210621 – Morning Pages

A ranty post on how it sucks to be a failure. And my inability to do anything about it.

8:23. I am at a Starbucks. After the break of almost 3 days, I wanted to get a head start. And I did not want to be locked in my house for that. So as soon as I woke up, I shat, showered, powdered, put on a nice shirt (really! ask me for pics ;P), and reached the Starbucks.

The coffee has been ordered. The large wooden table has been staked claimed for. The calendar has been fired up. The music has been put on Youtube (I need to find new music that gets me in the zone). And here we are. Typing away to glory. #note2self. Must have clipped the nails before I came here. They’re way too long to type easily.

So the break did me good. I think. I mean for a change, I don’t know remember a single thing that I am working on. I will have to check my Asana and get my colleagues to help me with this. This is a good thing and a bad thing. Good – it allows me to sort of recharge my batteries. Bad – for someone that is so famously obsessed with work all the time, how can I even forget things that I am working on?

Ok, I dont know what else to write about. There are way too many (and too few) thoughts in my head – both work and personal. I feel I am swirling around with the same things for last so many days. May be I need to start a new project? But then I have a million projects in the pipeline that need working. All of those are stuck at various stages (of un-completion — some are yet to be started, some need some action, some are in limbo).

In fact, this is something that I kept thinking about all through the trip over the weekend. Everyone agrees that I have all the raw material that you need to become a runaway success (as defined by societal, social, and economic metrics) and yet I am struggling to even make the ends meet (I do have enough and more work these days but I mean in general. Most times I am worried where would I get the next project from).

I dont know where I lack. I am mostly not lazy. I am very resourceful. I support people without expecting anything in return.

I dont know what I need to change to become better.

Funny thing is, I know EXACTLY what someone else could do to become better at their work. In the sense that I can give them gyaan and point out the flaws in their work, life, approach etc. And I know mostly the inputs I give to people tend to work. They appreciate me for that. But when it comes to helping myself, I am unable to.

I am almost 40 and I still dont know the answer. I am beyond the best years and it’s all downhill from here on. And like I said, I still dont know the answer. I was not born to, you know, do the ordinary (make ends meet, acquire assets, raise a family, etc.). Rather, do more with my time (inspire others, help others make meaning, etc.). May be, I am a mere fool, a dreamer that refuses to believe that his time is gone and all he can do is make peace with whatever shreds are left for him to work with.

Talking of dreams, I remember a real dream from yesterday. Lol, real dream!

I dont recall all the details but here it goes. I was walking around somewhere when I saw a coin on the road. I love when I find money like that. I bend down to pick it up. I see another coin. And another. I pick them up. And then I realize that there are so many coins. I of course pick all those up. I distinctly remember a couple of coins were those tiny 10p coins. See the pic below.

A 10 paisa coin

While I was picking those up, someone comes around and says that all those coins strewed around are his. I tell him that it’s a free world and its finders keepers. And then I tell him that since he claims the coins are his, I will give them back. But I want to keep one of the 10p coins for myself.

Of course other coins are of higher value and leaving a 10p coin on the table probably seems like a bargain to the other person (who I don’t know).

The guy politely allows me to keep that coin. And that’s the end of the dream that I recall.

There are two distinct things about this.

A, I remembered a dream after ages!
B, I typically do not remember these vivid details. You know, a 10 paisa coin and all that. Yesterday I did. So that.

I hope that this dream is a harbinger of greatness that I chase. And if not greatness, then of wealth!

With that, I think, its time to end the post. The day beckons. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 190
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 102
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

PS: One of the solutions to my failures could be to stop wasting time that does not contribute to revenue. In the sense that, I could stop with these morning pages. I could stop helping others. I could stop chasing all those dreams (and focus). But then the things I do right now (morning pages, throwing 100s of darts, etc) are the ones that keep me sane. If I did not have these morning pages, I probably would have gone insane (and I don’t say this lightly). If I did not throw all those darts and focussed on just one thing, I would have been out of work!

290421 – Morning Meditations

A note on things that are important to me but may not matter to the world at large. Read if you want to. Ignore if you want to.

