290521. Morning Pages

Attempt at working on #book2, with the help of a Coursera course. You may want to skip this to be honest.

8:01. I woke up a few minutes ago. I had slept at around 10 or something. So that’s 10 hours of sleep. Solid! I think I needed it cos I did not sleep well the day before. I know that this covering of sleep deficit doesn’t count per se but I have been more or less consistent with how I sleep in the last few days.

I was to fast yesterday but I could not. I ended up eating some 20 almonds and chocolate mousse. How will I ever lose weight πŸ™ But then, that’s the only thing I ate (apart from some buttermilk and no coffee). Thing is, I could have stayed off food but I got bugged and bored, to be honest. And all of you know how it goes when you are bored! More bugged than bored.

Today is an important day. I have an important match to play. On a Ludo board. Against M. She’s bet her entire piggy bank against me! Knowing her, even though it’s a piggy bank, it would have more money than I can afford but I shall play. Not for money. But for pride πŸ˜€ Lol!

Anyhow. So, the thing is, I need to discover new music. I need a change from the same Coke Studios and acoustic versions that I listen to over and over again. Plus Youtube’s algorithm doesn’t throw new music at me anymore. Can’t blame. It must be confused that how can someone like Coke Studio and Restoration Videos and CS plays and reruns of Kapil Sharma! Here’s a screenshot from my YT homepage.

Here. My YT page that I start my day with.

So, I am thinking if I want to move to Spotify and if it’s worth listening to ads every 3 tracks? What do you think I can do? How do I find new music that I would like? Help!!!

Guess that’s about it for an update. Time to write for book2. For the book2, since everything else has seemed to have failed, I am enrolling for this course on Coursera where I hope I will be consistent enough to create a novel in the next 6 months. I will write this novel in public. In open. Here. On my blog. More or less on these morning pages. Let’s see how the experiment goes.

The first exercise is to write a few paragraphs to pitch an idea. Let me write those paragraphs. Here we go…

[Start]

The Caravan Serai is a story of an eponymous watering hole on a secluded beach in the touristy city of Goa that gets embroiled in controversy after a brawl. From there on, more troubles come crashing on the place that otherwise is home to cheerful guests and hospitable locals. To a point that the 80-year old single woman that runs the place and some regular patrons are forced to team up to save the place that’s been serving patrons for over 400 years.

On the other side is a local land shark that has been eyeing the Caravan Serai for some time. More than money, his motivation is to teach the old woman a lesson who’s refused to sell the Caravan Serai despite his aggressions over the years.

While this cat and mouse chase between the two sides is played out, the readers would learn that there’s a lot more to Caravan Serai, as a place. And to the story. This includes incidents and a curse going back 400 years when Goa was still a Portuguese colony and the pirates roamed free in the oceans.

Will the old lady succeed? Or will Caravan Serai fall?

[End]

I posted it here as well, in case. Not my best attempt but I think it does tell the story in its entirety. Last year I had written many more log lines. I will try to gather them around in one place. But this is it for the time being.

So, the next exercise is to write a logline. We all know that a logline is essentially that one sentence that describes your book / film in its entirety. It talks about the plot, the characters, the world in which the project is set, the antagonists, and the stakes.

Wow. That’s a lot.
But that’s the starting point. The logline becomes a guiding light that helps you get back on track, should you digress.

They say, this is the hardest part about writing a piece of fiction. And yet I am being asked to start from here. But then, commitment kar di, to kar di!

Lemme try writing some.

1. This is the story of jealousy, greed and lust told through the lens of myriad characters spread over 400 years, each trying to fight their own inner demons and seek closure.

2. Two groups of people spar over a famous watering hole in Goa and discover their own dark pasts as a 400-year curse watches over.

3. After a brawl at a bar, a middle-aged man discovers his true purpose in life.

4. A middle-aged man drifts to Goa and stumbles bang in the middle of a brawl that opens up a can of worms that makes him realise his true destiny.

5. A middle-aged man gets embroiled in a brawl and inadvertently sets in motion a chain of events that awakens a 400-year old curse.

6. A 400-year old curse turns two best friends into enemies out to kill each other and in the process, they unleash a string of crimes and murders on the sleepy state of Goa that will not stop till one of them is dead.

