A quick post where I rant to my heart’s content. About nothing in specific. And yet, about everything.
7:08. Home. Woke up some time ago. I am unable to find a place where I can sit and work. There is this humdrum of a well-lived house – sounds of clattering from the kitchen, water being poured somewhere on some plants, the incessant doorbell, and so on and so forth. I am so so so used to living by myself and designing my spaces to my liking that I am unable to understand how to react to all this commotion. Of course, this is not commotion per se. This is more like the sounds of life but I guess these are not for me. I designed my life in a way that I did not have a kitchen (though I wanted to change that), there was no one to talk to or do anything till I first initiated. Even when I lived with sgGF, she was the kind to sleep late and I had the first few hours of the day to myself. And there’s nothing that sets my mood, the tone of my day like the mornings do. My mornings are the most sacrosanct time. I need to be left to myself – even if I am watching Taarak Mehta!
Plus, since I have come home (been two days), I haven’t been able to think of things. This happens each time I am here. I am not sure what is the cause. There has to be one. Why is it that I am not as engaged as I would want to be when I am in Delhi? #tothink
Anyhow. Rant hai. Moving on.
So in the highlights yesterday, I met one of those young ones that I want to become my budhape ki laathi. It was fabulous to see young people and their ambitions and dreams and the effort they are willing to make for that. I wish I could give them a better support system than what I have offered them right now. I call them #teamSG. I need to find a better name. I mean Team SG is super vain and I don’t want that. So that’s something I need to work on.
I was also at a Decathlon outlet and I was amazed at the collection. The sad part though was that the person who was support to help around was super uninterested in selling. What a shame, to be honest. Also, I noticed a subtle difference. At the Decathlons in Mumbai, they dont ask you to deposit your bags to the security. Here, they did. Guess something to do with how people behave? How big a problem pilferage is in Delhi? Lol!
Oh, I missed mentioning but I slept at around 7 last night. Woke up at 9. Slept again at 10. And then I woke up at 6ish today. And while the sleep was ok, I had a few distinct dreams that I recall. Yay! I think it’s after a while that I have been able to remember my dreams. Took a note over at #echochamber.
For the EBC, I had planned to take a Gimbal and a new phone to record a video blog of the journey. However, I have decided against it. I dont have the money to get a phone. And the one I have can’t do – it’s a three-year-old iPhone and the battery is literally dead. And I dont want to spend anything. I would rather use the money to help build the people that I care for. No, I can’t put in words why I do this for others but this is what defines me and I can’t escape from it. Maybe with time, I will change but as of today, this is how it is. So that!
I feel as if I have a lot to talk about. A lot to write. A lot to pour out. But then the thoughts are scattered so all over the place that I dont know what to do. I am so glad that I have this break coming up. I will be with some people but I can choose to remain aloof and silent and merely observe things. Let’s see how that experiment goes.
Guess this is about it. Time to get going with the day. Have a lot to do. Need to of course find a place to go work from. Not sure where I’d go. Time shall tell.
A quick post about two things that cloud my mind – food and work. And of course, Starbucks!
9:58 AM. Woke up 10 mins ago. This must be the latest that I’ve written my morning pages. I was up till about 2 last night, working. And then I did not charge the phone (and thus no alarms). I am not sure if I got a sound sleep but I do remember that I woke up without an alarm. I feel ok, except for the neck. I think I will need to fix the pillow situation.
So, in the “good things that happened yesterday” department, I did not have coffee! I did go to two Starbucks outlets and yet did not have coffee. Yay! Settled for a Green Tea. It tasted like shit but at least it wasn’t coffee.
In the “bad things” department, I couldn’t do OMAD. Ended up eating a lot of food (and a lot of rice at that and my favorite Egg Soup). On the menu today, is eating less. One time. Now that PD has commanded me to, I can’t say no. Let’s see.
I dont know what else to write.
Ok. There’s a lot open at work and thankfully I worked a lot yesterday. Worked means infinite calls, daydreaming, powerpoints, and more! I think it was after 2 weeks that I did as much work. I guess I am slowly getting back to my mojo on that side. In another week or so I will be ok. So that’s a good thing.
