A note on trains, a third-party realization about how I work and a rant.
7:56 AM. Mumbai.
Yeah, I came here last night. On a train. I have now taken more trains this year than I have taken in the last 10 years. Except for the locals. And the metro. I hate train travel that much. But then thanks to COVID and the ridiculous inconvenience imposed on air travel, I had to do this.
But then, despite my hatred, I have to say, trains are awesome. Each person in the train is a story. Each person is there for a reason. And is going to someone. Or away from someone. Like last night, there was this old man (who the Ticket Checker told me was 75) who was drunk out of his wits and was picking a random bone with a co-passenger. To a point that he called cops!
I also have to say that the quality of train travel has grown leaps and bounds. I could order from a menu of a million dishes from Chinese, Indian, Fast Food cuisines and there were fresh fruits and snacks from all parts of the country. It was amazing. The compartments were clean. The toilets remained filthy but I think that’s more to do with travelers than the railways. Good job, Indian Railways. So, am in Mumbai. Had to come here for a meeting that could not be pushed. I still want to be back in Goa. Or at least have a foot there. But then, I have to chase money before other things.
Anyhow. So, yesterday, I was talking to Akshay (my partner at Podium). He said a couple of very interesting things (which I knew intuitively but was amazing to hear from someone else). He said one, I perform the best when I am juggling multiple things. And two, when I sniff that money is around the corner.
Of course I kind of knew both these things but I never thought AD would be so good to be able to figure it from a distance. Or may be he’s not good, I am merely so visible with these actions that any intelligent person would be able to spot those. Lol.
The point is, he’s right. And I need to play to the “strength”. If I can call this strength. And how do I play? Well, simple. Find so many opportunities that I am unable to handle, as long as each of those has the potential to throw money at me. So going forward, that would be the mantra. Do you know any such opportunities?
Oh yeah. That old person from the train. I have to have to have to do whatever it takes to not go senile when I am old. It just sucks that people want to respect you because you are old and because you are senile, you lose the respect, and to make matters worse, they pity you. The worst thing that can happen is people pitying you. I will rather walk into the jungle. I hope some of my younger friends would help me retain the sanity. And if not that, push me in a jungle. I may not have been able to do a lot in life but I will not become someone that people pity!
Guess this is it. I have a fairly long day. Need to move the butt.
No, nothing on book2 :(. Dunno when I will be back.
What if you could treat life as a video game? You know, you play the game of life. And not just live or go through the motions.
7:09. Woke up about 10 mins ago. With a stomach ache. I think it’s the Maggi and Coke combination that is fucking my system Or all the coffee I had. Or the heartburn from the lack of Internet and all that. Something has to be done about the food situation.
Anyhow. So yesterday was super eventful. I had some million calls to make and in between had to sort a billion other things. And as expected the Internet decided to not work. The Vodafone signal decided to disappear. People decided to be at their worst. Sigh.
But then there was this silver lining as well. The opportunity to talk to a few entrepreneurs that are still building their business, thanks to Spotlight (an event that we at Podium have cooked to get aspiring entrepreneurs and investors together). It was so gratifying to talk to them and try and see that there’s so much that I can do. This is what I have been gunning for, all my life! I wrote this thread about it. It is here.
The larger thing here is that this looks close to what I want to be doing in life. You know, life purpose.
Which is what? Create opportunities for others! I have realized that I may not be the kind to go super deep into things but I am definitely the one that can look at the large picture and recommend simple shifts and nudges. It is amazing to see the aha moment come on their faces when I point out these simple things!
Of course, I am not the only one that is doing this. There are so many more people out there that do a better job. But then that does not diminish what I do. And I think I need to scale these things.
The other thing that happened and what I want to sort of write a #SoG on is equating life to a video game. Lemme give some backstory. As a kid, I loved those 8-bit Nintendo video game machines and game cartridges. You know, Contra, Mario and all that? But these were expensive things and you couldn’t buy either the game or the cartridges. So we’d rent them from local stores. This was probably my early exposure to timeshare, I guess. And because these were rented, we’d have limited time with those. Which meant that within a day or two I had to play out the entire game. I had to play to till my heart was full, till I had killed the boss, till I had got to the princess, till I had found all the hidden easter eggs, till I had found the bug that gave me unlimited lives in Mario, till I could boast that I have cleared all of 8 stages of Contra without losing a life. All this had to be done in a limited time. The time that I did not have – I had a school to go to, watchful parents, one family TV where I could hook the machine, the enmity on the cricket ground and I don’t know what all.
But somehow, I could manage the game.
Yesterday when I was thinking about things in life, somehow this dawned onto me – what if I treat life as a game? What if I am in the game? I need to play it out. I need to defeat the Boss. I need to get the princess. I need to find the wrap zones to help finish the game faster. I need to master the moves. I need to find the equivalent of up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start for this game called Life.
