180421 – Meditations

A quick rant and a longish attempt at writing a script. Nothing special for you to look at.

07:19. I am really struggling to keep my head sane with this lockdown. I have become unproductive, I don’t have the inspiration to push myself. I do start the day with a lot of enthusiasm but within minutes, I am left dead with literally no energy to even start the process of starting. While the lockdown is not affecting me directly (I can move around in my tiny house whenever I want to), it is devoiding me of human connection. You know those thought experiments when they ask you if you would be trapped on an island, who would you want alongside? That. I think I will never want to be trapped like that. I would rather live near the busiest street. Here’s the thing. Even when I am with people, I don’t talk a lot. Most of my conversations are superficial. I am fast with my judgments, faster with my approval or dismissals. I don’t do parties. I often avoid traveling even if that means I get to meet the people that I want to be with. But all those things are optional. If I wanted to, I could. It was my choice to not go to Ghatkopar each time people met. It was my decision to not attend a wedding at Kolkatta. I was in control. Here I am. I can’t even step out of my house. I cant see others. What I miss the most is the energy I would get from others around me at a Starbucks where they would be hard at work to make their dreams come true. I am inspired by the ambition of others and the relentless pursuit that they are engaged in. Trapped on my writing table with a 13″ screen, diagonally, of a laptop, I am stuck. I have at least 13 more days to go before the lockdown is lifted. Each of these days is going to get tougher than the previous. You know, misery will compound. But may be with time, I will learn to live in a cocoon? May be I will accept fate and kill that ambitious kid in me? May be I will start faking emotions and actions and other things to get approval from others on Instagram? Let’s see what becomes of me in the next few days. Here’s a tiny chart that probably does not showcase my misery but if there was a horrific chart, it would be this…

The most scary thing that I can ever see.

Anyhow. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 126
  • #aPicADay – 107
  • 10K steps a day –0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 39
  • #noCoke – 39
  • 10 mins of meditation – 4
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 3

Coming to the script am hoping to write.

While I am struggling to even find the next word, I will try and persist. Like always, I will try to write for an hour. It’s 7:38. Yet again, I don’t have a story per I do have an idea that struck me while I was writing the rant above. What if there a 38-year old underachiever was told that all he had was 13 days to live? How would he react? How would he live the rest of his days? What would he do? Lemme pound the keyboard and see what comes out.

Day 4

[START]

“Roshan, I have a bad news”, declared Dr. Khambata sombrely as he stepped into the examination room where Roshan was lying buck naked.

“What can be worse than totting around my nakedness in front of middle-aged men for I don’t know how many days now! Bring it on.” Roshan knew that something was terribly wrong with him. The local doctors at the tiny government hospital at the hamlet of Indapur were inadequate to figure out why would he get shooting pains up his spine that would end up in a headache so bad that he would pass out.

As a local jester, comedian, master of ceremonies, gym owner, trainer, and more rolled into one, he was quite popular in his town. He had to be. His family was the descendent of the munims of Maloje Bhosle, the grandfather of Shivaji. Between the cousins, literally half the town was related to him.

After a few weeks of inconclusive examination, he was asked to go see someone senior at Pune. Or if he really wanted a solution, to Mumbai. He settled on Pune’s KEM Hospital purely for the ease of logistics.

“I am serious Roshan. You have a rare disease that we havent the medical expertise to give you a solution to.”

“What do you mean?” He still did not understand that his life, or whatever was left of it was about to change.

There’s some fibrous growth in your brain. It’s some form of a cancer but we dont know what it is. And it is increasing everyday. To a point, we suspect, you have… less than 2 weeks.”

You’d imagine that such death sentences would be delivered with little more gravitas, a little more drama, a little more empathy. But when you’ve worked all your life with patients that are terminally ill and the families that are eternally hopeful, you learn how to abstract emotions and facts.

[END]

Additional text that I will probably use somewhere…

  • Roshan’s father died when Roshan was all of 5 and he was raised by his mother.
  • A middle-aged Parsi doctor, Dr. Peston Khambata was attending to Roshan. That was any way the thing with Parsis. You could never guess their ages.

