140621 – Morning Pages

I talk about how the weekend was. And about Panchgani, Starbucks and Fitness in a disjointed rant.

7:03. Woke up a bit ago. Feel ok. Not great. But not bad either. I guess the magic is in staying away from the phone at night. Chalo, let’s get on with the day and the post.

Monday’s are typically busy where I take stock of things that I am working on and all that. While I do that offline (on Asana and Roam and other places), lemme start with a short review of things that I had thought I would do on the weekend.

So the weekend came and went and I did far far less than what I had imagined I would do. Quick report card…

  1. Write content to help Sonali and her Art in Action project – ❌
  2. Submit the Airbnb Live Anywhere application – ✔️
  3. SoG Book. It’s the cornerstone project for Jun 2021. – ⁉️
  4. Shortlist and finalize writers for The Podium‘s foray into content – ❌
  5. Make progress on Write Your First Novel course. Worth two weeks. – ❌
  6. Approach more people for Long Haul Ventures. This includes all the bade log I know that I send quarterly updates to. – ⁉️
  7. Get back on Twitter – ❌

Very dismal performance. At this rate, the greatness I chase will remain a distant dream 🙁

With that tight slap, let’s talk about things that I am otherwise thinking about.

➡️A. Overdependence on Starbucks
The poor performance over the weekend? I want to blame it on my dependence on Starbucks. I mean I had planned to park myself there and work till I was tired and all that. And I know I would’ve done that. I don’t have a bed there. The AC works. The internet works. There are people around that I can feed on the energy of.

Now, if suddenly the place is no longer available and I am forced to contain myself in a shitty house overcrowded with old furniture and lousy vibes, it should not mean that I can’t function.

How can my work, my output, my life be at the mercy of a Starbucks outlet?

Plus, during the lockdown, I did work. I did deliver things. I did ensure that I do my job. All without a Starbucks. Now that I have an option, how is it that I am losing track of things? Just because I have an option, I am in that shitty space!

Optionality is a bitch!

➡️B. Panchgani
This weekend, if all goes well, I will be in Panchgani. I plan to not take my laptop. I want to also not take my phone to be honest but I dont think that would be possible. Let’s see.

Panchgani is one of those places that I have come to love over the years. When I first went there (don’t remember when – must be in 2007 or 2008 or something), it was a tiny town that I don’t think anyone went to. I mean all the rich people from Mumbai and Pune and Nashik had the twin towns of Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar as their holiday and retirement homes. But that was that. It was limited to the rich ones. And the ones that were natively from there.

To me, when I went there, it meant little more than an escape from the boring routines at Mumbai. It was the same to me what Fiji was for Truman. A place so distant, so impossible that it was a mere speck on the map. It represented the ultimate freedom, the ultimate escape. Not that life in Mumbai was that bad. I was still young, still hopeful about life, still enjoyed the grind. And yet Panchgani was that break that I would take from the rigmarole of life.

I would’ve made countless trips to Panchgani and on each trip, I’d get enamored by the small-town life of simplicity, community, and nature. I’d want to start living there. But then at the end of each trip, when I’d come back, I’d forget the simplicity in like 10 seconds. That fickle I have been.

From the first trip on, the relationship evolved. It became a Fiji. A place that I would pine to be at. A place where I’d want to get teleported each time I had a bad day.

And now, as I write this, I realise it’s no longer that. It’s yet another tourist destination that I goto, to take breaks. Like this one on the coming weekend.

So that.

➡️C. Fitness
My keto subscription is coming to an end this weekend. No. I did not lose any weight. No, I do not feel energized. And I have not stopped craving for Maggi, Dosa, Fried Rice, and all that.

I dont think I will continue. I do have the money to get it but I think I will skip. I will get someone to make food and deliver. And I will try to get back to OMAD. That’s the only thing that I think works in my case.

I’ve also stayed off Yoga since the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. I think I will get back today. It’s 7:55 and I need to meet Prak at 9ish at Starbucks. So, I do have the time. It’s the inclination and intent that is often missing.


Guess this is about it for the day. Need to get going. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 183
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 95. I am gonna have some coke on this weekend’s trip to Panchgani. Yeah, this weekend I am traveling!
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

120621 – The Starbucks Snafu on a Saturday

I write about a snafu with a plan to work from a Starbucks on a Saturday.

8:38. Woke up at around 6 to the sounds of mad thunder. Like I’ve never experienced before. ever. Nature is furious for some reason. There must’ve been lightning as well but I can’t see that from my hall where I sleep. For the ones curious, I do have a bedroom but it has a bed and I like the idea of sleeping on the floor. So that.

