290321 – Meditations

I talk about how I oscillate between wanting to hang out with people and being alone. And more such contradictions.

6:51 AM, Andheri.

Back. Was at a friend’s place in Worli for 2 days. Had lots of inaction, saw a lot of films, ate a lot of food, met a lot of friends, slept a lot, indulged in a lot of inaction. Did a lot of thugging out, like I wrote yesterday. It was nice. I could get used to a life like that 🙂

And for some reason, was so spaced out that I had to be alone.

That’s the thing. I love people. I love hanging around them. I like the idea of talking to them and learning from them and feeding off their energy but for some reason, I need to be alone as well. To describe people like me, I used to use this term when I was younger – pseudosocial. I even had a blog about it back then where I would use the lens of value investing to learn more about becoming this extrovert that’s a closet introvert.

At the time I did not know what it meant.
But now I do.
And I think I am exactly that – pseudosocial.
Need to investigate this more as I go along.

The other thing that I realized is that I feel guilty when I dont work.

The work may or may not amount to a lot of output, but the day I dont spend 18 hours in front of my computer, I start thinking that I have wasted my day. Since Friday, I have been literally wasting time, even if I was meeting friends that are like family. I was. So, I had to come back to action.

And action could only happen at a place where I am alone.

Here is the thing. If I have to work better, I have to be with people that I do NOT know, if I have to get in the flow. Of course, I have this compelling need to be around people but if I have to do my work, I need to be with strangers. And I need places that are plush and AC is at 22 (no blower), tables are well-anointed, carpets are thick, people immersed in their respective work things. You know, places like a WeWork or a Starbucks. If I am with friends, family et al, I tend to get distracted and nothing ever happens. So that.

Ok. What else?

Yeah! I discovered music from Enigma yesterday. I don’t know what genre is the music but I do know that I loved their tracks. I have heard somewhere when I was a kid. I remember, in under-grad college, I even was part of a dance troupe (lol) where we would practice on one of the Enigma tracks. Bachpann se hi fighter ;P

I think this is about it. A shortpost.

Oh, I do have a mini-project that I want to take up for the whole of April, I will NOT post anything negative on these morning meditations. If you spot something negative, please DO point that out. This came out from a chat a few days ago with PM and his inputs on morning pages. Let’s see if I can improve this.

And here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages – 108
  • #aPicADay – 88
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 19
  • #noCoke – 19
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0

Over and out. See you guys tomorrow.

280121 – Morning Pages

Inane update. You may want to skip this one.

7:12.

Been up for a while. The fuckery of yesterday about the inability to comprehend the Farmer’s Protest is sort of fading. Most sane people I know are asking me to stay away as each side has vested interests and are working on the narratives. But then I am not sure if that’s the right way to go about it. I need to know what’s happening around me, in my country. I may be insignificant but I do have opinions and I like the idea of knowing. Vegetating is not for me.

So, the internet worked well yesterday! For a change. Thank you Design Centre. If you need a great place to work from, do check them out. I think I will go there again. Even though they are at Provorim and it takes some time to reach there but I am ok with it. At least the Internet is reliable and since they don’t have any kitchen, I am away from crap. Oh, that’s what I’ve realized. If I have no options to eat, I tend to stay away.

Goa is now reporting lovely weather. The kinds that I’d love to live in year-round. There’s a nip in the air in the morning. The afternoons are bearable and the evenings get pleasant all over again. I think if someone wants to come to Goa, this is the best time to do so! In fact, I am thinking, I should have come here at this time – all year-end tourists would have been back, all locals would have started to spring out. But then, I am here now. So that’s cool. I am also close to my self-imposed deadline of Jan 31 of making a decision about living in Goa.

I am still on the fence, to be honest. A lot depends on work. A lot depends on money. I think the Internet and mobile connection is a challenge if you want to live in Goa. But if I do decide to live here, I think I can throw money at the problem and solve it. Mobile phones, not so much. But the internet is solvable for sure. It’s only about getting 2-3 connections that are fast enough. Hope something works out that allows me to live from here. Oh, I am in Mumbai for a few days I think in the next week. I have some errands to run. Let’s see.

Oh, I am also gonna pick Shumbur.com back. I haven’t had the time to act on it at all. Among other things, the hunt for a stable internet connection has kept me busy. I don’t know more people but the ones I do, I need to engage with them, get into a conversation with them. Write on those experiences. Showcase them, get feedback and then scale efforts.

So that’s that. I don’t have more things to write in today’s morning pages. Except that I am grateful to be alive, grateful to have access to a roof, grateful to have some people that I can call friends. Damn lucky I am! Talking of luck, the Spotlight is just 2 days away and I am in jitters. I have been to so many other events in the past, have managed, arranged, and produced so many of these smallish events that this should be like the back of my hand. But no, I am in jitters. Guess cos this one is super close to my heart? See this thread.

So, I think this is about for the day. I feel as if I should write more. But I dont know what. Guess will pour some thought on #book2. But before that, today’s track is this.


And here’s #freewriting for #book2. Missed it yesterday but I am back.

Rujuta was curious. “ABC, what are those red bottles doing all over your house?”

“Oh those? They are to keep the monkeys away.” ABC sipped onto the coffee that she had just brewed.

“What do you mean?”

“This place has a lot of Monkeys. We are a jungle remember? And it’s their jungle. We are mere visitors”

“Yeah. So?”

