120721 – Morning Pages

While talking to a friend last night, epiphany happened. And here’s a record of that.

6:20. Woke up a few minutes ago. I feel ok. Not as full of energy as I would want to be. But then, not drowsy either. It’s fascinating to see bodily functions come to life. On today’s agenda, before anything else (and after these morning pages) is Surya Namaskars. And if all goes well, 10K steps, at least. And unless I am running late, I am not taking lifts for up to 10 stories.

Today’s gonna be a busy day. A lot needs to be done. And most things were to be done as of yesterday. So, a busy day indeed!

Yesterday, they released information about a film based on Navrasa. The film is an anthology of stories, being made by Maniratnam. And that means it will be a great piece of cinema to watch. And that means people would be more aware of the concept from here on. And that means that my book2 will always be considered inspired by this. While I am ok with the comparison and all that, the lesson for me is that I need to do things fast. Soon. Even if I am not prepared.

In fact, I was having another conversation with someone about something similar. I was talking about how as an artist it is important to ship your work — books, paintings, poems, etc. And to be able to ship, you MUST seek whatever help you can get access to. I mean if you write, get an editor. If you paint, you must get apprentices to help you visualize. I believe that the lone genius needs an army of believers to enable the creation to come out. I can give many anecdotal pieces of evidence to support this. The point is, I needed to get the second book out in 2015. The first half of 2021 is over and even after 6 and half years, I am far from any sort of shipping. So that.

Anyhow. Let’s see when the book happens.

So, while chatting with SNR about work and life, I said something interesting. This is the first time I’ve said that out loud. In fact, it’s the first time I even thought about it – consciously or subconsciously. I actually said two things.

A, I like the idea of project business. You know, where you have a lot of work for some time. And then you have long periods of no-work time. I then said the second and more important thing.

B, Which is that I would thus love to be in the films business. When I am working on a film, I will have nothing else to work on and will be so busy that it’s not funny. And when I am not on a film, I will have such a large amount of idle time that I can while it away by reading, learning, reflecting, and all that.

And then I said something that was even a revelation to me. I said that over the next two years, I want to make enough and save money to be able to pay off the debt. And then save some more to last me two years. And in those two years, I will jump head-first into filmmaking. I will use the savings to pick up whatever work I can get and learn like an apprentice and then see where things lead me. So that!

I did not know that I wanted to make films this bad. That I am willing to let go of all that I have to be able to be part of the films business. May be it’s not the films per se but the lust to control how I spend my time!

So that. I dont know if I’d be able to do this in the next two years. Only time will tell. Let’s see where it goes.

So yeah. That. There are more things I can write about but that was the major epiphany that happened over the weekend. Guess it could happen because I didn’t do anything important or substantial over the last two to three days.

Other insignificant things that are worth noting are…

  1. Eating like a pig. Out of famine. Not cool. Today, I will try to fast. And if not that, OMAD for sure. And even with OMAD, will pick food that has less carbs.
  2. Slacking with work. To a point that I will probably get fired. So need to change that.
  3. Not using my time better. While there is a calendar that I use per se, I need to get attached to it so much that I don’t do anything that is not on my calendar.

Guess that’s about it. Can’t think of the 4th πŸ˜€

Need to get on with the day. And some Surya Namaskars to start with the day. Let’s see if I can do 12 πŸ˜€ Update. I did 12. With this as a companion video!

And, as I start my day, here’s streaks.

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 123
  • #noCoffee – 12
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0. Even though I did today, will add to streak from tomorrow.
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 213

090721 – Morning Pages

Quick, short post on my chase of minimalism.

8:32. Starbucks. Not my usual one. I am at the one in Powai. I have to go to the end o the world for a meeting and since there is no Starbucks there, I am parked here till about an hour to go for the meeting. I hope it works out well and the ordeal of these clothes etc is worth it!

So something interesting happened yesterday. Prak was over and while talking to her, the distracted one I am, I started to clean things that I have at my house. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. You know, move to minimalism. Just that I hadn’t had the opportunity to even get started. I did make small starts by giving away a few things but it is those little trinkets that you hold close that you can’t seem to give away. So while talking to her, I sort of emptied various shelves out, took out things, thought about them, and then discarded a lot of those. It was scary for a bit but then after a while, it felt ok.