Anyhow. The plan today was to camp at a Starbucks and write till they throw me out. I even prepared my bag last night. The way I would do when I used to go to school decades ago. While I was waking up, I made a mental checklist of things that I will get done. I decided that I will try and avoid coffee as it gives me jitters if I don’t eat something with it and I want to avoid Starbucks’ food. I even told myself that I will celebrate once I come back from Starbucks with some snack or something.

As I heard the thunder crashing around me, I lazed a little more than I would have. To a point that it was 7:45. However, I wanted to reach Starbucks at 8 sharp to make the most of today. Thus I decided to skip the shower. Something uncharacteristic. You know how I am. I may be dying but I need my shower. At least once. Even if water is ice-cold. Or worse, weak lukewarm. But today I skipped it. Today’s that important for me and my writing.

So I skipped the shower. Put on fresh undies. Packed an extra tee in my bag, lest I get wet in the crazy rain out there. Thing is, I refuse to buy an umbrella. In all these years I’ve been in Mumbai, I’ve owned an umbrella maybe once. Too much hassle. Am happier in the rain.

So, I step out. Can’t spot a rick. It has started to rain. I cross the road. See one coming from the opposite direction. That’s the thing with Mumbai – you can find public transport easily. I flag it. Get in it. Take a longish route to reach Starbucks I go to often. I want to be mentally ready for the long day ahead. I am thinking about the chills I would get from the AC. I decide that I have an extra tee. I may layer up if need be. I am thinking about all the regular patrons that I see at Starbucks. I make my mind that I will try to nod at people and all that.

While am lost in these thoughts, I reach Starbucks. I see from the outside that it’s empty af. Why not. It’s 8:05. People in Andheri / Versova don’t wake up that early. They are up till late – they have to be – that’s the nature of the work they do. Most times Starbucks is that empty at that hour.

And then as I enter, the guard tells me Starbucks is shut.

For a few seconds, I couldn’t comprehend what he said. I was like what do you mean shut? It’s at least 8:10. I can see the lights in full glory. There’s staff puttering in there. One of the Barista’s I know arrives at the entrance announces – it’s the weekend.

I was like, “So?”

She’s like, “Sir, weekends we can’t be open.”

WHAT.
THE.
FUCK!
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!

The brain had started to function by now. Of course, the advisory of the government prohibits public places to stay open on weekends. I was like, WHAT THE FUCK!

All the weekend plans went down with the baarish and the advisory.

Damn!

And here I am.
At 8:38. 8:56 now. Ranting about this snafu.

I am so so so depressed that I am dumping shit into my system (eating things that I should not – you know, stress eating) and chewing on a chewing gum like it’s an enemy that I want to maim like I’ve never wanted to harm anyone ever!

It sucks how life gives you lemons when you least expect it to. Suckerpunched.

I really want to get a lot of things done and I can’t get good work while I am stuck in the four walls of this apartment. I wish I could check into a business hotel or something. I wish I was living out of Rove in Dubai – the perfect hotel for someone like me. Fairly ok rooms. Great vibe in the common area.

Anyhow.

Now that I am stuck here, let’s see what I can achieve. I plan to work on the following today (in the order of priority)…

  1. Write content to help Sonali and her Art in Action project
  2. Submit the Airbnb Live Anywhere application
  3. SoG Book. It’s the cornerstone project for Jun 2021.
  4. Shortlist and finalize writers for The Podium‘s foray into content
  5. Make progress on Write Your First Novel course. Worth two weeks.
  6. Approach more people for Long Haul Ventures. This includes all the bade log I know that I send quarterly updates to.
  7. Get back on Twitter

And then if I have some time left, get some work for one or two projects that I am on.

Most of these are around writing. Which I thought would be breezy since I am at my most effective as a writer when I am at a Starbucks! Now that I am not there, let’s see how many of these do I get in. Will report during the day. Or may be tomorrow. Again, I won’t be able to go to a Starbucks and thus will have to lower my expectations. Sigh!

Oh, now that I am back, I can actually get that shower that I skipped. May be. Maybe not.

Guess this is it for the day. Here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 181
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 93
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

110621 – Deconstructing. Planning.

Lazy post on how I spent yesterday and other things at the top of my mind. Mostly rant.

8:44. Woke up a while ago. Was tossing around in the bed. I just did not want to get out of bed. Plus I know I can’t go to Starbucks today – I have a few meetings that need me to be at a quiet place. So am stuck in the four walls. So that’s dampening the spirits this Friday. Plus, I am probably oversleeping. I am definitely sleeping more than 8 hours for sure. I mean, last night, I was in the bed around 11 and today I woke up way past 8!

