200421 – Meditations

Quick post on how things are with me in probably the toughest times we’ve seen as a race. And an attempt at pushing the story forward.

6:04. I just woke up. A minute ago. Without an alarm. The room was too hot. The AC conked off. And so did the phone. Or maybe it’s the charging cable. I will get to know by the time I end this post. I am trying to charge it with another wireless charger I have. Ok, the cable is the problem.

It’s funny how mundane like is, on a day-to-day basis. You plan for grand things, the ones that can change the world and you struggle with basics like devices, tools, etc give you a hard time. Life has its ways.

It was a terribly busy day yesterday. Way too many meetings and calls. To a point that I ate while I was on a call. I had to pee and I had to put 11 people on hold to do that. Which is ok. I don’t mind this at all. I like the idea of spending my time on things other than mindless consumption of all the content floating around on the internet.

But the good part is that I managed about 9000 steps towards the end of the day. I went a million times around the cramped space around my building. Thanks to the calls that allowed me to not get bored. I think I will schedule all the calls that I can control at that time so that I can walk and not get bored.

So, what happened yesterday? And what do I want to log-in here?

  1. This
  2. More and more people are moving to Goa. This means they are finding better internet and phone connectivity. And thus the Goa post needs to be updated. Done.
  3. A very very good friend was found positive. This is one of those people I care for. Damn. Hope he recovers fast.
  4. I’ve decided to stay away from any negative news of any kind. Even if it’s supposed to be funny. Including jokes, WhatsApp, tweets, and others that have been going around. I am not even hanging out on Instagram anymore. There’s way too much negativity masked as comments and critiques. If I endorse something, they would add to your life and not take things away. I had to log in about the friend (point 3) but that’s that. I don’t plan to delve any further into it. Need to practice equanimity. You know, this too shall pass.
  5. Believe it or not. I did 8 rounds of Surya Namaskar yesterday. I followed this video. I was dead by the 4th. Wanted to quit by the 6th. But persisted. I plan to do 8 more today. At least. I will see if I can push myself to do 10. The lofty goal is to be able to do 100. I don’t know how I would get the time out but let’s see.
  6. Last two days, I’ve been using Headspace on a computer (and not on a phone). This again is better. Cos I switch off phone when I do and thus there are no distractions.

Plan for the day?
Lol. Calls. What else.

Here’s the streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 128
  • #aPicADay – 109 the quality of photos is going down everything. There’s nothing to click in the tiny place I have access to 🙁
  • 10K steps a day –0.
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 41
  • #noCoke – 41
  • 10 mins of meditation – 6
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 5

On to the original work. Day 6.
Yesterday I was at a point where Roshan has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and he will be dead in 14 days. He tells his mother about it. I did not write it entirely. But I did manage a part of the conversation. I had identified a few questions and pointers. I needed to find out other characters. I need a larger battle as the backdrop. And I need to generally find out what would Roshan do once he knows that he was going to die in 14 days.

Lemme introduce Roshan’s love interest.

[START]

Diksha’s family was as old as Roshan’s was. And had the same lineage. Her’s was the lineage of teachers and had the distinction of teaching even Shivaji for a brief period. She had continued to the tradition and now ran the only private school in Indapur. Like Roshan’s, she also had numerous cousins in the town and most of them were teachers at various schools, including some at her school.

Like any two old families in a tiny town, the two families knew of each other. Many people had married within each other. The relationships were more or less cordial. However, there was no way Diksha and Roshan would cross paths. They had contrasting worlds and world views. Diksha was a lot more serious and had no serious ambitions. As long as her students were happy, she was ok. Roshan on the other hand planned to move beyond to at least Mumbai in search of his dreams. The challenge was, he did not have a dream. Yet. He remained in search of opportunities.

The only time they spot meet each other during the day would be when Roshan would walk back from the temple with his mother. It was around the same time Diksha would finish her work and on the way back stop at the temple for a bit. She did she Roshan as an obedient, respectful person that took extra care of his mother. And that was that. Beyond that, she had no interest in his physique or the flurry of jokes that he seems to have handy all the time.

Neither was Roshan interested in Diksha. She was, what they call, a simpleton. A woman next door with nothing special to write home about. Probably boring as well. Plus Roshan had seen her grow alongside. The large families would meet often on various occasions and since they were both from the only two illustrious ones, they always had special status reserved for them. Most times, these interactions would happen at their respective homes. They weren’t anything like the glorious ones of the past, with each successive generation, the patch of land that they could lay claim to would get smaller and smaller. Most times these splits would be amicable. At such places, pragmatism took over the need to argue.

Except when Roshan’s family got dealt an unfair hand. Roshan’s father was the younger son and thus when the split had to be done, he was left out with parcels of land that none of his elder brothers wanted. He was content with what he was handed over. Pritha had a large part in Kishore’s decision to take what was given to him. They were happy that they got a house to live in, a gala next to the temple where his Kishore could start a business, and a barren patch further beyond the town. This is where Roshan would go on to establish his akhada.

This was clearly unfair as this was not even 5% of the total fortune that Roshan’s family should’ve inherited. If not for Diksha’s grandfather, Kishore wouldn’t have got even this much. His elder brother, Dinesh believed that as the younger brother, Kishore had no claim over any inheritance and must live on the alms. If not for the sense pounded in to his head, he would have probably got his henchmen to do the same. In fact, even now Roshan and Darpan, the two cousins would often spar.

Now Darpan was unlike his father. He believed that whatever his father gave away to Roshan’s family, he still had the rightful claim over that. But then he was a reasonable man. To a point that when the elders started talking about getting him and Diksha married, the pragmatic Diskha had no opposition to the match.

[END]

[NOTES]

Nah. Did not flow. I couldn’t think of a lot. Need to do better. Experienced deja vu while writing this! Woah! After a long time!

Also, need to think on the following…

  1. How to make Roshan likable?
  2. Can I reveal Roshan’s actions at the very end of the film? You know, he did all these because he was terminal? Similar to Sweet November.
  3. This Diksha – Roshan escapade is not happening. Seems forced. May be it’s Diksha’s pain that Roshan is trying to solve? May be Diksha knows that Roshan is terminal and is empathetic? May be she’s a doctor herself? May be she doesn’t know that he was going to die?

I just realised that I think FAR better when I am writing. Or when I am talking to others. #epiphany

Over and out!
See you guys tomorrow.

260221 – Morning Pages

I talk about two interesting things. 1, Goa and home. 2, optionality. Read on.

8:22. The balcony at Rajesh Sir’s house, Goa. Back here after 15 odd days.

A funny thing happened yesterday. When I came here after a month, for some reason, it felt like homecoming. I am not kidding. I am not the one to get attached to places etc but this time, the house felt like home. Maybe because I was here at a time when a lot was happening in my life and I did not know what to do. A lot is still happening but this place was my solace in the toughest time. I am so grateful that I have him in my life.

Moving on.

I need to take a big decision about what I want to do in life. I have a couple of options where I can exchange my time for money, make ends meet and get back to some sort of stability. While all these things sound great on paper, I know that in the long-run for a 38-year old like me, these things don’t add up. Plus, salary is addictive.

One of the things I am thinking about while making this decision is Naval’s riff on optionality. He operates in a way that allows him to maximize optionality. As a salaried person, the odds of you increasing optionality go down. Unless you are like Rajan Anandam where you, by design, need to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and those backgrounds help you do more.

When choosing things for myself, I need to work towards creating optionality. Now, what creates optionality? Well, things that allow you to do more than what your job entails. If you are a doctor, there are fairly limited things that you can do. I mean you can treat people and heal them and all that but that’s that. Unless you are an exception that can, may be, write. Of course, as a doctor, you’d have a good life but that’s that. If you are a coder, on the other hand, you can create a thing like Bitcoin that allows you to live a life independent of your practice. Similarly, if you are a senior executive with some pharma company, you are limited to doing what your JD entails. If the company were to shut down, where would you go? Of course, if you are paid a bomb, you can invest tiny parts into businesses that have the potential of growing into larger ones. That creates optionality. In fact, subconsciously, I have lived all my life in a way that I have an option open in terms of what I want to do.

So that.

What else. Yeah. Fitness. Last few days I have been feeling unwell. I don’t know whats causing this but I need to fix it. Maybe its the food. I think I need to get either a balanced meal from someplace. Or get a kitchen. Either way, I need to fix it. Want to add workouts but I dont think I will ever be able to. I know Everest will require me to be fit and all. But I think till I figure out other things, fitness will probably take a backseat.

Guess this is it for the day. This context switching is not for me. I don’t know how other digital nomads do this. Need to learn.

With this, over and out. See you guys on the other side. Now that I am back in Goa, hope things will move better. And no, no #book2. Will start that once I settle in.

PS: Funny how narratives on these morning posts have changed from meaning of life to survival. Guess that’s life!

Ultimate Guide to Living in and Remote Working from Goa

Your ultimate guide to remote working from Goa or even work-from-home while in Goa. Insider’s dope, tips, and opinions. Do not miss if you are considering WFH / Remote Work from Goa.

Version control: V0.1, last updated on 20 April 2021

So, if you are my generation and have seen your share of Bollywood, you would know of Dil Chahta Hai. Or if you are from the one after mine, you would know Dear Zindagi. Both these are probably at the top of the pile of those films that have drilled the romanticized idea of the small coastline of Goa in our heads. Mention Goa and you start thinking to dream of a better life.

The images that come to your head could carry from the Vegas of India cliche (complete with its “what happens in Goa stays in Goa”) to that of a sleepy town littered with parties (and the characters and shenanigans of these characters at the parties) to lip-smacking seafood (Recheado anyone?) to dilapidated castles on top of hillocks (some of these are now hotels) to tourists teeming with frenzy as if they’re gonna die after this trip (not just from India but from places as far as Israel, Russia, and the UK) to, of course, beer cheaper than water!