Notes…

1/ I think I have stumbled onto an interesting plot. I feel I have heard / seen it elsewhere. Some names that come to mind are Anand and Sweet November. In both, the protagonists are sitting on a ticking bomb and they attempt to use the time they have to bring happiness to others. There’s another that I think I saw where a guy decides to rob a bank and leave all the money to his family so that they don’t feel the pinch after he was gone. Then there’s Lootera, an adaptation of The Last Leaf where leaves on a tree become the harbinger of death. I am sure there are more. Need to research.

My concept is similar in the sense that my character has a clock ticking, just that there would be a crime / psychology angle to it, rather than a relationship piece. I don’t understand relationships.

2/ I need to find a disease that gives you 13 days to live.

3/ I still write like I write a book. Need to change tracks and start writing like a script.

So, that’s it for the day. Over and out. See you guys tomorrow. Or maybe not. Let’s see.

130421 – Meditations

What started as a recap of the day got converted into a rant. Lol. Read at peril.

6:56. Andheri.

Slept for some 7 hours. And I feel I have overslept. Even though I had a looooong day with a million phone calls and a billion things to remember, I feel overslept. You know how you feel you should’ve woke up earlier? I don’t think I can do 8 hours of sleep. But 7 I think is doable. Must aim for that.

So, I did a 10K yesterday. Walked on Versova Beach. Among other things, a lot of people play cricket there. While I was passing by some of those, I tried to catch a ball or two. I tried to stop one from my feet. I even threw a ball towards someone.

I remember as a child, I was pretty nifty with all these. I may not have been a Jhonty Rhodes but I definitely was among the better ones with my reflexes and hands and feel. I could stretch myself like a rubber band and dive further than a swimmer to take impossible catches. I could outrun the balls racing towards long boundaries. I could then throw right on top of the wickets, if not hit the wickets. I rarely missed.

However, yesterday, I felt I was reduced to a pale memory of my former self. And it hurt, it pained to observe that something that I was good at, I am not longer even considered eligible for. Guess this is how oldies feel when they sort of retire. It’s the worst feeling in the world!

Picture a young man of 22 who’s take a bus to reach the large departmental store where he was a security guard for years. Just that after 40 years in the service, he no longer looks strong. His actions are slower. His reactions are labored. And he knows that there are murmurs of them trying to find a replacement. Replacement of a person that has literally given his entire life to an establishment! Old age. Sigh. I hate this.

Anyhow. The good part is that I did 15K steps. I was tired but I continued to talk. One of the main issues why I can’t do some sort of a work out (apart from my Hernia that is troubling me all over again – need to get operated finally) is the boredom that sets in after a while. I think the secret is that I need to schedule the calls that don’t need me on video or a computer for the time I walk. For example, yesterday, I had calls from 6 till 830 that did not require me to be on a video and I walked for the most part of it!

Earlier I would listen to podcasts but I think I need something more engaging. More involving. More proactive. You know, like a conversation. Agreed that there’s background noise but I think most people are ok to make that concession. The world is kind like that.

In other news, there are rumors of a lockdown from tomorrow in Mumbai at least. If that happens, I will probably not survive. I mean humans are like cockroaches. They’d find their way through even the nuclear war (remember Wall-E?). But I can not be closeted in a house. A small one at that. I need space. I need to move around. I need people. Even if I don’t talk to them. I am ok to not talk to them. But I need to observe. Make secret jokes to myself about how they are dressed, how they behave et al. But I need them. I need the fresh air that the “modern homes” in Mumbai are not capable of providing. I need to, need to have access to literally an open sky. Of course with an AC in that room. Lol.

