Untitled - 11Feb2016

This is a follow up post on my previous one about an event. For the lazy ones, on the last post I spoke ranted about how I loved working on an event after almost two years.

So, the event happened, with some changes (1-day instead of 3, less complex, more stressful, higher expectations, unfamiliar crew etc.). And I loved it. For the simple reason that I was on my toes for two days. I could see things happen - instantly - no waiting for approvals, no red tape, no jargon. All action. And then, I was on the top. I could tell people to move their ass and I could see things happening. I was in control. I was talking to different kinds of people - client (had to be polite), vendors (had to be tactful), workers (had to be rude), the hotel staff (diplomatic) and each kind of person had their unique backgrounds and experiences.

The show was a very very simple one in the end. A VIP speech, some awards to guests, a dance troupe and thats it. No frills (compared to elaborate things I did while I was at Gravity). So, may be I am making a mountain out of a mole. But it was important for me. I egged on RG to take up the project and told him that I will deliver it to perfection. And I think I did. And its a big fucking deal! Both in the short term and in the long term. Short - last few days have been messed up for a lot of reasons and I needed something to be happy about. Long - I now know that I can pull off whatever shit is required, at least in the events business. May be I need to focus exclusively on it and build it? May be. Lets see.

There are a few unrelated observations though. Let me make a list.

A. I missed the team I am used to working with (read Suvi from Gravity and Dipanker, Solomon, Piuysh, Sanjeev, Pradeep, Meghna, Mrs. Mohan etc - I want to list everyone at Gravity here but I shall not). Since this was an event for a new client, I hardly know trust their team. And I hardly know the client. And I did not know the vendors at all. So there were like a million times when I wished there was Suvi next to me on the console. There was Killa on the sound, Solo on AV, Sanjeev on call for everything else.

Moment I put up the walkie while running the show, I was taken back to our conversations and gossip while running a show.

The craziest realization was that while setting up, everytime I fucked up or I needed some advice, I would call out loud, "Suvi, nahi ho raha, just see this," only to realise that Suvi is nowhere around. I was testing the mics and I wanted the monitor levels to go down, I yelled, "Killa, reduce the damn monitor" and there was no Killa. When I saw someone from the crew fucking up, I missed having Piyush around to get them in line. You get the point. Damn, we were an amazing bunch at Gravity. Dunno what happened.

B. I think I now realize the importance of what I did while I was at Gravity. Wait, let me explain. There are multiple layers to this. I will not digress, but in short, sgMS did not approve of my choice of career as an events guy, she felt I could do better with my life. And I agreed back then. Agree even now. In fact, I even felt that events are sham and why spend money and all that. This time, however, even a simple event like this one made so many people happy, that I am amazed! May be events is interesting after all.

I think at an event, the emotional brain probably takes over. I mean, how many times does a client come and hug you after you have presented him with a brand strategy document? Even if the hug was awkward!

C. I grew up as an events guy. I got into technical discussion and fabrication and design and other things. Things that I always assumed someone from team (read point A) would have done. This time, there was no one to back me up. The people I was working for, they also dont really do events. So I was on my own and I had to do everything. And it was such a learning experience. I realized why Dipanker went out to smoke at least once with each technician before the show.

D. Realised the importance of planning. Things went well because we had planned so much and so hard. Next time on, I am not doing an event without putting this much effort.

Context: At Gravity, events is bread and butter and like Suvi says, "We do a show like this everyday and even a trainee at Gravity could execute it this well, without anyone else knowing about it." So, often we would not put a lot of time or effort in various shows. We would rely on the team to execute. And they did. But I dont have the luxury of a team. Neither I have the luxury of working with people who've given all their lives to events. So I have to be prepared. Because if I do my homework well, I could be content that I put in the effort. But then, do efforts really count? Results definitely do. Digressing.

So, while this one went well, I am sure there will be bad days. In fact I have faced quite a few of those. I can think of two particular incidents when everything failed and the client was left red faced (TKS at Mumbai and MB at Vancouver). Thankfully, there was Suvi to take the heat. Now on, however, there is no Suvi. There is me.

E. I learnt that I still get depressed after a show is over. I dont know why. May be something to with adrenaline pumping out? Who knows.

Anyhow, thats all I have for today's update. As they say, all that ends well is well. This one was well. Have taken my lessons and I shall continue to try.

So, until the next one,
Over and out.

P.S.: Thank you Suvi. Everything I know about events, you have taught me. And you have made me better. Hope to be as good as you some day. And the other unsung heroes of Gravity, thank you guys! Also, Hardeep Sir, if you are reading this, thank you. You know why.