I want to reduce my reliance on Starbucks. It is tough, to be honest. I need to see people around me. In fact, this is the very reason why I am dreading working from Delhi. There’s no cafe per se near my place. No co-working space that’s open. I think Delhi was not built for knowledge workers and these newfangled gigs. You know, most people are traders and have regular jobs. So the ecosystem hasn’t been built for that. Plus I suspect there is more generational wealth in Delhi than in any other city. Not in terms of mega-billionaires but in terms of upper-middle-class that has inherited houses and cars and businesses and all from their fathers et al.
Ok, I digressed. I was talking about Starbucks and I launched into a rant about Delhi.
Wait. I did not. Why did I write this? Well for a couple of reasons.
A, I am thinking of going to Delhi in July and spending some time there. No specific reason. I just need a break in scenery. Prior to the pandemic I would routinely get such breaks – travel, work, whims etc.
But when I go to Delhi, I will have to find a Blue Zone of Work that is within walking distance for me.
B, There is a fleeting chance that I may take a 15-day break in September and do the EBC trek hike. Catch my words. Fleeting. Chance.
In case that happens, I will have to anyway cross Delhi (I mean I can take a direct flight to Kathamandu if I have to, but I have this irrational thing where I want to see my parents every time I travel “north”). And since I can work from anywhere, I can spend a few days in Delhi around that time as well.
So may be I can travel to Delhi around August and then move onward to EBC. If EBC is happening. And if that’s the case, why bother with going now in July?
So I need to make a decision if I want to push my trip to August. Or I go in July, come back. Go again in Sep.
Not sure right now. But yeah, this is what’s on my mind right now. Of course, I know whatever I do will be hardly this well-thought-out. I would just pack my bags on a whim and just leave!
Anyhow. That’s about it for the day. Time to move on. It’s almost 11 and work Starbucks beckons.
A longish post about how I spent the day yesterday, things I did and how I felt as I went about them.
8:29. Was up a few minutes ago. Made my bed, opened the windows, got some water, and switched on the computer. And here I am. I will try to write this one without switching context. Let’s see how I fare. I will keep a tab of interruptions and what triggered that.
Yesterday was interesting for a lot of reasons. Lemme recap and then I will write more. So for starters, I went to Starbucks and spent almost half a day there. More on this in a bit. Then I came back and ate (once in the day! yay!). Remember the keyboard I wrote about? I found it! Wedged next to the bookshelf! Then I worked and worked and worked and worked till about 10. And then I slept. While sleeping, I felt like a machine that started in the morning, worked till the day ended, and then shut down. The joy felt missing. I mean the joy is in work itself, to be honest, and I enjoy most things I do. But as I was trying to get sleep (around 11), I wished there was more. May be this is the loneliness that they talk about that people my age suffer from? You know, the ones that don’t have a significant other? I won’t know.
Moving to specifics.
Starbucks. So I went to the Starbucks I go to often. I got myself a Venti Americano and settled into the spot that I used to sit at. In the first 10 minutes while I was there, I realized it was going to be a good good day. In the sense that I will get a lot done. I will be in the zone. I will do better things.
And I did. I felt the spring in my step. I made difficult calls. I was on a literal roll!
Now that I know this and it has dawned onto me this well, I think wherever I go, I will have to find a place like Starbucks to work from. I will invest in a place (as in pay a fee or something). May be a WeWork. It would become a large variable when I choose the place where I want to be. When in Goa, even Clay was not plush enough for my taste. Felix probably was. Just that phone / Internet wouldn’t work there. Plus those places are not built for virtual calls.
Oh, and I will start calling this the ‘Starbucks Effect on Work’. Related is Coffee Effect on Sleep. Like I couldn’t fall asleep easily last night when I tried. And then I woke during the night. Guess that’s all the coffee in me playing a spoilsport.
Next up. Now that I am fully vaccinated and all that, I plan to be in Delhi for a few days towards the end of Jun. I know my work would get affected while I am there – I won’t have the space to work from and I would have to live in a small house with my parents. But I think my parents deserve a break and work can wait. No, they’ve not told me that they want me to live with them. It’s just that I want to. Most times, I make more than 6 trips to Delhi a year. This time around, it’s been tough. I remember I was in Delhi in March of last year. And then around Diwali. It’s been more than 7 months and I think I owe them one. So that.
