310121 – Morning Pages

More of a journal on how I spent the day yesterday than anything else. Read if you want to. Skip if you may.

10:37. I am up since 7. I slept at 330 something. And this is not the first thing I am doing. Plus, this is not what I had planned for today (yesterday I thought that today I would write about only #book2 and nothing else, but I am not). Which is ok. Idea is to dump my thoughts in public. Plus, I wrote these notes on my phone last night and I am merely editing. Plus, I haven’t brushed my teeth. TMI? Lol!

With these few disclaimers, here we go!

So yesterday was special. And nice. I was part of the session that we at Podium did to get some startups to meet Dr. Malpani. We had a cracker of a time and I learned so so much. Here are my notes…

via @saurabh

I have to mention the great folks at Design Centre – not just they have the best Internet anywhere in Goa (the parts to where I have been), they are incredibly kind as well. They are normally shut on Saturdays but at my request, they kept space opened. I am so grateful for the kindness of strangers. Need more people like that.

Another example of kindness yesterday was when I spoke to Sheba. Sheba is a life coach, a busy one at that and yet she took out time to chat with me about things clouding my head. I can’t say I found answers but it’s uncanny that she pointed out the exact same thing that I felt stifled for. Movement. I even wrote about it a few days ago (point 5). More on it some other day (once I have processed all that Sheba and I talked about). Someone has to remind me 😀

Finally, I paid the salaries of my team. I was late by a day (I try and pay on the last working day of each month) but I did pay within the month. Had to take on another tranche of loan. But that’s ok. This is the last month I am doing so. If I dont get anything substantial, I will get a naukri. Whatever it pays me.

So that’s that.

Apart from these two few sparks, yesterday was kind of disappointing. I was supposed to fast for 48 hours. I lasted all of 25. While 25 in itself may sound like a large number, the thing is, I can do 24 easily. Without breaking a sweat. And thus, to make the task worth investing time and effort into, I had decided on a 48-hour one. But I could not.

I can blame it on all the work I needed to do and all the stress that made me break it. But come on. I am better than that. Remember Marshmallows? To make it worse, I ate at the McD. But then that was the only place where I could sit with a computer for a while and get some work done (remember I was up till 330?). Of course, I could’ve worked from Rajesh sir’s place but I need some action around me when I work. I need people, movement, activity, non-descript chatter, and all that. I need a public place. I can’t work from home. Even if I have the fanciest home in the world!

Lemme tell you another story.

When they eventually shut at 3 and I was on my way back, I passed by this road-side thela selling Maggi. On some random hunch, I took a U-turn. Asked the old man and the woman (she looked like his wife) manning the thela to make me an anda-Maggi. Nah, it was nothing to write home about, to be honest, but while I waited for them to prepare my order, a few things dawned onto me. Lemme try to articulate those.

The poverty and contentment. The anda-Maggi cost me 80 bucks. Their direct input cost is at least 30 (Maggi + Eggs), just for the raw material. Then there is consumables (salt, pepper, gas etc), regular expenses (packing material, water, electricity etc), capital investment (the thela, pans, pots, spatula, etc), and of course miscellaneous expenses (bribes, cartage, etc). I am not even talking about the money that they’d charge for their time. I am not sure if what they run is a profitable business. But the two of them looked in peace in the company of each other. They were smiling at some inside jokes, gossiping about what I am assuming are other local fixtures, and of course, trying their best at my order. They were content in their poverty (I am assuming, of course).

The company is the reward. For them, it looked like that all that mattered was the company of each other. And the order they were working on. And that’s that. They did not seem perturbed by the farmer’s protest, COVID-19 crisis, drunks falling over each other on the main road where their thela is, the latest Kapoor to have got onto Insta or ever what day it was. Compare to me. I have so much happening in my life that I don’t even know where to start the list from.

The love, camaraderie, togetherness. I loved their camraderie. Their togetherness. Their compassionable silence. I hope they stay like that forever.

