110721 – Morning Pages

A summary of how I spent yesterday and things that I am thinking about.

7:52. I woke up a few minutes ago. Yesterday was tiring (walked 20K steps). And hard on stomach (ate like a pig coming out of a famine). And very hard on work. Apart from morning pages, I did not even switch on the laptop (a rare thing, considering how busy I am).

Lemme recap the day.

Went on a hike with a few friends to Kokanipada Waterfall (here). Been there a couple of times before this. This time we went without a guide to show us the way. A lot of guesswork, a lot of asking around, and with some luck, we managed to reach the waterfall. I realized that I can do these less strenuous hikes without breaking too much sweat. Which is a good thing. Need to prepare for the EBC. I have just about 2 months to go 😀

Then we got together at a friend’s place to catch up. And to say goodbye to a friend who’s moving out of Mumbai. No no, he’s not going back to his “gaon” cos of the issues with the lockdown. His family has an opportunity at another place and thus the move. Guess this is what life is. People move as and when they get opportunities. I hope wherever he goes, he remains happy and continues to learn and grow.

Played some poker. Miss the feeling of being on a poker table. And guessing and second-guessing and all that. Must start with it soon. Just that it takes away a lot of time and I need to find a way to make time.

Anyhow.

Then met another friend that I did my MBA with. This one after I think 3 years. Again, caught up with life and work and all that. Looked at some pictures from the good times we’ve had in the past. Reminisced about the past.

And then I came back. The ear continued (and continues) to hurt. I continue to refuse to go to a doc. I eventually slept.

And here we are. Morning after.
And here are some thoughts that have lingered since yesterday. I haven’t been able to think deeply about. Let’s see what comes out as I write those.

A. I can’t seem to hold attention in a room full of people. Not that I want to be the center of attraction per se but I like the idea of getting people together. I am not sure what’s the grand plan of this universe but I know that people talking to people and spending a relaxed time with each other is what makes life wonderful.

B. The idea of giving away time to make ends meet is not a good one. I need to find ways and means to not be this occupied. I mean I’ve had times and opportunities when I was in a projects business (you know, you’re busy for a long time and then you’re jobless) and I think that works the best for me. This entire idea of always-on work is not my scene. I need to find a way to get out of this.

Also, this has been a recurring thought in my head for the last few days. No, I am not complaining about money or work here. I am grateful that I have it. The issue is that I like the idea of idle time where I can daydream, plan, think, ideate, wander, and all that. This idle time is when I cultivate relationships, meet people, and all that. And this cultivation is what helps me stay sane.

So that.

C. I am conflicted. On one side, I want to meet friends, new people, strangers, and more. Even if conversations with those are fleeting. I love spending time with them. On the other, I like the idea of seclusion and staying by myself.

So that. I don’t know what I really am. You know, from the inside. I haven’t been able to think deeply about this. Maybe this is what I need to ponder upon next time I meditate. Let’s see.

D. I am still mindful about not letting too many negative emotions run through my system. And thus this blog. No, I am not hiding anything from anyone. Just that I am trying to acknowledge the negatives and focus on the positives.

So that. A lot to think about, munch on. Let’s see how it goes. Will do this over the next few days. For the time being, here’s streaks.

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 122
  • #noCoffee – 11
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 212

130321 – Morning Pages

Update on what’s on the top of my mind. Guess what?

6:35. Thane. Ashi and Parry’s place.

I am in Thane. At Ashima and Parry’s place. I had a meeting this side of the world and I decided to stay back. Ashima is by far the best cook chef I know and if I want to eat good food, I make the trek to Thane to get fed. That’s as far as my indulgence with food takes me. Oh, yesterday I decided that I would fast for 48 hours and reset my gut. I had forgotten that I am going to Ashi’s place. I can’t eat when am with her. Plus the weekend typically is a time when I get to meet friends and that means that I am forced to have something or the other. So it’s impossible to not eat on the weekends. I will try the gut-reset, 48-hour fast from Sunday evening onward. So that.

This is the shot from her window.

Gotham-eque!

In other news, my father got the COVID vaccine. To be honest I did not want them to take the vaccine. For multiple reasons. A, the vaccine is still in the clinical trial and no one knows the long-term effect of the same. B, the shoddiness around the way it is managed in India (the announcements, production, etc) was disheartening. But when I spoke to Kunal and Ashima (the two ports of call for everything medical), both of them affirmed that we must take it. And that’s when I consented. No, my parents don’t really need my consent. They are far more intelligent and aware than I. Plus they know a lot more people and their advisors are even more learned. So that.

This is around the same time that pandemic hit us last year. I remember the biggest thing that came out of the pandemic to me was that I could attend Anjum Sir‘s session on writing. Even though it was on Zoom, I really learned a lot about the process of screenwriting. This piece on Hero’s Journey came as a result of that and the piece made me make friends with so many people!