“These red bottles keep them away.”

“How so?”

“I don’t know. But you start picking these tricks when you start living in the jungles. Not that we’ve left a lot of it. Look at all those towers coming up. I know that people want homes but at what cost? Us humans fuck everything up. But listen. Don’t let my ideas spoil what you are here for. Shumbur.com you said? Tell me more?”

“Well, Shumbur is my attempt to talk to 100 people from Goa and chronicle their journeys, lives, and all that. Plus I needed a new project and this looks and sounds like a good idea.” Rujuta said.

“So who all have you talked to?”

Rujuta couldn’t understand why this was almost the next question that everyone asked them!

“Wait. I am intrigued by these red bottles and monkeys. Do they really work? Tell me what other tricks did you pick up?”

Just then a branch snapped and some leaves rustled in the trees that Rujuta was facing. ABC had her back to those trees and she motioned her head and said, “there they are. Ask them what keeps them away.” She laughed and took a sip onto her coffee.

Rujuta noticed that even though ABC came across as a happy cheerful person, there was a tinge of sadness somewhere. She couldn’t put a finger on it but she knew. Her years and years of experience with seeing people from behind the lens had trained her to spot these patterns. She considered herself a fairly good people-watcher, but not as good as Tarana. And that was ok. Tarana had many more decades over Rujuta!

“And Nah, no more tricks. You just need to get used to the dogs and mosquitos and snakes. Oh, and those insecure vultures and sharks that want to take you for a ride.” The comment from ABC was uncalled for. But Rujuta sniffed an opportunity of a story there. These instincts are what makes a good journalist stand out from a great and she was no doubt among the greatest ones!

She knew she had to get to the bottom of it and fish out a story. If not for Shumbur, then for her curiosity. But she knew she had to be patient. So, she made a mental note of it and continued to smile at ABC.

***

Ok, that’s it. Couldnt find the right words 🙁

Maybe tomorrow I will. Maybe tomorrow is better! Over and out.

260121 – Morning Pages

What if you could treat life as a video game? You know, you play the game of life. And not just live or go through the motions.

7:09. Woke up about 10 mins ago. With a stomach ache. I think it’s the Maggi and Coke combination that is fucking my system Or all the coffee I had. Or the heartburn from the lack of Internet and all that. Something has to be done about the food situation.

Anyhow. So yesterday was super eventful. I had some million calls to make and in between had to sort a billion other things. And as expected the Internet decided to not work. The Vodafone signal decided to disappear. People decided to be at their worst. Sigh.

But then there was this silver lining as well. The opportunity to talk to a few entrepreneurs that are still building their business, thanks to Spotlight (an event that we at Podium have cooked to get aspiring entrepreneurs and investors together). It was so gratifying to talk to them and try and see that there’s so much that I can do. This is what I have been gunning for, all my life! I wrote this thread about it. It is here.

The larger thing here is that this looks close to what I want to be doing in life. You know, life purpose.

Which is what? Create opportunities for others! I have realized that I may not be the kind to go super deep into things but I am definitely the one that can look at the large picture and recommend simple shifts and nudges. It is amazing to see the aha moment come on their faces when I point out these simple things!

Of course, I am not the only one that is doing this. There are so many more people out there that do a better job. But then that does not diminish what I do. And I think I need to scale these things.

The other thing that happened and what I want to sort of write a #SoG on is equating life to a video game. Lemme give some backstory. As a kid, I loved those 8-bit Nintendo video game machines and game cartridges. You know, Contra, Mario and all that? But these were expensive things and you couldn’t buy either the game or the cartridges. So we’d rent them from local stores. This was probably my early exposure to timeshare, I guess. And because these were rented, we’d have limited time with those. Which meant that within a day or two I had to play out the entire game. I had to play to till my heart was full, till I had killed the boss, till I had got to the princess, till I had found all the hidden easter eggs, till I had found the bug that gave me unlimited lives in Mario, till I could boast that I have cleared all of 8 stages of Contra without losing a life. All this had to be done in a limited time. The time that I did not have – I had a school to go to, watchful parents, one family TV where I could hook the machine, the enmity on the cricket ground and I don’t know what all.

But somehow, I could manage the game.

Yesterday when I was thinking about things in life, somehow this dawned onto me – what if I treat life as a game? What if I am in the game? I need to play it out. I need to defeat the Boss. I need to get the princess. I need to find the wrap zones to help finish the game faster. I need to master the moves. I need to find the equivalent of up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start for this game called Life.

And suddenly, all the fuckery, all the issues in life, all the things that have been affecting me started to look like problems that I could try and solve. And to the brain I’ve been given if you throw a problem at me, I will try to solve it and find an answer!

So that!

What if things that affect you, you try to look at those like a problem that needs to be solved? What if you play it like a game? You know, learn for the first few stages, level up your skills, acquire new powers, solve challenges that are increasingly tougher, get rewarded with coins that trick your brain into releasing dopamine. Listen to this clip. Do you think you feel good instantly?

Oh, man! there are so many of these people playing the Mario track. I just went down the rabbit hole. There is a guy on the guitars, another on two guitars, there an entire orchestra, there is a guy beatboxing! I can waste an entire day listening to these. And as I type this, I have this silly smirk on my face!

Wait. Coming back.

