150421 – Meditations

Yet again, a rant about how things are and how I am coping (not too good, if you want hints).

7:12. Andheri.
Woke a few minutes ago. The minds blank. I don’t know what to write. Even though I have a lot on my head.
Lemme try bullets.

a/
So, we have a lockdown from today in MH. That means I wouldn’t be able to go for my walk.

Damn.

The only thing that was keeping me sane. But that’s ok. I will prevail. I am stronger than that. I hope so.

This entire COVID situation is getting out of hand and the government seems to be failing at controlling it. From stupidity around election rallies to gatherings like the Kumbh, to allow the country to remain permeable, to even fudging the data, there have been numerous slips.

Also, honestly, I can’t blame just the government. You and I and People are to blame as well. For example, I can’t sit at home (if I call where I live home). While I may claim to take precautions, how do you enforce everyone to be sensible? How do you ensure that there are no slip-ups? We are human after all!

Plus people will die hungry if they do not step out! I mean, they can’t be at home. I don’t even know how to fix that. Damn, it sucks to be a mere armchair activist.

b/
On my way back from the walk last night, I took a rick. Got talking to the driver. I quipped that now that traffic is less, he must be having it easy while driving.

No, he was not amused.

He said he liked it where there was traffic. The meter doesn’t stop. The passengers don’t stop coming. The wheel of life continues to move. He said that if there’s a lockdown, he would be forced to go back to his hometown, somewhere in Bihar. And this is when he had just come back in December after an 8-month-long hiatus.

Funnily, minutes before this conversation, I had a friend tell me that the pollution levels in Mumbai would fall and it will get green and nice and gorgeous. Can’t say no to that. Mumbai is beautiful if you remove the filth that we spew on it.

In my head, what was contrasting was that these two worlds — one of the people that are perched atop their high-rises and the other of those that are literally crawling on the street — will never see the world from a similar lens.

The worst are people like me that are stuck in the middle. We don’t belong at either end. We are not privy to how either lives. We shuttle between resignation, acceptance, denial, and hope. We merely chase vanity and comfort. The high-rises inspire us. The streets are the epitome of negative reinforcement. We chase the comfort and go-getter-ness of the two extremes. We shun pain and try to unsee what these two worlds are going through – one behind the closed doors, the other, communal. Out in the open.

For someone like me, I dont even know how to communicate my anguish.

Someone that drives a rick, has an option to go back to his hometown. He will somehow find a train ticket and go. Someone on the 29th floor of a building that has 5 levels of parking to prop the 29th even higher, has an option to continue to live without getting affected. The only bummer for her is that her “maid” would not come to help on the next party they’ve planned at home – lockdown or no lockdown.

For someone like me, the one in the middle, I have no hometown to go to. Even if I had, I would never be able to jugaadofy a ticket. Of course, no savings per se to talk about. No backup plans in terms of where I could go or what I could do. No birthday parties to host. No domestic help to worry about.

Of course, like I said yesterday, lately I’ve been doing better and I am seeing some signs of how life is at a point where things are a little more stable. With lockdown and the random madness it has thrown on me, I don’t even know if I’d be able to deliver effectivity and continue this stability.

It’s just a weird situation. I am clueless. I have even lost the ability to think straight. My writing has become mundane. Boring. Assuming it was interesting earlier. I took pride in my strong mental framework and how I never got affected by things around me. People could come, go, die, live, win awards, lose jobs, I remained steadfast.

Not anymore. I find myself thinking a lot about people that have lost someone close, lost something important, lost hopes for the future. To a point that I am becoming less and less effective at work.

Thankfully I still sleep ok.
Thankfully I still try and cook up ideas.
Thankfully there is a continual adventure. Like yesterday I realized that all domains that I have hosted on net4 (literally all!) are at risk of obsolescence. I can’t even log in to the control panel. Trying to salvage some of those but let’s see. All the hard work of the last so many years will go for a toss. How are you to imagine that a 20+-year-old company, listed on the stock exchanges will go down? Damn!

Anyhow. Enough. Moving on.

c/
Here’s a thing.
Starting tomorrow (today I wanted to rant), on these morning pages / meditations, I will write not more than 200 words about the day gone by or about things clouding my head. I would rather gun for writing something original. I have a few options.

I want to write a script and enter the NFDC Scriptwriter’s Lab. While it is not impossible to write a script in 15 days, I will try. I could do that. Would make for an interesting challenge.

Or I could write towards book2. Lol!

Or I could work on SoG Book.

I dont know. I want to write something original. Let’s see what I choose to do.

d/
Even though I knew of Coconut Milk all this while, yesterday, I bought a pack on a whim yesterday and it was delicious. The pack says that they don’t put any additional sugar and I want to believe it. I will see if I can sustain my taste for it for the long term.

e/
sgM1 is giving me trouble. Heats up randomly. It may be because of the stand that I have put underneath to prop it up? I tried to search online if this is a common occurrence and I couldn’t find others that have the same issue. So, mine is a unique case.

If the laptop conks off (in less than 3 months of buying it), it would be unfortunate. Thankfully, I still have sgAir. Even though it doesn’t work as well as it’s supposed to, I at least would have access to a computer that works. Without a computer, my ability to make money would get dented.

I can only hope that the computer continues to work as expected. At least till this lockdown is over.

f/
My back has been troubling me lately. I think it’s all the hours of sitting in front of the computer. To fix it, I decided to try and sleep on a yoga mat.

I must report that the experiment failed miserably. I had to get back to a mattress. Old age. Lol! Plus, classic example of shit people do when they are clueless about what to do and are bored!

g/
Finally, even though I touched it briefly in point “a” above, I am surprised that I am this affected, triggered, anxious. I am clueless and I have like zero energy / focus / attention during the day. I always considered myself far more stable, far more sorted than this. I am clearly not. Must work on this!

Let’s see what the future has in store for me.

As I end this, reminding myself that starting tomorrow, 80% of what I publish here would be original work and not just thoughts. Wish me luck!

Before I end, here’s streaks

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 123
  • #aPicADay – 104
  • 10K steps a day –3
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 36
  • #noCoke – 36
  • 10 mins of meditation – 1
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – -1 (starting tomorrow).

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?