080521 – Morning Pages

A longish update on nothing in specific. Just made a list of things that are clouding my head.

7:38.
Woke up about 10 minutes ago. I had literally passed out. I was tired. The day was exhausting af but I did everything that I want on a perfect day. So that’s cool. I ate things I love (a lot of carbs and ice cream to end the day). Spoke to AD, SJ, and even mailed PM. Attended the inaugural session and the first session at docedge – learned so much. If I manage to attend all sessions (which I am hoping to), I can see my life change! Did some work. Got some others to do some work. Walked some (almost 9K). Was tiring. By the time I went to sleep, I was exhausted. I probably slept well. I woke up at around 3, I had some water and then I slept again. So that.

Ok. Strangely I dont know what to write!

Lemme list of things that i am thinking on.

A. It’s VK’s birthday. Wished her. Been one of the closest confidantes. Unassuming, non-judging, stable in the head. Grateful to have her in my life. Got access to her because way back in 2009, took a shot out of my league. Here is the email that I sent her (that probably started our relationship)!

Screenshot of my first email to VK.

As I re-read this email, I realised that I dont recall half the things we talked about but I must have been damn impressed with her to have sent her that email.

Oh, the coffee shop thingy that I mentioned in the end, in 2009 when I quit CLA, one of the ideas was to start a chain of coffee shops. Like every other (pseudo)creative person. 12 years on, I am not any wiser. The coffee shop is a dream. Lol!

B. I’ve got a new person on board at C4E to help me with a project. She must be 30 and while it’s early days, she is a million times better than I. In terms of being responsible, orientation towards work, always-on thinking, and more. I would love to have more people like her on my team.

But then, early days. Let’s see how things pan out with her. If it works well, I will change my hiring thesis to getting people that are in late 20s, early 30s (rather than early 20s). Oh, btw, this reminds me, there are some incredible 16-year olds (16!) on Twitter that are doing some amazeballs work. I need to invest in them and get them to work with me! #note2self

C. While writing this, I realized I do not have boundaries between work and personal life. Which is ok, for the time being. The realization dawned on me when I was trying to figure what to write. While I was thinking, I kept reading about things that needed my attention. I kept checking the Cowin app / website for vaccination. I continued to think about all the work that I can do. Etc etc.

D. Last night evening, I was so exhausted from a computer screen that I decided to not look at it only! That’s new, if you ask me. I ended up seeing shit on my phone. Am I burning out?

E. I’ve found a new thing to trip on and kill time with. Infomercial videos. Ordinary people watch shit on Netflix. Extraordinary people read. Legends watch Taarak Mehta. People like me watch infomercials. I am a big fan of Vince Offer. He’s up there for me, along with people like Shekhar Sumar!

I mean see this Slap Chop video and tell me that you don’t like him!

Even though I don’t have a kitchen, I want to stop having a boring life and I want to order all the Slap Chops that I can imagine! I want the nuts. I want the linguini and the bikini! See it to believe it!

Wait. Here’s a #parkedIdea. Can I make a documentary on the lives of these infomercial stars? Should be interesting. No?

So yeah.

Ok, need to get on with the day. See you guys on the other side. Over and out.

Oh, here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 146
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 59
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

050521 – Meditations

Update on things clouding my head. There’s nothing new but usual suspects – life, house, money!

7:04. I’ve been up for a bit now. Actually, I didn’t sleep very well. Why? Well, among other things, I had a coffee yesterday. Iced Americano. After some 55 days. Can’t say I missed the taste but I did like the idea that it could be helpful when I have a lot of work.

No, I don’t plan to get addicted to it again.

It shall only be had on days like yesterday when things on my plate overwhelm me and I need additional help to come up with superhuman effort and knock things off my todo list.

And I will try to have it later than 6 PM. Yesterday I had it at around 8 I think and I was as wide awake as an owl till about 2. And then I had to force myself to sleep.

In other news, in another action item yesterday, I got back on Twitter and Instagram. And I plan to stay active. I may not post too much but I will offer and extend some morsels of help as and when I can. If nothing else, I will support others that are. It somehow dawned onto me that while I am unable to help, and I suck at offering a shoulder, I need to do whatever little l can. Even an iota of help could be useful at this time. Individuals across the world have shown what compassion and willingness to help can do when regulators and policymakers and governments fail. I have now seen the power and impact of an individual’s action. It reminds me of that aasman me soorakh line…

“कैसे आकाश में सूराख़ नहीं हो सकता, एक पत्थर तो तबीयत से उछालो यारों” – Dushyant Kumar

If I could get something tattooed on me, it would be these two likes from Dushyant Kumar. Apart from “this too shall pass.”

#note2self – I must make it a point to read some of the Hindi poets that are no longer around. They’ve some incredible work. I mean I am a fan of late Rahat Indori’s work, especially the way he would narrate his work. Must spend time on listening to some old ones.

Ok. Moving on.

I also saw this post by Rana Ayyub where she talked about how life is sudden and you may not get time to say goodbye etc. I am inspired and I have decided to write an email to every person that I have hurt wanted to apologize but did not have the courage to. I know some of those chapters were closed long ago and my apology will probably bring back bad memories for those people. I will thus be careful and ensure that I am mindful before I send. I will write those nonetheless, even if I don’t send them. I mean, I am sure I will remain safe in this pandemic but you never know what happens next. So I do not want to leave this world without closing some of these conversations. No, I am not premonitioning my demise but I want to not leave without saying a bye to people that have shaped me – in a good way or a bad way. So that.

Oh, how can I even forget talking about this? In fact, I had to start with this. Yesterday Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they are ending their marriage of 27 years.

