260321 – Meditations

A quick post on insignificant things that could only be important to me! Such as rechristening of Morning Pages to Meditations.

7:51. Andheri .

It’s official. I am rechristening morning pages as meditations. I am not sure what Morning Pages was supposed to capture but I do know that these short posts that I write before I start my day are like meditations. Quite discussions with myself where I think by writing about things that are clouding my head. I talk about my fears and hopes and ambitions and ideas and thoughts and I am very very naked while I do that. This is what people like Naval and Marcus would call meditations. Probably. I am calling it these pages meditation. Took me just 105 days to do so ;P

So the COVID situation in Mumbai continues to be scary. Another day when we had more than 5000 cases. And yet I continue to hang out at Starbucks. I have one eye on the clock as I write this. I like the idea of an empty cafe, AC on full blast, and me pacing around while I think about whatever I am working on. Which is a lot of things ;P

The other thing that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about is this film that I wanted to make during the lockdown about those universal 36 questions that apparently bring people together (even though it has never worked for me). With the Aram Nagar piece on its way, I think it’s time I start thinking about the 36 Questions as well. Wait. Am I not repeating the pattern where I start a new thing before I finish an old one? Grrr, Mr. Garg.

In other news, I’ve been fasting since 1 AM of the 25th. So I am over 24 hours. I am thinking if I can manage to fast today as well, I will start Keto from tomorrow for about 2 weeks. If nothing else, it will help me lose weight. Keto works for me for sure. Everytime I’ve done it, I have seen results (only to gain the weight back) but may be this time it’s different? After all each day when you wake up, you get up with the hope that today is different. No?

This is about it for the day. I do have a LOT to write (I met a friend yesterday and she made me realize all the things that I do wrong and I need to work on those. I need to write about those, think on those and fix those). But not today. I need time to process (those inputs were pointed at the very core of who I am and how I operate in life. I need to either go on a drive or think deeply about those before I can being to put them in open. Need to take a few hours to write that piece. Let’s see when I get to do it. I may go for a drive with VG tonight. If that happens, I will get all the time to think about things.

Makes me realize how bad I want a car and the ability to take off without waiting for something, someone. Damn, Mr. Garg. Control your horses.

Chalo, gotta go. Before I go, here’s the streaks…

  • Morning Pages – 105
  • #aPicADay – 85
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0. Been fasting since 1 AM of the 25th Mar. So 24+ hours. Gunning for 48.
  • #noCoffee – 16
  • #noCoke – 16
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0.

030321 – Morning Pages

I feel I have a lot to tell / write. But the words are not flowing 🙁

7:49 AM.

So yesterday I had a funny day. The stars had never aligned so well for anything ever in my life. I had two-three conversations open about various things and EACH of those moved along and actually closed! I mean, not just moved forward but actually closed.

I was chasing these for various lengths of time. One was first proposed some 2 years ago! Just that all these landed at the same time. So yay! Guess that’s how things are. You chisel at things for long and one fine day, they close. Now, need to deliver on those and move on to other things. Also reminds me of the idea of optionality by Naval.

The track of the day is one of the most iconic Punjabi music pieces ever – Mundiya Tu Bach Ke Rahi. See it here. #note2self – Must learn dance.

The one after this is the background music for the film Lootera. It’s here.

What else?

Oh yeah. I am back to Mumbai today. I have this meeting with a client and I can’t do that online. Plus the things that have worked out that I spoke about earlier? They will require me to meet various people to be able to do those well. Once I start, I can be remote. So that’s cool. With this, I think the Mumbai vs Goa debate is getting settled.

Ok, I don’t know what else to write. Words are not flowing :(. There’s a lot on my head but I can’t seem to pen those. Lemme put bullet points.

  1. I was talking to SG2 yesterday and as always she gave me a great perspective on things. I wish I had as much intelligence as her!
  2. For one of the calls where I did not have to make notes, I used a high table as a standing desk and it was amazing. I need to get one. Let’s see how I do that.

No, not even the bullets is helping. Words are just not flowing 🙁

I think this is it for the day. More tomorrow.

260221 – Morning Pages

I talk about two interesting things. 1, Goa and home. 2, optionality. Read on.

8:22. The balcony at Rajesh Sir’s house, Goa. Back here after 15 odd days.

A funny thing happened yesterday. When I came here after a month, for some reason, it felt like homecoming. I am not kidding. I am not the one to get attached to places etc but this time, the house felt like home. Maybe because I was here at a time when a lot was happening in my life and I did not know what to do. A lot is still happening but this place was my solace in the toughest time. I am so grateful that I have him in my life.

Moving on.

I need to take a big decision about what I want to do in life. I have a couple of options where I can exchange my time for money, make ends meet and get back to some sort of stability. While all these things sound great on paper, I know that in the long-run for a 38-year old like me, these things don’t add up. Plus, salary is addictive.

One of the things I am thinking about while making this decision is Naval’s riff on optionality. He operates in a way that allows him to maximize optionality. As a salaried person, the odds of you increasing optionality go down. Unless you are like Rajan Anandam where you, by design, need to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and those backgrounds help you do more.

When choosing things for myself, I need to work towards creating optionality. Now, what creates optionality? Well, things that allow you to do more than what your job entails. If you are a doctor, there are fairly limited things that you can do. I mean you can treat people and heal them and all that but that’s that. Unless you are an exception that can, may be, write. Of course, as a doctor, you’d have a good life but that’s that. If you are a coder, on the other hand, you can create a thing like Bitcoin that allows you to live a life independent of your practice. Similarly, if you are a senior executive with some pharma company, you are limited to doing what your JD entails. If the company were to shut down, where would you go? Of course, if you are paid a bomb, you can invest tiny parts into businesses that have the potential of growing into larger ones. That creates optionality. In fact, subconsciously, I have lived all my life in a way that I have an option open in terms of what I want to do.

So that.

What else. Yeah. Fitness. Last few days I have been feeling unwell. I don’t know whats causing this but I need to fix it. Maybe its the food. I think I need to get either a balanced meal from someplace. Or get a kitchen. Either way, I need to fix it. Want to add workouts but I dont think I will ever be able to. I know Everest will require me to be fit and all. But I think till I figure out other things, fitness will probably take a backseat.

Guess this is it for the day. This context switching is not for me. I don’t know how other digital nomads do this. Need to learn.

With this, over and out. See you guys on the other side. Now that I am back in Goa, hope things will move better. And no, no #book2. Will start that once I settle in.

PS: Funny how narratives on these morning posts have changed from meaning of life to survival. Guess that’s life!

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!

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.