300121 – Morning Pages

I talk about some large decision I am hoping to make with life and all in the next few days. Long rant. Read at peril.

7:02

I’ve been up for a bit. Have a lot on my mind. Have a lot to do as well. Lemme start writing and see where we go.

So, yesterday was big. I took another debt. To make ends meet. To pay a handful of young people that work with me. To keep the lights on at those projects that I hope someday would become large beacons of great work. And on the other side, one of those projects is putting three startups in front of an investor, for a shot at investments. Ironical? Nah. By design? Nah. Poetic? Yes, I guess.

I mean here I am. Taking a loan to run those pieces and using those as vehicles to make others rich, famous, and better known. All in hopes that someday they would be big enough that they would start paying me back. You know, delayed gratification. The Marshmallow Experiment. Hoping to let go of the fun and comfort and joy of today. To hopefully enjoy it tomorrow. What if there’s no tomorrow? Damn!

Anyhow. So the large decision is that if I am forced to take another loan at the end of Feb, I would give up on this staying independent thingy and warp up everything that I am personally working on and take the first Naukri that comes my way, even if it pays me shit. As a vocal advocate of self-employment and not letting someone else command your time, I will bite the dist and stop advocating independence. I will stop virtue signaling. I will relook at the way I live life and the pseudo-krantikaari thoughts that I have. I poker parlance, I’d fold.

Talking of kranti, I am a tad more well-read about the farmer’s protest now. I spend a large part of yesterday reading about it. Of course, I read opinion pieces and perspectives of people from both sides – farmers and government. And I am now leaning towards the farmers. No, I am not saying that the new farm laws need to be repelled (I am still reading about those laws) but I have come to a conclusion that the way the government is handling the issue? That is not right.

I saw this video where Yogendra Yadav is literally in tears as he talks about how the movement was derailed. And I sympathize with him. He and other farmer leaders have called for a one-day fast and I support them. In solidarity, I will keep a fast as well.

Of course, this is a symbolic gesture and amounts to nothing. Armchair activism. Tokenism. But that’s the least I can do. And since I had this huge-ass Vegetarian Thali at 11:30 last night, I will fast both today and tomorrow. Penance. For my unawareness of the issue. Let’s see if I hold up.

I also saw this video yesterday, thanks to Parijat. The comedian, Punit Punia talks about how the middle-class is anything but that. There’s a part of about 30 seconds that leaves you dumb-founded and sucks the air out of your gut. Do see it. It’s just sickening the way we are.

Here it is. Do NOT miss it. Please. Lemme know how you feel after you’ve seen it.

I also had this longish chat with SG2 yesterday about life and all that. She asked me if I’ve seen my confidence go down in the last 2 or so years. I had to think hard and I don’t know the answer. I feel as if my confidence levels have remained the same but my self-image has probably taken a dent. Lemme explain (this is exactly how I explained to her :D).

So even though I am staring down a barrel, I am fairly confident that I will get acche din at some point in time in life. You know, this too shall pass. This means I will have all that I seek – impact, wealth, access, etc. At some point. SG2 dismissed this as optimism. I think this is confidence in my abilities to get things done and open doors and create opportunities etc. She doesn’t agree.

However, I know that I am no longer confident about myself. You know, self-image. That I think has taken a hit. A large one. Like this…

BOOM!

What do I mean by this? Simple.

I feel know that I have spent 40 years here and I have yet to do anything that will make people take a note. Fuck people. I’d not take a note of what I’ve done. If I walked upto myself and talked about all that I’ve done, I’d shoo myself away. Like you ignore those unwanted creatures that sort of hold you from doing things that you want to be doing.

I need validation. From myself. From sgMS (am surprised that I thought of her, more on this later). From the world. In terms that they understand (thanks SG2 for helping me articulate). Here are the terms for the three cohorts that I spoke about…

  • The world believes that you are great if you have a fancy house, luxury car, 2 kids, and a 7-figure salary. If you have some awards and accolades, the world gives you more credit, more validation, more respect.
  • sgMS evaluated the worth of a person from some internal metric that I have not been able to figure to date.
  • For me, I’d be happy if I see the impact of my work (it’s zilch right now) and the doors that my work, my brand, my reputation opens for me. Right now, them doors shut on my face!

I have none of these three right now. The most important is validation from self (the kinds that helps you with your self-image). And I lack that. In its absence, I could rely on signals that I could project at others about me having arrived. Even that is missing. I know so many people that are crappy, average Joes (and Janes) that are able to get by purely because they have fat salaries, lofty designations, and all those things that the world uses to validate your existence.

