130421 – Meditations

What started as a recap of the day got converted into a rant. Lol. Read at peril.

6:56. Andheri.

Slept for some 7 hours. And I feel I have overslept. Even though I had a looooong day with a million phone calls and a billion things to remember, I feel overslept. You know how you feel you should’ve woke up earlier? I don’t think I can do 8 hours of sleep. But 7 I think is doable. Must aim for that.

So, I did a 10K yesterday. Walked on Versova Beach. Among other things, a lot of people play cricket there. While I was passing by some of those, I tried to catch a ball or two. I tried to stop one from my feet. I even threw a ball towards someone.

I remember as a child, I was pretty nifty with all these. I may not have been a Jhonty Rhodes but I definitely was among the better ones with my reflexes and hands and feel. I could stretch myself like a rubber band and dive further than a swimmer to take impossible catches. I could outrun the balls racing towards long boundaries. I could then throw right on top of the wickets, if not hit the wickets. I rarely missed.

However, yesterday, I felt I was reduced to a pale memory of my former self. And it hurt, it pained to observe that something that I was good at, I am not longer even considered eligible for. Guess this is how oldies feel when they sort of retire. It’s the worst feeling in the world!

Picture a young man of 22 who’s take a bus to reach the large departmental store where he was a security guard for years. Just that after 40 years in the service, he no longer looks strong. His actions are slower. His reactions are labored. And he knows that there are murmurs of them trying to find a replacement. Replacement of a person that has literally given his entire life to an establishment! Old age. Sigh. I hate this.

Anyhow. The good part is that I did 15K steps. I was tired but I continued to talk. One of the main issues why I can’t do some sort of a work out (apart from my Hernia that is troubling me all over again – need to get operated finally) is the boredom that sets in after a while. I think the secret is that I need to schedule the calls that don’t need me on video or a computer for the time I walk. For example, yesterday, I had calls from 6 till 830 that did not require me to be on a video and I walked for the most part of it!

Earlier I would listen to podcasts but I think I need something more engaging. More involving. More proactive. You know, like a conversation. Agreed that there’s background noise but I think most people are ok to make that concession. The world is kind like that.

In other news, there are rumors of a lockdown from tomorrow in Mumbai at least. If that happens, I will probably not survive. I mean humans are like cockroaches. They’d find their way through even the nuclear war (remember Wall-E?). But I can not be closeted in a house. A small one at that. I need space. I need to move around. I need people. Even if I don’t talk to them. I am ok to not talk to them. But I need to observe. Make secret jokes to myself about how they are dressed, how they behave et al. But I need them. I need the fresh air that the “modern homes” in Mumbai are not capable of providing. I need to, need to have access to literally an open sky. Of course with an AC in that room. Lol.

Ok. I am digressing. The point is, I can’t survive a lockdown. I have to escape it somehow. Even if I get fined by the cops or get a whack on my butt, I need to be out and about! Fuck this pandemic. Fuck the stupidity of people. Fuck the majboori of the world that they are forced to risk their lives to make ends meet. Fuck our incompetent policymakers and politicians and others that could’ve done better. Fuck Saurabh Garg. For always being on the sidelines when the crisis hits and not taking any action. I had more than one year to get active, learn more, foresee the crisis, and plan for the contingency.

Deep breath, Mr. Garg. You are ranting. The point is not to get angry. The point is to find an alternative to what is coming my way. May be I will borrow VG’s car and hit the road without a destination in mind. I will probably end up driving to Goa but still. If the North East was not that far, I would probably drive all the way there. Let’s see what the government declares tomorrow. Once that happens, I will decide.

So, It’s 8:14 and I have a call at 9 AM. So I have about 45 mins to write for #book2. Let’s see what I create. I am going to write about something that I have not written so far. I mean I may have written on one of the previous passes over the years but I will stay away from usual suspects (Rujuta, Raunak, Mrs. Gomes, Udita, Chintan, etc). Here we go.

[START]

“How much is enough?”

“More than what the world has to offer.” Despite what he did or what he was infamous for, he was a very well-read person at the end of the day. His repertoire included texts not just from Hinduism and Christianity but also from western philosophers, obscure thinkers, scientists, and statesmen. And he knew he was intelligent and knew all of that. And that coupled with his false sense of insecurity is what made him a highly functional sociopathic. And he knew this as well. And he used it to his advantage. Every time he had to do something that even he would not agree with, he would use the excuse of his sociopathic traits to get justify his actions. Like this time.

“How can one man have all of it already? And still want more?” His father asked.