He’s doing those again but I am unable to attend those this time as I have a lot happening and films need to take the backseat.

Which is ok. I need to consolidate how things are going. I know that all the work I am getting is a knee-jerk response to all the pent-up demand in the businesses. I just need to capitalize and deliver a great output so that these could translate into long-term gigs. I just hate that there’s just 24 hours in the day.

I am also gonna change the way I live and work. I don’t want to talk a lot about work but lately, it’s on the top of my mind these days. So here it goes. Since I am working literally all the time now, I will have to get even more particular with how I spend my time. There’s not a single minute to waste. I have to figure an office space (my productivity goes 100X when I am not working from home and Starbucks tend to get noisy for all the calls that I am supposed to be on). The thing is, a large part of my work is now attending calls (because no in-person meetings) and I often speak and make presentations. Most days I do good with those. That’s not a challenge at all.

The problem is that if there’s some background noise when I speak, it becomes tough to get the point across. There’s anyway a lag imposed by the internet. On top, there’s the speed at which I talk. So I need to find a quiet place where I can talk from.

If I could predict these meetings and other things, I could get into the Maker and Manager (by Paul Graham) zones but most of these are ad-hoc and thus it’s impossible to plan time. This is against the very principle with which I have lived my life. I want nothing more than the independence of time. The gigs that I am on, there’s some flexibility but I’d want more. Lol. When I did not have work, I wanted work. Now that I have work, I want flexibility. 😀

So that. Let’s see what I decide. Maybe I’ll just get a fancy house (now that I can afford it) and turn one of the bedrooms into a co-working space! Or get some bungalow in Aram Nagar and convert it into a cafe. Lol. Wishful thinking ka raaja! I really have hazaron khwahishen. And that, ladies and gents, is the track of the day. Here!

Track of the day?

So, as I end this post, in terms of streaks, I did all but the walking one. I had a busy day and hence I could not walk a lot. Here’s the list.

  • Morning Pages – 91
  • #aPicADay – XX (will count at some later date)
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 2
  • #noCoffee – 4
  • #noCoke – 4
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0 (adding this from today on)
  • #book2 – 0 (I REALLY need to start on this!)

That’s about it. Over and out. See you guys tomorrow.

080321 – Morning Pages

An inane update about how I spent my Sunday. Nothing interesting here. You can skip if you want to.

6:27 AM. Woke up 15 minutes ago. Took my time to figure out the music I want to listen to. Settled on Aahatein by Agnee. Here. I got hooked on this track pretty late in life. I mean this was a big rage for a long while and I did not know that this even existed. That’s the thing with my music. I don’t consume these music pieces immediately. I hear an old track after few years and then I rave about it as if I have found a new thing! That’s my kind of weird. Lol.

So it’s a Monday. And that means a new work week is starting where I need to do a lot of things. And now that I am in Mumbai for at least three months, I will also initiate the hunt for a new house this week. Something that is airy and large and open and new. I may even move to Thane, as recommended by Parijat. Things are cheap there and I need the money for the time being. But then I have this bias against moving away from ecosystems! Let’s see what I decide.

Apart from this Sunday was pretty uneventful. I did meet some old friends to talk about new things (photography and films). I liked the idea of a day spent just meeting people and picking brains about things that could be done. This is what I think gives me happiness and pleasure. Jamming on ideas, thinking of possibilities. What I suck at is doing those. I need to find someone like Akshay that’s brilliant with execution. So that.

Going forward, I will silo my time and dedicate certain chunks to just meet people. Its the people that make things happen. I know I am the ideas guy and I need others to work alongside. So let’s see.

What else?

Need to start writing this “dear diary” and start on ideas and other things.

Oh, I am starting on OMAD from today. The last meal I had was last night at around 10. And I will eat around 2 today. And then nothing till 2 tomorrow. I know these are tall, lofty claims but let’s see how this goes. This week I will also add some kind of workout to my regimen. I am thinking walking / jogging and some yoga. Need to find time for it.

So that’s about it. Short and sweet. I don’t really have a lot to write. And I don’t really have a lot of time either. So that. Wait. Lemme fix. I have the time, just that it’s not on top of my priority list! More later. Abhi gotta go.

080121 – Morning Pages

Among other inane updates (about life, time, writing, work et al), I finally get started with writing book2. With a tiny paragraph. Yay!

8:34 AM

Woke up some time back. At Rajesh Sir’s place. Came back after spending two long days and a night at a hotel. For some reason, it felt like coming back home. Home this has been for over a month now. I have seen the quirks that a place offers. I have started to remember what buttons switch on the fan or the lights. I now can reach em in the dark. I remember I saw Naseer Sir do that in his living room when I met him a couple of times for a film that I was hoping to have him feature in. Damn, that was the closest I was being a Bollywood celeb. Anyhow.

