030921 – Morning Pages

This might very well be the last post on Morning Pages till the mid of October. And no, no grand revelations.

7:30. Shelter. Last day here. Phew.

Did not sleep a wink on my last night in Mumbai. No, I was not anxious. I think it’s all the tea I am having at Starbucks. Plus I have been thinking about life, work, success, achievement, contribution, health. And how despite all the wisdom I may have, why and how I remain a failure. And about friendship, relationships, romantic partners. And why I am unable to maintain these. And the thoughts of moving away and looking forward to the road. And how I like to drift and refuse to call one place, one person, one thing home.

So, I leave late in the night. And then I dont know when I would be back to Bom.

This is for the first time in years that I would not have an address in Mumbai. I can use VGs or SJ2s place as an address if I have to, but they are not mine really. Their homes, houses are theirs. And that means I am borrowing from them. And enough of borrowing. I am going to have to borrow to fund the short film I was recently a part of. I will have to borrow again to fund my team’s salary. No, I dont want to cut the losses. To me, people are important, even if I am unimportant to them. I’ve learned the hard way that you can’t really trust others. For all the talk that I may indulge in about being reliable and trustworthy and being there and all that, it’s impossible to have that going with others. Except maybe with your parents. Every other relationship is a transaction. #famousLastWords ๐Ÿ˜€

Ok. I am ranting. Deep breath.

Moving on and coming back to borrowing things, I think what I need to learn and internalize is that most of our lives are essentially the time that we’ve borrowed from destiny. The debt collector can come calling anytime, unannounced and you have to give in. And while we wait for the Yamdoot to come in, it’s what we do in this borrowed time that defines who we are. And no, nothing I’ve done seems to have defined me. As Naval says, once you die, you would be forgotten by the third generation. Which is a very very useful concept to internalize. I know about it subconsciously. I try to live each day with the assumption that we are all ephemeral. And I try to keep my emotions at bay. But then, I am human. I falter. And I make lapses in judgment. So that.

Oh, I have a very very sore throat. I dont know why or how. I did not really drink anything cold. I was more or less indoors. I dont know what’s caused it but I need to be careful. Just 15 days to go and I can’t afford to fall sick. I mean, for starters, I haven’t been training. Then, I dont know how to wear shoes. And then there’s a load on my shoulders as I would walk in the mountains. Not to forget my nasal polyp. And the damn hernia. And the persistent back pain. Lol. I sound like a rickety old man that does one thing and one thing only – complain about old age!

In fact, funnily last night only I sort of made a bet with AS about getting abs. She mentioned that she’s gunning for 2-3 by December. Not that she’s not fabulous already but she still wants to go beyond and aim for a better state. So, I am so inspired by her resolution that at a whim I promised her that I would also try and get them abs. At least 2. Right now, I am 38. And to be able to get to abs, I need to be 32 or something, I think. Probably as tough as climbing Everest but I will try. September has been good. While I am not walking per se, I have been able to manage OMAD for three days now. Let’s see if I can manage other things. So that.

I guess this is about it for the day. Funny how history repeats itself. The last time I left Mumbai, I was on a train. Just like this time. Though, last time, I was going away from sgMS. I dont remember if she had come to drop me but I do know, with the advantage of hindsight that I should’ve stayed back with her.

But then, this time, there’s no one to say goodbye to. Or the regret of walking away from someone. There have been relationships that I value but I think those are past their expiry date, their borrowed time. Apart from maybe, M. But then my love for her is probably as lopsided as they get. She wouldn’t even realize that I am no longer around. If the world forgets you after 3 generations, I think children forget you in 3 minutes and move on.

And as I move on from Mumbai, let’s see where I land and when I am back. If I am back. Let’s see what destiny has in store for me and where I end up. I need to sort of relook at how I’ve lived my life and the failures that I have piled up. Without learning from my mistakes. And I’ve continued to, repeat those ๐Ÿ™

Let’s see what I come back with once I am back. With this, over and out. Here’s streaks…

  • OMAD โ€“ 2
  • #book2 โ€“ 0
  • #noCoke โ€“ 176
  • #noCoffee โ€“ 20
  • #aPicADay โ€“ 0
  • Money spent โ€“ 1201
  • Killer Boogie โ€“ 0
  • 10K steps a day โ€“ 0
  • Surya Namaskar โ€“ 0
  • 10 mins of meditation โ€“ 0
  • Minimaslism Counter โ€“ -2 +1 (ease of shifting)
  • Morning Pages / Meditations โ€“ 266
  • NOFAP – 2. Starting this counter today. Let’s see how long can I go.

