Untitled – May the 4th be with you

Unfiltered stream of thoughts from a morning on a weekend (and some more days beyond the weekend)

I mostly start my posts with, “I dont know what to write.”

And then I dump my thoughts. And then something catches my fancy. And then I take that thread from the spool and start to work on it. Right now as I write this (I dont know when I’d publish this), I am sitting on the 47th floor of a high-rise in Manila, staring down to a mostly flat country, some high-rises in the distance, a bay beyond and then the ocean. It’s making me feel a lot of things.

Some are…

1/ I would like to live in luxury.
Right now I live in a tiny 1BHK that I find great by Mumbai standards. When I step out to friends’ houses and other places where my travels take me, I realise that there’s so much more about life that I dont know about. There’s so much more that I could experience. And I want to chase that – abundance, experiences, the novelty of the unknown, the thrill of access, the joy of community, the pleasure of enabling others and more.

2/ I like my mornings.
It’s 8 AM and I am listening to music and being busy with nothing specific (I checked email, read news et al). I could rather shut this and journal. Or meditate. To be honest, this post am writing is like a journal only. Just that this is a tad filtered compared to what I would write on my Roam. May be I will get back to a pen-paper journal? I dont know if I can do that well cos I know I dont like the idea of carrying a notepad. I dont know if my handwriting anymore. Let’s see.

I am writing another part of this at 7 AM, on the 8th May. Again, loving this feeling of being by myself and writing whatever is clouding my head. This blog has really come to become my echochamber and closest confidante.

3/ Am restless.
I dont know what to do with my life. For a change am ok with money. I just need to figure out cash flow management but apart from that am ok. I am rising up Maslow’s pyramid and I am finding it tough to navigate that. I’ve been working with a coach and even that is not enough.

There’s this tussle between the want and the need.

Want of a better life. Need to maintain what I have.

Want of growing 100X. Need of paying the bills.

Want of providing better for everyone. Need of ensuring they are paid on time.

On one side, am inspired to quit it all and go back to the safe havens of a job. On the other when I see my people do what they did yesterday (on the 3rd May), I am inspired to keep the village going. It’s through adding meaning to their lives that I find meaning in mine!

Part of this and the part beyond this is being written on the 5th May. But I like the cliched title a lot and I dont want to change it 🙂

4/ I was talking to VG about things in general and he asked me 5 people that I ?talk to outside of work. I realised I had none. Each connection, each relationship, each minute of mine is spent with (or thinking about) people from work.

Overshare but each of my deep relationships has been with someone around my work. So that. Now, I dont know if this is a good thing or bad. I know already that my life is fairly unidimensional where all I think about is work and nothing else. I’ve tried to find distractions in the past, including getting addicted to cheap dopamine – TV, Cricket, Films etc but for some reason, I feel very very guilty when I am merely vegetating. I am guilty of even getting into the MAFA (Mistaking Activity For Action) trap where sitting on a computer becomes “action” for me and I justify that.

So that.

Oh, in terms of people beyond work, I try hard to meet new people at each opportunity I get. I like the idea of being well-connected. I try and build as many loose connections as I can. On my last trip to Bangalore (some days ago), even though I was there for a day, I tried to meet new folks. And I did meet some. Of course, most of those folks won’t remember me after that night but I’d like to believe that at least one of those would stay in touch and at some point be of use to the village. I use the word use with mindfulness. I dont see people as objects. Just that I want to invest each morsel of energy in building the village. The two events from the night of the 3rd May (P3 and DD) and the messages from my people and stories of strangers have reaffirmed my belief in what I am working on. Just that at this time I am neither unable to explain that to people, nor I am able to find a revenue model for that. But then I think it will come to me with time.

Coming back. I dont have anyone that I talk to out of work. This may be a bad thing. This may be a good thing. But this is how it is. Do you have a way out?

