Fork in the road

So, Yogi Berra apparently said, "when you come to a fork in the road, take it."


Here's a fork.

Starting today, I am moving my personal rants to a closed blog. No access to it ever. Its like an echoChamber.

This makes the number of blogs I (try to) maintain upto 523321842. Of course apart from this one and the one I maintain for C4E, most remain dormant. I will work on those at some point in time.

For the time being, to know more about the fork, please refer to this short QnA I did with, well, myself!

So what happens to the War of Words? 
It stays! Stays the way it is. Except posts where I get super critical about myself. Those go on my personal blog.

I will not post things related to work here. Those things go on C4E blog. Or may be on S101. Or I dont know where. But not here. This has been and shall remain a place where I park my personal thoughts (dude, all thoughts ARE personal). Fuck all the jazz about building personal brands and all that. This is me. And thats how it will be.

Oh, some posts will go on multiple blogs. But this blog will become a repository of EVERY post that I write. Except the ones that I write for myself, for the echoChamber.


Why this segregation?
As I grow up in life (lol), I am beginning to realise my raison d'etre (though I cant pronounce the word yet, damn French or whatever language is) -- a billion lives, a billion dollars and The Everest. And to do that, I need to be able to get access to people, ideas, opportunities and other things that will enable me to fulfill the purpose.

And that wont happen if I am known as someone who's super critical about things.

Thing is, I think, to do large things, you need a tinge of irrationality, the blind faith in your ability and a big dollop of hope. Not a pragmatic, critical, type A personality - which I think I am. So I need to get out of the mould. And to do that I will have to do some lot of things that I havent done in the past. Such as be conscious of the signals that I send out. No, I dont mean that I will stop being who I am (last few days, have got so many lessons on authenticity that I would be a fool to get away from it). But that means that I will consciously chase things rather than letting them happen to me. And if that means changing how the blog sounds like, I will do it. This year, by hook or by crook, I have to make it big. And I am on my way.

Ok I am digressing. Next question please.


You must be nuts, dude.
You dint know that already?

Actually, more than nuts, I think I am like Louis. And this blog, is like Norma - a consistent echo-chamber that has been around since I think I have started thinking.


Coming back, what about your fans? The ones who read this blog religiously? 
Lol! You gotta be kidding me! Fans hote hain #bhairoxx ke. Humare to readers hai. Wo bhi ek-do. And they'd understand. Any more questions?


How will the shape of this blog change as we go along? 
I dont know that. I gave it a cursory glance and tried to read it like a stranger would. Here's what I think of WoW as a stranger.
First thing is that most posts are long by the snacky-listicles standards that we are used to seeing on the Internet. Boring for most people who spend time online. Assuming that someone does stumble upon something they do want to read, to people who dont know the author, all the posts would remain meaningless. Each posts requires way too much context before someone could make sense. Even if you have "fans" from the book, dont think they'd be keen on reading what you rant about. Agreed there are posts about how you're trying to improve and all that. But then, as a stranger, am I interested? Dont know. 
Also, side note. Most blogs tend to have a theme - say technology, writing, design, marketing et al. This blog has no theme. Its a potpourri of things that the blogger is interested in. I will never bookmark because the interests are so varied that its tough to track. Plus none of the posts is deep. I mean the dude is clearly not an expert on any topic that he writes on. So, why would I read it? 

Ok. So, if I need to chase the ambitions, I need to try and talk to people who's push me ahead on the path of those ambitions. That means I will have to talk about impacting people and inspiring them (essentially about making better decisions, pushing thyself, learning new things, identifying the limitations, failure, life, making the world a better place, et al), money (work, opportunities, ideas etc. P.S: Of course I will not get into specifics. Those will go on work blog. Here, I will talk about lessons am taking home, the mistakes am making and pitfalls that I am getting stuck in) and the Everest (fitness, the journey, baby steps that am taking towards it etc.).

I will need to create deep, meaningful content that has to be contextual to the themes that I am chasing. For example, if I want to write about brands, I need to make it so relevant, so interesting that marketers actually want to read it! Makes sense.

May be the blog needs to get three distinct headers. Say, wow.in/inspire, wow.in/work, wow.in/everest. And each talks about a certain thing. Whoever is interested in whatever section can choose to read that section alone and then come back to it. Or not. Depending on how they like it.
a

Wait. Where do things like poker, travel, short stories et al go? 
Ummm... they could go under personal?


Lol! that's where you started. No? 
Ok. They could go under inspire. And the content could be lessons I learn from various incidents that prompted me to write that particular post.

For stuff like short stories and other projects that I announce regularly, may be I do need to create a section called misc. or something that I can dump everything in. And with time, try and reduce the amount of content I create for the misc bucket.


Yes yes. Makes sense. Carry on.
That's it dude. Nothing else to carry on with. Lets just do it. So 4 sections or themes as we go along. Be Better (inspired by well, inspire), Work Better (inspired by work), Live Better (inspired by Everest) and Misc. You'd probably notice em on the sidebar (for the time being till I figure out the new design etc).


All the best! 
Thank you, it was a pleasure. Oh, if you are reading this, any thoughts? Inputs? Please?


P.S.: Love this echochamber!

In 2017. I...

Inspired by Sanjukta Basu's year in review, here is mine. PS.: I don't have the balls to be as open and as strong as her. So I will talk about things that I comfortable talking about. This means that this will be a superficial post. The real SG is still behind a veil. And anyway I did not do a lot this year and there are hardly any achievements that I can think. So dunno what I'll talk about! 

Also, to be able to do this, I will have to review posts on this blog, go through my twitter stream, see my FB updates and refer to my emails. Yeah I am that forgetful. 

Jan.
  • Started with euphoria about the new year and how I'll achieve the impossible in 2017. Of course I did nothing of sort. I merely cribbed about how miserable I was. I talked about how I was #foreverAlone and how I ought to do something about it.
P.S.: Cribbing is something I need to stop this year. I think I did work on it last year. I will never know. I will have to find out from others. And I need to stop the self-deprecating humor that I enjoy so much. Like I said, I need to remove all negativity from life. 

Feb.
  • I tried to start Modern Love. Failed miserably at it. Trying to start again. In case you can help me, do read this.

Mar.
  • Took at few sessions at IMS for the interview / GD training modules. Loved it! I think most of my happiness comes when I am giving gyaan. Now, I know giving gyaan will not take me places but I love it when I talk, when I know I AM making a difference. Is there a lesson there?

Apr.
  • I read this post by KK and I realised that life is short and need to jack up the efforts. Thought on things and made a life change. Read my post here. It has made me start keeping track of time and life. As of today, I have 2919 days to go. P.S.: Nothing has happened on the effort front it to be honest but I am little more organized and I am more productive for sure. Need to do more of this #in2018. 
  • Actioned xTyres. Till date its not live. Sigh.
  • Got a new logo for onWriting.in. I love it! You?

May.
  • Started the #100HappyDays after I got inspired by this talk by a colleague. I lasted 40 days. I will take it up soon. May be from Feb 1? Who's in?  

Jun.
  • Won our first award at C4E. Not that I care (may I do if I am talking about it here) but it does help get some mileage. Need to reach a point with work that we dont need awards to get mileage. 
  • Took a holiday to Goa. My first where I stayed at a 5-star. Went with friends that I made at MDI - people that I can die for! 

Jul.
  • Started the Saturday Breakfast Thing. Again, did not take it to a point where it could matter. Did one session and no-one else wanted to be a part of it. Do I want to do this again? May be. Will think during the year. 
  • Bought myself a TV (twitterblogpost). Next tangible thing I'd get will be a car. Or a house. Lets see. 

Aug.
  • Asked a designer friend to work with me. She rejected me outright by saying that I am an average Joe and she does not work with average Joes. Took it to heart and been trying to be not an average since. And not really doing a great job. Will need to pull socks. 

