020221 – Morning Pages

Regular updates. Nothing special. Did #freewriting on #book2 after a few days. Totally enjoyed. Read if you can and gimme feedback.

7:57 AM. Woke up a little less groggy than yesterday. I don’t know what changed. I still ate as much crap as I ate the day before. I slept around the same time. I had the same battles with the phone and the internet as I have had in the past few days. I am still thinking about the same things. I am still not moving as much as I would want to. The human body is a funny thing.

Anyhow. Time for morning pages. I am surprised that I have written these for more than 50 days now. Without missing a day. Even on the day when I was not in the mood, I came here and wrote something. Even if I felt crappy, I ensured that I poured my heart here. I felt lonely, I wrote about it. I took a loan. I recorded it here. The pages have become a companion, dear diary of sorts.

The day yesterday was ok. Went to Clay. Did some work, did some non-work things. I loved hanging out in the middle of so many people that are doing their own thing and are generally interesting to talk to. I love the place! If only my mobile phone worked better :D.

In fact, I must copy-paste their model when I get around to creating a physical space where I want creatives to hang out! I mean I can copy the model easily. The challenge would be to create a vibe. That takes more effort. Anyone can put some chairs and tables and an Internet connection. The sauce is how you run it, how you get people to bind into a community. How you ensure that they feel the same for you as you feel for them. For me, this community of people, the camaraderie between that community, the feeling of belonging, the safety in the group, the shoulders to stand on is the thing that makes life worth living. Let’s see when that happens.

I need to decide on where to live. Come hell or high-water, I will take a call by EOD. It is important that I do so. Like I keep saying, I need to happen to things, rather than things happening to me. The decision essentially depends on the work situation. There are a few things that I can do in Goa but the size of opportunity here may not be enough to feed all the expenses that I have. Of course, life here is better (no pants, no traffic, everything accessible etc) but I do miss the action of a large city.

Wait.

Can I create a life like that in Mumbai? You know, get a place, do it up, create a vibe like Clay, serve food like Nicky’s, attract creative people do bind into a community? In Aaram Nagar or something. Of course, the costs are like 5X to do something like that and competition is like 10X there (with all the Starbucks, Blue Tokais, and others) but I am told a lot of things are now available for cheaper.

That’s the other thing. I was trying to explain something to Mudit yesterday when I realized that I have forgotten the names of the landmarks in Mumbai! In the para above, it took me 5 minutes to come up with the name of Blue Tokai! Guess I am growing old. Anyhow.

So today’s one of those days when I feel I have a lot to write about, a lot to think about but I don’t know how to write. The thoughts are all over the place. I am unable to make them in a coherent narrative. But then I still am trying. Arrghh.. Frustrating it is.

Guess, a writer’s block?

Dont know.

But then Kunal told me yesterday that these morning pages, in the way I do (daily journalish, self-talk, pouring of thoughts etc) is apparently a great mental-health hack. And since I anyway write in public, I am not scared if these are “leaked” someday. Lol!

Chalo that’s about it.

On to #freewriting for #book2. Oh, today’s prompt is something that I think I saw in my dreams last night. Not kidding. I now have faint recollections of what I saw but I did see the scene play in my dream. Let’s see how it comes out on paper. Here we go…

ABC and his flunkies settled into probably what was the most uncomfortable spot at Caravan Serai. He took the long bench, the flunkies fanned out around him. Udita spotted them and knew there was trouble. Even though she was alone this afternoon, she was not the one to get perturbed. She walked up to the group with a bunch of menu cards. She showed her irreverence by slapping the menu cards on the table in between the group. The smack made by the plastic menu cards killed the chatter in the group. The boss looked up from his phone. He realized what had happened. He remained indifferent and went back to his phone. Meanwhile, Udita did not wait for them to place an order and walked back at a leisurely pace. These guys were not used to this open display of insubordination. As it often happens in such herds, when faced with uncertainty, you look up to the alpha. Everyone looked at the boss for what to do next. He was still buried in his phone and the scene had actually escaped him. The uncomfortable silence started to escalate. Someone had to break it. One of the enthu flunkies that wanted to make his way up in the foodchain stood up and yelled at Udita, “aye bitch, bring your tiny ass here. Don’t you know who we are with?”

At this, the boss looked up. The eyes remained calm. So did his body language. He looked so composed that you could’ve imagined him to be in a temple. He was as indifferent as he could be. He merely looked on for an instant and went back to his phone. He rested the phone against the small vase on the table. The vase had a money plant curled up in it and it was just the right size to act as a makeshift stand for a phone.

Udita shot back, “what did you call me?”

The flunky was clearly not used to the insubordination. “Bitch. I called you a bitch. And you are one.”

