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.

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.

100121 – Morning Pages

Today’s edition of morning pages is tad rushed. But I am glad I could still get it in. And write a few words for book2.

10:03

Morning. This one would be a short one. I have a few things to do and I woke up late. I need to be out of the house by 11:00. And that means I have about 30 minutes to get this done. Yeah yeah, I am to blame – waking up late and all. Let’s get going.

So the exuberance around the new year is now fading away. 10 days in the new year, I am now at a point where I am back to thinking about existential things (the last few days of December and the first few days of January were spent in that dreamy state where I imagine the bright possibilities that the future represents and how I’d get to that state). Now the reality has started to hit hard. Things are real, immediate, and scary.

I can talk more but lemme try and prioritize. I have limited time today. First-order is a freewriting paragraph for #book2. Here we go…

He woke up with what seemed like a hangover. The back of his head. was thumping like someone was playing drums up in there. It couldn’t be a hangover. He’s been sober now for almost 10 days, the longest he’s been. No, he didn’t plan for this. It just happened. How do you get liquor inside the confines of a jail? Hypothetically you could. There was always what Red called a Sears inside every jail. In America. In India. In Goa. And in every other place on the planet. He could get his Gin if he wanted to. He’s been around jails a long time. But he was hurt – physically and mentally. How could things go so wrong? They had everything planned. With the meticulousness that they were known for. Well, they weren’t really known – that’s why they could avoid getting caught for so long. But between the five of them, they always planned every scenario, including getting caught. And what had happened on that morning, they couldn’t have ever imagined. Or planned for. Even the failsafe they had that included all of them killing each other in case of adversity didn’t work. Well, it did. For Santosh at least. But not for Raunak. And in none of the scenarios they planned for, Raunak was getting caught. He was the linchpin of the gang and he was the only one that knew all that they’ve been up to over the last 3 decades. With him out of action, the gang was as good as non-existent.

Ok, enough. Just a short para. No time. But I am glad I got this para in.


The other thing that has started to happen lately is that I am getting way too many calls from way too many people interested in knowing about Bitcoin and crypto in general. While these have been around forever (since 2009 really), I think it’s time I jump into em with all I have. Lol, yet another thing that I want to work on. Mera kya hoga?

The other thing that I need to note is that I am struggling to stay off carbs. And I haven’t been able to add any workout, exercise to my routine. I don’t think I will ever be able to. How am I to then run that Marathon or climb that Everest? In fact, yesterday only I was finalizing my #in2021 goals and living long featured big in there. And I need to get going on it. I don’t know how to.

Its funny.

Really. On one side, I give gyaan to everyone about how to achieve their goals and climb their Everests. On the other, I am unable to get to my own. I am disciplined (for a large part), very stingy with my time (for a large part), cautious about what I spent my attention on (for a large part) and get things done (for a large part), and yet eating clean and working out is something that I cant seem to do. Take yesterday. I started with a lo-carb breakfast. But then was too stressed about the yearly goals and money in the bank and started popping Diet Cokes. And before I knew it, I had 7. Then, I had to meet Gaurav (he’s leaving today). He called me to a bakery and I just couldn’t avoid the temptation of having some chocolate croissants Pain Au Chocolat. Which, if you ask me is the best damn thing ever invented in terms of food. Just the act of writing about it is making me salivate and think of the time spent at LPQ at Powai, which to me was the best damn place in the whole wide world. Too bad it shut. Someday I’d love to bring it back. Fuck I have way too many things that I have planned for someday.

I digressed.

The point is, while all other things (work, money, relationships, etc) will figure out by themselves, I think the fitness piece is what I need help on. What can I do? What is the way out? Maybe pickup some sport?

Anyone?

241220 – Morning Pages

Today I rant about how I am eating like a pig. I beat myself about things. And I talk about the mountains and the sea.

6:48.

Woke up after a topsy-turvy night.

Not been sleeping well cos been loading up on carbs like a bodybuilder and Coke (not even Diet anymore) like a man that’s gonna get trapped in the Sahara. And since I am mostly sitting at one place (or riding a scooty to reach these places where I camp at), I am living probably the most sedentary life that I have ever lived. And funnily, it’s in Goa, a place where I was supposed to get active. Run, jog, practise Yoga, see the sunsets, walk for hours. I am doing anything but these.

While it’s easy to pin blame on things like no access to a kitchen, no routine, lot of work, I think the real culprit is me. I am choosing spending time on a screen over spending time on my feet. I am not prioritizing myself. Need to change.

Each day when I wake up I decide that today on I will go lo-carb, if not Keto (which is impossible if you are in Goa). And then I start my day with Kurkure or any of those million snacks available so easy around me. I am a sucker for crisps. And the moment I see something that I know will let me crunch it in my mouth, I want to eat it. And then like going down a spiral, one thing leads to another, and by the time I realize what’s happening, I’ve had butter, oil, bread, potatoes, and whatnot. Oh, and coke. Not just Diet. But coke. And I get bloated.