If I you treat life like a game, things probably will look better. Life’s a game and you have a limited time with it and you need to play and learn and evolve and beat the boss. As simple as that.

Guess that’s it. There is more that I wanted to talk about. Lemme try quick bullets. Dont want this to become a tome.

1. I realized that working for someone else comes with its challenges of managing other people’s egos. You don’t need to be just good at what you do, but you have to know how to navigate the corporate jungles and dirty politics that people engage in.

2. The freelance life doesn’t exactly set you free. You are still exchanging your time for money. What sets you free is a thing that makes money even when you are asleep. Like Naval says, you need leverage. Need to get to that.

3. For a change, I am not inspired by anything to do with the Republic Day. Far cry from the staunch nationalist that I was growing up. I think this is a good thing and a bad thing. Good – I am not being a jingoist. Bad – I am sort of losing my identity! I am as Indian as they come!

4. I saw that I had written in the last few days on #freewriting for #book2. I realised that most times, what I write for book2 is inspired by what’s happening in life around me. Now that’s not cool. I am not here to write a biography. The idea is to write a fictional story that entertains people!

So that. I wish I had the time to write more. Each time I write, I get some more clarity. I think I think the best when I am either writing. Or talking.

Chalo, onto #freewriting for #book2 for the day. I hope today’s post is not something that happened to me! I am at 8:45. Will write till 9:15.

Here we go…

“You know Chintan, love for me has to be that all-engulfing fire that rages on. I want to be consumed with it. I want to revel in the misery of knowing that you are around and yet you are not.” Rujuta was getting poetic.

Chintan was anything but poetic, “I get it”

“No you dont, you liar. How did you even keep that straight face on TV?”, Rujuta slapped his wrist.

“I was naive. And the cameras were of shitty quality back then!” Chintan replied plainly and ran his hand through her hair.

This was their first time they were alone after they had sort of acknowledged that they were more than just acquaintances. Both of them had scars from their previous relationships – Rujuta’s gashes were deeper than Chintan’s. Their scars had made them nomads, they were drifting through life aimlessly. But both of them were now at a point in life where they felt the need to have that comforting person to come back home to. No, they did not acknowledge this yet. Not to themselves. Not to each other. Not to the world. There’s time and place for everything.

“But you know, Rujuta, life’s not as simple as we make it to me.” Chintan egged on. He had still not told her that he was still married. Not that Rujuta would care. But it was still a big deal.

“You’re telling me?”

“I know what you’ve been through but Raju there’s a lot more about me that you need to know.” Chintan had started to call Rujuta that. In her entire life, no one had ever given that as a nickname. She wanted to hate it but she couldn’t pinpoint a rational reason to do so. There was nothing wrong with it, except it sounded like the nickname of a man. She was still not used to the name though and it still felt alien, impersonal.

“I know I need to know more of you. You need to know more about me. Isn’t that what relationships are about? Each day you discover more of your partner. You get more obsessed with each other. You cant take your mind off each other.”

“Bro, you are talking like a 16-year old romantic in conversation with her 42-year old lover.”

“You are 42. And you make me feel like a 16-year old!”

The playful banter was going exactly how they had imagined it to. If Tarana could see Rujuta reveling like that with another man, she would probably sleep better!

***

Ok enough. Was tough – romance is not my strong suit.

Over and out!

As always, if you want to get these updates on your WhatsApp everyday, lemme know. I will add you to the broadcast list.

Hope today’s better!

180121 – Morning Pages

A rant-ful post about inane things. You may want to skip reading this one.

6:27.

I’ve been up for a bit. I slept at around 10 last night. And thanks to all the movement in the house next to mine, I had a fitful sleep. Did I tell you that the walls are wafer-thin here? But I think I feel as rested as I ever could be. There is some soreness in the ankles, claves, and legs – that I think I can blame on all the walking I did yesterday. I will come to it in a bit.

So, I have to say that I’ve not been myself for the last few days. I think more than anything else, the financial insecurity is eating me alive. Lol. Hyperbole. But yes I am worried about money. I mean I know that in the long run, I will be ok (wait, when exactly is this long-run? I am almost 40 and I have been in this hand-to-mouth state since I was 25). Anyhow, I need to pay salaries in about 10 days and rent in about 15 and I am not sure where would I get that money from. I did not want to take more debt this year and I don’t seem to be finding enough work. In fact, more than just worrying, it’s also making me into a person that I am not. I am avoiding people. And the ones that I do end up talking to, I am being curt with them. I am faking my emotions a lot more (even though I want to have coherence in my thoughts and actions). I am unable to express my true emotions and I am merely going with the flow. I like being in control (even if it’s a fake sense of control) and without the confidence that money gives me, I seem to be losing this ability.

The worse part is no one around me understands what I am going thru. They don’t have to, to be honest. They have enough shit in their lives. I am not their priority. This is one of those rare times when I wish I had someone to understand me, be my side, and tell me all will be ok. Maybe that’s why this rant on the blog? Am I trying to make this inanimate object, a bunch of pixels on the internet my companion? I think times like these and situations like these make people start believing in God and other cults? Maybe this is that weak point that everyone talks about that comes often in lives?

But then, I know, this too shall pass!

Ok. Hoping it will pass. Moving on.