Anyhow. So here we are. Lemme recount the day.

-Starbucks. Black Coffee. Venti.
-Work. Various projects, including the book.
-Phone Calls.
-Back to the house.
-Ate like a hog. I had decided that I will fast but I had three full meals yesterday. After I don’t know how long. I even ate bread! I loved it! I also realised how much I love crunchy things (I had some croutons with a soup). Can’t wait for this Keto plan to get over. Can’t wait to get back to Maggi and Rice and Ice-cream and all that.
-Talked to a marketer about the marketing podcast. LOVED IT! More than anything, the guy was brilliant. More about it in a few days.
-More work.
-More work calls.
-Published a 3000-word review of Mare of Easttown.
-More work.
-Recorded a podcast with an investor for the investing podcast. LOVED it again! I think my happiness is in talking to people and living in that moment. Need to fill life with more opportunities to talk to people. Fuck, as I write this, I realize, I even felt the post-event depression that I have written about in the past! I was so fried that I needed to be with someone or maybe on the road. But no friends, no cars. So, I ate :D.
-On a whim, saw the first episode of Fauda. Was exactly the mindless action-inducing piece of cinema that I love! I may actually see more.
-And then, sleep!

Yeah, it was a long day. No, I did not so as much work. It just looks like a lot.

So that.
Ok, what else?
My mind’s so blank and bare that am having a hard time thinking about what to write :D.
Let’s see.

Ok.
Roam.
So lately, I find myself using Roam a lot more than I was previously. Roam has now become the first place where I plan things, make todos, take notes, and all that. And I see that it is really evolving into the second brain of sorts. To a point that I now run a search on Roam before I talk to people about projects and things. I think this is the longest I have stuck to a note-taking tool. Let’s see how the usage it after a few months.

Novel Writing
The MOOC am doing is lagging like crazy. I will probably use the weekend to work on it.

SoG Book
The goal for June was to ship SoG book. I haven’t done shit about it. Again, probably the weekend project.

Book2
Each day as I write this post and I look at the world, I realize that the world gives far more credence to what you’ve done and not what you say you would do. Which is of course common knowledge. And expected. I’ve been thinking about writing a film, a book, and I don’t know what all. But I never find the time. May be I am merely lying to myself? Maybe I don’t have it in me? May be am fooling myself that I can go through the grind of writing! I have to prove myself wrong and churn out the book or the script ASAP! Pronto! Damn, no amount of self-motivation is helping 🙁

May be I will earmark one day in the week, say Sunday to just writing this? I know it doesn’t work like this but I have way too much work and I need that work to pay the bills.

Damn, how to balance the call of creativity and majboori of money?

I think tomorrow I must wake up at 7 (lemme put an alarm), get ready and be at Starbucks at dot 8. Park myself there till about 4 or as long as they are open (since I dont have any calls planned and thus it’s cool with the ambient noise) and get these things out of the way. Most of the things I need done are anyway “creative” and thus I will be in the ideal zone to do so.

And while I do so, I will switch off my phone and other such distractions and just write, write and write. And of course, let the coffee run amok in my system!

Sounds like a plan. Let’s see how it goes.

Guess this is about it for the day. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 180
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 92
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

080621 – The Curious Case of a Missing Keyboard

A write about a keyboard that has gone missing from the matchbox that I live in. Help me find it?

7:53 AM. I woke up about 10 minutes ago. Like the last few days, I woke up groggy and all that. Even my back hurts for some reason. I need to really figure this out. Or may not. I mean it’s probably the age. So it’s cool. However the soreness is almost gone, so that’s a good thing. I must say this vaccine shot has made me realize where I stand with my health. I did not have any adverse side effects (except drowsiness that made it impossible for me to stay awake). I need to do a lot if I want to climb Everest and live till 120! Anyhow.

So the thing on top of my head is a Bluetooth Keyboard that I recently bought to help me work better. It’s a Targus keyboard that is small enough that I can carry it in a backpack and big enough to be comfortable. Plus it’s wireless, BT, and doesn’t need a USB connection. With the MacBook Air I use the number of posts is a challenge (just 2, and only USB C type) and thus I needed a BT keyboard. And I got. I even touted it as the best 1200 odd bucks I spent in a long long time.

However, the keyboard is gone missing.

