280221 – Morning Pages

A longish post about thoughts on a car, events, friends, relationships and alcohol. Read on.

8:04 AM.

Hello, World! I have a lot to say. I hope I get the words. Though I am tired (physically) and exhausted (mentally), I want to try and pour things that are clouding my head. Most of these would be recurring themes and ideas – this text would be an exercise in finding arguments for and against that narrative. I have often done these brain dumps in the past to let the load off my head and they’ve been helpful. What comes out is more of a blog than anything else, but it is immensely helpful!

Here we go. As always, in no order.

A. I couldn’t publish morning pages yesterday. I knew I wouldn’t be able to. I had a lot happening. But I knew that I could easily write a couple of paras and upload those. But then I couldn’t even do that. I mean I wrote a para and I thought I had published but I realized late last night that I did not hit the publish button. The streak of I don’t know how many days (well over 60 easily) was broken 🙁 Damn!

B. At Spotlight, the monthly start-up pitch event at The Podium, for the Feb edition, we hosted Roshan Abbas to give feedback to some start-ups. This was the second in the series of such events and the interactions have been so so good. Listening to a brain like Roshan Sir give inputs on startups from relationships, ed-tech was such a learning experience. He said a lot of things that I intuitively knew were right. And he said a lot of things that I think I don’t agree with. Irrespective, I think it was time spent well. Need to somehow scale it and take it to bigger scale.

More than just advice, he was VERY very candid and offered these startups introductions to other angels, HNIs and even people who could work with these startups! This in itself is worth the time spent!

I also must mention that at some level, Roshan Sir is the next step in evolution for me. I mean he is from a communication, events, and marketing background. He has set up multiple companies and has run those parallelly. He has had an exit. He is an angel investor and enabling people to do more with access to capital and connections. He continues to work harder than most of his peers and continues to push himself. Sounds EXACTLY like how I want to live my life! Reminds me of that Kabir couplet…

Sai itna dijiye, jaame kutumb samaay,

main bhookha naa rahoon, sadhu na bhookha jaaye

By Kabir

So that.

C. Event. Last two days, I helped a friend manage a wedding event in Goa. While weddings is new to me and I have only done a handful of these, I realized, I love being on the ground lot more than making presentations. I mean given an option, I would be on the ground, in shorts and tees rather than being in a boardroom with a jacket on.

Since this was one of those events where I was detached from, a few things struck me as an epiphany. Lemme try and talk about those.

1/ This was an intimate wedding with just a handful of guests in the audience, each a friend or family. I loved the joy on their faces and general happiness all around. For once I felt human and I thought maybe a wedding is worth an ordeal only to make your family happy. The other thing is the realization that I’ve never had and will probably never have a group of close-knit friends that I saw yesterday. I’ve always been an outcast, dark-horse, odd-one out. The one that is ignored conveniently and forgotten easily. Even in the romantic relationships I’ve had, I’ve not been the person that got attention. Which is ok. Just that when I see such gangs, I pine for my own. And I don’t know how to fix this. I have done almost everything it takes to be able to make friends but I dont seem to have any left.

Of course I do have people that I can lean on. And have leaned on when the going was tough. It still is. And I continue to lean. But I feel most of my friendship and interactions are transaction-based. More on this some other time.

This tweet by Ajeet Sir caught my eye and I realised that maybe lockdown has made me a tad more detached from people!

No, I dont know how to fix it.

Do I want to fix it? Yes! I would love to have people that care for me as an individual and not as a designation. I need people to empathize with what I am going thru and not just label me as someone that doesn’t return calls. I need to feel loved and not left out of conversations and not taken for granted.

And yes, these expectations are not unfounded. I believe in long-term thinking and reciprocity. I do all these for my people. And in exchange, I don’t expect them to go out of their way to accommodate me. Just a simple, respectful, non-judgemental conversation would do. But I hardly get even that.

And yet…

I think I should title this post ‘rant about unrequited love and friendship of a lonely 38-year old man’.

