030521 – Meditations

Inane updates from an inane life of an insignificant man. Talks about films, coffee and random things.

6:16. Lemme dive right in. If you remember the post yesterday, I made a promise that I will attempt a 72-hour fast. I am proud to say that the promise lasted all of 72 seconds. As soon as I hit publish, hunger pangs started to bug me and I waited like a dying man to have the Swiggys and Zomatos of the world open up. And as soon as they did, I ordered enough to feed a baraat. Sigh. I will never have six-packs. I will never climb Mt. Everest, even if they put an escalator.

In other news, I attended a session on the life and work of Satyajit Ray yesterday, thanks to Jai Arjun Singh (do read his fabulous blog). While I did not understand half the things they talked about (apart from Felu Da, I haven’t consumed anything from Satyajit Ray), I could see that there were some 100 people in there, each smitten by Ray and his life and his work. There were people that were inspired by his work, that had gone to infinite lengths to consume things that Ray had created. The best? There were people that felt a personal loss when Ray passed away. Wow!

The other thing that I got to understand that he was like a lone genius that had a team of other geniuses working alongside him. The guy could write, direct, run a camera, sketch, design, paint, doodle, and whatnot. If he’s not a polymath, I don’t know who else is.

I am inspired. Must attend more such sessions to know more about the lives and work of more such maestros.

So that.

The other thing I need to fix is the damn lethargy that I get shrouded by all day long.
I don’t know if it’s the stale air that am breathing in this house?
Or is it the boredom set in by working from home?
Or may be it’s the age. You know, that simple!
Or is it the lack of actual, physical, 1 on 1 interactions with people?
Or may be it’s the lure of easy accessibility to a bed yoga mat.

I don’t know what it is but this has to stop.

I am thinking every time I feel lazy and feel like stretching myself, I will go walk to the nearest Starbucks (there are 4 Starbucks outlets in the 2 KM radius of where I live, so I can choose which one do I want to walk to; and I can walk to a different one every day) or a McCafe (there’s one less than a KM away) or the discovery of the last lockdown – Blue Tokai (again there are two, both about 3 KMs away!).

I know I will OD on coffee but at least I would not sleep randomly. If anything, I will probably stop sleeping all these hours.

And the deal is that I can not order in. Even if I am getting large discounts, I will place the order and collect from the cafe.

I hope that unlike the 72-hour fast thingy, I am able to do this one. This sounds more plausible. This has components of everything I like – walking (will help the 10K count thingy), coffee, taking breaks, interaction with real people. So let’s see how that goes.

Actually, must admit, I don’t like coffee as much I like coffee shops but this walking to a coffee shop and getting it home is the closest I can get. Let’s see how it goes.

Ok. Remember that NFDC competition that I wanted to send an entry to? Well, they have extended the deadline to the 17th. I have another 14 days now to submit an entry. Lol! Not that I don’t have the time – I waste way too much time with these morning pages (I don’t know what end these pages serve), sleeping, and in general moving about. May be I will push myself. Maybe it’s a sign! May be I will limit the time I spend on these morning pages to just about an hour. The thing is while I write this, I tick other tiny things off my lists – responding to important emails, planning the day (for example, on today’s list of things, one of the agendas is to write a letter to one of my earliest penpals (PD)). Plus, I sort of wake up. The engine in the head starts to crank up slowly and I get ready for the day. So I like this time. But may be I will reduce this to strictly an hour. The next hour, I could spend on thinking about the book, walking, maybe working? I don’t know. Let’s see. Let’s experiment from today itself. As soon I hit publish on this, I will get ready and get in the work mode. And start with the book. Or the script.

The final thing that I want to talk about today is a combination of a few things. I was talking to SG2 last night and she reminded me of this tee-shirt that read something like, “ek zabardat toofan aaye aur uda de chuppi ki dunia“. Couple it with what’s happening in the country (you know, people dying and lack of apathy from the government). And then on top add my inability to help – I mean I have not moved a single muscle in this crisis to help others. If anything, I have been an escapist. I have shut all conversation channels where people are sharing their pain and anguish. Not that I don’t care but I am unable to offer a shoulder or even blurt out a line of sympathy. It overwhelms me – I did not know it would. But it did. And still does. The only good thing is that I am not triggered per se. I am functional, in whatever way. I am onto things. But I did not do shit for people that are suffering. Ok, before this becomes a rant and self-flagellating piece, lemme come to the point.

