I got my COVID test yesterday. It was painful, at least for me. I am told that it’s not really bad and I can see why it’s not bad. But to be honest but then my pain tolerance is pathetic. More than physical pain, my tolerance for any other kind of pain is even lesser. Like I was at the emergency ward at Kokilaben when I took the test (yeah, the swabs for COVID tests are collected at the emergency ward) and I saw various emergency cases being rolled into the hospital. There was an elderly woman who wasn’t breathing. A young girl had fractured her legs. A patient was being moved from emergency to general ward.
And since the test is done by the doctors in the emergency, I had to wait for about an hour. Which is understandable. And then the test was done. And it was painful af, like I told you guys already. And no, this test was not required. I am not at risk but I still wanted to rule out any possibility. So that.
But when I was filling the form at the hospital, they asked me to fill in the names of two people that they could inform in case of emergency. This is when you realize who really matters for you. You know, who you want around you when you are probably facing a life and death situation. And truth be told, I could think of just one name and I put that one name. I mean I wanted to put my sister’s name but she’s like a million miles away and there’s no way she can be bothered in case of emergency.
So that. The other highlight of the day has to be all the food that I ate. You know, like a regular human being, I had breakfast, lunch, evening snack, dinner, and few in-betweens. I think the reason I feel groggy this morning is probably because I ate all those carbs and processed things shit. I have to have to HAVE TO avoid hospitals at all costs. I need to get going. So, here’s the thing. I will gun for a 2-days fast. And then I will go on for as long as I can. Really. This time I will do it. Izzat ki baat hai. I will eventually add some sort of workout to my regimen. But I need to get the hernia operated on before that. Maybe I will start with dance or yoga?
The other thing I want to talk about is my inability to afford a better house. I’ve been meaning to shift from the current house and get to one that is a little more spacious. And I want to live in a newish building. But then aukaat tells me that I cant. I also have to get it off my head that I actually saw some houses with a broker. I almost finalized a house that was as plush as houses get in Mumbai and at least as spacious as I wanted. I made an offer that the landlord accepted. I had almost given the token to block it. But at the last minute, I pulled back. I had to apologize to the broker and the new landlord and the universe. I felt really bad and it was one of those tough decisions that I’ve had to make.
If I zoom back and look at it from up top, I think my decision-making muscle was fucked. I should have considered the costs upfront. And then never got into a hunt. Then, while I looked for a place, I should’ve done the maths and not went to houses that I couldn’t afford. Then, even when I looked at places, I shouldn’t have made an offer. I should’ve thought about it. And once I made the offer, I shouldn’t have cancelled. Zubaan ki damn keemat, bro! Anyhow. So that.
Work seems to be picking up on all the projects that I am on. This means I will have some more money to play with. And cause movements with. Yay! I just need to figure out how these continue to grow and accrue.
So that. And to end the post, here’s the streaks…
Morning Pages – 95
#aPicADay – 76
10K steps a day – 0 (couldn’t manage 10K)
OMAD – 0 (ate a million meals)
#noCoffee – 7
#noCoke – 7
10 mins of meditation – 0
#book2 – 0
With this, its over and out. See you guys tomorrow.
Wore pants and shirt yesterday. Here’s a report card. And of course, chats about other things.
8:26. Andheri. So, I wore pants yesterday. Which was as terrible as it sounds. It sucked like mad. Worse was that I wore a shirt to go with it. And that shirt did not fit me. I could not breathe in it. And that’s the shirt that was like a baggy fit for me. You know, loose. The kinds where I could stuff one more person in and still stay sane. I am that unfit. To a point that even Instagram is showing me ads of fitness clubs and gyms and all that. Kya hoga mera?
Anyhow. Morning Pages.
Yesterday was fun. I recorded my second ever video conversation ever (the first was I think with Mihir (Karkare) that we never released; thank God for that). This one was with Sheba Maini. She is brilliant. She made me talk about things that I never thought I was capable of saying out loud on the Internet. And she made me agree to come on a video. Wow.
If you guys need someone to coach you and give you direction, Sheba is it! Her Linkedin profile is here. When I first spoke to her, in the 3rd minute of our chat, she could point out what afflicted me and what I need to do to get out of that. I was dumbfounded by how well she could read my mind. Over a Zoom call. In less than 5 minutes. You must consider her.