PS: This may very well be my last morning pages post till the mid of October. You would know if you dont see a post by 11 AM tomorrow. If this is the last post, this would be the 267th day on the trot when I wrote an average of 1000 words each day. Incredible job, Mr. Garg!

Also, streaks are an important part of my life now. I will keep em going here.

130821 – Morning Pages

A dump of things that I spent a lot of time mulling over yesterday. I think this is what Living in Public really is!

8:28. Starbucks. Friday the 13th. I just hope this day goes ok! You know, superstition and all that.

So here are the things at the top of my head. In no order…

A. Walked 10K after ages.
Even ran a bit. Not ran. Hobbled. For about 300 meters. And then panted like a cow in Delhi’s garmi. Did half-pushups. Just need to get consistent with it. Lol. This consistency is my Achilles Heel. I am great at doing great things in spurts. But I suck when it comes to doing things for long, I suck. #sgQuirks. So, need to fix this.

After the walk, I was missing Diet Coke so much that I decided that I will break the 150-day streak and have one. And I even made my mind to get a frozen one, pour in a glass and savor the taste.

And then I did not. Yay! #win

Here’s a promise. If I reach the Base Camp in one piece, I would get a Diet Coke for myself. So let’s see.

B. Away from Bom.
It is starting to hit home that I will be away from Mumbai for some 2-3 months. I was away last year as well when I lived in Goa but I still had a house and my things were here. This time, I am moving lock, stock, and barrel. In the sense, I am putting my things in a godown and letting go of the house I have here. So, come to think of it, it’s like letting go of the city that I have come to love. For the freedom, access, opportunities, friends, love-interests, hopes, miracles, tears, sea, misal-pao, and more that Mumbai gave me.

No, I am not going away for good. I have to make it in the films business. And startups. And teaching. Lol. A million things yet again. Mumbai is where I would be.

Or maybe not. I mean if I get away from Mumbai, I would either be in Goa. Or out of India. Goa is more of a state of mind where things are slow and all that. But come to think of it, the only one thing that is keeping me back here is M. She may move on as well in the next few months. Post that, who cares where I am.

Wait. Isn’t life like that? You plan plan plan plan and more plan. For the future. And then it creeps up on you so slow that one fine day, you realize you are 38 and you are still planning for the future. What future? At 38, people retire!

C. Applied to a few jobs (I dont know why) last night on Linkedin.
In exactly the same heart-less, mind-less manner that I approach my attempts to find a relationship on dating apps.

I mean I like the idea of a gig that gives me a lot of money. I like the idea of being in a relationship that gives me joy. Not that I am dying hungry. Not that I am joyless.

Thing is, I know I want to do better than where I am. I know I need to get more stable. I know I need a companion. I know I need more than what I have. And yet, all I do is heartless, half-baked attempts at fixing things.

I dont know a way out. But that.

D. Writing.
I did not write on book2. Neither on SoG Book. Damn.

If I have decided that writing is going to be my thing, I must push myself. I must wake up each day with the intent of pushing my craft! For without that, I dont know why I exist.

E. Self-respect.
Yesterday, I got into this weird conversation with someone I care for. Even though I know that my attempts at patching things will not lead to fruition, I still tried. And as a result, I was left with heartburn.

Not cool at all. I must work to get my self-respect quotient high. I shouldn’t do these stupid things. And these have been happening with increasing frequency. Need to fix it.

Will work on this over the next few days. Need to become more stoic.


So that.
Living in Public!
A list of things on the top of my head.
A lot to fix. May be over the next few days.

Here’s streaks as I start the day.

  • OMAD โ€“ 0
  • #book2 โ€“ 0. Did not write yesterday as well. Missed for 2 days in a row.
  • #noCoke โ€“ 155
  • #noCoffee โ€“ 0. Had two. Venti. Tall. Americano.
  • #aPicADay โ€“ 0
  • Money spent โ€“ 30 + 30 + 130 = 190
  • Killer Boogie โ€“ 0
  • 10K steps a day โ€“ 1. Finally got 10K steps in. After 2 weeks.
  • Surya Namaskar โ€“ 0
  • 10 mins of meditation โ€“ 0
  • Minimaslism Counter โ€“ -2
  • Morning Pages / Meditations โ€“ 245

The Aram Nagar Documentary

An introduction to the Aram Nagar Project. A documentary where I want to explore this place called Aram Nagar.

