071121 – Morning Pages

A quick note from how I spent yesterday. It was not the best days per se but I am inspired to make today a better one.

Morning! Straight to the point.

Here’s the journal!

  1. Emoticon: :). Even though I did not get a lot of things done, I was engaged and I was happy. I guess this is cos I met people and talked about work and life.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 1. I am better than zero. And less than 2 of yesterday. I focussed largely on things but I was unable to not context swtich.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I am able to find things that allow me to create opportunties for myself. This is something that has held be in good stead.
    2. I have access to people that allow me to engage in deep conversations about life and all. I love those. These conversations help me evolve into a better human. I am hoping. And this betterness allows me to help the ones around me do better.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. Work. Mr. Garg, you need to buck up, please! There’s a lot open on your plate.
    2. Work. I mean it.
    3. Work. Really.
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I am a superhero and I will save Mr. Garg from drowning into the pile of misery that could potentially fall on his head if he does not work.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. I met a client and talked to her about how her podcast can go further. I hope they action it.
    2. Decoding Draupadi took birth. Thanks, PS and CM.
    3. Had these amazing momos at Ladaki at Galleria. You must try em when you are there.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. I had carbs, late night coffee, wine and I dont know what all. Need to avoid these strictly. I wont be able to control today either – I have a lot to do and I need simulants. Sigh.
    2. While I was checking in the hotel, I lost my shit with the front desk staff. I was tired and all that. I shouldn’t have. #note2self.
  8. Quote for the day
    “Not giving up is the only way to get to where you want to be.” – Harshit

What do I want to add beyond the journal? Quick commentary.

In a broad sense, yesterday was a bad day. I had carbs, coffee, and wine. As a friend quipped, Gurgaon is making me into an alcoholic. So, I am glad this trip is ending soon.

The highlight has to be the epiphany that I am at a place in life where I cant do things by myself. I can only give gyaan and hope others would do things. Along with a few colleagues, I am trying to build up a new idea. On that, the only thing am doing is giving gyaan and I am loving it. The team may hate it but I am on a literal trip. I put in less than 5 minutes a day on it and I can see the ball rolling already. That’s the kind of thing I want to be doing. Guess it’s the age!

The other thing that I want to catalog is that I am no longer taking those copious notes that I was taking till before I left for the Base Camp. Guess I’ve been busy? And no, I dont like this. I dont like not taking notes. I dont want to miss out on things. I want my notes to help me remember things. I want to grab each opportunity. This being busy is great (I am thinking less and executing a lot) but I am not building my repertoire. I need to get back to spending time with my notes / dreams / ideas etc.

Finally, the highlight was that I had a fascinating conversation yesterday with someone about life, age, death, and meaning. I wish I could reproduce it here. In one line, the other person thought I was afraid of dying (I was telling her about my will and my wanting to die the richest man in the world and my Memento Mori wallpaper) and I told her that I am afraid of the uncertainty of the afterlife (if there is one) but I know it is an inevitable end that all of us will have to reach at some point in time. And I told her that death inspires me and tells me that my time is limited and I need to act. Actually must write more on this. Let’s see when I get to do this. Adding to #toWrite list.

Ok enough for the day. Need to get going. Need to crunch a week-long worth of things into one day. Let’s see how I do this. May the force be with me. 

As I end this, here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0. Lol!
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 4. Yay!
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 31
  • Money spent – 2999
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 31
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0.
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 31

080721 – Morning Pages

Short post on things at the top of my mind on this Thursday morning.

6:18. Woke up at 5 something. Feeling unwell. Feverish I think. Maybe it’s the AC that spews cold air on me? Or maybe the kachra that I am eating? I don’t think there could be any other reason. I mean I didn’t get wet in the baarish, there hasn’t been any baarish lately. So I don’t know why I feel unwell. I didn’t get good sleep the night before. I was ok during the day. Yesterday I slept at around 10 and woke up without an alarm at 5ish. And I think I slept well. So dunno what’s wrong. Let’s see how the day goes.

So, over the last few days, I’ve been watching conversations and discourses by Dandapani. He’s one of those rare mystics / monks that speak to me. In whatever I have seen, he has remained away from commenting on what’s in vogue (you know, gender issues, politics, etc) and he seems to have the same thoughts about life and people as I (social media is bad for you, highlights of a stranger’s life making you narcissist, etc). I am inspired by his thoughts and ideas that I think I will ape him. You know, mimic him. In the sense that I will renounce all material possessions (I anyway have very few of those) and get detached from whatever emotional relationships I have (again, I have few of those). I will be available to serve the ones that seek my time / company et al. More on this as I start reflecting and seeing where I want to be.