27. Years.

This is the second person that I look up to that has done this (first is Jeff Bezos. He and Scott were married for 25 years). Both Bill and Jeff have been idols for long. Their marriages were #lifeGoals for long. The wives played such an important role while these guys were on the road, building their businesses and all that. I’ve in fact wanted a partner like that. That supports my maddening ambition. Or vice versa (become second fiddle to someone as ambitious). But this announcement just broke my heart. The last time I was this sad for one of my idols, it was probably when Steve Jobs passed away. For some reason, I was not that affected by the cheating and divorce scandal of Bezos.

Anyhow, if I had any faith left in the institution of marriage, this was probably the last nail in its coffin. I mean Bill and Melinda were married for 27 freaking years. They were my ideal couple – make a lot of money and then use the rigor of business in doling out that money to make the world a better place. Plus they are old. I mean Bill Gates is 65. Melinda is 55 something. After 27 years, you probably know so much about each other that even if some doubts creep in about the impending cracks in the marriage, you probably fix it beforehand. You know, it’s messier to separate at that age, especially if you are a public figure. It just reduces the impact that you can have.

Damn you never know what happens behind closed doors!

Someone actually put a tweet out yesterday that said that out of the top 10 richest people in the world, only 2 have not been divorced (Mark Zuckerberg and one of the Google Founders!). Is there a correlation? If there is, I am glad that my plans of not marrying in the first place will not tip the numbers in the list. Unless more people enter the list when I am there. Lol! King of wishful thinking, Mr. Garg.

Also, today is the 5th. When I had to give my landlord notice if I did not want a messy exit from this house. I had wanted to do it for two reasons – a, get to a cheaper place and b, try and move to Goa. Even though I know it’s tough to live and work in Goa, I wanted to have a base there. I know that I will not have the network that I have here. I know that things are moving online and people are ok to meet on Zoom but I am super ineffective on Zoom as it’s been proven a million times already. So that. In one line, I am in that limbo that I’ve been forever.

One option is to move to Thane or something and then use hostels or friend’s couches when I need to be in Mumbai. I will save on the rent, live at a distance that allows for chance meetings and such connections. I don’t know. This inability to decide obviously stems from the inability to spend money and that’s something that I need to work on anyway.

I think this is about it. Have a long day ahead that starts early. Time to move on with things. More tomorrow. Here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 143
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0. Had one yesterday after 55 days!
  • #noCoke – 56
  • 10 mins of meditation – 2
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

300421 – Meditations

For a change, today’s morning pages is a list of things that I am grateful for. And a list of things that I must work on. Read on.

7:21. Woke a few minutes ago. Not a lot of the mind as I wake up but for some reason heart and the head is heavy. I don’t know what this is but I can hide behind the garb of ennui. Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of action happening. I am learning new things. I am talking to multiple people. I am getting stretched to the edge of my mental faculty.

I think I am just bugged that I’ve been holed up in this house. I think (I will have to dig out what I wrote) but I was fairly happy with my previous house. In the sense that it was new, spacious, airy and I could walk around. I think I am perfectly ok with the loneliness and staying alone, as long as I can meet people once in a while.

In this one, none of those is true.

Anyhow. What started as description of what’s on my head ended up a rant. Lemme talk about a few things I am grateful for. Let’s see what I have.

a/ I paid salaries to people on my teams – C4E, Podium, TRS, PPP, and more. I even added a team member at C4E for a project. So all in all, grateful that I can support some other people. No, none of these people are paid a lot. No the money we pay to these people is enough to run the house. But we do offer meaningful, polite, aligned to their interests work. Of course, people come and go (I’ve always wanted to create businesses where people do not leave but people do leave and that’s ok) but I am very sure that not one person would have complaints about how I work. So that’s a good thing I guess.

I just hope I could scale the business to a point where all of us are chasing our dreams and have more than enough!

b/ Got back to taking extensive notes. Since I moved to Goa, because I was on the move all the time (no place to work, bad internet, too much baggage, etc), I had stopped taking notes with a pen and paper. Now that I am back, I am beating myself in the head about why I even stopped! It was THE best thing that happened to me. So so so glad to be back on it.

Krishna gave me an amazing tip. He said I could have positioned myself as the productivity guy – you know, a combination of habits, notes, and multi-tasking. If I can teach this to the world, it would be awesome! Need to think. #note2self.

c/ I started to port these meditations to Roam. With time, I want to move all my content ever (all blogs, books, photos, memories etc) to a system like Roam and actually create a repository of all my things on the cloud.

The idea is to discover patterns and hidden connections in my thoughts. And then act on those. Someone told me that as you grow older, you start with the journey on the inside. I think tools like Roam are going to revolutionize how knowledge workers live and play!

d/ Discovered The Murshidabadi Project while searching for new music. Loved it! Love love them. Especially the way the dude sings. Love the nirvana he is in when he’s performing. Wow! I am tripping on this track. Prior to this, I saw this. If soulful music is your thing, you must check these people out.

Side #note2self. Must pull some strings to get to teach at MDI Murshidabad. I really think teaching is my calling. Even if I am not paid, I would like to deliver impact as a teacher. Plus I am the happiest when I see others see their dreams come true. Let’s see.

So that.
Ok felt good.
Lemme now get back to the mean. And be harsh on myself and talk about things I did not do. Here’s a list as well.

  1. Did not do Surya Namaskar. I think it’s been 4 days now since I’ve not done it. I am not walking. I am not doing anything for fitness. Damn.
  2. After almost 15 days, I ate crappy Indian food. I had this sudden craving to eat crappy carbs loaded with spicy things. I tried to resist but could not. As the last resort, I tossed a coin 5 times. Out of that 4 times, it told me to go ahead and eat. And I did. I ordered Aaloo Parantha and some Ice Cream. My taste buds couldn’t comprehend the sugar rush from the ice cream. Now that I’ve broken the clean eating thingy, I plan to order Maggi, Pizza, Chole Bhature, Samosa, and maybe some more Indian over the next two days. No, no Coke. No Coffee. Maybe I will get started with coffee. Let’s see. But from Monday on, I will get back to serious Keto. Probably get a subscription, even though it’s expensive. I hope whatever my irrational mind decides, I can justify it on my blog.
  3. I have been immersed in work so much that I haven’t had the time to write anything new. Nothing on Roshan. Nothing on book2. Grrr.

