270721 – Morning Pages

Did not have a lot to write today. Wrote a disjointed post about things on the top of my head.

6:30. Up a minute ago. I have fogged eyes, sore body. I think it’s because of all the walking I’ve been doing. No, I am not doing anything. I had plans to do push-ups, yoga, Jal Neti, stairs and I dont know what else. But for some reason, I am not doing anything except walking. There has to be a deeper thing at play here. I mean why am I willing to endure sore legs and blisters in my toes and I am shying away from other things? Maybe because walking around allows me to see the world outside? Maybe there’s a change in scenery? Maybe it’s effortless? I dont know. I will have to think deeper. Let’s see when.

So I have some disconnected thoughts from here on. Lemme use bullets.

A. Jetha (one of the coolest young people I know that is also very ambitious) decided to start a periodic letter to his connections. He says that I have inspired him. I am not sure though. Each person knows inherently what they want to do. And how they do those things. People like me only show the path. It’s the choice of the recipient if they want to walk on it.

B. While I was thinking about relationships and how to make things work, I stumbled upon an idea. If and when I get into another one, I think I will gamify it. I mean any relationship is a lot of hard work. But I am learning that someone like me needs to put in all the more hard work than others. I have very high expectations from life and thus from my partner. And of course, I am willing to do a lot – I hope I do. I mean others can only tell. Looking at things from my lens, I think I will only spot good things.

C. The initial excitement about EBC has now waned off. Now it’s the rigor needed to get there. You know, working out and all that.

Wait. I have covered this already when I lamented that I am not doing enough. Must buckle up. Because once I am up there, I will probably not have anything to fall back on.

D. I was watching something on Youtube (or was it Facebook; yes I am spending a lot of time on FB) and I saw this lady making a castle with a form board. I think it reminded me of that one large project that I want to pick where I do things by hand. You know, solve a big jigsaw, create a painting (even though I am not a painter), make a table. Something. Where I see tangible improvements on a day-to-day basis. And I use my hands (rather than just brains, like you do in a book). I really want to pick a project like that.

The thing is, however, that such a project goes against the ethos of having a house full of things. Even to make a jigsaw, I need to have some space in the house where I could lay the pieces out. If I have to make something, I need tools, paints, colors, and whatnot. So, this goes against the very ethos of what I want to stand for – you know, minimalism.

A few days ago (160721) I had decided that I will keep a running counter with arguments in favor of and against minimalism. I had said,

Wait. I have an idea. I will keep a running score of arguments in favor of and against minimalism. By the time I come back to Mumbai (after Diwali), depending on where the score is, I will move in that direction. So, the in-home chef is against minimalism. I am at -1 on that.

Wrote on 160721.

So, I add another -1 to the streaks. Let’s see where I end up once I am back.

E. Here’s a photo from yesterday. The only one I took while walking. I was out and about for more time but this is the only one I took.

An unplanned shot on the streets where I was telling friends about a sale at Ikea.

So that. I dunno what else to write. Time to get going and get started with the day. Here’s streaks…

  • OMAD – 1
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 138 (I will start with this soon)
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 3
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -2
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 228

180521 – Morning Pages

Longish rant on relationships, life and Hero’s worship. Inspired by the conduct of Bill Gates and other Heroes that I look upto to.

7:40. Yet again, a night when I did not sleep till about 3. And yet again I am groggy and yet again everything hurts. I need to fix this erratic schedule. I don’t even know what’s causing it. Coffee could be one. But I think there’s something deeper at play here. I will investigate and find out this week for sure.

Anyhow. Let’s get to work. Quite a few things to be done. Before I do that, here’s the track of the day is this. Listen here…

It was incredible yesterday. The kind of weather I have never seen in Mumbai. Truth be told, I was a tad bit scared when the winds were howling and the thundering on the windows and despite myself shutting into a closed room I could see things flying around. Heart goes out of the ones that don’t have shelter. I may not tell this to anyone else but since I sort of bare myself on the blog, I have to admit that I walked some 6000 steps in the rain. It felt longer, to be honest, but it was indeed all of 6K steps. This walking in the rain is my biggest guilty pleasure. To a point that I can drop everything I am on and just walk. At those times I don’t even care about my phone getting wet or clothes getting drenched. The muck and mud and fallen leaves and other things that I typically hate, all become a part of me. The water being showered on you may keep changing its speed but when you are out walking, it pierces your skin and literally cleanses the soul. Oh, I love baarish! And walks. Sigh!

As I write this, it’s 8:20 and it’s still windy and breezy and cold and nice outside. If I can finish this post by 9ish, I will probably go for a short walk.

So that.

The other thing that’s clouding my head is the entire Bill Gates and Melinda Gates controversy. Thing is, Bill Gates has been a role model, an inspiring figure since I can remember. He was the original person I wanted to be before Steve Jobs became the thing and then Paul Graham took Steve’s place.