I don’t know which one would I go ahead with. In fact, probably none. I will revisit this for sure. But for the assignment, I will pick the sixth one (the one that I have highlighted). I like the first one as well. But I think 6th is better.

Ok. That’s it for the day.

Need to move along and get started. More tomorrow. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 167
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 2
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 79
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0. Could not write.
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 1. Did 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar.

270521. Hello, Book 2

An attempt to get started with writing the next book.

7:34.
Woke up a few minutes. The first thing I did was check my phone. I’ve got into this stupid habit of looking at Instagram and Twitter and Whatsapp as soon as I am up. Need to break out of this. Thing is, I primarily look at my phone to check the time (I don’t use an alarm anymore) and as soon as I have access to a phone, I start fiddling with other apps. And then like Alice, I go down the rabbit hole of other people and their fabulous lives! I’ll try to limit that over the next few days.

So, agenda for the day.
Try and write on book2 for an hour or so. Till about 8:30 or 8:45.
No, nothing from the heart or whatever.
Book 2 takes priority.

Here we go…

So on book2, while I know more of my protagonists and I have a vague idea of the antagonist as well, I dont know how the battle of wits would look like. There is this ultimate treasure that both these parties are chasing. I am struggling to write the parts where I would hide these. And while these two parties slug it out, I need to make this about a larger philosophy and the ideology. Let’s see what comes out…

“How are we to decode what people wrote back then? So much has changed since they must have hidden the treasure.” The rational Rujuta asked Chintan.

“Rujuta, it’s similar to any other investigation you run. You have morsels for clues. You chase the trail and it eventually leads you to the place of leak. And then you dig further and you would eventually find the answer. You need to not give up.” Chintan was more articulate than that but guess it was the lack of sleep. Or he was overwhelmed with emotion. After all they had just put one of their closest confidantes to rest.

“I know. But who am I to chase? Where do I go? Which thread do I pick? Who do I ask? Apart from what you have and what we stole from Paul’s office, we don’t have a thing. We don’t know where to go. To be honest, I don’t give a fuck about it. Just that I want to save Caravan Serai. It means so much to Mrs. Gomes. There’s no woman like here.

“I know. I know. You are right. But answers wont come to us if we just sit around here and twiddle. What if we find places and things that have been around since back then? I mean a lot of modern construction has happened around here. There are some places that have stayed around since then. No? I mean look at the churches and temples and buildings and all that. These places have been around since forever. We know that we need to probably start from Dona Paula work the way towards Panjim and then beyond. I know its hard work and we will probably come back empty handed. But in the worst case, we’d discover more of Goa!”

“Arey, I don’t care about discovering Goa. I want to ensure that when that bastard Ankit comes back, I can throw whatever he wants on his face so that he can leave us alone and…”

Chintan interrupted. “Do you think he will leave us alone if we gave him the money or the treasure?”

“No ya! I am not that naive. Men like that are never satisfied. He would keep coming back with more requests. All the time. But at this time, this is what we need to solve for.” While Chintan’s scatterbrain was evident, Rujuta’s pragmatism was on display.

Chintan couldnt do anything but agree.

“You do have a point. We can start with Old Goa. There are families and people there that are as old as Goa itself. It could be worth checking out. Plus Ankit’s office is close by at Panjim. We can stop by and say hi to him.” Rujuta chuckled. This is one of those things that Chintan liked about Rujuta. He couldn’t pin what it was but she had this distinct way of looking at things that made him crave for her company.

“Let’s do. When do you want to start?”

“Maybe from tomorrow. We have to talk to others as well and find a way to do this fast. We don’t have all day…”


This is it for the time being. Not too much but I made a start. Good good.

Also, at this point, I am thinking, do I even want to make it about a treasure hunt? While it’s an intriguing piece, if I am getting stuck, should I change the plot to make it a regular maar-dhaad wali film? Where they fight over a piece of land and kill each other and there’s salvation? Like you know, Godfather had no large treasure but respect, family, and survival. May be that will make sense? The treasure could be a red herring that I would remove. It could be the B story. It could be something that someone else was engaged in while my key characters are busy saving Caravan Serai. Makes sense. Let’s see what I decide over the next few days.