In the 200 sq ft space I live in, all I have is a writing table, some unopened cartons of books, a book shelf and a kitchen. And yet I can’t find the keyboard. Plus I am not the one to lose things often and yet I can’t seem to find it. I have looked at every inch of the place. While I am pissed at my carelessness, the larger emotion at play is amazement – where could this keyboard even go?

As a kid, I really wanted to be a detective. I was very very inspired by Byomkesh, Crystal Maze, Super Commando Dhruv, and all the other early things that I consumed as a child. At that age, I knew that I would go on to become a detective. I think that’s how I probably developed a questioning mind. Maybe that’s the hidden reason why I write crime-fiction. You know, commit a crime and then solve it 😀

I really want to solve this one. The keyboard has to be within this room – it can’t step out by itself. The only person that has access to its space is the domestic help – she comes like twice a week. Of course, she’s beyond suspicion. I have unequivocal trust in her.

No, I dont think there are any trained monkeys that could climb up to the 8th floor and take the keyboard away.

There is no incentive for anyone else. It’s a simple Bluetooth keyboard that is of no use to anyone. It’s just irksome that it has gone missing. It’s a thing now. I really have to find it. Throw me scenarios? ideas? Where could it be?

Moving on…

While I was working late last night, I realized something interesting. Something negative and yet awesome. I can’t work without task switching. In the sense that I was working on a client project and I had to write a memo. While I was doing that, I kept switching to Whatsapp to Twitter to News to Youtube to I dont know what else. This is such a bad way to get things done. With all this context switching, there’s no way I’d be able to get into deep work and deliver better output. In a world where we are known by our output if I cant deliver great work, what’s the point?

I have tried meditation – I used to be a regular (2-3 times a week) till early last month but I haven’t been doing it lately. Maybe I need to get back to it. Let’s see. As I type this post, I am trying to not switch to any other window. Except tinkering with the music playing in the background (which is allowed). I think I must get more conscious and more mindful about being in the moment. I must catch myself every time I spot myself switching tasks.

Oh, I just saw, I’ve put a sticky note on the wall in front of me where I’ve written: “DO NOT SWITCH”! Lol!

So that. Something that needs working on.

Finally, last but not the least, I plan to work from a Starbucks till about 3 today. I dont have any important calls planned today. This means that I am ok with the background noise on whatever other calls I will get. So that’s cool. I was honestly in two minds because going to a Starbucks means spending 400 bucks on coffee that I am anyway trying to abstain from. But then I think the caffeine and the money are the tax I will have to pay to get more things done. You know, anything for higher productivity.

So, let’s see how the day goes. Wish me luck!

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 177
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 2. I plan to work from a Starbucks. And that means I will have a coffee!
  • #noCoke – 89
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

070621 – Morning Pages

A rant on how I am unable to make decisions about life and things and work and all that.

7:28. Woke up a few minutes ago. I literally sleepwalked through the weekend. I remain groggy enough though enough water has been splashed in the eyes. Guess it was the side effect of the vaccine that I took on Saturday. I mean I don’t have any fever or anything but there’s sluggishness for sure. Maybe it’s because I am trying to stay away from coffee. Or maybe because I haven’t stepped out of the house in a few days. And no Surya Namaskar. I dont know the cause but I know that I am not feeling great as I wake up.

Anyhow, as the lights turn on in my head and the body starts to function, here are the things that are at the top of my head today.


A. Mare’s review. Yesterday, I finished watching Mare’s story and tried to write a review and I am struggling with it. It’s way too tough than how I imagined it would be. This is one of those series that I want the review well. May be a pitch to some international publications. But I can’t seem to get the words. I know what I want to say but when I put it on the paper, I cant seem to find the right flow or the words. Damn!

B. The mile-long to-do list from work. Even though I tried to close the last week with nothing on my plate per se, I do realize that I have quite a few things that I need to work on. And that means today’s gonna be a busy busy day. Which is ok. I am just hoping and trying that I dont get myself a coffee.

Ok, wait. Apparently, Starbucks is open for dine-in from today. Till I think 4 or 5 PM. And that means that I can sit from there and work. If that is the case, I will probably end up having a coffee (or two), you know the tax for sitting out of an outlet and working! But if it’s open, I will be really really glad. At least I will have a place to go. And I will have probably get more work done. Plus, I for one can’t wait to be outdoors, to meet people, to bump into strangers into a crowd and observe them and silently judge them and all that.

In fact I feed off the energy of other people and this is the opportunity to get the mojo back (you know, its been missing for a while). So that.

