7:57 AM. Woke up a little less groggy than yesterday. I don’t know what changed. I still ate as much crap as I ate the day before. I slept around the same time. I had the same battles with the phone and the internet as I have had in the past few days. I am still thinking about the same things. I am still not moving as much as I would want to. The human body is a funny thing.

Anyhow. Time for morning pages. I am surprised that I have written these for more than 50 days now. Without missing a day. Even on the day when I was not in the mood, I came here and wrote something. Even if I felt crappy, I ensured that I poured my heart here. I felt lonely, I wrote about it. I took a loan. I recorded it here. The pages have become a companion, dear diary of sorts.

The day yesterday was ok. Went to Clay. Did some work, did some non-work things. I loved hanging out in the middle of so many people that are doing their own thing and are generally interesting to talk to. I love the place! If only my mobile phone worked better :D.

In fact, I must copy-paste their model when I get around to creating a physical space where I want creatives to hang out! I mean I can copy the model easily. The challenge would be to create a vibe. That takes more effort. Anyone can put some chairs and tables and an Internet connection. The sauce is how you run it, how you get people to bind into a community. How you ensure that they feel the same for you as you feel for them. For me, this community of people, the camaraderie between that community, the feeling of belonging, the safety in the group, the shoulders to stand on is the thing that makes life worth living. Let’s see when that happens.

I need to decide on where to live. Come hell or high-water, I will take a call by EOD. It is important that I do so. Like I keep saying, I need to happen to things, rather than things happening to me. The decision essentially depends on the work situation. There are a few things that I can do in Goa but the size of opportunity here may not be enough to feed all the expenses that I have. Of course, life here is better (no pants, no traffic, everything accessible etc) but I do miss the action of a large city.

Wait.

Can I create a life like that in Mumbai? You know, get a place, do it up, create a vibe like Clay, serve food like Nicky’s, attract creative people do bind into a community? In Aaram Nagar or something. Of course, the costs are like 5X to do something like that and competition is like 10X there (with all the Starbucks, Blue Tokais, and others) but I am told a lot of things are now available for cheaper.

That’s the other thing. I was trying to explain something to Mudit yesterday when I realized that I have forgotten the names of the landmarks in Mumbai! In the para above, it took me 5 minutes to come up with the name of Blue Tokai! Guess I am growing old. Anyhow.

So today’s one of those days when I feel I have a lot to write about, a lot to think about but I don’t know how to write. The thoughts are all over the place. I am unable to make them in a coherent narrative. But then I still am trying. Arrghh.. Frustrating it is.

Guess, a writer’s block?

Dont know.

But then Kunal told me yesterday that these morning pages, in the way I do (daily journalish, self-talk, pouring of thoughts etc) is apparently a great mental-health hack. And since I anyway write in public, I am not scared if these are “leaked” someday. Lol!

Chalo that’s about it.

On to #freewriting for #book2. Oh, today’s prompt is something that I think I saw in my dreams last night. Not kidding. I now have faint recollections of what I saw but I did see the scene play in my dream. Let’s see how it comes out on paper. Here we go…

ABC and his flunkies settled into probably what was the most uncomfortable spot at Caravan Serai. He took the long bench, the flunkies fanned out around him. Udita spotted them and knew there was trouble. Even though she was alone this afternoon, she was not the one to get perturbed. She walked up to the group with a bunch of menu cards. She showed her irreverence by slapping the menu cards on the table in between the group. The smack made by the plastic menu cards killed the chatter in the group. The boss looked up from his phone. He realized what had happened. He remained indifferent and went back to his phone. Meanwhile, Udita did not wait for them to place an order and walked back at a leisurely pace. These guys were not used to this open display of insubordination. As it often happens in such herds, when faced with uncertainty, you look up to the alpha. Everyone looked at the boss for what to do next. He was still buried in his phone and the scene had actually escaped him. The uncomfortable silence started to escalate. Someone had to break it. One of the enthu flunkies that wanted to make his way up in the foodchain stood up and yelled at Udita, “aye bitch, bring your tiny ass here. Don’t you know who we are with?”