7:56. Been up for more than half an hour. Pottering about. Thinking about the dreams I had. Logged them on my Roam. The interesting thing was that dream last night was like a non-stop, ongoing film that did not seem to end. Plus it was in English. I mean at one point in the dream, I used the word anomaly to describe myself!

Last week and this entire week have been mad like hell. To a point that I was bugged and did not sleep well and all that. I think I was so exhausted yesterday that I took it easy. I did attend a few meetings and a few calls but I did not do anything creative. Plus luckily or unluckily, there were not too many meetings planned for the day. So I could rest. As I grow old, I have started to see the merit in taking breaks. But then the young-at-head me refuses to believe that I need breaks. And that means I need to do a lot more than what I have been doing on fitness.

Lemme talk about what am trying to be fit.

a, Last three days I tried a Keto meal service. It was good but at 20K a month, at this time in my life, it’s expensive. I am supposed to toss a coin on that and decide.

b, I try to walk 10K steps every day. Of course, the last few days have been busy and lockdown is not helping at all. But even then I was able to pull in some 6K on an average. Here’s a chart.

c. I started with Surya Namaskars. I follow this video. I don’t do variations. I suck with a plank (you know, Hernia). By the time I get done, I am a dead man. I have to literally lie on the floor for an hour to catch my breath.

d. I live on the 8th floor and I try to walk up the stairs once a day. Again, by the time I reach the 8th floor, I am crawling to my door. And just like walking, I must have done this 3-4 times in toto but I do it.

e. Stopped ordering out (except Keto / Lo-Carb foods). So that’s saving me big money as well. Yay!

So that. I am glad I have some action to show for!

Lemme move to other things that I have not really expressed per se. Lemme try to articulate.

I am away from Twitter and Instagram. I still lurk around on Facebook (a recent phenomenon). On Whatsapp, I have muted EVERY group that I am a part of. I only engage in selective conversations with people. Most times I don’t talk. Most times when I talk, I don’t know how to talk. How do you talk to someone who’s lost a close friend? Family member? If they’ve not lost people, they’ve lost their vocation. They’ve lost their jobs. People like me are losing sanity.

Everyone around me (on twitter, insta etc) is doing whatever they can to help. To a point that they have left whatever they had behind to contribute. And I am clearly not doing anything at all. To a point that I have become a silent spectator that only rants and does nothing else. I am even being a cynic where I try and see ulterior motives of people that are offering any sort of help. I know I have been an escapist where I run away from all troubles

The funny thing is, with my work, I am little more rational, I mean I take harsh decisions, eager to correct mistakes, action things even if they hurt me. All my work where I invest time and money is actually that – I am giving away so much value that people call me fool. They call it impractical idealism. They have stopped thinking of me as a rational personal. They dont trust me with things. In fact, they hide even common things that I could be effective with. It’s not cool at all. Wait, I am ranting. This is not the point of rant today.

The point is that at this time where everyone is doing everything they can to help the world, I am sitting on the sidelines, twaddling my thumbs and merely writing a blogpost. I am sure I can do lot more than this!

And this is one of the reasons why I don’t want to be on any social media channel. I don’t want to pile myself with more guilt (than what I have right now) and get myself stuck in more grief at all this unnecessary loss of life. Unnecessary because all this could’ve been prevented. The action could have happened from everyone – from people to the administration to the policymakers to the government. It just plain sucks.

So that’s it for the day. Time to get going. Yet again, have a lot to do. Here’s the streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 137
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 50 (wow! 50 days!)
  • #noCoke – 50 (yay)
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0. Did not do yesterday.
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0. I think I will remove this. No point fooling myself.
  • Surya Namaskar – 0. Have missed this for 3 days now. Have to do today, come what may. I will gun for 12 rounds but let’s see how many I get in.

That’s about it. Over and out.