C. The live in Mumbai or Goa or elsewhere decision is not coming in easy. I dont think I have ever thought this much about things before making the move. I remember every time I have moved, I just took a decision in the snap of a finger and moved. I even lost what was probably the love of my life when I moved first from Mumbai to Delhi. After that, the moving decisions have been easy. Each triggered by opportunities or the lack thereof. But each has been easy. This time I am not sure. On one side I want to move – get away from the humdrum and disappointments of my life. On the other, I want to stay to create more opportunities. I am not sure. This one decision occupies my head a lot these days.

I read somewhere that I need to take decisions that make me choose the tougher alternative. Here are some bullet points that I am thinking about…

  1. I know that in the long run I dont want to be in India. I know that I like meeting interesting people. So I have to be at a place where I can meet interesting people. I don’t want to be at a village or a small town for sure.
  2. I know that I want to at some point make films. As a writer and a producer. Maybe as a director. I dont know that. I like the idea of telling stories. So I have to be in Mumbai. Or LA ;P
  3. I need to deliver on work on my plate. If I live in Goa, I may not be able to. At least I don’t find the internet or the phone working well. Everyone else seems to be ok but for some reason, I am jinxed.
  4. I know that I can create opportunities but I take a long long time to do that. You know, like a slow burn. Most of my work comes from relationships that I take almost forever to develop. If I move to a new place, I am not sure if I’d be able to create work fast enough to justify the move.

So that. You see my quandary.

D. A trip to Delhi. Now that I am vaccinated with both doses and my parents have been vaccinated, I need to make a trip back to Delhi. Been a while since I’ve met them. I think as I am aging, I am getting more and more emotional about people, life, things, and all that.

In fact, as I look back at life, I realise that I was always this rock on the outside but mushy squishy thing on the inside. So while I refuse to admit that I dont care for emotional constructs in life, at a deeper level, I think, I do.

Nah, I dont admit this ever but now that I have decided to live in public, what the heck.

E. The Food Dreams. So I am on this fancy Keto meal plan till about the 15th of this month. That means I am bored of eating variations of Paneer. And I have these fancy dreams of eating carbs – you know Pizza, Dal, Breads, Chips. Mmm!

I’ve never been a foodie per se to be honest. I mean I like the idea of eating good food and I enjoy when I eat something well made but I am not the one to seek culinary pleasures. With these recurring dreams of carbs-laden food, I am not sure what my body is telling me!

Anyhow, I am abstaining from eating other things than the dabba I get. Till at least I have subscribed to this plan. No, I am not losing weight if you are curious about that. Maybe these guys that I have subscribed to don’t make Keto compliant meals? No, I don’t plan to renew the meals. Way too expensive. and not working for me at least. The only good thing that has happened is that I don’t have to think and order every time. Plus I am not eating any kachra. So that in itself is a good thing!

So yeah. Guess that’s about it for the day. Here’s what Hemingway thinks of this piece…

And, here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 176
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 1
  • #noCoke – 88
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

060621 – Morning Pages

Unlike the last few days, a leisurely post where I write about things on top of my head, hoping to get clarity. No, no clarity happened but.

8:34 AM. Woke up a few minutes ago.

After two-three days of non-activity, I am back. To a point that I am rearing to write. Like you know, put my keyboard on fire! Lol!

So without any ado, let’s go!

In terms of updates, here are the things that are at the top of my head.

1. I got the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine yesterday. Yeah, it’s Covaxin and that means I may not be able to travel a lot. And yeah, I did have some side effects. I mean the arm is still sore and literally slept through the day even though I had a good night’s sleep the night before. I feel ok as I write this (apart from the soreness).

2. They are most probably opening Starbucks outlets from tomorrow (till about. 4 PM), I cant wait to get back out there and work! The two flipside are that a, I will have to get back to coffee (which I am again trying to stay off) and b, I will not be able to use Starbucks for calls. Starbucks has a lot of ambient noise. I will have to come back. But then, for a bit, I will have a place to go to that is NOT my freaking house. The other thing that may work in my favor is that I will probably stay away from eating till about 4:30 and thus can try and attempt for OMAD! So all in all, a great sign! The world is healing!

3. Thanks to the break imposed by the vaccine yesterday, I am at the last episode of Mare of Easttown. I will hopefully spend a large part of the evening today reviewing it. Let’s see how it goes.

4. I discovered the joys of writing with Hemingway Editor. I stumbled on it by chance. I was cleaning my bookmarks and spotted it. Logged in and was blown by what I saw! Loved the immediate feedback. Grammarly does that as well but for some reason, Hemingway felt more intuitive. Lemme share a screenshot of this text (unedited and in its raw form).