At least these were the ones that came to my head. Blame it on a million trips that I have made to Goa over the years. My trips primarily were to give all my money to those poker players and rake to casinos floating in the Mandovi.

So anyhow, thanks to the lockdown and WFH getting acceptable, moved to Goa in early Dec 2020, to live and work from here, and see what else the state has to offer. I had a million doubts and a thousand questions and a hundred apprehensions before I moved to Goa. But I took the plunge. Literally.

What I saw was predictable, interesting, surprising, refreshing and more. And thus the prompt to write this guide.

So, here we are. In this Ultimate Guide to Remote Working from Goa, I will talk about what it takes to move to goa and work from here. Plus with the aftermath of COVID-19, remote jobs are increasingly becoming acceptable and people wanting to live and work out of Goa will need reliable, honest, first-hand information. This is that nifty handbook for those people. And for digital nomads and road-warriors and others that may want to work out of Goa.

Oh, standard disclaimers apply. See a list toward the bottom of the post.

Here’s what I will talk about…

  1. First Things First
  2. Why work from Goa?
  3. Pros and Cons of working from Goa
  4. The moving to Goa decision matrix
  5. Living in Goa for work
  6. Comparison of co-working spaces in Goa
  7. Making the move
  8. Misc information
  9. In the end…

1. First things first about working from Goa…

There’s a lot to talk about Goa if I want to do an honest and comprehensive job of helping you decide. Lemme start with these three. In each, I will try to ask a question and the answer to that question will probably help you decide where you want to be once you decide that you want to work in Goa.

1A. The North vs South Divide

Simply speaking, think of Goa as a straight line (it is NOT but just think of it like that for the time being). See this image.

Screenshot from Maps Of India

Assume that Panaji (aka Panjim) is the midpoint. Panjim is the capital city and like every other state capital, it is like any other – traffic, highrises (not really as high as the ones we have in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai), fast internet (really!), ample public transport, etc. But if you choose to live in / around Panjim, you might as well live in Mumbai. Or Bangalore for that matter.

💡 Hat-tip – Read the section on Internet below.

North Goa (Candolim, Calangute, Anjuna, Morjim, Mandrem, and beyond) is where most tourists (Indian, foreign, etc) hang out. With-in the North, I’d advise you to stay away from Candolim, Calangute, or Baga.

But places like Anjuna and Vagator are very very livable. In fact, if you want to meet and network with interesting people, you have to check these two out. You’d also get access to the sea.

🌟 To me, one of these two is the perfect place to live if you are in Goa to work. But this could be my bias as well.

Oh, most Indian tourists do not venture beyond Anjuna. If you go further north, you’d only find foreigners (and Indians that are more foreigners in their heads than the actual foreigners are). So that could be a good place to be if you want to be in the North and yet stay at a secluded place.

If you are ok living in the interiors with a limited sea view, you will like it at Porvorim, Saligao, Parra, Assagao, Siolim, etc. These are not north per se but for our simplistic map, these could be. And within these, I love Porvorim (a city and yet not a city) and Assagao (essentially a forest on a hill).

South Goa is where we have all the secluded, spaced out, sparse and clean beaches in Goa. This is also where the peace of mind is. Food also, in general, is better in the South, if you ask me. And because these are secluded and spaced out, you typically have holidaymakers here (and not the tourists that seek action of water-sports, dance clubs, etc). If I were to choose a place to be on a holiday, I’d pick South Goa. If you want to work in Goa, I would NOT recommend South Goa. But if you have to live and work in the South, I’d recommend looking at places like Palolem, Utorda, and Majorda. There’s some semblance of life there.

Oh, there’s also what I call the North-East Goa (though locals don’t call it that). Which is essentially Mapusa, Moira, Aldona, and thereabouts. This part is fast emerging as the hub of creative kinds. More on this later.

❓ So, the first decision you need to make is, what part of Goa do you want to live in. Panjim? North? South? North-East? I would recommend North.

1B. Natives, Locals and Migrants

If you are going to spend some time in Goa, you need to be able to understand people here. No, a section of a blogpost can never ever do justice but here’s an attempt.

Natives of Goa are people that were born in Goa, grew up in Goa, live in Goa, have ancestral roots in Goa, have houses in Goa, and plan to be here. Most of these would be in professions from fishing to politics to even heavy industries. These are the ones that of course have the claim over Goa as a place. Everyone else is a guest. And thus needs to conduct themselves as guests. You are a guest as well even if you are moving here lock, stock, and barrel.

Locals of Goa are the ones that have some Goan connection (parents from Goa, close relatives in Goa, married to Goans, etc) and are now living in Goa. In my limited experience, these are the people that have created flourishing businesses here and thus give employment to natives, locals and migrants.

Migrants in Goa are people like me. No connection to Goa. Hail from other places. Now living in Goa. Most work in businesses ran by natives or locals. Some are entrepreneurs that have set up businesses. Some are freelancers. Most are creative, freelancing, solopreneurs – musicians, dancers, yoga teachers, chefs, writers, photographers, etc.

As you start living here, you need to understand who’s who and then conduct accordingly. The natives typically do not like migrants coming in. They blame the outsiders for spoiling nature and the culture. They blame the outsiders for leaving too much mess on the beaches and causing other such nuisance. To be honest, they are probably right. But then, free market. They can’t stop the influx. The migrants (like us need) to understand that as mere “outsiders” we can’t really do much without support from natives / locals. And sooner we start respecting the locals and natives, the better it is. For everyone.

1C. The Good and The Bad

While the entire guide is about good and bad, I want to save time for you by making this nifty list. Each of these would be expanded eventually.

The Good part of working from Goa…

  • Goa is home to so much creative talent and prowess that it boggles my mind that we are not the world-leader in creativity! Plus this creative crowd is always in flux and is moving around (within and out of Goa). This means that there is no dearth of interesting people that you can jam and network with. This to me in itself is a big big draw to Goa.
  • Goa is probably as cosmopolitan as it gets. Really. Just that it’s a tad different than the cosmopolitan-ness that people from big cities are used to. You may not see a lot of fancy clothes but you would definitely see some really eclectic opinion that would make you take note.
  • Goa offers some of the best food that you’d have anywhere in the country. No, I am not a foodie at all. So, can’t comment on that.

The Bad part of working from Goa…

Just two.

  • Nothing is reliable here. Internet, people, electricity, roads, weather, stray dogs. Even people who write long posts on coworking in Goa 😉
  • If you are hoping to create a business here, unless you have a few crores, you would find it tough. If you have ready work from elsewhere that you want to deliver while you live in Goa, you can consider moving. But if you are hoping to setup something from scratch, it would be tough.

More details as we go along!

1D. What I will NOT talk about in this guide…

I will NOT talk about anything that tourists may want from Goa.

Things like best places to party, best venues to do sundowners, cheap shopping locations, tips on watersports, touristy places, Instagrammable locations, etc. I will NOT talk about the history of Goa, the weather of Goa, the culture of Goa, and so on and so forth. There’s enough and more on it.

2. So, why work from Goa?

This is the smallest part of the write-up and in this tiny, biased part, I will try and convince you to come work from here 😀

If my experience of the last 2 months is anything to go by, if your work allows you to work from remote locations, you MUST not miss the opportunity of working out of Goa! Heck, if I were the activist kinds, I would have met the government here in Goa and try to create a program inspired by the mayor of Miami!

I mean, imagine waking up a few miles away from the Arabian Sea and the winds from the sea and squeaks from the seabirds as your alarm clocks. Imagine the quaint vibe, apparently delicious seafood (which I have no clue about – I am a vegetarian eggetarian), and very very affordable options to wine and dine. Now, top it up with scenic exuberance and rich culture that Goa anyway has. And if you need the final push, imagine an opportunity to jam and network with all the eclectic, creative, free souls that call Goa home! 

Why would you not work from here? Life is anyway short and if your work allows you to live and work out of Goa, please do make the move. Even if it’s for a bit. Here are more details for you…

3. The Pros and Cons of working from Goa

Of course, every place has its share of good and bad. While I can fill in reams of pages on the good parts, there are numerous downsides as well. The decision is a personal one but if for you the advantages of working out of goa outweigh the negatives, come join me 🙂

Here we go on the good and the bad, in detail.

3A. Some good things about working out of Goa!

Personally, I have found that living in Goa allows me to be more creative and free. You know how Hemingway said, write drunk and edit sober? Goa is allowing me to do that! I am drunk on the talent of others. And I am sobered by my limitations as an individual. Wow! Poetic! Here’s a “rational” and sober list.

⏩ Goa is probably one of the most vibrant places in the country with a lovely confluence of cultures. There is a diverse community of creative people from almost any discipline that you may imagine. You can whip up the frenzy and some crazy ideas with them. And yet Goa offers you endless opportunities for a slow, lackadaisical, laidback, and serene life. In one line, I’d say Goa exudes a heightened sense of quietude, even with all its cultural exuberance. There’s something for almost everyone.

⏩ If you are a music aficionado, apart from a thriving live-gig scene from across the genres (I can’t even count how many restaurants and bars offer Hindi and English covers), Goa probably has the best EDM and Hip Hop scene in India. Lately even Folk is taking the small state by storm. Plus there are so many traveling artists. If music is your thing, do check out Gypsy Gigs by a friend and mentor, Nupura.

⏩ If you consider yourself a connoisseur of architecture and history, after your work, you may go visit all the grand cathedrals, worn-out churches, and crumbling forts that Goa is adorned with. The architecture here is a melange of rich Indian tradition and strong European cultural influences. I’d say history is every day, a living, breathing part of Goa. Even a regular Goan house has so much to offer that you’d be left amazed. Do share some pics 🙂

⏩ If you love to eat, you’d have a ball. Think of a kind of cuisine and you’d find it here. You have a plethora of options that throw all the right jargon. Organic, vegan, paleo, keto, hand-pulled, machine-made, free-range, cruelty-free, not tested on animals, safe for babies, fished with love and I don’t know what else.

