200221 – Morning Pages

Quick and dirty post today to talk about things that are clouding my head. Damn the cloud.

9:21. Starbucks, Versova.

There is no feeling better than an empty, cold Starbucks store with fast Internet! I just came here, got myself a coffee, and now parked on a chair as I type this. This is what an ideal day would be like for me. Have my mornings to myself. Ease into the daily grind. Manage things. And then sleep.

Yeah, I have a lot of work today as well. But since it’s a Saturday, no one is chasing me and thus I can plan my time the way I want to. This does not mean that I can slack. I just need to ensure that I use the time optimally. And work needs to be done. And thus I will keep this short.

Lemme see what’s on the top of my head.

1 Goa. I am going “back” to Goa next week. I am still on the fence about living in Mumbai or Goa. Thanks to this week in Mumbai, I am nudging towards Mumbai. The work ecosystem is incredible here and the phones work and people are available to meet. Yeah, am done with virtual jams, a handshake (or even a fist bump) is irreplaceable. The place allows for serendipity to happen. I could meet AS the other day cos he “guessed” that I would be at the Starbucks. I bumped into Nirav because we were hanging out at the same place. With both these people, I would never ever be able to chat on Zoom and get into interesting conversations.

I think this virtual world of working from anywhere is not sustainable. Us humans are social animals and we need to serve our primal urges. Of course, we are changing but at the core we are primal! But then, I could be wrong. I have been famously wrong about a lot of things in life. My most glorious failure is when the touch phones came in. I stuck to my Blackberry Bold because I loved the feedback that the buttons gave me when I typed like a maniac! I wrote off touch-screen phones. Look at them now. The other thing that I was terribly wrong about was fashionable masks. Rishi told me that we can work on making fancy, glittery masks but I told him that no one would use the fancy ones. People would want safety over anything else. But look at them now. They now make wedding dresses and matching masks. I know people that have some 10 different masks to go along with what they are wearing!

2. aPicADay. I have been on this streak since the beginning of the year where I am posting a pic a day on my public Instagram profile. I am beginning to lose interest in that. May be cos am holed up inside a lot? Maybe I am so busy with daal-roti efforts that I am stuck for inspiration? I dont know. But I need to reset it. No, I will not stop with it. Even if I dont have anything interesting to say, I will continue to post whatever boring ones I can click.

3. Ankur Tewari. I am listening to him croon on his guitar as I type this. And I love it! Here’s the track for the day.

4. Saurabh Garg’s IPO. Here’s the mad idea of the day. I have been thinking about this for a few days. And I will put this in action today. The idea is fairly simple. I will go to all the people that trust me and can “bet” on me and ask them for a 5 lakh rupee investment in me! I will create this fund and take bets on things that I’ve always wanted to do. In exchange, I will promise half of whatever I make in life to those who invest (to be distributed in proportion to what they invest in me). Of course, there is no chance that any of these ideas will work out (remember am wrong a lot?) but I will take a shot. One life.

Most of these ideas will be ludicrous but that’s ok. And I will ask only the closest friends. And the ones I reach out to are the ones that will have enough and more lying around to allow me to play. And if I lose their money, they would not feel bad about it.

One of my principles in life is to never mix money and relationships but I am lately realising that I need to depend more on people that care for me, rather than seeking solace in strangers.

Let’s see how this goes. In case you want to invest in me, lemme know.

5. Nothing else. Time to get back to work. These last few days have been maddening. So much so that am unable to focus on my babies. Fuck focus, am unable to even read emails, respond to texts or return phone calls. This is not like me. I hate when people go incommunicado (I got the spelling right by myself!!!) and I would never ever do this. But I haven’t been able to. It sucks. Deep down I cry about it. But I don’t know what to do about it. There’s no excuse for this and it’s the worst thing ever. But thanks for the patience and understanding of my partners, things are ok. I hope this phase passes soon. And I am back in action.

This is it for the time being. And no, no #book2 today either.

Over and out.

PS: I must write someday how my best work happens when I have the money to not bother about basics! #note2self

130121 – Morning Pages

Conversations with friends and strangers. About Ikigai, writing, life purpose, success, failure, and more. Oh, and scarcity of time!

7:22. This one should be ok (unlike the last one). I have no pressing agendas today. Just the way I like it!

I think these morning pages have found a rhythm. I talk about what I did the previous day. Pick on a thing from what I spoke about. And then try to think more about it, while I write. And then I write a para for book2. The entire thing takes me about an hour and it is enough to put me in a good mood, to be honest, even if I wake up with a shitty one. In fact, as I type this, I have a smile on my face.

So, lately, I have found comfort in music from Suits. People have made a playlist of tracks from Suits and even though I don’t understand half of those, I love em. In fact, I have been discovering new music here in Goa. Like the other day at a hotel, I heard this track called Jerusalema. Since it was playing on a shitty speaker, I thought it was in Hindi (really) and even when I put my head to it, I could not make it out. And when I Shazam-ed, I realized that it’s in one of African languages!

The other thing was that I got to meet Karl yesterday. He’s been one of those that I look up to in life. He had a couple of interesting things to say about things that I thought i had a deep understanding of.

A, Ikigai. You know, the Japanese concept that helps you find purpose? I thought I knew where I want to (which is to enable and inspire others with what I do and create opportunities for them) but when I was talking to him, I realized that I need to sharpen this. My notions are idealistic (something Rashi also tells me all the time) and are not practical at all. He said (and I agree) that no one would pay me to inspire them unless I become a motivational speaker or something. My personality is anything but that! So, need to think more about that.