P.P.S.: Thank you RG at V for trusting me and giving me the opportunity to do this. Thank you VG for telling me that you look forward to reading these posts. Thanks man.

P.P.P.S.: Want to hire an event manager agency? Please give me an opportunity. I am at saurabh.garg@gmail.com.

#note2Self: Thoughts as I was writing this...
  • For each blogpost that I write, I dont really have a direction where I want it to go. I spew words and when I cant think of more things, I end the post. May not be a great way to write. I dont think I will be a good writer if I knew of the agenda, the topic or the outcome.
  • My constant crib is that despite my age, I am worried about inane things - like my need to control the outcome, my need to remain busy et al. While people my age (read Mark Zuckerberg) are busy changing the world! 
  • sgMS says that I use the word I way too many times. I this, I that. In ten sentences, I type I 50 times on average. Take this one for example - 8 "I"s in the last three sentences! 

The job I love the most

In one of my recent freelancing gigs, I am working on an event. A full-fledged event with 400 guests, spread over 3 days. Though not as elaborate as events I did while I was with Gravity, this one is bigger than what I have managed, since I've been owner of an events agency (yes I own one - please give me work!). And I am doing this big an event after almost two years. And I can NOT begin to tell you how much I am loving it!

I had forgotten what it was like to have the adrenaline pumping in your veins. I missed juggling all the balls in the air while keeping in mind about a million things that you had to do. I realized I craved for airtime with the CXOs of big companies where I get to see how they think and take decisions. I longed for the informality and long meetings and indecisiveness and funny one-liners like "when in a large group, the IQ of an individual drops to their shoe size!"

Thing with the events business is that you have to be super hands on. You may have a large team and you may delegate everything but end of the day you have to stay hands on. Plus, you get to learn the ins and outs of so many industries that you could give competition to WEB. There is no corporate bullshit that is passed around and there is a lot of action. In fact, there is action all the time. One of your vendors will inevitably miss the deadline, another one will do a shoddy job, third will switch off the phone, the client in the meanwhile will have twenty new weird requests that you wont have the time or resources to pull off, tons of people would simultaneously chase for money, money that the client hasn't bothered to release. And so on and so so forth.

Of course there is the flip side - that you get treated like shit. Since you are not a marketing consultant or a brand manager with Widen or Ogilvy, you are treated like an adopted child. But then thats ok because deep down inside you know apart from this unfair treatment, you enjoyed the ride that it took to conceptualize, plan, run and execute the event was totally worth it. The high you get while you are at a show is like no other. Of course you remain the unsung hero while the world sings praises of the perfomers on the stage - and they deserve all the applause - afterall if they werent around, who'd hire a stage manager?

So, all in all, its a great package and I love it. May be, just may be, this is my calling? Putting up shows for people that entertain them? That allows them to send a certain message to their audience? That makes them happy? That solves a business purpose for them? May be I need to do something like the Cirque? Or like Dataton? Or like Bart Kresa? Or something similar?

Need to think more on this. I am sure answers are around the corner. Till then... over n out. And, in the meanwhile, do read my confessions of an event manager series of posts.

Thank You, Charles

I dont know who introduced me to Charles. Must've been Suds - he only talks about such radicals. Whoever it was, heartfelt thanks to that person. Even though I dont understand much of Charles' poetry, I think I can comprehend some of his prose. Actually, leave alone his work, I cant get the spellings of his name right. I have to look up everytime. Buk-wos-ki? Buk-os-ki? Buk-ow-ski?

The point anyhow is that some of things that he said are phenomenal! Like one of his pieces go, "I wasnt much of a petty thief. I wanted the whole world or nothing."

"I wasn't much of a petty thief, I wanted the whole world... or nothing."
The thing is, this is exactly how I think I operate. Either I want everything, or nothing. In fact, I remember when I was a kid, I was seeing one of Ashutosh Rana's interviews. He said something like, "dil to ada hai zid pe bachche ki tarah, ya to chahiye mujhe sab kuch, ya kuch bhi nahi." I dont even know how old I was at that point in time. But I remember these lines pretty distinctly. May be despite the grey hair bald head I am like a kid, that wants either everything that I can my hands on or I let go of everything.

I dont know if this is healthy in the long run but I know that thats how I am. That is what drives me. I want it all. Or I want nothing. And I am willing to put in effort and hardwork and brains and all that for it. I dont sort of shun away from work but I dont understand why I dont get it all. May be I need to put in more effort?