“That’s the point. I know I am here for a limited time. Maybe another 30 years if I don’t get killed by all the vodka that I love. And I need to be sure that when I die, the world stops moving. If I cant enjoy all that the world has to offer, why should anyone else get an opportunity?” He was bereft of any emotion when he spoke that. As if it’s a universal truth that most pundits would agree upon.

His father was exasperated. There was no point in breaking his head over the stubbornness of his son. “This is not how it works. You are far intelligent than that…”

He cut his father midway and retorted, “That’s your problem, father. You never thought I was good enough to carry the fabled heritage of the Pauls. There was always someone else that had your affection.”

He took a pause. Poured himself some vodka and gulped it at once.

Even though his father was strict about not getting any alcohol in their house, the younger Paul was insolent.

“You think so?”

Ankit smacked his lips and said, “I don’t think so. I know. I am not dumb. You know it. I know it. There was always someone else that you held in higher regard. Ever since I was a child, you have ruled with an iron fist. I was punished for no reason. I was pushed against the wall all time. Why did you not just kill me right away when I was born? Why put me through all this suffering?”

He put his mouth to the bottle of Belvedere that he was carrying and took a big drag. This was not his choice of vodka, he had finer taste but this is what was available at the shop en route his ancestral home.

The father could respond to each accusation that was being hurled at him but he knew better. “Son…”

“I don’t want your fake sympathy. Give that to all of your proteges that you thought were better than me. I’ve come here to ask for the Green Book.” He dropped the bomb.

The Green Book was more treasured, holy, and inaccessible than the innermost Sanctorum of the most revered shrine in the world. It has been passed down their family for countless generations. Apart from the father and son, no one even knew that the book of life existed.

The father was not surprised at the demand. He knew that this day would come. Just that he did not expect it to come this soon, on the 30th birthday of the son. But then, the book did have hints of a big upheaval around the same time.

“What would you do with it? You know far more than what one book can teach you. And you have seen it. There’s nothing in there that you do not know about.”

“Again! I am not dumb, father. I know that that book is as worthless as toilet paper. But that book father is also when a Paul boy becomes a man. That book father is when a Paul passes on his reins to his son. That book father is what a Paul is born to inherit. It belongs to me and I am here to lay a claim to it before you betray the family and give it to someone outside. I will not let the Paul’s name go to ruin.”

It was ironic that the two of them were talking about the legacy of their family and both seemed to on the opposite ends of a river. Neither realized that they were at the opposite ends of a candle that’s burning from both sides. A far urgent, far ferocious inevitability. While the son could not see this, the father could see the writing on the wall. He had tried to delay this as much as he could. But the time seemed to have come. The book is never wrong.

He submitted.

“What you are doing right now is taking us closer to ruin than anything else has ever. The family has survived fires, floods, famines, false promises, and far more. You have read about it. I taught you myself.” He lowered his voice. “You were my brightest student, Son, but the book, the Pauls, you and me, this is where our story comes to an end.”

With a quick motion that surprised even himself, he flung the book into the fireplace.

[END] 8:57! Yay!

Anyhow. So, here’s the streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 121
  • #aPicADay – 102
  • 10K steps a day –1
  • OMAD – 1
  • #noCoffee – 34
  • #noCoke – 34
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0

060421 – Meditations

A not so happy post about how I felt this morning when I woke up. Read at peril.

0536 – Andheri.
Just woke up. Super blank.

0626.
Wrote some on my quarterly review. Still blank about what to post on morning meditations. I think there are multiple reasons, not sure which one is at play. Let’s investigate. Here’s a list.

  • I have been closeted in my house for an entire day (I did go out yesterday morning to a Starbucks and then went for a walk after I recorded the podcast). I hate it here.
  • I ate 3 large meals – all full of carbs, bad oil, at inappropriate times. For none of those, I was hungry. I was just bored and bugged and wanted some change. Maybe its all the crap I am eating? Maybe I will subscribe to some Keto service or something. The other day SG19Feb asked me to lose 10 KGs. Why not?
  • I did not really work a lot per se but by the time day ended, I was exhausted. Even watching reruns of Taarak Mehta did not help.
  • I slept at around 11 and I woke up at 5:30. I know I need more than 8 hours of sleep but 6.5 hours of sleep is actually more than enough for me. Most days. I have to get the AC situation fixed. Too hot to sleep peacefully otherwise.
  • A tiny tiff with a friend I care for. I hate that the handful of people I want to understand me and get the subtext of what I am saying, do not!
  • I did not brush my teeth yesterday. I know. TMI. But cant help it.

