080221 – Morning Pages

Random update from a day where I finally had access to the Internet. Yay!

8:21. Just woke up. I think I have more coffee and egg-fried rice in my system than I have blood or spleen. I mean just yesterday I had 5 black coffees that were darker than my darkest thoughts and tasted worse than a generic dish at a Michelin Star restaurant.

So today I shall start with #freewriting for #book2. Or else by the time I come to it, I would be done with the dance on the keyboard! Here we go…

Coffee. The elixir of life. For her. For him, it was Gin. They were high on things as different as that. And yet they found sobriety in each other’s company. They made an odd couple. Wait. They weren’t a couple yet. They probably would never be one. Both had too much baggage from too many relationships over too many years. They knew that they like each other’s company and despite all odds, they seemed to be wanting to make it work. Both of them did things that were uncharacteristic for them. Rujuta would bite her tongue. Chintan would try and speak up. When Mrs. Gomes saw them like that, she knew either the relationship would end in a magnificent doom or they would flourish and spawn generations that would sing songs of their love!

Their coming together was as unlikely and as unpredictable as their eventual separation would be.

Rujuta had landed up at Caravan Serai by mistake when she heard the music waft to her ears as she was strolling on the beach. If not for that acoustic Hindi set by Jay, she wouldn’t be there. Once she was in, she was charmed by Mrs. Gomes and the ship she ran. She had to know more about her. At first, she had not even spotted Chintan perched onto a corner, lost into his papers. Mrs. Gomes had to tell her about another writer hanging out at her place. She was not in the mood to handle flirtatious comments from a middle-aged man. Especially from those self-proclaimed writers that were mere bloggers than real writers. She did not have a problem with that but the pretentiousness that came along was a put off to her. So she remained polite and feigned interest and just when Mrs. Gomes was to make the introduction, she faked a phone call and eased out of earshot.

Chintan had strayed into Caravan Serai in search of Gin. He found it surprising that no one seems to have perfected a Gin and Coke. I mean how tough could it be to pour 30 ml of Gin in a can full of Diet Coke? It was more robotic and impersonal than flipping a burger at a Mcdonald’s! And yet no one seemed to do it well. Plus most people found the combination weird. Gin was mostly had with Tonic water. The Brit decided that and the rest of the world had followed suit. Not Chintan. He wanted it with Coke. And he hated when people would double-check with him. Udita didn’t even bat an eyelid when he asked for a Gin and Diet Coke. That was the first check. The height of the bar table and the barstool with a high backrest was the next. And the unobtrusive staff was what sealed the deal. After weeks of search, he had found a place where he would pen his magnum opus. It was about time he got his ass moved on it. He had a point to prove and no time to lose.


Phew!

Good to have written something for #book2 after so many days.

And here’s an idea. I don’t know if I have thought about this earlier. How about I call the place I create in Goa Caravan Serai? Fuck that would be incredible! #note2self

Now, coming to morning pages, the journal.

Here we go…

So, I finally have the internet on the phone. Both the phones actually – Vodafone and Jio. I feel so connected and so empowered that I think I can change the world. There is spring in my step, optimism in my tone, and general excitement that I cant express in words! All thanks to this new place that has a mobile phone tower on top of it. Even the number of tweets I sent out yesterday is a testimony. Fuck, I did not know that an Internet connection could be so important.

The other thing is that this place has a balcony and I realized how much I love having one. Last time I had a house that a balcony was three or four years ago. What a balcony it was. It was on the 24th floor and overlooked the Godrej factories. I could point the camera at anything at any time and I’d get a fabulous picture. I’ve love heights all my life. Must strive to get to the top of a skyscraper. No, not so high that I can’t make out the signs of life underneath. But enough to be able to spot things. Like a 30th floor or something. Lol. Here is a picture from that, from my archives!

From a rented house that at Wadhwa’s The Address in Ghatkopar. Took this from some iPhone ;P

Apart from that yesterday was pretty ok. I was mostly holed up at the place am staying – I had internet! But I still had to step out to get things done. I just can’t work from where I live. I need that “motion” to move to a different place to work. And the new place am at, it’s kind of far from any of the coworking spaces in Goa and thus had to rely on good old cafes. And guess who all came to rescue? CCD and McD! These were the two places that were open, empty, had comfortable seating, even an AC. I got some writing done as well.

Oh, writing. The book am editing, it was a struggle to write a tiny para. It took all I had and yet I could not finish it! It’s not writer’s block per se. It’s just that I was at a loss of, well, words. Lol.