In other news, I saw that Vikramaditya Motwane Sir is doing a session where he would listen to pitches from aspiring authors. I think I will participate in that and try my luck. In case you are a filmmaker and reading this by mistake, do see this. In fact, thanks to TRS sessions, I have come to love what he’s as a person. I am lucky that I get some behind-the-scenes time with him and thus I know that he’s probably one of the best-meaning filmmakers that I know of. I must must make friends with him. If only wishes had wings!
Finally, the thing that I want to write about is WWDC21. Apple’s flagship event for developers. While I did not catch the event per se but the buzz made me stop and see what all they presented. And it’s amazing how they do it. They make seemingly simple things sound so grand that you are left in awe. I think there are a lot of lessons in there for me as a person, for brands, and for businesses. I mean see the below two videos and tell me you are not impressed!
Damn Steve! What a brilliant organization you created! I am in perpetual awe of you.
Ok, the other person that I want to talk about who I am in awe of? Jeff Bezos! He announced that he’s going to space. In a rocket that one of his companies designed. Along with his brother. I mean WTF! The most epic example of eating your own shit! A part of me is amazed at his dareness. Another part is scared. What if something happens? I mean the odds are pretty high! We lost Steve randomly. Dont think I want to lose Jeff. Or Bill. Or Warren for that.
I know I know I am trying to abstain from Hero Worship but these are the men that actually show others (and more importantly me) that there’s more to life than Ram Mandir! I sincerely wish I end up like that – where my conduct and my life and my work inspires others.
But wait. What about the epic laziness that I am ingrained with? Lemme give an example. Last night, once I was done with all the work and wailing in my loneliness (that I wrote about above), I realized that I don’t have water. And I drink a lot of water. Like a lot. Some 10 liters a day. I am not exaggerating. So I needed water. And I did have a 20-liter jar that I just had to open and pour into a dispenser. And what did I do? Ordered 4 1-liter bottles of water. Such a waste of money and plastic. Only to save me the discomfort of pouring water into a dispenser. Lol!
Ok. After this 10,000 kilometers of a rant, coming to the real thing that I am thinking a lot about. My angel investing syndicate that I am doing with Akash and Anubhab. We call itLong Haul Ventures (LHV).
The thesis there is simple. We want to be long-term partners for young founders that often find themselves alone. You know the ones that aren’t from an IIT-IIM etc. The ones that dont really have a pedigree to gather interest for the bets they are making. The ones that often find themselves alone and in a corner. I don’t want to call them underdogs. Idea is to give them a shoulder to stand on!
It’s been my life’s mission to enable others to do more. LHV is yet another step in that direction. This time, in a little more structured manner. With people who are smarter than me (both share initials – AG and AG). And of course, for the super long-term. Most of the work I will do on LHV will reap fruits after 5-10 years. But I am committed. With my time, money, energy, and even reputation.
So, while there are a few long-term goals we are chasing, I do have a short-term objective to meet as well. I am helping close the first deal by helping a startup raise capital.
And I am learning that it’s tough as fuck! Tougher than raising money for your own startup. For your startup, the friends and family that invest in? They are backing you and your passion and your dreams. Here, they are backing a stranger’s dream and all they have is your word!
Each person you ask for money (and support the startup) has a million questions about you and your thesis and all that. The questions are deep and pointed (as they must be) and they make you feel naked. You have to bare your heart and soul. Some of these questions are so tough that you don’t know what to say. But you need to do it. Right? Yeah!
So that. It’s a new thing and I know it’s a long, hard road I am on. Let’s see how long can I tread on it.
Guess that’s about it. It’s 9:24. A little less than an hour. And 1400 words! Wow! Maybe I had a lot to write. Or may be I did not switch context a lot. Oh, I kept a list. Here…
Music (needed something to play in the background)
Whatsapp (had to ask a few friends about a trip before I goto Delhi)
Someone at the door
Well done, Mr. Garg. You deserve a break! Go call your Pavlovian response mechanism to go berserk.
