310121 – Morning Pages

More of a journal on how I spent the day yesterday than anything else. Read if you want to. Skip if you may.

10:37. I am up since 7. I slept at 330 something. And this is not the first thing I am doing. Plus, this is not what I had planned for today (yesterday I thought that today I would write about only #book2 and nothing else, but I am not). Which is ok. Idea is to dump my thoughts in public. Plus, I wrote these notes on my phone last night and I am merely editing. Plus, I haven’t brushed my teeth. TMI? Lol!

With these few disclaimers, here we go!

So yesterday was special. And nice. I was part of the session that we at Podium did to get some startups to meet Dr. Malpani. We had a cracker of a time and I learned so so much. Here are my notes…

via @saurabh

I have to mention the great folks at Design Centre – not just they have the best Internet anywhere in Goa (the parts to where I have been), they are incredibly kind as well. They are normally shut on Saturdays but at my request, they kept space opened. I am so grateful for the kindness of strangers. Need more people like that.

Another example of kindness yesterday was when I spoke to Sheba. Sheba is a life coach, a busy one at that and yet she took out time to chat with me about things clouding my head. I can’t say I found answers but it’s uncanny that she pointed out the exact same thing that I felt stifled for. Movement. I even wrote about it a few days ago (point 5). More on it some other day (once I have processed all that Sheba and I talked about). Someone has to remind me ūüėÄ

Finally, I paid the salaries of my team. I was late by a day (I try and pay on the last working day of each month) but I did pay within the month. Had to take on another tranche of loan. But that’s ok. This is the last month I am doing so. If I dont get anything substantial, I will get a naukri. Whatever it pays me.

So that’s that.

Apart from these two few sparks, yesterday was kind of disappointing. I was supposed to fast for 48 hours. I lasted all of 25. While 25 in itself may sound like a large number, the thing is, I can do 24 easily. Without breaking a sweat. And thus, to make the task worth investing time and effort into, I had decided on a 48-hour one. But I could not.

I can blame it on all the work I needed to do and all the stress that made me break it. But come on. I am better than that. Remember Marshmallows? To make it worse, I ate at the McD. But then that was the only place where I could sit with a computer for a while and get some work done (remember I was up till 330?). Of course, I could’ve worked from Rajesh sir’s place but I need some action around me when I work. I need people, movement, activity, non-descript chatter, and all that. I need a public place. I can’t work from home. Even if I have the fanciest home in the world!

Lemme tell you another story.

When they eventually shut at 3 and I was on my way back, I passed by this road-side thela selling Maggi. On some random hunch, I took a U-turn. Asked the old man and the woman (she looked like his wife) manning the thela to make me an anda-Maggi. Nah, it was nothing to write home about, to be honest, but while I waited for them to prepare my order, a few things dawned onto me. Lemme try to articulate those.

The poverty and contentment. The anda-Maggi cost me 80 bucks. Their direct input cost is at least 30 (Maggi + Eggs), just for the raw material. Then there is consumables (salt, pepper, gas etc), regular expenses (packing material, water, electricity etc), capital investment (the thela, pans, pots, spatula, etc), and of course miscellaneous expenses (bribes, cartage, etc). I am not even talking about the money that they’d charge for their time. I am not sure if what they run is a profitable business. But the two of them looked in peace in the company of each other. They were smiling at some inside jokes, gossiping about what I am assuming are other local fixtures, and of course, trying their best at my order. They were content in their poverty (I am assuming, of course).

The company is the reward. For them, it looked like that all that mattered was the company of each other. And the order they were working on. And that’s that. They did not seem perturbed by the farmer’s protest, COVID-19 crisis, drunks falling over each other on the main road where their thela is, the latest Kapoor to have got onto Insta or ever what day it was. Compare to me. I have so much happening in my life that I don’t even know where to start the list from.

The love, camaraderie, togetherness. I loved their camraderie. Their togetherness. Their compassionable silence. I hope they stay like that forever.