The other thing I have taken note of is that I get bloated easily. I call it bloating. It may actually be the beer belly or a man who’s too old and eating too much. Whatever it is, it is making me fat. And sad. And slow. And tired all the time.

Need to snap out of it.

It’s clouding my head so much that all I am thinking is food and all that.

The other thing that I am thinking about a lot lately is how would life shape up going forward. Especially with work. I have thought multiple times about quitting everything I am on and taking up a naukri. Even tried hard to get one during the lockdown but could not. I took it up as a sign from the Universe and stopped pursuing it. Now, I am getting itchy all over again about it. Few triggers. The lust for an easy life to start with. Second, the ability to support my people with the money I would make (we are hoping to do PPP awards, there is another short-film opportunity that would help cement Shikha‘s place in the industry, we could do with a larger team at Podium).

Fuck just realized. Even with work, I am more inspired by what I can do for things that I work on. None of those is a chase for things that come back to me? I mean all the people do come back to me. But they can choose to not come back. I may have that voice in my head that tells me that I played a teeny weeny role in their success but that’s just me. The same voice tells me that am the coolest dude around. Am I? Of course not. Similarly, am I responsible for the success of others? No! I am merely a meel ka paththar in their journeys.

So yeah. I think I am not making myself a priority and I need to do that pronto.

Starting with food. And then with work. And then with life. And here’s a postcard to end this post. A view from where I wrote this!

The photo does not do justice to what I am seeing. And how I am feeling as I sit here. The days here are so hot and humid that I am sweating all the time when I am out. Towards the evening, the temperature falls to a point where it becomes bearable. The mornings though are crisp. Fresh. The kinds that I love. There’s a nip in the air, the kinds that would make most people crawl under their rajais. Thanks to my upbringing in Delhi, I am ok with it and don’t need anything of that sort. In fact, I enjoy colder places more.

Brings me to another point. Mountains. Sea.

I always thought I was a mountain person for a large part of my life. But lately, I am realizing that I like these beach towns more. More than nature, I think what is important to me is signs of life. Vibrance. Human ingenuity. The life in mountains is probably tougher than at anyplace else and I have immense respect for the ones that live there. But the thing is, the tough life forces the life in the mountains to be, well, uncomfortable. I mean I can’t just go sit at the edge of a cliff and kill time. On a beach, I can spread a sheet and lie down all day long. At a mountain, I need to literally hunt for places that offer food. Here on a beach, those are aplenty (in fact, way too many for my comfort). In the hills, the roads are literally non-existent and you need to find your way around. You take one wrong turn and you would not know where you ended up. At a beach, you can either go towards the water. Or away from it. There is no third direction!

Of course, at some point in time I want to climb the Mt. Everest. And I enjoy the grind and grit and perseverance and effort and mental strength that it takes to climb a hill. Last time I did it, it was with Shravan (in Feb of last year) and if not for him, I wouldn’t know how much I loved the effort. The effort to reach to the top of the hill. Stay there for like 5 mins. Soak in the view. And then climb down. And once you are safe at the bottom, celebrate that you made it without any incident.

No, that was not the first time I did it. I have done a few. But I think the thoughts from that one are so vivid because I had climbed one after ages. And I probably did not have the words earlier. I did not have the ability to spot the emotions that I was feeling. I did not know that the reward is not the summit. I did not know that it does not stop once you are up there.

Anyhow.

Enough of rants.

Time to get going and get some work done.

Over and out.

7:43 AM

The Coffee Jitters

Got the shock of my life, thanks to too much black coffee at a Starbucks nearby. Read on as I describe my “battle” with it!

You know how life is funny? All’s well, you are at your favorite place (a Starbucks), in the zone (writing, working, plotting, etc). And all of a sudden, deep inside the pit of your guts and bowels, you start feeling funny. You cant pinpoint if it’s your gut that’s wrenching or if it’s your chest that’s burning. Or is it a mini-heart attack? May be you are just constipated? Or an acid-reflux?

Like any other informed individual, you quickly log in to Google and type the symptoms. The results are not encouraging. They say you could have anything ranging from cologne cancer to a case of mild acidity caused by having too much coffee and too little water and almost zero carbs for over 14 7 hours.

You continue to wince in pain. But because you are in a public place, you can’t really scream out loud. You create scenarios in your head that you are dying and you begin to message the custodian of your last will to action it. No, your life does not flash past you. That only happens in the films. But you do think of all the promises you made to yourself about life and career and family and the world at large. And you start beating yourself about wasting your life with mere faff and no action. You are reminded what your friend told you once – “you are writing cheques that your body can’t cash.”

You also start thinking that if you make through this, you would try and get healthy. You would sleep on time, eat organic, vegan whatever shite that will ensure you live till the 120 years that you’ve always wanted to. You plan the route that you would run walk on, to get back in shape. You start thinking if there’s merit in being religious – after all, nothing else is helping!

And while you are stuck in this stupor and blaming yourself for all that is wrong in the world, the truth dawns onto you. It’s the coffee jitters.