That’s it! And, here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 165
  • #aPicADay – 0. Will start this soon, now that I have started to walk around.
  • 10K steps a day – 0. Did 9980 steps!
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 77
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 1. Today was day 1!
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0. Missed this two days in a row.

So that’s it for the day. Let’s see if I can write more about book2 over the next few days.

110421 – Meditations

A quick note before I head off for something important.

0438. Andheri.

I woke up 5 minutes ago. Eyes are still groggy. Haven’t slept properly. Could’ve slept for more. But I would have missed writing this. I need to be on the road at 6:30. So there. Plus, I want to be up at 4 every day. So this is not bad a time to wake up.

Without further ado, here we go. Here are the things that I want to talk about…

Finished my quarterly update yesterday. It’s here. I am yet to send this to people. I will send it tonight. That’s how I work on important posts. I write. Forget about it. And then after a few days, I come back to it, tweak it and then put it in action. This allows me to look at things with objectivity.

I saw Irul last night. This is the second Malayalam film in two days (the first one was Joji). Again, did a thread alongside. Irul was better than Joji for sure. While both of them are in the crime space, Irul stands out for multiple reasons – limited characters (there are just three in Irul), one location (an old bungalow), and full of suspense. Brilliant writing. It did not let out who the killer was till the very end.

The other thing that stood out for me was that in Irul, one of the protagonists is a crime writer and writes crime / psychological. Has written one book. Has a regular day job. Who does he sound like? Lol!

I kept telling myself that if this were not a sign for me to get my act together and get serious about working on my next book, nothing ever would be.

Anyhow, I should do a proper review for both these films one of these days. The trouble is, I take a lot of time to write reviews (I will read what the director had to say about it, what was the inspiration, what other films exist in similar zone etc etc). And I must see other films. SK79 recommends that I see a few more Malayalam films like Super Deluxe and Kumbalangi Nights. I think I will. I enjoy watching content not merely for the sake of watching content and killing time but trying to find connections in what the filmmaker is trying to say.

Let’s see if I can find the time.

Yesterday was the 100th day of #aPicADay. Again, I have not missed a single day so far this year. I plan to do all 365. Let’s see what destiny has in store for me. While I am not happy with probably 85 of these 100 pics (its tough to get a shot everyday that epitomises what you saw on that day), I am happier that I got the streak going. As an individual, I have always

I tried for a 48-hour fast yesterday. I did not mention it. I managed 27 and then I ate like a pig. I had three full meals in one go. To a point that I couldn’t even breathe. I need to find a solution to this. I am thinking, I will subscribe to one of those Keto dabbas. I know they are expensive. I know that every time I have tried those in the past, I have sort of been unable to continue on Keto and have reverted to eating crap. May be this time I will be little better. I dont know.

For a change, this time, I can afford. But the question remains, do I want to? Is there a better option? Will think on this today and decide and act.

On #book2, I am not writing today. I don’t have the time. I did think of a line though. It goes,

Each day when I wake up, I am full of hope about the world I will get to live in today. But by the time I sleep, the hopes have been dashed in more ways than one.

The world that was supposed to be kind, is not. The people that were not supposed to rub me the wrong way, do. The odds that were shining bright in my favor sort of fade with the rising sun. The sun is too damn powerful like that. It’s supposed to give me energy. And here it is, taking away that thread that I hang onto for my life!

Raunak Singh, Carvan Serai

Guess this is about it for the day. Here’s the streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 119
  • #aPicADay – 100 Yay!
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 1
  • #noCoffee – 32
  • #noCoke – 32
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 2
  • Killer Boogie – 0

100421 – Meditations

Today’s post is about this restlessness in my head and heart for no apparent reason. May sound like a rant. Read at peril.

0728. Andheri.

Woke up about 15 minutes ago. Must have slept for 8 or so hours. Yesterday I was probably at the lowest points in my life. I don’t know why. I don’t know what was causing it. I literally slept through the day. It could be the house but I think I have made it bearable now. I even went for a walk and forced myself to do 10K steps. That did not help either. Oh, by the time I ended, I was so tired and breathless that I couldn’t even walk. Had to take a rick to come back. Since I needed a distraction, I saw this Malayalam film, Joji, and live-tweeted it. Here are the tweets in case. Interesting film. Good narrative. It’s one time watch for sure. I do feel that the story could’ve been better! But then my opinions may not make a lot of sense. Who am I after all? Unless I write a few things myself that are good enough for the world to take note of!

