010721 – 201st Morning Pages

The 200th post (not really) since I started writing these morning pages. Nothing special to report though.

6:52 AM. 1st of July.

▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░ 50% of the year is done.
The time’s flying so fast and is changing so many things that we aren’t even noticing! Guess that’s the thing with time. You know that it’s omnipresent, always on the move, and among other things, a great healer. You could either fight it by reminiscing about the time gone by or you could embrace it by rubbing shoulders and continuing to move on.

Wow so much philosophy first thing in the morning. Must include this in my quarterly update.

So, I thought today is the 200th post on Morning Pages. But when I went to check, I realized I have published for 201 days already! So today’s 202nd. I may have missed updating the numbers on one of these days.

Honestly, numbers dont matter. The thing is that the streak is now 200+ days long. I am very very impressed with myself. Never thought I’d be able to write so consistently for so long. Especially when I typically dont have anything specific to write. And come to think of it, it started as a way to get inspiration for #book2. That of course has taken a back seat with all the work. But I am glad that I am on it!

For the records, here’s the first post from Dec 11, 2020.

The other good thing to report is that yesterday I managed to avoid coffee even though I was at a Starbucks. And I ate in just a 2-hour slot (I did eat a lot but all of that was in a 2-hour window). Yay!

To get closer to where I want to be in life, I just need to add workouts to my routine. And may be stop going to Starbucks to spend all that money! Wait, lemme finish this fast. I need to reach Starbucks by 8 so that I can get things done – as always a lot on my plate 😀

I dont know what else to write. Will come back to it. Lemme use my electric toothbrush to some use 😀

Ok. I am at a Starbucks now.

I still don’t know what to write, to be honest. I mean I can write about the mile-long list of todo I have. Or I can talk about how I am having a nightmare with Tata Card and their service. I think Indian businesses take customers too lightly. In the last few days, I’ve had trouble with a credit card company, an insurance seller, and the brokerage that I use. All are in the financial services business and it plain sucks that I am taken for a ride like that.

It’s 9:11 and I need to get moving with work. The idea of being at a Starbucks and spend on expensive coffee is to get things done. And that’s what I am going to do after this call.

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 202!
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 1
  • #noCoffee – 1
  • #noCoke – 112
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

020121 – Morning Pages

On the 2nd day of 2021, I talk about how I spent the first day of 2020 and how I am guilty of enjoying a film like Coolie No. 1.

02 Jan, 0705 hrs.

I had a brilliant start to the new year. Here’s how.

  • I could say no to very tempting offers to a, munch onto crispy brown fries at a fancy restaurant. And b, at the same place, I could say no to an ice-cold Diet Coke that was sweating with dew. Mmmm. Merely talking about it is making me want to grab one. But I did not.
  • I found 60 bucks at a garage! This is after a while that I have found money lying on the road. I consider that each rupee I find like that is worth a crore at some point in time. So, I am worth 60 crores already! Yay!
  • Met a friend (remember the restaurant I talked about above? there) and talked about the Goa magazine I have been thinking about. He may come on board as a partner. So Yay!
  • Was at FabIndia and saw this amazing notepad at a compelling price at a great discount. The regular Saurabh would have bought it but I resisted the temptation and did not.
  • Worked on the #in2021 plan for a bit. Still not done with it, but happy about the progress am making with it. Will share soon.
  • Started posting #aPicADay on Insta with this shot from Anjuna. Got 35 likes. Which is about 0.5%. With 800 followers, this should be at 80-100 (~1-1.5%). May be it will increase as we go along? And in case it does not, I will merely do it for the joy of doing and not for the thrill of seeking numbers.
  • At a cafe, I saw this young boy taking some amazing shots with an iPhone. Talked to him about Dil Haare‘s video that I want to make. He sounded interested. He’s gone MIA since ;P The larger point is that there are so many talented people but there’s no way for them to collaborate with others. Is this a problem worth solving?
  • Read some. The next part of Julia Cameron’s book. Realized my limitations as an artist and an enabler. Let’s see what I do to fix it.
  • Stayed away from the phone for a large part of the day. Decided to not chase time syncs (Instagram, Twitter, etc) and only use them when I want to. Could resist those for a large part. Yay!

So yeah. There’s luck, new beginnings, restraint, and overall general hopefulness. Couldn’t have asked for a better start. What about you? How was it for you?