I will no longer remain on the sidelines. Enough of being chupp. Enough of inaction. I may not be an effective ear or shoulder, but I am an awesome brain for sure. So that shall be used. I dont know how or why or when. I will figure out and act.

So yeah. That’s it. It’s 7:21. I’ve been up for more than two hours now (woke up at 5ish) and I have been on this page for more than an hour. Let’s get going. Lemme get ready and start acting. Till about 10, I own my time. Will probably work on the book / script. Let’s see what I start with.

Here’s the streaks for the day.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 141
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 1. Did 10K yesterday.
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 54. I plan on ordering some today.
  • #noCoke – 54
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

230221 – Morning Pages

Quickie piece. Woke up late. Running behind deadlines. Hoping to catch the pending todos.

10:09 AM. Yeah 10 AM.

I dont even know if I can call this morning pages. Its like afternoon. But then I just woke up (I slept at 5). So this is technically the first thing that I am doing. So, lets give ourselves some benefit of doubt and consider this is morning pages. But because its 10, there are a million people screaming to seek my attention for things that I need to do for them. Will keep this cute and short and all that.

Yesterday was mad. MAD. The day just didnt end. There was so much on the plate and there is still so much on the plate. This busyness is a good thing. I hope there is some revenue opportunity on the other side. Because the day was so long, I had some 20 cups of coffee. Which is ok, if you ask me. Most Americans are like that. But I realize that I was putting in way too much coffee in my system and its making me lose sleep and get more jittery. I need to fix it. Its not a good thing. Wow, look at me talking like an adult!

So, I made myself a big promise. That. I will quite coffee. I will still goto Starbucks and probably have two bottle of sparkling water (which cost as much as a coffee does). So, in my head, I would have paid for using their services and yet I would have not got coffee.

That’s settled. Let’s see how many days I last. Especially with an event coming up. Oh yeah! I am finally managing an event. The last one I was part of was on the 5th of March in 2020, at Lucknow. Since then, I have done some house gigs and all but this one is a full-blown wedding. Of about 80 guests if I am not wrong. So we are still following the regulations (in Goa, you can have a gathering of 100 I think) and yet it has all the paraphernalia. Yay to that!

What else? Damn the minds so blank that I could very well be in a meditative state. Lol. Kuch bhi!

Oh yeah, I am getting to meet Roshan Abbas (virtually) this weekend. He’s the grand-dad of all event professionals. I’ve always wanted to meet him since I was with Suvi. After all these years, in a different context, it’s happening! This is via Podium’s Spotlight. In case you need more details let me know.

Still tripping on Lootera’s music. I spoke about it a few days ago. Need to get to a point where I do such things!

I think this is about I have. I need to go wash some clothes, get my head shaven (yeah!) and then get about the day. Lol, aur bano nomad 😉

And no, no #book2. Let’s see when I get to it. May be in March. Fuck, time flies!

PS: I know this is not technically morning pages. But I started the day with a piece and that’s what matters. The streak has to remain unbroken!

PS: The mood seems to be better. No? I think so! May be its the coffee and if I quit, the mood will go back to being sucky

240121 – Morning Pages

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

7:52 AM

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

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

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

On friends and friendship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyhow. That’s that.

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

Here we go…

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What job?”

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

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

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

***

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

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

The Coffee Jitters

Got the shock of my life, thanks to too much black coffee at a Starbucks nearby. Read on as I describe my “battle” with it!

You know how life is funny? All’s well, you are at your favorite place (a Starbucks), in the zone (writing, working, plotting, etc). And all of a sudden, deep inside the pit of your guts and bowels, you start feeling funny. You cant pinpoint if it’s your gut that’s wrenching or if it’s your chest that’s burning. Or is it a mini-heart attack? May be you are just constipated? Or an acid-reflux?

Like any other informed individual, you quickly log in to Google and type the symptoms. The results are not encouraging. They say you could have anything ranging from cologne cancer to a case of mild acidity caused by having too much coffee and too little water and almost zero carbs for over 14 7 hours.