And suddenly, all the fuckery, all the issues in life, all the things that have been affecting me started to look like problems that I could try and solve. And to the brain I’ve been given if you throw a problem at me, I will try to solve it and find an answer!
What if things that affect you, you try to look at those like a problem that needs to be solved? What if you play it like a game? You know, learn for the first few stages, level up your skills, acquire new powers, solve challenges that are increasingly tougher, get rewarded with coins that trick your brain into releasing dopamine. Listen to this clip. Do you think you feel good instantly?
Oh, man! there are so many of these people playing the Mario track. I just went down the rabbit hole. There is a guy on the guitars, another on two guitars, there an entire orchestra, there is a guy beatboxing! I can waste an entire day listening to these. And as I type this, I have this silly smirk on my face!
Wait. Coming back.
If I you treat life like a game, things probably will look better. Life’s a game and you have a limited time with it and you need to play and learn and evolve and beat the boss. As simple as that.
Guess that’s it. There is more that I wanted to talk about. Lemme try quick bullets. Dont want this to become a tome.
1. I realized that working for someone else comes with its challenges of managing other people’s egos. You don’t need to be just good at what you do, but you have to know how to navigate the corporate jungles and dirty politics that people engage in.
2. The freelance life doesn’t exactly set you free. You are still exchanging your time for money. What sets you free is a thing that makes money even when you are asleep. Like Naval says, you need leverage. Need to get to that.
3. For a change, I am not inspired by anything to do with the Republic Day. Far cry from the staunch nationalist that I was growing up. I think this is a good thing and a bad thing. Good – I am not being a jingoist. Bad – I am sort of losing my identity! I am as Indian as they come!
4. I saw that I had written in the last few days on #freewriting for #book2. I realised that most times, what I write for book2 is inspired by what’s happening in life around me. Now that’s not cool. I am not here to write a biography. The idea is to write a fictional story that entertains people!
So that. I wish I had the time to write more. Each time I write, I get some more clarity. I think I think the best when I am either writing. Or talking.
Chalo, onto #freewriting for #book2 for the day. I hope today’s post is not something that happened to me! I am at 8:45. Will write till 9:15.
Here we go…
“You know Chintan, love for me has to be that all-engulfing fire that rages on. I want to be consumed with it. I want to revel in the misery of knowing that you are around and yet you are not.” Rujuta was getting poetic.
Chintan was anything but poetic, “I get it”
“No you dont, you liar. How did you even keep that straight face on TV?”, Rujuta slapped his wrist.
“I was naive. And the cameras were of shitty quality back then!” Chintan replied plainly and ran his hand through her hair.
This was their first time they were alone after they had sort of acknowledged that they were more than just acquaintances. Both of them had scars from their previous relationships – Rujuta’s gashes were deeper than Chintan’s. Their scars had made them nomads, they were drifting through life aimlessly. But both of them were now at a point in life where they felt the need to have that comforting person to come back home to. No, they did not acknowledge this yet. Not to themselves. Not to each other. Not to the world. There’s time and place for everything.
“But you know, Rujuta, life’s not as simple as we make it to me.” Chintan egged on. He had still not told her that he was still married. Not that Rujuta would care. But it was still a big deal.
“You’re telling me?”
“I know what you’ve been through but Raju there’s a lot more about me that you need to know.” Chintan had started to call Rujuta that. In her entire life, no one had ever given that as a nickname. She wanted to hate it but she couldn’t pinpoint a rational reason to do so. There was nothing wrong with it, except it sounded like the nickname of a man. She was still not used to the name though and it still felt alien, impersonal.
“I know I need to know more of you. You need to know more about me. Isn’t that what relationships are about? Each day you discover more of your partner. You get more obsessed with each other. You cant take your mind off each other.”
“Bro, you are talking like a 16-year old romantic in conversation with her 42-year old lover.”
“You are 42. And you make me feel like a 16-year old!”
The playful banter was going exactly how they had imagined it to. If Tarana could see Rujuta reveling like that with another man, she would probably sleep better!
Ok enough. Was tough – romance is not my strong suit.
Over and out!
As always, if you want to get these updates on your WhatsApp everyday, lemme know. I will add you to the broadcast list.
In this one, I talk about the anatomy of a bad day in Goa, all probably induced by unavailability of Internet and a phone network.
7:39 AM. Yesterday was a weird day. Regular day, if you know me well.
After I don’t know how many days I was spaced out. To a point that I did not even speak with the most cheerful people I know – Noops and Nicky. The Internet won’t work at all. The regular phone and SMS won’t work. Tried to avoid crap but I could not. The hands were literally shaking before I loaded myself with carbs. Skipped two events where I could’ve been at – a poker night and a Pecha Kucha evening. Missed the launch of a friend’s music video. Thought I would start a Clubhouse but the damn connection won’t happen. Locked myself out of the house (thankfully, I could reach the key from the window).