PS: Sheba is a client at Podium and a mentor so I may be biased. PPS: If you are curious what is my problem, read this one and specifically, point #5.
Next. I met this young kid (JS) that I know from TRS days. We met for dinner (see streaks below). He is now onto his own business and set up and he seems to be on this amazing path that excites, inspires, and scares me. At 21, he’s sure where he wants to. And he’s acting on it. At 21, I did not know how to tie my shoelaces. The future is bright. Reminded me that I need to hang out with more such people. I think I am at my happiest when I see that I am making a difference in other people’s lives, especially when it comes to their work. I am a nincompoop if the conversations are around relationships and all that. I often can’t relate to what they are talking about and how to help with things. I even zone about when people talk about their lives and relationships. But when they talk work, ooh, la, la! I need to find a way to accelerate this and do this for more people.
In other news, Anjum Rajabali Sir’s next film, Toofan was just announced yesterday. This is one film that I cant wait to watch. For multiple reasons. For starters, it’s Anjum Sir’s film. Then this is about sports. Then its mass-market entertainer. Plus it has Farhan Akhtar, a guy that I look up to for his work (and nothing else). What else could you ask for? And this is EXACTLY the kind of films I want to make! Let’s see when that happens.
PSA: he’s taking sessions for aspiring screenwriters these days. See if you can attend.
So that’s the large updates from me on yesterday.
On streaks (that I started to track publicly since yesterday)…
Morning Pages – 89! Wow! I am surprised at myself!
#aPicADay – XX (will count at some later date)
10K steps a day – 2
OMAD – 0. Had dinner yesterday with JS. Was not hungry per se but then I gave in to the temptation. Restarting the counter.
#noCoffee – 2
#noCoke – 2
#book2 – 0 (I REALLY need to start on this!)
I also have a sheet where I track my actions on day to day basis. Have been lapsing on it. Will get back to it. #note2self
I think this is about it. Not a lot to share. Lot of work though. Chalo, over and out. See you guys tomorrow.
A longish post where I have dumped all that is clouding my head. I talk about Mumbai, Goa, Money, Work, Shah Rukh Khan and more!
Am at a Starbucks. The Powai one. This is where I wrote most of #tnks from way back in 2013. Or was it 2014? Whatever it was. I used to love the early morning grinds (this one opens at 7 AM) and flurry of words that would come out. Truth be told, I miss it. I mean I still live a tiny hop away from Starbucks (4 of them!) but for some reason, the one at Powai feels like home. Things have changed – your know, ambiance, people, staff partners, what I do in life but for some reason, the Powai Starbucks feels like home!
So, the morning pages. I have quite a few things to dump on paper. I am not sure if I would have the time. I have a LOOOOOOOOoooot of things to work on. Actually, lemme start with that.
Work. So thanks to COVID and the general fuckery with which I live my life, I am struggling to make ends meet (no wonder! Mr. Garg, you are wasting 500 bucks on average coffee, you dumb-wit!) and as a result, I took on everything that came my way. Most of these things are where I need to create make. And that means I am left with very little time or energy to do things. And that means I am unable to make things move. Remember what I spoke about movement the other day? And what Sheba told me as well? That!
So, I need to find more work where I am paid well for being a mere manager. You know, not invest a lot of time and get paid for experience and expertise. Right now, I am slugging it out like a modern slave. I am paid for my time. I exchange money for time. I am not getting rich while I sleep. The hourly rate that I charge can continue to go up but at the end of the day, I am paid for the hours that I put in! And that has to change. Naval has talked about this so many times that it’s impossible to miss it. I just need to find a way to get to a point where I no longer need to charge for my time. So, that.
This is also related to what PG has been saying for years – Maker and Manager. PS: PG is probably the best essayist that we have on the Interner right now. Do read his stuff. Gold.
So that’s first thing I need to work on. Someone, help me please!