Ok. I am digressing. The point is, I can’t survive a lockdown. I have to escape it somehow. Even if I get fined by the cops or get a whack on my butt, I need to be out and about! Fuck this pandemic. Fuck the stupidity of people. Fuck the majboori of the world that they are forced to risk their lives to make ends meet. Fuck our incompetent policymakers and politicians and others that could’ve done better. Fuck Saurabh Garg. For always being on the sidelines when the crisis hits and not taking any action. I had more than one year to get active, learn more, foresee the crisis, and plan for the contingency.

Deep breath, Mr. Garg. You are ranting. The point is not to get angry. The point is to find an alternative to what is coming my way. May be I will borrow VG’s car and hit the road without a destination in mind. I will probably end up driving to Goa but still. If the North East was not that far, I would probably drive all the way there. Let’s see what the government declares tomorrow. Once that happens, I will decide.

So, It’s 8:14 and I have a call at 9 AM. So I have about 45 mins to write for #book2. Let’s see what I create. I am going to write about something that I have not written so far. I mean I may have written on one of the previous passes over the years but I will stay away from usual suspects (Rujuta, Raunak, Mrs. Gomes, Udita, Chintan, etc). Here we go.

[START]

“How much is enough?”

“More than what the world has to offer.” Despite what he did or what he was infamous for, he was a very well-read person at the end of the day. His repertoire included texts not just from Hinduism and Christianity but also from western philosophers, obscure thinkers, scientists, and statesmen. And he knew he was intelligent and knew all of that. And that coupled with his false sense of insecurity is what made him a highly functional sociopathic. And he knew this as well. And he used it to his advantage. Every time he had to do something that even he would not agree with, he would use the excuse of his sociopathic traits to get justify his actions. Like this time.

“How can one man have all of it already? And still want more?” His father asked.

“That’s the point. I know I am here for a limited time. Maybe another 30 years if I don’t get killed by all the vodka that I love. And I need to be sure that when I die, the world stops moving. If I cant enjoy all that the world has to offer, why should anyone else get an opportunity?” He was bereft of any emotion when he spoke that. As if it’s a universal truth that most pundits would agree upon.

His father was exasperated. There was no point in breaking his head over the stubbornness of his son. “This is not how it works. You are far intelligent than that…”

He cut his father midway and retorted, “That’s your problem, father. You never thought I was good enough to carry the fabled heritage of the Pauls. There was always someone else that had your affection.”

He took a pause. Poured himself some vodka and gulped it at once.

Even though his father was strict about not getting any alcohol in their house, the younger Paul was insolent.

“You think so?”

Ankit smacked his lips and said, “I don’t think so. I know. I am not dumb. You know it. I know it. There was always someone else that you held in higher regard. Ever since I was a child, you have ruled with an iron fist. I was punished for no reason. I was pushed against the wall all time. Why did you not just kill me right away when I was born? Why put me through all this suffering?”

He put his mouth to the bottle of Belvedere that he was carrying and took a big drag. This was not his choice of vodka, he had finer taste but this is what was available at the shop en route his ancestral home.

The father could respond to each accusation that was being hurled at him but he knew better. “Son…”

“I don’t want your fake sympathy. Give that to all of your proteges that you thought were better than me. I’ve come here to ask for the Green Book.” He dropped the bomb.

The Green Book was more treasured, holy, and inaccessible than the innermost Sanctorum of the most revered shrine in the world. It has been passed down their family for countless generations. Apart from the father and son, no one even knew that the book of life existed.

The father was not surprised at the demand. He knew that this day would come. Just that he did not expect it to come this soon, on the 30th birthday of the son. But then, the book did have hints of a big upheaval around the same time.

“What would you do with it? You know far more than what one book can teach you. And you have seen it. There’s nothing in there that you do not know about.”

“Again! I am not dumb, father. I know that that book is as worthless as toilet paper. But that book father is also when a Paul boy becomes a man. That book father is when a Paul passes on his reins to his son. That book father is what a Paul is born to inherit. It belongs to me and I am here to lay a claim to it before you betray the family and give it to someone outside. I will not let the Paul’s name go to ruin.”