If you like to cook, local markets offer a wide assortment of fresh catch and some of the most stunning fruits and veggies. There are farmer’s markets where home chefs, locals, and small business owners sell their produce. These can give any such market anywhere in the world a run for their money. Goa is anyway known for its chilies (Aldona), Bananas (Moira), Watermelons, of course, Cashews. Plus coconut is as “local” to Goa as it is to anywhere else. You would find a wide range of coconut curries, hand-pressed oil, and even sweets here. I am told fish pickles are really to die for. Then there are numerous bakeries, each proud of their Pois and Puis. The local staple of Ras-omelet-poi (chicken gravy without pieces, omelet, and local bread) is as flavourful as it sounds. The samosas and the egg-puffs I have had here have been the best ever. I just had two samosas from this kiosk outside Las Viegas at Saligao. You have to try him out.

No, do not even hang out around the tourist traps that claim to offer culinary delights to the celebrities and rich kids that come to Goa on vacation. Ok, maybe once or twice for those Instagram pictures to make your colleagues jealous. But not more than that, please. No Thalassa. No Antares. No Sinq. No Cabana. No Martin’s Corner. Please. PLEASE. P L E A S E!!

⏩ Of course, if you are the touristy kind and like to do the things that tourists do, there are flea markets (I could not spot those this year though) at Anjuna and Arpora. There is the Dudhsagar waterfall. There are spice farms. There are river cruises on Madovi and even on the Sal. There are sanctuaries and wild-life reserves and water-sports (Scuba, Snorkelling, Surfing, and more) and paragliding and surfing and whatnot. No, I am not the right person to talk about these as I stay away from them as much as I can. 

⏩ As I end this part, here’s a thing that I love about Goa. People. They are the friendliest that I have ever seen anywhere in the world. If you stay for a while, you can make friends with local establishments and claim a few spots that comfort you enough that you start calling them home. I found mine at NickyM’s and they make the best burgers ever. Do try them out.

Wow! That’s a lot of good! The point remains, Goa is amazing if you want to work from here.

3B. What makes working out of Goa a terrible idea?

While most of what you experience here will keep you hooked, a few things might become an issue…

⏩ To begin with, something as basic as uninterrupted electricity is a challenge here. Power cuts are quite commonplace in and around Goa. While for the most parts (at least in the Northern, touristy parts of Goa), they last a mere few minutes, power cuts could take up hours to recover. I am told the situation goes grimmer during the monsoons. As if irony gods were listening to me, while writing this, the power went and came back a few times.

💡 Hat-tip – Wherever you decide to live, do ensure that they have a power generator or an inverter for backup.

Internet is a pain in the ass. Mobile Internet is a bigger pain. I have a Vodafone and a Jio connection and yet I couldn’t get see that magical word that starts with 4[1]4G for the uninitiated. It goes down the drain when on the weekends tourists throng into Goa. Even the broadband at various co-working places tends to be tardy. More on co-working places in Goa in a bit.

I am told that you need to have two connections if your work requires heavy use of the Internet.

Since I published this, a few people have reached out to me with their experiences. Here are some…

From a reader on Facebook…

asdad Ok..so i am a software engineer and need fast internet 24×7. So, i selected panjim. Internet speed is 250mbps, which is more than what i used to get in bangalore. Also, panjim have miramar beach and dona paula. You are not away from beach. You should add this point…if internet is must, then panjim n dona paula are safest option.

Even bsnl broadband is very reliable here

Via a comment on Facebook.

From another reader on Facebook…

you wrote that the internet is not reliable for video calls. i’ve been on different forums on reddit, facebook where some people say they get good internet and do webinars, and others say it is very unreliable, as you said. for example, an acquaintance living in socorro said he does webinars and has no problem. he has an ethernet express connection. some people on the reddit group for goa have good experience with G Wave in south goa. so going by all these reports, my impression was that internet should be ok, particularly with ethernet express in north goa, hinterland villages like socorro or aldona or such places, which is where i thought i will shift to. do you think one should count your experience as one among the others, or is what you write based on a wider survey of different connections and different people’s experiences, etcetera?

Via a comment on Facebook.

Lemme respond to this one.

For this piece, I spoke to more than 20 people before writing this. I have got mixed feedback on the Internet. While it may work once you get it installed at your place (I would still not count on it), but when you are out on the road it will be a problem for sure! So that.

Update. 20 April 2021. I am told by people that have moved to Goa in recent times that the Internet troubles for them seem to be waning off. Higher demand from about 50-thousand odd “migrants” has made the Internet companies up their game. Phone connectivity remains a challenge though.

I haven’t been able to talk to any of those film companies that are in Goa to understand how they operate. Once I do, will update. Also, this sounds like such a simple problem to solve, and yet no one’s been able to figure this out!

One time I had to send an email and despite all my efforts, I could not find the Internet. Had to fire up a scooty and park on the roadside to get it done!

💡 Hat-tip – Do NOT move to Goa unless you know where you are going to get your internet from.

⏩ Then, commonplace, mundane things such as getting your computer (or even your ceiling) fan fixed are a hassle in Goa. Goa simply does not have enough handymen that do such specialized work. And the ones that are here, you need to court those like you court a romantic partner. No, you can’t bribe them with extra money. Easier is to become a handyman by yourself with such things.

Maybe a business opportunity? And lemme give you an example. I had to get a new charger for my laptop (a MacBook Air) and I just couldn’t find a shop around me that would have one. I had to order it on Amazon and wait for like 5 days before it came in.

⏩ I am told monsoons are bad for people who are not from here. The sea goes berserk, almost all the shacks (and restaurants) close down till around the end-August, the rains do not stop for days and wild-life (insects, bugs, frogs, crickets, enthu tourists et al) becomes a regular fixture. Most things that keep you engaged after work tend to shut down and the place leaves you with very little to do. No, I have NOT experienced these first hand – I have only come to Goa as a tourist during monsoons and have not lived here. 

Oh, power becomes even more erratic. Plus, apparently, there’s a big snake menace in Goa in the monsoons.

💡 Hat-tip – If you plan to be here around monsoons, get a raincoat. And a snake stick. Please. 

⏩ I must mention that Goa has a big mosquito menace and stray dog problem. There are way too many of these all across the state. The strays are not neutered and thus the population. I hate this the most about living in Goa. Of course, most people like to pet dogs and feed them and take care of them and all that. But not my scene. It sucks.

Here’s a “collection” of dogs in Goa.

Dogs of Goa (maybe, will start a page :D)

💡 Hat-tip – Invest in mosquito repellant sprays, incense sticks. And if not that, get ready to burn coconut shells or lemongrass sticks. And please carry a stick or something to shoo the stray dogs away.

⏩ As I end this, I have to say that unless you are a regular in the party circuit or you enjoy loud, upbeat music at all times, Goa might come off as intrusive after a while. Especially if you are in North Goa – it’s perpetually teeming with high-spirited tourists and party-goers at all hours. You’d find it hard to find a spot that you can take some quiet time off at. Even without the tourist season, every café and beach shack blare loud music tirelessly on their speakers all the time. At 7 AM, at the afternoon when the sun makes it unbearable to be in Goa, at 9 PM and even at 2 AM as the last of the tourists stumble back to their homes.

Ok that was a long list. Phew!

4. What all do you need to think about before you move here?

I call this The Move To Goa Decision Matrix. Lol!

There are quite a few important decisions you have to make if you are planning to work out of Goa for the long term. Here are some questions that you need to find answers to…

4A. North Goa v/s South Goa 

I touched upon this briefly in the introduction but one of the first things to decide is the part of Goa you want to live and work from. North. South. North East. Panjim. To be honest, the choice is yours and a lot of it depends on the kind of person you are.

If you are into a high-spirited life and you like other people around you, you ought to be in North Goa. I recommend North Goa. Really.

Within the North, you need to decide if you want to be around the water or away from it. Plus you would need to identify the part within North that has other people of your ilk. It is imperative. So much so that I will say it again. And make this bold.

In the South, while the beaches are nice and clean and secluded and all that, for someone that wants to work and chill after work, south is NOT the place. I know I will get hate emails on this.

Panjim is a lot cause. It’s a city. Rather live in Bangalore. Mumbai. Why would anyone live in Panjim? Really?

4B. Work from Home or Co-working Spaces?

I am the kinds that needs to step out of the house to work. Even when I am in Mumbai, I need to go to a Starbucks to work, if not a co-working space.

So in Goa, even though I have access to a fairly comfortable house (thanks to Rajesh Sir), I had to have a co-working space to work out of in Goa. And that’s the first thing I did once I moved here.

Similarly, you need to ask yourself if you are the kind to get work done from home. Or you need the ambiance and vibrance of a public place like a co-working space. Or even a cafe for that matter.

In fact, the cafe guys in Goa, in general, are very very kind and nice. They don’t bother you much, but the chairs are not comfortable. My back’s already arched like a bow!

More on co-working later in the piece.

4C. Does your work require video calls?

If your work requires a lot of video calls, PLEASE do know that the Internet is NOT reliable here. You WILL find yourself in a precarious position quite often. It gets embarrassing after a while. My team now knows that if they have planned for a video call, in all probability, I would be behind a grainy connection.

No, not even the co-working spaces I’ve been to offer a reliable connection (except the Design Centre at Porvorim and Clay on most days). Plus, at the co-working spaces, there are hardly any “telephone booths” where I could lock myself in a quiet chamber to take these video calls. I found the Delhi / Mumbai co-working etiquette missing here in Goa.

Update. 20 April 2021. Repeat. Internet seems to be getting better.

4D. What kind of work do you do?

I am a freelance writer (and editor), a marketing consultant, a podcast producer (and host), and an events producer. Most of my work is management, coordination, and working in isolation. Most of my data is on the cloud (and data gets synced when I get internet).