Oh, they made an epiphany happen. They made me realize something about myself (something that I probably knew deep down but never admitted). That I crave for company. I may be the biggest introvert and I may be trying to live in public but I need company. And I need physical intimacy. No, I am not talking about sex per se. I want to be able to hug others. Touch them. Feel their handshakes. Smell them. See their frailty, ogle at their smiles, pull their legs. In real life. All this. And more. With my people. Not with strangers. Not with those one-night stands. Not with acquaintances. Not with all the random junta that I know. Even though I want to know everyone and their nani-nana and dadi-dada. I have to be physically around my people. And I am anything but that. My parents are in Delhi. SG2 is like saat samandar paar. We as a family are anyway not really touchy-feely. M&m are all grown up now and have started to find other people that they find cooler. The lesser I say about my love life, the better it is. Most friends that I want to hang out with seem to have become richer and cooler to continue to hang out with (no they don’t discriminate per se but their choices in life when they want to hang out? You know, places to eat at, places to travel, kind of activities they want to do? I can’t afford those. Neither do I understand them). So that. The ones that I can still access seem so ignorant to what’s happening around us (the world at large) that I cant seem to hold conversations with them.

So, I crave for company. For the reader – this is NOT a cry for help or for showering me with unwarranted attention. This is merely my thoughts. I may or may not want to act on these.

May be this is what growing old is all about? When parents told me that you’d start needing people when you are old, may be this is it? Guess so.

Also, being in Goa is not helping matters either. People are nice but they are not my people. And I take time before someone becomes my people. Plus the recent incident at the podcast has sort of shook my value system when it comes to adding people in my life.

Nah, if I were in Delhi or Mumbai, I don’t think I could help matters either. It’s a battle that I need to fight and tide over. Maybe I need to borrow Sheldon’s playbook where even the coitus with his girlfriend / wife was planned via a relationship agreement!

As I write this, I realise that most times I dont feel this need of company. There’s enough and more work that doesnt allow me to even breathe, leave alone feel lonely. Plus the never-ending search for Internet is Goa makes even work an adventure. Yesterday, if not for that old couple, I’ll try to click a picture of them, I probably wouldn’t stare at the moon and the empty road and think of all these things!

Phew! That was heavy!

So here’s something cool. My new favorite track? This.

A mashup between Shaggy and Sting. Love the groove of the track. Would love to write a track like that. Damn, there are so many things that I want to work on. To write on. On life!

So yeah.

This is it for the day.

No, no book2 today either. Too grumpy, too stuffed in the head to do anything. Guess it’s the lack of sleep and lack of movement and lack of intimacy. Lol!

280121 – Morning Pages

Inane update. You may want to skip this one.


Been up for a while. The fuckery of yesterday about the inability to comprehend the Farmer’s Protest is sort of fading. Most sane people I know are asking me to stay away as each side has vested interests and are working on the narratives. But then I am not sure if that’s the right way to go about it. I need to know what’s happening around me, in my country. I may be insignificant but I do have opinions and I like the idea of knowing. Vegetating is not for me.

So, the internet worked well yesterday! For a change. Thank you Design Centre. If you need a great place to work from, do check them out. I think I will go there again. Even though they are at Provorim and it takes some time to reach there but I am ok with it. At least the Internet is reliable and since they don’t have any kitchen, I am away from crap. Oh, that’s what I’ve realized. If I have no options to eat, I tend to stay away.

Goa is now reporting lovely weather. The kinds that I’d love to live in year-round. There’s a nip in the air in the morning. The afternoons are bearable and the evenings get pleasant all over again. I think if someone wants to come to Goa, this is the best time to do so! In fact, I am thinking, I should have come here at this time – all year-end tourists would have been back, all locals would have started to spring out. But then, I am here now. So that’s cool. I am also close to my self-imposed deadline of Jan 31 of making a decision about living in Goa.

I am still on the fence, to be honest. A lot depends on work. A lot depends on money. I think the Internet and mobile connection is a challenge if you want to live in Goa. But if I do decide to live here, I think I can throw money at the problem and solve it. Mobile phones, not so much. But the internet is solvable for sure. It’s only about getting 2-3 connections that are fast enough. Hope something works out that allows me to live from here. Oh, I am in Mumbai for a few days I think in the next week. I have some errands to run. Let’s see.

Oh, I am also gonna pick Shumbur.com back. I haven’t had the time to act on it at all. Among other things, the hunt for a stable internet connection has kept me busy. I don’t know more people but the ones I do, I need to engage with them, get into a conversation with them. Write on those experiences. Showcase them, get feedback and then scale efforts.