It was ironic that the two of them were talking about the legacy of their family and both seemed to on the opposite ends of a river. Neither realized that they were at the opposite ends of a candle that’s burning from both sides. A far urgent, far ferocious inevitability. While the son could not see this, the father could see the writing on the wall. He had tried to delay this as much as he could. But the time seemed to have come. The book is never wrong.

He submitted.

“What you are doing right now is taking us closer to ruin than anything else has ever. The family has survived fires, floods, famines, false promises, and far more. You have read about it. I taught you myself.” He lowered his voice. “You were my brightest student, Son, but the book, the Pauls, you and me, this is where our story comes to an end.”

With a quick motion that surprised even himself, he flung the book into the fireplace.

[END] 8:57! Yay!

Anyhow. So, here’s the streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 121
  • #aPicADay – 102
  • 10K steps a day –1
  • OMAD – 1
  • #noCoffee – 34
  • #noCoke – 34
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0

060321 – Morning Pages

Update on new projects, personal board, irrational attempts at finding peace in religion, chase of fame and more. Read on.

4:42 AM. Yeah. That early. I just woke up. Eyes are still groggy. I am yet to even wash my face. I slept early last night. Actually not slept. I forced myself to sleep. There’s a lot on my head but I am not sure I want to write about it here. I know I promised to live in public but there are a few things that I am still not ready to share with the world. There are other things that I can talk about. Let’s go!

So I have decided that am going to be in Mumbai for the next three months. At least. So the Goa experiment is done for the time being. Unless I can do things from here. Not sure if that’s meaningful. Or may be I will travel there on this weekends as I stabilize things. Let’s see. For the time being, I need to get some stability in life in terms of money (not career) and that may not happen when I am in Goa. So, Mumbai.

At a new project level, I have started to work two things. I’ve been working on these for a while now but made a promise in my head over the last few days about these and then actioned baby steps on these.

  • A, An anthology film project. If there’s anyone that wants to contribute, happy to share more details. I will need to hustle like mad to get it going. Let’s see what I do. I am giving myself this year for it.
  • B, The Investor Thesis Podcast where I plan to record with investors and see what they’re up to.

More on both these in next few days.

In other news, went to one of the marquee address in Mumbai yesterday for a meeting. I was bowled over by the lavishness. This is exactly the kind of place i had hoped I would get to live in life. May be this is life’s way of showing me that acche din are around the corner? #lifeGoal

After the meeting, I walked around for a bit yesterday. And it felt good. Even though the chappal I walk in is broken and all that, I walked and it felt really nice. Now that I have decided to be here, may be I will add at least the commitment to walk in the list of things that I do? In Goa, to be honest, I didn’t really walk. Even to pick up water, I would take a scooty.

Oh, yesterday, I was so fucked in the head (about the thing that I refused to talk right at the beginning that I needed to let the steam). And there was no way to do so. I mean there’s no one who understands me or who I can talk to about. So I walked around. And took a step in the direction of being irrationally religious. It sucks. I can see myself falling down the rabbit hole and I don’t know how to stop it. I know that the concept of God and religion and a higher power is flawed and for the weaklings. But when I walked, I moved in the direction of Siddhi Vinayak. I have scoffed at religion and temples and all that all my life but for some reason, I felt compelled to walk there. I even looked up direction on maps. All this while I did not want to go there. And yet I continued to walk there. And then I reached. No, I did not go outside. No, I didn’t feel anything special. No, I was not elated. But I did walk till there. But I walked till there and then took a cab home. And I did. I think this is how people become superstitious. Weak moments make men do funny things. Let’s see if I do this again.

Yesterday, I took Krishna’s advice where he said that every time I spend any discretionary money, I must save an equivalent amount. I started already with it. Let’s see if I can continue with it.

Oh, I connected a mouse to this computer and wow, I love it! Lol.