2/ The entire events industry runs on a very simple sub-contracting model. The end-user of service hires a professional. The professional contracts things to multiple partners, each a specialist into certain trade. The partners further sub-contract it to the service providers. These service providers then use temp staff to get things done. More often than not, the dreams of the client are fulfilled by people that they don’t even know exist. Imagine a mason making a five-star hotel and that very mason being denied entry into the hotel. Imagine a carpenter making the grandest facade for your wedding and he is stopped from even taking a picture of what he created.

From a dream that the client has conjured in their head to the execution that happens on the ground, there’s this well-defined food-chain. And at each step, the respect that that person gets and the money that person makes goes down. To give you perspective, if you are spending 10,000 bucks on an event, the guy who actually puts the flower on the wedding mandap gets paid 10 paisas. Paisa. Not Rupees. From a kitty of 10000 bucks. Of course, there are multiple layers, and the value added at each layer is immense but the guy at the bottom gets paid shit. And worse, gets treated like shit. That level of people are so degraded that they themselves stop believing that they deserve more. If not more, then respect.

The sad part is that the entire industry operates like that. Lower you are on the value chain, worse you are treated. Even by the ones that are just a notch above you.

When you do events and meet people who come from as far as Bihar and Assam and more to work on events in Goa and are paid minimum wages and are treated like shit, your heart goes out and you question things. Of course, you can question all you want to, the answers are non-existent.

3/ Oh, this was one of those rare events where I did not have Diet Coke or Red Bull or even Coffee. What am I becoming?

D. Now that I am talking of vices, lemme talk of alcohol. Yesterday, I saw yet again how alcohol fucks your capability to think. It, of course, makes you lose your inhibitions and makes you do things that un-do-s all that you have worked for. I mean imagine a full-grown man making a fool of himself, in the middle of a party, just because he is drunk!

What’s the point of such “losing inhibition” and “letting your hair down”? I have always struggled to find an answer to this question. To a point that I have sort of given up. I just know that making a fool out of myself, because I am drunk is not for me. I am happy to be a fool in the way I think, the way I operate, the way I work etc. Those foolhardy things allow me to go beyond what I am doing right now. They help me grow as a person. They polish me, you know.

But being unable to walk, puking all over yourself and then “blaming” it on alcohol is not my thing.

I know, I know. I am being super judgemental here. I mean it’s their life and they can do whatever they want to. I get that. I also get that some people may want to feel free. I know that most people do not operate in their natural state on a day-to-day basis and this casual alcoholism helps them find an escape. But then the escape has to be a thing that makes you better. You know, how about you hit a gym if you want to feel the change? Write something? If you want a communal experience, how about you go dance? Join a volunteering organization? I hope you get the drift.

Anyhow. So after the incident last night, I promise that I will not have alcohol ever again. Even if its a very very special occasion. I am trying to stay away from coffee and coke. I shall stick to lime water and coconut water and other such things. Just need to figure out what I would have at a Starbucks ;P

E. For the last couple of days, I rented a car to get around Goa. I had to. You cant manage an event and not have a car that doubles up as your shelter when you are tired, your dumping ground when you have to lug things, your companion where you pile your anguish out. And since this was one of the most unorganized events that I’ve been a part of, I was running around a lot. I would have spent a large part of the day in the car yesterday.

But then, that’s not the point.

The point is a car. I realized my love for cars and roads and navigating and driving and seeing new places. I have to have to have to get one. I have had this dream that the first car I buy would be a Merc. I know I am very far from that with what’s happening at work. But I will make things happen and get to a car this year. #note2self #lifeGoal.

F. Fitness. Lol. I start smiling every time I use this F word. I mean really. Fitness. Lol. I have this note that I wrote to myself in 2012 (almost 10 years ago) where I promised that I will be 30″ by end of that year. I am nowhere close. I want to climb Mt. Everest. And I have a hard time walking 12 steps.

Sigh.

Ok, by mistake I linked to this video from Men of Honor. I am going down that Rabbit Hole where I want to make movies and inspire others. Wait. One thing is clear. Each action I take has to leave others inspired. The realization that Silver lining 😀

Ok, that’s it for the day, I think. Good to have poured out.

Nothing on #book2. Will start soon.