As I was writing this, something happened. A friend called who has a friend that needs help with writing a book. If I did not write my book all those years ago, I wouldn’t have got this opportunity to speak with someone else! Two things.

a. Validation that the world respects action and wants a proof of action. Rather than merely believing in potential.

b. If there’s any sign from God (lol), than this is as clear as it gets. Work. Deliver. Publish. Ship. Release. Set it free. And it will come back to you.

Now that I am writing, the piece I wrote about living and working in Goa, even that got me connected to a few people that I would have otherwise not met! Need to thus ship more! And take all the more shots.

So yeah, that’s it. Over and out. Surya Namaskar time!

050421 – Meditations

I talk about dreams, space situation and a new project that I am kickstarting today. Read on.

6:17. Woke up a few minutes ago.

Believe it or not but I dreamt of Lamberghini. And no, I haven’t heard it recently. Funny how our memories work. Staying on dreams, here’s an anecdote. I was on a drive with a 2-year old kid. She wanted to peak out of the sunroof and her mom did not want her to. The next day, the mother told me that in her sleep, the kid was talking about how she wants to peak out. Isn’t it insane? Even a 2-year old kid knows what she wants and what she’s been asked not to do. Since she is helpless, she suppresses the want but at the sub-conscious level she wants it. And she dreams about it! It is brilliant! This entire life, humankind and how our bodies and brain function is so so so fascinating!

Yesterday I took it easy. In fact, I have been taking it easy the last few weeks, to be honest. Since I came back from Goa. I mean I am delivering on what is expected from me in terms of work and I am pushing things forward – as much as I can. But I do need to get back to action. I feel I am not doing enough. Funnily there is no external “force” asking me to do more. It’s me who’s pushing myself to do more. I know I have to. I am far far away from the #lifeGoal of a billion dollars and billion lives and Mt. Everest!

Mt. Everest brings me to another point. On the 2nd April, VG shared a pic from exactly ten years ago – He, SGG and I had gone to see the Cricket World Cup finals at Wankhede and we took a pic there. And then we took a picture of the three of us again. In the 10 years, I have aged visibly and I think this is a trigger enough to push me to get fitter! I mean I’ve had a million triggers – including health scares but nothing makes me move. Damn!

Anyhow. Enough of self-beating. Here is a puzzle am trying to solve – making the house a tad better in terms of organizing the furniture. I need to optimize the space and make the most of what I have. Till I can move on to another place. I did some shuffling around and now the bedroom has some space to walk around. So that’s a win. With a lockdown looming large, I need all the space I can get. The hall still is like a godown with boxes that need to be unpacked. Things are stacked on top of each other and those need to be hidden from sight. Till I moved into this cramped space, I never realized I had such a big thing for space around me. In fact, if I were to get back to what I’ve written over the last few days, this space situation is a common pattern.

In other news, Mumbai yesterday reported 11000 new COVID cases. At least two good friends now have it. I met one of those as recently as the Monday gone by. 6 days. So I may be at risk. However, I don’t have any symptoms so far. If I do develop symptoms, I will have to isolate myself in this house. And it would be a pain to find my rhythm when I am indoors. It’s going to be a challenge. Last year, I managed it as I was alone in a larger space. That place was fairly spacious and clean. There was a clear demarcation of personal and workspaces. This time, I am in a far smaller space and there are regular issues that you expect an old tiny apartment to have. Plus when I work, I need to have people around me. I need to have the AC working well. I need to have infinite water and I make a million trips to the loo. All these are great at an office. Or a Starbucks. At home the place I live at, I am not sure.

So that. Oh, today I start recording for a new podcast. I call it the Investor Thesis. The idea is to talk to investors and learn from them about their journeys, their thesis when they invest, what they think India lacks. The challenge would be to get them to talk about things that are of long-term importance to listeners. Let’s see how it goes. I will do 20 episodes and see where this goes.

So that’s the update for the day. No time for #book2 and here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 115
  • #aPicADay – 95
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 26
  • #noCoke – 26
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0 (damn!)

020221 – Morning Pages

Regular updates. Nothing special. Did #freewriting on #book2 after a few days. Totally enjoyed. Read if you can and gimme feedback.