Any or more of the above five six could be a reason for my exhaustion and blankness. I don’t know if it’s a good thing but I am not liking how I feel right now. I tried everything – drinking water, stretching, moving around, music, even porn, writing, meditating, and more in the last 45 minutes. And yet I can’t seem to get my head to focus.

The more I think, the more I realize that it is probably because of the stress am taking that I will have to be indoors till end of April. I know that COVID is wreaking havoc and we need to stay indoors and maintain protocol but what about people like me who have the compulsive need to be out and about?

This staying indoors is going to fuck my brains. I don’t want to use the mental health thingy loosely. I am lucky that I am ok (compared to a lot of people I know) more or less. But if I am forced to stay indoors, I will find it tough to sail through. I dont know what to do. I have enlisted a friend to help me stay sane by giving me random things to work on.

Ok, while editing, I realised that this has come out too dark. Too sad. I am not that bad to be honest. Lemme talk of a few good things that have happened around me.

So, yesterday I recorded the first episode of the Investor Thesis podcast. I try to make this mythical creature called the investor more human. I try and understand what is required for a successful pitch to an investor. Of course, brevity is not my cup of tea and thus these are 90 minute long conversations. I will try to shorten these to about 30 (tough job) before I release these. Let’s see how that goes.

I also managed to step out for a walk after the day was done. I mean I had an option of not stepping out. But I did. And thank God, I did. I did some 8K steps. I plan to do 10K today. If I am getting locked into the house, I will ensure that I get my 10K steps for sure. Why? A, fresh air. B, the compulsive need to be not indoors.

Chalo, lemme talk of a pet peeve of mine. There are people that type flowers in their WA messages. I have at least three contacts that send flowers with every message they send. I have never understood their rationale or thinking. I mean I get it you want me to take away happy feelings and nice thoughts and a good aftertaste from our conversation. But does that merit a flower? In the conversation?

I also put a sticky note on front of the wall where I have placed my working desk. I know that if I want to be a digital nomad, these notes don’t help. Plus I anyway will move out from this house as soon as I get the next project that I can work on. But then, I like the idea of seeing things regularly and reinforcing things that I am working on. Knowing myself, I will have wall full of random notes stacked on top of each other soon. Let’s see.

I think this is about it. It was a real struggle to write this one. But I am glad I was able to. I am going to try my luck and see if Starbucks is open. Wait. I will not go. I will try and break the muscle memory and the patterns in my head. I will not go. I will rather get ready and come back at the desk and get going with work.

Over and out.

Oh, the streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 116
  • #aPicADay – 96
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 27
  • #noCoke – 27
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0 (Adding a new row. More on this in a few days)

050421 – Meditations

I talk about dreams, space situation and a new project that I am kickstarting today. Read on.

6:17. Woke up a few minutes ago.

Believe it or not but I dreamt of Lamberghini. And no, I haven’t heard it recently. Funny how our memories work. Staying on dreams, here’s an anecdote. I was on a drive with a 2-year old kid. She wanted to peak out of the sunroof and her mom did not want her to. The next day, the mother told me that in her sleep, the kid was talking about how she wants to peak out. Isn’t it insane? Even a 2-year old kid knows what she wants and what she’s been asked not to do. Since she is helpless, she suppresses the want but at the sub-conscious level she wants it. And she dreams about it! It is brilliant! This entire life, humankind and how our bodies and brain function is so so so fascinating!

Yesterday I took it easy. In fact, I have been taking it easy the last few weeks, to be honest. Since I came back from Goa. I mean I am delivering on what is expected from me in terms of work and I am pushing things forward – as much as I can. But I do need to get back to action. I feel I am not doing enough. Funnily there is no external “force” asking me to do more. It’s me who’s pushing myself to do more. I know I have to. I am far far away from the #lifeGoal of a billion dollars and billion lives and Mt. Everest!

Mt. Everest brings me to another point. On the 2nd April, VG shared a pic from exactly ten years ago – He, SGG and I had gone to see the Cricket World Cup finals at Wankhede and we took a pic there. And then we took a picture of the three of us again. In the 10 years, I have aged visibly and I think this is a trigger enough to push me to get fitter! I mean I’ve had a million triggers – including health scares but nothing makes me move. Damn!

