220621 – Morning Pages

Quick post on how I spent yesterday and some highlights. And some lessons. And some thoughts.

6:42. I woke up a few minutes ago. I dint sleep well. I really think it’s all the coffee that I am having. I can choose not to have it. But the challenge is I can’t get things done from where I live. So that. Lol, I should, by now, either stop ranting about it or fix it. Each day I have the same old rant.

Anyhow. Good things about yesterday?

  1. I was tempted to have Diet Coke. And I did not. Thanks to Harshit and a couple of more people on Twitter.
  2. Oh, I am back on Twitter. Please do follow me on @saurabh.
  3. I found a cheaper supplier to get my iPhone’s screen fixed. All this while I was paying about 8K to get some screen. I’ve been able to negotiate it down to 5.5K. Let’s see if I can get it down a bit more. My sweet spot is 4K. I know I will get a crappy screen but the phone I use is like 3 years old and is broken and all that. I just need to get it to work for a few more months till I have saved enough to get a new one!
  4. Roam now has a desktop app for Mac! This means I will be able to take more notes! Yay!

Apart from these minor ones, here are a few things that I want to catalog for posterity.

A. I got myself an electric toothbrush yesterday. This one. I tried it and it was unlike other experiences I’ve had with brushing. It was a funny feeling to have something shaking the interiors of my mouth. It reminded me of all those dental treatments I’ve got done for myself. You know how they move that drill in your mouth? That. Let’s see how the experiment goes.

B. I was talking to someone to see if I can do some business writing for them. I sent them a link to this website where I write morning pages and all that. They looked at it and said that this is more like a personal blog and thus does not showcase my acumen as a business writer.

I agree. So, I need to work on the website to clearly highlight the kind of work I do. Make sections about my thought, about what I do (work), about projects (like SoG Book, SoG Grant, NFG), ideas, writing (for businesses, fiction, and films) and I don’t know all those things that I do.

So that’s an action item for me. #note2self

C. The next few days would be crazy mad. One of the book projects I am working on (where I have been commissioned to work on a book) has revived and there a million changes needed in it. It’s one of those projects that’s really challenging me at almost all levels – intellectual, creative, patience and more. Plus the story I am working on is very very inspiring. To a point that if I can build a life like the man I am helping write the story of, I would die a happy man.

D. Staying with writing, on a whim I decided that I want to help people write better. Actually, it was not a whim, per se. It was an outcome of the NFG session I recently took. I realized that the world would be far better if people could write better. At least in business communication. So I put this post out on Linkedin.

The thing is, all this work from home has made us Zoom monkeys and we are sending a million emails back and forth and often a lot is lost in transition. I want to offer some practical tips and inputs on what seems to work.

Of course, with things like writing, there is no universal shortcut or method. I can only help define a set of rules that could be useful. I am in the process of crafting content. Help me find out what all needs to be taught. As a business professional, what do you think you need help with when it comes to writing?

And no. Like other things, I will not charge individuals for this. I would rather have businesses run this. Let’s see where it goes.

E. I had some 2 KGs of rice yesterday. I mean I had rice for lunch. And I had rice for dinner. I love the damn grain so much that if I had my way, I would eat just that. But then, I know that it’s unhealthy as fuck and I need to stay away from it. But then dil to bachcha hai ji and all that. So I shall have more rice today. And for the next few days. Till I figure out what my next diet regimen is going to be. Or may till I decide if I want to spend the month of July in Delhi.

Let’s see.

I guess this is about it.
I know this is a short post but this is all I have on the top of my head for the time being.

Here’s the streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 191
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 103
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

030621 – The Thug Life

A quick short post on a day when I woke up late and did not have time to write for the stipulated 45 mins.

9:59 AM! I woke up 10 mins ago. This has to the late-est I’ve woke up in a long long time. And work starts at 10:30. So I don’t have a lot of time to write per se. But I do need to get some load off my head. You know, morning pages. So here we go. For 30 mins.

Let’s dive right in.

I finished the third episode of Mare of Easttown. I had planned to see 20 mins a day but I am clearly spending an hour on it. The third episode was a bit of a drag, to be honest. The first two, far better. But since I am seeing this from the perspective of learning about writing, I have a deeper appreciation of things they are doing in the show. So that’s cool.

Staying on writing, these days am trying to write #book2 with the help of this course on Coursera. I am still in the first week and that means there isn’t much that I’ve written apart from the logline and the story structure. In fact, I wrote about those publically here on the blog a few days ago.

Why I mention this today is because over the last two or three days I have been getting feedback from others enrolled in the course. Most of the feedback is from first-time writers (I think) and most of it has been very encouraging. To a point that I am enthused to write more! This simple input from strangers is making me go back and write more!