So, if you are like me, you’d probably get by. So, if you are a coder, designer, writer, photographer, etc. you would largely be ok. However, if you need constant, uninterrupted connection, you will be stuck. So if you are in support, extensive team management, or more, you’d find it tough.

So yes, in one line, remote work is possible in Goa but only for a select set of professions. I mean if Lucky Ali can live in Goa and release a damn new video on the Internet, who else would face the challenge?

Oh, and if you need gyaan on getting things done, Notes For Growth may be your answer.

4E. Some approximate numbers about expenses in Goa (aka Money)

In my limited experience, living in Goa is cheaper compared to living in Mumbai and Delhi. From what I know of friends and their expenses in Bangalore, Chennai, and Pune, Goa is comparable. I don’t know about Kolkatta and other metros.

In Goa, the best part is that you could be price or a pauper, you can find something that would suit your budget. You can get accommodation at Rs. 400 per night (at hostels) to Rs. 4 lakhs per night (at presidential suites) and everything in between. Of course, these two numbers don’t add any value.

So for comparison and context, you can rent a “good” 2 BHK house in Goa for about 20K a month in most of the areas where you’d want to live. I know people that pay 30K for a villa with a yard and three floors. And I know someone that pays 18K for a villa bang in the middle of the forest. And someone that pays 21K for a fully-furnished swanky 1BHK. And someone that pays 1.5 lakhs a month for a 3-bedroom. So that.

In terms of food, you can eat well for about 80 bucks per meal (at those Udipi joints), and then if you want to pay more, you are free to go to those fancy places, that are aplenty in Goa. My meals are at NickyM‘s and each meal is about 200. In case you go there, say that you are Saurabh’s friend and they would extend a 10% discount. Promise.

I did not pay an electricity bill. But I am told it’s about 500 bucks. I did not have an internet line at home but if you were to get it installed, you’d pay a one-time installation fee (most times this can be waived if you are taking a long-term connection) and your monthly bill would be in the 1500 ballpark. This would be enough to do video calls and stream Netflix. But reliability would remain a question.

Here’s a quick table.

GoaMumbaiDelhi
Rent for a “decent” 2BHK HouseRs. 25000*Rs. 55000Rs. 35000
InternetRs. 1500Rs. 1200Rs. 1000
A “regular” meal Rs. 80Rs. 100Rs. 80
Petrol per liter (as on 5 Feb 2021)Rs. 83.4Rs. 93.49Rs. 86.95
Utilities (electricity, help, water etc)Rs. 4000Rs. 6000Rs. 3000
A quick comparison on cost of living

*Update. 20 April 2021. This seems to have jumped all the way to 50K in the recent months even though we are staring at the fag-end of the “season”

So that.

If I’ve missed something, do ask me your questions and I’d try to respond to the best of my knowledge.

5. A guide to ‘living in Goa’ as you work from here

So in case you do decide to work from here, you need to start thinking about living here. And life here is kind of different from any other place I have lived at (Delhi, Gurgaon, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai). Here are some thoughts. Divided into sections.

5A. Accommodation

You have tons of options. So many that it’s impossible to capture those all. Here’s my attempt.

Hostels. Goa is probably the place in India that started the hostel experience revolution. From dorms to private rooms to entire apartments to gigantic villas to even forts. You can have your pick.

BnB. There are tons of people that have spare bedrooms and they let these out for long-term (and short-term) rentals. I am planning to do this myself! You can get to live with some interesting people here. How to find them? Well that’s a question even I don’t have an answer to. May be create a matchmaking service for people like that?

Co-Living. A better hostel, a lesser hotel. A communal living experience. You know, how you have in hostels in colleges? That. You create a community of doers and tinkerers and all that. Entry is via some gatekeeper (CAT score!) and each person has to behave and each person is responsible. I am thinking about this. Like a residency for creative people. Admission via gatekeeping. For people who are serious and not just flirting with the idea of moving to Goa. That. Let’s see.

PS: I am told Nomad Gao (not a typo) is a good option for people that like co-living. Though I haven’t been there.

Rental Houses. Simple. You know, like you’d rent out at other cities in India.

5B. Getting Around

No. You do NOT want to get a car here. You need a two-wheeler. A scooty. You can rent for a month-long lease at 4K kinds (negotiate hard). I pay 6K a month because I got it at a time when there were a lot of tourists.

💡 Hat-tip – PLEASE keep a litre of petrol in the boot of your scooty. Petrol Pumps are kinda sparse. And no, don’t buy from those road-side kiosks that sell petrol in upcycled bottles. They sell a mix of piss and water and turpentine oil that couldn’t keep a fire going for its life.

Some people prefer small cars (Tata Nano or Maruti Alto) but I still recommend a Scooty.

There are bike taxis (called pilots) that you can use. You can identify these with their yellow mudguards. But they have designated spots as pitstops and you can only hail them from there. Unless you are lucky and you can flag someone. Plus there is no rate card per se. so, it comes down to what you can negotiate with them.

If you do need a car, you can rent via GoaMiles (though local taxi operators hate this. They say it dents their earning. I say it makes them more accountable. One of those never easy to settle debates).

Or you could use local taxi guys. They are all over the place. Especially around popular tourist areas, famous restaurants, and other hotspots. You would spend a little more but you would be far more peaceful.

5C. Spending money

You need to use GPay a lot. Even though you may try to explain that Paytm, BHIM, and other apps also use UPI, people will insist on GPay. To a point that they would tether you to their wi-fi networks.

No, the credit cards don’t work. The ones that accept will do so reluctantly. And will charge you a 2% markup. Unless you are at a 5-star (in that case, you don’t need to read this guide!) or an establishment ran by someone who thinks longer than making money from tourists in just one season.

5D. After Work

After you are done with work, you have like a million things to do here. You can explore the wilderness, meet other creative kinds, other folks that are trying to find themselves hers. You can connect and network with the ones from your ilk. There are classes on everything from scuba to yoga to dance to cooking to marital arts to even brewing wine!

My favorite thing to do is go stare at the sea. Like this one.

From one of my walks after work.

🌟 The best thing you can do? Find a co-living, co-working commune. I really want to create one. Does anyone want to partner up?

6. The ultimate comparison and guide of co-working spaces in Goa

This is something that most people seem to ask for. Lemme make a list of a few places and how I look at those. Some disclaimers…

  1. This will only include the places that I have personally been to.
  2. There are a few that I have heard a lot about but I haven’t been to. I have included them but have refrained from giving a comment.
  3. Plus there are some places that are not really co-working spaces but offer what you need for work. Including those here as well.

Before I dig in, the good part of almost all co-working spaces here is that there is good power backup. The bad part is that the Internet is not the best. Even with their leased lines. Oh, most of these offer a great vibe, have a brilliant community, and create so many opportunities to meet new people! So, when I look at a place to work from, I look at the following…

  • Facilities
    • Ambiance (Have they put any love in putting the co-working space together?)
    • Internet (How fast, reliable is the internet connection?)
    • AC (I need AC if I have to even breathe. Even if I were in Antarctica, I’d ask for one!)
    • Seating (I need a comfortable chair and a table at the right height).
  • Community
    • What kind of people does the place attract? Hippies? Creative kinds? People whiling time and merely wanting to hang out? Etc.
  • Price
    • Money is money.
  • Services
    • FnB (Can I order food? Coffee? How good it?)
    • Restrooms (Clean?)
  • Misc
    • Access and accessibility (How far are they from civilization?)

So, here is a list with the pros and cons of various coworking spaces in Goa. I tried to embed the table here but I could not. 🙁

But if you are lazy, easy reference is…

  1. Design Centre (Porvorim – map) for undoubtedly the Best Internet in Goa. They charge 400 bucks for a day pass and 6000 for a month-long plan.
  2. Clay (Anjuna – maps) for the best community and the vibe. They charge 500 bucks for a day pass and 10000 for a month-long plan.
  3. NickyM’s (Baga-Calangute – maps) for the best hospitality. This is more of a cafe. So there’s no commitment per se. But you’d want to keep the tab going. No?
  4. Royal Enfield Garage Cafe (Baga – maps) for the best view. However, this is also more of a cafe than a co-working place.

There are more that I have tried and worked out of. Here’s a long list. I’d leave you with a few shots from Clay (which is gorgeous, if you ask me).

And one from Royal Enfield Garage Cafe.

This is from Royal Enfield Garage Cafe in Baga. One of my favorite places to work out from.

Do let me know what coworking do you go to. And what you find interesting there. I will add to the list.

7. Making the move…

So, now you know the goods and the bads of Goa. You know your work can happen from here. You know of the co-working spaces. What next?

Move here!

Let’s say you are ready to make the move. Now, how do you do it?

So, in easy steps…

  1. Come here for a month. To start with. It would help if you have a local contact. I am happy to be the contact, in case.
  2. Carry two different mobile phone connections. It’s a pain to get a Jio mobile phone connection here. The others (Vodafone, Airtel, etc) work when they feel like.
  3. Live at a touristy hot-spot so that everything that you may need is easily available. You may not like it. People may smirk at you. But please do this.
  4. Inform your work colleagues that your access and availability would be limited.
  5. Take a month-long acco (insist that it has a ready Internet connection – it would be tough to get it installed for just a month), preferably close to a co-working space (in case you need better connection, ambiance, etc)
  6. Talk to others that do your kind of work (code, films, writing, etc) and identify a location that offers you access to others of your ilk. This will be important to get you to start feeling at home.
  7. Get a house for yourself. Insist on basic furnishing (unless you are rich) and get paperwork FOR sure. You would need it for things like mobile phone connections, Internet, etc.
  8. Get immersed with the locals and natives where you take your house. Even if you are an introvert. This will help you become a local and not just remain a tourist. This is the most common mistake migrants make when they move to Goa. They don’t mingle with the local community. You HAVE to. Especially in Goa.

