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 😀

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 🙁

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.

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.

040121 – Morning Pages

A quick, dirty post for today’s morning pages. Nothing significant to offer to be honest.

6:54.

Today’s edition would be small. Probably the smallest that I have ever written. Have a few deadlines at work and I need to allocate some time to it. I am gonna end this by 715. That means just about 15 mins. And I will thus not spend the extra time in fixing the tags, meta data etc. That I can do during the day.

So while I have a lot of talk about (a lot’s on my head), with the limited time I have, lets see how much I get on paper.

If I had to use one phrase to describe how I spent yesterday, I would say, I broke all the rules that I have set for myself for 21.

For starters, on morning pages, I am not to talk about the past per se. Neither are these pages supposed to be part of a journal per se.

Then, I am late with my 2021 plans. It was supposed to happen yesterday but I could not. I was NickyM‘s maître d’hôtel for the day. Nick had some errands to run and needed someone to take the post. I did. And it was fun. It helps that his food is so good that the job is merely getting chatty with people – which I did with ease. I have learned this art of faking conversations with strangers and coming across as a “nice guy” – I mean I think they think of me as the nice guy when I speak with them. I am digressing. So I was to work on the plan for 21 but I could not. I had even decided that I will make myself the priority but I did not. I am actually glad that I did break the rule – I learned that I may like running a restaurant (to add to a million things that I already want to do in life).

Good news is that I am still eating far less than last few days. And I am eating less carbs. Except all the peanuts. I must be eating so many peanuts that the entire country would be left without any chakna with their drinks.

The last thing that I have to talk about is the house situation in Goa. I like it here so far and I can see myself living here for another couple of months, if not more. So that means I need to do two things. A, figure out the house. I can’t continue to live on Rajesh Sir’s largesse. I’d start looking out and will take a 2-month lease from maybe the 15th onwards, once the tourists are gone. May be. And B, need to figure out the Mumbai house. Do I need to stay there. Or do I need to give it up altogether. Thing is, all of it is so dependent on work, on the money. I need to probably fix that first! So that.

Ok, I have 4 more minutes to go.

Oh yeah. So I am in Mumbai in mid of Feb. When I need to attend a wedding of the other Rajesh. Fuck, I have too many similar-sounding people around me. As of today there are three Nikhil’s at the top of my head. There are two Rajeshs. No Saurabhs, which I thought was the most common name in the world. Lol.

So I think that’s that for the day.

There are more that I want to write and talk about but I will leave it for tomorrow when I am not this rushed.

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.

Morning Pages – 201220

In today’s morning pages, I talk about how I miss my routine and a Starbucks outlet as I start getting comfortable in Goa.

Hello Morning Pages!

I slept late last night. About 3 if I am not wrong. And as I write this, its not even 9. I am back to those ways where I would sleep and wake up at ungodly hours and I would be perpetually devoid of sleep and I would have unhealthy food and drinks to make up for the loss in cognition caused by all this erratic sleeping. It sucks. And I need to get out of this.

I think the best way to snap out of this is to get back into a routine. I am probably the biggest creature of routine ever. I do my best work once I know where I am supposed to be at certain times. I am a Type A creature where I want to have control over things. I don’t like depending on others. When the lockdown happened, I was reasonably sure that I would be able to get the book out, write like a MoFo, get fit and I don’t know what. I could not do a single thing. While it’s my laziness to blame, the deeper reason, I think, is the lack of routine.

Of course, I could have created a routine while I was locked down. In fact, it would have been the easiest – there was nothing to disturb me, you know. But I could not. and I think a large reason is that I did not have anywhere to go to. Ok, lemme park this here. Let’s call this A.

So, the point is, I need to get back into a routine. Of course the routine I had in Mumbai and the one I had in Delhi and the one I will try and create in Goa are all going to be different. But that’s ok. As long as there is a predictable routine I follow, all’s cool.

As I think about this, this disruption in routine has been caused by two things – lack of Internet and, believe it or not, lack of Starbucks. Lemme park this as well. Let’s call this B.