I think that’s the point of peer feedback. You feed off the energy of others. You get validation and you are pushed to do more. I am encouraged and it clearly works for me. And if it works for me, I am sure it works for others as well! Why dint I think of this earlier to get more things done?

Anyhow. Der aaye, durust aaye. Aa to gaye!

Also, must think of exploring more of this cohort-based training. Something that companies like On Deck are leveraging on and monetizing and delivering impact. This is EXACTLY what I want to do in life!

Lol. Kya kya karega, Garg Kumar!

Lemme pick the validation bit from the text above. This validation thing has been an important thread in my life. Especially in the romantic one. Ya ya. Too personal shite on a public blog. But that’s the point of living in public.

So, almost everyone I have been romantically involved with has had issues with my talent, achievement, and all that. No, not in the negative sense – they have been some amazing women. But in the fact that *each* of them believed that I was / am so talented and I can do so much more, and yet I am doing nothing. To a point that they start ridiculing me – without knowing that they ridicule me.

This has become such a recurring pattern that I dont know how to get out of it.

So that. More on it someday later. Time to get going and start the day. Miles to go and all that. Glad that I could get these 500 words in. Probably my shortest post ever. I can really get used to this thug life where you wake up aaram se, order your 300-bucks coffee and laze around!

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 172
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 84
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 1 (Managed 12 rounds yesterday)

160421 – Meditations

Quick update on what I did yesterday. And day 1 of an attempt to write a film script in 15 days.

6:17 AM. Andheri.
Woke up at quarter to 6. Some fitful sleep. I think it’s the AC. Need to fix it.

Lets not be digressed by that. Today’s when I start writing a script or something and focus less on thoughts. Let’s see how it goes. To be honest, I dont have an idea in my head right now. Let’s see what comes out when I start typing. I will be at it for at least an hour. That’s the point of “forced creativity”.

Before that, there are some updates from the day gone by and things on my head…

  1. I went out! Yay! I walked up to the nearest Star Bazaar and brought some dry fruits. Grocery was an excuse – I just wanted to step out. On the way back I spotted more people walking than on other days on the Lokhandwala backroad. So I can walk too. I just need to find a time when it’s not as crowded. May be in the morning? Right after morning pages?
  2. Work has started to become hectic. Which is ok. Just that I need to be on the computer for like 10 hours. The only thing I am worried about is my eyes.
  3. KG told me about how Michelangelo would go hungry for up to 7 days and then pick up the chisel to work his masterpieces. Now that’s incredible. I haven’t been able to find any conclusive evidence on a cursory Google search. I am sure, I will find it if I dug deeper.
  4. Yesterday, I talked about Coconut Milk as a beverage. It’s the second day and I love it. To a point that I have stocked the refrigerator with it!

So that’s about it.

I can write more. But I am trying to shun negativity and live in denial. I am assuming that there’s no COVID out there. At least for the next 15 days. I will of course continue to write my thoughts on #sgEchoChamber. And here

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 124
  • #aPicADay – 105
  • 10K steps a day –0 🙁
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 37
  • #noCoke – 37
  • 10 mins of meditation – 2
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0

Now, onto the “original work” that I will write for one hour. It’s 6:43 on the clock. Here we go…

Day 1

What do I write about? Writing itself? A writer struggling to find his spot in the sun? Another trying to prove a point to the world, and to himself; that he’s worth a lot more than what the world gives him credit for?

Or I could write about someone intriguing that I read about. You know, a true story. Of someone’s heroic. Of someone’s extraordinary journey of becoming extraordinary. The world is full of such people. They do simple things in such a unique manner that you are left inspired. Just need to find someone like that and merely narrate what they were up to.

Then there is the question of my ability to look at these people with a lens that makes the story worth telling!

Or it could be about someone’s dreams, hopes, aspirations, ideas, and thoughts. Funnily most of these are so damn simple that you wonder if there’s a story in there on not. I mean at the end of it, each person seeks those basic things that our monkey mind has trained us for – safety, survival, propagation of the genes. For most, safety comes from a house (people call those homes), survival comes from a stable job that pays enough to build their house and propagation from a spouse.

Of course, this simple monkey-mindedness becomes an impossible chasm to leap over when one person’s wants start to collide with another’s. I mean you have a stable job. This stability threatens your colleagues’ survival in the same workplace. He would then try and do things that would jeopardize your stability. You on the other hand would not tolerate this game and you would first secure your place. And once that has happened, you would go back with vengeance. Even if you don’t want to. You are guided far more by your monkey mind than you can imagine.