That’s about it for the day.

Here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 138
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 51
  • #noCoke – 51
  • 10 mins of meditation – 1
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0.
  • Surya Namaskar – 0. Have missed this for 4 days now.

More tomorrow.

230421 – Meditations

Reflection on how I spent yesterday and a harsh note to self about how not to live. Did not go deeper to discover the reason for lethargy.

6 AM
Been up for a while. Feel ok.

What a day was yesterday. Fuck. Can’t imagine having more days like that. I literally slept through it.
And whatever part I did not sleep, I got thru it like a zombie.
I did not step out of the house. A rare occasion.
I ordered a million things. A thing that I had stopped over the last few days.
I would’ve eaten like a pig that’s come out of famine.
I did not go for a walk.
I did not do Surya Namaskar.
I did not write on the Roshan story.

However, I somehow managed 15 minutes of meditation. And I did publish the day’s #aPicADay. I did call home but I would have spoken to my parents for not more than 300 seconds.

Thankfully I did not succumb to temptation and did not order coke or coffee. Though I did eat a bg tub of chocolate mousse. I think that’s my guilty pleasure. As long as I have that in moderation.

Fuck.
It sucked.
Like a day taken away from the limited time, we have here on Mother Earth!

It’s a crime that I did that I need to be a lot more responsible with my time.

On one side, I may claim that it’s ok to take breaks. Apparently, even God rested on the 7th day. But then, the earth does not stop spinning on the 7th day. The sun does not stop fusing into Helium (I hope I am right) and radiating energy. We don’t stop breathing on the 24th hour. The chakra of life does not stop spinning! Who are we to then stop and break our routines?

While it is good and easy to acknowledge that I slacked yesterday, at some point in time, I need to meditate on the reasons. So that I can fix those.

One reason I can think immediately is that I overslept. I know that I am as fresh as a daisy even with 6 hours of sleep. I know, science says we need 8 hours. I want to go there. I may work my way to that. But right now, I am good with 6. The days I sleep more than 6, I get fucked. so may be, yesterday was brought about that.

Two, it could be all the news around me. Friends falling sick of COVID, friends, and families of people I care for suffering from COVID, people dying from it, general apathy of policymakers with it. I think this is the first time I have seen this large humanitarian crisis (please don’t get started on how living in India in itself a humanitarian challenge. May be that’s affecting me at the subconscious level? May be I may claim that I am indifferent to the suffering but I get deeply affected? May be it’s my inability to help people and matters right now that is making me suffer? Fuck helping others, I know that if I were to need Oxygen or those meds for my family, I would have a hard time arranging for those. It plain sucks to be alive right now.

Of course, I am lucky to be ok but I think it’s a matter of time.

Anyhow. The point is to not wail into the misery. The point is to reflect on the reasons for the off day.

Three. May be my system merely wanted a break from the strenuous routine that I live? You know, where each minute is accounted for?

Routines. Ah, the love of my life. lemme talk about that.

For someone that chases freedom and independence of time, I love routines a lot. I think it is the routines that get simple people to do great things. Like I have been walking up 8 floors every day for the last three days. The first day was tough af. The third was a little easy. I could’ve gone another flight. If I did this every day, someday I can walk up 24. And then someday, the Everest. No, I haven’t forgotten that. But the moment you break routine, you are back to square one. I know that today I will have a tough time walking up.

Most great people, when asked about their process and work, “blamed” the boring routines they had when it came to work. They would live exciting lives otherwise but when it comes to work, the things that they are known for, the work they do, would have been produced in the most boring, mundane, routine things.

Wait. I am thinking. Should I do a series of posts on how some of the greatest writers write? Now that I am ok being on video, this could be a great time to do so! Kya kya karega Garg? Marketing Podcast? Investor’s Podcast? Writer’s techniques. Lol. Guess, “I am not much of a petty thief!” Let’s see. Let me make a list of questions and see where it goes. #note2self

Anyhow.
Moving on.
Here’s the streaks for the day.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 131
  • #aPicADay – 112
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 44
  • #noCoke – 44
  • 10 mins of meditation – 9
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

Lol. Most things are zero. What’s the point of tracking these?

Anyhow, onto Roshan’s story.

Day 8

I am still at a point where I don’t know the central conflict in his life. What is his nemesis? What makes him leave his bed every morning (even though he is deteriorating) and take a stand? What is the cause that he wants to chase? In #tnks, I was clear that the main character was chasing revenge. The others were trying to protect Nidhi and her family. I can’t make this about a treasure and its hunt. Book2 is all about that. I can’t make this about the family’s heritage that he may want to preserve – the setup will become complex.

Lemme launch into free text for about 30 minutes and see where I reach. Its 8:03. Here we go.

[START]

The thing with a small place is that everyone knows everyone else. If you don’t know things first-hand, you will hear it soon enough. You may still be able to hide things trifle like life or death, bankruptcy, misfortunes et al. But you can not hide things like love affairs, a familial argument, revolts in the family, and other such things that take more significance at these small towns where things literally are stuck in time. The older men still gather under the banyan tree. The younger women still find time to share notes when they gathered around the temple. Temple was probably an excuse to leave their homes to escape their monotonous lives that circled between sleep, kitchen, chores, sleep.