7:57 AM. Woke up a little less groggy than yesterday. I don’t know what changed. I still ate as much crap as I ate the day before. I slept around the same time. I had the same battles with the phone and the internet as I have had in the past few days. I am still thinking about the same things. I am still not moving as much as I would want to. The human body is a funny thing.

Anyhow. Time for morning pages. I am surprised that I have written these for more than 50 days now. Without missing a day. Even on the day when I was not in the mood, I came here and wrote something. Even if I felt crappy, I ensured that I poured my heart here. I felt lonely, I wrote about it. I took a loan. I recorded it here. The pages have become a companion, dear diary of sorts.

The day yesterday was ok. Went to Clay. Did some work, did some non-work things. I loved hanging out in the middle of so many people that are doing their own thing and are generally interesting to talk to. I love the place! If only my mobile phone worked better :D.

In fact, I must copy-paste their model when I get around to creating a physical space where I want creatives to hang out! I mean I can copy the model easily. The challenge would be to create a vibe. That takes more effort. Anyone can put some chairs and tables and an Internet connection. The sauce is how you run it, how you get people to bind into a community. How you ensure that they feel the same for you as you feel for them. For me, this community of people, the camaraderie between that community, the feeling of belonging, the safety in the group, the shoulders to stand on is the thing that makes life worth living. Let’s see when that happens.

I need to decide on where to live. Come hell or high-water, I will take a call by EOD. It is important that I do so. Like I keep saying, I need to happen to things, rather than things happening to me. The decision essentially depends on the work situation. There are a few things that I can do in Goa but the size of opportunity here may not be enough to feed all the expenses that I have. Of course, life here is better (no pants, no traffic, everything accessible etc) but I do miss the action of a large city.

Wait.

Can I create a life like that in Mumbai? You know, get a place, do it up, create a vibe like Clay, serve food like Nicky’s, attract creative people do bind into a community? In Aaram Nagar or something. Of course, the costs are like 5X to do something like that and competition is like 10X there (with all the Starbucks, Blue Tokais, and others) but I am told a lot of things are now available for cheaper.

That’s the other thing. I was trying to explain something to Mudit yesterday when I realized that I have forgotten the names of the landmarks in Mumbai! In the para above, it took me 5 minutes to come up with the name of Blue Tokai! Guess I am growing old. Anyhow.

So today’s one of those days when I feel I have a lot to write about, a lot to think about but I don’t know how to write. The thoughts are all over the place. I am unable to make them in a coherent narrative. But then I still am trying. Arrghh.. Frustrating it is.

Guess, a writer’s block?

Dont know.

But then Kunal told me yesterday that these morning pages, in the way I do (daily journalish, self-talk, pouring of thoughts etc) is apparently a great mental-health hack. And since I anyway write in public, I am not scared if these are “leaked” someday. Lol!

Chalo that’s about it.

On to #freewriting for #book2. Oh, today’s prompt is something that I think I saw in my dreams last night. Not kidding. I now have faint recollections of what I saw but I did see the scene play in my dream. Let’s see how it comes out on paper. Here we go…

ABC and his flunkies settled into probably what was the most uncomfortable spot at Caravan Serai. He took the long bench, the flunkies fanned out around him. Udita spotted them and knew there was trouble. Even though she was alone this afternoon, she was not the one to get perturbed. She walked up to the group with a bunch of menu cards. She showed her irreverence by slapping the menu cards on the table in between the group. The smack made by the plastic menu cards killed the chatter in the group. The boss looked up from his phone. He realized what had happened. He remained indifferent and went back to his phone. Meanwhile, Udita did not wait for them to place an order and walked back at a leisurely pace. These guys were not used to this open display of insubordination. As it often happens in such herds, when faced with uncertainty, you look up to the alpha. Everyone looked at the boss for what to do next. He was still buried in his phone and the scene had actually escaped him. The uncomfortable silence started to escalate. Someone had to break it. One of the enthu flunkies that wanted to make his way up in the foodchain stood up and yelled at Udita, “aye bitch, bring your tiny ass here. Don’t you know who we are with?”