Today looks busy as well. With things that I want to work on. Cheers to that. I have meetings from 10:30 on. I may also get to meet an interesting artist with Nupura towards the evening if all goes well. I of course need to complete the #in2021 plan before that. Maybe squeeze in a walk, if I can. Lol, who am I kidding?

Ok, what else?

Yeah! I have to talk about this and get judged. So, I don’t watch a lot of movies, and for an aspiring filmmaker, this is of course not done. My to-watch list is a mile long and even if I take three lifetimes, I would probably still not get to finish the list. The most recent one that I have been dying to see is AK vs AK. But I haven’t had the time. Or the inclination, maybe. But, I have been seeing Coolie No. 1 (the new one with Varun Dhawan in the lead role) intermittently. I kid you not, I am enjoying it! To a point that I find myself thinking about it. I am about an hour into it and like most such films that give you the guilty-pleasure, I don’t want it to get over! I have a shitty data connection here at Goa and yet I try to stream the film!

Lol. Goa does funny things to people 😀

Oh, I will also start work on book2 today. For the umpteenth time. Let’s see how this shot at chasing immortality goes. I am often left marveling at how optimistic I could be about things and how thick-skinned I could be about my folly! I mean if I was talking to myself, I would tell myself that book2 is an elaborate facade you’ve created to tell yourself that you amount to something. There is no substance to it. And I would tell myself to stop fooling myself and move on.

But then, I want to tell stories and I like the idea of being able to talk to people and uncover what moves them and then get inspired to explore more. And nothing better than to write books! And thus!

Anyhow, this is a rant for a different time, different day. Time to get on with the day and get some work done!

Over and out.

211220 – Morning Pages

Morning Pages for the day. Random ramblings, to be honest. In case you want to skip!

Hello World! It took some effort to wake up today. Had to put a hundred alarms and keep hitting on snooze. Need to stop having all the coffee. To be honest, I can. Just that I don’t know what to sip onto when I am whiling away time at cafes to work. Like I said yesterday, I cant work from home and thus I need this feeling of downing something all the time. So, if not coffee, what? Green Tea makes me pukish! Diet Coke? This is becoming an existential question now.

Anyhow, so the brain has started to get back on track. In the sense that wherever I go, I try and sniff some opportunity. Not that I have been able to capitalize on those in the last so many years but I liked the idea of being able to think in terms of numbers, action points, and all that.

The other thing that I must say is that this is after ages where I am putting myself in uncomfortable situations. I am walking up to strangers and chatting them up. I can see from their faces that they think I am a fool. I can hear the subtext in the conversation that they want me to get out of their face asap. I know from their body language that they want to escape. And most times, they do. This is the first time probably where I am trying to sell something that people don’t want. Wait, I am not selling anything per se. I am merely talking to them about their lives. And that itself is deeply unsettling for them. And more so to me as someone that’s instigating them! Oh, damn, the that and the who.

I don’t enjoy these conversations myself but this is probably the only thing I’d get to learn while I am here. Each conversation makes me aware of the limitations that I have when I speak with people (you know, fidget, speak fast, interrupt often, jump from topic to topic, merely scratch the surface, etc). And with each conversation, I try to be mindful and improve how I am doing. So far I haven’t had great success. But I am hoping that there would be some impact somewhere howsoever little it is. If you read this and you and I talk, lemme know if you think am getting any better.

So that.

What next?

Thinking…

Damn this is hard.

Is this what Julia meant when she said morning pages are hard?

Grrr…

So, I tried to digress by checking on some messages, tweets, and all that. Lately, I have started to use FB a bit (to try and connect with people in Goa). I find it far better than Twitter on Insta. In fact, I need to rethink how I live on social media. For all the fuckeries that it piles on you (with all the random ads, FOMO inducing pictures from friends, triggering your insecurities when you see others doing well etc etc), it works for sure. I was able to connect with 3-4 people, thanks to just one post. Maybe I need to get active on FB again?

I do have a philosophical issue here with the concerns around privacy and how FB as a Big Brother bullies smaller businesses into spending more. But then, free market. No?