Some were tough to remove. Some were easy. Some I’ve continued to cling to. I will probably throw those away in the next pass (whenever that happens).

Thing is, my ambition is to own just 20 things. Including Passport, computers, phones, toothbrushes, first-aid, even undies, etc. It sounds impossible but let’s see if I can reach that point. If not that, then I have to be at a point when I just have enough that can fit in a carry-on bag in the most commercial of airlines in their cattle class.

More here

A couple of people asked me why am I doing this.

I think the answer is complex and there are multiple factors at play here.

For starters, I have wanted to live a simpler life where I think on a higher plane (whatever that means). Then, lately, I’ve been reading and consuming a lot of content from Dandapani. I think the final straw was when I thought deeply about life and death a few days ago. I was at a point where I realized that when I am gone, would I want to have my affairs in order? Or will I just go and leave things open.

Now, as someone who’s like the biggest loser I know and as someone that leaves so many things unfinished, when I go, I really want to have things in order. In the sense that there can’t be anything that expects someone to come back. The place has to be vacated. The lights need to be shut. All things discarded. At places where they can’t be attributed to me. In fact, in my will, one of the things I’ve mentioned is that all my digital footprint must be deleted. As much as possible, at least.

So that.

Also, I realized I think the best when I talk out loud to others. Not write, not think but when I talk out loud. But then I need people like Prak to talk to. You know the ones that would not judge and will not impose their thoughts and ideas on my situation. The trouble is, I dont know many people like her.

Anyhow. I have a very long Friday ahead. And even longer weekend. And the next week. The list of to-dos is almost reaching the moon. I need to either find a thing where I dont rent my time or I need to marry a rich heiress of an infinite fortune. Know anyone?

Here’s streaks.

  • OMAD – 4
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 120
  • #noCoffee – 9
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 210

100621 – Morning Pages

Quick post on a lazy day about things at the top of my head. Lot of transactional stuff. You may skip reading this.

8:58. Woke up a few minutes ago. Slept at I think 1 or so but I did have an Americano at around 8 last night. Guess that’s why I had a fitful night. So on with today’s post. Like yesterday, I will try to not context switch. The music is set. I made a list of what I want to write about. I don’t have a lot of time – I know I am late today and I need to start the day and all that but I don’t have any pressing engagements today so I can take it easy. I may even go to a Starbucks. I did not enjoy, to be honest, that I worked from the home house last night.

Here we go. Will use bullets…

A. So, I restarted on an old project yesterday where I am helping a senior from the IT industry with his biography. It is very very interesting and exciting and I really enjoy the grind when I work on it. In fact, in life, if I can get more projects like that, I would be really happy. Of course, this means that the next few days weeks would be crazy but that’s ok. It’s the kind of craziness that I like πŸ™‚

B. Saw this video yesterday where someone has summarised James Clear’s Atomic Habits. One of the things that stayed with me is Warren Buffett’s advice on the 5/25 rule. In one line, it says that you must make a list of 25 of your long-term goals and focus on the top 5 and put the other 20 in the do NOT do / focus list. I think I must make such a list soon! I also have a fairly limited number of years left and I am craving for some success and all that. Must think about this over the next few days. So that.

C. I plan to get back to life and the world from today on. I am of course out there and working and all that but I have kept a low profile. As low as someone like me possibly can. I mean I am off Twitter, Insta, and all that. I know that I need to be out there and working and all that and it’s important for both personal and professional growth. Most of my opportunities have come to me just because I was on these platforms constantly. And I know that the doors I open today get me opportunities after literally decades!

D. I am also recording a podcast after a few weeks today. Let’s see how it goes. I can’t say I am fully prepared but I enjoy talking to people and podcasts are an important step towards that.