Moving on. So this trip to Mumbai (wow, did I say this trip to Mumbai?), I have been indulging – you know, watching TV, spending money and all that. And you know what I realized? I like love to spend money. The only pair of shorts I have, it was housing dirt and muck and I don’t know what else from at least 3 months. And since I don’t have a washing machine or help or even the time to let it dry after I wash it, I had to buy another one. I bought the exact same one and I loved the feeling of swiping my card on a machine at an almost fancy store (Marks and Spencer). And I am wearing it today. And I feel good about it. In fact, I was out with a friend last night (well, thug life) and while talking both she and I agreed on the following relationship between money and happiness. I call these ‘SG’s Rules of Scarcity or Abundance of Money‘. These are not really my original thoughts but a mere articulation of what I’ve read and what I understand about it.
Here we go…
While money may not buy you happiness, it definitely makes your life comfortable. If you are indeed sad, you’re better off being sad in the comfort of your plush home (or the backseat of a Merc) than being sad at a place that doesn’t offer you any privacy. You know, in shared accommodations, large families, Internet (lol!), etc.
While money may or may not make you happy, not having money will definitely make you sad. I am the biggest living, breathing, moving, thinking testimony of this. I operate at my best when I am comfortable.
Money gives you the freedom to do what you want to do. And this ability (or inability) to do things that you want to is often is the root cause of happiness (or sadness).
Money allows you to control your time. You become the master of your time and this mastery is what drives happiness or sadness in large parts.
Am sure, there are more. I will write them in a separate post and publish em here. But one thing’s for sure. I love money. I love earning And I love to spend. I can’t wait for the achche din to be back. Come on, Universe!
So that’s that. The next thing? Happy Accidents. At the Starbucks, I bumped into an old acquaintance. This is what I love about places like Mumbai and Starbucks. These places allow for serendipity to happen. Plus, there is something about a hug that a Zoom can never make happen. We are social animals and while we adapt fast (and we will), at least for me, the handshakes are as important as breathing. I just hope that I am not obsoleted to a minority that still wants to meet IRL. Sigh. That’d be sad.
Once I understood the power of living at hubs, I have tried hard to find those and move there. The move to Andheri helped me like mad. If only I had some passive source of income, I would have done a lot more. Wait…
Epiphany just happened.
I just dawned onto me that I love Mumbai WAY too much to not live here (#facepalm). Even though I don’t have anyone here that I can call my own. Even though I hate the dirt and the filth and mess and all that. Even though the place is expensive af. But I love the convenience of living in a big city. I love that I can dream here. Unlike in other cities. I like the idea that people are open. For ideas, conversations, business, work, and all that.
But then I like the idea of being a rootless bird as well. I loved the time I spent in Goa (for all the fuckery around the Internet) and I am getting serious about a cafe in Goa. I’ve made a few phone calls, have connected with a few folks, have started to do the maths! Again, I am not sure about it. I will let it simmer in my head and see where it goes.
The point is, while I was in Goa, I loved it. Now that I am in Mumbai, I love this. I am easily swayed I guess! Let’s see where I go life takes me and what I choose and what’s in store for me. To be honest, I am very very ok with the ambiguity and randomness and all that. Just that I need to be comfortable 😀
There’s one thing though that I’d like to know. How would the world change with WFH and all that? I tend to believe that places and things that thrive on IRL human connection will continue to remain in vogue. You know places like Mumbai and businesses like films. And things that do not need you to be in the same room as others, may change radically. Places like Silicon Valley and things like technology and software.
So that. Any ideas?
Before I move to the next thing, am at 9:47. Been writing for two hours now! And I still have a lot to write about! Lemme use bullets to take notes and I will probably pick these up tomorrow. And in case I don’t, at least I would send these to my Roam.
SRK (who else but Shah Rukh Khan). I dont know where to start talking about him. Or where to end. He is, well, one of his kind.
Met Sid Saahil from TID Podcast yesterday and shared notes. Learned that despite him coming from an affluent background, he hustles 10X harder than what AD and I engage in at Podium. We have to pull our socks. Such rude shocks are required once in a while to keep us on course. Will write a Twitter thread about the lessons from the meeting.
A documentary on Aram Nagar. I was at Aram Nagar yesterday. Realized that someone needs to make a documentary about it. I mean it is as iconic a place as any and the contributions of Aram Nagar to Bollywood has been immense! I wonder why it’s not been captured so far? May be it has been, just that I haven’t seen it yet.
Writing Tips. A few days ago, I started a series of writing tips. Primarily to friends that are nonwriters. Here’s the first one. You can join the no-spam, admin-posts-only WA group here.