5/ Health has been a recurring theme in my conversations.
And my inability to act on that front. And I know that I can’t be consistent with anything ever. I call this my inability to run a marathon. I know I need to not hide behind this excuse and do more but I am unable to.

Once I am back in Bom (which is Tuesday), I plan to drop everything and make health my priority. I’ve made such promises in the past. To myself. And to others. And to people that I dont want to disappoint. And yet I haven’t been able to act on it. I even have a “why” to be fit – live as long and do more – and yet I am not acting on it.

As I write this, it’s Wednesday the 8th. I slept at 10ish last night and I got 7 hours. Whoop tells me that my HRV is alarmingly low. I need to find a solution for that. I need to add some workouts to my life – I will do that. On the flight back home, I made an entire list of things and changes that I would make. No, this is not the first time I’ve made such lists. But this time I hope am able to implement this. The biggest thing I would do is get a coach to help me out – if nothing else I will get into some sort of routine. I need to figure money though, to pay for one. Know any “cheap” coaches that will come home?

6/ Attention deficit is a problem.
I was trying to read a book while I was on the break and I realised that I couldn’t focus on it beyond 2 minutes. And I’ve been a voracious reader all my life. To a point that I would read 100-odd pages a day. And I would read it all – fiction, non-fiction, anything. Now, I can’t do even 100 seconds. I am so used to multitasking, solving problems, and enjoying easy dopamine hits that I am losing my ability to focus. I need to solve for this.

Also, I was telling a friend the other day that I take 2 hours to get in the flow.

I need to work on it. I can’t take that long. Since I got the Whoop, I am realising that my sleep is not optimal at all. I remember that during lockdown I tried Naval’s 60X60 challenges (60 minutes of meditation first 60 minutes of the day) and I did manage a lot of days. I think I will get back to meditation. Luckily I still journal a lot – in public and in private – and that helps. This is a journal.

So, along with health, I will fix this bit too. Attention deficit I mean. I will make this the second priority. Health being the first one. I need to design my life around it. Right now, my life is optimised for work. So that.

7/ My mornings are sacred.
I do all sorts of things in the morning – work, emails, chatter from the previous night and all that. Even the thought of using my mornings for anything that is not work, I cringe. If I get on the workout bandwagon in the mornings, all my work would suffer. I need to maybe wake up earlier than ever? If I can be up at 430, I can wrap all my work by 7ish and then I can hit the gym or whatever? But then that means I will need to sleep by 9 PM. I think I can manage 9 if I can be disciplined. But then work, socialising, et al? Ok, this is a problem that needs to be solved. I will put my head to it and do it.

8/ Coming to the end of line in life.
In electronics retail, they have this concept of End of Line where once a product hits the peak, they stop working on it. The last few pieces are sold at rock-bottom prices and crazy discounts.

I think I have reached EOL in life. This means that my age, I can only take one more shot at greatness. In the next 5 years, life as I know it would change – at a personal level, on the health front – and others. So I can only do things over the next 2. So, things need to be done today and now. And I need to run faster. And I need to push more. I sat with AK and CM yesterday and gave them this spiel – that the two of them are my best shot at greatness. I would live a grand life vicariously – through theirs. I may never become a Sachin but with these two kids, I can become Ramakant for sure. And that probably would be the highest I would reach. This is a far cry from how I’ve lived all my life. I mean I’ve known since I was a kid that am a gift and I would be the richest man in the world. Today I realise that I probably would not even be the richest in the rundown building that I have rent a tiny house. And to be honest, this acceptance of a failed life is not a good thing. But…

But we persist. We continue to dream. Against all odds. Against age. Hoping that someday we would have enough. We would have abundance. And then we would hopefully make it to at least the top 1%, if not THE top.

So that.

Ok this is it. I shall publish this or else this would become an infinitely long blogpost with no end.

More later!