Exhibit A: sgMS! I have no clue if I have ever wanted anything as bad. No, I am not objectifying her. Yes, I am being selfish. Yes, I love her. Yes, I want to be everything that she wants her man to be and yes I am not even a one percent of her needs or wants. Yet, I want to be around her. Why would I want to be? Because like Rabbi said,
tere bin / besides you
sanu sohnia / my love
koi hor nahio labhna / i shan't find another
jo dave / who'll give
ruh nu sakun / peace to my soul
chukke jo nakhra mera / and indulge me" (via)
No one else gives peace to my soul. Of course I dont do shit to her and no wonder I am not with her.

In fact she alleges that my love is the stifling kinds where I dont let her breathe. I put her under the weight of my expectations and she is not at peace. Pretty messed up. No? These one-sided love affairs are pretty sad. It sucks to sort of shuffle between sleep and reality and seeing her nudging her cheeks to me, inviting me to kiss her. Its great till you can see her, smell her and all that and moment you go to touch her, you wake up to a rude shock.

I need a break. I will take a break. I am going to go away for a bit (Delhi for a week between 12 and 23 - if you are around, lets meet). Everything in Mumbai reminds me of her and I really need a break. May be I need to move away from India altogether? Damn the escapist in me.

Moving on. To exhibit B. Steve. If you know me even a little bit, I am probably the biggest fanboy that Steve has. And I want to be like him. I dont want to be Saurabh Garg. I dont want to be the unique dude that everyone else wants to be. I want to be Steve Jobs and no one else. He is that big an inspiration. I do everything that it takes to reach his levels. I push myself hard. I push people around me harder. I try and deliver the best. I connect with him philosophically - I want the process and proceeds both to be amazing. I can continue talking about him forever but allow me to digress a bit here.

After Steve, I needed a new "muse", a new inspiration, a new Iron Man and this is where I turned to Elon. Unlike Steve who's work was more about pushing the boundaries and making lives easier, Elon is about pushing the boundaries and making lives better (easier vs better). And while I read about what all he does, I often get drifted towards the concept of time and life and space and death and all that. I realise that we are so small, so tiny in large scheme of things. Whatever you may do, will come to an end and you cant do anything about it.

The entire thought makes me sick in the gut. At times I am scared. And I cant even sleep in night. At 33, this is a pretty stupid thing to admit.

More than fearing death, I think I am afraid of the concept of unknown. Everything that makes me - my thoughts, my memories, my longing for sgMS, my dreams, my aspirations, my personality, my friends et al, what would happen to those once I am dead? And if I am going to be dead in the long run, what is the damn point of this life then? Why not end it right now and avoid unnecessary heartburns and other such troubles that I give to people close to me? Case in point sgMS. The days I get to meet her, the days she talks properly to me, the days when I get god vibes from her, those days I am happy like hell. May be I need another session of Vipassana where they try and teach you that there is no you. 

Death in fact has been a recurring theme in my thoughts and my dreams the last few days. The place I live at, it has a board that announces death of every person that resides in the building; and every other day I see yet another name marked on it and a place where that person would be put to rest. Creepy in so many ways. Then over the weekend, I read Reacher 20 and it was about people wanting to commit suicides. Yesterday, a colleague asked me to make my will. Last night, I was craving for sgMS while she was getting drunk and I did not know what to do find sleep. I turned to Quora and the first thread that it showed me was about how a happy, healthy young guy committed suicide without giving any sort of warning to his family and the family hasnt had a closure about the reason why he killed himself. And then in the morning today, I woke up to my maid howling about someone who's killed himself back home. Pretty fucked up man.

I dont know what to make out from all these recent things. From real life to dreams to fiction, I see it everywhere. If by any chance I were to die tomorrow and this is my last blogpost and this holds and legal merit, here is my latest will...
  • I dont have any debts. In fact I am to take some money from some people.
  • All my movable, immovable assets must be given to my parents and my sis equally. My bike goes to Vivek. Everything else to be given to people who may need those. 
  • All my digital data (computers, hard disks, blogs, social media accounts et al) to be wiped. I dont know how would you do it. But I trust Vivek to get it done.
  • My dead body must be reused (parts given to those in need and whatever is left to be given to medical science for research).
  • Proceeds from my book, if any, to go to M. Gawri. 
  • sgMS, I love you. Loved you till I died.  
Fuck, its so funny. I could sum up everything in my life in 6 bullet points. 6 bullet points. And these 6 points have made me realize that things we take so seriously are so so insignificant.

Anyhow, I am sick in the gut and I dont know what else to write. Lemme move on.

Wait. I am not suicidal (just in case you happen to read this and care enough to call and reason and all that). Just that there is just too long a string of coincidences. This too shall pass.