Oh, they made an epiphany happen. They made me realize something about myself (something that I probably knew deep down but never admitted). That I crave for company. I may be the biggest introvert and I may be trying to live in public but I need company. And I need physical intimacy. No, I am not talking about sex per se. I want to be able to hug others. Touch them. Feel their handshakes. Smell them. See their frailty, ogle at their smiles, pull their legs. In real life. All this. And more. With my people. Not with strangers. Not with those one-night stands. Not with acquaintances. Not with all the random junta that I know. Even though I want to know everyone and their nani-nana and dadi-dada. I have to be physically around my people. And I am anything but that. My parents are in Delhi. SG2 is like saat samandar paar. We as a family are anyway not really touchy-feely. M&m are all grown up now and have started to find other people that they find cooler. The lesser I say about my love life, the better it is. Most friends that I want to hang out with seem to have become richer and cooler to continue to hang out with (no they don’t discriminate per se but their choices in life when they want to hang out? You know, places to eat at, places to travel, kind of activities they want to do? I can’t afford those. Neither do I understand them). So that. The ones that I can still access seem so ignorant to what’s happening around us (the world at large) that I cant seem to hold conversations with them.

So, I crave for company. For the reader – this is NOT a cry for help or for showering me with unwarranted attention. This is merely my thoughts. I may or may not want to act on these.

May be this is what growing old is all about? When parents told me that you’d start needing people when you are old, may be this is it? Guess so.

Also, being in Goa is not helping matters either. People are nice but they are not my people. And I take time before someone becomes my people. Plus the recent incident at the podcast has sort of shook my value system when it comes to adding people in my life.

Nah, if I were in Delhi or Mumbai, I don’t think I could help matters either. It’s a battle that I need to fight and tide over. Maybe I need to borrow Sheldon’s playbook where even the coitus with his girlfriend / wife was planned via a relationship agreement!

As I write this, I realise that most times I dont feel this need of company. There’s enough and more work that doesnt allow me to even breathe, leave alone feel lonely. Plus the never-ending search for Internet is Goa makes even work an adventure. Yesterday, if not for that old couple, I’ll try to click a picture of them, I probably wouldn’t stare at the moon and the empty road and think of all these things!

Phew! That was heavy!

So here’s something cool. My new favorite track? This.

A mashup between Shaggy and Sting. Love the groove of the track. Would love to write a track like that. Damn, there are so many things that I want to work on. To write on. On life!

So yeah.

This is it for the day.

No, no book2 today either. Too grumpy, too stuffed in the head to do anything. Guess it’s the lack of sleep and lack of movement and lack of intimacy. Lol!

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.

110121 – Morning Pages

I write about how I spent my Sunday and all that I thought about. Mostly inane updates yet again. You may want to skip reading.

7:30.

Up for about 10 mins now. The idea was to wake up at 5 today. And I had slept early last night (around 11) and I had turned off my phone while I did that. But I think I still had a fitful sleep. Jetha was right. I think I am missing sleeping next to someone. Is this what they mean when they say you’d feel the need when you are older?

Maybe.

So on with the morning pages. Quite a few things happened yesterday. Lemme use bullets.

A. I ordered a new laptop for myself, the MacBook Air with the M1 chip. Annkur and Shravan have been raving about it since it launched. I was anyway up for an upgrade for almost a year. So I did. I will get it towards the end of the month though – In Goa, you can’t just go and pick a thing off the shelf you know.

B. I published my 2021 goals. I am not happy with how the list has come out. But the list is here nonetheless. It is here. Lemme know what you guys think.

I do need to write a longish post on this (how and why and what etc). Lol. Meta content. Post about post.

C. Bumped into someone that I used to work with some 6 years ago. He did not know my name. I knew his. Walked up to him and chatted. This is unlike me where I would hide from people from the past. So that’s new. It took an effort to get over the awkwardness. But I did.

D. Dr. Malpani gave a go-ahead to our Spotlight Pitch event. We need to ensure that it goes well. More about it is here. Even though we won’t make money with it, the pitch event is important to me because it checks multiple boxes in terms of where I want to be – impact, helping others, venture capitalism, people connection, etc. Plus, both AD and I will try to build this property in public. This means that we would share everything on various blog posts as we build this. Keep watching this space for more.

E. I may get to meet Karl today. The bugger is here, on a bicycle. I mean WTF. People do bikes, cars. The dude is here on a bicycle. Insane. I have been inspired by him since the first day I met him. I see shades of Raj Kurup in him. Really.

F. Oh, the other thing am doing starting today, is using tags for each person that I talk about in these morning pages. This will help me catalog thoughts and ideas as we go forth.

Of course, I am aware of how privacy is important to people and I would thus not use tags for conversations that are not supposed to be in public domains. My rule of thumb is if I am unsure if they’d like their name out there in public, I will not put their name out. What do you think? Would you be ok with your name on my blog? And fuck, I have way too many names for one day!