Oh, I am noticing that my eyesight is kinda fading away. In the sense that the things that are in small fonts are blurred. I need to squint my eyes to focus my gaze and then read. Things in the distance are blurry. All my life I’ve taken pride in having good eye-sight. It seems to be going away. Guess this is what aging is. I am at the point in life where the body seems to be withering away with each passing day. I know a time will come when probably all of it will fall away and along with it will go my consciousness that sorts of makes me think, reflect, do, and all that. Wait. If this happens, it will be the best thing to happen. You will know that you are fading away. You can plan for the time when you are gone. You know, write a will, say your goodbyes, get and give closure. The worst way to go would be the one where you go all of a sudden. In the sense that you think all’s hunky-dory and the next instant, you are gone. Without knowing about the impending departure. And without having the opportunity to at least make that final comment or a note on how you lived!

Anyhow. Moving on.

I don’t know what else to write. Lemme come back in a bit.

8:15. Starbucks.
Since I took a break, have shat, showered, read a few pages of this book, reflected on what I saw in today’s video by Dandapani, spoke at home.

I still don’t know what to write. Guess I am exhausted after the flurry of texts and emails and notes and all that over the last few days. Time to get going and start with the work. The track of the day is Hotel California.

Here’s streaks…

  • OMAD – 3
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 119
  • #noCoffee – 8
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 209

220521 – Life and Death

A short post about my understanding of life and death. No, it’s not very rosy.

7:10 AM
Yesterday was weird. For some reason, I could not function. I was on the computer since the morning but I could not function at all. I was like a zombie. I was not thinking, not reacting, not doing. I was on a computer On one side, I am chilling with the two kids I adore more than anything else in life. And on another, someone close in the extended family passed away. I have known him to be a funny, respectful, and full of life person. I think I’ve even gone on holidays with him as a kid – you know when you’d pack yourself into a big car and would go in large groups to hill stations? That. While there is some sort of sadness over the passing of the said relative, I am more or less. To a point that apart from that momentary thought about him and how he looked and who all do I know from the family, I had no feeling of loss. To be honest, I’ve felt a far more personal loss at the passing of celebrities that I did not know of. Heck, I was disturbed by days when I heard about the passing of Steve Jobs. Even the scandals about Jeff and Bill. I was more fucked in the head when one of my colleagues passed away and even when one of my poker buddies passed away (even though I hadn’t heard from him in years).

I am not sure if I should be ashamed of this indifference towards someone who was close. Or I should be proud of my indifference towards someone who was close. I don’t know. I just know that death is messy and I am severely unequipped to handle the emotions that it invokes. To me, despite COVID, death has remained an academic thing. That happens to others, in books, and in popular media. This time I have lost people that are close and that I have spoken to and shared meals with and all that. And yet I remain emotionless. May be such is life. Such is the world. May be Steve was right all along. He said, “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

#note2self. See Steve Jobs’ video. Here…

So that.

Moving on.

Today’s Saturday. And that means a lot of distractions won’t be around. Plus I have been slacking for some days now. I will probably pull my socks and get more things done. I will also try and work out from a friend’s place to prevent myself from plopping myself on a bed. I am sick and tired of working from home. I need a change in scenery for sure. I miss going to an office, I miss the energy of others. I can’t wait for a Starbucks to open. I can’t wait for the lockdown to go away. The way things are stacked in Mumbai, I think we would be out of the lockdown by the first week of June. I am so so so looking forward to it.

Guess this is it. There’s more to write but I will take a pause and do some Surya Namaskars. Been a few days.

Here’s the streak…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 160
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 3
  • #noCoke – 72
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

PS: Today on, I will try and title the post with what’s on my mind.

130521 – Morning Pages

Longish post on losing people, the grief thereafter and coming to terms. And notes from a film.

7 AM
This will be a long one.
And will probably among the darkest pieces I have written in a while.
Read at peril.

So, yesterday, someone I spoke to for less than 5 mins a year ago passed away due to COVID-19. All my interactions with him were limited to one 5-minute long phone call. I remember that even to coordinate for this 5-minute call there was way too much back and forth. He was driving to his office in Gurgaon and the signal was patchy. And then I was on another call and I had a patchy signal. He remained patient and understanding and all that. Despite his seniority and his experience and his connections and all that.

It’s rare to have someone like him at his level with his stature be so humble. I was impressed. My partner, who eventually recorded a conversation with him, told me that he’s seen hundreds of entrepreneurs but none like him. His vision of India, the ethics with which he worked, and the impact he wanted to leave behind was unlike any other.