You, dear reader, deserve a break as well. Go, live your best life.
PS: Here’s streaks…
Morning Pages / Meditations – 178
#aPicADay – 0
10K steps a day – 0
OMAD – 1. Did not plan to. It just happened.
#noCoffee – 0
#noCoke – 90
10 mins of meditation – 0
#book2 – 0
Killer Boogie – 0
Surya Namaskar – 0
PPS: And here’s what Hemingway has to say about this piece…
A rant on how I am unable to make decisions about life and things and work and all that.
7:28. Woke up a few minutes ago. I literally sleepwalked through the weekend. I remain groggy enough though enough water has been splashed in the eyes. Guess it was the side effect of the vaccine that I took on Saturday. I mean I don’t have any fever or anything but there’s sluggishness for sure. Maybe it’s because I am trying to stay away from coffee. Or maybe because I haven’t stepped out of the house in a few days. And no Surya Namaskar. I dont know the cause but I know that I am not feeling great as I wake up.
Anyhow, as the lights turn on in my head and the body starts to function, here are the things that are at the top of my head today.
A. Mare’s review. Yesterday, I finished watching Mare’s story and tried to write a review and I am struggling with it. It’s way too tough than how I imagined it would be. This is one of those series that I want the review well. May be a pitch to some international publications. But I can’t seem to get the words. I know what I want to say but when I put it on the paper, I cant seem to find the right flow or the words. Damn!
B. The mile-long to-do list from work. Even though I tried to close the last week with nothing on my plate per se, I do realize that I have quite a few things that I need to work on. And that means today’s gonna be a busy busy day. Which is ok. I am just hoping and trying that I dont get myself a coffee.
Ok, wait. Apparently, Starbucks is open for dine-in from today. Till I think 4 or 5 PM. And that means that I can sit from there and work. If that is the case, I will probably end up having a coffee (or two), you know the tax for sitting out of an outlet and working! But if it’s open, I will be really really glad. At least I will have a place to go. And I will have probably get more work done. Plus, I for one can’t wait to be outdoors, to meet people, to bump into strangers into a crowd and observe them and silently judge them and all that.
In fact I feed off the energy of other people and this is the opportunity to get the mojo back (you know, its been missing for a while). So that.
C. The live in Mumbai or Goa or elsewhere decision is not coming in easy. I dont think I have ever thought this much about things before making the move. I remember every time I have moved, I just took a decision in the snap of a finger and moved. I even lost what was probably the love of my life when I moved first from Mumbai to Delhi. After that, the moving decisions have been easy. Each triggered by opportunities or the lack thereof. But each has been easy. This time I am not sure. On one side I want to move – get away from the humdrum and disappointments of my life. On the other, I want to stay to create more opportunities. I am not sure. This one decision occupies my head a lot these days.
I read somewhere that I need to take decisions that make me choose the tougher alternative. Here are some bullet points that I am thinking about…
I know that in the long run I dont want to be in India. I know that I like meeting interesting people. So I have to be at a place where I can meet interesting people. I don’t want to be at a village or a small town for sure.
I know that I want to at some point make films. As a writer and a producer. Maybe as a director. I dont know that. I like the idea of telling stories. So I have to be in Mumbai. Or LA ;P
I need to deliver on work on my plate. If I live in Goa, I may not be able to. At least I don’t find the internet or the phone working well. Everyone else seems to be ok but for some reason, I am jinxed.
I know that I can create opportunities but I take a long long time to do that. You know, like a slow burn. Most of my work comes from relationships that I take almost forever to develop. If I move to a new place, I am not sure if I’d be able to create work fast enough to justify the move.
So that. You see my quandary.
D. A trip to Delhi. Now that I am vaccinated with both doses and my parents have been vaccinated, I need to make a trip back to Delhi. Been a while since I’ve met them. I think as I am aging, I am getting more and more emotional about people, life, things, and all that.
In fact, as I look back at life, I realise that I was always this rock on the outside but mushy squishy thing on the inside. So while I refuse to admit that I dont care for emotional constructs in life, at a deeper level, I think, I do.
Nah, I dont admit this ever but now that I have decided to live in public, what the heck.