At the temple, while the Pujari and everyone was there, it was Pritha that was the chieftain of these women seeking a break. At these breaks, they engaged in idle banter and gossip as they did non-essential chores for the temple. This hour that they got for themselves after lunch was like a maha-sabha of the women of the town. Even a few non-Hindu women attended these. And despite their status or rank, everyone was welcome. It is at this temple and under the patronage of Pritha that the daughter of a sweeper could sit next to the wife of the Pujari and share water and snacks from the same banana leaf.

These meeting of the women was the only anomaly in the town of Indapur where people were still seated in tradition even though they were in the 21st century. The traditions from the yesteryears were still enforced, respected, and revered. To a point that it was not uncommon for the Panchayat to bar a family or two often from the town. There was no way you could go against the Panchayat that consisted of a representative of the seven families that Shivaji himself blessed. To represent the pandits, there was the Pujari. Shlok Chavan was a descendent of the fighters in Shivaji’s camp. Pritha took on the seat after her husband died and she represented the munims, the accountants for Shivji’s empire. The voice of the lower castes was with Sharat, whose family has been in the service of the Maratha warrior even before they came to Indapur. So, even though they should ideally not be on this august panel, he was the most vocal. To make things worse, he accepted and agreed and decreed that the caste system be preserved.

Of course, there was a local MLA, the police, and the government apparatus. But at Indapur they held no power apart from giving inconvenience to their official powers to reaffirm whatever the council decided. There were talks that Sharat stand in the elections next time around so that they did not need these pen for hire. But then the system was convenient. They could pass on diktats with as much ease.

As the only woman on the council, Pritha was as important. While the other men would secretly sneer at her decisions, none of them had the balls to be open about it.

[END]

Let’s see where we reach. Some ideas…

1/ Can I make this a communal story? Two people from two different communities fall in love. This love wedges a crack in the entire town. To a point that there are murders and all. May be Roshan could be a saviour? Before he died, he wants to see his town safe and the couple married? Not sure. Too many violent, angry love stories have been told already!

2/ Can the rift be between son and mother? Mother wants traditional upheld. Son wants the lovers to succeed. On one side, they have the grief to get over. And on the other, they have this egoistical battle?

So that.
Over for the day.
Work beckons.
See you guys tomorrow.

160321 – Morning Pages

Quick update on the COVID scare, chasing rockstars across the world, inability to stay hungry for 48 hours. And more.

7:00. Hello hello. Morning!

So I got the COVID-19 scare yesterday.

Someone I met on Wednesday of last week got COVID. And I was in a closed room with him for about an hour. And then I sat in that room and ate. And that meant I am at high risk. Since then I’ve met quite a few people (and I have been to various Starbucks outlets). If I had to trace all the people I met and all the places I was to, the list would run into miles!

As I was making that list, thankfully I was told that they traced their source of infection and it’s from someone they met after they met me. So I am more or less safe. Phew!

Even though I don’t have any symptoms, I am more or less safe. I would still get myself tested to be sure. I owe it to all those people that I met that I am not a carrier and if I am, I need to alert those people.

Also, apart from this gentleman, there are few more people that I know that are really close that have been infected. So, the pandemic is clearly not over. Those numbers of some 1500-2000 daily cases don’t paint the real extent of the pandemic. And since everyone is almost out and about and is being careless about things, I am imposing some news rules on myself. Here they are.

  • 1/ Avoid closed, confined spaces for a few days. Goodbye, Starbucks :(.
  • 2/ Never take off the mask even if it’s a meeting that requires me to show my face.
  • 3/ Get a lot more particular about using a sanitizer.
  • 4/ Start working on my immunity (you know, Vitamin C, workout, etc). Lol. Workout.

I am also closeting myself at home for the next 2-3 days, just to be sure. That means, my productivity would take a hit. And that means I need to thank the decision to buy a writing table all those years ago (I think I bought my table in 2014 or something when I lived with Satya at Nahar). Back then I was clearly the guy who liked the idea of buying things. I don’t know when I became that pseudo-minimalist that did not want anything in the house and is ok with just a mattress plonked onto the floor and call it home.

Also, I have realized that the kind of life I live, I meet so many people all the time. If I were to ever get it, I would be at very very high risk. You know, super-spreader.

Anyhow. Moving on.

Here’s the track of the day…

Jagjit Singh was a magician!

While listening to Jagjit Singh today, I realized something. I want to be a part of the crew for a rockstar (or a religious leader, a musician, a speaker, or someone that people across the world are willing to pay money for) that travels the world. I mean, do a search on Youtube for ‘Jagjit Singh in Concert’ and you’d see that he’s been to EACH corner of the world with his crew. If you see some of the videos, you’d spot similar faces as backing musicians. I am sure even the crew would be more or less same. What if I am part of such a crew? I could actually be traveling the world and will get to entertain people and make money and all that. Everything I want in life will happen!

I remember when I did events, we used a talent management agency and people from that agency would travel along with the artists. While they added almost zero value, they did get to travel. I need to figure if I could become someone like that. #note2self.

But wait.

I don’t want a new career option per se. I need to get some sort of a war chest. Right now the coffers are empty. This is one of those rare times when I want to say no and want to be ok with where I am. Rather than chasing the rockstars, I will merely figure what I can augment that allows me to travel and meet more people with what I am doing. Let’s see. Another #note2self.

In other news, I had decided yesterday that I’d try to fast for 48 hours. I was ok till about 8 PM (about 20 hours) but then thanks to all the thoughts in my head about the COVID thingy, I got stressed enough to order food on a whim. And I ate. And then I ate some chips. And then I ate another full meal. And I ate a dessert. In all, I would’ve had some 2000 calories. Grrr. There is no way am getting fit. Any of you has any ideas?