I won’t be exaggerating if I said that Bollywood fuels the dreams of millions of people and gives hope to billions. I have been so enamored by it that my first book, The Nidhi Kapoor Story (2015) was all about it!

And then, thanks to luck, sometime in 2018 I met Shikha and we somehow created The Red Sparrow (largely her effort) and it took me deeper into the glamourous world of the film stars that I had never imagined I could get access to.

And alongside, I saw first-hand how the world works. I saw how people you call friends stab you in the back to get a shot at fame, how guardian angels support you even if you are nobody, how the industry is and wants to remain a closed circle, how your heroes fail you, and how thousands of people chase the ever-illusive dreams of seeing their names and faces on the posters and hoardings that adorn the towns and cities across the country.

Truth be told, these dreams do come true. But only for a handful of these dreamers. The handful that “make it” make the headlines. And the hoardings. And more. The millions that are left behind are well, left behind. They become like that distant relative that you know you have to talk about but you get uncomfortable their name is brought up.

These people start their “career” in relative anonymity and spend their entire lives hoping to get that fleeting shot at fame. The hopes, more or less get dashed! Even though these people work the longest hours, in a neverending rat race. Slog the most even when they know they would likely face rejection. Face non-stop rejections, only to chin up and show up the next day. Hold their dreams the closest to their chests and open their hearts the widest. Seek and lend shoulders to others of their ilk. And hang out at communes at, well, Aram Nagar.

Aram Nagar.

Aram Nagar is where the cine aspirants go to learn the craft and hone their skills, participate in auditions that can make or break their lives, cry when the dreams are shattered, rejoice at even a remote hint of opportunity, celebrate their victories, play with each other and scheme and plot and plan and conjure elaborate ideas to get “noticed”. By casting directors, if not by the directors or producers themselves.

Aram Nagar.

A lazy village characterized by a tangled maze of gullys and dusty footpaths and bungalows in various stages of ruin. Most of these bungalows tote a “no audition” sign on their facade and yet there is always a group of “strugglers” hanging out. Hoping that they would get “spotted” and get that shot! After all, everyone has heard stories of how some random kid playing cricket at the maidaan was chosen for a meaty role. If this could happen to them, why not to us? That tiny, fragile thread that they call hope is a bitch. You don’t want to let go. You don’t want to stay tethered.

Aram Nagar.

Aram Nagar is their solace. It’s their hope. It’s where these people that want to conquer the world get called “strugglers”. A tag that gets attached to their lives till they make it.

It is this wondrous world of Aram Nagar that Mudit and I wish to explore, investigate, capture and immortalize.

Both of us are enamored by it. Both of us are keen on understanding the phenomenon. Both of us want to know more about the people that have left their homes behind. In search of what they think is their rightful place in the world.

More in the next few days as we get closer to doing this. Meanwhile, if you know people from Aram Nagar, please do connect me with them and help me pick their brains for this.

Update. 24 Jun 2021.
We put out an audition call for people that know more about Aram Nagar. Here…

The audition call for the Aram Nagar Documentary with Mudit

PS: Also, the content on this page is my version of the project. I am sure Mudit has some flavor to add. He may even disagree with a few of these things. So that.

170221 – Morning Pages

A longish post where I have dumped all that is clouding my head. I talk about Mumbai, Goa, Money, Work, Shah Rukh Khan and more!

7:43 AM.

Am at a Starbucks. The Powai one. This is where I wrote most of #tnks from way back in 2013. Or was it 2014? Whatever it was. I used to love the early morning grinds (this one opens at 7 AM) and flurry of words that would come out. Truth be told, I miss it. I mean I still live a tiny hop away from Starbucks (4 of them!) but for some reason, the one at Powai feels like home. Things have changed – your know, ambiance, people, staff partners, what I do in life but for some reason, the Powai Starbucks feels like home!

So, the morning pages. I have quite a few things to dump on paper. I am not sure if I would have the time. I have a LOOOOOOOOoooot of things to work on. Actually, lemme start with that.