Can vouch for the impact. When I heard that he’s passed away, I was speechless. You know, sucker-punched. No, I did not know him. The loss was not personal. But it felt as close as a personal one would.

I did not know what to do.

I eventually did what I do best to cope with such situations.

I escaped. Shut the curtains, switched off my phone, ordered a lot of food. Ate and slept through the day. I thought I’ve had enough of this pain and suffering of people leaving the world. I thought I was beyond such pain. I thought I had a heart so tough that nothing could plunge through. I thought I was unbreakable. Numb is the word.

But no.
Nope.
I learned I am a tad more human. I couldn’t function. I was stifled for breath and thought. Even though I spoke to him for like 5 minutes. That too almost a year ago. I was shrouded by doubt and I questioned the very existence. Why do we do things we do? And to what end? When you can go onward as randomly as this! And for no fault of yours.

Damn this fucking feeling of helplessness! Not just at doing something to prevent this loss but also the inability to cope with the loss. The inability to say goodbyes. Oh, that’s the thing that I suck even more at. I don’t know how to say goodbyes. Temporary or permanent.

I think a simple mechanism could be to not get attached to things that make you cry when you have to leave. And not let others get attached to you that they are pained when they have to leave. This will probably make us inhuman but I guess that’s the only solution.

Have no memories, have no affiliations, have nothing that binds you to a place or a thing and you are ok. I mean there must be people that are overjoyed when you call them. There must be strangers that remember you or your actions. Like I remember this gentleman’s actions. I will probably forget him with time but the way he conducted himself is a lesson.

May be, I need to minimize such interactions so that at least I don’t feel the loss at a personal level when they move on. And if they care for me, they don’t feel the same.

While writing this, I was thinking who all would feel unbridled joy when I spoke to them. Can’t think of anyone but my parents. Most other relationships are mere transactions. If I were to make a list of people I am attached to, it would run in miles! I think I need to start cutting.

Thing is, I just don’t know what to do when something like this happens. I’ve always sucked at saying goodbyes.

Anyhow. Life goes on. Yes, we need to acknowledge the pain, take a pause and reflect on what we lost and move on. The earth does not stop spinning. The chakra of life continues. Even if you don’t like it. So, being the eternal optimist, I need to take a silver lining from this. I need to up my sleeves and do more. And do fast. Life’s so so so unpredictable. Damn!

#epiphany! I realized why I am so affected by this. The guy did EVERYTHING I wanted to do in life. And thus I can relate to his life and achievements so much! When my time comes, I hope I have created a body of work that inspires others to live better.


So moving on.

Yesterday, I Saw Nomadland. The critically acclaimed film that won I don’t know how many awards. I want to write a review per se. Lemme use this post to make notes. Repeat. This is not a review. This is a collection of notes that I will develop into a review eventually.

It’s poignant and uncanny and insane that I saw this film when I am surrounded by so many people that are forced to say untimely goodbyes. To me, it’s also a film about coping with grief, coming to terms with our impermanence, thinking about mortality, and on top of it all, letting go.

So the film is about this old woman, Fern who is left alone after her husband dies and the town that they lived in is shut. She leaves on this road trip (not clear right now, will read more before I write the review) and decide to live in a van, something that is so deeply immersed in the American culture that you cant think of either without the other.

The film follows her journey as she moves around the country, taking odd jobs to pay her bills, trying to overcome obstacles that a nomadic life throws at her, and her search for herself, through the lens of others, the relationships she develops, and the community of other van-dwellers.

To me, the biggest takeaway from the film is not that there are people that have chosen a nomadic lifestyle by living in their vans. But is about how you seek and you need and you must have a community of others that believe in the same ideology as you and how the bond that you form with others in the community helps you tide over your personal battles. In fact, all my life, I’ve wanted to build a community of such people, others trying to find answers. Just that in Nomadland, the community is of people that seek freedom and I want to create a community of people that want to do more and push us, humans, ahead. I think this bit about community and the need to belonging is probably the most fundamental of all our needs. Something that we are willing to kill for. You know the world today is seeing that the need to belong to a certain ideology is making people blind!

I loved how the film filled the vast, empty, remote American landscapes with dense emotions and turmoil that each character seems to be going through. As an aspiring filmmaker, this is something that I need to note and work on when I get to make my film.

I loved how each character had a backstory that was told by them. The fill reversed the old age tip about showing and not telling. I mean there’s a lot of telling, lot of symbolism but a large part of the film is tell.

I loved how the film spoke to me at a personal level – I don’t want to be in a hospital when my time comes.

I loved the juxtaposition of struggle fight against large businesses like Amazon and then, on the other side, reliance on such businesses to pay your bills. The neverending fence that divides capitalists and free-right advocates.