As I was writing this, I realized that it is the 8th of January. Of 2021. Time is flying like crazy and I seem to be chasing it. Perpetually. All the time. Of course, not ranting but that’s how it is.

So, yesterday, I decided that I would write a para for book2 on these morning pages each day. That’s the only way I will get something done. So here I am. Para 1 for book2. I call it FreeWriting. I don’t think about the story or the character or anything like that. I just start typing whatever comes to my head and then see where it goes. No edits. No filters. No judgments.

Here we go…

Book2 – FreeWriting

The first thing I noticed about him was his firm handshake. You did not expect a man that looked 70 to have that. At that age, you should be counting your days and not trying to pick 20-year old girls at your neighborhood bars. Nonetheless, he was. He clearly couldn’t walk straight even before he came in and once he was there, he guzzled I don’t know how many beers. Each time I served him a can, the grip seemed to get stronger, the hand seemed to linger a tad longer, the eyes seemed to water more. I have been bartending for a while and I could handle ten such men without batting an eye. This time, however, I was not sure. I was clearly not attracted to him. I wanted a man in his 40s. A man who knew his words and had the gift of the gab and can outdo me in a drinking bout. That. Someone like Chintan.

Even though Chintan’s been here for more than a month now, I haven’t been able to figure him out. It is not tough for me to do so. Men are predictable like that. Not him. All this one wants is his one Gin and Tonic for the night and I don’t know how many glasses of water. So much so that Mrs. Gomes has asked me to put a couple of bottles of water next to him. Which I promptly did. I wasn’t going to miss any excuses to linger around him. Basant would laugh at me all the time. As per her, these were all juvenile attempts at getting attention from a man almost twice my age. Fuck with what Basant thought. I liked Chintan and I’d like to be around him as much as I can. Even if he’s lost in his papers all the time. He does need a refill of his water bottle. He does walk across the courtyard to use the loo.


Ok, that was tough. Hope tomorrow’s paragraph is easier to write.

So that. Phew.

While writing, I realized that I such with could and can and had and has and so and so forth. Must study grammar.

I also realized that I love it when I am writing or editing. I am not sure if that could be a vocation – I am not the best, to be honest. I recently started working on an idea that is making me talk to young content writers and I am amazed at their ability to craft words into narratives that you don’t want to stop reading! It is humbling and it is inspiring. I mean there is this kid from Calcutta and if you read what she writes, you would want to adopt her! Ok, I am probably being patronizing here and drifting away from the agenda. Lemme make a final point before I move on. If you are talented and you know it, it’s criminal that you do not work hard to hone your skills and sharpen your craft and deliver things that spread joy. It is your moral obligation to work on it. May be I need to double-down on writing? I mean writing does give me joy but I know that I suck at getting an audience that is willing to pay. #tnks hardly sold any copies. SoG had to be discontinued for lack of response. The blog I’ve been writing for 16 years now hardly gets any readers. I have easily given in more than 10000 hours of focussed attention to the craft of writing and yet I am far from seeing commercial sustainability from what I do. If I had infinite time, I would probably belt out a Shakespeare. But time’s something I don’t have. I am almost dead in the world full of bright, energetic, action-oriented 20-year olds.

See that’s the point.

Our lives are so short that you spend decades learning a discipline and when you know enough to start contributing, you are half-dead. And for people like me that want to do multiple things, one lifetime is not enough. It plain sucks that we can’t stop time. We are all sitting atop a ticking time bomb that will go off someday. And to make matters worse, we don’t know when this bomb will go off. There is no timer. For most, it goes off unannounced. Poor souls.

For some lucky ones, the bomb gives you a warning and often gives you time to get your affairs in order. You can say your goodbyes, lament the potential you were sitting on, think about the time you could’ve used better to do more things to make life better and easy for others. When I go, I really really want to have a warning. In fact, I am thinking I will put affairs in order by Jan 1, 2026 and disappear. For the ones that care for me (if there are any left by then), I’d be gone. I’d give them closure. I’d not appear again. And then treat each minute here as a bonus.

Sounds like a cool idea. I already have a will, in case the bomb goes off without a warning. But if I can disappear by 2026, I would be 44-45 or something and I would have some useful years left and that would be a great place to do it. May be I will walk into the woods?

And with this, over and out. See you guys on the other side.


PS: Just realized, I spend more than 10 hours a day on my phone. I need to stop with that. May be that’s one of the reasons that I am perpetually short of time? Today on, I will try to stay away from it. Let’s see how the experiment goes. And, expect a delay in replies.

PPS: I think this is what morning pages ought to be. Reflection, ideas, thoughts. I need to talk to myself about things that I am thinking about and allow those to crystallize. And then act on those. And talk about how those actions have helped. Let’s see.