Work. So thanks to COVID and the general fuckery with which I live my life, I am struggling to make ends meet (no wonder! Mr. Garg, you are wasting 500 bucks on average coffee, you dumb-wit!) and as a result, I took on everything that came my way. Most of these things are where I need to create make. And that means I am left with very little time or energy to do things. And that means I am unable to make things move. Remember what I spoke about movement the other day? And what Sheba told me as well? That!

So, I need to find more work where I am paid well for being a mere manager. You know, not invest a lot of time and get paid for experience and expertise. Right now, I am slugging it out like a modern slave. I am paid for my time. I exchange money for time. I am not getting rich while I sleep. The hourly rate that I charge can continue to go up but at the end of the day, I am paid for the hours that I put in! And that has to change. Naval has talked about this so many times that it’s impossible to miss it. I just need to find a way to get to a point where I no longer need to charge for my time. So, that.

This is also related to what PG has been saying for years – Maker and Manager. PS: PG is probably the best essayist that we have on the Interner right now. Do read his stuff. Gold.

So that’s first thing I need to work on. Someone, help me please!

Moving on. So this trip to Mumbai (wow, did I say this trip to Mumbai?), I have been indulging – you know, watching TV, spending money and all that. And you know what I realized? I like love to spend money. The only pair of shorts I have, it was housing dirt and muck and I don’t know what else from at least 3 months. And since I don’t have a washing machine or help or even the time to let it dry after I wash it, I had to buy another one. I bought the exact same one and I loved the feeling of swiping my card on a machine at an almost fancy store (Marks and Spencer). And I am wearing it today. And I feel good about it. In fact, I was out with a friend last night (well, thug life) and while talking both she and I agreed on the following relationship between money and happiness. I call these ‘SG’s Rules of Scarcity or Abundance of Money‘. These are not really my original thoughts but a mere articulation of what I’ve read and what I understand about it.

Here we go…

  1. While money may not buy you happiness, it definitely makes your life comfortable. If you are indeed sad, you’re better off being sad in the comfort of your plush home (or the backseat of a Merc) than being sad at a place that doesn’t offer you any privacy. You know, in shared accommodations, large families, Internet (lol!), etc.
  2. While money may or may not make you happy, not having money will definitely make you sad. I am the biggest living, breathing, moving, thinking testimony of this. I operate at my best when I am comfortable.
  3. Money gives you the freedom to do what you want to do. And this ability (or inability) to do things that you want to is often is the root cause of happiness (or sadness).
  4. Money allows you to control your time. You become the master of your time and this mastery is what drives happiness or sadness in large parts.

Am sure, there are more. I will write them in a separate post and publish em here. But one thing’s for sure. I love money. I love earning And I love to spend. I can’t wait for the achche din to be back. Come on, Universe!

So that’s that. The next thing? Happy Accidents. At the Starbucks, I bumped into an old acquaintance. This is what I love about places like Mumbai and Starbucks. These places allow for serendipity to happen. Plus, there is something about a hug that a Zoom can never make happen. We are social animals and while we adapt fast (and we will), at least for me, the handshakes are as important as breathing. I just hope that I am not obsoleted to a minority that still wants to meet IRL. Sigh. That’d be sad.

Once I understood the power of living at hubs, I have tried hard to find those and move there. The move to Andheri helped me like mad. If only I had some passive source of income, I would have done a lot more. Wait…

Wait.

Epiphany just happened.

I just dawned onto me that I love Mumbai WAY too much to not live here (#facepalm). Even though I don’t have anyone here that I can call my own. Even though I hate the dirt and the filth and mess and all that. Even though the place is expensive af. But I love the convenience of living in a big city. I love that I can dream here. Unlike in other cities. I like the idea that people are open. For ideas, conversations, business, work, and all that.

But then I like the idea of being a rootless bird as well. I loved the time I spent in Goa (for all the fuckery around the Internet) and I am getting serious about a cafe in Goa. I’ve made a few phone calls, have connected with a few folks, have started to do the maths! Again, I am not sure about it. I will let it simmer in my head and see where it goes.