E. The Food Dreams. So I am on this fancy Keto meal plan till about the 15th of this month. That means I am bored of eating variations of Paneer. And I have these fancy dreams of eating carbs – you know Pizza, Dal, Breads, Chips. Mmm!
I’ve never been a foodie per se to be honest. I mean I like the idea of eating good food and I enjoy when I eat something well made but I am not the one to seek culinary pleasures. With these recurring dreams of carbs-laden food, I am not sure what my body is telling me!
Anyhow, I am abstaining from eating other things than the dabba I get. Till at least I have subscribed to this plan. No, I am not losing weight if you are curious about that. Maybe these guys that I have subscribed to don’t make Keto compliant meals? No, I don’t plan to renew the meals. Way too expensive. and not working for me at least. The only good thing that has happened is that I don’t have to think and order every time. Plus I am not eating any kachra. So that in itself is a good thing!
So yeah. Guess that’s about it for the day. Here’s what Hemingway thinks of this piece…
I was talking to my sis yesterday about something and an epiphany happened. I realized that the reason I don’t like to be in Delhi is, because I don’t have enough space here.
In terms of actual physical space, the house (the only home I’ve ever known) is spacious by all means, even lavish if I were to compare it to the Mumbai houses I’ve lived in. Plus since this home was built by my parents one thing at a time (they are from a time where you waited years before you could add another thing to your home; unlike our and the next generation where you just flash your plastic and you get free shipping), the house is full of utilitarian things that you would find in any house that’s been, well, well-lived (compared to the almost spartan houses that I am used to living in when I am in Mumbai). You name a thing and we have it at home. And it’s all hidden from plain sight. You ask your parents for the most obscure of things and it magically appears from one of the drawers or cabinets or shelves! I am sure they’ve hidden some airplane somewhere in one of those spaces that are inside those double-beds. Ah, the beds here are at least 6′ x 6′, unlike the beds in Mumbai that are smaller than the suitcase I carry when I travel abroad.
The thing that is lacking here is personal space. We live in a decent-sized house and there’s just my parents and I and while they are very very supportive and understanding and caring, they are like me.
Wait! They are not like me. I am like them! Sorry, ma, pa.
So, I am like them and just like them, I need a lot of personal space to even breathe. And since there are three of us that need large personal space, we often find ourselves jostling for it!
However, when I am in Mumbai, I am by myself and even though the houses are like cubbyholes, there’s nothing alive that can potentially encroach upon my personal space. I can play whatever music I want to at whatever volume I fancy. I can keep it as dirty as my laziness permits. Or as spic and span as my old age wants. I could have the walls bare. Or I could paint it with sticky notes where I scribble about my dreams and ideas and aspirations and thoughts and inspirations and so on and so forth.
Plus, when am in Delhi, there is a limit to what I can do (things like going out and coming back at a whim). My parents don’t really mind me doing anything, to be honest, but for some reason, I don’t want to do things that I feel will even remotely bring them inconvenience. And thus, I put shackles on how I live when I am here. And I reduce my space even more. In Mumbai, well, the only person that I have to look after, think about, is me! And that means I do things that minimize the grief that I need to go through. And since I am thinking about just myself, it’s simpler, easier, and faster.
So yeah. That. Personal Space. Or the lack thereof.
Make enough money to be able to create an Antilla. Or maybe get an entire Island. And if not even that, live alone!
What is a typical day for me like when I am in Mumbai? And how did I try to ape that on this trip to Delhi?
My life in Mumbai is fairly simple boring. I wake up at whatever time. Wait till it’s 6:45. Get ready in 15 minutes. Out of the house by 7. And at the nearest Starbucks at 7:15. Lately, the one I goto (the new one under Versova Metro Station) opens at 8. So I’ve moved all those times by an hour. I get myself a green tea and from 7:15 till about 11 or 12, I am at Starbucks. On my computer. Some days I work, some days I plan to take over the world. Some days I just, well, surf.
By this time, I am kinda hungry. So, I grab either a sandwich or step out of Starbucks to eat something at some eatery. Preferably something South Indian. I then go back where I live. While time with something that’s been open at my end. And then catch a cat nap. Wake up at around 3 PM and then go back to Starbucks, repeat what I’ve done in the morning. And then stay till it’s 11 PM (when they shut their stores). Go back and sleep.
