260121 – Morning Pages

What if you could treat life as a video game? You know, you play the game of life. And not just live or go through the motions.

7:09. Woke up about 10 mins ago. With a stomach ache. I think it’s the Maggi and Coke combination that is fucking my system Or all the coffee I had. Or the heartburn from the lack of Internet and all that. Something has to be done about the food situation.

Anyhow. So yesterday was super eventful. I had some million calls to make and in between had to sort a billion other things. And as expected the Internet decided to not work. The Vodafone signal decided to disappear. People decided to be at their worst. Sigh.

But then there was this silver lining as well. The opportunity to talk to a few entrepreneurs that are still building their business, thanks to Spotlight (an event that we at Podium have cooked to get aspiring entrepreneurs and investors together). It was so gratifying to talk to them and try and see that there’s so much that I can do. This is what I have been gunning for, all my life! I wrote this thread about it. It is here.

The larger thing here is that this looks close to what I want to be doing in life. You know, life purpose.

Which is what? Create opportunities for others! I have realized that I may not be the kind to go super deep into things but I am definitely the one that can look at the large picture and recommend simple shifts and nudges. It is amazing to see the aha moment come on their faces when I point out these simple things!

Of course, I am not the only one that is doing this. There are so many more people out there that do a better job. But then that does not diminish what I do. And I think I need to scale these things.

The other thing that happened and what I want to sort of write a #SoG on is equating life to a video game. Lemme give some backstory. As a kid, I loved those 8-bit Nintendo video game machines and game cartridges. You know, Contra, Mario and all that? But these were expensive things and you couldn’t buy either the game or the cartridges. So we’d rent them from local stores. This was probably my early exposure to timeshare, I guess. And because these were rented, we’d have limited time with those. Which meant that within a day or two I had to play out the entire game. I had to play to till my heart was full, till I had killed the boss, till I had got to the princess, till I had found all the hidden easter eggs, till I had found the bug that gave me unlimited lives in Mario, till I could boast that I have cleared all of 8 stages of Contra without losing a life. All this had to be done in a limited time. The time that I did not have – I had a school to go to, watchful parents, one family TV where I could hook the machine, the enmity on the cricket ground and I don’t know what all.

But somehow, I could manage the game.

Yesterday when I was thinking about things in life, somehow this dawned onto me – what if I treat life as a game? What if I am in the game? I need to play it out. I need to defeat the Boss. I need to get the princess. I need to find the wrap zones to help finish the game faster. I need to master the moves. I need to find the equivalent of up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start for this game called Life.

And suddenly, all the fuckery, all the issues in life, all the things that have been affecting me started to look like problems that I could try and solve. And to the brain I’ve been given if you throw a problem at me, I will try to solve it and find an answer!

So that!

What if things that affect you, you try to look at those like a problem that needs to be solved? What if you play it like a game? You know, learn for the first few stages, level up your skills, acquire new powers, solve challenges that are increasingly tougher, get rewarded with coins that trick your brain into releasing dopamine. Listen to this clip. Do you think you feel good instantly?

Oh, man! there are so many of these people playing the Mario track. I just went down the rabbit hole. There is a guy on the guitars, another on two guitars, there an entire orchestra, there is a guy beatboxing! I can waste an entire day listening to these. And as I type this, I have this silly smirk on my face!

Wait. Coming back.

If I you treat life like a game, things probably will look better. Life’s a game and you have a limited time with it and you need to play and learn and evolve and beat the boss. As simple as that.

Guess that’s it. There is more that I wanted to talk about. Lemme try quick bullets. Dont want this to become a tome.

1. I realized that working for someone else comes with its challenges of managing other people’s egos. You don’t need to be just good at what you do, but you have to know how to navigate the corporate jungles and dirty politics that people engage in.

2. The freelance life doesn’t exactly set you free. You are still exchanging your time for money. What sets you free is a thing that makes money even when you are asleep. Like Naval says, you need leverage. Need to get to that.

3. For a change, I am not inspired by anything to do with the Republic Day. Far cry from the staunch nationalist that I was growing up. I think this is a good thing and a bad thing. Good – I am not being a jingoist. Bad – I am sort of losing my identity! I am as Indian as they come!