This is a screengrab from Hemingway Editor about the text that I’ve written. The menu on the right tells me that a second grader can read this as well. Not sure though 🙂

But, you see that point #2 about Starbucks needs rewriting. I mean, I refuse to re-write it, but you get the drift. So if you are the kinds that require a lot of writing to be done, you must must consider Hemingway. Of course, the problem is that it’s an expensive piece of software (some 30 dollars). The free version, on the web, does not save documents. So unless you copy-paste, you lose data. For my use case – where most writing happens on a WordPress or a Google Doc and I can easily copy-paste things, the free version suffices.

5. Staying on writing and storytelling, I stumbled onto this course at Khan Academy where Pixar is teaching The Art of Storytelling.

Wait. What?
Pixar?
Free?
Storytelling?
Wow! What else can you ask for? Divided into 6 lessons, this could be the most definitive 101 that you need to be able to write for films. Someone like me needs this FOR sure. On it. Along with the course on writing the first novel.

6. Lemme rant about work for a bit. One of the things I do makes me talk to designers – specifically, the ones that layout ebooks, whitepapers and other such things. Of course I can’t pay a lot of money and I am thus unable to dictate terms. I have to live with whatever designer I can find. And the ones I work with, I kid you not, just dont want to work. They assume that I am doing them a favour by giving them feedback or asking for iterations. They forget that they could be polite. They dont understand that its free market and there are many more options available. I wish people understood that you typically work with people and little politeness, goodness and kindness goes a long long way!

Ok rant over. I mean I try to not rant but people are way to inflexible and set in their ways. I dont know why they dont understand that if they dont change, things wont move for them. Anyhow. Deep breaths, Mr. Garg.

If any of you is reading this and knows any go-getter designer, please connect me. It would be awesome.

7. Next. I dont know what next. I dont know what else to write. There are things on my head that need resolution and movement – SoG Book (the goal for June), moving out of this house, moving out of India, The Aram Nagar Documentary, making money, making an impact beyond just making money, life goals, and all that.

Guess this is it. I didn’t really put the keyboard on fire. But good to have got some words out of the system. Time to get going and get on with work. Meanwhile, here’s the streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 175
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 87. 13 more days to go before I go swim in that pool of coke ;P
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

050521 – Meditations

Update on things clouding my head. There’s nothing new but usual suspects – life, house, money!

7:04. I’ve been up for a bit now. Actually, I didn’t sleep very well. Why? Well, among other things, I had a coffee yesterday. Iced Americano. After some 55 days. Can’t say I missed the taste but I did like the idea that it could be helpful when I have a lot of work.

No, I don’t plan to get addicted to it again.

It shall only be had on days like yesterday when things on my plate overwhelm me and I need additional help to come up with superhuman effort and knock things off my todo list.

And I will try to have it later than 6 PM. Yesterday I had it at around 8 I think and I was as wide awake as an owl till about 2. And then I had to force myself to sleep.

In other news, in another action item yesterday, I got back on Twitter and Instagram. And I plan to stay active. I may not post too much but I will offer and extend some morsels of help as and when I can. If nothing else, I will support others that are. It somehow dawned onto me that while I am unable to help, and I suck at offering a shoulder, I need to do whatever little l can. Even an iota of help could be useful at this time. Individuals across the world have shown what compassion and willingness to help can do when regulators and policymakers and governments fail. I have now seen the power and impact of an individual’s action. It reminds me of that aasman me soorakh line…

“कैसे आकाश में सूराख़ नहीं हो सकता, एक पत्थर तो तबीयत से उछालो यारों” – Dushyant Kumar

If I could get something tattooed on me, it would be these two likes from Dushyant Kumar. Apart from “this too shall pass.”

#note2self – I must make it a point to read some of the Hindi poets that are no longer around. They’ve some incredible work. I mean I am a fan of late Rahat Indori’s work, especially the way he would narrate his work. Must spend time on listening to some old ones.

Ok. Moving on.

I also saw this post by Rana Ayyub where she talked about how life is sudden and you may not get time to say goodbye etc. I am inspired and I have decided to write an email to every person that I have hurt wanted to apologize but did not have the courage to. I know some of those chapters were closed long ago and my apology will probably bring back bad memories for those people. I will thus be careful and ensure that I am mindful before I send. I will write those nonetheless, even if I don’t send them. I mean, I am sure I will remain safe in this pandemic but you never know what happens next. So I do not want to leave this world without closing some of these conversations. No, I am not premonitioning my demise but I want to not leave without saying a bye to people that have shaped me – in a good way or a bad way. So that.