So yesterday was like any other day. Did some work, slacked some, and then vegetated some. Vegetated as in, merely existed and did not do anything leaves a mark. Did not even talk to the two people I call friends in Goa. I know that I just have 1810 days left before I need to show results on my lofty goals and while the impending deadline inspires me, I am also fucked in the head because of my inability to move the needle. I am not sure what is stopping me. I think I have everything needed to whoop some mad ass and make an impact and get rich in the process. I am no longer lazy (I was till maybe 2017). I work harder, longer, and smarter than most people I know. Of course, I am smart. I have no clue what is that thing missing in my life.

Wait. Could it be the focus? I mean I’ve always been that person that does multiple things. May be this meandering at multiple places has got me to a place where I have some interesting things under my belt. And maybe to scale from hereon, I need to focus on one thing?

Will think on this during the day and report.

Anyhow. The good thing that happened yesterday was that I walked 20K steps. The plan was to do that on the trot but I took two breaks. Which is ok. I at least walked. From Baga to Fort Aguada and then back. I spend some 30 minutes at the Fort seeing the sun go down and see the day merge with the night. Absolutely loved the time I spent there. Clicked some great (I hope so) pics. Realized my limitations as a photographer. Wish I could be better at it.

Here are a couple of photos for you to gawk at…

I loved the spot so much that I can see myself going there often to catch the sunset. It’s kind of far from where I live (and once I take a house, where I intend to live) I think if I were not a loner, I think this trip to Goa has made me one. Am absolutely ok in my own company now.

Oh, the other crazy thing that happened last night when I was trying to get sleep was a deeper understanding of A R Rahman’s music. Because the internet was not working, I put on ARR’s Sufi set that is saved on my phone. The set has tracks not just from ARR but others that have adopted the Sufi way of life. And for probably the first time, I could relate to their music, the higher purpose, the bhakti, the effort they put in, and the connection they must feel to that nameless faceless thing that people call God, Universe, higher power, energy, whatever. I could feel how the music for them is not about entertainment. Or about practice. Or money. Or validation. But about respect. A tool they use when they want to feel closer to their creator. The trance they get in when they are one with their creator.

No, I have never felt such a connection with anyone or anything but I could clearly picture them living a life where they are in a complete submission to the almightly. I have to know more. Maybe I will chat with Sowmya one of these days. Maybe when I go back to Mumbai to wrap things.

That’s about it I guess. I have a long day today with quite a few things to work on. And a few IRL meetings to squeeze in. I plan to work from Felix for a large part of the day. Let’s see if their Internet holds up today. I have to find a solution to this Internet thingy if I have to be in Goa. It’s been acting weird since Friday.

Chalo over and out. Hope you guys have a great day. Onto #freewriting for #book2. It’s 7:27 and the battery is 6%. Will write till the battery is 1%.

The only complaint that Mrs. Gomes had with tourists that came into Goa is that they did not respect the local traditions. Especially from North India. The ones from the South were a lot more respectful. They probably understood the way of life in smaller communities. But they were far filthier than the ones from the North. It was like choosing a lesser evil and she would take filth over disrespect. So when Chintan first walked into Caravan Serai, Mrs. Gomes looked at him with the default disdain that she had reserved with middle-aged men from north India that wore linen shirts to hide their beer bellies that were bloated all the more with all the butter chicken they had probably eaten.

Chintan looked no different. He would have been smart in his younger days. He was atleast 40 and he still had a head that was full of hair. His hair was better than what most Indian men had and he had a hairband on to pull em back. He carried a leather man-purse that he plopped loudly on the bar counter. The bar was a curious choice. The entire place was empty and most people chose bars as the last option ever. Chintan clearly was unlike most. He pulled a bar stool with his leg and while trying to settle down on it, he got busy pulling out his paraphernalia from the bag that had seen a few years. Without looking up, he continued to fiddle with his things and said to no one in particular, “Could I have a glass of water? Cold, please? And a Gin and Tonic – whatever is your choice. And an ashtray please.”

These three lines told Mrs. Gomes that he was going to be an interesting person. He did not fuss about the brand of Gin or Tonic. He wanted his water cold. And he spoke with the authority of a man that knew how to command respect.

He had pulled a stack of loose sheets and was twirling a pencil in his fingers. He looked up to the bar with a questioning gaze at Mrs. Gomes. She took her sweet time to respond to him and said, “On its way. You new here in Goa?”

Mrs. Gomes had to know every patron that walked into Caravan Serai. Even though the place was now much bigger and much in demand, she still liked to run it her way. Basant and Udita often told her often to take it easy and cede control to one of those hospitality management companies that had sprung up. Mrs. Gomes clearly did not think that the two girls made sense. Each time they had this conversation, she would respond by telling them about the promise she made to her father and the legacy of her family, and then she would pace around with an apparent worry about who’s run the place once she was gone? She knew she wasn’t going away anytime soon. Even though she was 73, she was as lucid as she was when she was 23, could out-work Udita, some 50 years her junior, and keep a sharp eye on her staff of almost 30 people and all the patrons and guests that came and went throughout the day.

***

7:53. 1%. Gotta hit publish.

So that’s it for the day. See you guys tom.

170121 – Morning Pages

Nothing special to report in this one. This is more like a journal of how I spent my yesterday. You can skip reading this.