4. I saw that I had written in the last few days on #freewriting for #book2. I realised that most times, what I write for book2 is inspired by what’s happening in life around me. Now that’s not cool. I am not here to write a biography. The idea is to write a fictional story that entertains people!

So that. I wish I had the time to write more. Each time I write, I get some more clarity. I think I think the best when I am either writing. Or talking.

Chalo, onto #freewriting for #book2 for the day. I hope today’s post is not something that happened to me! I am at 8:45. Will write till 9:15.

Here we go…

“You know Chintan, love for me has to be that all-engulfing fire that rages on. I want to be consumed with it. I want to revel in the misery of knowing that you are around and yet you are not.” Rujuta was getting poetic.

Chintan was anything but poetic, “I get it”

“No you dont, you liar. How did you even keep that straight face on TV?”, Rujuta slapped his wrist.

“I was naive. And the cameras were of shitty quality back then!” Chintan replied plainly and ran his hand through her hair.

This was their first time they were alone after they had sort of acknowledged that they were more than just acquaintances. Both of them had scars from their previous relationships – Rujuta’s gashes were deeper than Chintan’s. Their scars had made them nomads, they were drifting through life aimlessly. But both of them were now at a point in life where they felt the need to have that comforting person to come back home to. No, they did not acknowledge this yet. Not to themselves. Not to each other. Not to the world. There’s time and place for everything.

“But you know, Rujuta, life’s not as simple as we make it to me.” Chintan egged on. He had still not told her that he was still married. Not that Rujuta would care. But it was still a big deal.

“You’re telling me?”

“I know what you’ve been through but Raju there’s a lot more about me that you need to know.” Chintan had started to call Rujuta that. In her entire life, no one had ever given that as a nickname. She wanted to hate it but she couldn’t pinpoint a rational reason to do so. There was nothing wrong with it, except it sounded like the nickname of a man. She was still not used to the name though and it still felt alien, impersonal.

“I know I need to know more of you. You need to know more about me. Isn’t that what relationships are about? Each day you discover more of your partner. You get more obsessed with each other. You cant take your mind off each other.”

“Bro, you are talking like a 16-year old romantic in conversation with her 42-year old lover.”

“You are 42. And you make me feel like a 16-year old!”

The playful banter was going exactly how they had imagined it to. If Tarana could see Rujuta reveling like that with another man, she would probably sleep better!

***

Ok enough. Was tough – romance is not my strong suit.

Over and out!

As always, if you want to get these updates on your WhatsApp everyday, lemme know. I will add you to the broadcast list.

Hope today’s better!

170121 – Morning Pages

Nothing special to report in this one. This is more like a journal of how I spent my yesterday. You can skip reading this.

6:53 AM

Had a pretty ok yesterday. Compared to the day before. Worked some. Wrote some. Tried a new coworking space in Goa (Felix). No, the internet did not work well. Neither did the phone. So it is as good as Clay, just that Felix is free for the whole of Jan. So I can save some money. Will go again today and report. Oh, while working, a friend told me to play music from video games. He had a convincing argument – video games are designed to help me level up (difficulty, experience, immersion) but for some reason, it did not work for me. I’ll try again today before giving up. Nikhil is an advocate of electronic music. However, I did listen to (and enjoyed) this lo-fi version of a track that talks about how friends need to come to Goa once a week at least. Fuck I really want to write, make films.

Lol.

Irony.

Goa.

Friends.

Anyhow, I also managed to do OMAD! Yay! Realised that when I am busy and I don’t have options, I don’t eat a lot. When I work from Nicky’s place, I am in a cafe that makes amazing food. And thus I eat like a pig. When am Clay, the kitchen shuts at 5ish. And I don’t eat a lot. At Felix, the kitchen is non-operational and surprisingly, even if I was hungry, I did not feel like eating. So that helped. And yes, once I was back, I promptly had Maggi (lol) and some 20 kinds of chips.

Then, I sent an SoG after a while. Read it here. Need to move from Mailchimp. I also sent a Letter to Bade Log (Bade Log is some 10-12 people are senior and I know they care for me). In both, among other things, I talk about Living in Public. These morning pages is an attempt in that direction!