You continue to wince in pain. But because you are in a public place, you can’t really scream out loud. You create scenarios in your head that you are dying and you begin to message the custodian of your last will to action it. No, your life does not flash past you. That only happens in the films. But you do think of all the promises you made to yourself about life and career and family and the world at large. And you start beating yourself about wasting your life with mere faff and no action. You are reminded what your friend told you once – “you are writing cheques that your body can’t cash.”

You also start thinking that if you make through this, you would try and get healthy. You would sleep on time, eat organic, vegan whatever shite that will ensure you live till the 120 years that you’ve always wanted to. You plan the route that you would run walk on, to get back in shape. You start thinking if there’s merit in being religious – after all, nothing else is helping!

And while you are stuck in this stupor and blaming yourself for all that is wrong in the world, the truth dawns onto you. It’s the coffee jitters.

And that’s because you just had 2 Americanos, venti (for the uninitiated, that’s almost 1.5 liters) in less than two hours. After you’ve been off coffee for more than a month. All this coffee is causing your system to go into a spiral. And pushing your system into overdrive. And of course, you haven’t had any water, to dilute the coffee. You are basically killing your gut with all the acid. Easier would be to put a pipe down your throat and pour Sulphuric Acid down it. Or may be suck onto the exhaust pipe of a cab?

And what do you do next?

Somehow, sense prevails and you stutter out of the cafe. You get the first cab available (which is 12 minutes away, damn you Delhi traffic!). You implore the cabbie to drive like your life depends on it. Well, it does! You reach back home. Implore your mother to give you something to eat (one of the search results told you that you need a sugar rush and water rush to get over the coffee rush). You gobble it up as if your life is dependent on it. It does.

And then after a bit, you start feeling like a human again. And you start thinking of those things that give you instant pleasure (like more mithai, more coffee, more slouched back, etc), and you forget all those promises you made to yourself about your health less than an hour ago. Life’s back to being good. Well, mostly it is…

This is part of 30 minutes of writing everyday challenge. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211, 0311, 0411, 0511, 0611, 0911, 1011, 1211, 1311, 1411, 1511, 1611, 1711.

The Coffee Consumption Confession

I talk about what exactly I love about a Starbucks Coffee store near me. And why I had coffee today after almost a month.

For someone who’s a big Starbucks fan and spends almost 5 hours every day and 4000 bucks a week there, I have a confession to make.

I don’t really love coffee as much. To me, any roast, any bean, any method of making coffee is the same, as long as there’s no milk in it. I HATE milk!

I think marketing team at Starbucks understands people like me. At Starbucks, they keep tinkering with the fabled Starbucks menu, they can’t seem to get my attention. I always want that regular Earl Gray Tea (at least for the last few weeks). They even tried the gimmick of reducing the price of Starbucks Coffee, I remain non-committal. I simply can’t love what they brew!

What I rather love is their ambiance, the comfortable seating, the jazz (that people world over love to hate), and the general sense of ease and familiarity and niceness all around. I know a large part of it is faux but at least for the time you are there, the duration you are hanging out, it’s cool. You feel you belong to that place.

Plus, most times, the patrons hanging out at an outlet tend to be the same. You start knowing them by their faces, even if you don’t know their names. They tend to sit at the same spots. You start knowing those spots and the paraphernalia that they would use to claim the spot. Like at this Starbucks near me, this girl comes in at around 11 and she likes to first take out some 10 books, place them all over the table and then, start her work. This another girl, all she cares for is a charging point and whatever she’s lost into, in her phone. This young couple always takes that corner seat and are oblivious to the world outside. To a people-watcher like me, a Starbucks is a gold mine. At some point, I need to also get comfortable being a Sherlock and start making deductions 😀

Anyhow. The point of this post?

Well, two points.

a, I had to write for 30 minutes.

b, Today, I had coffee.

Yes I did!

After may be a month or so. And no it was not from Starbucks. But from some random place. And no, I did not have a reason per se. Just that I was meeting a friend after really long and I have this really strong association of coffee and her. And breaking the coffee consumption chain while I was with her felt like a great way to reinforce the association.

No?

Part of 30 days, 30 minutes, 30 posts project. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211031104110511061109111011, 1211.