060121 – Morning Pages

I missed writing a piece in the morning. Here is an attempt to cover up.

11:05 AM

I am late for this one. Bummer.

And this is not the first thing I am doing today. Bummer.

So I am writing this at 11 AM from a hotel room. Been a while since I stayed at one. This one is in Goa and am with a friend who’s here to manage a wedding. Yeah, events business is back! The world has more covidiots than I imagined.

And as I write this, I have to admit, I miss being in hotels even if they are the most impersonal places in the whole world.

Anyhow, so, today is the first day since I missed the morning pages, since I started a few weeks ago. Wow! Been few weeks!

Which is ok.

I have learnt to prioritise things and this was more or less impossible. So I am ok.

So to come to this hotel, I had a long cab ride (about an hour and half long; this hotel is in South Goa) and while in cab I realised that I love seeing the empty roads and the rising run and life puttering to, well, life. And this is what I probably miss about life in Mumbai when I am not there.

Lemme explain.

At Mumbai, I wake up and in the next 30 minutes, I am out of the house. Even if I am up by 5 AM. I am then either walking to the nearest Starbucks or I am on my way to whatever meeting I have planned for the day.

So, I essentially see the city come to life.

I like new things taking shape. I like new beginnings. I like when I see people doing new things with life.

This is what I miss when I am in Delhi. I am at home and thus after I wake up, I have nothing to do but stare down from the balcony. At Goa, I wake up and I look at the trees that hide the rising sun and the sun tries to peak through. I then write my morning pages before I even take a dump.

And at both places, by the time I am done and I am out in the world, its like mid-day and life is all around us. I miss the beginning. I don’t see it springing out. And I don’t get to feed of the energy of the world coming to life.

Maybe I need to add a morning walk to my routine? But I don’t like the fuckery of sweat, shit and shower after that. When I am in Mumbai, this morning walk to the Starbucks worked perfectly alright. Maybe I need to find a location like that in Goa that opens early and allows me to work for a bit?

So yeah, that.

The other thing that happened is that I got to talk to a native Goan about what he thinks about people coming to Goa and making it their home. The guy was so full of angst that I did not know how to tame it (in general, am able to manage most such people). He was sore about all the tourists that come for a few days, all the people that come for long-stays, all the ones that are even thinking about spending anytime in Goa at all. He had valid things to so – people leave filth and dirt behind, people spoil the ecology, people are disrespectful.

But he missed two large points IMHO. A, what about all the money that flows into Goa because of these immigrants (permanent or temporary). And B, who is he to say that Goa is his home? Agreed he was born here and his parents bought some land. But they would have come to Goa from some place for sure. What if the natives at that time did not approve of them being immigrants?

Of course, I am just about a month old here and not informed at all about such issues. I am trying hard and I hope at some point, I get enough wisdom to either accept or rebuke such arguments. And I am definitely no one to pass judgements. But I do think that his opinions are misplaced and he’s fighting a battle that he would lose for sure.

What do you guys think? Is he right? Are my arguments ok? Help me make a thesis please?

And with that, over and out. More tomorrow.

Morning Pages – 201220

In today’s morning pages, I talk about how I miss my routine and a Starbucks outlet as I start getting comfortable in Goa.

Hello Morning Pages!

I slept late last night. About 3 if I am not wrong. And as I write this, its not even 9. I am back to those ways where I would sleep and wake up at ungodly hours and I would be perpetually devoid of sleep and I would have unhealthy food and drinks to make up for the loss in cognition caused by all this erratic sleeping. It sucks. And I need to get out of this.

I think the best way to snap out of this is to get back into a routine. I am probably the biggest creature of routine ever. I do my best work once I know where I am supposed to be at certain times. I am a Type A creature where I want to have control over things. I don’t like depending on others. When the lockdown happened, I was reasonably sure that I would be able to get the book out, write like a MoFo, get fit and I don’t know what. I could not do a single thing. While it’s my laziness to blame, the deeper reason, I think, is the lack of routine.

Of course, I could have created a routine while I was locked down. In fact, it would have been the easiest – there was nothing to disturb me, you know. But I could not. and I think a large reason is that I did not have anywhere to go to. Ok, lemme park this here. Let’s call this A.

So, the point is, I need to get back into a routine. Of course the routine I had in Mumbai and the one I had in Delhi and the one I will try and create in Goa are all going to be different. But that’s ok. As long as there is a predictable routine I follow, all’s cool.

As I think about this, this disruption in routine has been caused by two things – lack of Internet and, believe it or not, lack of Starbucks. Lemme park this as well. Let’s call this B.