Finally, as I was waking up, I even had a dream. This one was funny. It had my parents, M&m, and me on some sort of a video call. No, my folks haven’t ever met M&m but it was funny to see them in one frame. Guess this is the acceptance my brain needed that M&m are an integral part of me? After all, when dreaming, we reinforce things that our subconscious is thinking of.

So that was yesterday.

Today, am going to try something daring. I will move my blog from blogger to this domain. There are some 2000 posts. Let’s see if I crash this one. I have Abhinav, Advait, and Arpit on standby ;P. You’d know tomorrow morning 🙂

There is nothing large that is clouding my head to be honest. Except work 😀

Not sure what else to report on. Except I liked how I spent my day yesterday. I just need to add some friends and family during the day and I can continue to live like that. Of course, I need to identify something meaningful that I can spend my time on. May be writing it is? It gives me joy and it allows me to reach more people. I need to merely figure out how to get better at it!

Enough.

Onto #book2 #freewriting piece for the day. There is no mood per se today, unlike yesterday. So, let’s see what comes up. It’s 7:41 and I have a 27% battery. I will write till 8 (or till the battery runs out).

You know how it is when you are traveling on a train in India? The night has fallen and the scenery is rushing past you? In distance, maybe in some other coupe, someone is playing some really old, corny music that wafts to your ears. You know that you know the track but you can’t keep your finger over it. It irks you but it also comforts you. Everything about the journey is discomforting. The thunderous speed with which the train moves. The bright lights in the middle of nowhere that rush past you before you could figure what they were shining on. The slow dance the metal box is in as it moves forward. Tired eyes of strangers, over-friendly travelers that try hard to break the monotony with small talk. Wait, they are passengers. Not travelers. The only thing that comforts you is that faint music coming from that other coupe that crane your ears to latch onto.

To Sita, it seemed all the more strange. Her experience with popular Bollywood music was very limited. She was raised in a strict community where even the women were expected to learn how to fight. And no, not fight to save in case of an emergency but fight to go on the offensive and be at the frontline. Fight to become an assassin. Yes, they were told that all their training that they literally spilled their blood for may never be used. While they were ready to kill and get killed at the drop of a hat, they were told that they like almost everyone in their community, would die of old age. The unlucky ones that did die early on were the ones that were called to literally throw away their lives when they turned 18. What a waste. You train since you are 4. You spend 14 years learning how to wield weapons in a strict community. And as you turn 18, you need to fight a group of 4 other assassins that have been tasked to kill you. These 4 could be your parents, best friends, even your own wife. They don’t show no mercy when they attack you. And on your 18th birthday, you need to keep yourself alive in a melee that lasts an entire day. That’s your rite of passage. That’s your license to live from here on. Only to hope that you’d come useful in that unknown war that not even the seniors in the community knew when it was coming.

Sita knew she was the best of the lot. Maybe that’s why she was chosen to be sent on this journey. By herself. When you were called, you had to make the journey by yourself. Nah, they were not scared of those petty wayside robbers. They were more scared of the ways of the world outside the boundaries of their commune. Out there, the world moved too fast and it had no honor and no respect for traditions.

Unlike other kids, Sita had shown literally no emotion ever. Even when she bled for the first time, she was bereft of any fear or confusion. She did not even ask a question. She reported it matter-of-factly to her brother, who was 2 years older. The brother was aghast and did not know how to respond. When she skinned her first goat, her face was as stoic as that of a priest deep in meditation. On her 18th birthday, it was the other 4 that tapped out. It had never happened and no one knew what punishment to give to those 4. One of those was her own father. The community had probably found its future leader in Sita. And if not the leader, then the warrior that will lead them into the war. Whenever that war happened. Whenever she would be required to make that journey. The journey she was on. The journey where she sensed familiarity with those popular tracks. The journey that would not take her where she intended to reach!

***

Ok, I enjoyed writing this. The time is 8:13. And the battery is 9%. Did not realize when 8 AM came and went. Flow, baby! While reviewing, realized that it has come out nice. Need to work on sentence formation and grammar.

Over and out for the day.

See you guys tomorrow.

Also, I send this link to some people on WhatsApp as a daily update. In case you want to get this as well, lemme know.

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?