291021 – Morning Pages

A lazy morning page post. Despite spending an hour or so on this, I dont have a lot to write. Sigh!

7:08. Home. Finally here after a week or so.

The highlight of yesterday would be that I was on a set. And the epiphany, the realization that I love love love being on a set. It is where I feel alive. It is where I am the most engaged. I may be good with content, writing, etc, but I really really love being on a live set – an event, a film, a play. Something where people get together to deliver something that would make the world lose a sense of time and misery that they are typically engulfed in! I have to find a way to be on more sets more often!

Lemme dive into the journal. I dont know what to write the journal allows me to think in a structured manner. Here’s the journal.

  1. Emoticon: :|.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 0. Again, I am unable to focus on anything for more than a few seconds. That too has become a task. I think once this madness is over, I would work on this. If it requires me to take drastic steps, will do so.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I have a home to come back to where I can be myself. A place where I can sprawl on the bed, make a mess and sleep wherever I want to and there is no one who’d bug me. This concept of personal space is very very important. It’s been a few years since I have had a good one. I need to work towards getting to it again. At least right now, I am grateful that my parents worked hard to get this place.
    2. Music. Not mine. But in general. I find great solace in music. When I am mindfucked, music is one of those things that I can escape to. Like right now, I am listening to this one. The other thing that I lean on when I am mindfucked is driving. Need to be able to get a car.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. If I can finish some of the open tasks, especially for the clients that pay me, it would be great.
    2. If I can avoid food till 4 PM, it would be great. I am home and it would be tough to do so. Let’s see. The good part is that I will definitely be able to avoid Coke and Coffee. So that should be great.
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I have enough money in the bank to take care of myself and my people. It is enough to nudge all of us closer to our respective dreams and wishes.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. I was a set. I realised that it’s the best damn experience. To the extent that I feel alive, engaged and in the moment. Time flies and I dont even know where it went. I think I must do whatever it takes to get closer and closer to being on a set. Help me, universe!
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. I had decided that I would not eat till 4. I did not eat till 2. And then I gave up. If I did not give up for 2 more hours, it would be awesome. It was a start nonetheless. Today, I will try it again. The last meal was I think around 11 last night. Today, let’s see if I can eat at around 4.
    2. I had way too much coke and coffee. I need to avoid these two things.
    3. If I did not leave my shoes behind in the cab I took to come home, it would have been nice. I hate when I am careless and leave things behind. I will try to get those shoes back. Let’s see.
  8. Quote for the day
    “Hope is a good thing, may be the best of the things. And good thing never dies.” – Andy, Shawshank Redemption.

Here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 0.
  • #noCoffee – 0.
  • #aPicADay – 0. Missed posting one yesterday. Will restart from today on.
  • Daily Journal – 22
  • Money spent – 4288
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 22
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 22

131021 – Morning Pages

Tiniest post that I have written in a while. Need to rethink how I work on morning pages.

8:23. Another hotel in Gurgoan. Liked it yet again. The idea of being by myself, meeting people once in a while for work, and then disappearing somewhere is very very liberating. I need to somehow create a life that enables me to do this more regularly! So that.

I must say that these days I am tripping on this track by Israel. I wake up and put it on loop and let Iz croon and it’s soothing like a bhajan that my parents would probably play when I was a kid. Here’s a thing about my relationship with music.

What else? I dont know what else to write. Need to rethink on what I do with morning pages.

Anyway, here’s the journal.

  1. Emoticon: :). Again, I like the idea of waking up by self, having no one to bother me and having my morning to myself. I love this and I need to ensure that I have more of this.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 1.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. Again, I slept at a decentish hotel.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. If I can escape the non-workingness of the last few days, I would like it.
  5. A daily affirmation
    I will do what I want to without any fear or input or judgement from others.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. Got to sleep well at a hotel.
    2. Could work on a few things that were open over the last three days. I need to close many more things today.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. If I could’ve managed time better and been little more assertive, it would’ve been better.
  8. Quote for the day
    No quote today. I am running from one thing from another. Like I said, I need to rethink these morning pages.

And here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 0. Had a few. Wont have today on.
  • #noCoffee – 0. Had a few. Wont have today on.
  • #aPicADay – 6. Here is today’s.
  • Daily Journal – 6
  • Money spent – Tracked.
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 6
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1. I am retaining this from last time around.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 7

An Ode to She – Elvis Costello

An ode to one of the best pieces of music ever created and ever featured in a film! From the lens of a hopeless romantic that refuses to lose hope!