As I write this, I played some Harvey Specter playlist. Yeah, there’s a thing like that. Which works fine for most days. But I realized that I like that music that I can sing along to. Especially when I have to work, I need music that I can hum along to. And while I was searching for music on youtube (thanks to the Internet that’s working :D), I realized that I’d love to write some music, make films. No, I am not a director material. May be I am. I don’t know. But I like how these visuals on the screen and the sounds and other things that accompany it make me want to take a plunge. Plus, these images and visuals can be so provocative that you could move mountains! Sigh.

Anyhow. So I recorded a podcast yesterday. This was with a marketer that sells AR and VR solutions to large businesses. While there was nothing new that I did not already know, I loved talking to him. I must get back to it. The effort it takes to research, record, edit, publish and market is insane but I think it’s worth it. See this tweet for example with the lessons I learned from him.

Each time I do a recording, it allows me to meet a lot more people than I already know. Plus that’s proof of work and that allows me to approach more people! Must get back to it full-steam! Oh, btw, today on, I start a “full-time” gig at The Podium. I have decided to focus on and give all of 2021 to The Podium. Akshay has talked me into doing this and I think I can support him for sure. He is clearly the wiser among the two of us. Unless something large and radical comes my way. Let’s see how this goes. And no, Podium is still in investment mode and that means I need to find work to pay for my bills. So, here’s the thing. Help me get work that I can do as a freelancer. Marketing. Content. Writing. Editing. You get the drift.

And the last thing before I sign off for the day is that I finally pushing the Goa guide. It is here. The response so far has been very encouraging. Let’s see where it goes from here on.

Over and out for the day. See you guys on the other side.

260121 – Morning Pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But somehow, I could manage the game.

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

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

So that!

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

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

Wait. Coming back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here we go…

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

Chintan was anything but poetic, “I get it”

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

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

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

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

“You’re telling me?”

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

Over and out!

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

Hope today’s better!

130121 – Morning Pages

Conversations with friends and strangers. About Ikigai, writing, life purpose, success, failure, and more. Oh, and scarcity of time!

7:22. This one should be ok (unlike the last one). I have no pressing agendas today. Just the way I like it!

I think these morning pages have found a rhythm. I talk about what I did the previous day. Pick on a thing from what I spoke about. And then try to think more about it, while I write. And then I write a para for book2. The entire thing takes me about an hour and it is enough to put me in a good mood, to be honest, even if I wake up with a shitty one. In fact, as I type this, I have a smile on my face.

So, lately, I have found comfort in music from Suits. People have made a playlist of tracks from Suits and even though I don’t understand half of those, I love em. In fact, I have been discovering new music here in Goa. Like the other day at a hotel, I heard this track called Jerusalema. Since it was playing on a shitty speaker, I thought it was in Hindi (really) and even when I put my head to it, I could not make it out. And when I Shazam-ed, I realized that it’s in one of African languages!

The other thing was that I got to meet Karl yesterday. He’s been one of those that I look up to in life. He had a couple of interesting things to say about things that I thought i had a deep understanding of.

A, Ikigai. You know, the Japanese concept that helps you find purpose? I thought I knew where I want to (which is to enable and inspire others with what I do and create opportunities for them) but when I was talking to him, I realized that I need to sharpen this. My notions are idealistic (something Rashi also tells me all the time) and are not practical at all. He said (and I agree) that no one would pay me to inspire them unless I become a motivational speaker or something. My personality is anything but that! So, need to think more about that.

B, On account planning and strategy. He said that as a planner you have to get into execution as often you get sucked into Blue Ocean thinking and you don’t know shit about how your strategy is translating into actual work. This is very similar to being a management consultant where you don’t have any skin in the game. Now, I want to be anything but that. So, next time I get a gig, I will try and be a part of actual execution and implementation as well. This is a very very important lesson for me. #sgP1.

The other unintended consequence of my chat with him was that I read that Gaurav Jani passed away last year. I did not know him at all and to be honest, his passing was more news to me than a personal setback. But he has been one of those people that I have been incredibly inspired by since I can remember. When I was young, he did something that I would have, well, killed for. He rode to Ladakh on a bike and made a film about that. All solo. I mean imagine taking shots of your bike, all by yourself. How’d you even do it? And he did all this way back in 2006 when all this was not even known, let alone be cool. Plus there was no ubiquitous Internet, phones, mounts, cameras. I cant even imagine how’d he charge batteries and all that. The dude must have been another level shit.

Lesson? Time is a bitch. You gotta do things now. Err on the side of action. #lifeTheme!