The saving grace? I went for a walk. Did some 12K steps. In like 2 hours. The slowest ever.
My phone tells me that I am averaging 2000 steps this year. Lol. The older Saurabh that I was, even in a wheelchair, he would average more than that! Finally when I was walking about, luckily the phone worked (still no data) and I made some phone calls. Spoke to two new people on LunchClub and CoffeeMug – at both places (and all such calls), I am asked what am up to with these random networking calls if I am in Goa. Need to find a funny answer to this. Spoke to an old boss. He told me that am like shit. Sigh. No, no. It’s ok. Everyone has their opinions. I know where I stand.
Another thing happened. As if stars align or something. Or maybe one thing led to another that lad to me. Gehani and Pradeep pointed me to two interestingtweets about the media and entertainment business. Need to think hard about those. They look like things that I can put my head gainfully to. For life. Lol, yet another thing. This has to stop, Mr. Garg. Let’s see. In fact, the content in those tweets is exactly what I’ve been thinking about lately. I know that I am not singularly great at creating content. But I know I can give a launchpad and wings to others for sure. So that.
These two tweets helped reinforce two beliefs. One, you must have a network that makes a piece of news that you can’t miss reach you. That clearly happened. Two, how the fuck did I miss these two tweets? Need to get back to being active on twitter!
Oh, AD gave me the responsibility of writing the first draft of the Founder Thesis book. Yay! If this happens, it would be the second non-fiction book that I would get to publish this year (apart from SoG Book). 2021 is already looking up. Just need to see how do I make money from these ;P.
Guess that’s that for how the day was. How I felt. How I am gonna cope up today. I HAVE to find a solution to the Internet thingy. Either I move houses (no, I can’t get Internet installed here – this is a temporary house) or I need to start going to a coworking space in Goa that has good internet and mobile phone access (the phone network at Clay sucks. Maybe at Felix it works better?) I’ll try Felix today and will report back.
No, I don’t like that this is becoming an open journal of sorts. But then, I like that I have someplace to go dump my thoughts.
Oh, I also need to think about what to do with WoW. Do I move it on SaurabhGarg.com? Or do I leave it on blogger? I am very very sure that Google will either sell or shut Blogger (they have made some changes to the product but they’ve merely fucked it up. Plus they are not even in the same league at WordPress and countless others). And I don’t want to lose all that I have written over the years. Will check with Rege or Arpit.
Coming to #book2. I am in the mood for some dark shit today. Let’s see what I come up with :D. The names are fictional (I mean the entire book is fictional but I am using random names right now).
“The ropes have to be as taut as you can make them go. Here, use this hook to pull more”, Kiran handed over what looked like a well-used, aged, pirate’s hand hook to Sita.
“The fuck is this?” Sita balked. It looked as if it was ripped from a real pirate.
“I use this as a grip when I need to clasp onto something. The pirates were geniuses.” Kiran replied and continued with this work. The way he was going, Sita knew this was not the first time he was doing something like this.
Sita held gingerly at it tried to pull the rope that she was wrapping over layers of plastic, tarp and jute.
Kiran continued and spoke matter of factly, “make sure it is as tight as you can. When we tie it to the anchor, it cant come undone.”
Sita merely nodded. That’s all she could do. She was merely going through the motions. The night that started as a celebration had taken a dark turn and now, it did not seem to be ending. When she boarded the train from her village 2 weeks ago, she did not know that her life would change so drastically. From a simpleton in a secluded village deep in Maharashtra, she has had alcohol, slept with a man that was not her husband, and now, become an accessory to a murder. And she was the reason for the fight between her husband and the young man she got carried away with. Such loss for such a small incident. If only Kiran understood why she did what she did, all this could have been avoided.
Kiran beamed, breaking her reverie, “wow, that looks good. I am almost done with the head and the torso. We just need to tie a big rock to his legs and then we’d be on our way.”
The plan was to dump the dead body deep into the sea but it had to be wrapped to prevent the parts from flailing and they had to put something heavy on it to ensure that it doesn’t wash ashore. Way too many amateurs were caught by the cops when bloated dead bodies arrived at the short unannounced. Kiran and Sita were not getting caught for sure. They had packed the dead body in three layers – plastic, tarp, and jute before typing it up till it resembled a mummy. There was no way fishes were going to gnaw and dismember various parts. With the two rocks that Kiran had identified, there was no way it was going to surface. And the spot where he was going to dump it in was known to have rocky terrain underneath. Like it had done for so many others, the sea would keep their secret.
Little did they know that while the sea wouldn’t rat on them, the young man they were busy with would be missed from the house of Paul’s and the impending search would unleash an inferno ono them and everyone else at Caravan Serai that the entire Arabian Sea wouldn’t be able to douse.
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.
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?
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.
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.