B, On account planning and strategy. He said that as a planner you have to get into execution as often you get sucked into Blue Ocean thinking and you don’t know shit about how your strategy is translating into actual work. This is very similar to being a management consultant where you don’t have any skin in the game. Now, I want to be anything but that. So, next time I get a gig, I will try and be a part of actual execution and implementation as well. This is a very very important lesson for me. #sgP1.

The other unintended consequence of my chat with him was that I read that Gaurav Jani passed away last year. I did not know him at all and to be honest, his passing was more news to me than a personal setback. But he has been one of those people that I have been incredibly inspired by since I can remember. When I was young, he did something that I would have, well, killed for. He rode to Ladakh on a bike and made a film about that. All solo. I mean imagine taking shots of your bike, all by yourself. How’d you even do it? And he did all this way back in 2006 when all this was not even known, let alone be cool. Plus there was no ubiquitous Internet, phones, mounts, cameras. I cant even imagine how’d he charge batteries and all that. The dude must have been another level shit.

Lesson? Time is a bitch. You gotta do things now. Err on the side of action. #lifeTheme!

Moving on. On another work call, where I was giving my opinion on how things ought to happen, I was asked to shut cos what I said was in direct contrast to what apparently Kunal Shah, the grand-daddy of all start-ups folks in India, had said. A, if he has said what he apparently said, he needs to be taught. B, even if he said what he said, it may have worked for him but in the specific case, it would never work. You can’t use one-size-fits-all with startups. Of course, this is not about him. This is about me. The conversation hit me like a tight slap on my face that you could be the most educated, well-read, opinionated, caring person in the room but unless you have tangible success to show for, no one gives a fuck about what you have to say. Your opinions are not important. They are invalid. You are asked questions that, well, question your credibility.

No this is not the first time something like this has happened to me. But thank God it happened. I am inspired. Need these bouts often. In fact, I am so so so much inspired to create a fucking massive success that when someone asks me such questions, I can tell them that I’ve built massive shit and they are fuck off.

I know revenge and being sore is not a good emotion (#note2self – Pale Blue Dot, This Too Shall Pass, Seneca’s lessons) but I am human. And I hate when people I care for do this to me.

Anyhow. I think I am ok now. Last evening I was seething in anger. To a point that I could not operate. The world thinks that I am a loser and that’s ok. I have no complaints. But when the ones that I am close to think like that and operate from that place, I hate it. Really.

Lemme talk of something good. Spotlight is finally taking shape. We are gunning for the first edition of the event on the 30th. More here. In case you want to pitch your startup to Dr. Malpani, here.

So, today on, thanks to the kick in the butt by Karl and this nameless-faceless person that told me that am useless, I will try to be a lesser loser. I’ll try harder.

The other thing that I want to talk about this party with some strangers that I was in. The host introduced me to some people as a famous author. For some reason, I felt like an imposter. I mean, all I have is one book. That too has failed to make any dent in anyone’s life. The kinder reviews say that it’s average at best. I don’t even want to read honest or negative ones. The second book is nowhere. Been on it for like 10 years and have nothing to show for that. I hated it when I was introduced like that. Yes, please do introduce me as a creative consultant, creative producer, writer (not just of books), marketer, podcaster et al. I am ok with that. But I don’t want to be just a “famous writer”. I want to be the person that tried. Not the person that rests on laurels. That too, not well-defined.

So that’s that for the morning pages.

As I edit, I realise this has become dark and harsh and ranty. But that’s that. The smile on the face of having typed all this is still around. So that’s some comfort.

So, on to #freewriting for book2. So, for this one, I have talked Prak into giving me a prompt every day to get me started with my thinking.

Today’s prompt is…

Red. The color of love and hate. Of life and death. Blood and rivers, hellfire, and heaven song.

– Prakruti Maniar, Jan 2021

Here we go…

Red was a funny choice for the color of the gown that she wore. Even though the host had clearly mentioned that the theme for the evening is white and blue, she wore red. Red stood out. What was supposed to be a party where dreams were to be talked about, futures were to be looked at, she chose Red. The color of love and hate. Of life and death. Blood and rivers, hellfire, and heaven song. She did not choose red on purpose. She did not have a choice. This was the only gown she had that could pass off as a decent dress into the party where the invite cost her a night with that old bastard, Paul. The party has been the talk of the town for a while now and who’s who was expected to be there. Together they were going to plan the future of the sleepy state of Goa. There were talks of taking the casinos on land, thereby greatly reducing the costs for the owners. One of the proposals was to allow for new high-rise construction near the beaches. They wanted to make coal mining a priority for the state. The coast was going to get opened for large scale music festivals that would get the who’s who of the world down to Goa.

The gates were being opened for the world to make its home in Goa. And at the same time, those very gates were being shut on the faces to keep out the ones that rightfully could call Goa home. The promoters blamed the locals for their lackadaisicalness. The locals wanted to be left alone. The two sides were never going to find a common ground. And this party was an attempt in the direction. In attendance were going to be socialites

Ankit Paul had put all he had and pulled all the strings he could to make this happen. His entire fortune and the reputation that his family had earned since forever was at stake. More so, after his father passed away, his personal credibility and integrity was being questioned. No, he did care for what people thought of him. He had more skeletons in his closet than the ruler of African countries had. But he did care about his bank balance. The power he wielded. The political ambitions that he couldn’t seem to find a route to.

This party was going to change all of that. Hopefully for good. And give Paul the respect that he’s craved for since he was a child. Respect that his father never accorded him. Respect that he had to fight hard to get. Respect that made him do all the things he did. Respect that mattered to him more than life or death.

***

Damn tough! But I like how it has come out!

What do you think?

And over and out. Hope it’s a great day!