291220 – Morning Pages

604 AM

I have had a sleepless night. After quite a while.

Why?

Well, multiple factors. Missed deadlines at work. Passion projects seemed to be going sideways. Personal life seems to be going off track. People clearly don’t like and I’ve built my life being a likable person and in general, being helpful and all. A friend turned client called me at 11 to complain about a colleague turned parter. A friend working on a startup seems to be struggling and I cant seem to help him at all. And there is a lot more!

I guess life happened!

And so much more.

Like I tweeted yesterday, what a day!

It was so bad that I ended up loading on carbs like a mad man. All the lo-carb thingy that I was on since the last few days have gone for a toss. I would love to talk about what happened and why it happened and how it happened and if I was at fault. But writing about it and ranting about it would not help. I actually don’t know what would help. I guess this too shall pass. #note2self – write about these on #sgEchoChamber.

So, anyhow.

There were some silver linings as well. I have a few interns from SP Jain working with me to market the Marketing Connect Podcast and I had a session with them where I gave them gyaan. I realized yet again that I love talking to young people. Need to scale it somehow.

Plus, I was working out from Clay and towards the evening, I took time to see the sun go down at the Anjuna beach. It was mesmerizing. Doing nothing and watching the sun hide behind the waves. And since it was less crowded than the Baga where I normally hang out at, it was lovely. I must make it a practice to see it go down every day. There was this colleague at a point in time – Guru. He worked out of Goa and he would insist that we need to go watch it. Yesterday I saw that he meant. It was his birthday a few days ago and I must drop him a line, wishing him and thanking him for the tip. But then, he thought I was a nutcase and he may or may not read my email. Heck, his email address that I have may no longer be valid.

Anyhow, here are some pics for you to enjoy. I am proud of how these have come out. One of these has been edited.

I think I have the talent for photography and I must pursue it. What do you think?

Damn I wish I had more lives!

Apart from this, I am not sure I can write a lot, to be honest. The head is still reeling from all the fuckery that happened yesterday. Of course, I am to blame for all of it. I need to mend my ways. If nothing else, I need to become so unbreakable that even though things so sideways, I need to not get riled up and eat like a man coming out of famine. I have to be stronger. Lol, self-talk!

It’s still 630. And less than the requisite 30 minutes of writing. Lemme carry on.

Oh yeah. One of my old employers and the man who taught me most of what I know called me after ages. He wanted some tiny help. Did that for him. I realised that I would do whatever it takes for his approval. In fact I am realising that if you dont take people from your past into your future, it is not the greatest feeling. While the novelty of a new relationship is exciting, the ease of doing things with the old is something that makes work happen faster!

Talking of fast, life in Goa is making me realize the importance of fast, high-speed internet. There are a million things that you take for granted when you are in the commercial capital of the world. Fast internet is one of those. The entire last night when I was rolling around in the bed, I realized that I couldn’t even distract myself by watching a mindless film because I did not have internet. I couldn’t work because a simple Keyword Planner tool on Google would not open up. This piece is being typed on my blog that is using an internet connection of my mobile phone that is hanging at the edge of the building I live at and I am perched up so that I could be in the range.

I can talk about slowness if I have to but I think I am not the one designed for it. I understand the concept philosophically but I don’t believe in it. Yes, there are things that need slowness to happen. But then that’s that. We can NOT extrapolate those things to everything else, like a lot of people do. Life has to be in the fast lane. I mean it is very very unpredictable. And is random at best. You are like a blip on the radar and you may just go poof randomly. I’ve lost someone important this year. And I know at least two friends that have lost a parent. I lost a classmate from MDI. She was my age. No, I did not know her at all. Even at MDI, I would have spoken to her probably once in all of two times and never ever since. But when I heard about her, I was zapped.

To be honest, I have nothing against the concept of death. I even believe in it. The problem is in the suddenness, the unpredictability, the waste of an opportunity that people and talent have when they die. I mean we lost Rahat Saab this year. Imagine the words he would write, the fires he would ignite in our minds, the impact he would have had if he were around!

I mean we could have an earthquake and all this planning of the future that never seems to be arriving could be rendered meaningless! If there is one thing that I am learning from the day yesterday, it is that life is fucking short. And slowness has no place in it.

You ought to act.

Now.

There’s no time like now. No place like here.

Err on the side of action.

Ready. Fire. Aim.

Steve Jobs has famously said, “your time is limited”. It is my screensaver.

The wallpaper on my phone is Memento Mori. It is the memento that I carry along. Must get one real-life, physical one.

Do not wait for perfection. This is a lesson that a 73-year old man once gave me. And trust me, this man HAS seen the world!

Do so much, so often that the trail you blaze leaves others in awe and makes them inspired to do more in life!

With that motivational pep-talk to self, I hope I would get over the fuck-all-ness of the day yesterday. Time to get going and act.

Over and out!