So in the morning yesterday a few days ago, a friend sent me this Instagram reel. I saw it, with audio. And my jaw dropped to the floor.

Someone has taken the track that I love like mad and put it on a happy scene of a woman running in a tight alley. The camera is close on her tail, she’s consumed by her happiness and everyone in the scene is sort of coming together to make her experience even more beautiful! You know, the shared celebrations that the primal us want?

Barbell back squat | Exercise Videos & Guides | Bodybuilding.com roid clit Buy Legal Steroids | Bodybuilding Supplements | CrazyBulk USA

This has to be one of the most beautiful portraits of a woman I’ve ever seen.
Ever.
In my life.

Please please please please see it.
It’s at instagram.com/p/CQJzn9nn_rI.
It’s a pity I can’t seem to embed it.

Ok. Deep breath.

So, She.
Here.
Listen to it, if you want to.

She, from Notting Hill

Lemme talk about it.

My memory fails me but I think I first saw heard experienced this track when I saw Notting Hill all those years ago. I dont recall when was this, to be honest, but I must’ve been very very young. However, I remember that I definitely lived in a lower-middle-class part of Delhi. English was a language of the elites and thus aspirational. English was still making inroads into daily parlance. It was considered cool to listen to English music. The only music to trickle to my remote corner of Delhi was the pop chartbusters like Backstreet Boys, Bryan Adams, and others. No, the rock music scene around me was limited to one or two sightings of a Bon Jovi fan. And in rarest of the rare cases, Sweet Child O Mine by Guns N’ Roses.

So, back then, being able to namedrop an English track immediately elevated your status. It was a sure-shot way to become an anomaly in the group of kids that were otherwise stuck on Super Commando Dhruv and Lucky Ali and all that. You were perceived as cool. You’d get more “followers” to flock at you. You’d become that alpha that every kid at that age aspires to be. All this, without trying if you could blabber names of some English songs.

This is when I probably first heard music from Notting Hill. It would have been a pirated version of the film (with subtitles downloaded separately), this was well before the unlimited Jio’d Internet days.

Oh, those days. I remember I got my first computer in 1999 something and we would have dial-up connections and floppy disks and pen-drives with less than 1 MB of capacity. So watching films meant firing up Windows Media Player. Even Winamp! Films were still in CDs that you could rent from various holes in the walls. Often the print was grainy and often the film would get stuck, you know, scratches on the disks. Damn, those days. Of anticipation. Of hope. Of pain. Of wait.

Ok. I digressed. Coming back.

So I would have seen this film on a computer screen. Sometime around 2003 when I was finishing college and preparing for CAT (and thus trying to deck up on English). It’s been almost 2 decades since I’ve remained hooked to the film!

I would’ve seen this film at least a hundred times, if not more. I have literally rattofied the film. I remember the dialogues and scenes and expressions and costumes and the props that you place next to the actors in those complicated set scenes and everything else about the film.

Thing is, back then, when I first saw this film (and heard music from this film), I would have ignored “She” for sure. For it competed with the more famous “When you say nothing at all” by Ronan Keating / Boyzone. It was the track that each “just a girl” that stood in front of a boy asking him to love her would have heard on loop. And imagined a love as warm, as goofy, and as (im)perfect as that of Anna and Will.

Heck, I have pictured myself in that garden, on the June and Joseph bench, under the trees, on a clear, moonless, starry night. I continue to do so to date. Before I die I want to be in that setting. With the love of my life.

Ok. Digressed again.

So coming back. Fast forward a few years.

To this day and age.

With time, I have traveled a bit, seen a bit of life, and probably evolved a bit. I’ve seen Notting Hill again. With fresher eyes and a deeper understanding of the idea of love, friendship, and relationships. And it is one of these recent viewings that I started to appreciate “She” a lot more.

I now understand the contrasts that Costello talks about. I can now decipher the abstraction of shades from the extremes. You know, pleasure or regret, heaven or hell, famine or feast, and many more.

I now know that “She” is about her. The woman that’s rarer than you. The one that makes you feel alive. The one that makes you want to survive. The one you can stay #foreverAlone for, for decades. The one that’s probably the love that you cannot hope to last! And among other things, the one that you will kill (or die) to see the smile on the face of.

In case you missed, I lifted parts of the lyrics to write the parts above.

The thing is, while the track by itself is brilliant, the way it’s been used in Notting Hill makes it 100x better. The song appears right at the end of the film.

This is when Anna and Will have had their ups and downs and right before the all is lost moment.