Sep.
  • Recorded the first ever video podcast. Was in front of the camera for the first time EVER. Got out of my comfort zone. Dint like it but it was cool. Need to do more things this year that take me out of the comfort zone. 
  • Quit Diet Coke. This time on insistence of a client. A first for me. As I write this, I havent had one since Sep. Will start this year. No that I enjoy the taste. Just that I dont like to refrain from it without a reason. I know that it fucks health and its a reason in itself but come on! 
  • Got my first ever evasive surgery done. My fears about hospitals, they came true. Hospitals ARE the worst places in the world. Especially the Indian ones. I promised myself that I will never ever see the inside of an emergency room again. Will work on health this year. 
  • Also, took at loan to work on a project. Yet to pay it back. Hope to pay it this year. 

Oct.
  • Made attempts to get active as a startup advisor. Starting working with 2 companies. Nothing came out of it. Need to ramp up efforts on the front. 
  • Hired my first full-time employee for AWSL.
  • Took sessions at EMDI. Loved em. Like I loved sessions at IMS. Need to teach more often. 
  • Relationship shite. Lesser said the better. 

Nov.
  • Went to the Mumbai edition of the MDI alumni meet. Realised my insignificance. Realised that I am unable to make deep relationships. Realised that I am laughing stock for a lot of people. But does that affect me? At times, yes. Most times, no. 
  • Lost a super important pitch. To the point that I lost my sleep. And its important to record here because if I can lose that pitch, I can not win any other! Need to work on pitching bit this year. 
  • 3 years since #tnks first came out. Where the F is #book2, Mr. Garg?  
  • Got a life coach. Did a session but could not continue. Maybe will do in this year. Dont really see any benefit but will try it again for sure. 

Dec.
  • Passed in a blur (was busy with a major project). Enjoyed every bit of it. But had to lose a lot of things to ensure that the project went well. Sad part? Cant talk to anyone about it. 
  • Started #aPicADay on Insta. Checkout my feed here. Been 37 days on the trot. Lets see how long I last. I plan to do it till the day I die. I know. High hopes ;)
  • Took 50th flight in the year. My first one ever was in 2005 I think (from MDI. Or was it 2004?) Since then I've religiously kept every boarding pass. To date, flying is a big deal. 

Phew! What a year. Lol. WTF a year is more like it.

That's about it. Sam said it right when he said that "days are long but decades are short." And anyhow, I am a believer in the hedonic treadmill. So I think I am overall ok. I mean I did work a lot, made some money, got some clients, made some contacts and all that. But it was pretty insignificant. Lets see what 2018 has in store.

Over and out.

P.S.: in2018, I will...

#in2018, I will

This is my yearly post on things that I hope to achieve in the impending year. Most times I miss most goals but I still like the rigor of making lists. Plus once I have a list, it keeps me on track.



Here is the list of things that I will do #in2018.

Oh when I make this list, I consider the following.
  • Each bit on the list has to take me closer to my lifeGoals - a billion dollars (M), Mt. Everest (H), a billion lives (I). 
  • The list includes things that are tough enough that I have to work hard. And must be within reach. For example, while I may want to play cricket for India, I can not. I could on the other hand play Poker. Or Pool. Its not same as cricket but it is still a sport. 
  • Themes for the year. This year, the themes are health (stop doing anything that stops you from living to 120 - eating, travel, air, stress etc) and action (which should be a theme every year IMHO). And other smaller themes are positivity (get away from people / things / incidents etc that drag you down), challenges (need to get out of the comfort zone - need to do things that I've never done so far) and plant seeds for the long-term. 

So, #in2018, I will do the following. 

In no order,

[Work / M]
  • Make C4E amongst the best live entertainment businesses in the country. And subsequently, in the world. More about C4E is at https://medium.com/c4-entertainment. This has been on my radar since 2017. We made a few strides #in2017 but we suck at getting new business. Thats something that I need to fix this year. And I will.
  • Evolve AWSL into a brand consulting business. In 2017 I lost the plot with AWSL but I will get it back on track. 
  • Create a third revenue stream. When I say third, the first two are C4E and AWSL. In that order. Been trying to get a third stream for a few years now. Haven't been able to do a thing about it. This year. 

[Health / H]
  • Be 30" in girth. I am 36" as we speak. #in2017 I hoped to be 32. But I am still 36ish. In fact I've been wanting to be fit for a long long time. And even though I've wanted, I am unable to do anything about it. I need to figure out how. 
  • Finish a half-marathon in 2 hours. I cant even run jog for 3 minutes on the trot as we speak. One of the things I am doing is to ensure that I intake less calories and walk for 45 minutes at least each day. One goalpost will be 5K in 30 mins.
  • Be able to do an unaided Shirshasana for 3 minutes. This essentially means that I need to get back to doing yoga. And doing a headstand would require enough rigor and practise to ensure that I am attending classes everyday. Plus, now that my nose is fixed, I should be able to start with yoga.

[Personal]
  • Final table a poker tourney that has more than 50 entrants. Again, this is a thing that I've had since 2017. And I played very less poker in 2017. I need to work on this. In fact, between poker, pool and may be guitar, I could find all recreation I need after a long day at work. 
  • Compete in an amateur pool tournament. I know I cant hit a ball straight but I enjoy the game. I love the challenge and more often than not, you can control the element of luck. So may be its something that I can work on.
  • Buy a car. I have to. Been wanting to buy for ever since I can remember. This year I have to. 
  • Travel to 5 new countries. I got a third passport booklet (as planned #in2017) and I now need to get 5 new stamps on it. If all goes well, I may get to travel to Cambodia this year. Need 4 more countries. May be I'll drive through Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos route? 
  • Make more friends that inspire me. Work on relationships that make me better. Thing is, most "friendships" happen because you and friends share a common interest and are at the same place at the same time. Most times, apart from the common interest, you dont get to evaluate the personality of people. And over time you learn to live with the goods and bads in the personality of your friends. As a result you end up with people who stand by you when you need them but they do nothing to improve you as an individual. While that's not a bad place to be at, its not the optimal use of the opportunity we have. I believe we are better off surrounding ourselves with people who may not back us up when we need them but push us when we need pushing. Makes sense? For example, you are a woman in India and you like writing and your parents instead want you to get married because "log kya kahenge?. Fuck them! Rather run away with a bastard that pushes you to write. Fuck the societal norms imposed on you. If your family drags you down, move on. If your spouse does not support you, move out. Ok, I am getting judgmental and preachy. Coming back. This year, I want to create more meaningful relationships where I get to grow. I want to be make friends with people who help me and push me to do better (and be a friend like that - if you are with me, I WILL push you to do more, do better). I will cut off ties with (have cut a lot already) people and relationships where I am dragged down. I need friends that support me in my pursuit of grand plans. When I say I dont want to do dinners because I want to sleep early to be able to wake up and write, I want my friends to understand. Get the drift? Or you need a blogpost for this?  

[Writing / I]
  • Complete #book2 and get it ready for publishing. Book 2 is late by 4 years. And I have had so many people ask me about it and I am sick of giving vague answers. I will do it this year. Also, I need to remind myself that books are tangible thing that you've "create"ed. You dont want to die a consumer. You know what I am saying? 
  • Make onWriting.in a key player in the Indian publishing business. I haven't been able to give time to it. Need to pull up socks. 
  • [20 Jan 2018] Write 202 blogposts on this blog. 