Also, while writing this bit about FB, I realised how little I know about these concerns. I dont even know what’s wrong with FB. I know that they suck at preventing spread of misinformation or hatred and all that. They are said to side with bullies (Redhat Jr, Kisan Ekta Morcha etc). They are now a giant corporation that kills other businesses with monopolistic behaviour. But do I know the details? No. Do I really know what is the real issue? What is at the core of this? No.

I conveniently trust and follow the opinions of a handful of people (I shall not name those here on the public post) that I *know* for a fact know more about these issues. These people are passionate about causes and things. And they spend all their time chasing things that they are passionate about. And they are not “selling” what they know. There is no vested interest. Say films. I know Shikha will die but not stop reading, talking, researching about films. So I trust her opinion.

Books? Prak would not stop.

Business? Ajeet Sir will have the most informed view.

Loyalty points? Sujoy.

Growth? Annkur.

Tech in general? Kunal.

Career? Anubhab.

Digital Media? Mihir.

Goa? Nupura.

Life advise? Vanita.

Commonsense? AD.

Scrimping money? Vivek.

Showing reality when I am flying high? Sonali.

The list can go on. I am lucky to have so many people give me so much attention and mindspace. And thus, I have people for each thing that I may want to know about. And they are honest and upfront. The value they give me is the reward they expect when they talk to me. I am lucky to have people like that around me!

So, when I am stuck, I just ask these people about the issue and they come back to me with actionable and decision-makable inputs. So I have sort of outsourced my research and thinking.

To me, that works. At least, so far, it has. I am not sure if I want to change it as I go along.

Or may be this is what is stopping me from getting to greatness? May be.

Something to think on. No?

181220 – Morning Pages

Morning Page for 18th Dec 2020. I talk about a friend, book2, general humdrum in Goa and a random rant.

This will be a tough one. A, I dont have time today. I slept late and there are a few things pending that I need to get done. B, I have to rush for a meeting. Lol. Rush. Meeting. Goa. C, I had thought I would write a page for #book2 in today’s morning pages. I may not be able to. D, I do have a lot to say today but I dont have time. It’s 8:47 and I have to leave at 9:15 and I need to shower before that. And meditate.

So, let’s go.

To start with, I did not write this the first thing. I had a pressing deliverable and I had to work on that. So that. And once I was done with it, I was left with very little time to actually write this (like I said, another meeting to rush to).

Then, yesterday, I broke the meditation streak. I was on a 6-day streak and I could not continue. I did sit for it but for some reason, I just could not concentrate. Not even on my breathing. I do a 10-min session but yesterday, after the 4th minute, I was so restless that I quit. I thought this combination of morning pages and meditation was supposed to help. But it clearly hasn’t. So that.

It’s Monu’s birthday. He is probably the oldest friend I have. I literally grew up with him. I think I know him since I was in the 6th standard. That makes the friendship go back 25 years at least. No time for exact calculation 😀. While I am at it, must mention this distinct memory that I have of him as we were growing up. One time, we were playing some game (can’t recall what it was) and I was one of the team captains or something. There was this one other person, probably the alpha of our gang, that I was up against for the team. Every kid there chose to side with that guy but Monu. So that. Of course like all such bachpan ka dosti, we’ve had our ups and downs. There was a time when we fought over something stupid and I did not speak to him for months. Our mothers had to intervene to get us to talk again. And am I glad that we talked! I know that come what may, Monu will always be on my side. So that. Happy birthday! May you live long and prosper. And if you ever read this, help me document more instances from our bachpan. But knowing his talent with reading, he may not!

Last night at a whim I went to this place called the Royal Enfield Cafe. Owned by the same guys that make the bike. The place was unnaturally quiet but it was everything that I like. A big table and a chair at a comfortable height. Just enough wind. Good music. A non-pesky staff. Super strong coffee – I could not sleep last night!. Reasonably ok Internet. The kind of place where I would sit and write. Apart from Nik’s, I can see myself going there often (maybe not on the weekends) to get some writing done. Let’s see.

I think all the things that I need to get the book2 going are falling in place. I now have the thought, the vibe, even the place where the book is based. I am reading Julia’s book :D. I am editing another book. The stars are as aligned as they could ever be! I even made a few posts on FB yesterday (logged in after ages) to try and meet people from Goa to get a perspective on some characters. So, if I cant do it now, I probably would never. Lol. I have been saying this for 6 years now. No no. I am committed this time around. Ha ha!