That’s it I guess.

8. Miscellaneous info about working from Goa

This part has things that I could not fit in other places. While these may be minor, some people may want to know more about these before they make the move to Goa.

8A. Staying fit while in Goa

A lot of people I know are as anal about their health as they are about work or money or other things. In Goa, there are plenty of options for that. From long walks to running on the beach to yoga classes to even fancy gyms (aka fitness studios) to massage parlors to swimming to dance, you have it all here.

The best bet would be walk / jog on the beach. But do keep a stick handy for them strays.

8B. Safety in Goa

Beaches are more or less safe at almost all hours. Actually, Goa in general is safe when it comes to petty crime. I have been routinely leaving my helmet perched on the scooty and it is yet to go missing!

No that does not mean you let your guard down. Just keep your eyes and ears open and you’d be ok.

The cops are friendly, the locals keep to themselves, the shack owners may want to fleece you with overpriced food but they want the beaches to be safe. They’ve understood that it’s in their long-term interest to offer safety.

Of course there would be a few unscrupulous elements but that’s everywhere in the world. My rule of thumb is, give respect and you shall get it!

8C. Finding work in Goa

Let’s say you move here. And for some unfortunate reason, you cant continue with your work. What do you do? If you are like me that don’t have any sellable skills (writing, designing, singing, photography-ing, hustling et al), how do you find meaningful work?

Well, they say that Goa is like a village. Everyone knows everything about everyone else. And I have seen that in action! Numerous times. So much so that I am cursing myself for not knowing how to make connections at these villages. I suck at networking 🙁 You will need to find your place in this village to get work!

The best way to get work in Goa is through closed networks.

Some Facebook groups are very active and people from the community share all sorts of opportunities. I recommend Offbeat Goa. Do check it out. I know someone that knows the lady that started it. I have met her just once, that too for like 0.2 seconds and thus I don’t have a personal opinion per se. But If gossip is to be believed, she’s an incredible woman. #note2self: need to make friends with her.

In terms of the kind of businesses, there are film companies (famously, Anand Gandhi’s Memesys Lab), event agencies (C4E Goa :D), design companies, social media agencies, production labels, alco-bev companies, and more. And of course, there are traditional businesses like mining, shipping, trading, etc. And FMCG, auto, finance, etc. Of course restaurants, bars, shacks, etc. So, there are jobs for sure! Quite a few.

But then there are more takers than that. You’d have to work hard to land one. Really.

Plus salaries are a fraction of what you’d expect in places like Mumbai. So that.

Oh, a word of caution. If you have decided to move here for good and you can’t find the kind of work that you really want, please be a tad flexible. I’ve met writers that have become bartenders, guitarists that have become travel bloggers, event managers that are now chefs, and so on and so forth. You get the drift.

PS: I am considering if things don’t work out, I will probably run a cafe here. I hope I get enough to support all the bachchas that I have 🙂

8D. Medical Care

This is something that I found lacking here. Even though Goa has a few medical institutions like GMC and Manipal, I found even the first-aid kinda lagging. But again, luckily I haven’t had the need to go visit a doctor.

But if you have any medical conditions or young children or old parents, I will not recommend the move.

8E. Going back from Goa

In case things don’t work out and you have to move out from Goa, I am sorry that it did not work out. Here’s what you must do. In bullet points…

  • Take back cheap alcohol. Of course, there is a limit to a number of bottles you can carry back 😀
  • PLEASE do tell me why you’re going back. It will help me update this page.

So this it is. For the Ultimate Guide to Living in and Remote Working from Goa. Hope this was helpful and told you things that you already did not know.

9. In the end…

Some disclaimers

  • This comprehensive guide is from my experience of working remote from Goa for 2 months. I work as a brand planner and marketer and gross generalizations are my bread and butter and I could be biased. So, read with a pinch of salt.
  • Plus, the way I look at things could be different from the way you look at em. So that!
  • For context, I am 38, M. Single, and no kids. So please be advised.

Credits

  • I am lucky that I know a few people that know Goa really well. Special mention to Nupura and Rajesh Sir. Both these are super-connectors and have helped me meet more people. These connections helped me get around fast and understand nuances better. Further, Rajesh Sir and VISCOMM allowed me to live at their home while I looked for more permanent accommodation. And Nupura chaperoned me around in the first few days and showing me around the “village”
  • NickyM‘s for the free Internet and the warmest hospitality I have experienced in all my travels across the world.
  • Riyanka for helping me with a draft of this one. She is among the best writers I know of. Do reach out to her if you need someone.
  • And everyone else that made me feel at home in Goa. And every one that did otherwise.

Oh, if you come to Goa, say hi! If you need something fixed for you while you are here, lemme know. I know someone that probably knows someone 😉

And if this guide helps you make a decision, do let me know. I am very active on Twitter. And do tell me how to make this better!

Over and out.

P.S.: One more thing. Do point out any mistakes – factual or otherwise in the piece so that I can make this better.

030221 – Morning Pages

Radical idea today. What if I sold a financial stake in my future? To manage my today. Would you buy? Would you “invest”?

0711. Woke up about 3 minutes ago. Eyes can’t even focus as I type this! Was up till 2:30. Had some work and thanks to McD, I had a place to sit and work out of. Of course, there was no Internet but that’s ok. I managed. So when I was coming back from McD (and a subsequent meeting with a friend) at 2 something, I realized I love roads at night. I have said this multiple times in the past but yesterday it was like written on a well-lit hoarding in big bold fonts. Must do something about that! Thing is, when in Mumbai, while I often thought about it, I couldn’t think too much about it. Life was always rushing around me. Or if it wasn’t, I was rushing around. There was no opportunity to take a pause, take a break and soak the scenery in. Here, the entire scenery is a break. And why would it not be? There is hardly any phone connections. Or internet availability ;P No no, digs apart, there is some charm in living in a small city.

Oh, Goa is reporting fantastic weather and thinning crowds. In case you want to make a trip, this is the time.

Moving on. Yesterday was a big day for the world we live in. Jeff Bezos decided to step down from running Amazon on a day to day basis. Wow! End of an era. I can’t wait for people to write (and me to read) as those pieces will start to trickle in. After Steve Jobs, Jeff has been a constant source of content, inspiration, awe, fear, respect, etc. Let’s see what reports come in.

The other big thing that happened yesterday was Rihanna (the American pop-star who I just know for this track with Eminem) spoke about the ongoing Farmer’s protest. It sucks and it’s our collective shame that the world is seeing what has become of India. Hopefully, that’d put some pressure on the government here. Maybe some sense would prevail and actions would be unturned. I hope our Indian “stars” grow some balls as well and do more than just welcoming the next Kapoor on insta.

So, I was to decide by EOD yesterday about where I wanted to live. And no, I haven’t been able to decide. I even ran a blind poll to see what “destiny” told me. Option 1 was Mumbai and 2 was Goa. Lol. The thing is, I’d love to be in Goa long-term but I can’t seem to figure out my work situation. It just sucks that life is dictated by what you’d work on. Whereas it should be the other way around.

I will give myself another day today to figure out things. I know I know, I have been delaying for no reason. But I can’t help it. I just can’t seem to think on this. Do I just toss a coin and figure what destiny has in store for me? Do I continue to drift and let life dictate terms? Arrrghh… such helplessness 🙁

Oh, I do have a radical idea that I have been thinking for a while. And yesterday on one of our calls Akshay pointed out as well. How about I sell shares in myself? You know, I am the “company” that people put money in (like they invest in stocks) and I promise a certain dividend each year (depending on my income of that year) and like other stocks, they can sell these shares.

While this sounds like an interesting idea, I am not sure if it’s workable. There are some inherent issues with this. To start with, this would be a super risky asset class (may be more volatile than BTC) but could also deliver better ROI than anything else. There is a big big risk of investment going to zero (what if I die?). Then there is performance risk (what’s the guarantee that I would make enough to fund all my side projects and yet return this money?). Plus the biggest of them all. If someone gave me a crore today, I wouldn’t know what to do with it! I mean there’s no singular idea that I have that can take all my energy and that allows me to scale things! I know that I’d never run away with anyone’s money. Or trust. I know that I’d be honest. But I don’t know when would I start to give out dividends. So that. I remember, in one of SoG’s I asked my readers if they’d support me by paying just 100 bucks, and not one person (except some comment from JKB) replied. And here I am, hoping to sell shares. Lol. Wishful thinking!

Anyhow, on with the day. I’ve been eating crap last few days. I’d try to gun for a 48-hour fast, starting now. So, the next meal is Friday morning. Let’s see how it goes. Maybe i’ll not eat till the time I know where I want to be. Wait. What about I spend a few days in Mumbai (I need to be there anyway on the 14th to meet Shravan, and on the 16th to attend Rajesh’s wedding) and see if I can create more work opportunities for myself! May be. Let’s see.

Oh, I have to note that I got rejected from a place that I had applied to. Which is ok. Not that I expected to get thru, it was out of my league. Probably need to start documenting all these rejections!

That’ about it I guess. Oh, I have a large project to work on today. I have decided that I need to be out there. I will start putting my face, at least on video (if not on photos). And to help me get going, AA has asked me to make 5 videos of 10 mins each by EoD today. Each video has to be of specific interest to people. So let’s see what I cook up. I will share links, if I get around to do it.

Apart from this have a few other things lined up. One of them is to activate this WA group (broadcast only) where I plan to share tips on better writing. Let’s see how that goes. In case you wish to join it, here.

Guess this is it. Time for #freewriting on #book2.

“We did not have these computers and phones and other fancy devices back then. We had to rely on our instincts. If we had to find information, we had to manipulate a gullible farmer and ask him about the temple. Then we’d stake it out for days. Unlike now, we did not have hotels per se. We had dharamshalas, serais and even them temples themselves. It was very normal to use these temples as resting places while you were on a journey. There was always a roof on your head and there was always food. There’s nothing else a traveler needed. And oh boy, did we use those temples.” Raunak let out a hearty laugh.