The point is, while I was in Goa, I loved it. Now that I am in Mumbai, I love this. I am easily swayed I guess! Let’s see where I go life takes me and what I choose and what’s in store for me. To be honest, I am very very ok with the ambiguity and randomness and all that. Just that I need to be comfortable ๐Ÿ˜€

There’s one thing though that I’d like to know. How would the world change with WFH and all that? I tend to believe that places and things that thrive on IRL human connection will continue to remain in vogue. You know places like Mumbai and businesses like films. And things that do not need you to be in the same room as others, may change radically. Places like Silicon Valley and things like technology and software.

So that. Any ideas?

Before I move to the next thing, am at 9:47. Been writing for two hours now! And I still have a lot to write about! Lemme use bullets to take notes and I will probably pick these up tomorrow. And in case I don’t, at least I would send these to my Roam.

  1. SRK (who else but Shah Rukh Khan). I dont know where to start talking about him. Or where to end. He is, well, one of his kind.
  2. Met Sid Saahil from TID Podcast yesterday and shared notes. Learned that despite him coming from an affluent background, he hustles 10X harder than what AD and I engage in at Podium. We have to pull our socks. Such rude shocks are required once in a while to keep us on course. Will write a Twitter thread about the lessons from the meeting.
  3. A documentary on Aram Nagar. I was at Aram Nagar yesterday. Realized that someone needs to make a documentary about it. I mean it is as iconic a place as any and the contributions of Aram Nagar to Bollywood has been immense! I wonder why it’s not been captured so far? May be it has been, just that I haven’t seen it yet.
  4. Writing Tips. A few days ago, I started a series of writing tips. Primarily to friends that are nonwriters. Here’s the first one. You can join the no-spam, admin-posts-only WA group here.
  5. Someone asked me what was I doing when I was 31. I had no answer. When I asked her to tell me the year (I was 31 in 2013), I could remember with great clarity where I was! I always thought people operated in terms of ages but I realized I operated in years. Dunno what to make of it. I just found it interesting and amusing. Here’s a question for you. What do you remember better? Age? Years? And what were you doing when you were 11? 21? 31? 41? 51? Do tell me!
  6. Another conversation yesterday made me realise that you need to find underserved markets that could be immensely boring! Cases in point? Recruitment for young startups, digital marketing for mom and pop shops, content farms etc etc. These are really boring and non-sexy businesses and yet they deliver exceptional opportunity!

So yeah. That.

I know it’s a lot for a day. Guess this was a long time coming. Am glad that I could finally pour things out. I just need to continue with the flow and get going on #book2. And no, I am clearly not working on #book2 today either ๐Ÿ™

110221 – Morning Pages

A quick post on talking about the fact that I am back in Mumbai! Yay! Even though I would go back in about 10 days.

8:11. I have 19 minutes to do this.

Today’s one of those days where I cant even die. AA would laugh at this but it’s true. So, the things am thinking about are…

I am in Mumbai as I write this. At least till the 19th.

I am here after exactly three months (went to Delhi for Diwali on 10th Nov and then Goa on 6th Dec). When I reached home, a rude shock awaited. The house was in a mess. There were inches of dust, dead bodies of cockroaches, moss on the furniture, the stale smell in the almirahs, and whatnot. If you know me, I want things to be perfect af and I am anal about cleanliness. I was fucked in the head. But then I was too tired from the damn train journey and I slept. Fuck I am at that place in life where bodily comforts are more important than mental stimulation. Old age, boys and girls, sucks!

Lemme talk about the train. Yesterday I said that I will see if I could work from train. I am happy to report that the experiment failed gloriously. I couldn’t get a single thing done. The train journey is way too uncomfortable and obtrusive. The guy sitting next to me could not stop peeping into my laptop, my phone, my shirt, and I don’t know what else.

And that means that I have this BIG pile of things that I should’ve done yesteryday. And thus this rush to get over with these morning pages before 8:30.

So, the good thing is that I am writing from a Starbucks. Love that the store is clean, AC is perfect, cheap jazz is playing. And I just got myself a coffee. After a few days. I wish Goa offered such predictability. But guess that’s the charm of living in Goa and that’s what makes life fun. But the point is, at a Starbucks, I come into the rhythm, the zone as fast as, well, a train.

Anyhow, there’s more but there’s no time. This tweet by Anusha summarised my life so perfectly.

Let’s see if I can find more time during the day to write more. Till then, over and out. And its 8:29! Fuck so cool!

PS: This is not really the morning pages that Julia talks about but I had to keep the streak going.