Coming to streaks…

  • Morning Pages – 94
  • #aPicADay – 75 (at least)
  • 10K steps a day – 0 (couldn’t manage 10K)
  • OMAD – 1 (ate between the window of 8 and 10 PM)
  • #noCoffee – 6
  • #noCoke – 6
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0

And with that, it’s a warp for the morning pages. Time to get some work done. From home where I live. Damn!

PS: I must talk about home. And how where I live is not really home. Let’s see when I get to it.

140321 – Morning Pages

Quick and dirty update from how I spent Saturday. Wish I the time to write more. The day was among the best.

6:24 AM, Mumbai.
Completed this somewhere on the Nashik highway at 10ish.

This is going to be one of those pages where I want to write a lot (I think I have a lot to write) but since I am short of time, I will not be able to get a lot of words in. I have to be at someplace real early. I had to be out and about by 6 AM, to be honest, but thanks to some snafu, I am still at home and that means I can get some words in. If not a lot, I can at least get a ToC of sorts in. Yeah, I have a table of contents of things that I want to talk about.

Here it is.

A. SG’s interview. There’s apparently some interview that I gave when #tnks came out where I have bared my soul. A stranger can read that and get to know who I am and what I think about. In that, I have even talked about my hatred for pets! To make matters worse, it has my photo on it. I need to do something about it. I can’t have my opinions floating around on the Internet like that. Lol. The entire life has been lived in making my life an open and public affair with this blog 😀

Need to find that interview and “fix” it.

B. Poker. A few days ago I was in this weird mood where I did not know what to do. None of my friends was around. Taarak Mehta felt like a drag. Brooklyn Nine-Nine was not funny no more. I couldn’t sleep. I had had enough of everything. I somehow remembered my love for Poker and after I don’t know how many months, I put money on a poker game. It was on Pokerstars and I sucked as bad I did when I played regularly.

Poker is one of those things that I think I can be really good at. There is an element of luck but you can control it to a large part. It just needs two things – knack for the game and the time required to build that knack. I suspect poker is like chess. You need to have some sort of inclination and “gift” for it and then you need to back it with consistent and focussed effort. You know, more you play, better you get.

Wait. Isnt this true with everything and anything? I guess!

C. SoG Grant. I saw a post on my Instagram last night and I reached this page on Thejesh GN’s blog. He’s started a grant in his mother’s name where he’s supporting independent creators on anything that they want to work on. I love the idea. I am so inspired that I decided on the spot that I want to start something. When I was growing up, I did not have the patron or the resources to chase what I wanted to. Now that I have some resources, I want to support others. An annual grant could be a great thing. Need to put things in motion. #note2self

D. Swiggy. Last night I was hungry and I decided to order something to eat. Good thing is that I ordered on Swiggy and that means the order was never delivered. Which is ok. I understand the business is run by people and they can often fuck up. But the way they handle these things is what needs fixing. The customer service is non-existent and the way they speak with you, they lack empathy. They assume that an order is a physical thing and if you refund the money, the customer is ok. They forget that it’s food delivery and the person on the other side could be hungry. And its well known fact across the world that when you are hungry, you are not the person you are. And you need to talk to hungry, angry, irate people in a different tone / manner etc. I promise I will make it a mini-project and try and teach these people how to be customer-centric and have some empathy.

So that.

E. NA. I also want to talk about this woman, NA, that I met via Lunchclub yesterday. Out of 30 odd people that LC has matched me with, she was only the second that I had wanted to meet.

And I goaded her into meeting me.
And we met.
And it was awesome.
NA is one of the finds of this year so far for me. I hope I can become friends with her and get her to do something with me. More about her on some other day. Today am kinda short of time.

F. Misc. Things that I want to talk about but don’t have time for. 1, I pet a dog at a friend’s place. My first time ever. 2, The realization that I am #foreverAlone and unlucky in love. Every woman that I seem to get close to tends to get away from me. The pattern repeats where these women think that am a loser and move on. 3, The feeling of heaviness and general lethargy and my desperate attempts to get over those. 4, Hunt for a new house (which I am hoping is a little better than the one I am on). 5, I am not sure. I forgot 😀

G. Streaks. Here.

  • Morning Pages – 92
  • #aPicADay – XX (will count at some later date)
  • 10K steps a day – 1
  • OMAD – 3 (thanks to Swiggy, the streak remains unbroken)
  • #noCoffee – 5
  • #noCoke – 5
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0 (adding this from today on)
  • #book2 – 0 (I REALLY need to start on this!)

So yeah, thats about it. More tomorrow. On a Monday.

010321 – Morning Pages

I talk about how I spent Sunday and couple of ideas (one of those is called Killer Boogie) I picked up from conversations with people.

6:58. Goa.
Sunday was like Sunday is for most people. No work, except a couple of catch-up calls. A couple of lunches. A stroll down the beach. Conversations with strangers at a bar. Sleep for about 7 hours. I can see the allure and how people can get used to this lackadaisical idea. Need to not fall in the trap!

So, it’s March!

The last month of the first quarter of the year. Times flying past by and I am merely playing catch-up with it. It’s not a good feeling. March also is when most of India starts sweltering with heat. And I know I will not like it. I need to find a solution to that. A place that has a comfortable table and a non-stop AC. Maybe a Starbucks! Lol!

So moving on. Yesterday, I met SNR for a lunch. She and I are part of a writing cohort where we try and write long-form pieces. I know for a few months now and this was the first time I was meeting her. As expected, the meeting was fun, insightful and it sparked a million ideas. I realized I enjoy conversations that talk about possibilities and output. And not general chit-chat. Among other things that we talked about, we got talking about writing cohort. Since it’s not very active, she said, what if it were a paid one? People will probably take it more seriously and actually show up. It makes sense and is a commonsensical input. But I am not keen on making money off what I “teach”. Teach as in, share with the world. I have been a beneficiary of the kindness of people and there is no way I will “monetize” it.

