbringing in Delhi, I am ok with it and don’t need anything of that sort. In fact, I enjoy colder places more.

Brings me to another point. Mountains. Sea.

I always thought I was a mountain person for a large part of my life. But lately, I am realizing that I like these beach towns more. More than nature, I think what is important to me is signs of life. Vibrance. Human ingenuity. The life in mountains is probably tougher than at anyplace else and I have immense respect for the ones that live there. But the thing is, the tough life forces the life in the mountains to be, well, uncomfortable. I mean I can’t just go sit at the edge of a cliff and kill time. On a beach, I can spread a sheet and lie down all day long. At a mountain, I need to literally hunt for places that offer food. Here on a beach, those are aplenty (in fact, way too many for my comfort). In the hills, the roads are literally non-existent and you need to find your way around. You take one wrong turn and you would not know where you ended up. At a beach, you can either go towards the water. Or away from it. There is no third direction!

Of course, at some point in time I want to climb the Mt. Everest. And I enjoy the grind and grit and perseverance and effort and mental strength that it takes to climb a hill. Last time I did it, it was with Shravan (in Feb of last year) and if not for him, I wouldn’t know how much I loved the effort. The effort to reach to the top of the hill. Stay there for like 5 mins. Soak in the view. And then climb down. And once you are safe at the bottom, celebrate that you made it without any incident.

No, that was not the first time I did it. I have done a few. But I think the thoughts from that one are so vivid because I had climbed one after ages. And I probably did not have the words earlier. I did not have the ability to spot the emotions that I was feeling. I did not know that the reward is not the summit. I did not know that it does not stop once you are up there.

Anyhow.

Enough of rants.

Time to get going and get some work done.

Over and out.

7:43 AM

231220 – Morning Pages

In this edition of morning pages, I talk to myself about how it would be to live out of a suitcase. So far, it doesn’t look doable 😀

Morning. When I decided to write these, these were supposed to be the very first thing I’d do in the morning.

Mornings have been precious to me. I like the idea of getting things done first thing in the morning. In fact, my best work (ideas, thoughts, writing, etc) happens in the morning. That is why I have not been able to work out in the morning. cc Harshit. I want to have that feeling of having done something productive in the morning. Even if it’s writing all my ideas, thoughts, rants on a piece of paper. Or on these morning pages. Writing, rather, pounding on the keyboard has been my thing. I feel as if I have done something. I know these are not really productive things. I am probably being busy for sake of being busy, rather than doing any actual work!

Today however I broke the rule.

The first thing I did today was to clip my nails.

And I can tell you that I miss my nail cutter and filer more than I miss a hug from the people that I love the most. Really. The idea that I’ve been toying with about giving up my house and everything that I own? If I do implement it #in2021, I would not leave my nail cutter and the filer behind. Filer I can manage without but nail cutter I cant. It is as personal and close an object as your toothbrush is. Or that old chappal that has now taken the shape of your feet! Or you know, how you know where the switch to turn on the light in your bedroom is? You can reach out to it blindly!

That!

Nail cutter is that personal, intimate, close, required.

Coming back to the idea of packing my life in two bags, I am seriously considering it. Just that the travel bag may be too small for all the myriad things that I want to save – you know, the postcard that M & m made on my birthday, the photos of sgMS as a child, the post-it that Spa left behind on the green-board, the guitar that Vivek gave me, the Uke that Krishna made me buy, the paintings that Sonali has asked me to keep safe, the postcards that I have collected from all the travels that I have been lucky to have been on, the numerous books that are close to my heart. Fuck the list is long. For someone that wants to be a minimalist, I have a lot of things that I want to keep safe.

I need to reduce these so that I can fit them in a travel bag.

Wait. That may be too small. Maybe save all things that I can move in the boot of a car. And then take it around everywhere and live in hostels etc.

This actually sounds doable (getting a car). I can park it in long-term parking when I am on the road. I can dump the stuff at a hostel or something when the car needs repair.

Or I can rent one room somewhere and dump all my belongings there? I can totally see why storage units in the US are such lucrative businesses!

But the thing is, I need my space and I need my comfort and I need places to go during the day (I get bored with being at one place). With cheap co-working spaces offering me shelter and cheaper hostels offering me a bed, I think it is doable. May be this trip is an experiment in the direction? Right now, I spend my day in parts at a co-working space and in parts at a couple of restaurants where I have become friendly with the staff. Since there are not too many patrons anyway, they don’t care how long I spend there. I suspect once they get busy, they would not be as kind. Plus I have a fairly lavish space to myself, thanks to Rajesh Sir. If I did not have this and had to go back to a bunk bed at the end of the night, I may not be as happy in the head.

Plus when I spend time at restaurants, I need to spend money, which is ok. The sad bit is that most of these do not offer healthy eating options.