6:53 AM

Had a pretty ok yesterday. Compared to the day before. Worked some. Wrote some. Tried a new coworking space in Goa (Felix). No, the internet did not work well. Neither did the phone. So it is as good as Clay, just that Felix is free for the whole of Jan. So I can save some money. Will go again today and report. Oh, while working, a friend told me to play music from video games. He had a convincing argument – video games are designed to help me level up (difficulty, experience, immersion) but for some reason, it did not work for me. I’ll try again today before giving up. Nikhil is an advocate of electronic music. However, I did listen to (and enjoyed) this lo-fi version of a track that talks about how friends need to come to Goa once a week at least. Fuck I really want to write, make films.

Lol.

Irony.

Goa.

Friends.

Anyhow, I also managed to do OMAD! Yay! Realised that when I am busy and I don’t have options, I don’t eat a lot. When I work from Nicky’s place, I am in a cafe that makes amazing food. And thus I eat like a pig. When am Clay, the kitchen shuts at 5ish. And I don’t eat a lot. At Felix, the kitchen is non-operational and surprisingly, even if I was hungry, I did not feel like eating. So that helped. And yes, once I was back, I promptly had Maggi (lol) and some 20 kinds of chips.

Then, I sent an SoG after a while. Read it here. Need to move from Mailchimp. I also sent a Letter to Bade Log (Bade Log is some 10-12 people are senior and I know they care for me). In both, among other things, I talk about Living in Public. These morning pages is an attempt in that direction!

Finally, as I was waking up, I even had a dream. This one was funny. It had my parents, M&m, and me on some sort of a video call. No, my folks haven’t ever met M&m but it was funny to see them in one frame. Guess this is the acceptance my brain needed that M&m are an integral part of me? After all, when dreaming, we reinforce things that our subconscious is thinking of.

So that was yesterday.

Today, am going to try something daring. I will move my blog from blogger to this domain. There are some 2000 posts. Let’s see if I crash this one. I have Abhinav, Advait, and Arpit on standby ;P. You’d know tomorrow morning 🙂

There is nothing large that is clouding my head to be honest. Except work 😀

Not sure what else to report on. Except I liked how I spent my day yesterday. I just need to add some friends and family during the day and I can continue to live like that. Of course, I need to identify something meaningful that I can spend my time on. May be writing it is? It gives me joy and it allows me to reach more people. I need to merely figure out how to get better at it!

Enough.

Onto #book2 #freewriting piece for the day. There is no mood per se today, unlike yesterday. So, let’s see what comes up. It’s 7:41 and I have a 27% battery. I will write till 8 (or till the battery runs out).

You know how it is when you are traveling on a train in India? The night has fallen and the scenery is rushing past you? In distance, maybe in some other coupe, someone is playing some really old, corny music that wafts to your ears. You know that you know the track but you can’t keep your finger over it. It irks you but it also comforts you. Everything about the journey is discomforting. The thunderous speed with which the train moves. The bright lights in the middle of nowhere that rush past you before you could figure what they were shining on. The slow dance the metal box is in as it moves forward. Tired eyes of strangers, over-friendly travelers that try hard to break the monotony with small talk. Wait, they are passengers. Not travelers. The only thing that comforts you is that faint music coming from that other coupe that crane your ears to latch onto.

To Sita, it seemed all the more strange. Her experience with popular Bollywood music was very limited. She was raised in a strict community where even the women were expected to learn how to fight. And no, not fight to save in case of an emergency but fight to go on the offensive and be at the frontline. Fight to become an assassin. Yes, they were told that all their training that they literally spilled their blood for may never be used. While they were ready to kill and get killed at the drop of a hat, they were told that they like almost everyone in their community, would die of old age. The unlucky ones that did die early on were the ones that were called to literally throw away their lives when they turned 18. What a waste. You train since you are 4. You spend 14 years learning how to wield weapons in a strict community. And as you turn 18, you need to fight a group of 4 other assassins that have been tasked to kill you. These 4 could be your parents, best friends, even your own wife. They don’t show no mercy when they attack you. And on your 18th birthday, you need to keep yourself alive in a melee that lasts an entire day. That’s your rite of passage. That’s your license to live from here on. Only to hope that you’d come useful in that unknown war that not even the seniors in the community knew when it was coming.

Sita knew she was the best of the lot. Maybe that’s why she was chosen to be sent on this journey. By herself. When you were called, you had to make the journey by yourself. Nah, they were not scared of those petty wayside robbers. They were more scared of the ways of the world outside the boundaries of their commune. Out there, the world moved too fast and it had no honor and no respect for traditions.

Unlike other kids, Sita had shown literally no emotion ever. Even when she bled for the first time, she was bereft of any fear or confusion. She did not even ask a question. She reported it matter-of-factly to her brother, who was 2 years older. The brother was aghast and did not know how to respond. When she skinned her first goat, her face was as stoic as that of a priest deep in meditation. On her 18th birthday, it was the other 4 that tapped out. It had never happened and no one knew what punishment to give to those 4. One of those was her own father. The community had probably found its future leader in Sita. And if not the leader, then the warrior that will lead them into the war. Whenever that war happened. Whenever she would be required to make that journey. The journey she was on. The journey where she sensed familiarity with those popular tracks. The journey that would not take her where she intended to reach!

***

Ok, I enjoyed writing this. The time is 8:13. And the battery is 9%. Did not realize when 8 AM came and went. Flow, baby! While reviewing, realized that it has come out nice. Need to work on sentence formation and grammar.