Anyhow. Enough of self-beating. Here is a puzzle am trying to solve – making the house a tad better in terms of organizing the furniture. I need to optimize the space and make the most of what I have. Till I can move on to another place. I did some shuffling around and now the bedroom has some space to walk around. So that’s a win. With a lockdown looming large, I need all the space I can get. The hall still is like a godown with boxes that need to be unpacked. Things are stacked on top of each other and those need to be hidden from sight. Till I moved into this cramped space, I never realized I had such a big thing for space around me. In fact, if I were to get back to what I’ve written over the last few days, this space situation is a common pattern.

In other news, Mumbai yesterday reported 11000 new COVID cases. At least two good friends now have it. I met one of those as recently as the Monday gone by. 6 days. So I may be at risk. However, I don’t have any symptoms so far. If I do develop symptoms, I will have to isolate myself in this house. And it would be a pain to find my rhythm when I am indoors. It’s going to be a challenge. Last year, I managed it as I was alone in a larger space. That place was fairly spacious and clean. There was a clear demarcation of personal and workspaces. This time, I am in a far smaller space and there are regular issues that you expect an old tiny apartment to have. Plus when I work, I need to have people around me. I need to have the AC working well. I need to have infinite water and I make a million trips to the loo. All these are great at an office. Or a Starbucks. At home the place I live at, I am not sure.

So that. Oh, today I start recording for a new podcast. I call it the Investor Thesis. The idea is to talk to investors and learn from them about their journeys, their thesis when they invest, what they think India lacks. The challenge would be to get them to talk about things that are of long-term importance to listeners. Let’s see how it goes. I will do 20 episodes and see where this goes.

So that’s the update for the day. No time for #book2 and here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 115
  • #aPicADay – 95
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 26
  • #noCoke – 26
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0 (damn!)

220321 – Morning Pages

Short rant. Better ignored.

7:13. Andheri.

I just woke up and my eyes are groggy and all that. Nothing new with that. What is new is that I am not sure what to write. A lot has been happening with me and there is this general sense of overwhelm that’s shrouded me. Things both at work and personal level. Things at heart and head level. I dont even know how to report those here.

Anyhow. Moving on. Monday is here. That means the world is back to action. And that means I need to be back in action as well. And that means I will have a busy sort of a day. And that’s a good thing. I am thinking I will try and fast today and if I am busy, I can often forget about food and all. So that.

In other news, I made the first draft of SoG Grant live. Here. Read it if you want to and lemme know what you think. I will formalise it over the next few days and then roll out. This is one of those ways to pay it forward.

I dont have anything else to write or report. The head’s way too blank. Maybe I will write more tomorrow.

And, here’s the streaks.

  • Morning Pages – 101. I made a mistake in count. This is the 101th post for Morning Pages.
  • #aPicADay – 81
  • 10K steps a day – 0.
  • OMAD – 0 (stress ate multiple meals)
  • #noCoffee – 12
  • #noCoke – 12
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0

210321 – Morning Pages

A longish rant on things that are fucking with my head. You may want to skip. You’ve been warned.

8:21. Starbucks, Versova.

This will be a rant. I guess a long one at that. Let’s see when I get around to writing it. The next engagement is at 1030 so I have plenty of time. Please bear. Skip if you have to. Shit’s happening around me and I need to talk to someone and there’s no one but this blog. Of course no specifics here. Will talk in as broad strokes as I can. I am listening to this on loop as I write this.

Lemme start with a simple metaphor that someone once told me (I think it was Hemant). He said think of a giant, spacious room bang in the middle of the city, next to a busy road. The room has floor-to-ceiling windows that give you an expansive view of the world outside. You can open those windows in the mornings to let the sunlight and the fresh morning air come in and make the place a pleasant one. But, if you forget to close those windows during the day, the freshness and the morning cheer will get replaced by the incessant honking of the traffic, dust, and grime from the world out there and may be some stench, some stink from the world beyond your house. Would you as a logical person, not close these windows when it starts getting noisy?

That!

I need to start closing the windows to my life and brain. Lemme elaborate. Thing is, I think of so many ideas, things, businesses, impact areas, and whatnot that are so forward-looking that it takes forever for those to reach a conclusion. Like it would happen with almost anything, with time, some most of those fall along the way (plenty of reasons – I am unable to keep up, the people I work with realizing that I am not the best partner, the timing is not right, I lose steam, I find a shinier object, shit happens, etc etc.). As a result, I often fail to close those loops. And thus, the metaphorical windows to my brain are left often. And instead of helping my brain get fresh air, I am left with the noise and dust. The windows need closing!