Been on this routine since these cafes opened up. I know I am being stupid and putting myself at risk but I’ve had enough of the four walls and I have to feed off the energy of other people. Oh, there are some days when I deviate from this routine when I have to meet some people or run some errands. But more or less that’s the routine I follow. This will change once I go back to Mumbai, will take up an office space. And no, I can’t work from where I live.
Since I came to Delhi for this break, while I have been on the road a lot, for work, I have essentially been holed up at home. And I HATE it. I am anything but a home-rat (if there’s a term like that). To a point that I cant work at all. Ideas dont come in. Words dont flow. Genreral lethargy takes over. I am sure this is evident in the posts of the last few days. Things that I can normally do in less than 5 minutes, at home, take me an hour to do. If I can do em.
So today, I did what I would do in Mumbai. The most accessible Starbucks to me (about 14 KMs away) opens at 9. I was out of my house by 8:20 and by 8:55, I was outside. When it opened, I was the first customer. And got myself an Americano. Yeah, I am back on coffee (see this post). I was there till about 2. I got more work done in these 4-5 hours than I did in the last week!
Then I walked to and ate at Naivedyam (a South Indian joint). Took a cab to go meet an ex-boss. Jammed on ideas for an hour. And then now, back home, where I am writing this post struggling to get the right words to express. Nah, I cant work from home 🙁
If not for time spent in commute and the general curtness of people I met today (Baristas, cabbies, etc), I could have very well been in Mumbai! And you know what? I loved it!Just that I wish I lived closer to a Starbucks!
My notes on what I love about Delhi winters, especially the grey winter skies.
So, one of the things about Delhi is the amazing Dilli Ki Sardi. In fact, its one of those things that I miss terribly when I am in Mumbai.
Lemme make a list of things that I love about winters in Delhi.
a. The grey winter skies
Lemme start with a controversial one. Most people think that the grey winter skies are sad things. But then, to me, these skies are what dreams are made of. There is so much hope, such a large canvas to paint on! Heck the infiniteness of the sky makes me yearn for that crack in the greyness that’d allow the faint rays of sun to peek through. Oh and what glorious sight would that be!
In Mumbai, there are no skies only, leave alone the grey ones or wintery ones or whatever.
b. The nip in the air
I am one of those blessed ones that can tolerate extreme cold. Even in the darkest of the nights in the harshest of winters, I can get by with a thin fleece. And of course, people are amazed that I am not dead by now.
The thing with this nip is that it makes life worth living. You are not sweating. You don’t get tired. You can walk on the roads that are typically empty (everyone else is too cold and thus tucked into their homes).
Nip in the air in Mumbai? Lol!
No! They are not dumplings. No, they are not Chinese sandwiches. They are momos. And they are best had on a roadside kiosk, preferably under an open sky with the fiery-red chutney. Not sauce. And never with mayo. And definitely, never ever have it fried.
Momos are steamed. I eat vegetarian ones. The purists like the ones with pork or chicken or even bacon, from what I am told.
And no, Mumbai does not have momos. Like they don’t have cholle kulche. Like they don’t have samosa. What they have for samosa, it’s a sorry excuse for food.
d. The dhoop and chaon
In winters, when the sun’s playing hide and seek with you, you are trying to shuffle between the parts that are covered well in shade and the parts that have the sun shining on it! And you want to change literally, every 10 seconds. And this shuffling is what makes the winters so endearing. You cant live with it. And you can’t live without it!
I don’t think people from Mumbai would know of this. I’ve never experienced this in the 10 years that I’ve lived there!
Last, but not least on my list is a Rajai.
I think a Rajai is the most romantic thing ever invented by humankind. Apart from a saree. And may be Lucky Ali or Rabbi Shergill. Anyhow. Rather than drifting, Rajai is the thing that I miss in Mumbai. There is so much you can do with it, I can write an entire essay on it! For starters, when you are wrapped with a rajai, even if you are alone, you are not alone. You have this thing that you can hold onto. And more you hold onto it, the more it loves you back. You feel the warmth. It gives you the best hug ever – it even takes the shape of your body!