Someone asked me what was I doing when I was 31. I had no answer. When I asked her to tell me the year (I was 31 in 2013), I could remember with great clarity where I was! I always thought people operated in terms of ages but I realized I operated in years. Dunno what to make of it. I just found it interesting and amusing. Here’s a question for you. What do you remember better? Age? Years? And what were you doing when you were 11? 21? 31? 41? 51? Do tell me!
Another conversation yesterday made me realise that you need to find underserved markets that could be immensely boring! Cases in point? Recruitment for young startups, digital marketing for mom and pop shops, content farms etc etc. These are really boring and non-sexy businesses and yet they deliver exceptional opportunity!
So yeah. That.
I know it’s a lot for a day. Guess this was a long time coming. Am glad that I could finally pour things out. I just need to continue with the flow and get going on #book2. And no, I am clearly not working on #book2 today either 🙁
In this one, I have a heart-to-heart chat with myself. About things that I’ve been thinking about subconsciously. Do read and lemme know what you think.
Not in the best shape rn. I slept at around 2. Had some coke (real, not Diet) and a bucket full of McD fries at around midnight. Two large Americanos just before that. And don’t know what else crap during the day. In fact, I felt so unwell, so full yesterday since the morning that I had to sleep it off. And all this, when I have sort of, managed OMAD for three-four days. In fact, as I type this, I am hungry and I just want to eat all there is in the world.
Damn damn. Need to figure out this soon.
Ok. On to morning pages. Today’s a tad different. Most things I am writing today are from notes that I made last night when I was trying to sleep. I did not plan to make notes per see but them thoughts when I was fucked in the head had to be captured. They couldn’t remain fleeting. I know this is like cheating. The idea of morning pages is to write about what am thinking once I wake up. And use notes from the previous night. But these had to be captured. I think I will make an exception this one time.
Oh, before we do that, here’s the track am tripping on since last night…
In bullet points, I want to talk of following. While elaborate on each as I go along.
Love public places
Rethinking the idea of a home.
Love for the sky
Here we go…
a. Love for nights.
Last night, I was working from an McD. While coming back, I was on a scooty and the roads were empty, except for the ones looking for parties. And escape. And I realized that I love the idea of nights. The world has sort of retired to their bedrooms and you are out there. Out and about. Doing your thing. Could be ground-breaking work. Could be something inane. The roads are empty. The weather’s better. The only others to keep you company are young lovers, paddlers of “sin”, others of your ilk that want to do more with their lives. That’s all. All three are the ones that need to be celebrated more than anyone else. The ones that burn the midnight oil are the ones that do crazy things.
And yeah, the world needs more crazy. I need more crazy.
Sadly, because I chase longevity, I try to follow the sun with my routine. I wish I could do otherwise. I wish I could stay up till late (like I have always done since I was a child) and yet remain alert, healthy, active, and all that.
b. Love for public places.
I love public places. Like Mcd. Starbucks. NickyM’s. Co-working spaces. Lounges. Hotels. And more. Especially if they are comfortable. I just can’t do home. I will talk more about the home in a bit. I have to be out and about. With others around me. Others could be my people. Or strangers. But others. The lockdown made me realize that I could stay alone in a house if I had to, as long as I have the Internet :D. I can even live on a secluded island.
But given an option, I would like to be in a public place. Literally live in a public place. Even if I am an introvert. I thus need to ensure that whatever I do, I have access to some interesting public places that are welcoming. And are comfortable. #note2self
The third L in the row. So yesterday was crazy. I had a bad day. I was sort of unwell. I was on the roads late at night by myself. And I felt lonely. I think I felt like this after quite a few days. Most times I can keep myself a great company. I am ok to be alone. I never understood the idea of solo travel but I have been able to live by myself.
When I talk of loneliness, I don’t mean friends or relatives or spouse or even this blog. I mean someone that I could be with that did not need explanations, someone that’s easy going. You know, someone that is non-judgemental. Someone that fans my fire. Yes yes, all these are typically rolled into one in your friends or spouse. I am super lucky to have great friends all my life. My romantic relationships have been rocky but I can not complain – it was me more often than not. The loneliness that I felt yesterday was of a different kind. You know, I wish I had another set of people (apart from friends, family, romantic partners, business partners etc). Not forever. But temporarily. You know, like you goto a staycation even when you have a home right next to you. How you goto a bar and get drunk. Bars are non-judgemental af. Must write more about them. How you goto those temporary relationships where you see physical comfort.