Lemme get back to sgMS. So she and I were sort of together long long ago. We’ve since then drifted and are great friends. She is still the keeper of my moral compass. If I need to make a decision that would border on ethics and all that, I would go to either Vanita, Hemant, or her. She continues to be that important.

I think my self-images issues go back to sgMS. Really. I have never admitted this ever in my life. But she was one of those hyper-critical people with super-strong perspectives and opinions and misguided views on people, things, heroes, and all that. At the time, I was blind in love and did not realize but now that I can think a tad better, I know that being with her sort of dented the way I thought about things. Of course, all the ambition I have was probably fuelled by spending time with her. If not for her, I would be more content. I got the push to do more because she saw that I was capable and she was like Terence Fletcher (of Whiplash fame) and she would not settle for anything ordinary.

I can trackback even more and go to a time when I was growing up in a lower-middle-class part of Delhi. Because the ‘nurture’ I was getting was sort of ‘limiting’, I think I was programmed to believe that the good things are not for me. See the Punit Pania clip above. When I had to go to a 5-star hotel for the first time by myself (I think in 2007 and I was 25) for an interview, I had to prepare myself mentally and I had to check if people like me were even allowed in there! May be this dented my self-image issues.

Ok, I digressed a lot. Good thing is that no one is reading. The point anyhow was that I think my self-image has taken a hit. And I need to find a way out.

The last thing I was to put on paper, in continuation with this topic is the thing about being eccentric and a fool. For some reason, in my head, I attribute this to SRK, though I can’t find the source.

So, he says if you have perspectives, ideas, thoughts, and actions that are counter-intuitive to people, are opposite to commonly held beliefs, people would take note.

And if you are poor, you are insignificant, you haven’t “achieved” anything, they would call you a fool for your ideas. Even, a mad man. An outcast. An anomaly. However, if you are “successful”, rich et al, they would call you eccentric!

The road from a fool to an eccentric needs you to have a fancy Rolls Tesla to drive on top of. Till you get one, stay shut. #note2self, Mr. Garg. If you want to tweet like Elon and impact the BTC price just by changing your bio, you need to be Elon in the first place. Or you can keep changing bio for the rest of your life and probably get banned from twitter.

Chalo. Over and out.

Oh, no time for freewriting today. Missed it the second time in recent days. Must not do it tomorrow. Or may be I will only write #book2 on the morning pages? Let’s see.

110121 – Morning Pages

I write about how I spent my Sunday and all that I thought about. Mostly inane updates yet again. You may want to skip reading.

7:30.

Up for about 10 mins now. The idea was to wake up at 5 today. And I had slept early last night (around 11) and I had turned off my phone while I did that. But I think I still had a fitful sleep. Jetha was right. I think I am missing sleeping next to someone. Is this what they mean when they say you’d feel the need when you are older?

Maybe.

So on with the morning pages. Quite a few things happened yesterday. Lemme use bullets.

A. I ordered a new laptop for myself, the MacBook Air with the M1 chip. Annkur and Shravan have been raving about it since it launched. I was anyway up for an upgrade for almost a year. So I did. I will get it towards the end of the month though – In Goa, you can’t just go and pick a thing off the shelf you know.

B. I published my 2021 goals. I am not happy with how the list has come out. But the list is here nonetheless. It is here. Lemme know what you guys think.

I do need to write a longish post on this (how and why and what etc). Lol. Meta content. Post about post.

C. Bumped into someone that I used to work with some 6 years ago. He did not know my name. I knew his. Walked up to him and chatted. This is unlike me where I would hide from people from the past. So that’s new. It took an effort to get over the awkwardness. But I did.

D. Dr. Malpani gave a go-ahead to our Spotlight Pitch event. We need to ensure that it goes well. More about it is here. Even though we won’t make money with it, the pitch event is important to me because it checks multiple boxes in terms of where I want to be – impact, helping others, venture capitalism, people connection, etc. Plus, both AD and I will try to build this property in public. This means that we would share everything on various blog posts as we build this. Keep watching this space for more.

E. I may get to meet Karl today. The bugger is here, on a bicycle. I mean WTF. People do bikes, cars. The dude is here on a bicycle. Insane. I have been inspired by him since the first day I met him. I see shades of Raj Kurup in him. Really.

F. Oh, the other thing am doing starting today, is using tags for each person that I talk about in these morning pages. This will help me catalog thoughts and ideas as we go forth.

Of course, I am aware of how privacy is important to people and I would thus not use tags for conversations that are not supposed to be in public domains. My rule of thumb is if I am unsure if they’d like their name out there in public, I will not put their name out. What do you think? Would you be ok with your name on my blog? And fuck, I have way too many names for one day!