I can also write about this image that I have held in my brain for I don’t know how long. Lemme narrate it. Let’s see what comes out of it.

So, I was at one of the busiest local train stations in Mumbai. I think it was Kurla. Or it was Dadar. The trains were jampacked. To a point that even the people that were hanging out of the doors were stacked like lego blocks. One on top of another. Interlocked so well that even the biggest canons, the wildest wrecking ball couldn’t make a dent if they tried it at the same time. Packed so tight that even air couldn’t pass through. Whatever gaps you could spot were shuttered by the sweat and in some cases, the blood. The greatest architcet in the world couldn’t build something as grand if she tried for decades. And here we are. In Mumbai. Train after train, bogie after bogie, day after day was so packed by strangers that you are left marveling at the sheer capacity to bear hardship, the sheer will to get things done despite odds, the sheer tolerance of pain, and heat and hunger!

As a newcomer to Mumbai, I would often sit at a busy station to see these men and women and the mass of humanity go through this grind every day. Twice. Every time I sat on one of those benches that were invariably donated by the kin of a rich person that is now long forgotten, I was probably the only person who was still amidst all the cacophony.

So imagine you are in the midst of this scene of life playing like a film. You are marveling at the scene unfolding in front of you. Pretty much on auto-pilot. A train stops right in front of you. Like a well-orchestrated symphony, the wall of people shifts shape. Some bricks come out. Some go in. The wall remains steadfast. The wall gets stronger than ever. People are packed tighter than ever. Anyone even thinking of breaching it would get discouraged by even looking at it.

The train starts to move, the wall starts to take it easy. And unknown to it, a young girl of not more than 14 starts walking towards it. She is unassuming. She is not rushed. She is relaxed. The train picks speed. The girl continues her easy pace towards the train that is now almost a blur.

The last of its bogie is in sight. The girl is now a few feet away from the train. From where I am, I can’t see her face. I don’t even know what she’s upto. But she’s upto something for sure.

As if on cue, she breaks into a sprint and hurls her tiny frame at the wall. And just before she’s about to collide into the sea of people hanging from the doors, she turns around. And her back thuds into a man that’s wearing a distinctly blue shirt. Out of reflex, the man grabs her. The wall comes to life. More hands appear and support the girl. Some bricks shuffle. They make the space that no one could have imagined existed.

While the reengineering was happening, while she was slowly becoming the part of the wall that was almost out of my sight, I saw her. And for a fleeting second, I saw the smile on her face. I saw the determination in her eyes. I saw her punch the air with her fists clenched tight. I saw the unbreakable, the immovable wall of humans make way, shift its shape and bow down to this young girl that I did not even know the name of.

[END]

Notes…

  1. Was tough to start. But once I started typing, it was easy. Takes me a lot of time to get to a point.
  2. There no no story right now. None seems to be emerging. Need to work on it if I am giving myself 15 days.
  3. What I write is very very descriptive. It does not move the story forward. I have only narrated one scene. Took like a million words for it. Screenplays are not that. The story has to move. I need to think differently.
  4. I, of course, need three tracks (A, B, and C). I need clear character arcs. I need conflicts. I need release and resolution. I need to follow the three-act structure. I need the inciting incidence. I need so much more!

Let’s see how it goes over the next 15 days.

050321 – Morning Pages

A quick rant on how I was made to feel at a meeting yesterday.

5:30. AM.
I am up! And on it. Listening to Khawabon Key Parinde. I’ve always been a king of wishful thinking. I’ve even written about it on my blog once. Here.

So, today I get to meet one of my newer clients. I have been working for him since Oct last year and everytime I have spoken to him, I have left the (zoom) room inspired. This is my first IRL meeting with him. Lets see how it goes.

Yesterday was a mixed bag. Largely, took it easy. I had a few calls and I was a silent observer at most of those places. I don’t like to play a passive role but I think it’s ok to not want to run the show all the time. I think my fly as high as the Icarus needs taming and these meetings are sobering me up. Just that I don’t like when I am interrupted and cut in the middle by people. Or when I am taken for granted. Or when I am shrugged like a flunky in the white shirt. I remember I wrote about this 10 years ago and I am yet to get over it. This is not my ego per se. This is more about being treated as an equal human. That sucks. Someone told me a few days back that you rather work with someone that respects you than someone who pays you a lot. But then that’s naukri. If you want to win the world and become like Elon, Jeff, and others, you need to do what Guru Bhai tells us!

Anyhow. Moving on.