At this, the boss looked up. The eyes remained calm. So did his body language. He looked so composed that you could’ve imagined him to be in a temple. He was as indifferent as he could be. He merely looked on for an instant and went back to his phone. He rested the phone against the small vase on the table. The vase had a money plant curled up in it and it was just the right size to act as a makeshift stand for a phone.

Udita shot back, “what did you call me?”

The flunky was clearly not used to the insubordination. “Bitch. I called you a bitch. And you are one.”

Udita was anyway worked up to see ABC at Caravan Serai. Now this flunky and the language he used had enraged her even more. She stomped to the table, shovelled another man away who was sitting between her and the flunky, held him by his tee-shirt. The guy was easily a foot taller. She looked him into his eyes and asked again. “What did you call me?”

The flunky was lost. He hadnt been attacked like that. Singled out. Especially with his boss around. And by a tiny woman. And he had higher ambitions. He did not know what to do. The boss continued to watch on with his stoic eyes.

“Tell me, you bastard”, Udita raged on.

The flunky did not have an answer. His voice was sort of clipped. Udita clenched her fists and thus his tee tighter.

“Uh”, he made some indescript noise.

One of the other flunkies tried to get up to save his friend from the apparant misery. Udita saw that from a corner of her eye. Before the guy could stand fully erect, she pushed at his chair that sent him toppling back with a thud.

It was clearly out of hands now. The boss thundered, “stop it!”

He continued, “apologies to the young lady”

The flunky found some strength when he saw his boss intervene. But all of it was lost when he comprehended what he heard. He was being asked to apologize. Weren’t they ABC’s gang? Where they routinely roughed up people for things smaller than this. If someone had done this at some other place, at some other time, he was sure that the boss would have literally killed the guy! And this was a girl. A waitress at some random bar.

“ABC Sir?”, he was still confused.

ABC repeated. The calmness was back, “I said apologise to the young woman.”

Udita was confused herself. The stories she had heard about ABC were anything but this. He was being polite. And he was taking the right side, even though Udita was the one to have attacked. She left the collar and took a step back. She folded her hands in front of her chest, like you would do when you sensed danger.

“How can I? The bitch was out of her place. She disrespected you.” The flunky tried to make his case.

The boss merely shook his head. With the agility of a table tennis player, he picked up the vase in a shift motion and smashed it against the head of flunky. The glass shattered on his forehead and sent tiny pieces, water and even the remnants of the money plant around him. There was this messy puddle of hair, skin, glass, leaves and blood on his forehead. Some blood was his. Some was ABC’s. He had cut his hand in the process.

The flunky stumbled back, tried to support himself on a chair. He leaned on it with one hand and tried to hold his head with the other. ABC however was not done. He pounced on the flunky and sent him sprawling on the floor. He sat on his chest. Held his tee, from the same place Udita had held him and said, “next time I tell you to do something, you will listen to me. Ok?”

The flunky could merely nod.

“I did not hear you” ABC growled.

“Yes, yes, ABC. I will. I am sorry”. He said with whatever strength he could muster.

“Good boy. Now, say sorry to the young lady. And you better clean all the mess that you have created here”. ABC instructed him.

“Yes…”, the flunky could come up with just a word.

The gang was in a state of shock. They knew of ABC and his quirks. They knew it was best if they stayed shut.

ABC turned to Udita. “What’s your name ma’am? I am sorry for this boy’s behaviour. He is new and does not know how to speak to people.” He wiped his hand on his white shirt, leaving it crumped and stained.

Udita managed, “it’s alright. I am Udita. I manage the place when Mrs. Gomes is not here.”

“Ah. I have seen you here but did not know that she trusts you with the place. Whatever I know of her, she is tough to please”. ABC was back to his clam self and was now small-talking with Udita as if they were in a club.

Udita was not sure how to react. She looked around. There was this guy on the floor who was bleeding. There was this guy who was indifferent despite the scene he had created. There were other burly men who were as confused as Udita was.

ABC sensed the confusion. “Oh, dont worry about him. He’s a strong boy. He would be back in action by tomorrow. He’d help you clean the place now. Just get him some water, if that’s not too inconvinient?”

***

That’s it! I loved writing today’s piece! Yay! Need to have more such days 🙂 If you read this, do gimme feedback. Of course, haven’t fixed typos, edited, or checked for sanity.

Till next time!

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