[Moon Shots]
These are the things that are way too tough and big for me to achieve in one year. Plus each will require superhuman effort. Enough to take you to moon!
  • Empty my Asana dashboard each month. This will require super-human effort. I will have to get things done. Which to me is tougher than climbing the Everest! 
  • Ship one "project" each month. A project is an idea, a thing, a piece of output that is part of my interest area but is something that I know will not make commercial sense. May be it does eventually. But not at the stage of initiation. For example, onwriting.in. 
  • [H] Work towards The Everest
  • [I] Find out ways to impact a billion lives. Make a list. I am not sure if I can do this in this year but nothing prevents me from trying. Or at least making a list. Oh, I love lists. 
  • [M] Get to Rs. 5 crore in bank. Last year I wanted to end the year with a crore. I ended with about Rs. 3 lakhs. Sucks that 35 years of your life amounts to all of Rs. 3 lakhs. I mean if I were to die tomorrow, all my family would get is Rs. 3 lakhs. Funny no? So, rather than trying to get 1 crore again, up the ante. Get 5 crores. Shoot for the fucking moon, baby. How? I dont know. Will find a way. Or as they say, beg, borrow, steal. But then I am not someone who can beg or borrow or steal... 
  • [I] Make TUAP a must-listen podcast for entrepreneurs. More about it is at www.tuap.in. P.S.: This is a project. 
  • Meet one of my heroes (Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Chris Sacca, Tim Ferriss, Jason Calacanis, SRK, Lucky Ali, Prof. Sanjay Bakshi, Priyanka Chopra, Will Smith, Rabbi Shergill, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and so many others). Lets see who all do I get to meet. May be the pi.co clone (that I've been planning for a few months) helps me reach there? P.S.: Another project.

[Daily Habits]
#in2017, I did this interesting thing. I picked a few "actions" and I performed those everyday. At least I tried to. These are essentially tiny tasks that do not take a lot of time. And over time, these add up.

For example, like this guys explains in his TEDx talk, he would do two pushups everytime he peed (and he increased the number to, I think, 8 pushups everytime he peed). It did not amount to much when he did those but the collective benefit of doing 20 odd pushups a day helped him get in shape. Its such a powerful idea - that small things can bring about tsunami of change. I was first introduced to this by Hemant but then along the way he and I lost the plot. Anyhow.

So, here's a list of things I started to do everyday #in2017 and I hope to continue #in2018. And a list of things that I hope to start to do everyday #in2018.
  • Post a pic a day on Instagram everyday. I started this 35 days ago and I am so proud to say that in the last 35 days I've missed it just twice. This happened when I met Anusha on one of my trips to Bangalore and she challenged me to post a pic each day. 
  • Play Peak and Elevate each day. As we speak I am on 3 weeks unbroken streak with both. I am this close to buying em. Lets see. This happened when I realized that I can no longer remember a lot of things that I could. I, well, Googled and I realized that either I am not focused, or under stress, or am in premature stages of those brain diseases that affect us humans. I hate old age and the reason I hate it is the it leaves people incapable. I never want to be that. And hence these games. Honestly, I am not sure these games help but I like to know that I am doing something about my memory loss.
  • Use The Brain. Been using it for over a month now. Related to point above, I want to retain all that I have in my head. I want to use a tool. Nothing like The Brain. I dont see the advantages as yet but once I do, I will probably buy it. 
  • Maintain a daily journal of sorts. Been writing one since May 23. It started with this. My journal is on Google Drive (on the sheet that I use to track my life - goals, ambitions, hits and misses and other things). I want to jack this up by writing using a pen and paper. Helps me catalog my thoughts. 
  • Write every day. Last few months, I've been terribly busy and haven't been able to write much. This year I plan to write everyday. Even if its like 500 words. #in2017, I tried multiple times but I failed. This time I will not.  
  • Walk for 45 minutes. Or do a session of Yoga. Again, I made multiple attempts to walk / run everyday but I failed. This time I will not. One of the things I did was to try and walk home from work (about 10 KM) and it was fun. The only fuck up was the road. Mumbai is not the place where you can walk. I need to find an alternative to walking. Lets see.
  • Rather than reading, listen to a podcast everyday. I realized this after I heard this podcast where Naval talks to Shane about his life. And among other things it changed the way I think about books. While there is a merit in learning by reading, to me, at the stage of life I am in, I am not sure reading books is anymore as efficient a tool (reading blogposts is!). More on this some other day. And I did listen to a lot of podcasts. I can club this with walk everyday. 45 minutes is enough to feed your brain with new things. Need to do more of this in the year. 
  • Ensure that I get in at least 2 maker days every week. Read more on maker day and manager day hereI promised myself that #in2017 I will have 3 maker days per week but I dont think I had 3 maker days in the entire year! I need HAVE to do this in2018. Thing is, the day we realise that we are better off as creators (makers) and not consumers, the world becomes a better place. We are no longer worried about opinions of people but we are about putting our head down and getting back to our work. You know what I am saying? May be more on this in one of the blogposts this year. 
  • Everything I say must carry weight and must have gravitas. That means I cant talk frivolous. That also means that I need to improve the way I talk (self-deprecating humor, exaggeration and other innuendos). In fact thats the word of the year 2017 for me. Vanita talked to me about this #in2017. I need to ensure that I live the word. Or as Rajesh Sir says, zubaan ki keemat honi chahiye. 
  • Keep a tab of all my expenses. I was doing it till I moved to Android. I will start it again. Today on. Also, while editing this, I realised that I no longer consider saving or spending less as important enough to include in this list. Which is a good thing. I've either internalised being thrifty. Or I have come to peace with myself that I am happy with misery? Dont know. 
Phew. This is a long list. To do everyday. 

Even if I remove the walking for 45 minutes and yoga bit, other things will require about 2 hours (at the least). And the best time to do these things, if you ask me is the morning. Because its impossible during the day. And if you try to do this at the end of the day, you never know how exhausted you are. And I know I am not a superhuman that I will keep emotions at bay and get things done after a day at work. So, may be I need to start earlier. Good thing is that I am anyway a morning person. In fact as we speak, I am at a Starbucks. Since 725 (and its 1040 right now) - I can get 2-3 hours of good work done in the morning, before the world wakes up. That, could be my unfair advantage.  

So all I need to do is get up at 4 AM. And get to work. Just that no Starbucks is open then ;)


[Misc]
Dont know what categories to put these in. These are good to have, not MUST have. And this implies, others are MUST have.
  • [H] Attend a 10-day Vipassana session. Wanted to do this #in2017 but could not. 2018 looks like a perfect time. May be as soon as Feb. 
  • Teach at a business school. #in2017, I did teach at an events diploma college. But I need to up the game and teach kids that already know lot more than I. It would get me out of my comfort zone. Read on themes for the year above. 
  • [H] Stand while working on a computer. That means I need to invest in a standing desk and a great pair of footwear. Oh that reminds me that may be in2018, I will finally get around to wearing shoes and getting dressed well. After all if I have to make money, I need to be presentable. No? Plus dressing up is so out of my comfort zone that I am willing to jump off an airplane!
*** 

That's all. Look a lot but it ain't not too much if I remain focused and act on things. 'If' and 'Act' are the key operatives here.

What are your goals? Do you have a list? Lets work together and make this the best year of our lives?

Thanks for reading. Feedback? Inputs? Help?

Saurabh Garg
1 Jan 2018
Mumbai

P.S.: For the record, here are similar posts from 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.

P.P.S.: #in2017 I wrote 41 posts. This year I will write more than 202 posts (number of posts I wrote in2008). This is #1.

Book 2. Zinda Hai.

For a millionth time, today I started working on #book2. Its been pending for a long time and while nothing has changed, there have been a few triggers.

Here's a list.

a. A friend thought that I am suicidal and sent me a copy of The Myth of Sisyphus.

I am not sure if I am / was suicidal or not but after I read the first 3 pages I felt that life was absurd and I ought to end it. Also, I recently moved to an Android phone (which is a suicide in itself) and I have spent last three hours searching for the Blue Whale.

But since a friend gifted the book and I had to respect the 250 bucks he spent on it, I went online and saw this video (that summarized the book in 7 minutes and took me closer to suicide). The video talked about how we must find pleasure in misery and why its absurd to even think of suicide. It did talk of more things but I am sure if I could comprehend it. So, left it at that.