Udita was anyway worked up to see ABC at Caravan Serai. Now this flunky and the language he used had enraged her even more. She stomped to the table, shovelled another man away who was sitting between her and the flunky, held him by his tee-shirt. The guy was easily a foot taller. She looked him into his eyes and asked again. “What did you call me?”

The flunky was lost. He hadnt been attacked like that. Singled out. Especially with his boss around. And by a tiny woman. And he had higher ambitions. He did not know what to do. The boss continued to watch on with his stoic eyes.

“Tell me, you bastard”, Udita raged on.

The flunky did not have an answer. His voice was sort of clipped. Udita clenched her fists and thus his tee tighter.

“Uh”, he made some indescript noise.

One of the other flunkies tried to get up to save his friend from the apparant misery. Udita saw that from a corner of her eye. Before the guy could stand fully erect, she pushed at his chair that sent him toppling back with a thud.

It was clearly out of hands now. The boss thundered, “stop it!”

He continued, “apologies to the young lady”

The flunky found some strength when he saw his boss intervene. But all of it was lost when he comprehended what he heard. He was being asked to apologize. Weren’t they ABC’s gang? Where they routinely roughed up people for things smaller than this. If someone had done this at some other place, at some other time, he was sure that the boss would have literally killed the guy! And this was a girl. A waitress at some random bar.

“ABC Sir?”, he was still confused.

ABC repeated. The calmness was back, “I said apologise to the young woman.”

Udita was confused herself. The stories she had heard about ABC were anything but this. He was being polite. And he was taking the right side, even though Udita was the one to have attacked. She left the collar and took a step back. She folded her hands in front of her chest, like you would do when you sensed danger.

“How can I? The bitch was out of her place. She disrespected you.” The flunky tried to make his case.

The boss merely shook his head. With the agility of a table tennis player, he picked up the vase in a shift motion and smashed it against the head of flunky. The glass shattered on his forehead and sent tiny pieces, water and even the remnants of the money plant around him. There was this messy puddle of hair, skin, glass, leaves and blood on his forehead. Some blood was his. Some was ABC’s. He had cut his hand in the process.

The flunky stumbled back, tried to support himself on a chair. He leaned on it with one hand and tried to hold his head with the other. ABC however was not done. He pounced on the flunky and sent him sprawling on the floor. He sat on his chest. Held his tee, from the same place Udita had held him and said, “next time I tell you to do something, you will listen to me. Ok?”

The flunky could merely nod.

“I did not hear you” ABC growled.

“Yes, yes, ABC. I will. I am sorry”. He said with whatever strength he could muster.

“Good boy. Now, say sorry to the young lady. And you better clean all the mess that you have created here”. ABC instructed him.

“Yes…”, the flunky could come up with just a word.

The gang was in a state of shock. They knew of ABC and his quirks. They knew it was best if they stayed shut.

ABC turned to Udita. “What’s your name ma’am? I am sorry for this boy’s behaviour. He is new and does not know how to speak to people.” He wiped his hand on his white shirt, leaving it crumped and stained.

Udita managed, “it’s alright. I am Udita. I manage the place when Mrs. Gomes is not here.”

“Ah. I have seen you here but did not know that she trusts you with the place. Whatever I know of her, she is tough to please”. ABC was back to his clam self and was now small-talking with Udita as if they were in a club.

Udita was not sure how to react. She looked around. There was this guy on the floor who was bleeding. There was this guy who was indifferent despite the scene he had created. There were other burly men who were as confused as Udita was.

ABC sensed the confusion. “Oh, dont worry about him. He’s a strong boy. He would be back in action by tomorrow. He’d help you clean the place now. Just get him some water, if that’s not too inconvinient?”

***

That’s it! I loved writing today’s piece! Yay! Need to have more such days 🙂 If you read this, do gimme feedback. Of course, haven’t fixed typos, edited, or checked for sanity.

Till next time!

150121 – Morning Pages

I talk about how yesterday was a bad day and how I need to write about films and may be, make a quick trip to Mumbai.

7:34 AM. I had a disappointing day yesterday. More than external factors that I can easily pin blame on, I think it was me. A couple of really important meetings got canceled (no, this is not my fault). I missed sending an email to a prospective client (I should’ve been more careful). Another client call got fucked cos my internet sucked (I could’ve been at a co-working space rather than at a cafe). The two projects that I am thinking hard about – Shumbur and TRS in Goa, both are proving to be tough to crack. Both of these depend on other people saying yes and it’s a task to first find those, pitch to those, and then close. Of course, it is fun to do these but still. Life should be easier. I stress-ate crap like Doritos and chocolates and Chips and all. Despite eating well for a large part of the day. And promising to myself that I will not eat. All it took was a few taps on Swiggy. Even though it’s not installed on my phone.