So that. On to #book2

[START]

Ankit was the dark horse of the family. Once he wanted something he wanted. By hook or crook. Or by Saam, Daam, Dand, Bhed. He could very well be the Duryodhana from Mahabharata. Often angry for no reason, often irritable for no fault of others, often at high pedestal that was accorded to him purely by his lineage, often rude when not required. When he was a child, even though his father knew where this was going, he did not believe in interfering with fate. Things that were written in the stars had to happen. Even if you used all your might, you’d not be able to stop those from happening.

So when Siddh, the Bhishma, had the opportunity to stop the young Ankit in his tracks, he chose not to. Rather he focused his energies on preparing for the hell Ankit was going to rain down on their tiny hamlet. A large part of the plan rested in finding the Krishna that would eventually goad the Pandavas into stopping Ankit. And that was becoming a problem. Each passing day he was getting older. Ankit was getting more and more belligerent. There was nothing that the old man, the father could do. Except wait. And keep others around him placated. His only hope was that he would find the savior soon. The other saving grace was that there was no sign of Indraprastha or Drauapadi. Yet. He knew it was a matter of time before Ankit would get fixated on something, someone that he would start showing his true colors.

Of course Siddh count confide this into anyone. His only companion was long gone. All he had were his books. Even if he tried to talk to others, they would probably dismiss. Being religious is one thing but being able to see the future is another altogether. People in Goa may be simpletons but they were not fools. Siddh, thus kept to himself.

[END]

So this is probably the first time I have expressed that I want Book2 to be an ode to Mahabharata and more importantly, Anjum Rajabali Sir.

What else do I want to talk about? Lemme think and write disjointed notes…

a, The lockdown for the next two days. I don’t even know how would I survive. I will try and walk around and see how it goes. Let’s see how it goes. I am supposed to go out on Sunday morning, going by the prep the cops had made yesterday, I am not sure if I’d be able to. Let’s see.

b, The mouse I ordered yesterday is here. Wireless is magic. The computer can now be perched at a distance and I and sit back and work. Well done, Mr. Garg. Why did I not think of this earlier? πŸ˜€

c, The quarterly letter that I send to mentors (archive here) needs to go this weekend. It was supposed to go last week but I could not edit it. This weekend, the letter is my task number 1. Everything else may wait. Lemme know if you want a copy!

d, Song of the day is an old favorite – So Gaya Ye Jahan. Here.

I guess that’s about it. I feel I have a lot more to say but I am unable to find the words. May be during the day? May be these morning pages / meditations are becoming a drag, a routine, and I have stopped deriving values from these? I mean I talk about how I spent the day. I talk about what I plan to do the next day. I share some of my thoughts that I don’t talk to the world about. I dump whatever is clouding my head. I almost never go back to what I have written. Except for those few days when I want to see where I was on a certain date in the past. I am not sure why I ought to continue with this. I mean, for that matter, I can question the meaning of life and all that. After all anything and everything we do while we are here is meaningless, pointless. Most of us would be forgotten within 50 years of dying. The impact we make would not last more than 100 years. We’d be lucky if things we create (companies, books, etc) live for more than 200 years after we are gone.

Reminds me of Camus and the Sisyphus. Despite not having meaning in anything that I do (including writing this post every day), the notion in my head that it keeps me going is what keeps me going!

Oh, here’s the thing. I have not read Camus. I merely know his name and what he talked about when he walked about Sisyphus. All I did was see this video to understand what he said. And here I am. Using his name like I am a scholar, deeply interested in his life. Lol. You see the problem there?

Anyhow. Enough for the day. Loads of rocks need to be rolled up some very high mountains. Oh, streaks? Here…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 118 (yesterday was 119 but today I checked and I am at 118. I made a mistake somewhere!)
  • #aPicADay – 99 (again, I checked. Today’s post will be 100th.)
  • 10K steps a day – 2
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 31
  • #noCoke – 31
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 1
  • Killer Boogie – 0

090421 – Meditations

Took almost an hour to write this one. Damn writing is hard! Lemme know what you think.