Bill Gates has it all, done it all. I mean he is among the richest people in the world with all the wealth that you can imagine. His best friends include people like Warren Buffett (who himself seemed to have an open marriage). His work with philanthropy is what legends are made up of. He literally gave all his wealth away to fix some of the biggest problems in the world. His thoughts, his writing, his work have been a beacon of hope in the world we live in. At the times we live in.

Damn!

A few months ago, it was Jeff. This time, it’s Bill. I mean why’s it that these people can’t seem to keep their emotions at bay? With all the attention and access they have, why would they chase temporary pleasure to jeopardize all that they’ve stood for their lives? At the level you are at and the impact you are delivering, you do not have to conform to society. No one will ask you a question. Look at film stars and professional athletes and others of the ilk. They are at least open about their chase.

I am actually beginning to think if monogamy is a mere societal construct that’s been around to tame both men and women into becoming milder versions of themselves? I mean if despite all their wealth and power and position and all that the most powerful men and women can’t continue to stay with one partner, there must be some flaw. No?

Thing is, when ordinary people philander, you tend to ignore. You blame their actions on unhappy unions, alcohol, a lapse in judgment et al. But when the hero’s fall, you start questioning the very foundation of your belief system. Hero’s are supposed to know it. They have to have better control and mastery over their emotions. They are heroes for a reason! Plus, you’ve literally built your entire life chasing these heroes and hopes of walking in their shoes someday. It just sucks when they do things that are un-hero-like! Damn!

I felt like I was sucker-punched when I heard about Jeff. Of course, he managed the crisis far better than how Bill is managing. No, I am not justifying their actions. I am on the fence about the institution of marriage (leaning away from it, to be honest). I know I will probably not get married ever. Lol, never say never.

But then if it’s affecting me so much that these people were seeing others out of their marriages, may be, at the subconscious level, I like the idea of stable, 1v1, relationships? If I reflect on my life, I think the first real romantic relationship happened when I was at MDI. Since then I’ve had many more. I have been more “out” of relationships, than “in”.

Wait.

What’s the point of this?

I am digressing.

The larger point is that I must stop with this all adulation about heroes. I must cease the hero worship. I need to accept that people are fallible. People change. It’s ok to cut them some slack. You were born alone, you will die alone. Even the ones closest to you can only make the suffering easy, when you suffer. Why else do you need someone around?

It’s not an easy answer.

I think a large part of why I probably can’t sleep is because I miss having that special someone around? I mean I do have a few great friends that I can confide in, even if they don’t understand me (or may be am unable to make myself understand). Maybe I crave another human’s touch. You know, like a real hug and not one of those virtual things. I have to admit that I did sleep better when I could hug someone and drift into the dreamland. Except for the sore neck the morning after.

Ok. I don’t know where I am going with this. It’s 9:17 and I need to get on with the day. More some other day.

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 156
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0. Did about 6K in rain!
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 68
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0. Broke a 3-day streak.
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

Rendezvous with Random Strangers

I talk about why I like the idea of meeting and networking with random strangers. And the tangible impact these meetings have had on me. Read on!

23:01.Today, I did not have anything to write. The head’s been blank for some reason, even though I have a lot on my mind. I think I am falling sick. It may be the change in the weather or the lack of sleep induced by all the coffee I’ve been having. I dont know what it is. May be Delhi does not suit me?

I dont know. Irrespective. I had to write. And since I did not have any ideas per se to write about, I asked AaSi and ArAg (I use initials for people and I know a million people, so am now using the first two characters to be able to make sense) about what I could write about. I got a bevy of suggestions and I like all of those. I have safely cataloged those for the next rainy day when the ideas dry up. For the time being, I am going to talk about “the experience of talking with random strangers“.

So, it’s not even funny how many strangers do I talk to. To a point that I can’t recall names or identities or the context in which I spoke to them. And yet, rather than “consolidating” the relationships with people I know, I seek out more connections. I dont know to what end. But I do. And in today’s post, I will talk about why I do that.


So, I dont know when this happened, but among other things, there are three “ideas” that have shaped me like nothing else has. Let me talk about those and try to answer this question about why do I want to meet with random people all the time.

Here we go.

A. Luck = Opportunity + Preparation.

This essentially translates into creating as many opportunities for yourself as you can and being ready when the opportunities present themselves.

And this creating opportunities means knocking on doors that you know would not open. This also means talking to people that you know dont want to talk to you. Heck, this also means shooting out of your league.

As a result, you are often left with disappointment – who wants failures after failure? If you are always aiming too high, you would miss the shots! But you know what makes it worth all the effort?

That one connection. That one door that opens just a wee bit to let you whiff the opportunity peeking. Creating that one opportunity for someone you care for.

I mean all my life, each thing that I am proud of, even though they are insignificant – my book, the content websites that I support (TRS, PPP, ImmerseGo, GP, Podium, and more), this blog, all the people that I work with – all these may have been lucky breaks but they wouldn’t happen if I weren’t taking shots at opportunities.

