070521 – Meditations

A deeply introspective post on life, the aspirations and the meaning. Just because I lost all the data on a phone! Lol!

6:33.
Yet another one of those nights where I did not sleep well because of the AC snafu. Too hot without an AC. Too noisy with the broken one. Will try and get it fixed over the weekend. Must get tattooed all over my body to not move into an old apartment.

Anyhow. So, yesterday was an extraordinary day. For a few reasons. Lemme talk about three two of those. By the time I wrote the first two, I forgot what the third was ;P

Here we go.

1. Lost data on my phone

So I broke the screen of my iPhone a couple of days ago. When I got the guy to fix it, he somehow wiped the iPhone clean. You know, factory reset. And that means that all data on the phone went up in the air. Poof. Gone. And for some reason, went with it all the backups on iCloud, gDrive, and all other cloud services.

And I lost data from over the 10 years!

This included (and not limited to, I will get to know of the exact extent in a few days once I start missing things)

  • Photos, that I would be stubborn and foolish to not back up
  • SMS history. This is not so important if you ask. I mean who uses SMS anyway?
  • WhatsApp chats, with some 3000 contacts over the last 10 years. In some of these chats, I had “starred” things like addresses, important dates, conversation points, proofs of financial transactions, embarrassing pictures (no, not nudes), jokes, plans for the future, ideas to work on and I don’t even know what all. I hate that I’ve lost my conversation history. I no longer remember who I was angry with and who I needed to take revenge from 🙁
  • Content on various WA groups. I had made a lot of groups with various people where I would share things that needed easy access. There was this group called ‘SG Self’ where I would send myself reminders and important links, files, conversations that I needed to archive. That’s gone. This is the one that I regret the most! To a point that I could’ve cried for this.
  • Notes. While I seem to have some on iCloud but there are some that clearly weren’t. Like there is this note that I had that had all addresses – Mumbai house, Delhi home, office address, Bank address, friend’s addresses, etc (for easy reference), and this note seems to have vanished. There was another one where I had listed all the domain names I own. That is gone as well. But some are there. So not sure.
  • Tags. I used WA as a full-fledged personal knowledge system! Every message worth saving, archiving, reflecting, to be worked on, and all that, I would tag them in a private chat. You know, #parkedIdeas, #toDo, #toThink etc etc. All those are now gone!
  • Apps. I had some 400 Apps on my iPhone and all of those are gone. I probably did not use 90% of those. But there are some that I needed for work – authenticators, calendar, Teams, Zoom, etc. Had to get those. The bigger challenge was to log in to all those accounts with a hundred OTPs (you know, 2FA).
  • In-App data. There were apps like Nomie, MoveX, and more that had data that was not backed up ever. That’s gone. Damn. Not that I needed it but I had plans that at some point in time in life, I would use the data from over the years and analyze. May be this is the sobering I need and a reminder that I need to act on things now, rather than procrastination.

Other things like emails, contacts and documents that resided on the cloud within applications and services is safe.

The greatest relief is that all the contacts are safe. I mean, you are as good as your phone book. No, emails dont cut. I still believe in the power of handshake. The friendly nod on a Zoom call can never replace a firm handshake.

So that.

Lemme reflect on this a bit. Let’s see where I reach.

So, this is the first time when something like this has happened to me. Otherwise, most times when I have stared at a potential loss of data, I am really meticulous. I’ve mostly been able to retrieve things. I mean I have lost tabs often (I have thousands of tabs open all the time on my browser and it invariably crashes) but a full-scale phone wipeout has never happened. This was definitely a new experience.

When I realized I’ve lost the data, to be honest, I went through the stages of grief – I was angry > I went into denial > I was sad > I accepted > I started the recourse. I was even anxious.

But surprisingly, all this happened in like 15 minutes!

It then became more of an irritant than painful. I did not know I could be this indifferent with the loss of my digital assets. Guess it’s a good thing that I get over things fast. I think I am super inhuman about things. May be I’ve become emotionally detached from outcomes?

And if I am bereft of any emotions, why am I even alive?