Here's a tip. Avoid the fucking book at all costs. And if you want to read a book that prevents from you committing suicide, do read Reasons to Stay Alive. I read it when I was not suicidal and it was one of the best reads ever.

But then coming back to the context, book2, somewhere while I was either reading the book or watching the video, I felt that I ought to write. Ergo.


b. I read this piece on BBC where they try and postulate who will be remembered after a 1000 years after they are gone.

Thing is, I've never known if I want fame or whatever but I would love to be known 1000 years after I am gone. And the article says that either I need to become a famous villain or die a famous death. I cant control how I'd die but I can create a villain that is more villainous than anyone ever alive? Et tu, Brute?

And to be able to create a Brutus, a Joker, I need to write!


c. Pochu Prasad. Poch was my roommate at MDI. It was his daughter's birthday recently and when I messaged him after 3 years (thinking that its a good pretext to text long lost friends on their kids' birthdays), the first thing he asked was, "when's the next book coming out."

After I abused him and all that it left me thinking. That my identity is now of someone who's written a book. And while I am not a one-hit wonder (book was NOT a hit), may be there's something there!


d. Parijat sent me this.


This is screenshot of Syd's book and it reminded me that writing is my personal responsibility. And its high time I worked on it. I can cry about lack of a silver spoon us my ass but I do have a tiny gift with whatever I write. I ought to use it. No?


e. A discussion with a colleague reminded me that I am insignificant and for 35 years of my life, I have shit to show for. More than anything else, I am offended by it and I take it as a personal insult. And I will damn prove the dude wrong. I will achieve something large in my life. Of course I will continue to chase my ambition of climbing the Mt. Everest, impacting a billion lives and making a billion dollars in the process. But I will do well with my writing. You guys wait and watch. Ego makes you do funny things man.

So yeah. That's about it. More on this later. Right now I have a book to write. And you may want to order the first one here.

Post-Bangalore post-mortem post

I am just back from Bangalore. I was there for putting up a show for a client at Excon 2017 and since its a 7-day exhibition, I thought that I will do a million things while I am in Bangalore. The top few included...

  • meeting friends and almost friends
  • making new friends
  • exploring the city 
  • click some pics
  • work with a friend on a book 
  • work on my next book 
  • eat properly and get fitter
And so on and so forth.

Guess how many of these did I do? 

ZERO! 

And why did I do nothing while I was there? No, time is not the culprit. After 7:30 / 8 most days, I had the rest of the evening and night to myself. And the reporting time the next day was at 8. And since I was leading the tram, I could actually come in by 9. So I had 12 hours each day to do all the things that I've listed above. But I could not. 

Here's a list of reasons. 

1. Bad planning. 
For starters, I was put up in a hotel that was in the middle of nowhere (about 20 KMs away from Bangalore). And most people I had to meet were reluctant to travel all the way. 

Two things from this. 
  • A, become so good, so valuable that people are willing to go through large quantums (quantum but added an s for effect) of trouble to get a sliver of time from you. 
  • B, Plan well. For example, when you know that you are in a city that you know is notorious for traffic, try to be at a place that is accessible. 

2. Energy. 
By the time I spent 12 hours at the exhibition, I was so sapped that all I could do is sleep. And snore. And then drag yourself to work the next day. 

Can this be fixed? Yes. I can work on my health and ensure that if I am up, I am full of energy. Most times I am but lot of times I am not. And I need to fix it. Health HAS to be the number 1 goal #in2018.


3. Team. 
I am in the process of creating a team, a set of people that are aligned to the purpose that we as a group are supposed to serve. And deliver. That of entertaining the world in such amazing manner that it inspires others. 

Now, to do so, I don't need people who work for a salary. I don't need people that stick on a list of holidays on their whiteboards. I need marshals that are aligned to the mission. And if not aligned well to the mission, then at least a part of their personal missions has to get delivered if they work with me and others.

Right now I have a few people that I think are in the zone. I need more. Are you the kinds? Help me. I am on 9819981337 / saurabh.garg@gmail.com.


4. My working style. 
I get super emotional about my work. I want everything to work with clockwork precision. I want robots that stand as long as it is required. I want machines to not overheat, to remain intact, to perform to the capacity and never burn out. 

While its possible most times, I know its tough to expect this all the time. After all there is a huge element of technology and people dependence. While you take every care to ensure that things don't go wrong (get the best crew, get the best material etc etc) there are times when you cant control things. 

And when things go out of control, I get unnecessarily harsh at people. I am rude to the point that I am amazed at myself. Reminds of that experiment where they made ordinary people cruel by giving them a role of a jailer. 

At this exhibition, I was the jailer and because I thought people were slacking, I fought with no less than 10 people. This included my team, my outsourced staff, other agencies that were working there and other people at random. I continue to believe that I was right in fucking their happiness but may be I was wrong. After all 10 people cant be wrong. No? Whatever it was, I know it has to change. I need to work on it or I will not reach anywhere.

The event otherwise as perfect. Apart from one time when the band was to play and the mics' cable came out loose. Of course we checked it right before the show but if a cable has to come out, it will come out. Wish I could ensure that as well. 


5. Raison d'ĂȘtre
So, why do we work? For love! 

Why do I talk about this? At the exhibition, I repeatedly saw people work for money. And not for love. And to save money, I saw people do things that they would otherwise not do. And that's not cool. I believe that money is important. But the mission has to be larger than just a hefty bank balance. 

I am the kinds that is ok to lose money to deliver a great job. Of course for a client that gives me the freedom to do things. The idea is, we must be able to do great work and charge the money that will make us happy. And find clients that are willing to pay the kind of money we want, to allow us to do great work! Its a vicious circle but I am sure we can find an opening. 


6. The silver lining
During the event, at one of the conversations that I had with the client (PV) on the side was about life purpose and all that. I realised that my life's purpose is to entertain people and do it so well that I become an inspiration to others. And in the process, grow as a human being. And then use the money I've made to inspire others. Its still shorter than making a dent in the universe (like Steve) or trying to save the humanity (like Elon) but its something larger than myself. And worth chasing. 

See this slide (from my companies' creds deck).

C4E's masterplan

I just need to work on it. 


7. Exit stage left
When the thing ended, I was out of there in 5 minutes. I did not say my good byes. I did not hang out to chill with the team. I did not want to get a group pic clicked (but I had to). I dint go out to grab a beer or something. DS tells me that its not cool. And I agree. 

But the thing is, I hate to say goodbye. 

And then there is post-event depression that hits you so hard that you don't know what happened. DS said it best when he said that a minute before the show ends, you are the master and you control lives and times of the crew and the event. And right after the event is over, you are nobody. It sucks. Thing is, I get super emotional about what I do. SC says that once an event is over and you get into a flight (or a car), you move on. To the next event. Or the next thing. Like, I shouldn't be writing this post but focusing on what will the next one be like. 


And third, I feel that once I have delivered what I was supposed to deliver, I can take off and die in my misery of an event getting over. Or I can go and sleep. Or do whatever. I am no longer on the client's clock. 


***


Now it has happened. I cant undo it. But I can take lessons. And these are things that I will do - no matter what.

  • Figure out a minute to minute plan of my time. If not a minute by minute, an hour by hour for sure. I will start doing this from the next trip (that starts tonight). 
  • Get anal about how and where I spend my time. And try to earn time. How do I do that? By putting in place processes that save me time. By getting people who can do things that save me time. 
  • Try to detach emotions from work. I am not sure if I want to do this. But lets see how it happens. 

In all, this trip was a clear case of setting expectations too high. Going forward, I need to lower down the expectations and then try to exceed those. Or may be not. One life. If you don't hustle hard enough, why are you alive?

That's about it. Until next time, over and out.

P.S.: Here are some pics from the exhibition. Do give feedback.