While writing this, I realized that I have now been away from Mumbai for almost 45 days. Do I miss Mumbai? I am not sure. But I do miss a few things – My routine for starters. And then, Starbucks. And the sight of others rushing around all the time, at all the places to God knows where. And of course. M.

Lemme talk about each.

M. Not that I meet her every day. Heck, I don’t meet her even once a month and when I do so, I am with her, its with a million people around and for like 10 seconds. Of course, if I met her by myself, I’d get bored in 7 seconds. She’d get bored in 3. Anyhow. Rant. Point is, I miss the thought that I can call S / V and hop over to their house to see her putter around. Now I can’t.

The other thing that I miss? The other lady love of my life. Siren!

What is it that I miss about her and her home? Lemme try and put it on paper. So while a Starbucks outlet is different on different days (Baristas change, people change, the mood of the day changes), it remains the same. Here’s how. The “ritual” they’ve created that you use to order coffee is the same. The regular “kind of” patrons that go to each outlet remains the same (Powai has Startups, Bandra has rich kids, BKC has bankers, Lokhandwala has aspiring actors, Infiniti has writers, etc). Even though each outlet has a different decor and layout, the place is familiar with the brown and green, and grey colors. The people that work there are different but the experience they offer (the way they greet, the way they talk, the way they conduct) remains the same. I don’t know how they train people but they are probably the best set of people in the hospitality business that I have come across. No, the hotels don’t stand a chance. Hotels are fake. More on this some other day. Just realised. Such a powerful message on building experience-led brands. Can go as a post on Marketing Connect / Linkedin. May be.

So yeah. Routine. And coming back to A and B, the thing is, I need to have a routine if I want to do my best work. I need to “step out” from where I sleep at. And I need to get to a place that offers me things in just the right manner (wifi, table, and chairs, yellow lights, ambient music, others hustling hard, etc). I need a cafe, a co-working space, a Starbucks, if you will.

I know this sounds like an extravagent and irratioanl quirk of someone who is probably away from reality and is merely pounding on the keyabord to put some point across. May be. May be not. But I guess that’s all we are. Our quirks. Our whims.

No?

Mumbai life. In Delhi.

What is a typical day for me like when I am in Mumbai? And how did I try to ape that on this trip to Delhi?

My life in Mumbai is fairly simple boring. I wake up at whatever time. Wait till it’s 6:45. Get ready in 15 minutes. Out of the house by 7. And at the nearest Starbucks at 7:15. Lately, the one I goto (the new one under Versova Metro Station) opens at 8. So I’ve moved all those times by an hour. I get myself a green tea and from 7:15 till about 11 or 12, I am at Starbucks. On my computer. Some days I work, some days I plan to take over the world. Some days I just, well, surf.

By this time, I am kinda hungry. So, I grab either a sandwich or step out of Starbucks to eat something at some eatery. Preferably something South Indian. I then go back where I live. While time with something that’s been open at my end. And then catch a cat nap. Wake up at around 3 PM and then go back to Starbucks, repeat what I’ve done in the morning. And then stay till it’s 11 PM (when they shut their stores). Go back and sleep.

Been on this routine since these cafes opened up. I know I am being stupid and putting myself at risk but I’ve had enough of the four walls and I have to feed off the energy of other people. Oh, there are some days when I deviate from this routine when I have to meet some people or run some errands. But more or less that’s the routine I follow. This will change once I go back to Mumbai, will take up an office space. And no, I can’t work from where I live.

Since I came to Delhi for this break, while I have been on the road a lot, for work, I have essentially been holed up at home. And I HATE it. I am anything but a home-rat (if there’s a term like that). To a point that I cant work at all. Ideas dont come in. Words dont flow. Genreral lethargy takes over. I am sure this is evident in the posts of the last few days. Things that I can normally do in less than 5 minutes, at home, take me an hour to do. If I can do em.

So today, I did what I would do in Mumbai. The most accessible Starbucks to me (about 14 KMs away) opens at 9. I was out of my house by 8:20 and by 8:55, I was outside. When it opened, I was the first customer. And got myself an Americano. Yeah, I am back on coffee (see this post). I was there till about 2. I got more work done in these 4-5 hours than I did in the last week!

Then I walked to and ate at Naivedyam (a South Indian joint). Took a cab to go meet an ex-boss. Jammed on ideas for an hour. And then now, back home, where I am writing this post struggling to get the right words to express. Nah, I cant work from home ūüôĀ

If not for time spent in commute and the general curtness of people I met today (Baristas, cabbies, etc), I could have very well been in Mumbai! And you know what? I loved it! Just that I wish I lived closer to a Starbucks!

With this, over and out!

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.