231220 – Morning Pages

In this edition of morning pages, I talk to myself about how it would be to live out of a suitcase. So far, it doesn’t look doable 😀

Morning. When I decided to write these, these were supposed to be the very first thing I’d do in the morning.

Mornings have been precious to me. I like the idea of getting things done first thing in the morning. In fact, my best work (ideas, thoughts, writing, etc) happens in the morning. That is why I have not been able to work out in the morning. cc Harshit. I want to have that feeling of having done something productive in the morning. Even if it’s writing all my ideas, thoughts, rants on a piece of paper. Or on these morning pages. Writing, rather, pounding on the keyboard has been my thing. I feel as if I have done something. I know these are not really productive things. I am probably being busy for sake of being busy, rather than doing any actual work!

Today however I broke the rule.

The first thing I did today was to clip my nails.

And I can tell you that I miss my nail cutter and filer more than I miss a hug from the people that I love the most. Really. The idea that I’ve been toying with about giving up my house and everything that I own? If I do implement it #in2021, I would not leave my nail cutter and the filer behind. Filer I can manage without but nail cutter I cant. It is as personal and close an object as your toothbrush is. Or that old chappal that has now taken the shape of your feet! Or you know, how you know where the switch to turn on the light in your bedroom is? You can reach out to it blindly!


Nail cutter is that personal, intimate, close, required.

Coming back to the idea of packing my life in two bags, I am seriously considering it. Just that the travel bag may be too small for all the myriad things that I want to save – you know, the postcard that M & m made on my birthday, the photos of sgMS as a child, the post-it that Spa left behind on the green-board, the guitar that Vivek gave me, the Uke that Krishna made me buy, the paintings that Sonali has asked me to keep safe, the postcards that I have collected from all the travels that I have been lucky to have been on, the numerous books that are close to my heart. Fuck the list is long. For someone that wants to be a minimalist, I have a lot of things that I want to keep safe.

I need to reduce these so that I can fit them in a travel bag.

Wait. That may be too small. Maybe save all things that I can move in the boot of a car. And then take it around everywhere and live in hostels etc.

This actually sounds doable (getting a car). I can park it in long-term parking when I am on the road. I can dump the stuff at a hostel or something when the car needs repair.

Or I can rent one room somewhere and dump all my belongings there? I can totally see why storage units in the US are such lucrative businesses!

But the thing is, I need my space and I need my comfort and I need places to go during the day (I get bored with being at one place). With cheap co-working spaces offering me shelter and cheaper hostels offering me a bed, I think it is doable. May be this trip is an experiment in the direction? Right now, I spend my day in parts at a co-working space and in parts at a couple of restaurants where I have become friendly with the staff. Since there are not too many patrons anyway, they don’t care how long I spend there. I suspect once they get busy, they would not be as kind. Plus I have a fairly lavish space to myself, thanks to Rajesh Sir. If I did not have this and had to go back to a bunk bed at the end of the night, I may not be as happy in the head.

Plus when I spend time at restaurants, I need to spend money, which is ok. The sad bit is that most of these do not offer healthy eating options.

So, it has to be co-working spaces, hostels and a car. If at all. I don’t think I have what it takes to do this. I love people and ecosystems and comfort way too much to take this step.

Plus the pandemic has taught us that it hits the homeless the hardest. I would be an affluent homeless, if I choose to let go of my home.

Another option could be to create a hostel, a hotel, or something where I have a room that is mine and the other part is a commercial establishment. You know, how those moguls lived on top-floors of their hotels? But then, that’s like owning a home and not really living like a nomad with minimal possessions!

The final option from where I see things is that make so much money, so much wealth that you create a lavish space that is so well-appointed that you don’t really care about what it has and what it doesn’t. This allows you freedom from the mental burden of carrying things.

Wah, what a rant.