So, if I were the spiritual kinds, I would say that I am inviting death - afterall the thoughts manifest into actions and all that. In fact universe has been throwing death at me. But deep down inside I dont want it anywhere close to where I am. There are indeed so many miles to go before I sleep. And some of those miles with sgMS if not all. Here is a song for her...
I just want to see you, when you're all alone
I just want to catch you if I can
I just want to be there
When the morning light explodes
On your face it radiates
I can't escape
I love you 'till the end

I just want to tell you nothing
You don't want to hear
All I want is for you to say
Oh why don't you just take me
Where I've never been before
I know you want to hear me
Catch my breath
I love you 'till the end
I love you 'till the end

I just want to be there
When we're caught in the rain
I just want to see you laugh, not cry
I just want to feel you
When the night puts on it's cloak
I'm lost for words, don't tell me
'Cause all I can say
I love you 'till the end

All I can say
I love you 'till the end (via)
That's it for the time being.

Onwards to the rest of the day (Dharma) and a lunch with a friend. And then, may be, some work (Artha). And then, may be poker (Kama). As, they say in Purushartha, life is about Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.


P.S.: The way I've moved on from Steve (did I move on?), may be someday, I will move on. Inshallah some day I will come out of it. Some day I will find someone that accepts the way I am.

P.P.S.: Talk of digression. From Bukowski to Steve to Elon to sgMS to Life to Death to I dont know what all. Verbal Diarrhea. But the fact of the matter is, I feel good once I have poured out shit in my head on a blog. I just wish there was someone who I could talk to - about things that I write here. And about things that I cant write here. 

P.P.P.S.: #note2Self: Read more about Purushartha. 

Jan 2016 - Recap

Today's 3rd Feb. I should've written this 4 days ago. But better late than never. 

So the first month of what will be the most amazing year of my life is already over. And it went by so fast, so fast that I have no clue where it went. Yes, I did some work and I traveled to a few places for work, meetings (Sidenote: Must write about the kind of travel I do - for work - which may not be too instagram friendly) and other such trivial pursuits in the larger scheme of things.

Over the last one month, I've had some hits and some loses. Let me list those.

Hits
  • I have finally come to accept that I can live survive in Bandra. Though I spend very less time there, I am ok with it. Its a mistake that I dont want to repeat once the lease comes up for renewal, in September. Also, next time I will be wiser with my house hunt. 
  • I wrote 14 posts in January. Which is amazing. Because each post took time to think, write, edit and publish. If not more than 14 hours atleast. I am back to serious writing and its now a matter of time when #book2 happens. I am so late on it that its not funny. 
  • I am now clear that in this year I will focus on three things - events business, brand / digital strategy business and startups. Well, 'focus" on "three things" sounds stupid but if you know me, you will know that I've cut the list from 30000 things to 3. Which is an achievement. 
Loses
  • Did not make 10 lakhs in the month. Adds to the pressure of making 1 cr in 2016. But I did add a new client that hopefully will give me additional 20% income for at least the next 6 months. At this rate, need to add 20 more clients to be able to reach 10 lakhs a mo figure. And that wont happen without a team! So, I will probably try and get one.
  • Tried getting over sgMS but could not. This is probably the longest running struggle of my life, apart from trying to lose weight. I have tried multiple times but I cant seem to find a solution. The only two things left to try are, a, substance abuse and b, going far far away from here. The physical proximity (she's in Mumbai and her place is like less than 10 KMs away) keeps the hope afloat I guess. 
  • Met Prof Dhruv Nath yesterday and he reinforced what Raj and others have been telling me - that I am a great employee but I will suck as an employer / founder. Funny thing is that apart from me, everyone can see it. And I can either try to ignore what the world is saying. Or leverage on things. I will think more on this.
Thats it. I cant think of anything else. Come to think of it, life is so insignificant. Oh, I have been wondering of that as well over the last few days. I have sort of deep-dived into the life of Elon Musk (this article is a great place to start) and he's making me think on things like life, time, intelligent life, "forever" and so on and so forth. I dont know where I stand on Fermi Paradox or I dont know what impact I am going to have on the world but my belief is now reinforced that our time is limited and we often spend that stupid time on chasing frivolous things that may not really matter. Of course nothing really matters in the long run and everyone, everything has an expiry date. You may even ask what is the damn purpose of living if things dont matter. May be you live for people around you? May be you live for yourself? May be you dont know why you want to live. May be you want to help others. There are just too many may bes. But I do know that some things keep me going - this blog and the thoughts of #sgMS. And the pursuit of enough money that allows me to not be at the mercy of work that I may not want to do.