Over and out for the day.

See you guys tomorrow.

Also, I send this link to some people on WhatsApp as a daily update. In case you want to get this as well, lemme know.

130121 – Morning Pages

Conversations with friends and strangers. About Ikigai, writing, life purpose, success, failure, and more. Oh, and scarcity of time!

7:22. This one should be ok (unlike the last one). I have no pressing agendas today. Just the way I like it!

I think these morning pages have found a rhythm. I talk about what I did the previous day. Pick on a thing from what I spoke about. And then try to think more about it, while I write. And then I write a para for book2. The entire thing takes me about an hour and it is enough to put me in a good mood, to be honest, even if I wake up with a shitty one. In fact, as I type this, I have a smile on my face.

So, lately, I have found comfort in music from Suits. People have made a playlist of tracks from Suits and even though I don’t understand half of those, I love em. In fact, I have been discovering new music here in Goa. Like the other day at a hotel, I heard this track called Jerusalema. Since it was playing on a shitty speaker, I thought it was in Hindi (really) and even when I put my head to it, I could not make it out. And when I Shazam-ed, I realized that it’s in one of African languages!

The other thing was that I got to meet Karl yesterday. He’s been one of those that I look up to in life. He had a couple of interesting things to say about things that I thought i had a deep understanding of.

A, Ikigai. You know, the Japanese concept that helps you find purpose? I thought I knew where I want to (which is to enable and inspire others with what I do and create opportunities for them) but when I was talking to him, I realized that I need to sharpen this. My notions are idealistic (something Rashi also tells me all the time) and are not practical at all. He said (and I agree) that no one would pay me to inspire them unless I become a motivational speaker or something. My personality is anything but that! So, need to think more about that.

B, On account planning and strategy. He said that as a planner you have to get into execution as often you get sucked into Blue Ocean thinking and you don’t know shit about how your strategy is translating into actual work. This is very similar to being a management consultant where you don’t have any skin in the game. Now, I want to be anything but that. So, next time I get a gig, I will try and be a part of actual execution and implementation as well. This is a very very important lesson for me. #sgP1.

The other unintended consequence of my chat with him was that I read that Gaurav Jani passed away last year. I did not know him at all and to be honest, his passing was more news to me than a personal setback. But he has been one of those people that I have been incredibly inspired by since I can remember. When I was young, he did something that I would have, well, killed for. He rode to Ladakh on a bike and made a film about that. All solo. I mean imagine taking shots of your bike, all by yourself. How’d you even do it? And he did all this way back in 2006 when all this was not even known, let alone be cool. Plus there was no ubiquitous Internet, phones, mounts, cameras. I cant even imagine how’d he charge batteries and all that. The dude must have been another level shit.

Lesson? Time is a bitch. You gotta do things now. Err on the side of action. #lifeTheme!

Moving on. On another work call, where I was giving my opinion on how things ought to happen, I was asked to shut cos what I said was in direct contrast to what apparently Kunal Shah, the grand-daddy of all start-ups folks in India, had said. A, if he has said what he apparently said, he needs to be taught. B, even if he said what he said, it may have worked for him but in the specific case, it would never work. You can’t use one-size-fits-all with startups. Of course, this is not about him. This is about me. The conversation hit me like a tight slap on my face that you could be the most educated, well-read, opinionated, caring person in the room but unless you have tangible success to show for, no one gives a fuck about what you have to say. Your opinions are not important. They are invalid. You are asked questions that, well, question your credibility.

No this is not the first time something like this has happened to me. But thank God it happened. I am inspired. Need these bouts often. In fact, I am so so so much inspired to create a fucking massive success that when someone asks me such questions, I can tell them that I’ve built massive shit and they are fuck off.

I know revenge and being sore is not a good emotion (#note2self – Pale Blue Dot, This Too Shall Pass, Seneca’s lessons) but I am human. And I hate when people I care for do this to me.

Anyhow. I think I am ok now. Last evening I was seething in anger. To a point that I could not operate. The world thinks that I am a loser and that’s ok. I have no complaints. But when the ones that I am close to think like that and operate from that place, I hate it. Really.

Lemme talk of something good. Spotlight is finally taking shape. We are gunning for the first edition of the event on the 30th. More here. In case you want to pitch your startup to Dr. Malpani, here.

So, today on, thanks to the kick in the butt by Karl and this nameless-faceless person that told me that am useless, I will try to be a lesser loser. I’ll try harder.

The other thing that I want to talk about this party with some strangers that I was in. The host introduced me to some people as a famous author. For some reason, I felt like an imposter. I mean, all I have is one book. That too has failed to make any dent in anyone’s life. The kinder reviews say that it’s average at best. I don’t even want to read honest or negative ones. The second book is nowhere. Been on it for like 10 years and have nothing to show for that. I hated it when I was introduced like that. Yes, please do introduce me as a creative consultant, creative producer, writer (not just of books), marketer, podcaster et al. I am ok with that. But I don’t want to be just a “famous writer”. I want to be the person that tried. Not the person that rests on laurels. That too, not well-defined.

So that’s that for the morning pages.

As I edit, I realise this has become dark and harsh and ranty. But that’s that. The smile on the face of having typed all this is still around. So that’s some comfort.

So, on to #freewriting for book2. So, for this one, I have talked Prak into giving me a prompt every day to get me started with my thinking.