Moving on. On another work call, where I was giving my opinion on how things ought to happen, I was asked to shut cos what I said was in direct contrast to what apparently Kunal Shah, the grand-daddy of all start-ups folks in India, had said. A, if he has said what he apparently said, he needs to be taught. B, even if he said what he said, it may have worked for him but in the specific case, it would never work. You can’t use one-size-fits-all with startups. Of course, this is not about him. This is about me. The conversation hit me like a tight slap on my face that you could be the most educated, well-read, opinionated, caring person in the room but unless you have tangible success to show for, no one gives a fuck about what you have to say. Your opinions are not important. They are invalid. You are asked questions that, well, question your credibility.

No this is not the first time something like this has happened to me. But thank God it happened. I am inspired. Need these bouts often. In fact, I am so so so much inspired to create a fucking massive success that when someone asks me such questions, I can tell them that I’ve built massive shit and they are fuck off.

I know revenge and being sore is not a good emotion (#note2self – Pale Blue Dot, This Too Shall Pass, Seneca’s lessons) but I am human. And I hate when people I care for do this to me.

Anyhow. I think I am ok now. Last evening I was seething in anger. To a point that I could not operate. The world thinks that I am a loser and that’s ok. I have no complaints. But when the ones that I am close to think like that and operate from that place, I hate it. Really.

Lemme talk of something good. Spotlight is finally taking shape. We are gunning for the first edition of the event on the 30th. More here. In case you want to pitch your startup to Dr. Malpani, here.

So, today on, thanks to the kick in the butt by Karl and this nameless-faceless person that told me that am useless, I will try to be a lesser loser. I’ll try harder.

The other thing that I want to talk about this party with some strangers that I was in. The host introduced me to some people as a famous author. For some reason, I felt like an imposter. I mean, all I have is one book. That too has failed to make any dent in anyone’s life. The kinder reviews say that it’s average at best. I don’t even want to read honest or negative ones. The second book is nowhere. Been on it for like 10 years and have nothing to show for that. I hated it when I was introduced like that. Yes, please do introduce me as a creative consultant, creative producer, writer (not just of books), marketer, podcaster et al. I am ok with that. But I don’t want to be just a “famous writer”. I want to be the person that tried. Not the person that rests on laurels. That too, not well-defined.

So that’s that for the morning pages.

As I edit, I realise this has become dark and harsh and ranty. But that’s that. The smile on the face of having typed all this is still around. So that’s some comfort.

So, on to #freewriting for book2. So, for this one, I have talked Prak into giving me a prompt every day to get me started with my thinking.

Today’s prompt is…

Red. The color of love and hate. Of life and death. Blood and rivers, hellfire, and heaven song.

– Prakruti Maniar, Jan 2021

Here we go…

Red was a funny choice for the color of the gown that she wore. Even though the host had clearly mentioned that the theme for the evening is white and blue, she wore red. Red stood out. What was supposed to be a party where dreams were to be talked about, futures were to be looked at, she chose Red. The color of love and hate. Of life and death. Blood and rivers, hellfire, and heaven song. She did not choose red on purpose. She did not have a choice. This was the only gown she had that could pass off as a decent dress into the party where the invite cost her a night with that old bastard, Paul. The party has been the talk of the town for a while now and who’s who was expected to be there. Together they were going to plan the future of the sleepy state of Goa. There were talks of taking the casinos on land, thereby greatly reducing the costs for the owners. One of the proposals was to allow for new high-rise construction near the beaches. They wanted to make coal mining a priority for the state. The coast was going to get opened for large scale music festivals that would get the who’s who of the world down to Goa.

The gates were being opened for the world to make its home in Goa. And at the same time, those very gates were being shut on the faces to keep out the ones that rightfully could call Goa home. The promoters blamed the locals for their lackadaisicalness. The locals wanted to be left alone. The two sides were never going to find a common ground. And this party was an attempt in the direction. In attendance were going to be socialites

Ankit Paul had put all he had and pulled all the strings he could to make this happen. His entire fortune and the reputation that his family had earned since forever was at stake. More so, after his father passed away, his personal credibility and integrity was being questioned. No, he did care for what people thought of him. He had more skeletons in his closet than the ruler of African countries had. But he did care about his bank balance. The power he wielded. The political ambitions that he couldn’t seem to find a route to.

This party was going to change all of that. Hopefully for good. And give Paul the respect that he’s craved for since he was a child. Respect that his father never accorded him. Respect that he had to fight hard to get. Respect that made him do all the things he did. Respect that mattered to him more than life or death.

***

Damn tough! But I like how it has come out!

What do you think?

And over and out. Hope it’s a great day!