While writing this, I realized that I have now been away from Mumbai for almost 45 days. Do I miss Mumbai? I am not sure. But I do miss a few things – My routine for starters. And then, Starbucks. And the sight of others rushing around all the time, at all the places to God knows where. And of course. M.

Lemme talk about each.

M. Not that I meet her every day. Heck, I don’t meet her even once a month and when I do so, I am with her, its with a million people around and for like 10 seconds. Of course, if I met her by myself, I’d get bored in 7 seconds. She’d get bored in 3. Anyhow. Rant. Point is, I miss the thought that I can call S / V and hop over to their house to see her putter around. Now I can’t.

The other thing that I miss? The other lady love of my life. Siren!

What is it that I miss about her and her home? Lemme try and put it on paper. So while a Starbucks outlet is different on different days (Baristas change, people change, the mood of the day changes), it remains the same. Here’s how. The “ritual” they’ve created that you use to order coffee is the same. The regular “kind of” patrons that go to each outlet remains the same (Powai has Startups, Bandra has rich kids, BKC has bankers, Lokhandwala has aspiring actors, Infiniti has writers, etc). Even though each outlet has a different decor and layout, the place is familiar with the brown and green, and grey colors. The people that work there are different but the experience they offer (the way they greet, the way they talk, the way they conduct) remains the same. I don’t know how they train people but they are probably the best set of people in the hospitality business that I have come across. No, the hotels don’t stand a chance. Hotels are fake. More on this some other day. Just realised. Such a powerful message on building experience-led brands. Can go as a post on Marketing Connect / Linkedin. May be.

So yeah. Routine. And coming back to A and B, the thing is, I need to have a routine if I want to do my best work. I need to “step out” from where I sleep at. And I need to get to a place that offers me things in just the right manner (wifi, table, and chairs, yellow lights, ambient music, others hustling hard, etc). I need a cafe, a co-working space, a Starbucks, if you will.

I know this sounds like an extravagent and irratioanl quirk of someone who is probably away from reality and is merely pounding on the keyabord to put some point across. May be. May be not. But I guess that’s all we are. Our quirks. Our whims.

No?

The Small Space Situation

I was talking to my sis yesterday about something and an epiphany happened. I realized that the reason I don’t like to be in Delhi is, because I don’t have enough space here.

Lemme elaborate.

In terms of actual physical space, the house (the only home I’ve ever known) is spacious by all means, even lavish if I were to compare it to the Mumbai houses I’ve lived in. Plus since this home was built by my parents one thing at a time (they are from a time where you waited years before you could add another thing to your home; unlike our and the next generation where you just flash your plastic and you get free shipping), the house is full of utilitarian things that you would find in any house that’s been, well, well-lived (compared to the almost spartan houses that I am used to living in when I am in Mumbai). You name a thing and we have it at home. And it’s all hidden from plain sight. You ask your parents for the most obscure of things and it magically appears from one of the drawers or cabinets or shelves! I am sure they’ve hidden some airplane somewhere in one of those spaces that are inside those double-beds. Ah, the beds here are at least 6′ x 6′, unlike the beds in Mumbai that are smaller than the suitcase I carry when I travel abroad.

The thing that is lacking here is personal space. We live in a decent-sized house and there’s just my parents and I and while they are very very supportive and understanding and caring, they are like me.

Wait! They are not like me. I am like them! Sorry, ma, pa.

So, I am like them and just like them, I need a lot of personal space to even breathe. And since there are three of us that need large personal space, we often find ourselves jostling for it!

However, when I am in Mumbai, I am by myself and even though the houses are like cubbyholes, there’s nothing alive that can potentially encroach upon my personal space. I can play whatever music I want to at whatever volume I fancy. I can keep it as dirty as my laziness permits. Or as spic and span as my old age wants. I could have the walls bare. Or I could paint it with sticky notes where I scribble about my dreams and ideas and aspirations and thoughts and inspirations and so on and so forth.