I hope today is better. Even though am groggy and sore in the back and neck and joints (is this a result of eating crap?). I do have quite a few things lined up for the day. I plan to check out this new co-working cafe that has come up in Anjuna (Felix). Clay is anyway fun, just that the phone does not work there at all and I can’t do video calls. If I can get another alternative in Felix, why not! PS: While looking for directions to Felix, I figured, there’s another one – Nomad. Should’ve tried that as well! I did not know there would be so many coworking places in Goa. I have to get going with that Ultimate Guide to Remote Working from Goa.

So that’s the rant on how the day yesterday was.

Coming to what am thinking on. The favorite part of these morning pages for me. While talking to Shikha yesterday about TRS and where it could go, I realized that I want to write about films and Bollywood, and more. Though I am not as well-informed or well-read or well-researched about it, I think films have the power like no other medium. For most people, it is the most immersive, easiest to comprehend and understand the medium. And that gives filmmakers power like nothing else. While I am far from making films, I can definitely talk about this power. And how filmmakers are leveraging (and even wasting) the opportunity they have. I can’t talk about the craft per se. I can’t talk about deep, thinking filmmakers that have shown alternative realities to us. I am not even aware of world cinema. I am a mere aam aadmi that finds my escape in a film that is made well and I want to write about that. Of course, I do want to point out the problematic things they paddle in their films (body-shaming, hate-mongering, casual sexism, stereotyping et al). Films, after all, have to reflect the times we live in, talk about how can we move forward, and communicate things that simpletons like me do not understand. The good part is that in The Red Sparrow, I have access to a film platform that reaches far and wide. However, this access is not really a free pass. I still need to pass through the editorial filters of the team that manages it. I can’t bypass that. Even if I could, I don’t want to. The platform is bigger than an individual.

The other thing am thinking is that I need a trip to the chaos of Mumbai soon. I’ve been here 45 days. I know how it is to live here and I know the issues and I know the good things. I need to now decide on where I want to be. I want to make a trip to Mumbai before I do that.

On that trip, I can see if I like the comforts of Mumbai better. Or if I like the open expanses of Goa. If I decide on Goa, I can even wrap up the house and belongings in Mumbai. And if I do that, I will have to find a hostel or something that I can use when I travel there for these “break” trips from the peace of Goa. Let’s see when that happens. Plus, if I want to be in Goa, I will have to find a house for myself in Goa. I can of course use Rajesh sir’s house. He’s cool like that. But I don’t want to take advantage of his kindness. And if I choose to be here, I am reasonably sure that I want to be in Anjuna, Assagaon, or thereabouts. It has to be North. Beyond Baga and the touristy stretches and yet close to places where people hang out. I could go even further to Mandrem / Ashwen etc. but that would make me very far from almost everything.

Lol. I think I am getting ahead of myself. The entire para above is essentially me getting ahead of myself with things. Take a deep breath, Mr. Garg. I think it’s all the carbs that I ate last night that are talking. I don’t even know where would my work take me. What if work picks up in Mumbai? Or Delhi? Even Chennai for that matter? What if projects that am thinking about do not materialize in Goa? That’s something that I don’t have an answer to. I need to think. Let’s see.

So that.

Onto #freewriting for #book2. It is 8:31. I will write till 9. Let’s see how many words do I get in.

Blue.

The color of the sea.

Every time I see the sea, I am fascinated by the vastness of it. It is so infinite, so never-ending that it would have only taken the ingenuity of a human to navigate. I don’t think any of God’s creation has what it takes to circumnavigate all the waters that we are surrounded by. True, some fishes are known to travel more than 12000 KMs in search of food and warmth, and better seasons. They still do not come close to us. We may not have the fins or coated eyes of gills or large lungs or whatever. But we do have a thumb that moves perpendicular to the other 4 fingers. And we have the wheel. And we have tamed the fire. And we have sharp tools to make whatever we want to. And we have made them boats that tear around the sea and take us places.

I’ve never been close to one. I grew up in Punjab and while we did dip around in the lakes and canals and the rivers that dotted the state, I never knew of the infinite that an ocean is. Funny that I think about it from the closed confines of the cell that I am locked in. Often when the sea is in a mood and the winds are strong, they carry the smells from the faraway lands. On the nights when the ocean is angry and dueling with the rock, we are on the top of, the moans and the cacophony of the crashes drown even the voices in the head. That’s what all of us want in life. No? Drown them voices in the head? To get out of the shackles and the traps that our own minds have bound us in?

There were no easy answers for Raunak.

On one side, he was in jail for the rest of his life, without a possibility of a bail. Who would bail him anyway? There was no next of kin. No one even knew if he was alive.

And on the other, he held the secret to the greatest treasure known to mankind.

***

Ok, that’s about it for the day. More tomorrow.

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!


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