6:09. Andheri.

I woke after a sleep of 7 hours. No, I am still not as energized as I would want to be. But I am definitely ok. The good thing I did yesterday, amidst all the craziness around COVID is that I walked some 10K steps. Around the beach. So, small win.

I will start with #book2 before I get to the morning pages. This is the only way I will get some writing done!

[START]

“What’s the point of all this?” The loss, the grief, the pain, the suffering, all over again, for Rujuta, was way too much to bear. Why would the universe do that to her? Wasn’t she the best a human being could be? True she had done some inexplicable things in life but she was forced to do those. Knowingly she wouldn’t! Her values were better than that!

Raunak did not have any answers. The universe hadn’t been kind to him either. He never knew his family. He spent a large part of his life in jail. He’s always got close to where he wanted to and yet he never got to it!

They were still perched on top of the Betul Lighthouse. Even though it was inaccessible to the general public, Rujuta had her way with the government officials. It was like a scene out of Amir Khan’s 3 Idiots. Just that Rujuta and Raunak made for an odd pair. And instead of a water tank, they were on top of a lighthouse. While it was far from where they lived, the lighthouse had become Rujuta’s secret hiding spot. She liked to see the world from a height. That’s one thing that she missed about the highrises of the US. This was the first time she had got Raunak there.

Ranuak, of course, had no love for anything that gave him a bird’s view of things. He had had enough of that from that window in his jail. He wanted things to be a lot more real. Lot more tangible. Lot more earthy. He had to feel the texture, the place, the cracks, the smoothness with his feet, his hands, his body. He often wondered how much his life stayed still for almost 30 years and how much it changed in the last 3 months. It was straight out of the movies! He chuckled if Amir Khan would play his character if they ever made the film!

They continued to

[END]

So, on to morning pages meditations.

The thing I want to talk about right now is that humans are funny people. If not all humans, I am funny for sure. All this while I have cribbed about how this house is not the best that I have lived in and here I am, adjusting to its shenanigans, adapting myself to suit to space, cleaning the house, scrubbing it as much as I can, fight a losing battle against the birds and insects and lizards and cockroaches to keep them at bay and repeating to myself that it’s ok. If this continues, I may even begin to love this place!

If I can extrapolate this to other people, I am sure most others are rationalizing and tend to get comfortable in whatever they get. I think I have revolted against comfort but then I guess that’s how it is.

Also, the COVID situation is getting grimmer by the day. I know there’s the vaccine and all that but I am not sure it’s helping. I think I need to think about moving away from Mumbai. I don’t want to – I want to be in the middle of an ecosystem of interesting people that are hustlers and actually want to make money and there’s no way I will get that at any place other than Mumbai. Goa has loads of them but most of them are lost in their worlds.

The other thing I want to talk about is this friend. Let’s call him SK1979. So he is like me and unlike me – like me, he has a job that has nothing to do with films and like me, he wants to get into the business of films and like me, he is willing to put his money where his mouth is. Unlike me though, he gets paid a bomb, unlike me, he is focused (wants to do only films) and unlike me, he is clear about his fascination for films.

So last night for a project that we could potentially invest in, I got talking and I found that he and I were sort of completing each other’s sentences. And not in terms of specifics but in terms of values that we want to establish. I was in awe. Of course, he and I share values and that was reflected in our conversation. I am super lucky to have found him! I need to somehow find more such people and connect with such people and work with such people.

Unrelated, I got myself a Bluetooth keyboard for the computer. Oh man, this is life-changing. I need to get a Bluetooth mouse and with that, I think I can fix my back! And if I can hook the TV one of these days, I would be sorted!

I think whoever said that you need to invest in tools that make your life and work better was so right! Ok, by the time I finished this post, I placed an order. And damn, the Bluetooth mice are expensive! I got this one from Logitech! Also, if I may indulge, now that I am, may be I can get myself AirPods all over again once I have some more money to spare?

So yeah that.
This is about it for the day. Like all other days in the recent past, this is also going to be a long one. See you guys on the other side.

What else? Nothing much!

Here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 119
  • #aPicADay – 99
  • 10K steps a day – 1
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 30
  • #noCoke – 30
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0