You know, I have often thought about myself being that person that had immense potential to do things that could change the world but I feel that I am not living upto that with what I do. I merely hop from one thing to another and along the way I leave behind unfinished projects, half-baked ideas and unfulfilled promises to the world, friends, connections and myself. When I die (which I hope is not before I am 120), I would probably look like that sculptor that has a million unfinished pieces in his repertoire, each with a potential of becoming a David. It would be such a crime that I would waste all the potential. Assuming I have the potential.

I mean I can focus on one thing, one statue that goes onto outshine David and others of the ilk but my magic, my method, the madness comes from trying new things, new experiences, talking to new people, seeding new ideas, seeing new possibilities, and well, chasing the new shiny toy. Lol, the number of times I used “new” in that sentence has to be a world record of sorts.

So, I dont want to stop creating new things, opening new doors. After all, each thing I have in life is a result of all the million shots that I take without any purpose or anything. So that’s not stopping.

What I will do is try and close each loop window that I open in a predictable amount of time. Or once I reach some sort of conclusion. Or when I know the time has come to move on (which is tough to know to be honest). But I will close for sure. I think I have written about this earlier as well on one of the SoGs (I think). Let’s see if I find a link when I come around to editing this. Can’t find.

Also, while I will close all the new loops, new projects, new ideas and all that going forward, I know I cant roll back time to undo all that I should’ve done. I’ll see which ones I can. Even if they aren’t that many.

This is also a good time to tell myself to revisit Dr. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, a book that has been like a ‘bible of life’ of sorts for me. The funny thing is that a lot of intelligent, aware, educated people don’t agree with him. But to me, he makes immense sense and everytime I read it, I take away a life lesson from it.

The antidote to the shit in head, I think the rule that is most pertinent is about setting my own house in order before I try and change the world.

I mean I do want to change the world and each thing I do is from that lens but since I am unable to close the ideas, the loops and other things, I am unable to make even an iota of dent.

I think this is about it. No, I am not any lighter since I started writing this. But I do know that I have vented out and I can move onto the next things. Like Dr. Peterson says in Rule 6, I need to take responsibility for the misery that has been inflicted upon me by my actions / inactions. Here on, I shall take responsibility and put the house in order. I have to play a role in helping the world become better.

Ok enough. Time to get on with the day. Here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages – 99
  • #aPicADay – 80
  • 10K steps a day – 1. The monthly average is 9K steps. I’ll see if I can take this up to 10K by the time month ends.
  • OMAD – 0 (stress ate ice-cream late night). Trying to fast today. Though I am tempted to stuff myself with food.
  • #noCoffee – 11
  • #noCoke – 11
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0

Over and out.

050321 – Morning Pages

A quick rant on how I was made to feel at a meeting yesterday.

5:30. AM.
I am up! And on it. Listening to Khawabon Key Parinde. I’ve always been a king of wishful thinking. I’ve even written about it on my blog once. Here.

So, today I get to meet one of my newer clients. I have been working for him since Oct last year and everytime I have spoken to him, I have left the (zoom) room inspired. This is my first IRL meeting with him. Lets see how it goes.

Yesterday was a mixed bag. Largely, took it easy. I had a few calls and I was a silent observer at most of those places. I don’t like to play a passive role but I think it’s ok to not want to run the show all the time. I think my fly as high as the Icarus needs taming and these meetings are sobering me up. Just that I don’t like when I am interrupted and cut in the middle by people. Or when I am taken for granted. Or when I am shrugged like a flunky in the white shirt. I remember I wrote about this 10 years ago and I am yet to get over it. This is not my ego per se. This is more about being treated as an equal human. That sucks. Someone told me a few days back that you rather work with someone that respects you than someone who pays you a lot. But then that’s naukri. If you want to win the world and become like Elon, Jeff, and others, you need to do what Guru Bhai tells us!

Anyhow. Moving on.

I was with someone else yesterday when they reminded me that I am a published author. Lol. Must move my ass and write more. The battle between making ends meet and chasing the dreams is a neverending one. Days like this I wish I had picked a comfortable job that would have given me the weekends to do whatever I wanted to. Or I had a rich father. Or a rich wife. Anyone wants to adopt? Or marry me? You need to have 10 odd crores to giveaway to me. Or maybe I can put my head down and write. Lol!

So that.

I guess that’s about it. Short post but at least poured out what gave me a sleepless night. Over and out.

PS: Funny that I am 38, I am triggered and affected by these trangressions of people that I work with. And this is when I want to change the world and impact a billion lives and make a billion dollars and all that. Sigh. At my age, people are making the world go around and I am cribbing about such tiny things. Damn, Mr. Garg!

110221 – Morning Pages

A quick post on talking about the fact that I am back in Mumbai! Yay! Even though I would go back in about 10 days.