So, it has to be co-working spaces, hostels and a car. If at all. I don’t think I have what it takes to do this. I love people and ecosystems and comfort way too much to take this step.

Plus the pandemic has taught us that it hits the homeless the hardest. I would be an affluent homeless, if I choose to let go of my home.

Another option could be to create a hostel, a hotel, or something where I have a room that is mine and the other part is a commercial establishment. You know, how those moguls lived on top-floors of their hotels? But then, that’s like owning a home and not really living like a nomad with minimal possessions!

The final option from where I see things is that make so much money, so much wealth that you create a lavish space that is so well-appointed that you don’t really care about what it has and what it doesn’t. This allows you freedom from the mental burden of carrying things.

Wah, what a rant.

Actually, not a rant. Serious thought. This is how I talk to myself before I take large decisions. Self-talk. Structured mindmaps. And then letting things simmer in my head as I go about my day. And with this idea of being on the road all the time, I think it is doable. Of course, need to think of the money. I am getting by, well, almost. But what I am doing on a day to day basis is not moving me towards financial independence. And that is a rant for another day.

But I am seriously considering becoming that urban nomad. Let’s see if I can. Oh, and if I do that, I would carry my nail cutter for sure. Really.

Over and out!

PS: If you want to receive these on WA every day, lemme know. I’ll add you to the broadcast list.

221220 – Morning Pages

Morning Pages for 22nd Dec. I talk about the people I’ve met here and how I seek my characters in them.

Hello World! 7:44 AM types.

The eyes are yet to open but the head is already full of a million things swirling around. Mostly to do with what I could do from here on (in life etc). And a little about how I’ve lived the life so far. Plus it’s less than 10 days to go for the end of the year and I am in that zone about maxxing how I will live the next year. Yeah, I am big on these yearly planning things.

The zone is not the best place to be in. I get reflective, sad, melodramatic, and all that. I also get excited beyond measure. A new year is a new opportunity to do things that you haven’t done ever. While I will do a longish post on what I want to do in 2021 and beyond, there is one thing for sure. The book has to be out. Come what may.

In fact, I met this 27-year old yesterday that just moved to Goa a couple of months ago and is hustling hard to make ends meet. Of course, she is yet to get there but I loved her story. I think I’ve found my Udita, one of the characters in #book2. On the last trip to Goa, I found a character in Mrinal. On Sunday, Nicky helped me meet another person that’s been sailing for more than 28 years and can give me inputs on pirates and ports and all that. In the hindsight, the decision to be in Goa for a bit seems to be making sense.

Thing is, I am on the lookout for people and stories proactively and I am catching quite a few. It’s not being easy. I made some very open-ended posts on FB and even though a lot of people wrote, very few seem to be genuinely interested in talking. I am unable to crack the code required to do so. But whatever I have encountered have been really cool and fascinating beyond measure. For example, at the place where I am staying at, the caretaker is trying to sell a disputed property at rock-bottom prices and is at it all the time. Every time I meet him, he lowers the offer by a lakh. I think I’ll wait it out a few months and I will probably get it for free! Then Nupura told me about this place where people park their cars with a ‘For Sale’ sign and forget. For the book, imagine, I could write the actual directions and park a damn car for the rest of my life!

I must talk about her while I am at it. She is one of those rare super-connectors that actually know people. Most others merely claim. She does. I have seen it in action. I wish I could become that. She knows everyone by their first names. And if she doesn’t, she knows someone by their first name that knows everyone in Goa by their first names. She is separated by a mere one-degree. Now that’s a skill. And an opportunity. She says that Goa is like a village and everyone knows everyone else and what’s happening in their homes. Now that’s interesting as a facet. My book requires the characters and families to maintain secrecy for years. Is it even plausible that that would happen?

The other thing that makes her knowing of people special, better, etc is that she knows people from various circles. From restaurant owners to musicians to artists to filmmakers to chefs to business owners to investors and whatnot. I read a long time ago that for a person with limited talents to be successful, he/she needs to be a super-connector and with people from various disciplines. I think if I can get to a fraction of what Nupura has, I would do ok in life. Need to continue chasing her! I even thought about having her as a character in the book per se but I don’t think I can capture all that she’s made up of.

The other thing that I was dying to write today (yes, I think about things throughout the day and make a mental note to write about those when I wake up) is that the routine that I am hoping to make (and talked about it here) will probably never happen. There are way too many variables at play here and I need way too many things to go write to make for a perfect day. So that.

Unrelated. I realized I must cut my nails. Been a few weeks now. To a point that when I type, my fingers don’t even touch the keyboard! Damn, I miss my nail cutter and filer. Will probably buy one.

Oh, I have started to have regular coke (for some reason Diet Coke and Coke Zero are not available here easily) and that too in litres. It’s just fucking with my system and I dont know how to not have.

Anyhow. I can see the post nudging towards a rant. Time to thus take a break and get going with the day. Have meetings lined up from 9 AM onward and I have less than 20 minutes to get in some semblance of presentation on them video calls.