Actually, not a rant. Serious thought. This is how I talk to myself before I take large decisions. Self-talk. Structured mindmaps. And then letting things simmer in my head as I go about my day. And with this idea of being on the road all the time, I think it is doable. Of course, need to think of the money. I am getting by, well, almost. But what I am doing on a day to day basis is not moving me towards financial independence. And that is a rant for another day.

But I am seriously considering becoming that urban nomad. Let’s see if I can. Oh, and if I do that, I would carry my nail cutter for sure. Really.

Over and out!

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

Hello, Morning Pages (Day 1)

Say hello to a new project, this one hopefully will last a lifetime.

Read on.

I just started reading The Artists Way by Julia Cameron (buy at Amazon) and one of the things she says an artist must do is write three pages every day in the morning.

These three pages don’t need to be publishing quality prose and can be as simple as an unfiltered stream of thoughts that is not meant to be seen by anyone. And these are not related to any project that you are on. This is just penning whatever comes to your head. You know, brain vomits. Heck, she even says that you don’t have to publish this. She says that this exercise is like a meditative trance that you put yourself into, just that the object that you focus on is the words that come out of your head (and not breadth in most other meditative practices).

I think there is merit in doing this. My best work has happened when I have been regular. When I have been showing up without any expectation or an agenda. Even TNKS happened when I was writing every day on my blog and one of the posts couldn’t seem to end!

However, the thing with such projects is that I tend to lose interest after a bit. I don’t want to lose interest with this one. Writing is THAT important to me! May be I can appoint a few monitors? Say Vivek. Or Arti. Or Krishna. The day I don’t post this in the first half (that’s the point of the morning pages), I would consider it default and I would get penalized for it. Say 1000 bucks for each day I miss? And yeah, I ought to do this even if I am traveling. If I am alive, I need to write a morning page. How about that?

Of course, there would be days when I know I won’t be able to write. If I inform these people at least a day prior, I can take a break.

The more I think about it, the more I think that the idea at some level is similar to what Naval says about 60 minutes of meditation every day. He advocates sitting idle and letting your thoughts run amok. Julia asks us to write. In both, I think the key tenets are a daily routine, flushing your head off whatever is clouding it, and spending time with self.

Oh, by the way, Julia says asks us that these morning pages don’t have to be shared per se. But you know me. How can I do something and not drum about it to the world?

Now, as a reader that may want to read these, here are some “rules” that I want to put forth.

  1. These would be my unedited, unfiltered thoughts. And thus could be happy, sad, cribby, ranty, boring, interesting, etc.
  2. I will NOT correct typos on this one. May become an eye-sore for you as a reader but that’s that.
  3. I will endeavor to write 1000 words every day, give or take. Or write for 30 minutes. I know it’s a lot but let’s see how many I get in.
  4. Some days when I don’t have a computer with me, I will write with pen and paper and I will take a picture and upload it to this blog as and when I get time. May be I’ll write on the phone. If not even that, I will do a voice note. Something will happen for sure.
  5. I will not focus on paraphernalia around writing on WordPress. So, no tags, no SEO optimization etc.

So yeah. Morning Pages.

Today was day 1. Lets see how many days I do this.

PS: You know how things that you seek find you? That!

I spotted someone reading this book at a Starbucks and at a whim I ordered it. I am about 50 pages in and so far I like it. I can see myself recommending the book to others.

PPS: When I read the first few pages, I see that Julia talks about writing and creativity being spiritual practices and she connects it to God. As a non-believer, I was tempted to dismiss the idea and discard the book. But the struggling writer in me wanted to continue. So I did. I see value in what she says and I am reading the book assuming that God is the teacher and spirituality is the routine that we need to create.

PPPS: Writing on WordPress in these blocks is a pain. But I will find a workaround.

PPPPS: I realized I am happy when I am writing. Even if what I write is not read by anyone around. This post is giving me kicks that a beach is not. Guess I am the happiest when I create. I don’t know why. But I am. So, may be, in life, I need to be a creationist even though I don’t want to create any babies per se. M&m is more than enough!