One way could be that I could donate all of it some charity or something? Or could we give all that we collect to the best writer of the group? You know, like potluck? Let’s see. #parkedIdeas

She also told me about this dance routine called Killer Boogie. Apparently more of a workout than a dance routine, she told me it helped her channel her energy!

I need something exactly like that. I think I will pick it up and see how it goes. Here’s a video of the Boogie.

No, I don’t know more about it. There’s no Wikipedia page. There is no tutorial. But it’s intriguing for sure. I will explore it. #note2self

Apart from that, at Nicky’s, I met this German couple (see footnote) that has lived in places like Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and more. Now they are in India. Oh, the stories they told were fascinating. They talked about traveling in those trains that were pulled by steam locomotives (around the 70s). Since there were no ACs, the windows of the coaches were kept open. And since the smoke billowing from the machine wafts behind the engine, your body will get covered with this layer of black thing that was a mix of sweat, smoke, dirt, grime, and whatnot. The guy said that by the time you finished your journey over two-three days, you would be five shades darker. I realized that I could use this (and more stories from them) for #book2. There is indeed this set of characters that travel around the country (lead by Raunak Singh) and I can use this piece in the book. Yay!

They also told me about the Hippie Trail where they would come into Goa from Lahore and then drive all the way upto Kathmandu. I need to probably read more about how these guys discovered Goa and Kathmandu and what made them travel in their vans and all. May be I need to get a car and live in it for a few days. You know, the next radical experiment 😀

Moving on.

Today (and this week in general) is gonna be murderous if that’s a word. In the sense that there’s a lot pending from the previous week. I am lagging behind various projects and I need to deliver those. I am staring at many sleepless nights this week. See what I have become – a creature that seeks comfort over challenging myself and my limits. In fact, SNR spoke a lot about pushing limits by doing things that are out of her comfort zone. I think I need to start doing those. I will probably start doing things that are out of character for me. Of course, I will stay within the boundaries of what a good human being should be. I can start with small things. Like trying to live without an AC. Lol! I will quit in 2 hours ;P

No. On serious note. If I can push myself, I can probably start with things that are open with me for long! You know, things like writing more often, working out and more.

And with that, its a wrap. Time to get going with the day. No, no time for #book2 today either.

Over and out!


Footnote 1 – I just realized that I get to meet more eclectic and interesting people in Goa than I meet in Mumbai. In Mumbai, most people are similar and are in predictable professions (you know, marketing, banking, films, etc). In Goa, because people tend to gravitate to this place, you meet a diverse bunch.

280221 – Morning Pages

A longish post about thoughts on a car, events, friends, relationships and alcohol. Read on.

8:04 AM.

Hello, World! I have a lot to say. I hope I get the words. Though I am tired (physically) and exhausted (mentally), I want to try and pour things that are clouding my head. Most of these would be recurring themes and ideas – this text would be an exercise in finding arguments for and against that narrative. I have often done these brain dumps in the past to let the load off my head and they’ve been helpful. What comes out is more of a blog than anything else, but it is immensely helpful!

Here we go. As always, in no order.

A. I couldn’t publish morning pages yesterday. I knew I wouldn’t be able to. I had a lot happening. But I knew that I could easily write a couple of paras and upload those. But then I couldn’t even do that. I mean I wrote a para and I thought I had published but I realized late last night that I did not hit the publish button. The streak of I don’t know how many days (well over 60 easily) was broken 🙁 Damn!

B. At Spotlight, the monthly start-up pitch event at The Podium, for the Feb edition, we hosted Roshan Abbas to give feedback to some start-ups. This was the second in the series of such events and the interactions have been so so good. Listening to a brain like Roshan Sir give inputs on startups from relationships, ed-tech was such a learning experience. He said a lot of things that I intuitively knew were right. And he said a lot of things that I think I don’t agree with. Irrespective, I think it was time spent well. Need to somehow scale it and take it to bigger scale.

More than just advice, he was VERY very candid and offered these startups introductions to other angels, HNIs and even people who could work with these startups! This in itself is worth the time spent!

I also must mention that at some level, Roshan Sir is the next step in evolution for me. I mean he is from a communication, events, and marketing background. He has set up multiple companies and has run those parallelly. He has had an exit. He is an angel investor and enabling people to do more with access to capital and connections. He continues to work harder than most of his peers and continues to push himself. Sounds EXACTLY like how I want to live my life! Reminds me of that Kabir couplet…

Sai itna dijiye, jaame kutumb samaay,

main bhookha naa rahoon, sadhu na bhookha jaaye

By Kabir

So that.

C. Event. Last two days, I helped a friend manage a wedding event in Goa. While weddings is new to me and I have only done a handful of these, I realized, I love being on the ground lot more than making presentations. I mean given an option, I would be on the ground, in shorts and tees rather than being in a boardroom with a jacket on.

Since this was one of those events where I was detached from, a few things struck me as an epiphany. Lemme try and talk about those.

1/ This was an intimate wedding with just a handful of guests in the audience, each a friend or family. I loved the joy on their faces and general happiness all around. For once I felt human and I thought maybe a wedding is worth an ordeal only to make your family happy. The other thing is the realization that I’ve never had and will probably never have a group of close-knit friends that I saw yesterday. I’ve always been an outcast, dark-horse, odd-one out. The one that is ignored conveniently and forgotten easily. Even in the romantic relationships I’ve had, I’ve not been the person that got attention. Which is ok. Just that when I see such gangs, I pine for my own. And I don’t know how to fix this. I have done almost everything it takes to be able to make friends but I dont seem to have any left.

Of course I do have people that I can lean on. And have leaned on when the going was tough. It still is. And I continue to lean. But I feel most of my friendship and interactions are transaction-based. More on this some other time.