Also, I realised that I use "that's it" and "so" a lot while writing. May be need to eliminate it?

Also, someone told me that I write as if I am thinking while typing. I dont go back and edit. I concur. I love to see my words spewed on

Going forward, I am planning to take 7-10 days off in February and not do anything and think and sleep and all that. If all goes well, I will be gone from 15th to the 28th (when I goto Goa to play a poker tournament). While I am there, I want to create a model to evaluate if I am doing any better. Some questions that I could ask are...
  • So what has changed over the last time I "evaluated" myself?
  • What has helped me? 
  • Where do I want to be at the end of the year? 
  • How am I doing compared to same time last year?
That's it. Hope I write these every month.

Like always, if you read this and you have something to add, please do share! 

A day in Udvada

At a backlane in Udvada
Ever wanted to travel back in time?

You no longer have to wait for a mad scientist to work on a time machine. All you need to do is pack you bags, dump them in a car and drive about 200 odd KMs to this place called Udvada.

Once you reach there, you are sort of teleported to a different era where the buildings look as old as time itself. In fact the very concept of time seems to be a mirage as it moves so slow that you cant seem to notice the change.

Empty houses line up winding lanes that have more curves than they have on the mountains (except the lane in the pic on the left). Though the houses are replete with signs of life - the odd light bulb is hanging in the porch, the rooms beyond the porch are lit up, allowing light to escape through the tinted glass windows, the reclining chairs are placed strategically at an angle that allows you to gaze at the lane and yet keep you in shade and other such numerous things and yet, and yet you cant see a single person!

Except those two old Parsi uncles - an old man of about 70 and his father, who's may be 90 - that just gaze at other people pass by. Their gaze is as indifferent as if they were looking at a herd of goats clawing at patches of grass on the neighbors' land. May be we are all indeed goats in the larger scheme of things?

Anyhow, so, there is nothing much to do at Udvada except walk the lanes, click pictures, marvel at lavish houses, get astonished at the fact that such a peaceful, rustic, quaint place could house the holiest site for an influential religion. Because all other religious places tend to be a loud celebration of the religion, melee of confusion, dotted by scroungers hoping to find patrons and fat priests, hungrier than the beggars.

Oh I had to talk about this sooner. So, Udvada houses the Atash Behram (the holy fire temple for the Parsis) and is one of just eight such places in the whole of world. Apparently the fire's been burning since 1742 and is the oldest continuously burning fire in the world. The lore goes that the fire is a gathering of 16 types of fires and the Parsis go great lengths to preserve the sanctity of the fire. If you are not a Parsi, you can NOT go in. Tip: No, you cant bribe the guard. And no no no. You can NOT pose as a Parsi and go in to satiate your curiosity.

I am no expert on organized religion but its fascinating to see the extent people push themselves to be able to attach meaning to things that even the modern science has been unable to explain (for example, life and meaning of things).

At Udvada, apart from the holy fire, there is a rocky beach lined with dark soil that is not really inviting. Could be skipped, unless you love sunsets. Or sunrises. Or the number of likes that the photos you click get on Facebook and Twitter. Then there is this huge cricket ground and a football ground that could very well be among the most postcard-picture perfect grounds in the country. Tip: Click a nice one of the ground and you will get more than average likes!

There are a few restaurants that serve authentic Parsi food, which is a delight even to a vegetarian egg-etarian like me (in fact, I am told a Parsi takes his eggs very seriously and an egg is an important part of his cuisine). So do try to have at least one meal at either the Globe or the Ashishwang - we did not go to either - they did not really invite us in.

Not just the restaurants, I got stared down by a lot of other people while I was there. It could be my fault to have intruded in their private place or it could have been my looks. I am not sure but they definitely were not welcoming - which is not a great thing. I was initially confused about uncalled for, unprovoked unfriendly stares but once I got over the confusion and realized that most non-Parsis are greeted similarly, I was ok with it. I have been in more hostile situations and I've been trained to get over the nagging feeling. Tip: Do not enter a who-blinks-first. If however you do, please tell me of the outcome.
 
To defend the trip as a food-laden experience, we did stop at Atithi and at Ahura en route to Udvada and Mumbai respectively. Both the places have been recommend by Rocky and Mayur of HOMP fame. The egg-cutlet with Salli (potato sticks, grated fine and deep fried) was amazing and I'd never had anything like that ever. VG ate some dishes made with chicken and other animals and the dishes were apparently so delicious that we got them packed for our onward journey. I would've gone back to Atithi and Ahura if I were a foodie. Since these restaurants are commercial establishments, the waiters were nice to us and made the dining experience great, reinforcing my belief that economics is what moves the world! Tip, Google search for Atithi and Ahura before you set off. They are not too tough to miss while you are driving down the well-maintained highway.