And if you are the lucky one to have someone to share the rajai with, ooh la la. Life becomes worth living. You can forget every damn thing that is fucking with your head.
In Mumbai, there’s no rajai. Maybe a bed sheet to cover you with when the AC is blasting at 17 degrees for 4 hours.
So yeah, that’s about it. The short sweet post on what I love about Delhi’s winters. What is your trip? What do you like about Delhi winters? Lemme know!
Why do people from Delhi act in a certain manner? I put on an amateur anthropologist’s hat and investigate.
I am in Delhi as we speak. I am here for Diwali. I know COVID is wreaking havoc on how life is, especially in the two places that I call home – Mumbai and Delhi. And I know this too shall pass. And I know words are of no use per se in such situations. But I do know that us humans are more resilient than even cockroaches and we will prevail. And with that self-assuring message, lemme get to the rant post of the day.
The Delhi Discipline Discussion.
Delhi has always been subjected to those loud opinions about the lack of discipline (when compared to residents of other large cities) and I think these accusations are very true. We are loud. We are vociferous. We like to assert our opinions, even when we aren’t really asked for those. I mean, look at this essay. Who asked me to write this? No one. Who cares for what I write? No one. Who’s flip their opinion about Delhi after they read this one? No one. And yet, I am writing this.
Of course, this is an attempt in writing for 30 minutes. And thus I am happy to post anything that comes to my head (which, today is Delhi). But I do have an important point to make.
Don’t shoot the messenger.
While people from Delhi are known to lack discipline and thus are hated for this, I am proposing that rather than chastising them (and me – I call Delhi home), we need to look at what drives this behaviour. I am no anthropologist but I am an amateur people watcher and that means I have a perspective on why we are, how we are.
The roots of Delhi
Delhi, like any other old city, is like a melting pot of cultures and people and tribes and opinions and ideas. One of the lores I read once, it says, Delhi will go through seven cycles of prosperity and doom. Each time it dooms, it would rise from the ashes and create an even more fabulous, grander city on top. Of course, the fables are more romantic than factual but it says something about people here. That they are survivors. And they know how to build things from scratch. And that means there is something in their DNA that makes them take initiative. Not in the starting-up sense but in taking-a-stand sense.
The ones that go thru the cycle of doom and bloom are known to have no patience. They say Mumbai is the city that does not sleep. I’d say Mumbai does not sleep because if they do, they’d perish. It’s more like they are on their toes all the time. Delhi, in comparison, is made up of go-getters. They know that life’s short and they need to do things now. And this manifests into aggression on the roads, disdain for rules, love for shortcuts, and all that.
So, next time you see a Delhi guy trying to break queues at a cinema hall (now that they are open), don’t hate him. Hate the genes that have been passed to him over the years. You know, don’t hate the player? But the game?
The upbringing in Delhi
Now that we have established that Delhites are gifted with genes that are little, well, fast. Now, let’s look at how they grow up. Unlike Mumbai (the only other place where I have lived for long) where kids are privileged (even in the poorest of the poor locale, kids have this sense of belonging and identity), Delhi kids don’t have it. And intuitively, a child wants to assert it. You know, genes at play. And there is so much competition that the kids in Delhi are forced to ace the Darwinian struggle. And thus, the already raging genes are nurtured to become even angrier assertive.
Plus the super swings in Delhi weather and the Delhi temperature that varies from -5 to +50 cooks the grey matter in your head in this curry that is more potent than that open bottle of aam ka achaar in a tightly packed bag of clothes in a third-tier AC compartment.
The grown-up man-child of Delhi
This applies to men more than it does to women (for some reason, almost all Delhi women I know have been at par with women from other places). I’ve been called a man-child since I become a man. And I am proud of it. And even though people in Mumbai hate this about me, I think it adds to the character. Lemme elaborate.
They say that progress in the world is made by the unreasonable man. The troublemakers, the misfits, and the round pegs in square holes. If left to the regular ones, we would probably be still in the caves with leaves as clothes and a chisel as our communication tool. If not for these, we would still not have discovered all the countries that are the epicenter of consumerism and progress and growth. If not for these, we would not have that mad dash at asserting and discovering the new that has pushed us forward. If not for these, we would be a timid bunch of species that would cower everytime we hear a distant rumble!
