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