So that’s that. I don’t have more things to write in today’s morning pages. Except that I am grateful to be alive, grateful to have access to a roof, grateful to have some people that I can call friends. Damn lucky I am! Talking of luck, the Spotlight is just 2 days away and I am in jitters. I have been to so many other events in the past, have managed, arranged, and produced so many of these smallish events that this should be like the back of my hand. But no, I am in jitters. Guess cos this one is super close to my heart? See this thread.

So, I think this is about for the day. I feel as if I should write more. But I dont know what. Guess will pour some thought on #book2. But before that, today’s track is this.

And here’s #freewriting for #book2. Missed it yesterday but I am back.

Rujuta was curious. “ABC, what are those red bottles doing all over your house?”

“Oh those? They are to keep the monkeys away.” ABC sipped onto the coffee that she had just brewed.

“What do you mean?”

“This place has a lot of Monkeys. We are a jungle remember? And it’s their jungle. We are mere visitors”

“Yeah. So?”

“These red bottles keep them away.”

“How so?”

“I don’t know. But you start picking these tricks when you start living in the jungles. Not that we’ve left a lot of it. Look at all those towers coming up. I know that people want homes but at what cost? Us humans fuck everything up. But listen. Don’t let my ideas spoil what you are here for. Shumbur.com you said? Tell me more?”

“Well, Shumbur is my attempt to talk to 100 people from Goa and chronicle their journeys, lives, and all that. Plus I needed a new project and this looks and sounds like a good idea.” Rujuta said.

“So who all have you talked to?”

Rujuta couldn’t understand why this was almost the next question that everyone asked them!

“Wait. I am intrigued by these red bottles and monkeys. Do they really work? Tell me what other tricks did you pick up?”

Just then a branch snapped and some leaves rustled in the trees that Rujuta was facing. ABC had her back to those trees and she motioned her head and said, “there they are. Ask them what keeps them away.” She laughed and took a sip onto her coffee.

Rujuta noticed that even though ABC came across as a happy cheerful person, there was a tinge of sadness somewhere. She couldn’t put a finger on it but she knew. Her years and years of experience with seeing people from behind the lens had trained her to spot these patterns. She considered herself a fairly good people-watcher, but not as good as Tarana. And that was ok. Tarana had many more decades over Rujuta!

“And Nah, no more tricks. You just need to get used to the dogs and mosquitos and snakes. Oh, and those insecure vultures and sharks that want to take you for a ride.” The comment from ABC was uncalled for. But Rujuta sniffed an opportunity of a story there. These instincts are what makes a good journalist stand out from a great and she was no doubt among the greatest ones!

She knew she had to get to the bottom of it and fish out a story. If not for Shumbur, then for her curiosity. But she knew she had to be patient. So, she made a mental note of it and continued to smile at ABC.


Ok, that’s it. Couldnt find the right words 🙁

Maybe tomorrow I will. Maybe tomorrow is better! Over and out.

200121 – Morning Pages

One of those days when I have nothing special to report. Read. Or skip.

6:36 AM

A funny thing happened. I woke up without an alarm, even though I slept late and I think I slept well, even though I have a lot on my mind. Don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. May be I am getting used to the idea of waking up around 6? After all, I have been consistent with it last two days. Lol. Consistent. 2 days.

Anyhow, so yesterday I got myself a new laptop (I had ordered it last week and took some 10 days to get delivered). It’s the new Apple M1 Air, which, if experts are to be believed, is the best damn laptop that Apple has made in years.

Got something this expensive after I think 4 or 5 years or so (and this too from the points that I have accumulated. I am in no place to make capital expenses). However, surprisingly, I am not excited about it at all. The older me loved gadgets like I love life. I’d fiddle with gadgets for hours, read up, do some geeky things. I would configure things, try to optimize things and I don’t know what all but no, not with this one. After I logged into the Apple account, I haven’t even touched it. I am still on the old Air and typing away to glory.

I think I am getting close to being a robot.

A good thing and a bad thing. I am so detached from it that I did not even carry the box along with me (if you know Apple fans, they like to retain boxes, covers, stickers, packaging material and don’t know what all).

So yeah.

The other interesting thing that happened yesterday was that I worked out of this new place called The Design Centre at Porvorim (they don’t have a website – this page is closest that it comes to seeing information about them). I think byfar they have the best Internet connection among all the places I have been to. Maybe because they run an architectural firm from there? I should totally go there more often. Just that they do not have an AC.