With this, over and out!

211220 – Morning Pages

Morning Pages for the day. Random ramblings, to be honest. In case you want to skip!

Hello World! It took some effort to wake up today. Had to put a hundred alarms and keep hitting on snooze. Need to stop having all the coffee. To be honest, I can. Just that I don’t know what to sip onto when I am whiling away time at cafes to work. Like I said yesterday, I cant work from home and thus I need this feeling of downing something all the time. So, if not coffee, what? Green Tea makes me pukish! Diet Coke? This is becoming an existential question now.

Anyhow, so the brain has started to get back on track. In the sense that wherever I go, I try and sniff some opportunity. Not that I have been able to capitalize on those in the last so many years but I liked the idea of being able to think in terms of numbers, action points, and all that.

The other thing that I must say is that this is after ages where I am putting myself in uncomfortable situations. I am walking up to strangers and chatting them up. I can see from their faces that they think I am a fool. I can hear the subtext in the conversation that they want me to get out of their face asap. I know from their body language that they want to escape. And most times, they do. This is the first time probably where I am trying to sell something that people don’t want. Wait, I am not selling anything per se. I am merely talking to them about their lives. And that itself is deeply unsettling for them. And more so to me as someone that’s instigating them! Oh, damn, the that and the who.

I don’t enjoy these conversations myself but this is probably the only thing I’d get to learn while I am here. Each conversation makes me aware of the limitations that I have when I speak with people (you know, fidget, speak fast, interrupt often, jump from topic to topic, merely scratch the surface, etc). And with each conversation, I try to be mindful and improve how I am doing. So far I haven’t had great success. But I am hoping that there would be some impact somewhere howsoever little it is. If you read this and you and I talk, lemme know if you think am getting any better.

So that.

What next?

Thinking…

Damn this is hard.

Is this what Julia meant when she said morning pages are hard?

Grrr…

So, I tried to digress by checking on some messages, tweets, and all that. Lately, I have started to use FB a bit (to try and connect with people in Goa). I find it far better than Twitter on Insta. In fact, I need to rethink how I live on social media. For all the fuckeries that it piles on you (with all the random ads, FOMO inducing pictures from friends, triggering your insecurities when you see others doing well etc etc), it works for sure. I was able to connect with 3-4 people, thanks to just one post. Maybe I need to get active on FB again?

I do have a philosophical issue here with the concerns around privacy and how FB as a Big Brother bullies smaller businesses into spending more. But then, free market. No?

Also, while writing this bit about FB, I realised how little I know about these concerns. I dont even know what’s wrong with FB. I know that they suck at preventing spread of misinformation or hatred and all that. They are said to side with bullies (Redhat Jr, Kisan Ekta Morcha etc). They are now a giant corporation that kills other businesses with monopolistic behaviour. But do I know the details? No. Do I really know what is the real issue? What is at the core of this? No.

I conveniently trust and follow the opinions of a handful of people (I shall not name those here on the public post) that I *know* for a fact know more about these issues. These people are passionate about causes and things. And they spend all their time chasing things that they are passionate about. And they are not “selling” what they know. There is no vested interest. Say films. I know Shikha will die but not stop reading, talking, researching about films. So I trust her opinion.

Books? Prak would not stop.

Business? Ajeet Sir will have the most informed view.

Loyalty points? Sujoy.

Growth? Annkur.

Tech in general? Kunal.

Career? Anubhab.

Digital Media? Mihir.

Goa? Nupura.

Life advise? Vanita.

Commonsense? AD.

Scrimping money? Vivek.

Showing reality when I am flying high? Sonali.

The list can go on. I am lucky to have so many people give me so much attention and mindspace. And thus, I have people for each thing that I may want to know about. And they are honest and upfront. The value they give me is the reward they expect when they talk to me. I am lucky to have people like that around me!

So, when I am stuck, I just ask these people about the issue and they come back to me with actionable and decision-makable inputs. So I have sort of outsourced my research and thinking.

To me, that works. At least, so far, it has. I am not sure if I want to change it as I go along.

Or may be this is what is stopping me from getting to greatness? May be.

Something to think on. No?

Morning Pages – 201220

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

Hello Morning Pages!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lemme talk about each.

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

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

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

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

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

No?

Research for #book2, meeting with artists in Goa

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

Hello!

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

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

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

The Next Book, Caravan Serai

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

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

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

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

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

So here I am!

What do I need from artists in Goa?

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

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

So yeah, that.

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

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

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

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

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

What can I offer in return?

Definitely not money.

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

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

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


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

Thank You!

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

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

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

191220 – Morning Pages

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

Hello, Morning Pages! Ssup!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you guys tomorrow.

181220 – Morning Pages

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

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

So, let’s go.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, yeah. Over and out. Tomorrow.