This tweet by Ajeet Sir caught my eye and I realised that maybe lockdown has made me a tad more detached from people!

No, I dont know how to fix it.

Do I want to fix it? Yes! I would love to have people that care for me as an individual and not as a designation. I need people to empathize with what I am going thru and not just label me as someone that doesn’t return calls. I need to feel loved and not left out of conversations and not taken for granted.

And yes, these expectations are not unfounded. I believe in long-term thinking and reciprocity. I do all these for my people. And in exchange, I don’t expect them to go out of their way to accommodate me. Just a simple, respectful, non-judgemental conversation would do. But I hardly get even that.

And yet…

I think I should title this post ‘rant about unrequited love and friendship of a lonely 38-year old man’.

2/ The entire events industry runs on a very simple sub-contracting model. The end-user of service hires a professional. The professional contracts things to multiple partners, each a specialist into certain trade. The partners further sub-contract it to the service providers. These service providers then use temp staff to get things done. More often than not, the dreams of the client are fulfilled by people that they don’t even know exist. Imagine a mason making a five-star hotel and that very mason being denied entry into the hotel. Imagine a carpenter making the grandest facade for your wedding and he is stopped from even taking a picture of what he created.

From a dream that the client has conjured in their head to the execution that happens on the ground, there’s this well-defined food-chain. And at each step, the respect that that person gets and the money that person makes goes down. To give you perspective, if you are spending 10,000 bucks on an event, the guy who actually puts the flower on the wedding mandap gets paid 10 paisas. Paisa. Not Rupees. From a kitty of 10000 bucks. Of course, there are multiple layers, and the value added at each layer is immense but the guy at the bottom gets paid shit. And worse, gets treated like shit. That level of people are so degraded that they themselves stop believing that they deserve more. If not more, then respect.

The sad part is that the entire industry operates like that. Lower you are on the value chain, worse you are treated. Even by the ones that are just a notch above you.

When you do events and meet people who come from as far as Bihar and Assam and more to work on events in Goa and are paid minimum wages and are treated like shit, your heart goes out and you question things. Of course, you can question all you want to, the answers are non-existent.

3/ Oh, this was one of those rare events where I did not have Diet Coke or Red Bull or even Coffee. What am I becoming?

D. Now that I am talking of vices, lemme talk of alcohol. Yesterday, I saw yet again how alcohol fucks your capability to think. It, of course, makes you lose your inhibitions and makes you do things that un-do-s all that you have worked for. I mean imagine a full-grown man making a fool of himself, in the middle of a party, just because he is drunk!

What’s the point of such “losing inhibition” and “letting your hair down”? I have always struggled to find an answer to this question. To a point that I have sort of given up. I just know that making a fool out of myself, because I am drunk is not for me. I am happy to be a fool in the way I think, the way I operate, the way I work etc. Those foolhardy things allow me to go beyond what I am doing right now. They help me grow as a person. They polish me, you know.

But being unable to walk, puking all over yourself and then “blaming” it on alcohol is not my thing.

I know, I know. I am being super judgemental here. I mean it’s their life and they can do whatever they want to. I get that. I also get that some people may want to feel free. I know that most people do not operate in their natural state on a day-to-day basis and this casual alcoholism helps them find an escape. But then the escape has to be a thing that makes you better. You know, how about you hit a gym if you want to feel the change? Write something? If you want a communal experience, how about you go dance? Join a volunteering organization? I hope you get the drift.

Anyhow. So after the incident last night, I promise that I will not have alcohol ever again. Even if its a very very special occasion. I am trying to stay away from coffee and coke. I shall stick to lime water and coconut water and other such things. Just need to figure out what I would have at a Starbucks ;P

E. For the last couple of days, I rented a car to get around Goa. I had to. You cant manage an event and not have a car that doubles up as your shelter when you are tired, your dumping ground when you have to lug things, your companion where you pile your anguish out. And since this was one of the most unorganized events that I’ve been a part of, I was running around a lot. I would have spent a large part of the day in the car yesterday.

But then, that’s not the point.

The point is a car. I realized my love for cars and roads and navigating and driving and seeing new places. I have to have to have to get one. I have had this dream that the first car I buy would be a Merc. I know I am very far from that with what’s happening at work. But I will make things happen and get to a car this year. #note2self #lifeGoal.

F. Fitness. Lol. I start smiling every time I use this F word. I mean really. Fitness. Lol. I have this note that I wrote to myself in 2012 (almost 10 years ago) where I promised that I will be 30″ by end of that year. I am nowhere close. I want to climb Mt. Everest. And I have a hard time walking 12 steps.

Sigh.

Ok, by mistake I linked to this video from Men of Honor. I am going down that Rabbit Hole where I want to make movies and inspire others. Wait. One thing is clear. Each action I take has to leave others inspired. The realization that Silver lining 😀

Ok, that’s it for the day, I think. Good to have poured out.

Nothing on #book2. Will start soon.

220221 – Morning Pages

Nothing special to report today either. I am just glad that I am able to keep the streak of these morning pages going.

7:25. My writing table.

I just woke up. I slept very fitfully. Like most days.

The house remains a mess. I am even washing my clothes. Sigh. Of course, I am ok doing my own work but the only reason I don’t want to do it cos I feel it’s a waste of time. This is probably why people have washing machines and all that. Right now, I don’t even have the patience or the mindspace or the time to get someone else to help me! I think I have bit into more than I can chew. I mean I did not agree to this much work when I picked these projects. But theek hai. I need it.