5K on 5th Dec

In the morning today I promised someone what I will write 5000 words today. Its 8:50 PM and I havent written a single word. So I have a few hours to go and 5000 words to crank out. And where else to start from but here. And what else to talk about but shit that's floating inside my head.

P.S.: I started writing this on the 5th. Today it's the 6th and since I was in office, it took me multiple passes to give shape to the post. The focus is on getting as many words of inane text out as possible. Lets see how many I get in. Also, I love this idea of sprints. This allows me to not worry about quality and all I am doing is pushing words out on paper. Perfect if you ask me. 

Lemme dump everything that I have on my mind. May be I'll feel lighter.

1. Year End
The year is ending and I am the kinds to actually take a stock of how the year went. I love making lists and then try to achieve the tasks on those lists. While I live with the lists throughout the year, I get really active around this time. I set lofty targets for the year and then I make plans for achieving those targets. So far, in none of the years that I've made lists in, I've achieved my targets - may be I dont have what it takes to do things. Or may be I love stretch targets. Irrespective. I love this list and yearly goal setting.

This year is ending soon and if luck would have it, I will get a couple of days off to plan for the life ahead. And even if I dont get time, I am happy to report that I have already started thinking about things. While I have a little clarity about things that I want to focus on, I need to figure out a lot of peripherals. I know that 2018 will be all about health. And not money for a change. I have chased money all my life and I am yet to get rich. So may be I'd focus on health and how that pans out.

Apart from health, the second most important thing will be writing (why? See 5). And then I will worry about work. This will be a marked difference from how I've operated in life. Lets see how that goes. 


2. The ever-expanding plate
I am involved in a million projects and anyone who's like that is bound to miss deadlines. On not just yearly goals but on other short-term goals as well.

For context, on last count, I am working on 48 major projects. These range from plans of taking over the world to public art to opening a college to teach events management to stationary and what not. And while I am a great beginner, I start things, I am very average finisher.

Plus I am now beginning to see the sense in the maxim that you can only do so many things with your life. I need to know that I am not limitless. Which sucks but such is life!

Or maybe, I need to discard this feeling of being inadequate and get back to being what gives me the most amount of happiness - day dreaming and cooking up a million things at the same time. Who says I ought to stop at 48? Why can't I have 96 projects there?

You dig what am saying? 


3. Fit/Fatness
Yesterday Day before it rained really hard in Mumbai and I got drenched. And as a result, the only pair of denims I had got wet. And I had this really important meeting today yesterday and thus I had to buy a new pair.

I went to the mall and went to each shop that the mall had. And in those scores of stores and hundreds of pairs of pants, denims, nothing seemed to fit!! I am unhealthy as fuck! I have become so fat lately. What do you mean lately? I have been fat since I can remember! 

And then I have this goal of climbing to the very top of the Everest. Can you imagine a fat man on top of Everest? I will stick out as, what Charles said, a cockroach on a wedding cake.

Apart from just being an impediment to my goals, it makes me look ugly. I mean I am not the one to have been blessed with stellar looks, the fat makes it uglier. I know, body shaming. But the point is that if I can, I must. It will probably motivate me enough to do something about my life. In fact as I write this, I am already having a green tea. In regular course, I would've had a coffee. Or a coke. But green tea. I hate the taste and it makes me pukish. But I am told that the pukish bit is because of all the toxins in my body. Once they are out, I wont be pukish anymore.

I am digressing. The point is I need to get fit. And fit like Jason. If I get fit like him, I am sure my bald head (with the new found physique) will make me like a darker version of him. That would be something. No?


4. Work
Work is in an interesting phase. There is enough and there is not enough. Enough that I am busy. Not enough that I dont make enough money. Enough money is the kind of money that allows me to get a car for myself, allow me to spend without thinking about bank balance, help me invest in bright people that may need help and finally, take care of my people. 

And I cant seem to fix it. Despite my brains and all that. And despite some super amazing friends that have done everything they could. And despite all the hard work. I mean the only way I know to success is through hard work. Increasingly, its about connections and all that.

I dont know what would it take to do so. In case you wish to offer assistance, you know my email address.

In fact as I talk of work, in the last few days, I actually got an offer to work for someone I really admire. But I could not make myself leave people who've backed me up when I needed them. Rationality says that I need to move on and all that. But I am not rational. More on this if I come out ahead. I dont want to sound like a sore loser.


5. Book2 
I heard this text by Allan Watts and I realised that what I really really want to do if money were not an object, is to write. Now I know that my writing is not good enough to help me get by but I know that I really want to write. I do not know how did I get #tnks out of the door. I was lucky I guess. Or my head was not this cluttered with all the shit on the huge plate (see 2). Whatever it was. Its been 3 years that I have been meaning to work on #book2 and despite repeated reminds and kicks on the backside. I havent done shit on it.

I have threatened myself, promised friends, even sgMS that if I did not write the book by the end of the year, I will stop chasing the idea of writing the book. And yet I havent done anything about it. I think I make too many promises and thus the promises lose significance.

Now on, I probably need to reduce these promises and live upto the deadlines. Which is in direct contrast to my personality. I love challenges. And if you want to bring the best in me out, dont tell me about the reward I stand to get but make it sound like a challenge. Throw me one please.

And may be I need a muse, like I said a few days ago.

P.S.: While I was trying to look up the link, I realised that all that I have covered here is like a summary of things that I have posted already. Theek hai. As long as I get some words on paper.


6. To give up or not
This one is tad philosophical. Post my MBA, even though I have held full-time jobs, I havent been able to make it big. Either in terms of impact or money or reputation or doing enough to inspire others. I wont be wrong if I say that have been struggling.

I increasingly feel that life is like a race where I am sort of getting left behind by everyone else around me. And even strangers. Its like am running in the slow motion, on a treadmill. And they are in the fast lane with rocket propulsion jets under their bums. And to a fly on the wall, I look like a stagnant shit while everyone is just whizzing past.

I know this is a stupid feeling to have but I have been having thoughts to reconsider this entire entrepreneurship thing.

I look at people who are like me and have done well, they are either super smart (which I am not sure if I am), super handsome (I am definitely not), super connected (I have zero connections that work - see next point). Or a combination thereof. They are confident, clear and have a large problem to work on. I on the other hand have a run of the mill business that I am trying to approach differently.

Everywhere I look, people are doing things that make me take note and go "oh faaak". And here I am. Wielding my fury dismay on a keypad. Trying to reach the goal of 5000 words for the day.

Thing is, I have been "struggling" since 2014. And unlike the struggle by other artists where they need one hit to take them to the next level, my struggle doesn't add up. For example, if you are a film-maker, you spend a month learning the skill and then you spend 10 years honing the craft. And then one fine day, you make a film that makes everyone's jaws drop. When that happens, all the struggle of the previous 10 years, one fine day and one month seems like a journey. A journey towards creating that masterpiece that gives you the platform to do whatever. Including an option to never work on your craft again and just become an armchair activist. You know what I am saying? An Anurag Kashyap doesnt have to make any movies anymore. After Wasseypur or Dev D or any of his masterpieces, he could choose to become a mere producer and give talks and all that. Its a different thing that he continues to work. I am sure we can find umpteen examples of one-hit wonders who knew they dont want to work hard again after they've found success.

In my case where I am a capitalist, my success does not depend on that one flash in the pan moment of brilliance. For me, I need to come up with hit after hit after hit. Like Elon. Steve. etc. There has to be a string of successes that I have to establish if I have to make those billion dollars. And the impact.

Oh, I define success as a point mile-stone in your career life where you stop the hustle and whatever you've done so far gets you more opportunities. Example, if you are Elon Musk, after you sold Paypal, a lot of opportunities would come your way. Because you have set a precedence in the market by doing Paypal. You attract opportunities. Right now, I am Joe Nobody. Even if I am the right parter for something, people will not want to talk to me or get me on board.