To summarise, before I went to Udvada I had my doubts but thanks to VG, I went and I loved it. While I loved to walk through the town and soak in the scenes and smells and sounds and all that, I am not sure if I would want to live there. But I do wish I could go back there with a genuine, authentic Parsi some day and enjoy it like the insiders!

In terms of Experience, the trip was a 4 on 5.

In terms of Accessibility, I'd say 4 on 5. Once you cross the Thane Toll Naka, you are on a national highway (NH 8) and thus is a pretty smooth ride. You have to take a left from a certain point and then the road becomes a State Highway and starts reminding you of Goa. Trees line up the road and sunlight plays hide and seek with you as you drive down the narrow and yet well-laden road.

The Cost has to be a 3 on 5. Affordable. In all, we would've spent about 2000 bucks on fuel, 2000 bucks on eating and a 3000 rupee-a-night resort. Expensive but then, what else do you expect from two old men trying to escape discover life?

Signing off!
Saurabh Garg
31 Jan 2016

P.S.: I went to Udvada on the 23rd of this month with VG. Took me a few days to find time to be able to write this but I am glad I did. Also, I am trying my hands at serious travel writing. Do tell me how to improve. I know I need to add more photos - which I will, next trip on. What else can I improve?

Like a rolling stone...

I have this maniacal flip flop switch in my head. It gets triggered at odd hours that I cant seem to control. I could be in the middle of a gathering of some of my people and boom! it goes and I am lost for words. I want to get away from everyone and everything. At other times, I am dumped in one of the million miseries that shroud me and click it goes and I am happy. For no reason.

And this happens very often. There is no set pattern per se but it does happen. And unlike other miseries, it does not come with a warning. If there were warnings, I could be prepared. But no, there are no warnings.

I dont know if this is a known disorder but the pseudo-smart dude in me has deduced that I am probably suffering from a mild form of bipolar disease. I have spoken about it on this blog at least twice (one, two) in the past. A quick glance at the two posts tell me that nothing has changed. I am little better in terms of where I am going with life. But I am still not anywhere close to any source of eternal happiness.

So this flip flop switch remains a mystery to me. And because I have this desperate need for closure, I have to find an answer to it. I have tried everything short of getting professional help - I may do so if things continue to go like this. I have infact made a list of questions that I have about this. A not so comprehensive list would be...
  1. Am I the only to have these demons in my head? 
  2. Is there an end? Will I ever reach a state of bliss? Or I will have to succumb to alcohol, substance abuse and all that?
  3. How do I fix it? Do I need to find a job? Do I need to get married? Do I need an adventure? What the fuck do I need?
Any answers anyone? No? Well, Thank you!

Apart from this list, I have also told myself to start taking notes. For two things - the triggers for the switch and when / how of things that help me come out of it. Because once I know these two, I can get little more rational and predictable and genteel in my demeanor.

So, what causes it? There are no specific answers but the likely suspects are...
  1. The times when I wish sgMS was next to me. At a gathering of friends, at a new place that I travel to, when I do something big and other things that ought to be shared with someone special. And there is no one as special as she. 
  2. The times when I get rubbed the wrong way by people. This could be colleagues at work (I cant digest incompetence), strangers (talking to me rudely without a reason), friends and family (for no reason) et al. Of course in all the cases, I have to be at fault (I am the I am not ok, you are ok type). I have just too many things that limit me. I may need to get out of it. In fact, a friend says, that as a poor man, you can not be eccentric. Unless you are Roark
  3.  Incessant work meetings that dont have an end or a destination in sight. Agreed my entire life is like a meandering deer in an infinite pasture and a paper boat drifting aimlessly in a downward stream. But I dont understand how people who have worked for ages at fancy places with great people could be do indecisive. It sucks to see such incompetence running large companies. If they Elon could find a way to automate the decision making and take the onus off people, life would be so so much better. BTW, there is this entire debate about efficacy of mechanical, artificially intelligent decision making vs human judgement (judgement based on available data, experience and gut). I tend to lean on the human side but we ought to work towards making AI engines smarter. Ok, I digressed. 
  4. Inability to get things done. My work requires me to talk to a lot of people and I have lately realized that I suck at getting things done from other people. In the words of @Jason, I am Bob Dylan, not Rolling Stones. So, it could be my inability to get work done from people? Or my inability to understand their inability to comprehend simple things and do things? Arrghhh... am ranting! 
Cutting short the list. There are many more reasons but these were the things from the top of my head.