In there, Will asks Anna a fairly complex, funny, and irreverant question. It is loaded with their inside joke. No one but the two of them can make sense of it.

Will has used way too many words, in a room full of people that use words to make their living. While the meaning was seemingly lost on most of those there, Will’s lavish use of words did exactly what he wanted to! Communicate love.

Anna has a measured response to Will’s question. She is guarded. Probably hoping against hope that things will turn in their favour.

This is when another journalist asks a simple, innocuous, harmless question – “Anna, How long do you plan to stay back in England?”

She replies with one word. “Indefinitely.”

If she had use even one more word at that time, it would have killed the entire film. To a point that you’d not want to even see the fim.

This is the instant when they play “She”.

And it starts the recap of the Will and Anna story. And probably the best 3-minutes of cinema ever shot!

In the entire scene, none of the actors speak a single line. Anna is merely smiling, with a twinkle in her eyes and that unmistakable mole on her lips. Will is merely gawking at her beauty. In a room full of strangers, and the ones that have a keen eye, the two lovers speak to each other and pass on more words than the longest of love letters have ever done!

This is when I start pining for love like that.
A “She” like that.
And wants me to be worthy of “She” like that.

Here it is. All over again. Do see it.

She, Elvis Costello. From Notting Hill.

Oh, and if you are curious, I’ve been with some really remarkable women over the years. It has to be me that was unable to keep their attention and interest. Of course, I remain hopeful. For a “She”.

Thanks for reading and indulging!

300521. Morning Pages

A personal account of how I am feeling (not good). And no, there’s no plan in terms of what I will do to fix it.

7:50. Even though I slept at 1030ish, I woke up groggy. Similar to yesterday. I don’t know what’s wrong. Or may be it’s good to get sleep this deep. I don’t know. But I don’t like this grogginess first thing in the morning.

It makes me unable to think and it’s hard when I login and cant write. Like today, its almost 30 minutes and I am yet to write anything.

Lemme try from the recap of yesterday.

I didn’t do anything, to be honest. I was like a zombie. I indulged in some ice cream (lost self-control :(). I slept through the day. Even took a shower in the evening. Did not walk. Did not write. Did literally nothing 🙁 No yoga. No writing. No meditation. No call home. Need to think and reflect if I am depressed or something. I am not sure. I am lucky to have a solid mental state most days and times but this is not cool. I am not even working. For people that are paying me. If not my laziness, my moral compass (of delivering work and value to people that pay you) ensures that I deliver. And yet I have been slacking to a point that work is suffering and everyone – my partners and my team – can see that. If there’s one thing that I hate the most in this world – it’s the loss of reputation. Each action of mine is guided by up or down on this reputation. I don’t want to lose it ever. For whatever price!

Anyhow. Moving on from rant. Yesterday evening, I met some friends and then went to play the match of my life. It had to be “pushed” due to “technical” issues. Issues like M’s tablet running out of juice! Till the time we played, I was comfortably leading. But then, in a game of Ludo, things can change real fast. The battle remains unfinished. Will pick it up again sometime next week.

In other news, broke the screen of the phone again. Don’t ask me how. I can no longer afford to get it repaired. I will move to an Android phone I had got for myself when I moved to Goa. Goodbye, all those steps and expenses and all the other things I was tracking. Goodbye, all the messages and links and tabs and notes and photos that I had saved in the last few days. Goodbye, the ability to click ordinary pictures and the use of Snapspeed to edit those. Goodbye, the ability to make phone calls while walking (I don’t have headphones that connect to the 3.5 mm jack). Goodbye, feeling cool about flipping open an iPhone and being able to navigate blind. In fact, the first order of the day is to install shit on the Android phone. All my life I have stayed away from signing into an Android ecosystem with my personal email address (you never know what all they track) but I will now have to. Sigh! I guess I will get used in a few days. But, I shall be back to the Apple ecosystem as soon as I get the next client. Pray for me.

Oh, I finally found a solution to my music thingy. I will only play the 80s and 90s music for the next few days. I am hoping that would be enough for Youtube to reset the recommendation engine and start recommending more variety. The change is, I must say, refreshing. I am listening to this right now. Prior to that, I heard tracks from Taal.

Ok. Dont know what else to write. I am at 9.06. More than an hour since I started writing. And yet I managed like 200 words 🙁

Guess this is about it for the day. Need to get back in action. Oh, here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 168
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 80
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

290521. Morning Pages

Attempt at working on #book2, with the help of a Coursera course. You may want to skip this to be honest.