8:11. I have 19 minutes to do this.

Today’s one of those days where I cant even die. AA would laugh at this but it’s true. So, the things am thinking about are…

I am in Mumbai as I write this. At least till the 19th.

I am here after exactly three months (went to Delhi for Diwali on 10th Nov and then Goa on 6th Dec). When I reached home, a rude shock awaited. The house was in a mess. There were inches of dust, dead bodies of cockroaches, moss on the furniture, the stale smell in the almirahs, and whatnot. If you know me, I want things to be perfect af and I am anal about cleanliness. I was fucked in the head. But then I was too tired from the damn train journey and I slept. Fuck I am at that place in life where bodily comforts are more important than mental stimulation. Old age, boys and girls, sucks!

Lemme talk about the train. Yesterday I said that I will see if I could work from train. I am happy to report that the experiment failed gloriously. I couldn’t get a single thing done. The train journey is way too uncomfortable and obtrusive. The guy sitting next to me could not stop peeping into my laptop, my phone, my shirt, and I don’t know what else.

And that means that I have this BIG pile of things that I should’ve done yesteryday. And thus this rush to get over with these morning pages before 8:30.

So, the good thing is that I am writing from a Starbucks. Love that the store is clean, AC is perfect, cheap jazz is playing. And I just got myself a coffee. After a few days. I wish Goa offered such predictability. But guess that’s the charm of living in Goa and that’s what makes life fun. But the point is, at a Starbucks, I come into the rhythm, the zone as fast as, well, a train.

Anyhow, there’s more but there’s no time. This tweet by Anusha summarised my life so perfectly.

Let’s see if I can find more time during the day to write more. Till then, over and out. And its 8:29! Fuck so cool!

PS: This is not really the morning pages that Julia talks about but I had to keep the streak going.

060221- Morning Pages

Nothing special today. Just a rant. And a post that I just did not want to write – blame it on laziness and general ennui.

9:36

No, this is not the first thing I am doing. Not even the second. Am showered, powdered, and at a coffee shop already. I’ve just placed an order for a black coffee and a sandwich. No, I don’t like such a “healthy” breakfast but I felt like ordering. So, gave in. Anyhow. Onto morning pages. I am still doing this before I get any work done or have any of my thoughts interrupt how things are going.

So, last night, I slept at a new place. This one is a serviced apartment and they had a Medimix to bathe with. I saw it and a million memories from the age-old travels to popular touristy and religious places came back. As a kid in a middle-class family, I think we traveled a fair bit. If nothing else, we went to places like Haridwar and Shimla and all that. Most times we stayed in cheap hotels, dharamshalas and other such places. Of course, these were nice, familial places and always had a variation of Medimix or Lux or one of those bathing bars. Even in trains that we used to travel to reach these places had these paper-thin soaps. Fuck that paper soap was a thing. It like a tiny book with soaped pages. You could tear one, wash your hands with it and see it disappear with the lather. Man, what days!

So coming back to the new place, it’s actually not bad and I think I can live for the rest of my life in serviced apartments.

Brings me to the all-important question. Mumbai vs Goa.

I don’t know the answer. I like it here and I don’t want to miss the opportunities I can potentially get in Mumbai. Living in Goa gives me that reset button that I’ve wanted for a long long time. But Goa doesn’t give me the kind of opportunities that can fix the puraane paap. So that. There are more things am thinking about. I even made this big-ass mindmap and yet I don’t have an answer. It sucks to be in limbo. But, it’s cool. Life’s a game. Let’s play.

The other thing that am thinking about is that maybe if I can find a way to support my kutumb[1]Kabeer famously said, “Sai itna dijiye, jaame kutumb samaay, main bhookha naa rahoon, sadhu na bhookha jaaye and myself, I will transition to becoming a full-time writer. No, I am yet to prove myself with writing. Plus I am not sure if I have the talent to do so. I don’t even have content or a body of work that helps me establish myself as that. I have famously failed at selling #tnks as a script to.

But then, I can try! I can take a million shots and see which one sticks. No? Let’s see.