And how do I come out of it?
  • Often a session of music (by Lucky Ali, Rabbi, Dylan) helps - I love to drown the outside voice by blaring loud music in my ears. 
  • Other times a drive helps. But then my partner in crime is sort of moving up in life, I dont get to go on drives as much. May be if I could afford a car, I could go more often?
  • Writing helps. But I dont get into the flow most times when I am sad. Sometime I do. Like when I started writing this post, I was sad (even though there is no reason for being sad) and somehow as I write this, I can see the shroud lifting. Inshallah it does. I shall report at the end of the post if I am back to the normal self.  
  • It often helps if I eat something nice (classic symptom of depression). 
  • I try my hand at mindless work (like aligning objects on the latest powerpoint deck that I am working on) and it often helps. But I dont really have a lot of powerpoints to work on on most days. 
I cant think of more. And like the triggers, this list of antidotes is also from the top of my head. I probably need to list more such things. May be I will keep a track of things on my Evernote or something?

Good idea! It sounds like a plan and I shall take notes and report next time something changes substantially. Over n out.

Oh, one more thing. While I was ranting, the answer dawned on to me. From the philosopher and guide, Rabbi Shergill. He says and I quote..
jaddon na kujh agge disse tahiyon bandaa vekhe picche

Translates into, when you cant see whats up ahead, you tend to look back. So may be, just may be, my problem is that I look back too often? May be I need to have something to look up to?

What do you guys look up to?

P.S.: I think I am far better than what I was when I started writing this. So, thumbs up! 

P.P.S.: I have captured things that fuck up my mood. I need to capture things that elevate it as well.

Three scenes

Scene 1
A 33-year old man. Dressed in baggy denims, ripped at the knee on one side. Torn at the leg opening on the other. Linen shirt that needs ironing. Almost bald and a disheveled mop of hair on the crown of the head. An unkempt salt and pepper beard.

The guy tries to walk in to a swank building that has security guards from G4S. The building houses corporate offices of a few leading banks and other such businesses. And like any other "corporate park" the building also has a few fancy restaurants.

While the man attempts to walk in the building to meet a friend for lunch at the restaurant, he is singled out and is asked by the security guard about his intentions. And while this is happening, a few hundred characters, dressed in clothes ranging from three-piece suits in the muggy Mumbai weather to a dress that barely covered the woman's modesty to a worker who probably was engaged as a window-cleaner to everything in between walked past by. Without raising anyone's eyes or suspicions.

Back to the man. He calmly tells that he intends to goto one of the restaurants and the guards give him an incredulous look and want to frisk him.

Scene 2
A resident of a not-so-posh building is walking in to the lift lobby to go up to his home. The security guard at the entrance asks him to make an entry into the visitor's logbook. When the resident tells the guard that he lives in the building and he is not supposed to make an entry into the logbook, the guard frowns at him, scans him from top to bottom and asks him, how could he own / rent a place in the not-so-posh building.

Scene 3
A not-so-young man has matched with a very attractive lady on a dating app and he is all excited about meeting her. They meet up but the moment the lady sees him and his tattered clothes and his hair, she abruptly cuts the visit short and escapes by making an excuse.

There are more such scenes that I can recount. And the dude in all these three scenes is me. And all these things have happened to me in the course of last three few days.

My impressionable heart and mind refuses to come out of the shock. That the world I live in judges people on the basis of how they look. I mean I've always known that great looks can get you ahead in life, career and all that. But this is blatant discrimination. And its not nice to be on the receiving end. I now know the reason for all the anger and frustration of people who've faced discrimination on the basis of their color, race, skin, thoughts and so on and so forth.

While we talk of (in)tolerance and openness and all such things, I dont get that that the world treats me like an anomaly and I cant function like a normal human being! I mean we are nothing in the large scheme of things. No one knows the reason of life and all that. We will all die someday, leaving behind I dont know what and I dont know for whom. Whatever time we have here, why cant we be and let others be? Live and let live? There is just so much to do, so much to enjoy. There are so many miracles that we ought to enjoy, rather than staring at people who are different.

Dont believe me? Go get caught in the rain and tell me if it matters how someone is dressed!

Andy from Shawshank, in the rain.

Notes from Bandra - 1

Subject: Bandra seems alien to me. 

So its little over month since I moved to Bandra. Although so far I havent had the time to explore the area, I still go to a certain place everyday to go sleep. And when I wake up, I still have to walk a bit to get my rickshaw. Or train. Or whatever.