At this, the boss looked up. The eyes remained calm. So did his body language. He looked so composed that you could’ve imagined him to be in a temple. He was as indifferent as he could be. He merely looked on for an instant and went back to his phone. He rested the phone against the small vase on the table. The vase had a money plant curled up in it and it was just the right size to act as a makeshift stand for a phone.

Udita shot back, “what did you call me?”

The flunky was clearly not used to the insubordination. “Bitch. I called you a bitch. And you are one.”

Udita was anyway worked up to see ABC at Caravan Serai. Now this flunky and the language he used had enraged her even more. She stomped to the table, shovelled another man away who was sitting between her and the flunky, held him by his tee-shirt. The guy was easily a foot taller. She looked him into his eyes and asked again. “What did you call me?”

The flunky was lost. He hadnt been attacked like that. Singled out. Especially with his boss around. And by a tiny woman. And he had higher ambitions. He did not know what to do. The boss continued to watch on with his stoic eyes.

“Tell me, you bastard”, Udita raged on.

The flunky did not have an answer. His voice was sort of clipped. Udita clenched her fists and thus his tee tighter.

“Uh”, he made some indescript noise.

One of the other flunkies tried to get up to save his friend from the apparant misery. Udita saw that from a corner of her eye. Before the guy could stand fully erect, she pushed at his chair that sent him toppling back with a thud.

It was clearly out of hands now. The boss thundered, “stop it!”

He continued, “apologies to the young lady”

The flunky found some strength when he saw his boss intervene. But all of it was lost when he comprehended what he heard. He was being asked to apologize. Weren’t they ABC’s gang? Where they routinely roughed up people for things smaller than this. If someone had done this at some other place, at some other time, he was sure that the boss would have literally killed the guy! And this was a girl. A waitress at some random bar.

“ABC Sir?”, he was still confused.

ABC repeated. The calmness was back, “I said apologise to the young woman.”

Udita was confused herself. The stories she had heard about ABC were anything but this. He was being polite. And he was taking the right side, even though Udita was the one to have attacked. She left the collar and took a step back. She folded her hands in front of her chest, like you would do when you sensed danger.

“How can I? The bitch was out of her place. She disrespected you.” The flunky tried to make his case.

The boss merely shook his head. With the agility of a table tennis player, he picked up the vase in a shift motion and smashed it against the head of flunky. The glass shattered on his forehead and sent tiny pieces, water and even the remnants of the money plant around him. There was this messy puddle of hair, skin, glass, leaves and blood on his forehead. Some blood was his. Some was ABC’s. He had cut his hand in the process.

The flunky stumbled back, tried to support himself on a chair. He leaned on it with one hand and tried to hold his head with the other. ABC however was not done. He pounced on the flunky and sent him sprawling on the floor. He sat on his chest. Held his tee, from the same place Udita had held him and said, “next time I tell you to do something, you will listen to me. Ok?”

The flunky could merely nod.

“I did not hear you” ABC growled.

“Yes, yes, ABC. I will. I am sorry”. He said with whatever strength he could muster.

“Good boy. Now, say sorry to the young lady. And you better clean all the mess that you have created here”. ABC instructed him.

“Yes…”, the flunky could come up with just a word.

The gang was in a state of shock. They knew of ABC and his quirks. They knew it was best if they stayed shut.

ABC turned to Udita. “What’s your name ma’am? I am sorry for this boy’s behaviour. He is new and does not know how to speak to people.” He wiped his hand on his white shirt, leaving it crumped and stained.

Udita managed, “it’s alright. I am Udita. I manage the place when Mrs. Gomes is not here.”

“Ah. I have seen you here but did not know that she trusts you with the place. Whatever I know of her, she is tough to please”. ABC was back to his clam self and was now small-talking with Udita as if they were in a club.

Udita was not sure how to react. She looked around. There was this guy on the floor who was bleeding. There was this guy who was indifferent despite the scene he had created. There were other burly men who were as confused as Udita was.

ABC sensed the confusion. “Oh, dont worry about him. He’s a strong boy. He would be back in action by tomorrow. He’d help you clean the place now. Just get him some water, if that’s not too inconvinient?”