Today’s prompt is…

Red. The color of love and hate. Of life and death. Blood and rivers, hellfire, and heaven song.

– Prakruti Maniar, Jan 2021

Here we go…

Red was a funny choice for the color of the gown that she wore. Even though the host had clearly mentioned that the theme for the evening is white and blue, she wore red. Red stood out. What was supposed to be a party where dreams were to be talked about, futures were to be looked at, she chose Red. The color of love and hate. Of life and death. Blood and rivers, hellfire, and heaven song. She did not choose red on purpose. She did not have a choice. This was the only gown she had that could pass off as a decent dress into the party where the invite cost her a night with that old bastard, Paul. The party has been the talk of the town for a while now and who’s who was expected to be there. Together they were going to plan the future of the sleepy state of Goa. There were talks of taking the casinos on land, thereby greatly reducing the costs for the owners. One of the proposals was to allow for new high-rise construction near the beaches. They wanted to make coal mining a priority for the state. The coast was going to get opened for large scale music festivals that would get the who’s who of the world down to Goa.

The gates were being opened for the world to make its home in Goa. And at the same time, those very gates were being shut on the faces to keep out the ones that rightfully could call Goa home. The promoters blamed the locals for their lackadaisicalness. The locals wanted to be left alone. The two sides were never going to find a common ground. And this party was an attempt in the direction. In attendance were going to be socialites

Ankit Paul had put all he had and pulled all the strings he could to make this happen. His entire fortune and the reputation that his family had earned since forever was at stake. More so, after his father passed away, his personal credibility and integrity was being questioned. No, he did care for what people thought of him. He had more skeletons in his closet than the ruler of African countries had. But he did care about his bank balance. The power he wielded. The political ambitions that he couldn’t seem to find a route to.

This party was going to change all of that. Hopefully for good. And give Paul the respect that he’s craved for since he was a child. Respect that his father never accorded him. Respect that he had to fight hard to get. Respect that made him do all the things he did. Respect that mattered to him more than life or death.

***

Damn tough! But I like how it has come out!

What do you think?

And over and out. Hope it’s a great day!

271220 – Morning Pages

I talk about, well, morning pages. And I talk about music, films, people, ideas and more. In a nutshell, just another day 🙂

8:51 AM

Another day when I woke up late.

That’s cool. I am finally in the Goa state of mind, you know, not worried about work or money. For a change. Guess the hippi-isation of me is complete.

So morning pages for the day. Since I started asking people about this, am getting great feedback. Note2Self. Stop using “great” a lot. The word has been sort of patented by someone greater that is hoping to make his country great again. I love how you create such slogans. I wish I could!

On the morning pages, BG told me that these are not meant to rant and then seek feedback. I agree with her and while I may rant, the intention is not at all to seek feedback. Ranting and being critical is my nature. I like being ultra harsh on myself and others around me. I have had people drift away from me cos of this. And you know what, it has worked well for me so far. So I am ok. Maybe once I stop being harsh, I will know if the harshness was actually working!

So despite BG’s input, I will continue with the morning pages in the same manner that I have been going in. Though I would take Krishna’s input on making these more about ideas and less about reflection and future-gazing.

Lemme start with a few ideas.

Remember that caretaker-hustler that I talked about a few day ago that is trying to sell me a disputed property? He’s back. This time he has a 4 bedroom place that he wants to sell for a crore and a half. I am not sure how he’s getting these fancy notions about me. Poor thing doesn’t know that am not known to have a penchant for real-estate deals.

Yesterday was a particularly useful day for ideas. Spoke to two Nikhils and talked about two different ideas. One related to events. Other related to content. The two things that I think I know well. Not sure which one of these would work but I realized that I need to be able to sit across the table to crack such conversations. I am not being able to do these virtual meetings and conversations well. Guess I am too old. Wait. Why do I want to abuse the older generation? Most seem to have taken it well. It’s me who’s an anomaly.

The thinking that I did on book2 in the first few days of moving here? That seems to have taken a back seat. That’s the thing about creative projects. If you stop working on those, work stops! So need to get going on that.

Oh, while I am writing, I am tripping on music from Dangal. Here.

Back to morning pages.

So ideas.

While talking to NA yesterday, I realized that I am more of an idea man than anything else. The trouble is that there are way too many idea-men around me. And everyone has learned that adage that ideas are a dime-a-dozen and execution is what matters. So, my value is diminished per se. That probably needs changing. Either, the ideas get so superlative that you can’t ignore. Or you find a partner that is as cool with execution. Like a Shikha. Or Prakruti. Or Akshay.

Wait. Rather than talking about ideas, lemme talk of an idea.

So, today I am supposed to go watch a filmscreening at the Museum of Goa. It is followed by a talk with the writer and the actors. There are some big names here. What if I put the film festival in motion at this venue? The guy clearly has a screening space for films. I have had this idea to do a screening festival for at least 2 years, if not forever. So, why not?

Here’s another idea

Get a house in Goa and convert that into a BnB. That challenges obviously is to manage guests in the times of COVID. But from what I am seeing, there are people that have moved here lock, stock and barrel. And there are people that are moving in for a few weeks, few months to work from here. If nothing else, it is solid passive income. Need someone to throw in the money though.

That’s the thing. Money gets money. Even WEB had access to money when he started his partnerships.