Plus, when am in Delhi, there is a limit to what I can do (things like going out and coming back at a whim). My parents don’t really mind me doing anything, to be honest, but for some reason, I don’t want to do things that I feel will even remotely bring them inconvenience. And thus, I put shackles on how I live when I am here. And I reduce my space even more. In Mumbai, well, the only person that I have to look after, think about, is me! And that means I do things that minimize the grief that I need to go through. And since I am thinking about just myself, it’s simpler, easier, and faster.

So yeah. That. Personal Space. Or the lack thereof.

The solution?

Make enough money to be able to create an Antilla. Or maybe get an entire Island. And if not even that, live alone!

Over and out.


This is part of 30 minutes of writing everyday challenge. Missed the post yesterday. Back to writing today. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211, 0311, 0411, 0511, 0611, 0911, 1011, 1211, 1311, 1411, 1511, 1611, 1711, 1811, 1911, 2011, 2111.

Mumbai life. In Delhi.

What is a typical day for me like when I am in Mumbai? And how did I try to ape that on this trip to Delhi?

My life in Mumbai is fairly simple boring. I wake up at whatever time. Wait till it’s 6:45. Get ready in 15 minutes. Out of the house by 7. And at the nearest Starbucks at 7:15. Lately, the one I goto (the new one under Versova Metro Station) opens at 8. So I’ve moved all those times by an hour. I get myself a green tea and from 7:15 till about 11 or 12, I am at Starbucks. On my computer. Some days I work, some days I plan to take over the world. Some days I just, well, surf.

By this time, I am kinda hungry. So, I grab either a sandwich or step out of Starbucks to eat something at some eatery. Preferably something South Indian. I then go back where I live. While time with something that’s been open at my end. And then catch a cat nap. Wake up at around 3 PM and then go back to Starbucks, repeat what I’ve done in the morning. And then stay till it’s 11 PM (when they shut their stores). Go back and sleep.

Been on this routine since these cafes opened up. I know I am being stupid and putting myself at risk but I’ve had enough of the four walls and I have to feed off the energy of other people. Oh, there are some days when I deviate from this routine when I have to meet some people or run some errands. But more or less that’s the routine I follow. This will change once I go back to Mumbai, will take up an office space. And no, I can’t work from where I live.

Since I came to Delhi for this break, while I have been on the road a lot, for work, I have essentially been holed up at home. And I HATE it. I am anything but a home-rat (if there’s a term like that). To a point that I cant work at all. Ideas dont come in. Words dont flow. Genreral lethargy takes over. I am sure this is evident in the posts of the last few days. Things that I can normally do in less than 5 minutes, at home, take me an hour to do. If I can do em.

So today, I did what I would do in Mumbai. The most accessible Starbucks to me (about 14 KMs away) opens at 9. I was out of my house by 8:20 and by 8:55, I was outside. When it opened, I was the first customer. And got myself an Americano. Yeah, I am back on coffee (see this post). I was there till about 2. I got more work done in these 4-5 hours than I did in the last week!

Then I walked to and ate at Naivedyam (a South Indian joint). Took a cab to go meet an ex-boss. Jammed on ideas for an hour. And then now, back home, where I am writing this post struggling to get the right words to express. Nah, I cant work from home 🙁

If not for time spent in commute and the general curtness of people I met today (Baristas, cabbies, etc), I could have very well been in Mumbai! And you know what? I loved it! Just that I wish I lived closer to a Starbucks!

With this, over and out!

This is part of 30 minutes of writing everyday challenge. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211, 0311, 0411, 0511, 0611, 0911, 1011, 1211, 1311, 1411, 1511

The Delhi Discipline Discussion

Why do people from Delhi act in a certain manner? I put on an amateur anthropologist’s hat and investigate.

I am in Delhi as we speak. I am here for Diwali. I know COVID is wreaking havoc on how life is, especially in the two places that I call home – Mumbai and Delhi. And I know this too shall pass. And I know words are of no use per se in such situations. But I do know that us humans are more resilient than even cockroaches and we will prevail. And with that self-assuring message, lemme get to the rant post of the day.