E. LHV is finding it tough. More on this some other day.

F. Thanks to the rain and all that yesterday, the second meal of the day did not arrive at all. I could’ve not had food after that but all the coffee I had made me jittery and I had to order something to get over. Ordered myself a Peanut Butter Mousse. Dying with guilt. There’s no way I’ll lose weight or climb Mt. Everest. I clearly can’t work out. The arm is still shaky after the vaccine last Saturday, so no Yoga. I can’t control what I eat. Grrrr…

Ok, I plan to try and fast today. At least not order anything for as long as I can control. Let’s see how it goes.

G. I am lagging on Write Your First Novel. I plan to take it up today. I am late on Mare’s review. I started the post but I couldn’t find the inspiration, even though I really want to do it. I think I must clearly slot these into weekends or after work hours. As life gets busier, I need to find a way to get more strict with time. I mean I am as strict as they come but I need to go another step now. I must not not do a single thing that is not on my calendar and if I miss something, I miss it. I will not try to fit it in during the day.

So that’s about it for day. Kaafi transactional details but that’s what is on the top of my head.

Wait. While writing this, an epiphany happened. None of these talk about my work as a marketer. And that means a good thing and a bad thing. Good in the sense that work to me is a problem to be solved, a thing to be done, a transaction that I dont care about. Bad in the sense that if I dont write about it, people I work with dont know about it and thus I remain away from opportunities. I mean I know that what I do is not really a long-term thing that I want to do. I’d rather build something that scales and impacts the world but the path to that seems to be missing. I think I am not even sure if I will ever be on that path – I am way too old and the world is way too complex now. Ok, I am getting in the rant zone. Lemme stay away from that.

Here’s the streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 179
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 91
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

190521 – Meditations

A quick post on things that are the top of my head this fine Wednesday morning.

8:29. Woke up 3 minutes ago. Had to be up at 7 to attend a docresi session. But could not πŸ™ Damn damn damn. Must stop coffee. Back to the dangerous levels. Today on, it’s a strict no. Even if I need to work for long hours.

I have a long day ahead that I am already running behind πŸ™

Ok. No rant. Not the first thing that I write. It’s 8:43 (took 15 minutes to wash my face, find music to play and all that). I will write till 9 and then get on with the day. Let’s see what all I get in.

In no order, things are the top of my head.

A. In the last 2 days, two different people (AAPune, HABlr) have asked me for tips and help on writing better. One of them is sort of close. Other is a mere business acquaintance. Plus a friend’s friend’s uncle wants to write his biography. I am working with him as well. So I am not just approached by friends. Yay! I am not sure what nudged them to seek help but I loved that I could recommend things to people and help them write more. I think the ability to write is a brilliant gift and if people think that I can help, why not! I think I will make a page where I would list almost all writing resources that I recommend and use! #note2self

B. I had a longish chat with AD yesterday where we spoke about things that I could do. While I want to do well with things, it somehow struck me that I want to be a deal maker. Or in ugly parlance, a power broker. I want to be someone that knows someone who can get things done for someone. I think I knew this forever and it’s just that it is not that I am being able to articulate this. I mean, I may have written this earlier, in some other post or some other place.

Thing is, I am not a doer per se. I don’t want to work on everything that I touch. I’d rather help connect dots and let the others figure the next steps. You want to buy cigarettes? I know someone. You want something exotic? I know where you could procure it. You want something done? I know just the right guy. So on and so forth.

I want to be that guy with a big Rolodex who knows which two people must talk.

Of course, there is no revenue model on this – I don’t want to charge a commission to connect things and people. I definitely don’t want to execute and then charge a fee. So I don’t know about the revenue model. At some point in time, will figure this out. Let’s see when I can do this.

C. The house hunt has come to a grinding halt over the last few days. I’ve been unable to search as I have kept busy with work and general randomness. I need to get out of this place before the end of June for sure. So need to up the effort on that.

I need to find a house that offers me space. And if possible a bird’s eye view into the distance. Right now, it has rained and I can see some green around where I live and it’s so so so soothing and pleasing to the eyes that I want to just continue to stare at it. So that.

Guess that’s about it. I mean there’s more but there are more pressing things to get to. And it’s 9:00.

Time to hit publish.

Oh, here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 157
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 69
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

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.
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?


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