What else? What else? Lemme make bullet points of things on the top of my head and make a list…

  1. I am in Mumbai in the next week. I have a couple of IRL meetings. So, if you are in Mumbai and want to meet me, lemme know.
  2. The poster of the next short that I helped come to life is out! I loved to see my name up there on the poster. More than anything else, it sends a message that I am around to support indie filmmakers. Yay!
  3. I drove a friend’s car yesterday in Goa and I hated it. I thought I would never say this, but I did. Maybe its the roads here, maybe its the traffic. Maybe cos I haven’t driven in a while?
  4. I worked from Design Centre yesterday and on the way back I thought things and for some reason, while I was riding, I had this surprising clarity of thought. I could even un-layer a few things that I was thinking on. I can’t seem to get this clarity when I am walking. Or running. I think it’s about using your body in some mundane chore and that helps your mind be active enough to start thinking on this. You know, how people go in those dreamy states? Must go on more such rides.
  5. An old contact resurfaced and offered me a job. I am not sure if I want to work for someone else. But then Kabeer and Kutumb! Sigh!

That’s about it, I guess. No, there’s no #freewriting for #book2 even today. I know I know I am being tardy. I am sorry 🙁

PS: Happy Birthday, Arti. I couldnt do half the things that I have managed in the last few months without you around.

270121 – Morning Pages

Rant. Don’t read. Trigger Warning (TW).

6:25.

I have had a fitful sleep. And I had a really bad day yesterday. And I am mindfucked like I’ve never been before.

I had an important meeting and like all important meetings I ensured that I was on time and I was ready and all and just when I had the meeting, the Internet stopped. I mean I know that Goa doesn’t offer the most reliable internet but it sucked af that it went away a minute before the meeting was to start!

Today I have another important meeting. If there is any interruption on the internet today, I promise I will fucking go back to Mumbai. Or Delhi. I have to include this in my ultimate guide of working from Goa that if your work requires synchronous video calls, you either live in Panjim (the city) or you do not consider Goa as a place to be. I am not even sure what would happen in monsoons.

The other thing that I am thinking a lot about and I don’t know how to stop thinking about is the ongoing farmer’s protest. I thought I knew all about the issue and how the new laws will fuck the lives of farmers even more. How the laws are against the long-term interest of farmers. How large companies will dictate terms and squeeze farmers even more. But then more narratives, probably sponsored by the very large companies (that stand to benefit) started coming out. And those are compelling, paint a contrasting picture and so lucid in their arguments that I am actually thinking that the laws may actually benefit the farmers. And the nation. Fuck, now I don’t even know what to believe anymore.

Which to be honest is ok. I anyway don’t know a lot about a lot of issues that I should be knowing about. I don’t vote. I don’t know a thing about anti-muslim propaganda. I don’t know about issues of the LGBTQi community. I have been on the fence about the battle between natives and migrants in almost all states. I don’t know the reason why people are super attached to the idea of their God being better than others. Or why your community, city, state, religion, the country is better than others, and how everyone else needs to convert to your religion. I remained out of action on the CAA and NRC even though it was as archaic, unfair as anything else ever has been.

But I don’t like the idea of divide and rule. And brainwashing simple people (like me — I don’t understand complex arguments, neither am I bright to know the long-term repercussions of the new rules and laws that we are creating). The worse is the use of force. Fucking barbaric. Something that we could have done when life was all about survival in caves. The world is almost ready to establish a colony on Mars and here we are. Gloating over the victory of mandir wahin banaenge. I mean Bhagwan Shree Ram was for real, would he want to bless a temple that took years of battles and I don’t know how many dead bodies to make?

God is a mythical thing. I understand that some people may want to take solace that there’s a higher power, omnipresent that looks after you. Heck, in my weakest moments I have also thought about God. I have asked for kindness. I can remember two distinct times when I had to rely on God. Once to save a friend from a disease. Once for an event that I made a mess of. Both times things worked out. I don’t know if it was God or what. But I can totally see how people can get attached to these and start believing in God. I mean even I walked some 20 km to Siddhi Vinayak once. May be there is God after all. May be we do have meta-spiritual mystical powers that help all those tarot card readers and astrologers make a living. Good for them.

But force? Coercion? I mean, a comedian is in jail in MP for saying something derogatory against the Hindu Gods. An educated family killed their daughters over something that a priest told them. The Dalits are oppressed to date. Wait. WTF is even a Dalit? Or a Hindu? Each person is human irrespective of caste, gender, sexual preference. Arent we are freak accidents? Did we not get dealt a had that we could not choose in the ovarian lottery? Who decides that someone is a Dalit or a Suvarna or Upper Caste? That baba with a long flowing beard that plays frisbee and drives Mercs and teaches you the art of “living” is talking about how the government needs to cede control over places of worship to the devotees. Isn’t that inciting people?

Fuck I am so so ignorant. Vegetating. Happy in the bubble around me in my head that, “Wow, Mr. Garg, you are in Goa. You are the coolest. You are away from the mess. And you have all the sunshine and stray dogs and fucking unreliable Internet for company.”