Let’s see what else comes to me once I start writing.

Thing is, great films not just tell a story but change something in you. You shift as an individual after you watch a great piece of cinema. You empathize with the character so much that you want to make changes in how you live! I am thinking I will get a car and start living a life where I just have things that I can carry in a briefcase. Even the books I will donate. Or pack and send to long-term storage (aka my parent’s home in Delhi). Lol!

Moving on.

Need to get on with the day. Before that need to write something. To be able to think better (I think better when I write). So I’ve been feeling shitty and listless for last few days. I think I have pinpointed. It’s the relationships I have and the company I keep. I need to end a few. You know how you need to get better by amputating the part that puts the body at risk?

That!

Here’s the streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 151
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 63
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

100521 – Meditations

A friend lost his father yesterday. This is a note to self about how I feel. Please read with caution.

7:42 AM. I had one of those sleepless nights. To a point that I even played chess at like 2:40 AM when I couldn’t get sleep. Last night, I know why I couldn’t sleep. I was hurting to start with. The COVID injection that I took has made my arm useless. There’s no body ache per se but the lower back hurts more than the arm. Plus, under the garb of eating comfort food, I have been putting crap into my stomach. As a result, there is thus perpetual pain in my stomach. And I am left feeling pukish all day long. I am hoping this would get better during the day.

How I feel is not important. There’s another thing that I want to log. A dear friend’s father passed away due to COVID. He was in the hospital and was getting good care but apparently, he couldn’t see the pain and suffering around him in the ICU where he was admitted. He sort up gave up the will to live.

Fuck!

When I heard it, I was so numb that I did not know how to react. Honestly, I had not met him ever but the friend is one of the most creative minds that I know of. I’ve studied with him, spent substantial time with him, had made multiple plans to do multiple things with him (all in the content space), even lived at his place when I was in the US for the first time. Even though his house was tiny and I had my parents and my sis with me, he accommodated us. Like a good friend.

Damn! I don’t even know what he’s feeling right now. Thanks to my parents, even though I am nearing 40, I have always stayed away from these vagaries of life. I don’t know what it means to lose a loved one. I know at some point in time I will have to face the loss. I can’t even think how it would feel. Last time another friend’s father passed away, I had similar feelings – of confusion, of not knowing how to console the friend and his family, of not being able to fathom the loss, of not being able to speak at all. It was unreal.

This time, no, I am not better prepared. I am as shocked and clueless in terms of how to talk to him and be that shoulder. I don’t know what to do to help him. I mean what can help someone who’s lost his father? Damn! I hate this chakra of life and death. I know this cycle is needed but the pain it causes is so so useless.

This also reminds me of my last trip to the ICU. This was in 2017 (or may be it was 2018) and I was getting my nasal polyp operated upon. It was a fairly simple routine and I was in a private hospital with a comfortable room with an attached loo and an attendant 24X7. After the operation, I was kept in the ICU for about 12 hours and I think those were the worst 24 hours of my life. Since I was recuperating from anesthesia and my nose was blocked. That meant that I had to breathe in through my mouth. And that meant the entire mouth, the nasal cavity, the lungs, and all that was as dry as the Sahara. At a more expensive hospital, they would have given me tubular oxygen but we couldn’t afford that. And thus I was literally dying of thirst. I remember getting in and out of consciousness. Each time I could open my eye, I remember begging for water. And the attendant not allowing me any. She wouldn’t. She knew her job well. Plus, in the ICU, there was no one but the medical staff. And I was a mere patient pestering for water. A case number. A nuisance.

I remember, I even told them that I want to give up if they cant give me water. But I do have vague recollections of me reminding myself of Man’s Search for Meaning and other such motivational things. I kept telling myself that I could be suffering on the outside, I could be subjected to all the bodily pain, but on the inside, in my head, it is up to me to remain unbreakable.

Somehow I got thru. But I know I could last because I was there for all of 12 hours. Any longer, I would’ve given up.

I promised myself that day I will do whatever it takes to never go to a hospital again. Thankfully, I havent had to. I have continued to not take medicines and let my body heal myself. I know the lifestyle I have, I will probably need a doctor soon. But for the time being, I am ok.

Coming back to the friend, I just hope he tides through this. The loss is irreparable. This COVID crisis has made us humans immune to suffering – there is so much around us that we have accepted to live with it. It’s a good thing for the human race in general. But it’s a terrible terrible thing for individuals that have to face the loss. Like I said, I am unable to even fathom how to talk to people that have had to see a loss. I am not brave like that. It sucks.

I just hope that the day gets better as we go along. And the coming days too.

Over and out.