G. I told Nicky (of the NickyM’s Kitchen) that I could host a writing workshop for him on one of his lean days (to get some traffic going). And that workshop could be the beginning of NickyM sessions where he could do multiple sessions that allow people to come together. These could be dance, wine-tasting, stand-up, etc.

The thing is, while this will help him, it was a big decision for me. Apart from NFG, I have remained at the backend. With this (and with Spotlight Pitch Event), this year I am taking baby steps of coming on camera. Let’s see how it goes.

H. Finally, the bruhaha over the new Whatsapp privacy policy has reached a peak. I now have to maintain three apps – WA, Telegram, and Signal. I mean really! And why three apps? Cos people I want to stay in touch with are moving. V is on Signal. AG is on Telegram (though she has not told me that she’d stay back on not).

So that.

That’s some recap.

No, this was not the idea of morning pages. But it’s ok. Oh… I forgot to mention that I finally finished watching Coolie No 1 last night. And I enjoyed it. The story, the acting, the direction, the music was nothing that you’d expect from a Bollywood film but I enjoyed it. I also realized why Rohit Shetty is the king of contemporary entertainment, the way David Dhawan would have been in the yesteryears. I remember someone once said that since Govinda was getting old, David Dhawan created another one in his son, Varun Dhawan.

Makes me realize that I HAVE to become a filmmaker. The idea’s been brewing in my head for a few weeks and I need to act on it. I just can’t seem to find an affordable DOP that I could partner with. Damn. I really want to start working on a project. It could be a music video. Or it could be a short-film. Or whatever. I don’t have the budgets to hire a fancy crew, heck no budget for even a non-fancy crew for that matter! But I want to do it. Let’s see how I go about it.

The last thing before I get to the freewriting part for book2 is the thing that since I’ve come here, I have become tardy with things that allowed me to manage the madness in life – Roam, Twitter, notes, etc. If I look at my notes from the last few weeks, they are not as comprehensive as they were before I came to Goa. My activity on Twitter has reduced considerably. I have not made a post on Linkedin in a while. Yes, I have not missed these morning pages since I started a month ago (the first was on 11th Dec 20). But overall, things that made me social have reduced considerably. I need to get back to those. Maybe carve out a specific time? Let’s see.

Chalo. On to #freewriting for Book2.

The thing with sitting on the barstool for so long is that it fucks with your back. Especially when you are 42. And you’ve merely sat on your butt all your life and have had limited movement. It’s not even a couple of weeks since he came in, but Chintan could feel the effect. Each night as he tried to sleep, the pain in his back would shoot up to his head and he would wince.

As he tried to scribble a character that he was thinking on, he made a mental note that he had to find a solution to this. He could choose to not go sit at the bar and perch up on the tiny stool to write. But he liked the ambiance there and the view from the vantage point. He had a direct line of sight to the entrance and he liked to observe people that came into the Caravan Serai. Each character to him was fodder for this book.

At the lean times, he could chat with Mrs. Gomes, the septarian owner-manager that was still lithe, sharp, and active like a 20-year old. Chintan guessed that people in Goa don’t age as bad as they do in other parts of the country. Probably it’s the clean air and better food they were eating. He had developed an easy rapport with her, Chintan had the knack for it.

He had also noticed Udita, the head-bartender giving him undue attention a lot of times. Back in Delhi, he wouldn’t have ignored her. But right now, this was the last thing he wanted. He was coming on the back of a messy divorce and while he’s always loved the attention from the fairer gender, he was not in the state for the time being. He had to get his novel out of the way in the next three months. He had a point to prove. To his wife. Now, ex-wife. Chintan had a hard time moving on. He did not know that his love for her ran so deep that even after a considerably public split, he would want to be back with her. Mrs. Gomes rightly said that the matters of the heart are the most fucked up. You think you know it all but you don’t know shit and all rationality gets tossed out in the sea with a stone chained to the feet.

Chintan couldn’t stop laughing when he first heard Mrs. Gomes lament about love. From what he had gathered, she was never married and yet she had the deepest insights and the funniest anecdotes to bring those insights out. The woman would have been something when she was younger. He had decided that instant that he would write a character inspired by her.

Of course, he was far from it. He was in love with the notion of writing a book. The book was never going to happen. He had no clue that life was going to hit him on his face with a jackhammer with-in the next hour.

***

Gosh, that was hard! But glad I wrote some. That’s it for the day. With that, it’s over and out! Hope you have a good one.

And it’s almost 9.

90 minutes.

#ftw!