And that’s because you just had 2 Americanos, venti (for the uninitiated, that’s almost 1.5 liters) in less than two hours. After you’ve been off coffee for more than a month. All this coffee is causing your system to go into a spiral. And pushing your system into overdrive. And of course, you haven’t had any water, to dilute the coffee. You are basically killing your gut with all the acid. Easier would be to put a pipe down your throat and pour Sulphuric Acid down it. Or may be suck onto the exhaust pipe of a cab?

And what do you do next?

Somehow, sense prevails and you stutter out of the cafe. You get the first cab available (which is 12 minutes away, damn you Delhi traffic!). You implore the cabbie to drive like your life depends on it. Well, it does! You reach back home. Implore your mother to give you something to eat (one of the search results told you that you need a sugar rush and water rush to get over the coffee rush). You gobble it up as if your life is dependent on it. It does.

And then after a bit, you start feeling like a human again. And you start thinking of those things that give you instant pleasure (like more mithai, more coffee, more slouched back, etc), and you forget all those promises you made to yourself about your health less than an hour ago. Life’s back to being good. Well, mostly it is…

This is part of 30 minutes of writing everyday challenge. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211, 0311, 0411, 0511, 0611, 0911, 1011, 1211, 1311, 1411, 1511, 1611, 1711.

Hello, extra 10 KGs

I rant about why and how I put up weight everytime I am in Delhi.

The thing that I hate the most about traveling to Delhi is all the food that I eat when I am here. I stay at home, with my parents. And since we are a typical middle-class Haryanvi family, all the affection comes out in form of food. And since my parents love me more than they love anything else (am hoping), they present me with so much food that I go back to Mumbai 10 KGs heavier! I often lament that amount of food I eat in a day when I am in Delhi is easily more than what I eat in a week when I am in Mumbai.

More than just the love and affection bit, there are quite a few reasons for this. Lemme list.

1. #ForeverAlone vs Family

In Mumbai, I live by myself. Been living like that since 2013 or 14. And that means that all the taste buds I had, I have sort of brought them under control. I can now go without eating tasty food for days. Food has become this functional thing that I need to consume to stay alive. I know there are foodies and food photographers and whatnot.

Plus I have focussed way too much on work and that means I have had limited time to indulge in finer things in life (food, friends, recreation, etc). And thus I’d eat whatever is presented to me.

Finally, I hate all the mess that cooking makes and I am a freak when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness. And I decided a long time ago that I don’t want a kitchen in my house till I am rich enough to have a full-time staff to manage it.

On the other hand, in Delhi, life revolves around food. And the times when people eat. Not just my family but all others that I know of. Meeting a friend? Let’s do lunch. Visiting relatives? Dinner! When you ask for ideas around what you could do, they’d say, go grab something to eat.

2. Access. Availability. Ease.

Thing is, in Mumbai, I don’t have a kitchen. And thus I don’t have anything stocked. Unless I am on a subscription, each meal is ordered. And that means I don’t have anything that I could munch on, in between the meals.

Plus since the pandemic, I have been working from home. So no kachra.

More recently, I’ve been working from a Starbucks. And the snacks there are expensive af and tasteless like a wet piece of cardboard. So, even though, I’d love to keep chewing on things, I can’t. And that means I am eating less.

At home in Delhi, it’s a home. And there are magical things that only a mother knows how to pull off. At strategic locations in the house, “healthy” food is strewn all over. Like this small bowl near my father’s desktop. It’s always filled with soaked almonds! There is this drawer in our kitchen that has roasted almond stocked in. Then there is this barfi kinda thing that my mom makes – again of almonds and again placed on top of the ref, easily accessible. The point is, at each part of the house, there are convenient eating options.

3. Distractions galore!

At Mumbai, I am so distracted all the time by so much action all around me that I forget to eat. Really. Some people may call it flow. Some may call it being in the zone. Some may not have a name for it. But when I am in Mumbai, I am really really busy on I don’t know what! There’s always work to do, dreams to conjure, projects to kick off. There’s always one or two fires that I am fighting out all the time. So, no time to eat.

In Delhi, I am mostly free. And even when I do have work (like this trip, I am loaded with work) and I am scrambling hard to meet people, get things done, for some reason, I am still eating like a whacko! May be its availability. Or may be it’s planning around food. Whatever it is. I can’t seem to keep my hands away from my mouth.

4. Stress?

This is unique to this trip and I did not really want to include it here. But I think I must. So, I think I have managed the pandemic well, in terms of my mental balance and stress levels. But the last two months have been terrible. For a variety of reasons that we shall not get into. A large part of coming to Delhi (see footnote) was also to take a pause, take a break, get away from humdrum, and the muck in the head. And may be, just may be, I am eating all this food this time around cos am stressed?

Footnote 1: If not for this random stress, I would have still come to Delhi. Just that I used stress as yet another rationalising input to justify the travel during the pandemic.


So yeah, that’s my story on how I always go back to Mumbai 10KGs heavier. What’s your story? Of food? Of when you are at home?

This is part of 30 minutes of writing everyday challenge. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211, 0311, 0411, 0511, 0611, 0911, 1011, 1211, 1311.