I can give numerous examples. But I hope you get time drift. At least the ones from Delhi would. In fact, the ones from Delhi, ladies, and gents, are as round as they come. And thus, I postulate that these grown-up man-childs from Delhi are all responsible for all the progress that we’ve made!
Think about it.
And with that, over and out. See you guys tomorrow (hopefully – I have a long day and I may not be able to take out time).
A rant on the new house that I have just moved to.
It’s no secret that I am not a big fan of confined spaces. And yet, I know that I need to embrace those. In fact, here are three situations I can think of where I actually look forward to trapping myself in these confined places!
I love airports and travel. And I thus need to be ok with confining myself in those metal tubes for hours as they hurl me through the skies. And if I am on the road, I need to of course get in them cars and navigate.
I love highrises and rooftops and the birds-eye view that these heights give you. And I thus need to use those lifts to reach the top and enjoy the view.
I love Mumbai more than I love Delhi. Actually, I am not sure of this one. But I do like to be in large port cities (at least the ones I have been to – Mumbai, Calcutta, HK, NY etc). And these cities are typically cramped. I have no clue why.
Staying with the bit about staying in Mumbai, lemme talk about this house that I just moved into.
Even though this is fairly decent for a house in Mumbai, this one is probably the smallest I have lived in (except the 1 tiny room where I was a paying guest for the first two years of my life in Mumbai between 2007 and 2009 – it had just half a bed, a tiny cupboard sized “thing” to be used as a washroom, one-half cupboard, and just enough space to stretch my arms). At first, I was kind of disheartened to move into this one, constantly complaining about the lack of space to carry out my daily activities peacefully. For instance, I wanted a personalised workstation. Initially, I thought I would create a workspace wherever I moved. I had already considered looking for office furniture pieces in the hopes of buying them pretty soon. Also, I wanted a tiny balcony garden. Alas! neither of the two could be created.
But funnily, the day before yesterday (my second night at the new place), I realized that the new house gives me the same vibes as an airplane! The same that I get when I am in a lift. Or a car for that matter.
What vibes? Stay with me. Lemme talk about the house for a bit.
To be honest, it’s not bad. Just that it’s in an old building and it’s small and has all the paraphernalia that comes with a house that’s, well, well-lived in. You know, a bed that’s too high and big for the room that it’s been plonked in, those wall-to-wall wardrobes that are deeper than what they needed to be, fake ceilings that bring the roof lower, the weird color of paint that makes space feel even smaller. You get the drift?
Coming to vibes, so, when I was drifting to sleep, even though I was on a bed, it felt as if I was sleeping on a flight. And when I woke up, I realized I had curled into a foetal ball – I can’t recall when was the last time this happened to me (I typically sleep on my back). I felt as if those walls are closing in on me. Reminded me of that scene from some horror movie where the protagonist is trapped in a room, and the walls and roofs of the room are closing in on the protagonist, purportedly to crush him! That!
For some reason, I also was reminded of this quip by a friend about highrises in Mumbai. She says that these towers are merely urban chawls without any respect for humanity. These are made to stuff as many people in as less an area possible as if we were mere cargo and they had to optimize the storage. All this while, I did not agree – I’ve always had some space to move around in the places I lived at. Not in this one.
I was also reminded of my abhorrence for things like aquariums, birdcages, muzzles, leashes et al. And the hatred for clothes in general (and the ones that fit way too well). I’ve always wondered how do people operate in such cramped quarters. The experience at this house will probably teach me that.
As someone who’s been a sponge when it comes to learning, I think this house will teach me a lot over the next few months that I will live here. Like I said a few days ago, these are interesting times, indeed!
With this, it’s over and out. See you guys tomorrow.
PS: Though I have not been able to cover this per se in the post, I will miss inviting friends and family over. To be honest, I don’t really extend the invitation to a lot of people over but the ones that I do invite, they OWN my house (and my life) as much as I do. And the one that I have moved into, I am not sure I can invite any 🙁