Oh, how can I even forget talking about this? In fact, I had to start with this. Yesterday Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they are ending their marriage of 27 years.

27. Years.

This is the second person that I look up to that has done this (first is Jeff Bezos. He and Scott were married for 25 years). Both Bill and Jeff have been idols for long. Their marriages were #lifeGoals for long. The wives played such an important role while these guys were on the road, building their businesses and all that. I’ve in fact wanted a partner like that. That supports my maddening ambition. Or vice versa (become second fiddle to someone as ambitious). But this announcement just broke my heart. The last time I was this sad for one of my idols, it was probably when Steve Jobs passed away. For some reason, I was not that affected by the cheating and divorce scandal of Bezos.

Anyhow, if I had any faith left in the institution of marriage, this was probably the last nail in its coffin. I mean Bill and Melinda were married for 27 freaking years. They were my ideal couple – make a lot of money and then use the rigor of business in doling out that money to make the world a better place. Plus they are old. I mean Bill Gates is 65. Melinda is 55 something. After 27 years, you probably know so much about each other that even if some doubts creep in about the impending cracks in the marriage, you probably fix it beforehand. You know, it’s messier to separate at that age, especially if you are a public figure. It just reduces the impact that you can have.

Damn you never know what happens behind closed doors!

Someone actually put a tweet out yesterday that said that out of the top 10 richest people in the world, only 2 have not been divorced (Mark Zuckerberg and one of the Google Founders!). Is there a correlation? If there is, I am glad that my plans of not marrying in the first place will not tip the numbers in the list. Unless more people enter the list when I am there. Lol! King of wishful thinking, Mr. Garg.

Also, today is the 5th. When I had to give my landlord notice if I did not want a messy exit from this house. I had wanted to do it for two reasons – a, get to a cheaper place and b, try and move to Goa. Even though I know it’s tough to live and work in Goa, I wanted to have a base there. I know that I will not have the network that I have here. I know that things are moving online and people are ok to meet on Zoom but I am super ineffective on Zoom as it’s been proven a million times already. So that. In one line, I am in that limbo that I’ve been forever.

One option is to move to Thane or something and then use hostels or friend’s couches when I need to be in Mumbai. I will save on the rent, live at a distance that allows for chance meetings and such connections. I don’t know. This inability to decide obviously stems from the inability to spend money and that’s something that I need to work on anyway.

I think this is about it. Have a long day ahead that starts early. Time to move on with things. More tomorrow. Here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 143
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0. Had one yesterday after 55 days!
  • #noCoke – 56
  • 10 mins of meditation – 2
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

300321 – Meditations

Took me forever to write this one. I just didnt get the words. But thankfully, I managed some. I talk about things clouding my head.

8:00. Just woke up. I am groggy and all. The mind’s blank. I dont know what to write. Of course, a lot is happening and a lot is on my mind and a lot needs to be written and a lot needs to be published. But the mind is blank 🙁

Lemme try #freewriting.

A. Despite all my public outcry against the increasing number of cases in India and my concern that we are being stupid, I still went to Starbucks. And I will go again today. In a bit. Before 9ish. Multiple reasons – lack of space at home, non-functional AC, the need to have ambient noise while working (I need to come back home for calls that start at 1:30), etc. I just wish Starbucks offered closed rooms. I am getting a shared office in a few days. I have paid for it (and a lot of money, to be honest), in hopes that I will be able to use that place instead of a Starbucks. Let’s see how that goes.

B. I met a friend last evening, and I talked about my inability to work on #book2. I told her that I want this one to be an ode to Mahabharata and I cannot wrap my head around all the characters and their interplay. I have used tools like sticky notes, whiteboards, Roam, and whatnot, and yet I am can’t seem to write it.

She had a great suggestion – get someone to help write. I have tried with multiple “assistants” in the past. PM literally sent in prompts everyday. But I couldn’t make progress with it. So that’s not a solution. Guess the answer is to just pound on the keyboard till I make progress.

Wait, do I even want to write the book? The answer is, hell yes! The reason is that whatever validation I get from the world comes from the fact that I can attach the word author in front of my name. The world rewards output and action and finished things. WIPs don’t have any value. They are left to rot on the sidelines. Really.

I think I will get going with writing about book2 each day, even if it’s one word. I must start from today. Let’s see if I get inspired!

C. It’s 9:20 and I am at Starbucks as we write. It’s perfect! Almost any Starbucks outlet is. I just wish it was a tad cheaper. I mean they are free to price their products at whatever price point they deem appropriate and may be this just-out-of-reach premium-ness is what makes Starbucks a place that’s just perfect and you can sit for long at and get into the zone and work!