9:07. I think Ill pause for the day. Not really an hour. Not really three pages. I would have liked to revisit the post later in the day but that kind of defeats the purpose. No? I will come back and add links though.

So, yeah. Over and out. Tomorrow.

Day 4. 141220.

In this one, I talk about my #lifeGoal of telling stories of fascinating, non-celebrity people that we often miss.

Yo Morning Pages.
Day 4.
7 AM.
I woke up about 30 minutes ago and unlike when I was younger and I could wake up and jump into action the next second, it has taken me almost 30 minutes to reach a point that I can type this. Old age sucks!

Anyhow. So the thing that I am thinking of since last evening is that there are so so many interesting people in the world and I need a way to be a magnet to those. I mean some people enjoy getting drunk and getting lost in the reverie induced by alcohol. Some like the idea of eating the most exquisite things that they can put on the plate. Some like to merely showoff the company they keep. In my case, what excites me is the opportunity to talk to people that are, well, interesting.

Interesting is an interesting word. I don’t have a definition for this. Just that these people are the ones that are different from the inside. When you look at them, they could be the most regular ones that you may ever know – you know, look and feel like regular people with boring clothes, drab jobs, sleepy routines. But they have stories that remain untold most times. Not for the want of storytellers or the occasions to tell those stories. But because these stories don’t travel far and wide!

And why don’t these travel?

Well, first, these stories are often told in closed circles. I mean why would a banker who retired at 40 tell the world about how he fleeced his bank and amassed a fortune that has allowed him to make a home at Goa.

Second these stories are told to people that are not natural storytellers. No, I am not saying I am one.

Just that stories need to be passed on.
And they are!
But mostly orally. Sometimes, in written shape. Rarely on film.

They have to be passed on, lest they get killed. I suspect that more stories get killed for the lack of a medium than anything else.

Side note. I think my work at Podium and as a writer could be to tell these stories. These stories, if told well, could inspire the listeners, readers, and others. These stories could make the Kumbhkaran wake from his slumber. You know people like Humans of NY and all that? They tell stories of non-fancy people and ensure those are archived for posterity and all that. And in doing so, they allow the world at large to hear these stories and get inspired and probably ink their own!

That!

I’ve often lamented that I would like to inspire the world. I want to make them see their potential. I want to make those people look forward to their lives, even though life may be meaningless in the grand scheme of things. But I want to. I want to stand for opportunity. And I thought that that the easiest way to do so could be the role model that they could look up to. You know, if Saurabh can, why can’t I kinds?

The trouble of course is that I need to do well for myself. And I know I have tried and failed at it. Multiple times. So not sure.

But, what I can do is, gather these stories. Tell them. And try to send them to more places in the world than the micro-plastic particles have reached. You know, to the deepest trenches in the ocean and the highest point in our atmosphere!

Ok, coming back to why these stories don’t travel, the third reason is all the social media and content revolution clutter. Everyone has discovered the power of a search engine and storyfying what they do. They even say that any company that needs to survive in the times to come has to tell their story more than they hawk their wares. And this means that there are more stories than people. And often these stories are made-up, uninteresting, car-salesmen-ly and more. And in all this noise, the signal gets lost! So that!

Next, I think telling a good story takes a heck of a lot of time. And that means you can only tell so many. I mean if I could meet one interesting person daily, even then I won’t be able to tell a million stories. Ok, not a million. Let’s say 100. Let’s say I want to tell a hundred fascinating stories of people that are seemingly commonplace, how much time would I take? I am guessing I would need atleast 3 years to do so if I do it full-time and with all earnestness.

Do I have the luxury of 3 years? I don’t know.
Do I want to tell these 100 stories? HELL YEAH! Why 100? I’d love to tell a thou, a lakh, a million. Tell so many of these that when people are seeking inspiration, they just hop onto these stories and they go back inspired! No, I am not talking inspiration in the TED Talks inspiration manner where they share ideas. I am talking about humanizing people and talk about our frailty, our perseverance, our grit, our most irrational actions, most “immoral” thoughts, things that chase convention. Things that need to be told and heard and all that.

How do I even get started?
May be by taking up the challenge to tell stories of the 100 most interesting people I know?

What do you think?

– SG
14 Dec 2020
Baga, Goa

PS, when I did a grammar check on Grammarly, it told me that I was sounding worried! Lol!