I was with someone else yesterday when they reminded me that I am a published author. Lol. Must move my ass and write more. The battle between making ends meet and chasing the dreams is a neverending one. Days like this I wish I had picked a comfortable job that would have given me the weekends to do whatever I wanted to. Or I had a rich father. Or a rich wife. Anyone wants to adopt? Or marry me? You need to have 10 odd crores to giveaway to me. Or maybe I can put my head down and write. Lol!

So that.

I guess that’s about it. Short post but at least poured out what gave me a sleepless night. Over and out.

PS: Funny that I am 38, I am triggered and affected by these trangressions of people that I work with. And this is when I want to change the world and impact a billion lives and make a billion dollars and all that. Sigh. At my age, people are making the world go around and I am cribbing about such tiny things. Damn, Mr. Garg!

010321 – Morning Pages

I talk about how I spent Sunday and couple of ideas (one of those is called Killer Boogie) I picked up from conversations with people.

6:58. Goa.
Sunday was like Sunday is for most people. No work, except a couple of catch-up calls. A couple of lunches. A stroll down the beach. Conversations with strangers at a bar. Sleep for about 7 hours. I can see the allure and how people can get used to this lackadaisical idea. Need to not fall in the trap!

So, it’s March!

The last month of the first quarter of the year. Times flying past by and I am merely playing catch-up with it. It’s not a good feeling. March also is when most of India starts sweltering with heat. And I know I will not like it. I need to find a solution to that. A place that has a comfortable table and a non-stop AC. Maybe a Starbucks! Lol!

So moving on. Yesterday, I met SNR for a lunch. She and I are part of a writing cohort where we try and write long-form pieces. I know for a few months now and this was the first time I was meeting her. As expected, the meeting was fun, insightful and it sparked a million ideas. I realized I enjoy conversations that talk about possibilities and output. And not general chit-chat. Among other things that we talked about, we got talking about writing cohort. Since it’s not very active, she said, what if it were a paid one? People will probably take it more seriously and actually show up. It makes sense and is a commonsensical input. But I am not keen on making money off what I “teach”. Teach as in, share with the world. I have been a beneficiary of the kindness of people and there is no way I will “monetize” it.

One way could be that I could donate all of it some charity or something? Or could we give all that we collect to the best writer of the group? You know, like potluck? Let’s see. #parkedIdeas

She also told me about this dance routine called Killer Boogie. Apparently more of a workout than a dance routine, she told me it helped her channel her energy!

I need something exactly like that. I think I will pick it up and see how it goes. Here’s a video of the Boogie.

No, I don’t know more about it. There’s no Wikipedia page. There is no tutorial. But it’s intriguing for sure. I will explore it. #note2self

Apart from that, at Nicky’s, I met this German couple (see footnote) that has lived in places like Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and more. Now they are in India. Oh, the stories they told were fascinating. They talked about traveling in those trains that were pulled by steam locomotives (around the 70s). Since there were no ACs, the windows of the coaches were kept open. And since the smoke billowing from the machine wafts behind the engine, your body will get covered with this layer of black thing that was a mix of sweat, smoke, dirt, grime, and whatnot. The guy said that by the time you finished your journey over two-three days, you would be five shades darker. I realized that I could use this (and more stories from them) for #book2. There is indeed this set of characters that travel around the country (lead by Raunak Singh) and I can use this piece in the book. Yay!

They also told me about the Hippie Trail where they would come into Goa from Lahore and then drive all the way upto Kathmandu. I need to probably read more about how these guys discovered Goa and Kathmandu and what made them travel in their vans and all. May be I need to get a car and live in it for a few days. You know, the next radical experiment 😀

Moving on.

Today (and this week in general) is gonna be murderous if that’s a word. In the sense that there’s a lot pending from the previous week. I am lagging behind various projects and I need to deliver those. I am staring at many sleepless nights this week. See what I have become – a creature that seeks comfort over challenging myself and my limits. In fact, SNR spoke a lot about pushing limits by doing things that are out of her comfort zone. I think I need to start doing those. I will probably start doing things that are out of character for me. Of course, I will stay within the boundaries of what a good human being should be. I can start with small things. Like trying to live without an AC. Lol! I will quit in 2 hours ;P

No. On serious note. If I can push myself, I can probably start with things that are open with me for long! You know, things like writing more often, working out and more.

And with that, its a wrap. Time to get going with the day. No, no time for #book2 today either.

Over and out!


Footnote 1 – I just realized that I get to meet more eclectic and interesting people in Goa than I meet in Mumbai. In Mumbai, most people are similar and are in predictable professions (you know, marketing, banking, films, etc). In Goa, because people tend to gravitate to this place, you meet a diverse bunch.