7. People
Last few days have been rough in the sense that people that I always thought I could rely on have been acting weird. To the extent that I am not sure if I want to continue to help others. And these are people that have been like family. These people and I go back years. Almost a decade in one case.

I have stood like a rock. For things big or small. And when I need them, for whast I think is a small favour, I get a curt response. Now I understand that they may be busy and all that. And I also understand what Gita says about this - karma kar, fal ki chinta mat kar. But, you know, I am human. A, it sucks that I am in a spot that I cant get out of myself. B, I am actually seeking help. And C, the person you thought could help you is not interested in even giving you a proper response.

A better way to visualise A, B and C is to think that you were riding down a steep slope and you realise that the breaks have filed. And once you realise that you cant do shit about it, you prepare to jump and tell yourself that the jump will probably break a few bones but it'll not let you die. But when you actually take the plunge, you are hit mid-air but an oncoming freight train. That you never saw or considered. Makes sense?


8. The point of this blog
Honestly, no one reads this. Apart from VG. I mean even I dont read this blog. So why do I take the effort to write in the first place? All this is so stupid and meaningless. I mean it could be meaningful if tomorrow I chose to run for a public office and someone actually goes through all 1500 or so posts to dig dirt on me. Apart from that I dont see an application. Because, a Vanita says, we are all but specks of dust in this one big coincidence.

Maybe its the only place where I can pour my heart out and have a non-judgmental audience? Or may be it is that when I write, I get this clarity that I can never get while I am thinking. Or may be I just love the feeling of writing on this blog - you know, like I am doing this for the sake of doing this?

Like Sheldon (Cooper) says, "we'd never know."


9. Memory loss
Last few days I have noticed that I cant seem to recall things. I have always been the kinds to be able to not use a notepad and remember conversations, things, quirks, birthdays etc etc. At a point in time, I could use a memory place and remember a deck of cards. Now I cant even remember the 6-digit OTP pins that we get as SMS. Hell, I dont even know passwords to half things I know. I just go reset the accounts when I have to use a machine that does not have my data saved.

Note to hackers - yes my data is all inline and my password is ridiculously easy to guess. Want to take a shot?

Coming back. I need to do something about memory loss. The worse part is, whoever I talk to, they dismiss this as a shenanigan of a man who's growing old. They dont see the pain I go through when I am reminded that I was part of the conversation and I have forgotten. Reminds me of this piece by Robin Williams' wife on his last days. Funny that I am reminded of something when I talk about my memory loss. Do read that piece. Its really poignant.

To me, memory and recollection is not just one bodily function. To me, its a matter of pride that I dont forget things easily. I may not have an eidetic memory but people do call me an Elephant! And it sucks to be not able to remember things.

I am assuming that this is temporary and I will be back to being the amazing brain I was a few months ago. I have started using a few mobile apps to "train" the memory muscle. If its a muscle and actually helps to exercise it. These apps are making me do mundane tasks that simulate the brain for sure. I feel engaged and challenged. Its been a couple of days only and I am yet to see results but I remain hopeful.

Oh, in case this exercise does not work out, VG, please take to someone who can help. A doctor perhaps?


10. The music on loop
While I write this, I am at a Starbucks and I am listening to this song on loop. Why did I put this here? I dont know. Thats a lifehack, in case you are interested. Listening to the same familiar song over and over again, on loop, helps you focus. Trust me. Read about it.


11. Focus. 
I love multitasking to the extent that I have 23 tabs open in 3 windows. Yes I counted them. And since I starting writing this I have exchanged messages with friends, done a long phone call (who's hustling to become a comedian), had a tea and played Bubble Breaker (you must try - its an amazing game).

In the second pass while I was writing this, I have a Watsapp window open and I am talking to people on that. And what am I talking about? How to lose weight! I am telling you, I am super with making plans. ;P


12. The way I write
I am the kinds to write and not edit. I want to get things right in the first time I write em. So, as I write, I am constantly looking at grammar and spellings and links and other such things. However, this post, I am making a list of things that I want to cover. And then writing notes on each. The idea is that I want to cover a lot and optimise the way I write.

After I made a list and tried to fill in, the following happened.
- After I made a list, I had a goal. To fill in those bullet points. That helped me stay on course.
- It became easy to write in short bursts. I could write for one bullet point and then digress to a conversation on watsapp
- More words happens. Simply because I have a lot to talk about each bullet point and when I am focussed on that one bullet, I can write everything about that bullet.
- The fact that the list was incomplete gave me an itch. And I had to scratch it. That helped.
- When I got stuck with a bullet, I could move onto the next one. So I wrote more. Now I can of course edit it out and all that but to me the path to quality is paved with quantity.

So yeah, this experiment has sort of worked. I hope I can use this for #book2.


13. And this is the last. #aPicADay on Instagram.
On Instagram, I have reached Day 9 10 of the #aPicADay pact that I made with Anusha. Today is Day 10. I will post something before mid-night. Lets see. Follow me on http://instagram.com/altsaurabh. Tell me which of the 10 is your favorite.


***

And with this, its a wrap. Thanks for indulging!
SG

Mumbai, Dec 2017


P.S.: Stats for nerds.
As on typing this line, time is 9:44 PM. Word count is: 1215.
As on typing this line, time is 10:16 PM. Word count is: 2306. Breaking to walk back home.
After I finished writing the post, date is 6th Dec. Word count is: 3354 or so.

P.P.S.: Whoever is reading this, if you care, please do tell me (in comments or on email / whatsapp) if this post sounds cribby and all that. I am trying to be someone who doesnt crib. Thanks! 

Gratitude - MDI, Gurgaon

Today A few days back I met Chirag (MDI 2009). He was in office and we got talking about life and times at MDI. And I realised that everything that I have in life, good or bad, has its roots at MDI.

Wanted to make a list. Here it is.

Work. 
I run C4E. We are a full-service, bespoke, corporate events management agency. When I was at MDI, I could have never predicted that I will run an events agency someday. I wanted to change the world but events? No.

Funny thing is that my first ever tryst with events happened at MDI. Back in 2005 and 2006, I was part of Imperium - the annual cultural festival at MDI. And I arranged and organised the entire thing (along with few others).

The second time I got to work on events also happened because of MDI. In 2009, after my gig with CLA and Cyntax got over, I was looking for an opportunity to do something and I wrote to the MDI alumni group. Off the people that responded, I chose to work with Suvi (at Gravity) and Suvi chose to work with me. This was a full-time job in events and I was part of the client servicing and planning teams. Since at Gravity, everyone does everything, I got immense exposure that shaped me into who I am. Plus the stint with Gravity gave me the tools to run C4E.

Writing. 
It was at MDI that I first started taking writing seriously. I did have a blog before I went to MDI but it was at MDI that I started documenting my mundane life. And because at that age you really want to get really famous, I would share the link with friends and family. While most people ignored me, some of them did encourage me. And each piece of encouragement made me write more. And then it became a feedback loop. And it is yet to end.

Oh, it was at MDI when I first thought I could write a book. While I had wanted to be an author since I can remember, it was at MDI that Sandeep and I planned to write a novel inspired by our time at MDI. I think Chetan Bhagat had just written Five Point Someone. So nothing was impossible. We were young and had a lot of time on our hands. And writing was not too tough. You know what I mean?

P.S.: The inspiration and confidence to actually write the book came after Suds published his. And it was an alum from MDI that agreed to publish my first!

People.
Out of 5 people that matter to me (apart from my immediate family), at least 2 are from MDI - VG and VK. Both these are my closest confidantes and are key pillars in my support structure. Everytime I am down in dumps, I find solace in their company. Every key decision in life requires their approval. Conversations with them have shaped the way I think. There is no shame or guilt or any other negative emotion when I talk to them. I can bare my soul and share my deepest fears and darkest thoughts with them. And I wont be wrong in saying that I dont know what I'd do without them.