Fuck! Epiphany. This is EXACTLY(!) what my characters have been seeking at Caravan Serai!
FUCK FUCK FUCK! What a discovery! Caravan Serai (my next book) is about people that are seeking a temporary escape from their existing lives! And want a life that is different from the ones they’ve lived so far! The damn Caravan Serai is exactly that. A temporary resting place as you make your way from point a to point b. I need my own Caravan Serai. Most people find it in alcohol, casinos, drugs extra-marital affairs, and more. Need to find what is my poison. And then convince me that I ought to take it! This was nice! I have this mile-wide smile on my face. The first real one in more than a few days.
d. Rethinking the idea of a ‘home’.
I’ve been in Goa for a few days now. I am living out of a suitcase. The good part is that since I am not meeting any work-related people, I can wear whatever. So that helps.
What is home? A place where you can sleep naked on the floor? Where I can prop up my feet on a fancy table? A place where I can get away from societal norms? A place where you remember what button switches on what appliance? A place where you hang paintings that you like without having to seek permission? A place that you come back to after you’ve had enough at work or at a Caravan Serai? A place that allows me to get into a comfortable place in my head?
I’ve been rethinking the idea of home. Can I live out of a suitcase for good? I have not missed the things that I have in Delhi or Mumbai houses since I’ve come here. I have always attached so much emotion to the writing table, the books, the guitar, the notes that I have taken over the years. Heck, I don’t remember things that I have stored in Mumbai. When I go back, I will make so many serendipitous discoveries. That would be nice. Ok, I digressed. Back.
I know that for a lot of people these things mean a lot. These objects are very important. But for me, these don’t mean a thing. And if the last few weeks are anything to go by, like I said, I haven’t missed them a bit.
Can I thus become a minimalist nomad? Is it sustainable with my parents growing older and needing care (not to say they need it. They are very independent and I am grateful for that)? How would I fund this nomadism? What about my quirks? Whims? I don’t like to live with others (friends etc). I need my own space. Even if my best friend lived in a certain city, I like to stay in a hotel. I have to have my space. As a digital nomad, this is not possible – I will have to manage with whatever I get.
And what if, at some point in time, I do want to “settle down”? Do I then create a home?
e. Moving things.
This is important to me. I love the idea of creating movement. Since the pandemic, my ability to create this movement has stalled.
Wait. What do I mean by moving things? Creating movement?
I don’t have a definition but in a broad sense, by creating movement, I mean nudging people to take action on things that I feel are going to fulfill them. I like the idea of seeding new ideas. They may or may not fructify. I love trying new things. I love tinkering and putting new things out there in the world. I like the idea of millions of side projects, side hustles. Not to make money per see. But to see what is possible. You know, lift rocks to see what comes from underneath. Ask questions. Scratch the itch. Get curious. Ask questions. Move things. Get the drift?
Last night, it dawned onto me that since I’ve come to Goa, I’ve caused any movement anywhere. I’ve been working on all the existing things but no new movement has happened. I mean I did think about Shumbur.com but that’s not proving to be easy at all to execute.
This movement is what I need in life. I don’t know what is it about Goa that I am unable to move things. Need to investigate more.
f. The Morning Hour.
So I realized that I need a couple of hours to myself before I start the day. I often get late in waking up and then I am rushing to catch meetings. There was a time where I could dictate terms with how I would spend my time. Lately, I am unable to. And that’s causing my random anguish.
In fact, I think the inability of moving things is because I dont have this morning hour for myself anymore. I dont feel equipped to take on the world unless I have had this hour to myself. No, I dont mean that I need to meditate or write or whatever. I like the idea of control and plan and I want to just think about how I want to spend the day.
In fact, I have found that if I dont plan my time in the morning, I miss deadlines. A lot. So that has to become sacrosanct all over again.
Will action from today on. After this morning pages is done, will spend time planning things. And will not move on anything.
Oh, the other realisation, as I was editing this is that I need to find an office or something for me fast if I have to work better. I do my best work when I am following a predictable routine. And there’s no place like an office to do that.