So, I spent some 18 hours at a local Starbucks and I would have spent some 5000 bucks there. Thousand. Not Hundred. Yeah, I am like that. Pennywise and pound- foolish. I need to make clear that I don’t spend money on Coffee. I pay a per-day fee to sit at a comfortable, air-conditioned, well-lit, fast Internet connection. I consider Starbucks as my office / work expense. I had so much coffee yesterday (I can count 5 Grande Americanos that I had yesterday. And 2 of these were double shots) that I am surprised that I even got sleep. Oh, I slept ok. Fitfully but ok. I mean that’s how I get most of my sleep. Coffee or no coffee.

The other thing is that it’s now certified that I can NOT work from home. Yesterday, I came back home for a bit because I wanted a change in scenery. But as soon as I reached here, I jumped on the bed and slept. Sigh. I am jealous of people that can stay indoors. Of course, there are talks of imposing a lockdown all over again in Mumbai and if that happens, I would be devastated. I can NOT survive indoors.

Oh, I have to talk about how Starbucks sparked another serendipitous incident. I was hanging out there and I spotted this person that gave me the first-ever opportunity as a TV writer. No, it did not reach anywhere. The show never saw the light of the day. This was some 5-6 years ago. #tnks had just come out. I used to live at Nahar. I think I got connected to him via someone on Twitter (I will dig it out). It’s amazing things that can happen when you live at hubs. Yeah yeah, I am merely trying to find things that rationalize my thinking. You know, we are pattern-seeking and pattern-matching, rationalizing (and not rational) creatures! #note2self

While editing this piece, I realized that I missed the highlight of yesterday. I was seeing something on Youtube when I stumbled on this video where Vikramaditya Motwane and the team talk about how they made this track for Lootera. I don’t know what state of mind I was in, but I saw Vikram Sir and the team talk about it and I cried. Like an actual tear came outta my eyes. I even wrote an email to him. I hope he sees it!

The medium of films is so so powerful that I am surprised I am doing nothing about it. And I am spending wasting my time making PowerPoint presentations in exchange for peanuts. See this tweet

I know I know. I don’t have the talent to make films. I know I don’t have the money to say no to PowerPoint. But there has to a way out na? Guess that’s why creative people in the old times had patrons that allowed them to chase their dreams. Come on, universe! Do something!

So what else?

I guess nothing.

Days are moving so so fast that it’s not funny. Each morning seems to blend into the evening and then night and then back to the grind. This busy-ness is great but I need to find a way out so that I can do bigger, larger, grander things.

Sigh.

That’s about it for the day. Have quite a things to work on. No, nothing on #book2. :((

160221 – Morning Pages

Nothing special here. You may skip reading this one.

6:43. I slept at 2. Woke up around 15 mins ago. Not sure what all to write but a few things on the top of my head.

Its been a few days that I am in Mumbai. I ideally want life to fall into a routine of wake up -> Starbucks -> Work -> Eat -> Sleep. But it would not happen. I need to run way too many errands for way too little time that I am here for. And I want to meet quite a few people (friends, mentors, strangers etc.). This meeting with strangers has helped me find work over the years. And I need to continue to do this if I want to make my ends meet. You know, tough times call for tough decisions.

So, morning pages.

Yesterday was a long long day. I worked non-stop from 8 AM on. Till about 6. And then from 8 till 1030. Well, work was a combination of writing, editing, powerpoint-int, giving gyaan, seeking gyaan, and whatnot. After living the thug-life over the weekend, yesterday was good. Just that, when I came back home to the dump I am living in, I was incredibly sad at that. Plus, yesterday was one of those days when I did not want to come back to an empty house. No, I don’t want an object per se that wants to wait for me. But someone that I could be myself with. And allow that person to be herself. And be her home. And all that. I guess you get the drift. And no, am not crying about working hard.

Oh, I have to put this on paper. Since I was working like mad yesterday, I had way much coffee and I did not eat anything till about 5:30. The last meal was at 1 AM the previous night. So, without planning for it, I ended up eating once a day and fasting for about 16 hours. Yay for that. Let’s see if I can do the same today. I have as much packed a day as I had yesterday. Time shall tell!

Yesterday a friend asked me for tips on how to live a life of a freelancer and I realized I had no clue. What I did know is that I could find places and opportunities where I could point her to. While searching for things, I found this Twitter thread by Chuck Gopal (I love everything he does) and I think if you are thinking about going freelance, this is worth its weight in gold! Do see it.

This also made me realize that I need to act on that large idea of mine where I want to make Goa a hub for knowledge workers where they can live and work remotely from. The guide to living and working from Goa was the first step. As the next step, I want to aggregate resources, pool businesses, and invite people to work from Goa. After that I have to create an on-ground infrastructure to make this happen. I mean you may read a post and you may land in Goa. But what after that? So there’s a lot of work. Need to get going with this. #note2self

Finally, as I end this, here’s a good thing that happened. Today, I start editing / proofreading yet another book. Yay! For someone else. This is the second book I am working on. And I am getting paid for it. And this is fiction (the first one that I am still working on is biographical). I love this feeling of helping others. And this allows me to learn from what they are writing! I mean what else could I ask for in life? The only trouble is that am way too particular about things and I will probably take more time than I estimated. And I need to be able to deliver enough value that more people are keen on engaging me!

So that, I think this is about for the day! Time to get going with the day. Like I said, I have a long one!

No, nothing on #book2 today either. I think I have lost the plot with the daily notes. It sucks to not chase what fans my fire 🙁

PS: The rasa, the juice, the joy, the pleasure on these morning pages is disappearing. This has started to feel like a chore now that I do mindlessly. The amount of writing I get done is reducing by the day. I mean it requires me to think about things on the top of my head. And then write. And edit. And then publish. And all that. Of course, my writing muscle remains active. But then what? To what end? Can I make this better in some way?

So, I need a new strategy for these morning pages. Sigh. Funny the kind of questions that I trouble myself with! Chalo, over and out.