Ok, each passing day I realize that I need to get famous. No one appreciates what you do and what your ideas amount to. But if you are famous, even your discarded napkins are useful. I know that I am not inherently talented and I thus need to work hard. And that means I need to up my creation and distribution game by multiple notches. Yeah yeah, easy thing is to work on #book2. But then I am sort of unable to even start it! Maybe just like today, I will wake up at this ungodly hour and I will dedicate these few hours to book2? But what about the time I need to deliver on three jobs that am juggling at the same time? Arrgghhh, damn these questions. Life would be far simpler if I had a rich father, rich girlfriend, or a cushy corporate naukri where I would push papers and live easier. I don’t praise myself a lot and I am not trying to compare myself to others but I think the way I have been able to cope with disappointments one after other, I am good! Lol! Vain, Mr. Garg, fucking seeking validation all the fucking time!

I also spoke to VK about random things yesterday. With her, I have actioned that idea where I want to make my personal board a little more active. She has consented to be the first member. Yay! I will add more people over the next few days. I am hoping to have about 10 people there. Each has to be honest, upfront, invested in my success, and must want to help me reach greatness. Let’s see how it goes.

So, this is about for the day. Need to get moving with work. Quite a few things on my plate. Over and out.

180121 – Morning Pages

A rant-ful post about inane things. You may want to skip reading this one.

6:27.

I’ve been up for a bit. I slept at around 10 last night. And thanks to all the movement in the house next to mine, I had a fitful sleep. Did I tell you that the walls are wafer-thin here? But I think I feel as rested as I ever could be. There is some soreness in the ankles, claves, and legs – that I think I can blame on all the walking I did yesterday. I will come to it in a bit.

So, I have to say that I’ve not been myself for the last few days. I think more than anything else, the financial insecurity is eating me alive. Lol. Hyperbole. But yes I am worried about money. I mean I know that in the long run, I will be ok (wait, when exactly is this long-run? I am almost 40 and I have been in this hand-to-mouth state since I was 25). Anyhow, I need to pay salaries in about 10 days and rent in about 15 and I am not sure where would I get that money from. I did not want to take more debt this year and I don’t seem to be finding enough work. In fact, more than just worrying, it’s also making me into a person that I am not. I am avoiding people. And the ones that I do end up talking to, I am being curt with them. I am faking my emotions a lot more (even though I want to have coherence in my thoughts and actions). I am unable to express my true emotions and I am merely going with the flow. I like being in control (even if it’s a fake sense of control) and without the confidence that money gives me, I seem to be losing this ability.

The worse part is no one around me understands what I am going thru. They don’t have to, to be honest. They have enough shit in their lives. I am not their priority. This is one of those rare times when I wish I had someone to understand me, be my side, and tell me all will be ok. Maybe that’s why this rant on the blog? Am I trying to make this inanimate object, a bunch of pixels on the internet my companion? I think times like these and situations like these make people start believing in God and other cults? Maybe this is that weak point that everyone talks about that comes often in lives?

But then, I know, this too shall pass!

Ok. Hoping it will pass. Moving on.

So yesterday was like any other day. Did some work, slacked some, and then vegetated some. Vegetated as in, merely existed and did not do anything leaves a mark. Did not even talk to the two people I call friends in Goa. I know that I just have 1810 days left before I need to show results on my lofty goals and while the impending deadline inspires me, I am also fucked in the head because of my inability to move the needle. I am not sure what is stopping me. I think I have everything needed to whoop some mad ass and make an impact and get rich in the process. I am no longer lazy (I was till maybe 2017). I work harder, longer, and smarter than most people I know. Of course, I am smart. I have no clue what is that thing missing in my life.

Wait. Could it be the focus? I mean I’ve always been that person that does multiple things. May be this meandering at multiple places has got me to a place where I have some interesting things under my belt. And maybe to scale from hereon, I need to focus on one thing?

Will think on this during the day and report.

Anyhow. The good thing that happened yesterday was that I walked 20K steps. The plan was to do that on the trot but I took two breaks. Which is ok. I at least walked. From Baga to Fort Aguada and then back. I spend some 30 minutes at the Fort seeing the sun go down and see the day merge with the night. Absolutely loved the time I spent there. Clicked some great (I hope so) pics. Realized my limitations as a photographer. Wish I could be better at it.