Of course I’ve been thinking a lot about work lately. I cant seem to pin point where I want to head next. There are projects that I want to deliver (help TRS, PPP etc break even, finish book2, run a marathon etc), these dont run the economic engine that I need to sustain the life that I want to live.
I know everyone has had a terrible year but the terribility or non-terribility of their year does not pay my bills. So while it’s good to compare and seek solace in collective fuckery, I need to look out for myself. And the ones I am responsible for.
I need to get this sorted fast. Before shit hits the roof. If it hasnt already.
h. Love for the sky.
Lately, my Instagram feed has sort of got fucked. They are terrible pictures. They tell no story. They are not even ordinary. They are bad. However, I realized yesterday that I love skies. Open, wide, in all hues. In all colors. The last few posts have had the skies dotting the, well, skyline of the photos.
I never realized that I was the kind. But now I think, it’s evident. I think I even wrote in #tnks that Rujuta’s complaint with Mumbai was that she got no sky per se. I think that’s why I love high-rises – they sort of touch the sky. I love when am on a plane – public place, in the sky. What else do you want?
So that. No action point. Just wanted to report that I love the sky ;P
And yes, I will work harder to fix the insta feed!
So this is it. For today’s morning pages. I know this is different. But that’s ok. My morning pages. My blog. Ma lyf, mah rulez.
Phew. This was nice and intense. I need to move these to Roam during the day.
Onto #freewriting for #book2. It’s 8:10. I will stop at 8:30.
First time Rujuta saw a snake slither around on road, she was creeped beyond imagination. She had seen her stuff of wild, bloody, gory things but creepers were not her cup of tea. The cabbie looked at the obvious discomfort that Rujuta was in. He chuckled, “Madam, we call Goa a snake country.”
Rujuta looked at him with a questioning eye.
“Snakes are more commonplace here than what stray dogs are. In fact, during monsoons, you’d probably see more snakes on the roads than them tourists that anyway worse than the snakes”, the cabbie laughed at what he thought was a great joke.
“No way”, Rujuta muttered to herself.
“But don’t worry ma’am. They are mostly harmless. Even if they are poisonous, we don’t really get too many cases of people dying of snake bites. Dogs can be a problem though!” He clearly wanted to chat. Rujuta was his first ride of the day and he was expecting a fat tip if he went by experience. He had judged Rujuta from her clothes and could make out that she was a wife of a banker or something and is in Goa to chill with her buddies from her kitty. She was even going to the hotel that was most frequented by these fancy trophy wives, the Taj on top of the Aguada.
Rujuta had remained silent.
He pushed on but wanted to be cautious as well. The first ride of the day set the tone for how his day was going to go. “Are you here by yourself?”
Rujuta did not want to get into a conversation. She merely nodded. She was seated next to the driver. The cabbie had found this little awkward but he dismissed it as a quirk of a rich housewife. Rujuta and Prakash had many arguments over where to sit. Often she would do it only to rile up Prakash and even though he was now gone, she continued to favor the seat. She liked to see the road up ahead and getting into a reverie. This was her trance. Her meditation. her thinking tool.
She anyway had a lot on her mind. The trip to Goa was anyway an unplanned one. Tarana was insistent that she go travel. It’s been almost 5 years since Prakash was gone. Rujuta had immersed herself into the world of colors and paints and boxed herself in her 2 bedroom apartment. Thankfully she did not have any fancy expenses per se and thus she didn’t have to work.
Tarana had found some local boy and got him to book a ticket for Rujuta. The boy even got the name wrong on the ticket. Tarana did not know that it could be a problem when Rujuta would board the flight. But the ticket it was. To Goa. The place that Tarana thought everyone from Mumbai went for a holiday. The boy had told her that Lonavala and Alibaug and Matheran were too common.
Rujuta did not want to make a trip but this was a rare occasion when Tarana had actually booked a flight for her. She couldn’t say no. Rujuta booked herself in the hotel for a couple of nights. She had planned to decide on what to do next once she landed in Goa.
That’s it for the day. Hope you have a great one.
In this one, I have a heart-to-heart chat with myself about things that I’ve been thinking about at a subconscious level Do read, if you can.
PS: I’ve been writing this daily update, every morning for a few days now. I send the link to a few friends and family on Whatsapp every day. Should you want to receive the link to these updates, do let me know and I will add you to the list.