Fuck!

Back to the incidents of yesterday.

I remember I called my parents (they live in Delhi) and I remarked in passing that there’s a rally and I hope that it’s peaceful and all. My father commented on how it would be – he grew up with farmers! And then I forgot about it (yeah, forgot about it – I am that indifferent, that casual). And then while I was in a meeting, I took a break to pee and checked Twitter. And saw images from the Red Fort. About how the protest had turned violent and people (both on the side of the farmers and cops) were hurt. Some farmers died, some cops got injured, and how the separatists have infiltrated the movement.

Since then, I have been reading non-stop. My eyes hurt. My head hurts. There’s no internet and yet I am non-stop tapping on refresh on my phone even in my sleep. About how Nishan Sahib is different from the Khalistani Flag. And how the Tiranga was disrespected. And how religious symbolism (a saffron flag atop Babri Masjid) is never good. And yet these symbols move nations.

It took my country to burn to make me take note of how ignorant I am.

The thing that makes it worse is that people I respect, the ones that I believe are progressive and think of India first and humanity first and are apparently good in their hearts and heads are making some of the most flawed arguments. No, I don’t want to name them. And yes, the arguments I think are flawed may be the most sensible ones and yet the commonsensical brain in me is unable to digest those.

Someone rightly said once. Heroes fall. I need to get over this hero-worship mode that I am perpetually in.

Oh, any in Goa, at least the places am hanging out at? They don’t even know what’s happening in Delhi. They are happier that unlike the rest of the country, there’s no dry day in Goa on Republic Day.

Fuck it’s sickening. I can totally related to Chris and other such people. There’s merit in being a hippy. And there’s merit in being a Satoshi. Or even a Che for that matter. Take shit in your hands and dictate terms on how you would live, even if the understanding is limited or flawed af.

No, I am not saying Chris, Che, Satoshi, Mohandas, or any of those legends were flawed. They could have been. But they took a call and did things that they felt or thought or considered right. Unlike me. I can’t even seem to make a living, leave alone thinking independently. I am a random fuck stuck in a rut.

The other day I was happy ecstatic that I seem to have found yet another way to discharge my calling as a person. And today, I am

I am reminded of three lines as I end this. I may get the articulation wrong but they went something like…

One. “jinhe naaz hai, hind par wo kahan hai?

Rabbi did a brilliant take on this. Here. We need more Rabbi’s. More Dylans. And not Badhshahs or Gurus. Fuck, not even Lucky Ali. I don’t believe that I am saying this. I’ve been a fan since I was a child. We don’t need stories and hymns of unrequited love no more. We rather need poets and writers and singers and other popular people to take a stand and educate the masses on these issues. Someone needs to put some sense. Atleast in me. And others. Fuck it sucks that I don’t have an iota of a clue about what’s happening around us.

Two. “Ek zabardast toofan aaye aur uda de chuppi ki duniya

I first saw this on a tee at People Tree. I think this is by Faiz. I am unable to find a source though. But to me, it means that you need some earth-shattering thing to happen and nudge you into action. I have thought about this often. I have seen some great things, good times, bad times, even times when I thought life was meaningless. But these lines always drag me back. I am waiting for almost 40 years now. Half my life is over. And yet there’s been no toofan. And there’s been no impact, no dent, no headway that I’ve made. It sucks to be like this.

Really.

Three. Pale Blue Dot.

By Carl Sagan. The long-text is here. See the video below. The pertinent lines that I go back to often are…

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

– Carl Sagan
Pale Blue Dot. Carl Sagan.

So that’s that.

I think I am done for the day.

I am still confused, stifled, angry, sad, and all that. There’s so much happening that I don’t even know how to process. All I can do is rant and speak out loud in the wilderness of the Internet.

And no, there’s book2 today.

How can I? My country is burning and fucking am thinking about writing books. To what end? To give that escape to whoever reads what I write? Do we need the escape? Or do we need to act? And fix shit?

Well, who am I to talk about these things? I don’t know a thing about the real world or real life. I don’t even vote.

Of course, I hope tomorrow is better.

And if it’s not, I hope I can move onto the next thing that distracts me. That’s how I think life will pass by – moving from one distraction to another. Without taking a stand on one.

Over and out.

180121 – Morning Pages

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

6:27.

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

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

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

But then, I know, this too shall pass!

Ok. Hoping it will pass. Moving on.

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

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

Will think on this during the day and report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

7:53. 1%. Gotta hit publish.

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