190721 – Morning Pages

Short note about old age, fitness, music, work and the unkind societal perceptions about moi.

7 AM.
From today on, I am hoping to change the way I live. I will get more conscious about how I live, how I eat, how I work out, and all that. Let’s see if I challenge myself on this, can I change myself. The idea is to live better, be healthy for a long long time. Wait. Lemme talk about old age. And how it sucks.

See this. Lucky Ali is the first artist that I became a fan of. He was what everything young person wanted to be. Sing well, play guitar like God, write things that can move mountains, farm, live on his terms, and so on and so forth. Even for his music, he refused to go down the predictable path and release a few pieces, at his terms. And not with large record labels. Why do we need music to be trapped in the boardrooms?

When I see this, there are a couple of ways in which I can look at this.

A. The guy is still got the zest for life. He’s working and doing what he likes the best – you know, performing, making music, chilling, and all that. So, perfect life.

B. On the other hand, the quality of music is so so so, well, average. I mean he’s going off-sync. And you know it’s not even planned. No, he’s not like that. He’s seen better days. It sucks to say this but he should have listened to his body and moved on. Or do something else that is more apt for his age. You know, perform solo.

No, my adulation for him is no less than what it was when I first became a fan. He will remain the first love that I’ve ever known. It was his music that played as background, in my head, as I was growing up. I had as a child.

So that.

Let me also talk about another thing that happened yesterday that sort of affected me. At least till I was sleeping. I am ok now of course. So my landlord came in yesterday for some errand. Unannounced. I hate when someone comes in where I live without informing. No, it’s not about surprise. It’s about needing time to prepare to put on a facade for social conversations. Anyhow. So he came in. And among other things, he gave me unsolicited thoughts about how I should be married. And how my life would be waste if I don’t have anyone to carry on my lineage. He told me that while it’s ok to stay alone at 38, once I am 45, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night and toss around in the bed. And then how if I had a wife, I would be dressed better and not roam around in tattered clothes. And then he qualified that I would not get any great women and I must marry whoever I can get.

I don’t even know on how many counts was the guy wrong. I mean, he’s not wrong. He comes from another era and at that time, the things he said probably made sense. They don’t anymore.

Agreed that I am not the most well-dressed. But I know that I am the most well-behaved for sure. I am hoping I am! I may not have a significant other and he may be right that I feel the need to have someone next to me once in a while but does that mean I marry for that? Well no!

Ok, now that I am writing, the words are not flowing. Maybe it’s not affected me as much as I thought it would. Which is a good thing. It’s great to get outsiders’ perspectives on your life. Especially from the ones that are vocal and dont mince words. So that.

Chalo, moving on to start the day. I am done with my push-ups and Surya Namaskars for the day. Cataloging here. Now, I need to watch what I eat. Hoping to eat Dal and Eggs. Wierd combination. I know. Let’s see if I can make it.

Oh, and I’ve been having coffee for last two days. Today on, am back to ghaas ka paani. Time to get started with work. Over and out.

Here’s streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 130
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -1
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 220

040721 – Morning Pages

A short rant on how I feel after I went for a walk yesterday.

7:45 AM. I slept at 10. Woke up a few minutes ago. More than 8 hours. I dont think I woke up in the night except to have some water. I have recollections of an epic dream where some battles are being fought and all that. No, I dont remember the specifics. Chalo this is a good thing.

So, yesterday. Lemme do a quick recap. Did some work in the morning. Then ate. In one window of 2 hours. So OMAD! Yay!. Then slept in the afternoon for a couple of hours. That’s what I do if I am at the place where I live. When I can’t go to Starbucks or a friend’s house to work. I see the bed and I am magnetically attracted to it! Sigh! And once I woke up from the siesta, I just couldn’t work. I kept wasting time. Towards the evening I tried to go for a run. Lol. I went out and all I could run jog was for 60 odd seconds! Kaise hoga EBC?

Those 60 seconds were straight from hell. The phone flapped around so much that I felt like a circus artist trying to balance all the weight and the movement of the phone. My balls hurt (damn Hernia). My breath didn’t come back to normal for like, forever. I was literally sucking on the mask and I almost swallowed it! The heat in my toes was unbearable. I eventually had to take the shoes off and walk barefoot. I even had to lie down on the beach and had sand all over me.

Damn!

The saving grace of this 2-minute health experiment is that I found a one-rupee coin on the beach while walking.

I plan to go today as well. Let’s see how it goes. I am thinking I will buy an Apple Watch to track movements and sleep. Just that I am unsure if I would like to have another device. I mean I am ok with an Oura or something similar. But a watch or a band is not my jam 🙁

Anyhow.