Apart from these two, some of my closest friends and well-wishers are friends that I made because of MDI. The list is way too long to actually fit into a blog. If you guys are reading this, thank you. All of you. Class of 2004-2006, seniors, juniors and others.

Purpose.
I am still figuring out what I want to do in life and identify a purpose for myself (I do have vague ideas that I want to create and in the process inspire others) and my raison d'etre. Thing is, the closest thing to a perfect human being -- where the guys' doing a great job, making impact, making money and living a life that inspires others -- is Prof. Bakshi. And where did I meet him? At MDI!

It was Prof. Bakshi that introduced me to the ideas of Warren Buffet and the advantages of multidisciplinary thinking. It was at his BFBV classes that I realised that I dont know so many things and there are so many things that I dont know that I dont know.

Its a different story that I got a D in his course - blame it on all the financial number crunching that he expected us to do. Here's the secret. Numbers is NOT my thing.

Any how. In the end... 
So, yeah. MDI has had super influence. Of course, serendipity and random luck has had a large role to play in putting me where I am. I would've loved to control it. But because I can't, I dont want to bother about it.

P.S.: What about that thing where you say you are more than what you do? 

The #book2 Brouhaha

Book2 is now officially overdue by 3 years. Three years. In three years you can make 4 babies. In three years you complete college in India. Three years is the time a typical startup needs to break even and start throwing money back at you. Three years is more than a 1000 days. Its 5% of an average human's productive life. Three years...

Wait. The point is that book2 is delayed. To an extent that no one knows that I am an author. Fuck no one, I have a hard time telling myself that I am one. Anyhow attention spans are like shorter than that of a hummingbird. Who cares if you wrote a book. And this is not the first project that I havent been able to find time for, even if this is the closet to my heart.

I was thinking about it last night and I thought Ill make a list of reasons why I cant seem to get this going. Here goes.

A. No time
Writing is not my first gig. Its not even my second. I mean I do write a lot everyday -- presentations, emails, short notes, scribbles and all that. But all of that is for work. There is no writing for recreation. And there is hardly any writing for the book. And the worse part? I dont miss it. I mean there was a time when I would be itchy if I dint write for an hour everyday. Those days are gone.

Right now, its just a battle to rush from one thing to another. In the process, I think I have stopped enjoying little things that make up life.

B. No muse
They say a writer needs a muse to write. I am not sure what was the muse when I did #tnks. Ok wait. A muse is defined as "a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist." So last time I may have had someone. I dont remember. This time, I dont have any. I even got sgMS to agree to marrying me if I could complete the book by end of the year. And that too doesnt seem to be exciting enough.

Maybe I need to talk to the lady I am interested in right now to not talk to me if I dont write a 1000 words a day. Or may be I need to go find someone who is as into writing as I want to be. I dont know what would it take. Ideas?

C. Too much work
Two things here. Work required on writing a book. And effort and time spent on work that gives me the money to afford the lifestyle I lead.

Writing a book may come easy to a lot of people (I know people who "win" NaNoWriMo by writing 50K words in 30 days). To me, it does. I know I can write fast but I am not sure if the kind of things I write can happen in 30 days. I want to research, think, get into conversations (with my characters), leave tons of Easter Eggs (Lol. Why would I do that when not a single reader of #tnks came back to me and told me that they loved how intelligently I buried those little gems throughout the book.). 

So, writing is serious work. And sustained work for long durations (on a daily basis), over a year or so. Do I want that kind of grind? Like I know I never want to be in an operation theatre again, do I want to g through the tribulations that writing a book entail?

Thing is, I am not the one to shy away from hard work but I am the kinds that needs everything perfect. The temperature of the AC, the chair, the table, a working Internet connection and so on and so forth. And the kind of life I live, its often to get all variables in place. And when I do get these variables in place, there's just too much work that needs my urgent attention that I cant concentrate on moving the story ahead.

That brings me to work that I am engaged in. Like I said in A above, I am at a stage in life where I dont have financial stability. I live month to month and the month I dont work hard in, I am forced to cut my expenses. So its a constant battle between daal-roti and hobbies. And while I am a big advocate of sex and cash theory, I am not sure I can live up to what I preach.

D. No money
If I had a rich wife, I would quit everything and sit on a desk all day and write. Well, I think I will. I am not sure. But I know that a big big impediment to my writing output is the fact that I need to work slog hard for making the ends meet.

E. No inspiration
Apart from a muse that doesnt let you rest, there's this dying need inside of you to tell that story. I dont have a story like that. I mean I know I have an interesting plot for book2. I mean who would not want to read a fast-paced narrative about a gang of notorious bandits (where no one trusts another) coming together to hunt for a treasure that was lost when Portuguese finally left Goa?

But... the damn but. But is the story compelling enough that it makes me leave everything and keeps me focused on telling the story?

F. Support structure
I am lucky that I have so many people around me that continue to egg me on all the time. In no order, the constant badgering and reminders happen from Anusha, Nikita, Purav, Sachin, Vivek and others. Like last night, on twitter, Sachin sent this.
Thing is, if despite having so many people who want me to write and do well and all that, I cant write, can I? May be by not working on the book, I am letting them down. Could this be a big enough fear that I actually write?

Or maybe I need to apologize to them and quit and move on. And bury the dream of reaching a million people to a time when I have made the money and have little more time on my hands to write?

May I need to quit on this? Or may be not.

G. Commercial success
While you write for yourself and you want to express yourself, I sincerely believe that no endeavour deserves attention if there's no commercial angle to it. You may not do it for money. But you need to ensure that your work inspires people enough that they are willing to give you their time and money and attention. And you as an artist need to work hard to earn the time and money and attention. You need to make it worth the investment by your patrons. Its a loop. You see it?

If #tnks would have been a runaway success, I probably would have had the money to not worry about work and write. I would have created a "platform" of sorts that would've allowed me to chase writing as a career. It would have convinced me and people around me (not that I seek their validation) that I can actually support myself (and my family) through what I write. It would have pushed me to stand on that success and do more.

Since that did not happen, may be the MBA in me is doing a longish cost-benefit analysis and preventing me from investing time on writing? May be I am too rational to be an artist? May be I am not too delusional?

H. Others 
Apart from the list of things above, things that I did not consider while writing this are:

  • Writer's block. I am not sure that I suffer from it. I can wake up from sleep and start writing. And I can pick up from where I left. 
  • Ability to find a publisher. I am reasonably sure that Sachin at Grapevine will back me up. If not him, I can do a self-publish. 
  • My limited grasp on the English language. I can always find editors to help me out. 
  • My ability to hold interest. I think what I write makes sense and people can more or less finish what I write. 
Bas. Cant write more. That's about it. I probably need a whack on the head. That nose job that I got done was supposed to be it. But guess not!

Over and out! 

P.S.: Funny. After this such a long rant, I still dont know if I want to write. Like they say, bakchodi karwa lo bas

Introducing #tumseNaHoPaaega

So, this is going to a long, whiny, cribby post where I am going to talk about work. Which, if you follow this blog, you would know that I hardly do (I crib often but I talk of work rarely). And now that I am gonna talk about it, I am going to pour my heart out. I will be a whiny old man and I will crib like I do it for a living. Also, I started writing this post yesterday, did not have it in me to end it then -- got too depressing. And no, I dont need any consolation. 

P.S.: This post is in three parts. 

Part 1
Today, I lost this pitch that I knew I was going to win. Team and I had poured our hearts into it. We had worked hard. I even visualized how that would it look like when I am actually gonna go it, as they preached in The Secret. You know, if there is one thing that I was ever sure of, it was that I was going to win it! It was like a done deal.

Just that it dint happen.