In some cases, I was prepared and they worked out and vice versa. Heck, some worked out when I was not prepared at all. I faked my way through those. And some did not happen when I knew those opportunities were tailor-made for me! But in toto, my life is far far better than what it could’ve been if I did not take all those shots.

And, so, why do I love meeting random strangers? Because each person I meet is an opportunity. To do something new. To add a dimension to what I know. To add a perspective to my knowledge. And no, I am not objectifying people here.

B. The Cocoon.

Each of us is born in a certain lifestyle. If you are reading this, you are already privileged – you know English, you have Internet and you are safe in your respective cocoons. What else do you want?

This cocoon is a good thing and a bad thing. Because you are in your cocoon, while you are safe and hopefully comfortable, you hardly see the world on the outside. You can if you want to. But most don’t want. If you are trapped in a high-rise, you do not understand what is it to live in a slum. If you make 10,000 bucks a month kinda salary, you dont know what is it to have a million dollars at your disposal. You know, why bother?

It is similar to the prehistoric cavemen. If they were content with being in their caves and continued to be afraid of all the lighting rumbling outside, we would not know life as it is. They stepped out of the cocoon. And experienced more things. And did more.

And, so, why do I love meeting random strangers? Because each person I meet gives me two things. One, a warp zone that teleports me to a different life altogether and allows me a peek into the life beyond my cocoon. And two, if that person’s life is richer than mine (not just in terms of money but in terms of access, reach, opportunities et al), I am inspired to do more with mine. To be able to expand my cocoon till it engulfs theirs. And if their lives is poorer than mine, I am inspired all the more to not fall to where they are. And most importantly, try and elevate them to at least a level similar to mine!

So far I have been unable to expand my cocoon a lot but I do know of the lives that exist beyond mine (both on the higher side and on the lower) and that makes me more human, for whatever it’s worth. And to what end this knowledge serves? I dont know. What do you think?

C. Thick and limited. Loose and infinite.

The third thing that has left an indelible impression on me is these two distinct styles of living life.

In one, you can create really thick, strong, tight connections with a handful of people. You know, the kinds that you would die for? Often the ones you grew up with. And the other is where you have no strong connections per se but a really large number of loose connections. You are the guy that knows a guy that knows a guy that could get things done.

When I started to create my world view, I was always enamoured by the idea of ‘thick friends’ and how they went on these trips together and clicked pictures in their underwear and were always hanging out as one soul, multiple bodies. And truth be told, all my life, till recently, I’ve chased this. And since I’ve not been the cooler one, I havent got it and I’ve beat myself hard about it. And I, of course, have been jealous of the ones that have such friends.

However, over time, I realised that most friendships and relationships are guided by convenience, by comfort, by rationality, by opportunity. We merely rationalise these relationships. We are rationalising animals after-all. I mean think about it.

Thought experiment. Think about all your best friends. Didnt you all goto the same college? Or grew up in the same locality? Or work together?

Now, what if your life was marginally different? Instead of growing up in building A, you grew up in the building very next door, say building B. Would you be friends with the same people? In fact, out of the top 10 people that you spend time with, if you were in a different cocoon, how many of those friendships could you recreate? Get the drift?

So, thick ones are convenient.

The loose ones, you weren’t thrown at them by a random chance. You went out and sought them. Even if you grew up in a different city, you would have still found a way to make their acquaintance. And added enough value to them to want to add value to yours.

Thus, the loose ones are planned by you. Planted by you.

And unlike with the thick ones, the social obligation to spend time with them to make the relationships thicker is absent. So your conversations can actually push things forward. You know how sports teams, armies, business project teams, film crews, seamen, come together without any thick friendships and chase and achieve greatness? And how each person is often replaceable and the entire army doesn’t just crumble because one person is a group of 5 friends slapped another!

And, so, why do I love meeting random strangers? Well, to expand on these loose connections I have. In hopes that at some point in time in life, these would come in handy (you know, I would get lucky) and I would reach closer to my lifegoal. It’s that simple.

PS: Keyword is most. Keyword is often. I am sure true love exists. I am sure friends lay down lives for each other. But I am yet to have any of these happen to me. I’ve walked alone for a large part and while people have come and gone and helped me at various junctures in life, it’s always been the loose ones and not the seemingly thick ones. Most of my thick connections have been useless to me. The ones that were loose, the ones that I did not expect to be of any help, the ones I never thought I would reach out to, those are the ones that have been the most help.

And no, I dont mean to sound like I am cribbing or ranting. I do have a couple of people that I can goto any lengths for. I am sure there are some people that would feel the same about me. Lemme know if you do :D. I am merely stating an opinion and I am probably offending a lot of friends here.

The keyword in this part is most. Not all.


So yeah. That’s it.

I really love to meet random strangers. If you’d like to meet me, hit me up on twitter – that’s the best way to reach me!

Do let me know what you think of this.

Over and out.

The time right now is 0045 AM. Phew!

This is part of 30 minutes of writing everyday challenge. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211, 0311, 0411, 0511, 0611, 0911, 1011, 1211, 1311, 1411, 1511, 1611, 1711, 1811.