In absence of that, like Naval says, you need a network to create opportunities. And that will probably be the trip for me in 2021. I have stayed away from creating networks and time and again I have seen people reach places they don’t deserve just because they can network their way in. No, I am not sore at those people. I am surprised that I missed this simple fact. If there is one lesson that I can pass on to the next generation, I would say they ought to go to the fanciest schools, colleges, live in places that are above their means, get memberships at clubs, play golf and so on and so forth. These are the places where you get to meet interesting people. If there was a social network to get all these people online, I’d love to join that. ASmallWorld did that well in early 2000s. I don’t know where they are. Maybe create a platform for such people in Goa to interact with each other? What could this platform be built on top of? A Who’s Who guide in Goa? A magazine? Do people still read magazines? A physical club? Like Soho House? Again, do people frequent clubs anymore? And will people travel in Goa? Will have to think more. What do you think?

Ok, the last bit for the day.

Living in Public.

Everyone knows about building in public. A movement where start-up founders are creating businesses in public. They share what they are upto. They share the lessons. They talk about failures. They do small experiments to see what sticks. They pivot fast. Each pivot is public (far cry from the secrecy that typical startups are known for)

I think this living in public is going to be the future of life. It would make you more accountable, more accessible, more human, more authentic, more connected, more consistent. It would reveal your true nature. You know, like you are naked. If everything you did, even in the privacy of your bedroom were to be published on the front page of a newspaper, how would you change?

In one of the unpublished pieces I wrote for one of my books, I talk of a guy that dies in his bathtub. The guy outwardly is an Alpha, a macho. But he has these ducks floating in his bathtub. Imagine when the world finds that, how would it change your reputaiton? That!

So yeah. I want to talk more and more about this living in public. May be write a manifesto or something that encourages others to do so.

It beings immense peace when you know that you dont have to keep pretences!

With this, its over and out for the day.

See you guys on the other side.

953 AM

PS: Every time I publish these morning pages, I send these to a few friends on WhatsApp. In case you want to be added to the broadcast list, lemme know.

171220 – Morning Pages

I ramble about music, writing and how people dont seem to be enjoying what I write on these pages.

171220. 0704. Just woke up. Eyes are not even open and I am on my computer, writing. Have vague recollections of dreams of the book that I am working on. And a couple of projects that I am involved in for an agency. And Dil Haare by Ankur Tewari. And I can’t get over it. Love the rustic sounds, the beating of the acoustic guitar, and his voice. Simple lyrics, repeated over and over again. I am in love.

That’s the thing that I want to try next, apart from making films – write music. Not music. Poetry that I get people like Ankur Tewari and Lucky Ali and more to sing. And use those songs in the films I make! And while I do that, remain anonymous if I have to. Reminds me of that lifegoal of mine where I want to hear a stranger talk about one of my books when I am in the room and the person does not know that I am the author. I am not sure what perverse pleasure I’d get from this but I would love it.

More I think, the more I realize my locus of achievement is outside. I need validation and respect and inputs that what I do matters. And I need a lot of it. And constantly. I want to be known for what I do. I want what I do to open up opportunities for me. I want to be powerful and impactful and all that.

On the other side, I want to remain part of the crowd. I want to be the aam aadmi. I want to get lost in the crowd. I want to be not highlighted in any manner. Little weird but that’s that.

So the first things that I recall as I wake up are work things. And that’s probably not a good thing. Or may be it is. I don’t know yet. Arti told me yesterday even if I were in heaven, I would be busy working. She’s not wrong. I dont know what else is there to life if not work. I know work may be meaningless in large scheme of things. But I do know that this work helps me keep sane. And trust me when I say this, helps others keep sane! More on this someday, when I write my biography.

The other thing is that I am trying hard to not make this a blog. Or a journal. With the sort of public life I live (where I think in public on twitter and blogs), it’s tough to separate what I think and what I say.

Anyhow.

So, here’s a thing. I am itching to get going on book2. Probably all the Goan vibe around me is making me work harder for it?

Ok, the alarm just rang. I had put cos I needed to wake up early and get some work done. But I was up before the alarm :D.

Talking about work, here’s the thing. I think all the world that says that you need to start the day with some workout and all that? Crap. It may work for them, but for me, unless I start the day with some tiny achievement of having created something, it’s not cool. You know, make my bed, write these morning pages (been just 7 days lol), think about where to go in life (even if I am old), conjure dreams like The Brain, and so on and so forth.

So I want to be that person that is like a robot. You hit play and the dude starts dancing. You hit pause and the dude stops. No emotions. Super stable. Very very sharp and alert at all times. I don’t even know if its humanly possible. That’s the point right. Becoming non-human? Detached?

Grrr…

So much rambling. Without any context. Or flow. Or logic. Sigh. In fact one of my most regular readers told me that he’s stopped enjoying what I write. I on the other hand am enjoying these morning pages so much that I actually look up to waking each day. I don’t know if what I write has gone down in quality. Or if what I write has become too honest. Or if what I write has stopped being interesting. But the fact is, if he is not enjoying what I write, I need to fix. May be this is what Julia Cameron mentioned when she said that you must not share your morning pages with anyone? May be I need to take my pages private? Dont think so. Goes against my ethos.

Anyhow. I dont know the answer. Will think over the next few days and figure. Signing out for the day.