Most times I am not the kinds to cry about the times I lose. This time, I cant stop the fucking tears (literal tears, it still doesn't hurt enough I guess that I bleed my eyes out) The pitch was super important for a lot of reasons. To start with, it was the first time we actually had a shot at doing something substantial after almost a year of failed attempts at generating new business. Plus it would have been such a big piece of business that it would have meant a runway for almost 3 months. 3 may sound small to you. But to me, at the scale and level that I operate, each day is a battle. Plus it would give me the confidence that I could be an outsider and do well. Plus this time I had a friend who could tell me where I was fucking up and where to correct the damn course. And despite her help, if I cant win a pitch, I dont think I can ever win one.

Not winning it also means that I let down myself, my investors, team, vendors, friends, believers and a host of other people (in that order).

The funny thing is, there is no rational reason for not getting the project. It just dint click. Like you know, at times you plug on something and it just doesn't start?

Of course I can console myself by saying that I, we did everything that we could and there are things that you cant control. Well, that talk is for losers. The fact of the matter is that on the day shit was supposed to go down the wire, we were not good enough. And I am told that being great, good enough or shoddy is directly correlated to your inherent talent, amount of hard work you put in, the hustle and that bitch called luck. Luck. Well, it confuses me. There are times when she sleeps with me and gives me the best orgasm ever. And there are times when I do all I can to woo her and she wont even look up at me.

Coming back, probably we werent good enough. And that is non-negotiable. Thing is, for me, work is personal. The two, personal and professional dont exist in silos. To me there are no boundaries. I exist to work. My purpose is to create great work. Try at least if not deliver greatness. If I am awake, I am working. If I am not working, I am thinking about work. If I am not thinking about work, I am asleep. And if I am not asleep and not working, I am dead. It is that simple.

There are two places that I can go from here. Down the valley of despair. I could hide myself in a cold dark room and not come out of it for months. Or I could take lessons and move on and come out stronger, better and all that. I think I'll the middle path. Start by crying and coming out on the other side.

Lets see. Thanks for tolerating the post.

Wait. You think the damn post is over? It is not. Because I was busy with an event while I was writing it. And something just happened that made the hole bigger and I will have no other option but to jump in.

Part 2
So, I am at a project venue. And I am a small part of a big team that is working to pull this project off. And the team has fucked up big time. And as always, I am trying to sort the muck that has been forced upon me. And I dont like it. I want to do things my way. Do less work but do good work.

More than not liking things, at the event, there was a big big goof up under my watch. Because of something that I was not responsible for. Of course, it was a team effort and if someone from my team has failed, I am responsible for that. I had to go and apologize to my team, clients and myself.

Dont want to get into details but you can read more at...

Right now, I feel like shit. So shitty that I dont know what to do or who to talk about. I want to bury myself in a pile of quilts in a cold, dark room with no communication to the outside world. Update. I did that. After I checked out of the event venue, I got into the next hotel and did that. 

Part 3 
And this is where I announce the launch of a new hashtag on my blog. #tumseNaHoPaaega. It will evolve as a collection of things and places and opportunities where I've fucked up. All those posts will be tagged #tumseNaHoPaaega and will be accompanied by the following image.


Why? Because this one dialogue says more than what an entire book can! For the uninitiated this is from this movie called Gangs of Wasseypur and if you need context, see this.

Over and out!

Update (in case you care). I slept off for the most part of the day after and I am ok now. Ok enough to be little ok and write this post. But not ok enough to let go. I will prevail. Wait and watch.

Notes. The other things that I thought about and wanted to include in this post, but could not, are... 
  • You are alone.
  • Show business is unlike any other. There is so much excitement and there is so much hard work and it just takes one small incident to fuck up things. 
  • Confidence is at an all-fucking-time low man. Need something, someone to help me get out of this. I dont know what.

Notes from trip to Bangalore

I am starting a new thing today. Dont know if this is new, I may have done this in the past as well. But what the heck. Here it is.

So I went to Bangalore last weekend. I had one piece of agenda. Meet a couple of people who I wanted to invest with (and before you ask me, it is not a big investment. Less than 5 lakhs).

Apart from one meeting scheduled with them, I had left my plan open. I had 48 hours in Bangalore and here is what I did there.

In no order.

1. Met a fan-turned-friend-turned-crush-turned-friend. Have met her on few more occasions before this and unlike others who you meet once in a while and lose touch, have stayed in contact with this one. More than anything else, she is one of those few people who believe in me. I know come hell or high water, she will stand by me. Thank you, D.

2. Met the guys I was supposed to invest with. Two dudes, both older than I, run the startup. A great mix of technical competence and business acumen. And since both are older that me, they are wiser and more experienced than me.

So I spent large part of a day with them. And while I was with them, I realised a few amazing things. Here is a list of top three takeaways.
  • While they have the vision, they suck at explaining that vision. Someone has to work with them to craft the vision. And why is important? Because most early hires and investors and customers will buy into that vision. So, they need someone to handhold them with that. 
  • Founders are a different breed. They are clear about the mission they are on. And even if they are wrong, they dont accept inputs and advice on the face value. Either you have to have reputation to change their opinion or you bring in some anecdotes that make sense to them. Or you present some data. In my case I figured something else - I threw them a chain of logic (like A follows B, B follows C and so on and so forth and they seemed to understand). 
  • Its a long long term game that most founders are in. Some get lucky to reach their destination fast. But most sort of fall along the way. The idea is to create enduring value and make wealth along the way. 
#note2self: I need to meet more founders and get into more intimate discussions and write more. Why? Helps me get clarity. And allows me to create content that helps others. 

3. Met a friend / classmate / distant cousin for breakfast. We went to this place that's been themed as a bicycle cafe. Ok place. Slow service. And while they took forever to get our breakfast, I did some digging and found that its co-owned by TI Cycles. It reeked of an idea that someone like me could've cooked up and served to a rich person on a platter.

#note2self. I was thinking, if I decide that I dont want to work on events, there's nothing else that I can do. Scary. No? More on this in some other blogpost someday. 

4. Met another fan turned friend. This one is like the first one. Will stand by me through thick and thin. I wish I could spend more time with her. Thank you, A/T. If you are reading this, so sorry for making you wait. I will come back to Bangalore soon and spend more time with you. Promise. 

5. Met a friend who runs a fairly well-funded and a "visible" startup. At the same meeting, met another acquaintance that runs a startup in the events space. Talked to them about variety of things, including gossip on other startups, how to leave your mark (after you are gone), the future (retirement plans), aspirations and what not. Super engaging conversations. The kinds that make you high even without any whiskey or something. Plus talking to the events dude made me realise that its still Day 1 for events as a business. And if that is indeed the case, its such an amazing time to be around! 

6. Met friends from MDI for dinner / drinks. As always, super conversations. Played pool with a stranger and he beat me like I were a kid. And he played with just one hand most of the time.

#note2self. Become at least a pro-am level player so that I get to win most games that I get to play when I am chilling out. I mean what are the odds that I will bump into Bata at a club in Mumbai?

7. Met Shom. I can write an entire book on the two odd hours I spent with Shom. He is as cool, as extreme, as great, as super as they come. He can write, sing, play guitar, paint, code, think of business ideas, do startups, roll a perfect one, compose and what not. He is literally the Mike Ross that I want!

He is amazing and little quirky and little all over the place -- he is exactly like me when I was his age. I HAVE to get him to work with me. Dont know how. If you are reading this, Shom, please, lets do this!

Apart from that I did things like sleeping at the airports, spending a fortune on numerous cab drives within Bangalore and splurging money on things as frivolous as donuts, lounges and airport showers.

But then it was a great break from the daily rigmarole. I need to take these breaks more often. And for that I need more opportunities to engage with smart brains. #note2self. Create more opportunities. 

Over and out.

P.S.: Thanks to VG for instigating me to write. I dont know what I'd do without him. 
P.P.S: While I was editing this, I realised that random people (that are not related to you by blood or proximity) have had such a huge role to play in my life that its not funny. Thank you, Universe. 
P.P.P.S.: Not happy with how this post has come out. May be I will improve as I go along. Feedback? 

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?