Chintan was more than intrigued. He was hooked. He thought he was the storyteller. Here was Raunak, who had better and grander stories than Chintan could ever imagine. He had to get more from him. Maybe Raunak did hold the key to Chintan’s magnum opus. He egged on, “Incredible! For someone like you who doesn’t speak at all, how did you manage all these conversations…”

Raunak broke him mid-sentence and said, “How do you think I am managing mine with you?”

Chintan could only nod and smile at himself. He knew he had found the guru, the moral compass that he was seeking all this while. He knew Raunak was going to be an important character in his story. The story of his life. And the story that he’s been chasing from all the way to Goa from his home in Uttarakhand!

***

That’s about it.

Few words.

But this is all I have time for today. A lot to be done.

See you guys on the other side.

280121 – Morning Pages

Inane update. You may want to skip this one.

7:12.

Been up for a while. The fuckery of yesterday about the inability to comprehend the Farmer’s Protest is sort of fading. Most sane people I know are asking me to stay away as each side has vested interests and are working on the narratives. But then I am not sure if that’s the right way to go about it. I need to know what’s happening around me, in my country. I may be insignificant but I do have opinions and I like the idea of knowing. Vegetating is not for me.

So, the internet worked well yesterday! For a change. Thank you Design Centre. If you need a great place to work from, do check them out. I think I will go there again. Even though they are at Provorim and it takes some time to reach there but I am ok with it. At least the Internet is reliable and since they don’t have any kitchen, I am away from crap. Oh, that’s what I’ve realized. If I have no options to eat, I tend to stay away.

Goa is now reporting lovely weather. The kinds that I’d love to live in year-round. There’s a nip in the air in the morning. The afternoons are bearable and the evenings get pleasant all over again. I think if someone wants to come to Goa, this is the best time to do so! In fact, I am thinking, I should have come here at this time – all year-end tourists would have been back, all locals would have started to spring out. But then, I am here now. So that’s cool. I am also close to my self-imposed deadline of Jan 31 of making a decision about living in Goa.

I am still on the fence, to be honest. A lot depends on work. A lot depends on money. I think the Internet and mobile connection is a challenge if you want to live in Goa. But if I do decide to live here, I think I can throw money at the problem and solve it. Mobile phones, not so much. But the internet is solvable for sure. It’s only about getting 2-3 connections that are fast enough. Hope something works out that allows me to live from here. Oh, I am in Mumbai for a few days I think in the next week. I have some errands to run. Let’s see.

Oh, I am also gonna pick Shumbur.com back. I haven’t had the time to act on it at all. Among other things, the hunt for a stable internet connection has kept me busy. I don’t know more people but the ones I do, I need to engage with them, get into a conversation with them. Write on those experiences. Showcase them, get feedback and then scale efforts.

So that’s that. I don’t have more things to write in today’s morning pages. Except that I am grateful to be alive, grateful to have access to a roof, grateful to have some people that I can call friends. Damn lucky I am! Talking of luck, the Spotlight is just 2 days away and I am in jitters. I have been to so many other events in the past, have managed, arranged, and produced so many of these smallish events that this should be like the back of my hand. But no, I am in jitters. Guess cos this one is super close to my heart? See this thread.

So, I think this is about for the day. I feel as if I should write more. But I dont know what. Guess will pour some thought on #book2. But before that, today’s track is this.


And here’s #freewriting for #book2. Missed it yesterday but I am back.

Rujuta was curious. “ABC, what are those red bottles doing all over your house?”

“Oh those? They are to keep the monkeys away.” ABC sipped onto the coffee that she had just brewed.

“What do you mean?”

“This place has a lot of Monkeys. We are a jungle remember? And it’s their jungle. We are mere visitors”

“Yeah. So?”

“These red bottles keep them away.”

“How so?”

“I don’t know. But you start picking these tricks when you start living in the jungles. Not that we’ve left a lot of it. Look at all those towers coming up. I know that people want homes but at what cost? Us humans fuck everything up. But listen. Don’t let my ideas spoil what you are here for. Shumbur.com you said? Tell me more?”

“Well, Shumbur is my attempt to talk to 100 people from Goa and chronicle their journeys, lives, and all that. Plus I needed a new project and this looks and sounds like a good idea.” Rujuta said.

“So who all have you talked to?”

Rujuta couldn’t understand why this was almost the next question that everyone asked them!

“Wait. I am intrigued by these red bottles and monkeys. Do they really work? Tell me what other tricks did you pick up?”

Just then a branch snapped and some leaves rustled in the trees that Rujuta was facing. ABC had her back to those trees and she motioned her head and said, “there they are. Ask them what keeps them away.” She laughed and took a sip onto her coffee.

Rujuta noticed that even though ABC came across as a happy cheerful person, there was a tinge of sadness somewhere. She couldn’t put a finger on it but she knew. Her years and years of experience with seeing people from behind the lens had trained her to spot these patterns. She considered herself a fairly good people-watcher, but not as good as Tarana. And that was ok. Tarana had many more decades over Rujuta!

“And Nah, no more tricks. You just need to get used to the dogs and mosquitos and snakes. Oh, and those insecure vultures and sharks that want to take you for a ride.” The comment from ABC was uncalled for. But Rujuta sniffed an opportunity of a story there. These instincts are what makes a good journalist stand out from a great and she was no doubt among the greatest ones!

She knew she had to get to the bottom of it and fish out a story. If not for Shumbur, then for her curiosity. But she knew she had to be patient. So, she made a mental note of it and continued to smile at ABC.

***

Ok, that’s it. Couldnt find the right words 🙁

Maybe tomorrow I will. Maybe tomorrow is better! Over and out.

190121 – Morning Pages

The day when I actually had work, the Internet decides to act up, even at the most expensive co-working space in Goa. Here’s my cry for help!

5:42

I’ve been up for a while. I didn’t sleep ok, to be honest. That’s why I am up and about. For a change, I am stressed. And no, it’s not induced by anything that gives stress to people (money, relationships, etc). I am stressed cos I don’t have internet and for a change, I have a lot to do. I mean this is regular work (promise I have not started anything new or picked up any new projects; if only I have reduced the number of things I am doing). The fucking Internet is being a bitch. I can change my life and stay up all night and work (when thankfully the net works a tad better) but most of my works is coordinating with other people and I am at the mercy of others. I’ve tried most things I can. Sit on the balcony of the house, perch from the rooftop, sit at cafes all day long (and sip onto expensive bad coffee), given a kidney to fancy co-working spaces that are as expensive as WeWork in Andheri is. And yet I can’t seem to get reliable Internet.

So that.

In fact, last night, around 9, I felt exhausted after a while. I realized why people in consulting kind of gigs become alcoholic. It’s impossible to talk to so many people and make them understand such trivial things that you’d assume as commonsense.

Ok, this sounds like a rant.

Lemme change tone.

So, I worked so hard yesterday that I was exhausted. Most of the work I did was thinking and moving around objects on a PowerPoint and on Excel sheets. But it was tiring. It’s all the thinking that tired me out. For a change, I felt as if I have earned my bread. Lol. Earned my bread.

I have to be honest that yesterday I was so frustrated that I couldn’t even log in to a website. I had to download a 30 MB file and it took me an hour. No kidding. And all this when I was at an expensive co-working space. I was so mindfucked that I thought I would go back to Mumbai. Last night itself. But the Internet continued to give me trouble, I couldn’t even log in to a website. Even though I was a pricey co-working space. So much so that I thought I will go back to Mumbai. Anyhow, sense prevailed. But the decision is clear. If you have to live in Goa, you need to get used to the bad internet. There is no way around that. Unless you live in “cities” like Mapusa, Margaon, Porvorim, Panjim etc. But that’s not Goa. No?

Wonder how do all the other film companies, tech companies, SM companies operate? They need Internet like we need air!

No, the phone does not work either. Power cuts are frequent but that you can manage. For someone that wants to be so hyper-connected, I need to find a solution if I have to live here long-term. So that.

Ok. Enough. Moving on. I think the exhaustion was not from work but from the non-availability of the Internet!

The good part about yesterday is that I could manage OMAD. I actually did almost 28 hours. I could’ve one a couple more for sure. Rege would be proud of me. Of course, I ate fried rice and roti and aaloo and Kurkure and Lays and Diet Coke and all that but that’s ok. I deserved it. No, I did not walk as much yesterday. I told ya, bad day with work. I’ll see if I can do another 24 hours today. That means I will eat at around 10. As I write this, it’s 5:30 and I am already hungry 😀

In other news, the ankles still hurt from all the walking that happened the day before. I think I need to wear shoes when I go on these long walks. I guess the flip-flops from Decathlon are not meant for long-term use. Let’s see when I walk next. I am thinking, tomorrow evening from 5 to 8 or something.

I think this is all I have for the day. I do have a long one today with back to back calls (again) and then a site recee at a forest-resort. So no time to complain.

Oh yes. I know what to talk about. When I was moving here, I had a list of people that I wanted to meet. Funnily off that list, I have yet to meet anyone, save Rajat Sir. And no, I have not been tardy with follow-ups or something but just that everyone is so busy and no one wants to travel around Goa much. Or may be it’s me? If I were SRK and I asked people to meet me, would they not take out time? Would they not travel? Hmmm…

PS: No, I am not sore about it. I understand that people have priorities. In fact, I expect nothing from others. Just that I get fuel for my fire when I get to talk to inspiring people. And I need that constantly 🙂

Ok, enough. Over and out.

Time for #freewriting on #book2

“I wonder why would they make them forts in the first place? And that too on the top of a cliff. Who’s climbing up a rock to come attack you? And if it’s a mere watch-point to see if someone’s paying you a visit or planning an attack, all you need is a light-house or something. Why a damn fort that goes around ‘1988 meters’ around the hill as the board claims”, she spoke while reading the tourist information board outside Fort Aguada.