***

That’s it! I loved writing today’s piece! Yay! Need to have more such days 🙂 If you read this, do gimme feedback. Of course, haven’t fixed typos, edited, or checked for sanity.

Till next time!

010221 – Morning Pages

Woke up tired as if I was a 90-year old. Couldn’t think of what to write. So, this one is more rant than anything nice or deep.

8:05

I woke up at 7:55 and I feel like I’ve been hit by a train. There is no energy in the body and the eyes are groggy and I don’t know what all. The good part is that I remember a couple of dreams from last night. So that means I slept ok. But I feel tired. I don’t know what to do about it. I did stay up a couple of days ago for a project. But I was ok after that. Maybe it’s all the crap that I am eating? May be it’s the weather? May be it’s something in the head? If nothing else, I probably need to start working out? I don’t know 🙁

I am so groggy that I cant even think straight, leave alone getting work done. Or putting my thoughts on paper.

Wait, Mr. Garg. This is a game. And your power is down. You need to get a power-up. What could that be? Music? Food? Sleep? Sunshine? Workout? Hugs? May be I am groggy cos I didn’t brush my teeth yesterday? Is that a punishment that my body is giving me?

Lemme think.

Ok, a few things are clear. I need to fix the food thingy for sure. Matlab, I need to not eat. Eat less, if nothing else. And if I eat, OMAD. And fewer carbs. This should be standard.

I then need to fix the office situation. Half my ideas and thoughts and work suffer because I don’t have a “desk” per se to work on. This is contingent on the place I will live at. I still need to close on Mumbai vs Goa and then an office desk. I had decided that I would have a decision by end of January. And no, I don’t have it. There is hardly any work that you can create from Goa. You need to rely on work that can be done remote. The Internet situation can be fixed. Getting work however is a pain. I’ve struggled with that in the past. And that I think is literally impossible remotely.

I need to get into some sort of a workout routine. Lol. I remember I have been hoping to have one since I was 22. I probably need to admit that I can’t do this! No, I can’t do an online session. I have to have a physical, in-person thingy. Remember what I wrote yesterday? Reminds me. Years back, I would go all the way from Powai to Bandra to attend a 45-minute Yoga glass with Shameem Maam. I think those were the fittest days of life. May be, get back to Yoga? If I do decide to live for long in Goa, I will probably move to some secluded part and start a cafe there 😀

Lol. Dreams.

So yeah. These three.

Funny how when you have a stable life, with money coming in, you think of grandiose plans of changing the world. And when the going gets tough, all you think of is the basics – roti, kapda, makaan.

Anyhow. So need to fix those three.

Moving on. The other day Vivek shared this Twitter thread about some athlete that just went missing and ended up at a beach. I think I should do the same. Delete all my social media profiles, websites, accounts, etc. And go poof in thin air. And do what? I don’t know. Yet.

I’ve often thought if there was a reset button in life, that if pressed sort of took you back in time and undo all the things you have done. You can then live your life again, but since you’ve retained lessons from the life that you’ve already lived, you can avoid mistakes.

That’s about it I guess. Need to get going. Have a few things to work on today.

But before that, here’s a thing that I’ve been tripping on. A guy called Punit Pania. He doesn’t make me laugh per se but his insights are spot on. Look at this one for example. Such insight into being Indians! I think that’s a great place to be in life. The ability to see through stupidity, idiosyncrasies, opinions, and actions of people and then comment on those and then present those in a way that people can relate to and laugh at is a great great skill to have. I wish I had that. I have a few friends that are that and I can see the amount of effort you need to do even a fraction of that is tough af! Lol, yet another skill that I wish I had!

And before I go, the track of the day is this one from a film called Saathiya…

O Humdum Suniyo Re – Saathiya

Oh, and, Day 3 on the trot when I am not writing about book2. I’ve not lost the motivation per se, I do have the ideas as well. I am just being lazy. Let’s see if I can fix this tomorrow. Or during the day.

With that, over and out.