G. I told Nicky (of the NickyM’s Kitchen) that I could host a writing workshop for him on one of his lean days (to get some traffic going). And that workshop could be the beginning of NickyM sessions where he could do multiple sessions that allow people to come together. These could be dance, wine-tasting, stand-up, etc.

The thing is, while this will help him, it was a big decision for me. Apart from NFG, I have remained at the backend. With this (and with Spotlight Pitch Event), this year I am taking baby steps of coming on camera. Let’s see how it goes.

H. Finally, the bruhaha over the new Whatsapp privacy policy has reached a peak. I now have to maintain three apps – WA, Telegram, and Signal. I mean really! And why three apps? Cos people I want to stay in touch with are moving. V is on Signal. AG is on Telegram (though she has not told me that she’d stay back on not).

So that.

That’s some recap.

No, this was not the idea of morning pages. But it’s ok. Oh… I forgot to mention that I finally finished watching Coolie No 1 last night. And I enjoyed it. The story, the acting, the direction, the music was nothing that you’d expect from a Bollywood film but I enjoyed it. I also realized why Rohit Shetty is the king of contemporary entertainment, the way David Dhawan would have been in the yesteryears. I remember someone once said that since Govinda was getting old, David Dhawan created another one in his son, Varun Dhawan.

Makes me realize that I HAVE to become a filmmaker. The idea’s been brewing in my head for a few weeks and I need to act on it. I just can’t seem to find an affordable DOP that I could partner with. Damn. I really want to start working on a project. It could be a music video. Or it could be a short-film. Or whatever. I don’t have the budgets to hire a fancy crew, heck no budget for even a non-fancy crew for that matter! But I want to do it. Let’s see how I go about it.

The last thing before I get to the freewriting part for book2 is the thing that since I’ve come here, I have become tardy with things that allowed me to manage the madness in life – Roam, Twitter, notes, etc. If I look at my notes from the last few weeks, they are not as comprehensive as they were before I came to Goa. My activity on Twitter has reduced considerably. I have not made a post on Linkedin in a while. Yes, I have not missed these morning pages since I started a month ago (the first was on 11th Dec 20). But overall, things that made me social have reduced considerably. I need to get back to those. Maybe carve out a specific time? Let’s see.

Chalo. On to #freewriting for Book2.

The thing with sitting on the barstool for so long is that it fucks with your back. Especially when you are 42. And you’ve merely sat on your butt all your life and have had limited movement. It’s not even a couple of weeks since he came in, but Chintan could feel the effect. Each night as he tried to sleep, the pain in his back would shoot up to his head and he would wince.

As he tried to scribble a character that he was thinking on, he made a mental note that he had to find a solution to this. He could choose to not go sit at the bar and perch up on the tiny stool to write. But he liked the ambiance there and the view from the vantage point. He had a direct line of sight to the entrance and he liked to observe people that came into the Caravan Serai. Each character to him was fodder for this book.

At the lean times, he could chat with Mrs. Gomes, the septarian owner-manager that was still lithe, sharp, and active like a 20-year old. Chintan guessed that people in Goa don’t age as bad as they do in other parts of the country. Probably it’s the clean air and better food they were eating. He had developed an easy rapport with her, Chintan had the knack for it.

He had also noticed Udita, the head-bartender giving him undue attention a lot of times. Back in Delhi, he wouldn’t have ignored her. But right now, this was the last thing he wanted. He was coming on the back of a messy divorce and while he’s always loved the attention from the fairer gender, he was not in the state for the time being. He had to get his novel out of the way in the next three months. He had a point to prove. To his wife. Now, ex-wife. Chintan had a hard time moving on. He did not know that his love for her ran so deep that even after a considerably public split, he would want to be back with her. Mrs. Gomes rightly said that the matters of the heart are the most fucked up. You think you know it all but you don’t know shit and all rationality gets tossed out in the sea with a stone chained to the feet.

Chintan couldn’t stop laughing when he first heard Mrs. Gomes lament about love. From what he had gathered, she was never married and yet she had the deepest insights and the funniest anecdotes to bring those insights out. The woman would have been something when she was younger. He had decided that instant that he would write a character inspired by her.

Of course, he was far from it. He was in love with the notion of writing a book. The book was never going to happen. He had no clue that life was going to hit him on his face with a jackhammer with-in the next hour.

***

Gosh, that was hard! But glad I wrote some. That’s it for the day. With that, it’s over and out! Hope you have a good one.

And it’s almost 9.

90 minutes.

#ftw!