The Delhi Discipline Discussion.

Delhi has always been subjected to those loud opinions about the lack of discipline (when compared to residents of other large cities) and I think these accusations are very true. We are loud. We are vociferous. We like to assert our opinions, even when we aren’t really asked for those. I mean, look at this essay. Who asked me to write this? No one. Who cares for what I write? No one. Who’s flip their opinion about Delhi after they read this one? No one. And yet, I am writing this.

Of course, this is an attempt in writing for 30 minutes. And thus I am happy to post anything that comes to my head (which, today is Delhi). But I do have an important point to make.

Don’t shoot the messenger.

While people from Delhi are known to lack discipline and thus are hated for this, I am proposing that rather than chastising them (and me – I call Delhi home), we need to look at what drives this behaviour. I am no anthropologist but I am an amateur people watcher and that means I have a perspective on why we are, how we are.

Let’s investigate…

The roots of Delhi

Delhi, like any other old city, is like a melting pot of cultures and people and tribes and opinions and ideas. One of the lores I read once, it says, Delhi will go through seven cycles of prosperity and doom. Each time it dooms, it would rise from the ashes and create an even more fabulous, grander city on top. Of course, the fables are more romantic than factual but it says something about people here. That they are survivors. And they know how to build things from scratch. And that means there is something in their DNA that makes them take initiative. Not in the starting-up sense but in taking-a-stand sense.

The ones that go thru the cycle of doom and bloom are known to have no patience. They say Mumbai is the city that does not sleep. I’d say Mumbai does not sleep because if they do, they’d perish. It’s more like they are on their toes all the time. Delhi, in comparison, is made up of go-getters. They know that life’s short and they need to do things now. And this manifests into aggression on the roads, disdain for rules, love for shortcuts, and all that.

So, next time you see a Delhi guy trying to break queues at a cinema hall (now that they are open), don’t hate him. Hate the genes that have been passed to him over the years. You know, don’t hate the player? But the game?

The upbringing in Delhi

Now that we have established that Delhites are gifted with genes that are little, well, fast. Now, let’s look at how they grow up. Unlike Mumbai (the only other place where I have lived for long) where kids are privileged (even in the poorest of the poor locale, kids have this sense of belonging and identity), Delhi kids don’t have it. And intuitively, a child wants to assert it. You know, genes at play. And there is so much competition that the kids in Delhi are forced to ace the Darwinian struggle. And thus, the already raging genes are nurtured to become even angrier assertive.

Plus the super swings in Delhi weather and the Delhi temperature that varies from -5 to +50 cooks the grey matter in your head in this curry that is more potent than that open bottle of aam ka achaar in a tightly packed bag of clothes in a third-tier AC compartment.

The grown-up man-child of Delhi

This applies to men more than it does to women (for some reason, almost all Delhi women I know have been at par with women from other places). I’ve been called a man-child since I become a man. And I am proud of it. And even though people in Mumbai hate this about me, I think it adds to the character. Lemme elaborate.

They say that progress in the world is made by the unreasonable man. The troublemakers, the misfits, and the round pegs in square holes. If left to the regular ones, we would probably be still in the caves with leaves as clothes and a chisel as our communication tool. If not for these, we would still not have discovered all the countries that are the epicenter of consumerism and progress and growth. If not for these, we would not have that mad dash at asserting and discovering the new that has pushed us forward. If not for these, we would be a timid bunch of species that would cower everytime we hear a distant rumble!

I can give numerous examples. But I hope you get time drift. At least the ones from Delhi would. In fact, the ones from Delhi, ladies, and gents, are as round as they come. And thus, I postulate that these grown-up man-childs from Delhi are all responsible for all the progress that we’ve made!

Think about it.

And with that, over and out. See you guys tomorrow (hopefully – I have a long day and I may not be able to take out time).

Part of 30 days, 30 minutes, 30 posts project. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 021103110411051106110911, 1011.