So, after the excruciating walk, for some reason, I did not want to come back to an empty house. I put some emo tweets as well. Guess am growing old and in absence of any tangible achievements or things to look up to, I am forced to look at things like relationships and people?

We’d never know the complexity of the human mind 🙁

Moving on.

On the work front, I have a lot to do. To a point that I am so overwhelmed that I don’t even know where to start from. Thing is, most weekdays, I am stuck in meetings that take away energy and motivation. And on the weekends when I want to work, there’s no place to go work from. Damn this lockdown. One way is to lock two days in a week for no meetings, no calls, and just work. You know, Maker-Manager?

Apart from these two, to be honest, I have nothing else on my mind. And it’s not cool. I must have more to life than work. I mean I have always hated the concept of people that define themselves with the work they do! And here I am. Defining myself with the lack of work and options to work out from! Not cool.

Will try and change this over the next few days.
Wish me luck.
This is it for the time being.

Here’s the streaks. Changed the order to make it a little more visually appealing.

  • OMAD – 4
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 115
  • #noCoffee – 4
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 205

030721 – Morning Pages

Rant on how I look, courtesy a glance in the mirror at a friend’s place. And a promise to myself. To do something about it. And fix it.

8:49. Just woke up. Slept at 3 or something. I dont know why I couldn’t sleep even though I haven’t had coffee in three days. I had a lot of green tea (or as Ankita calls it, ghaas ka paani) but I am not sure if that affects the sleep. If it does, I will be forced to stop going to a Starbucks altogether and my productivity will drop to like zero 🙁

Anyhow. Moving with the morning pages. I was at a friend’s place last evening and I saw myself in a full-length mirror. And I was shocked at what I see. Shocked at two things.

A. I realized that I hadn’t seen myself in a mirror in a while. The place where I live doesn’t have a mirror. I mean I have a tiny one in the bathroom but that’s so tiny that all you can see is your face. See this tweet. I also have one in the lift of the building . It is fairly large. I think from waist up. However most times I stand facing away from it. And when I do face it, I am wearing a mask and I am in a hurry.

B. I saw my reflection and found a fat, aged, wrinkled man staring back at me. And no, the guy wasn’t hardened or something. He was just aging faster than what mother nature had planned for him.

To be honest, I was shocked when I saw myself. In my head, I looked better, was better dressed, I “felt” better. But the mirror showed me I had such high perceptions about myself. I am surprised that people allow me to stand next to them in a queue. No wonder at a Starbucks most people avoid sitting next to me. No one makes small talk to me. Damn damn damn.

It’s insane how this world uses shortcuts like physical “beauty” to make perceptual decisions about you. I mean, I understand why they do. We are still hunter-gatherers that are trying to find our way around.

So, I need to get fit. This is like a slap in the face that I needed. The best is that it’s come from no one else but me. You know, like this…

Even he’s got a good mirror to look into while he slaps ;P Damn I love him! Can’t wait to see Toofaan!

Coming back. I need to get fit. I know it has to be tiny gains over a long time if I want to be like Jason Statham. Lol!

I’ve been trying for the last few months (controlling what I eat, trying to sleep better et al). I know I can’t work out. I can’t continue with Yoga unless I have a teacher to go to. Online sessions don’t work for me. I can walk but then I am perpetually short of time with all the work I am on. May be I can start with an extreme calorie deficit? You know, consume only about 1000 calories a day? That can’t be healthy over the long run.

I dont know the answer. I will find one. But I will ensure that I look better. No, I refuse to wear better clothes. I need comfort more than anything else. But I will ensure that I am fitter. At least I can ensure that I am on OMAD. It’s been 3 days now. Last night I was so so so tempted to order in dinner but thankfully I could avoid it. Took immense willpower to do so!

Anyhow. Moving on.

So I decided that I will go to the EBC. In Sep-Oct. At least make an attempt. Come hell or high water (COVID-19 withstanding). Apparently, the success rate is 90%. I could be in that 10% for all you know. Will make the bookings as soon as I get paid for the next gig. Mumbai-Kathmandu-Lukla-EBC and back would be about a lakh and 20 days. I have 2 months to prepare and I start today. Not tomorrow. Not day after. Today. Starting with food and walks (at least).

So, in other news, I have a new play-on-loop track. It’s this. Lovey-dovey mushy piece but I love the beats and rhythm and all that. Give it a listen!

Guess this is for the day. Need to get going. Long day. And even longer tomorrow. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 204
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 3
  • #noCoffee – 3
  • #noCoke – 114
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

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!

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.