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.