In fact, it’s lovely in terms of where it is. In the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees and vegetation and nature. I am not sure if I will be inspired more to work but the location is definitely inspiring. That’s the thing. Every place I goto in Goa, because it is Goa, it is done really nicely. Here are a couple of photos (very badly composed / shot etc)…

Of course, Indian Cricket Tam won at the Gabba after some 30 years. No, I don’t follow cricket anymore and I am not qualified to talk about. But I will talk about two things here.

A, I love the idea of brilliance that professional sports bring out. In fact I’ve always wanted to use a competitive game, a sport as a hiring tool. It shows character like nothing else. You get to know who’s a sore winner, a graceful loser, a person that tries hard, a player that plays for the team (and not for self), the one that doesn’t give up.

B, I am waiting for all the brilliant stories, op-eds, write-ups, and other such things that will come out in the next few days about the grit and the determination and teams. It is inspiring to read about people that work hard and do great things. And even more inspiring to read from writers that can capture the stories so well! Each piece makes me aware of my limitations – as a person and as a writer. And each time I reminded, I am inspired! To do more. To become better. To write better. To leave everyone around me better. If you are reading this, do point me to some interesting pieces I can read about. Here’s one such piece from the IPL that I LOVED about Rahul Tewatia.

Ok. So other things that I am thinking about?

Yeah. Societal appreciation of what you’ve done!

People don’t care what you’ve done (most people don’t go deep into what you’ve done, or how you’ve done). The only thing they care about is if you’ve done something. Certificates, tags, recommendations work. No one cares about the process. Remember the difference between a writer and a blogger? That! It is getting reinforced.

I’ve never craved for it to be honest but I do like the idea of getting doors to open for me when I am trying things. I have figured a way to do it. And I have done that for a lot of people now. But when it comes to myself, I haven’t been able to. I now

I also realized my limitation with making new friends / connections. I realized that I need a few conversations to get started with people. And once that happens I am ok. People generally like me. I generally like people. That works out well. But the trouble is, I am super awkward when it comes to social constructs – you know, at parties, at events, at public gatherings. I am so old that I am literally dead but I am unable to find a way to break through it! And unless I find a way out of this, I will probably remain a blogger and will never be a writer!

Guess that’s it. Nothing else to report. Ennui has set in. I am still not using Roam, Asana, and other such tools. Been away from them since I came to Goa – I think not having reliable internet is to blame. I’ve been talking to people and the only solution is to get two leased lines at the place you live. The one I am at right now is temporary. Come February, I will decide. Another 10 or so days to go. Let’s see. I am leaning towards a permanent move to Goa. Let’s see how it goes.

That’s it.

On to #freewriting for #book2. It’s 7:39. Will write till 8. Or so.

“When is enough enough?” Siddh Paul flung a question.

In attendance were the current group of 8 pupils. Each year, Siddh would identify 8 men to add to the ever-expanding family. Always family. Always 8. Always men. No backup. No exceptions. He couldn’t make exceptions even if he wanted to. It was coded in their book. The book was the last word on everything you ever did. The book said each year 8 new members had to be identified and then trained and then made to take the oath of allegiance to the family. No, the family did not believe in the bonds of the blood.

Ok, not happening. 7:57. Lemme change track and give another 15 mins. Till 8:15. Leaving the para above to demonstrate the struggle 😉

Attempt 2 at #freewriting.

The father-son duo were a force to reckon with. The two of them commanded respect and reverence. From all corners of the tiny state they called home.

Siddh for his discourses about religion, his openness to embrace and understand both Hinduism and Christianity. For his acceptance of others that did not see the world from his lens. For his neverending well of compassion and kindness that he continued to pour out from. For his indifference towards the ones that touted him as a farce, a fraud. For the righteousness that was unexpected from someone like him. Someone that comes from the lineage, affluence, and old money. And for his detachment to the very things that make humans, human. Including his family and his only son, Ankit.

Ankit, for his ruthlessness with business, the stronghold he had with the politicians and local panchayat members across the state. For all the Goans he had given employment to in his various businesses, many that no one but Ankit only knew about. Some journalists estimated that he had more than 2000 people working for him. Most of these were insignificant. Mere hands that Ankit used to get things done. Easily replaceable, dispensable, and made redundant. What these journalists couldn’t see was that he also had scores of people of power that ran the complex web that Ankit ran.


Ok, I like this one! Yay!

With this, over and out. See you guys later.