“I am not the Prince of Portugal or whoever made this fort. How would I know?”, he was both irked and amused. It was her idea to do the touristy thing and he did not want to say no to any opportunity to hang out with her. Was it her perfume? Or the easy going manner in which she went around? He couldn’t pin point.

“Chintan! Come on! It was a genuine question”, Rujuta looked at him.

“I know, I know. I also do not know genuinely who or why”, Chintan looked into Rujuta’s eyes.

This was the first time since Prakash died over 5 years ago that Rujuta had let her guard down to spend time with another man. If Tarana heard about Rujuta finding comfort in the company of Chintan, she would probably run to the printing press to get the Shaadi cards printed! Unlike other 70-something-year olds, Tarana was the one egging Rujuta to go sleep with whoever. She couldn’t see her daughter go from a happy-go-lucky, living-in-the-moment, hedonist young girl into a middle-aged woman that found no joy in nothing she ever did. They often argued about it and both of them were head-strong enough to not let the other dominate. But with Chintan, it may change.

Rujuta looked back at him with the swag of the Rujuta when she first met Prakash. The stare lingered on for a moment tad more than what’s between two good friends. She knew she was inviting trouble. Chintan was still a married man, even if he was separated and he carried way too much baggage about proving to his wife that he amounted to something. Things that Rujuta could fix easily. She knew what men were made of.

Chintan was not sure where this was headed. He was used to getting easy attention from the fairer gender and he knew that he knew the art of charm. People like that are dangerous. The ones that are good and they know that they are good. To Chintan, Rujuta felt special. She was unlike other women and definitely unlike his wife, “that bitch”, he muttered. Even the fleeting thought about the wife made him sore.

Their who-blinks-first bout was broken by a photographer who had walked up to them and said, “Sir, how about a picture of madam holding onto the sun in her hands.” He pushed an instant photo into Chintan’s face.

Rujuta played along and feigned excitement, “Wow, that would be so nice. Can I hold it over my head also?” She cupped her hands and held them over her head.

The photographer knew he has made a killing and he can sell them at-least 5 prints in 5 poses. Little did he know who Rujuta was and what her body of work with photography stood for. Especially since Prakash died, Rujuta had taken her work up by several notches and now was one of the most sought-after photojournalists in the world!

***

Fuck an idea. How about teach all these photographers the wonders of Instagram and get them more work? Worth thinking about. #parkedIdea. Will revisist someday.

For the time being, over and out.

030121 – Morning Pages

I talk to myself about how I spent yesterday, about life in Goa, about the idea of home. Nothing special but an inane update.

Its 8 AM and this is not the first thing I am doing. First thing was to post a picture on Instagram. This one. I did it from the bed. I broke all rules today if you want to know. I checked Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp while my eyes were still groggy.

So clearly, I am not having a good second third day of the year! The second day actually went in a blur. Started with calls, emails and by the time I saw the clock, it was 4. And then went for a walk, where I was literally attacked by a pack of dogs for no rhyme or reason. If not for other people around that helped me fend off the strays, I probably would be getting some rabies shots or something. Not to mention all the disruption it would have caused in my plans for the year! In fact, yesterday only AG told me to get a pet – he said when you have nothing going for yourself, you can lean on one. He gave examples of many lonely people who have no object of affection to look after and have cats and dogs that sort of meaning to their lives. I did not know that I give off vibes that I need someone to take care of like that. May be it’s the age? And even if it is, I would rather adopt a child than care for a pet. Fucking strays.

Anyhow moving on. So I did go for a longish walk yesterday. About 10K steps. Earlier, I would listen to podcasts while I was walking. Yesterday, I tried to listen in and for some reason, I could not concentrate even for a bit, even though I had put up a JRE episode. Wonder what’s wrong. Oh, I have to mention that I wore a Decathlon phone pouch while walking and it worked wonders. The phone did not flop around the pocket while I was bouncing around. I love such companies that make thoughtful products that are both functional and are appealing. I mean look at Apple. Nike. Decathlon. Of course, Decathlon is different from the other two – affordable, mass-market, etc. But I love em. In fact, the first thing I did when I came to Goa was to buy chappals and a tiny backpack that could carry the phone, a notepad, and the credit cards. I really really recommend em! Go check em out. Lol, now we are giving recommendations on morning pages!

The good part yesterday however was that I did not eat crap, even though I was tempted to. I had eggs, panner, and some soup. All thanks to Nicky M’s. And some peanuts. Avoided carbs to a large extend. Yay. Now to continue this for another 6 months and continue to walk and may be do some pushups. Lol!

Apart from these two things, I am fairly blank in how to write or what to write. I miss the fact that I do not have a place to go sit and work out of at this hour. In Mumbai, the earliest Starbucks would be open at 7 and I could actually get a lot of work done. Yes, it was expensive but atleast I was getting things done. Here, it’s a struggle to find a business that opens early enough to allow for some meaningful work to happen early in the morning. Even co-working spaces here operate on restaurant hours. No, I can’t complain – that’s how people are. Am a weirdo. I am thus forced to start my day at 1030 and by the time I get in the grind, the whole world is up and is screaming for attention. The other option is to go the night-owl route. Wake up late, start late, end late, sleep late. But then, most people like to enjoy their evenings and that means all the places that I could potentially use to sit out of and work would be packed with people partying? May be I just need to learn how to work from home? Something that I have been trying to learn for some 20 years and yet failing at. I can manage to work from home but I don’t get into the flow easily. At a public place, am like a ninja and I put my keyboard on fire! I mean I wrote most of #tnks from a Starbucks (Powai). Whatever blogging I’ve managed, all of it has happened on the run or from some coworking space. The best decks that I have churned have happened at offices. In fact, I can blame the lockdown for a hit in my productivity – simply because I did not have a place to go to!

Oh, it’s almost been a month now (I came here on the 6th. Or was it the 7th?) and I need to now decide if I want to be here. Or if I want to go back to Mumbai. Right now, I am on the fence. I like the newness of the place. I am enjoying meeting all the new people and experiencing all the new things. I like that most people are easy going. I like that there is a thriving social scene here (which I don’t enjoy, to be honest, and which is probably better and more vibrant in Mumbai, but I have stayed away from). I like love that I have no pressure of dressing up here and a pair of tattered shorts is as accepted as an Armani suit is (unlike in Mumbai where you are continuously judged). I love love that no one here judged for who you are or what you’ve done. I like how people accept you in their lives, their homes, and their hearts.

Of course, I sometimes do crave for the comfort of familiarity and availability of things to do back in Mumbai, but I think things that really make a place feel like home (people, warmth et al), I no longer have those in Mumbai. I never had those in Delhi (well, parents live there but that’s that and I got over my affinity for the place too early on in life). I miss the hustlers of Aram Nagar and aspiring actors of Lokhandwala and the never-stop, never-say-die attitude of almost everyone around me. I miss meeting friends of friends that are doing great things and getting inspired by them.

Could I be at both places at the same time? Do I even want to be thinking of doing this and keeping my two feet in different boats? Did I not want to be a nomad? Just a few days ago I was talking about living out of a suitcase, giving up all my possessions and thus, a home altogether.

Wait. What the fuck is home?

There are no easy answers. Especially for someone who’s at my place in life – no clear vocation (I do multiple things but it’s impossible for me to explain to others in an elevator pitch), no financial stability (in debt, no predictable cash flow), lofty ambitions (and yet little to show for and un), arrogance (for what joy I don’t know), large lifegoals (Everest, Billion lives, Billion dollars) and other such quirks that make me who I am. Let’s see when I find an answer.

Or when I decide.

For the time being, let’s settle at this – I like it here in Goa. And I miss being in Mumbai.

Until next time, over and out!


PS: If you want to receive these on WA every day, lemme know. I’ll add you to the broadcast list.

010121 – Morning Pages

The first post of 2021. I marvel at all the partygoers and I realise my own limitation as a human being. Plus random tidbits.

010121 – Happy new year!

A new post. I have been big on these new beginnings since I can remember. This one, #in2021, is no different. While I get depressed on my birthdays, I am excited like a child for the new year. I see an opportunity for a fresh start. I make elaborate lists of things that I’d do in the new year. For #in2021, I am yet to publish the list but I have been on it for a few days now. Let’s see when I get to publish it.

So, last night I was walking down probably the busiest street in Goa and I was surprised, shocked, and appalled at what I saw. The road was choc-a-block with cars, two-wheelers, pedestrians, and other revelers and merrymakers. There were hardly any masks and there was definitely no social distancing. No one was worried about COVID-19. As if it did not exist. There were parents with young kids that were ok to move around in the crowded markets. Heck, they seemed to be enjoying. I spotted a couple asking for recommendations where they could party with their 3-year old. Groups of friends were willing to hug strangers and share drinks. Businesses were trying to get people to stuff in like this was the last time they’d ever make money.

It was sad and pathetic.

It’s like people want to die! They do not care about their lives, or of others. I saw so many people so drunk out of their wits that they could not stand straight. This one girl literally tipped over the fence, onto the sidewalk. I am not sure what’s this excitement about getting drunk just because the calendar is advancing by one. I have someone close that is big on these parties. When I asked her, she said, “just”. I don’t know what this just means. Maybe I will learn in a few years?

I mean, you may argue that my excitement over these new-year resolutions and checklists is as irrational as what I am claiming the new-year celebration to be. May be. To each their own!

So, may be it’s wrong of me to judge em. It’s their life and they can do whatever they think is right for them. That’s the thing. I think I know all the answers and I am this gift to mankind that has the responsibility of fixing everyone and everything broken. I often get into trouble for offering unsolicited advice. And I have always been ok with the trouble. I feel as if I am making a difference, even if they are not ready. After all, the truth is bitter and a tough pill to swallow.