8:01. I woke up a few minutes ago. I had slept at around 10 or something. So that’s 10 hours of sleep. Solid! I think I needed it cos I did not sleep well the day before. I know that this covering of sleep deficit doesn’t count per se but I have been more or less consistent with how I sleep in the last few days.

I was to fast yesterday but I could not. I ended up eating some 20 almonds and chocolate mousse. How will I ever lose weight 🙁 But then, that’s the only thing I ate (apart from some buttermilk and no coffee). Thing is, I could have stayed off food but I got bugged and bored, to be honest. And all of you know how it goes when you are bored! More bugged than bored.

Today is an important day. I have an important match to play. On a Ludo board. Against M. She’s bet her entire piggy bank against me! Knowing her, even though it’s a piggy bank, it would have more money than I can afford but I shall play. Not for money. But for pride 😀 Lol!

Anyhow. So, the thing is, I need to discover new music. I need a change from the same Coke Studios and acoustic versions that I listen to over and over again. Plus Youtube’s algorithm doesn’t throw new music at me anymore. Can’t blame. It must be confused that how can someone like Coke Studio and Restoration Videos and CS plays and reruns of Kapil Sharma! Here’s a screenshot from my YT homepage.

Here. My YT page that I start my day with.

So, I am thinking if I want to move to Spotify and if it’s worth listening to ads every 3 tracks? What do you think I can do? How do I find new music that I would like? Help!!!

Guess that’s about it for an update. Time to write for book2. For the book2, since everything else has seemed to have failed, I am enrolling for this course on Coursera where I hope I will be consistent enough to create a novel in the next 6 months. I will write this novel in public. In open. Here. On my blog. More or less on these morning pages. Let’s see how the experiment goes.

The first exercise is to write a few paragraphs to pitch an idea. Let me write those paragraphs. Here we go…

[Start]

The Caravan Serai is a story of an eponymous watering hole on a secluded beach in the touristy city of Goa that gets embroiled in controversy after a brawl. From there on, more troubles come crashing on the place that otherwise is home to cheerful guests and hospitable locals. To a point that the 80-year old single woman that runs the place and some regular patrons are forced to team up to save the place that’s been serving patrons for over 400 years.

On the other side is a local land shark that has been eyeing the Caravan Serai for some time. More than money, his motivation is to teach the old woman a lesson who’s refused to sell the Caravan Serai despite his aggressions over the years.

While this cat and mouse chase between the two sides is played out, the readers would learn that there’s a lot more to Caravan Serai, as a place. And to the story. This includes incidents and a curse going back 400 years when Goa was still a Portuguese colony and the pirates roamed free in the oceans.

Will the old lady succeed? Or will Caravan Serai fall?

[End]

I posted it here as well, in case. Not my best attempt but I think it does tell the story in its entirety. Last year I had written many more log lines. I will try to gather them around in one place. But this is it for the time being.

So, the next exercise is to write a logline. We all know that a logline is essentially that one sentence that describes your book / film in its entirety. It talks about the plot, the characters, the world in which the project is set, the antagonists, and the stakes.

Wow. That’s a lot.
But that’s the starting point. The logline becomes a guiding light that helps you get back on track, should you digress.

They say, this is the hardest part about writing a piece of fiction. And yet I am being asked to start from here. But then, commitment kar di, to kar di!

Lemme try writing some.

1. This is the story of jealousy, greed and lust told through the lens of myriad characters spread over 400 years, each trying to fight their own inner demons and seek closure.

2. Two groups of people spar over a famous watering hole in Goa and discover their own dark pasts as a 400-year curse watches over.

3. After a brawl at a bar, a middle-aged man discovers his true purpose in life.

4. A middle-aged man drifts to Goa and stumbles bang in the middle of a brawl that opens up a can of worms that makes him realise his true destiny.

5. A middle-aged man gets embroiled in a brawl and inadvertently sets in motion a chain of events that awakens a 400-year old curse.

6. A 400-year old curse turns two best friends into enemies out to kill each other and in the process, they unleash a string of crimes and murders on the sleepy state of Goa that will not stop till one of them is dead.

I don’t know which one would I go ahead with. In fact, probably none. I will revisit this for sure. But for the assignment, I will pick the sixth one (the one that I have highlighted). I like the first one as well. But I think 6th is better.

Ok. That’s it for the day.

Need to move along and get started. More tomorrow. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 167
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 2
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 79
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0. Could not write.
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 1. Did 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar.

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.