Plus, I like the idea of waking up early and getting a headstart when the world is sleeping. This time (when the world is asleep) is the time when I get the best work done. The entire A large part of #tnks was written in the 7 AM to 10 AM window. May be once I settle into a routine of sorts, I will earmark this time for work on #book2. Funny how so many thoughts are centered around book2 and yet I do nothing about it.

So that.

Before I go, here’s streaks….

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 109
  • #aPicADay – 89
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 20
  • #noCoke – 20
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0

Wait. Here’s attempt at writing #book2. Let’s see how many words do I get in. I honestly don’t recall where I left the story. Let’s see what comes out. It’s 9:40. I will write till 10. Even if I have to type book2 multiple times.

“Its funny, Rujuta. At the core of it all, every argument – legit or illegit, fair or unfair, long or short, called for or uncalled for – is about two people taking two different sides of an idea. The idea could be ownership of a a property. The idea could be a political ideology. The idea could be as simple as the clothes you’d wear”, Ronak continued to stare into the sea and continued to deliver his monologue to Rujuta.

Rujuta could only nod at whatever Ronak had to say. Ronak reminded her of Tarana. She thought, it was about time the two of them met.

That’s it.
Like 2 paras 🙁
But theek hai. It’s a start.
See you tomorrow.

220221 – Morning Pages

Nothing special to report today either. I am just glad that I am able to keep the streak of these morning pages going.

7:25. My writing table.

I just woke up. I slept very fitfully. Like most days.

The house remains a mess. I am even washing my clothes. Sigh. Of course, I am ok doing my own work but the only reason I don’t want to do it cos I feel it’s a waste of time. This is probably why people have washing machines and all that. Right now, I don’t even have the patience or the mindspace or the time to get someone else to help me! I think I have bit into more than I can chew. I mean I did not agree to this much work when I picked these projects. But theek hai. I need it.

So, I spent some 18 hours at a local Starbucks and I would have spent some 5000 bucks there. Thousand. Not Hundred. Yeah, I am like that. Pennywise and pound- foolish. I need to make clear that I don’t spend money on Coffee. I pay a per-day fee to sit at a comfortable, air-conditioned, well-lit, fast Internet connection. I consider Starbucks as my office / work expense. I had so much coffee yesterday (I can count 5 Grande Americanos that I had yesterday. And 2 of these were double shots) that I am surprised that I even got sleep. Oh, I slept ok. Fitfully but ok. I mean that’s how I get most of my sleep. Coffee or no coffee.

The other thing is that it’s now certified that I can NOT work from home. Yesterday, I came back home for a bit because I wanted a change in scenery. But as soon as I reached here, I jumped on the bed and slept. Sigh. I am jealous of people that can stay indoors. Of course, there are talks of imposing a lockdown all over again in Mumbai and if that happens, I would be devastated. I can NOT survive indoors.

Oh, I have to talk about how Starbucks sparked another serendipitous incident. I was hanging out there and I spotted this person that gave me the first-ever opportunity as a TV writer. No, it did not reach anywhere. The show never saw the light of the day. This was some 5-6 years ago. #tnks had just come out. I used to live at Nahar. I think I got connected to him via someone on Twitter (I will dig it out). It’s amazing things that can happen when you live at hubs. Yeah yeah, I am merely trying to find things that rationalize my thinking. You know, we are pattern-seeking and pattern-matching, rationalizing (and not rational) creatures! #note2self

While editing this piece, I realized that I missed the highlight of yesterday. I was seeing something on Youtube when I stumbled on this video where Vikramaditya Motwane and the team talk about how they made this track for Lootera. I don’t know what state of mind I was in, but I saw Vikram Sir and the team talk about it and I cried. Like an actual tear came outta my eyes. I even wrote an email to him. I hope he sees it!

The medium of films is so so powerful that I am surprised I am doing nothing about it. And I am spending wasting my time making PowerPoint presentations in exchange for peanuts. See this tweet

I know I know. I don’t have the talent to make films. I know I don’t have the money to say no to PowerPoint. But there has to a way out na? Guess that’s why creative people in the old times had patrons that allowed them to chase their dreams. Come on, universe! Do something!

So what else?

I guess nothing.

Days are moving so so fast that it’s not funny. Each morning seems to blend into the evening and then night and then back to the grind. This busy-ness is great but I need to find a way out so that I can do bigger, larger, grander things.

Sigh.

That’s about it for the day. Have quite a things to work on. No, nothing on #book2. :((

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