May be I need to swallow the pill that people are different and could have different motivations and preferences and lives than you.

So that.

Anyhow.

What I know for sure is that the madness in Goa will get over by the 4th and the world will be back to places they belong. And then it would take another 15 days to figure the aftereffects (COVID primarily) of all these people that descended on Goa from all parts of the country. And by then we would be back to regular programming. And that means life would start looking normal again. Normal = new normal.

So, as I write this, I am at the Royal Enfield Garage Cafe at Baga. I love the location and the ambience. If I ever make an office, it would be on these lines. And since its the pandemic year, there are hardly any people here, except when people are partying. I am sipping on to a lemonade (I hate the citrus-y taste but am trying to get healthy, like each year. lol!) and after I’ve had half a glass of it, I spotted this dead body of the tiny bug in the glass. And I have continued to sip onto it. That’s the thing. Since I’ve come to Goa, I have become indifferent to this dance of life. Earlier, I was super finicky about these insects and all. Oh, I have also started to get comfortable with dogs all over again. I think when in Goa, you can’t avoid running into them and most of them are far friendlier than the ones I have encountered elsewhere. So that’s a big change for me!

Oh, the other thing that I need to write is that this one took as much effort as the one I wrote yesterday. The one yesterday was for the want of will, this one was made tough as there was no electric current.

But then, somehow, made it happen. I feel like god 😉

With that, over and out!

221220 – Morning Pages

Morning Pages for 22nd Dec. I talk about the people I’ve met here and how I seek my characters in them.

Hello World! 7:44 AM types.

The eyes are yet to open but the head is already full of a million things swirling around. Mostly to do with what I could do from here on (in life etc). And a little about how I’ve lived the life so far. Plus it’s less than 10 days to go for the end of the year and I am in that zone about maxxing how I will live the next year. Yeah, I am big on these yearly planning things.

The zone is not the best place to be in. I get reflective, sad, melodramatic, and all that. I also get excited beyond measure. A new year is a new opportunity to do things that you haven’t done ever. While I will do a longish post on what I want to do in 2021 and beyond, there is one thing for sure. The book has to be out. Come what may.

In fact, I met this 27-year old yesterday that just moved to Goa a couple of months ago and is hustling hard to make ends meet. Of course, she is yet to get there but I loved her story. I think I’ve found my Udita, one of the characters in #book2. On the last trip to Goa, I found a character in Mrinal. On Sunday, Nicky helped me meet another person that’s been sailing for more than 28 years and can give me inputs on pirates and ports and all that. In the hindsight, the decision to be in Goa for a bit seems to be making sense.

Thing is, I am on the lookout for people and stories proactively and I am catching quite a few. It’s not being easy. I made some very open-ended posts on FB and even though a lot of people wrote, very few seem to be genuinely interested in talking. I am unable to crack the code required to do so. But whatever I have encountered have been really cool and fascinating beyond measure. For example, at the place where I am staying at, the caretaker is trying to sell a disputed property at rock-bottom prices and is at it all the time. Every time I meet him, he lowers the offer by a lakh. I think I’ll wait it out a few months and I will probably get it for free! Then Nupura told me about this place where people park their cars with a ‘For Sale’ sign and forget. For the book, imagine, I could write the actual directions and park a damn car for the rest of my life!

I must talk about her while I am at it. She is one of those rare super-connectors that actually know people. Most others merely claim. She does. I have seen it in action. I wish I could become that. She knows everyone by their first names. And if she doesn’t, she knows someone by their first name that knows everyone in Goa by their first names. She is separated by a mere one-degree. Now that’s a skill. And an opportunity. She says that Goa is like a village and everyone knows everyone else and what’s happening in their homes. Now that’s interesting as a facet. My book requires the characters and families to maintain secrecy for years. Is it even plausible that that would happen?

The other thing that makes her knowing of people special, better, etc is that she knows people from various circles. From restaurant owners to musicians to artists to filmmakers to chefs to business owners to investors and whatnot. I read a long time ago that for a person with limited talents to be successful, he/she needs to be a super-connector and with people from various disciplines. I think if I can get to a fraction of what Nupura has, I would do ok in life. Need to continue chasing her! I even thought about having her as a character in the book per se but I don’t think I can capture all that she’s made up of.

The other thing that I was dying to write today (yes, I think about things throughout the day and make a mental note to write about those when I wake up) is that the routine that I am hoping to make (and talked about it here) will probably never happen. There are way too many variables at play here and I need way too many things to go write to make for a perfect day. So that.

Unrelated. I realized I must cut my nails. Been a few weeks now. To a point that when I type, my fingers don’t even touch the keyboard! Damn, I miss my nail cutter and filer. Will probably buy one.

Oh, I have started to have regular coke (for some reason Diet Coke and Coke Zero are not available here easily) and that too in litres. It’s just fucking with my system and I dont know how to not have.

Anyhow. I can see the post nudging towards a rant. Time to thus take a break and get going with the day. Have meetings lined up from 9 AM onward and I have less than 20 minutes to get in some semblance of presentation on them video calls.

With this, over and out!

Research for #book2, meeting with artists in Goa

As I research about characters and the plot for my next book, here’s an invitation (and a request for help) to the artsy folks based in Goa.

Hello!

So I am Saurabh Garg. More about me is on this page.

For this post, the relevant introduction would be that I wrote my first book, The Nidhi Kapoor Story (#tnks) in 2014. It is contemporary crime fiction, a whodunnit where a Bollywood actress, Nidhi Kapoor, is being tormented by a mystery stalker. There’s a cop, Prakash Mohile, that’s trying to solve the case. And there is this third character, Rujuta Singh, doing a photo-essay on Mumbai police and is tailing Prakash as he tries to solve the Nidhi Kapoor case.

The book was essentially an exploration of Panch Dosha (five universal afflictions that humans suffer from). More about the book is on www.tnks.in.

The Next Book, Caravan Serai

These days, I am working on my next book, tentatively titled The Caravan Serai. This one again is a crime-fiction and again has roots in a fundamental, philosophical human truth. This time, of the Navarasas.

There are 9 characters, each inspired by one of the Rasas and there are three parallel stories. Each character has an artistic bent (between the characters, I have a painter, a sculptor, a writer, a music composer, a filmmaker, etc.).

The parallel stories happen in 1600s, 1980s, and 2010. Each of the 9 characters is interlinked, even intertwined with each other, and has seeds planted across the timelines. Think hyperlink cinema. Oh, and each character has a coming of age story.

Binding all these is a treasure hunt, a land dispute and a murderer on prowl.

I know this is a lot and I know this may never see the light of the day (I have been trying to write this since 2014) but now that I am in Goa for a few days, why not start?

So here I am!

What do I need from artists in Goa?

Truth be told, I don’t know where to start. I don’t have a questionnaire per se. I just need to talk to people that call Goa home. People that are artistically inclined. You could be a writer, a singer, a painter, heck, even an Instagram influencer!

I want to talk to you and pick your brains about what makes you who you are. Why do you do the things you do. You know, get to know you and your work. Get to understand what ticks you. Get inspired by it. Get to know about your interesting life. And then write about it in my book. Make you the muse, if you will.

So yeah, that.

I like open-ended, meandering, flowing conversations. Think of me as your alter-ego as you talk to yourself about things that you talk to anyone freely about. Think of me as the fly on the wall as you ramble. Think of me as the voice in your head that you jam with as you go on a longish walk next to a flowy river.

In case you want, I can feed you with thought-starters. I can give you prompts. Here are some questions…

  • What makes a person quit everything and move to Goa and start chasing a vocation that does not guarantee success?
  • What are the greatest fears?
  • What inspires you?
  • What are some great misconceptions that the world has about artists?
  • Are all artists promiscuous?
  • Why do people think that all inspiration comes from drugs?
  • How do other artists help you with what you working on?
  • What about money?
  • What do you struggle with as an artist?

This is of course an indicative list. And by no means exhaustive. I just want to jam and learn.

So yeah. That. I guess you’ve got the drift.

What can I offer in return?

Definitely not money.

I know how this works. I am one. If I asked you to create something for me, I would pay. Right now, I am not expecting you to. All I want is about an hour of your time. And I am, of course, happy to pay for the coffee, beer, Gin etc.

Credit, if you’d like in the book. May even call the character with your name. And yes, I can keep whatever we talk confidential.

Oh, and in case you need some inputs on marketing, content, communication, etc. I am happy to volunteer my time for that. See my Linkedin profile for more about me.


So, that’s about it, I guess. Do let me know if you have any questions. Please do share this with others that you think could help me.

Thank You!

PS: I know you would wonder why would you talk to a stranger. I don’t have an answer. May be I can don the hat of the marketing consultant that I am by the day and help you with what you are working on? You know, ideation, jamming, marketing, community, etc?

PPS: Here is a list of key characters in the next book, in case. These are the ones that I want to write about. And I am researching about. These are not in any order.

  • A guru. A preacher who’s religion agnostic but draws inspiration from Hinduism, Christianity, and even Atheism. I know this is literally an impossible combo to look at. But still.
  • An out of work writer who’s researching on the history of how various religions evolved in Goa. Going way back to the time when the Portuguese first came in. And may be earlier. The writer was a news reporter at a point in time and has since quit.
  • An 80-year-old lady that runs a bar / hostel / cafe. She’s some 4th, 5th generation Goan and has been around since forever. The entire world respects her and there is not one person in her part of Goa that does not know her.
  • A taxi driver that ferries people around Goa. Been around for a while and thus knows his way. And knows all the shady things that happen around here. And knows his way around any sticky situation that you may imagine.
  • A traveling musician that has been around the world with his guitar. He’s been couch-surfing since it was still not even a phrase. He’s now been in Goa for a few years and speaks Konkani as well as he speaks English or French.
  • A management professional that’s burnt out and is now drifting through life. He never planned to be in Goa but such is life. Right? You don’t plan for things and they happen to you!