Here are a couple of photos for you to gawk at…

I loved the spot so much that I can see myself going there often to catch the sunset. It’s kind of far from where I live (and once I take a house, where I intend to live) I think if I were not a loner, I think this trip to Goa has made me one. Am absolutely ok in my own company now.

Oh, the other crazy thing that happened last night when I was trying to get sleep was a deeper understanding of A R Rahman’s music. Because the internet was not working, I put on ARR’s Sufi set that is saved on my phone. The set has tracks not just from ARR but others that have adopted the Sufi way of life. And for probably the first time, I could relate to their music, the higher purpose, the bhakti, the effort they put in, and the connection they must feel to that nameless faceless thing that people call God, Universe, higher power, energy, whatever. I could feel how the music for them is not about entertainment. Or about practice. Or money. Or validation. But about respect. A tool they use when they want to feel closer to their creator. The trance they get in when they are one with their creator.

No, I have never felt such a connection with anyone or anything but I could clearly picture them living a life where they are in a complete submission to the almightly. I have to know more. Maybe I will chat with Sowmya one of these days. Maybe when I go back to Mumbai to wrap things.

That’s about it I guess. I have a long day today with quite a few things to work on. And a few IRL meetings to squeeze in. I plan to work from Felix for a large part of the day. Let’s see if their Internet holds up today. I have to find a solution to this Internet thingy if I have to be in Goa. It’s been acting weird since Friday.

Chalo over and out. Hope you guys have a great day. Onto #freewriting for #book2. It’s 7:27 and the battery is 6%. Will write till the battery is 1%.

The only complaint that Mrs. Gomes had with tourists that came into Goa is that they did not respect the local traditions. Especially from North India. The ones from the South were a lot more respectful. They probably understood the way of life in smaller communities. But they were far filthier than the ones from the North. It was like choosing a lesser evil and she would take filth over disrespect. So when Chintan first walked into Caravan Serai, Mrs. Gomes looked at him with the default disdain that she had reserved with middle-aged men from north India that wore linen shirts to hide their beer bellies that were bloated all the more with all the butter chicken they had probably eaten.

Chintan looked no different. He would have been smart in his younger days. He was atleast 40 and he still had a head that was full of hair. His hair was better than what most Indian men had and he had a hairband on to pull em back. He carried a leather man-purse that he plopped loudly on the bar counter. The bar was a curious choice. The entire place was empty and most people chose bars as the last option ever. Chintan clearly was unlike most. He pulled a bar stool with his leg and while trying to settle down on it, he got busy pulling out his paraphernalia from the bag that had seen a few years. Without looking up, he continued to fiddle with his things and said to no one in particular, “Could I have a glass of water? Cold, please? And a Gin and Tonic – whatever is your choice. And an ashtray please.”

These three lines told Mrs. Gomes that he was going to be an interesting person. He did not fuss about the brand of Gin or Tonic. He wanted his water cold. And he spoke with the authority of a man that knew how to command respect.

He had pulled a stack of loose sheets and was twirling a pencil in his fingers. He looked up to the bar with a questioning gaze at Mrs. Gomes. She took her sweet time to respond to him and said, “On its way. You new here in Goa?”

Mrs. Gomes had to know every patron that walked into Caravan Serai. Even though the place was now much bigger and much in demand, she still liked to run it her way. Basant and Udita often told her often to take it easy and cede control to one of those hospitality management companies that had sprung up. Mrs. Gomes clearly did not think that the two girls made sense. Each time they had this conversation, she would respond by telling them about the promise she made to her father and the legacy of her family, and then she would pace around with an apparent worry about who’s run the place once she was gone? She knew she wasn’t going away anytime soon. Even though she was 73, she was as lucid as she was when she was 23, could out-work Udita, some 50 years her junior, and keep a sharp eye on her staff of almost 30 people and all the patrons and guests that came and went throughout the day.

***

7:53. 1%. Gotta hit publish.

So that’s it for the day. See you guys tom.