I mean, in my life, it’s these digital things that are important to me. I’ve never had any tangible assets that I cared for. I am not much of a hoarder. I plan to move to a minimal lifestyle. Convenience (and not attachment) guides my actions and decisions. Comfort often trumps emotions. Social constructs sound like unnecessary obstacles. The digital world and online strangers have been my solace in absence of any deep friendships that for some reason I just didnt develop couldn’t create. I would probably die an anonymous and a lonely death. I better be rich when I die or the story of my life would read pathetic, if it’s even worth telling. Lol. And when I am gone, will someone write such a long blog post (if blogs exist at that time and Tik Tok has not taken over the world) lamenting about things related to me? It may not be a bad idea to fake my death to see how people react. #parkedIdea 😀

Anyhow. I am nudging towards a rant. The point being, I lost a lot of important data yesterday. I don’t even know the extent of damage – I will probably discover it over the next few days. This short post is my attempt at reconciling with the loss and moving on. This is my mourning ritual after an irreversible loss (thanks, Anjum Sir for opening my eyes towards it).

2. Chose myself over work.

I got selected for a month-long, immersive workshop on Documentary Filmmaking. This means that I have to attend almost three hours of sessions almost every day over the next 15 odd days. And these sessions are planned bang in the middle of the day. And these would conflict with my work.

Normally, I put work over everything else. Even my family.

But this is one of those rare occasions when I decided to my colleagues that I need to attend the workshop and I would unavailable.

From what I expect of them, they would understand and things should be ok. But in case they don’t, I will choose the workshop over them, if I have to. So let’s see how it goes.

I start today. I can’t wait to take this (yet another) baby step towards becoming a filmmaker. I don’t really have any other ambitions apart from (in order) seeing my writing come to life, entertaining people, and making money while I do the first two. I mean I don’t want to be an actor or something. I definitely don’t want to be famous for the sake of being famous. I just want to have an audience for my thoughts, ideas, rants et al. And this audience has to nudge towards action after they listen to me. And this audience has to give me feedback and help me learn more and become better. And this virtuous cycle has to repeat till we reach a point where things like organized religion are scoffed at, where science takes precedence over blind faith and chasing individual success is celebrated.

That’s all I ask for, from this life. For whatever it is worth. I mean the true meaning of life is to create meaning for others. No?

Oh, I have to put this on paper.
I got selected for this just because I took a shot that I knew was out of my league. I know that of such 100 shots that I take, less than 1 would work out. But when they do work out, they return handsomely!

The lesson for the day is?
Take more shots that are out of your comfort zone. And out of your reach. And even the ones that you are DAMN SURE you wouldn’t get. After all, you will miss each shot that you don’t take!

May be the answer to the frivolity of life is to keep taking shots? And then go through the emotions on the basis of outcomes.
You are preparing to take the shot? Get excited and lose sleep over it.
You get it? Rejoice.
You don’t? Console yourself.

Get the drift? Do tell me the next out-of-league shot you’re taking.

And to end this, here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 145
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 58
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

I am being damn inconsistent with things.
Need to pull socks!

That’s it for the day.
Over and out.

140121 – Morning Pages

I talk about an important lesson I learnt – the difference between being a blogger and a writer. And the changes I’ll make in how I operate.

7 AM

Morning!

So, Rajesh Sir’s house is bang on Baga beach. And that’s a good great thing. And a bad. And that means that there is more hustle-bustle here than what an average road in Goa has. This means that I am not bored and there’s something to look at all the time.

And this also means that there are people at all times in all states of mind – sober, inebriated, happy-high, free, and so on and so forth. And that doesn’t auger well for someone that seeks peace of mind. No, I don’t. But others may. No, I am not complaining at all. Merely stating a truth. The fact that I can live here without worrying about basics is a blessing in itself!

So, yesterday was a mixed bag. Got some work done, got some mind-fuckery happening (even in Goa), spoke to some friends, met new people, passed on an opportunity to meet more people. But I think I am getting to understand how to go about it if I want to be known in multiple circles. A large part of it involves putting yourself out there and pimping yourself subtly. Truth be told, I don’t understand either – pimping self or subtlety. My life has been about muted peacocking. Lol, muted and peacocking in one sentence 😀 Lemme explain.

Muted. I don’t like the limelight. I don’t want to be seen. I don’t want to be known by the aam aadmi per se.

Peacocking. Without trying to be a PUA, the kind of clothes I wear and the way I talk and the way I behave, and the energy I have, all these make me stand out. Often as a misfit. Often as someone that people balk at. You don’t want to talk to someone that doesn’t care about how he looks. Someone that you don’t think of much of when you first lay your eyes on them.

That. Needs to change.

Talking of change there’s another thing I need to change in my personality.

This is something I intuitively knew and got reinforced in Goa. It is…

People want tangible things. Finished things. Finite things. They don’t respect a WIP.

For example, if you say you are a blogger, you get respect at, say, 6 on 10. On the other hand, if you say you are a writer and working on a book, the respect goes up to 9. Both are essentially the same but the subtle difference is in being a blogger and a writer. Just that the Blogger is a WIP. Ongoing. A writer is finite. Something that has been shipped.

People respect finished ones more than they respect WIP. We want to see output more than we want a process. The journey may be the reward for a few but most want a destination. The best part? They don’t care about the quality of what you’ve shipped. They just want to flip the pages of the book, see the URL of the film that is on Hotstar (not Youtube – youtube is WIP, an OTT platform is a finite destination). They don’t want to even do the work required to read or see. Just the signal that it’s out there is enough!

I have seen this in action in Goa like no other place. Probably because there are far less ‘finite’ ones than the ones that are ‘WIP’? In fact, this tweet that Krishna shared made this point beautifully well. And gives me further reinforcement.

I think that’s about it.

The lesson for the day is that being a finite is large in itself and will require me to make substantial changes in how I think and operate.

Here are two that I am making immediately.

A, rather than using all those adjectives that I think do an honest job of describing me (Jack of all trades, curious, marketer, podcaster, etc), I will introduce myself as a writer / storyteller. To hell with what people think about this. I am a writer first and then everything else. And that’s that. This is a sg5stars thing for sure.

Since this is new to me and not really my core personality, it will take time to implement. Do course-correct me if you see me doing otherwise.

B, the SoG series I’ve been writing for a few months? I will restart it at some point in time but I will also release the same as an e-book. And I have already initiated work on that. In case you want a copy, drop your email address on this form.

So that.

I also caught up with friends from the Long-Form-Writing Fans (LFW) Group. With the sketchy internet and a million mosquitos trying to sweep me away, the call was short and there was hardly any rasa but it was phenomenal to speak with them after this long. All of us shared our writing goals, issues that we’re facing (with writing and otherwise) and even spoke about our goals for this year. I wish we could meet more often. I wish we had more things to talk about. I think apart from Prak this set of people is going to be super-helpful as I go about book2.

Oh, I also met someone really interesting after ages on Lunchclub. Not to say other people that I meet are not worthy of a mention. This person was all of 27 and had so much clarity about life that I am left in awe. Apart from Shikha, I don’t think I’ve met someone with so much clarity ever. So that.

I think this is about for the day. The morning pages are now like a public journal but that’s ok. I think I like the idea of writing something to start the day. After all, remember what I said? I am a writer 🙂

Oh, here’s the #freewriting piece for #book2 for today. A writer has to write. Right?

Here we go…

Fire is probably the most misunderstood among all the things that nature made for us. Most people revere it. They don’t revere it really, they are merely scared of it. It is impossible to stop, is all-engulfing and all-consuming. It’s hungry. And it does not relent. The older Paul once told Mrs. Gomes that each fire is as distinct as people are. Each fire has a character. Each fire has a voice. The fires speak. Fire growls. And whispers. Fire can creep up on you silently. And fire can leap on you when you’re least expecting it. Like a person, a fire has its own life. From a spark to a tinder to a flare to a blaze to an inferno and to the biggest of them all, Sun. Sun is probably the only share that the fire takes that we truly respect.

Ok, that’s about it. Love this short para that I’ve written. Among the best, I’ve ever written. Don’t want to spoil it by adding more 😀 What do you think?