It is at these walks that I have discovered a bit of Bandra that I know of. The bit that makes me equipped enough to claim that Bandra is alien to me. The rational part of my brain tells me that it is very much a part of Mumbai, which in turn is a part of India. And India is home. Always will be. Unless something drastic happens. It also tells me that unlike all other places where I have lived, Bandra has the "most" foreign heritage (Portuguese and all that). So it is natural to be disconnected with things. But Bandra is as much a part of India as I am!

However, the emotional part of my brain revolts at the thought of Bandra as a part of me. Or me as a part of Bandra. I know I am not cool enough to be here. I love old world charms but I dont have what it takes to live in old, ill-maintained, cramped buildings. I love small alleys and nooks but I cant breathe in the filth that has been gathering for years. I have nothing against people who have pets at home but I cant get barked upon by a street dog that is fed by the locals. For some reason, I am not free here. I am restrained. And I love my freedom more than anything else and I want to guard it with as much gusto as I can. Bandra does not give me the freedom. Freedom of mind ladies and gents.

Thing is, while I love surprises and exploring and all that, I want things to be familiar at the place I live. If wanted alien-ity around me, I'd rather live out of a suitcase and adopt a nomadic lifestyle - which I will once I have the money. Damn contradictions!

Wait. What is alien? Something that you cant relate to. Something that is unexpected. Something that is not you. Something that you stop and take note.

I do all of the above as I walk the winding lanes in Bandra. While people speak the language I speak, they dress almost like I do, they almost eat what I eat but it seems like a foreign land to me. The roads are broken and yet fancy cars that are a far cry from Marutis zoom on them. There are hawkers and temples (and churches and mosques), both pimping their wares louder than the other. There are small boutique fancy restaurants competing with the Mumbai sandwich "chefs" on a stand for the palette. There are Indians who look like foreigners and foreigners trying to blend in. There is so much happening all around you that you are lost like a kid in wonderland. The way a traveler is lost in a foreign land. Alien land.

Oh Bandra, you are not for me!

When in doubt, you turn to the philosopher and guide Rabbi. On Bandra, he says, "Tu avin Bandra, Taenu sab pata chalega" - Come to Bandra, you'll know it all. May be these 9 months in Bandra will be spent on the journey within? May be its part of the evolution? Am I finally growing up? Or I am merely depressed?

Dont know. Dont care. Over to the next post.

Saurabh Garg,
Bandra,
22 Jan 2016

P.S.: Oh, by the way, as I write this, its is probably the best weather in Mumbai. Its windy and its pretty cold and it keeps the Mumbaikars indoors. So after the office hours, the roads are less crowded and less maddening. Last night I was at the Bandstand and I loved the cold winds from the ocean breaking on my face. The place that is teeming with people was deserted. And I loved sitting there and writing.

P.P.S.: No, I am not cribbing. I am merely observing things from a rational and emotional view point.

P.P.P.S.: As I write this post, it seems to me that I have lost my writing mojo. Words aren't flowing that easy. Its no long a pleasure to write. I havent seen my fingers dance on the keyboard lately. I have a tough time getting in the flow. I dont know who / what to blame. Lack of time? Lack of reading? Lack of motivation? Lack of what else? Whatever. I have to re-initiate work on #book2.

P.P.P.P.S.: Guess the need to belong is gnawing at me? Context? Read yesterday's post

Untitled - 2016/01

While I was walking back from a station today, I realised something really cool. That now that I am doing ok work-wise and money-wise and I may claim to be a little more stable now, rather than craving for more work, more money, more this or more that, I've been missing #sgMS a lot lately.

Ordinarily when you have work and you are busy, you tend to not have time for things like love. Compared to last year. I did not have too many things on my plate and yet I was ok without her.

Also, I've always been told that once you make your first lakh, you want to make 10 lakhs. And then you want to make 1-crore and then 10 crores and so on and so forth. I have been lucky to have made my first lakh (in savings), and yet I dont have the carrot of 10 hanging in front of me. Of course my ambition is to reach 1 crore in this year and I am committed to it, the first lakh did not make me stare at the 10-lakh number.

Coming back, so why do I crave for her?

May be because, because of all the work, I dont have time to engage in any useless fluff that takes up a lot of time (things like checking FB updates like a maniac, engaging the trolls, stalking the intelligent ones, pimping my book etc.). And thus I am focused on stuff that matter. Work. Her.

May be because, because of all the work, I am spending a lot of time in transit - so there are more rickshaws rides, trains (yes Mumbai local), taxis (not Ubers) and all that. And since I cant work in transit, or read, or do anything productive, I am drifted to her.

May be because I am older and wiser and I know what I want and what I dont? Like Steve says, the dots connect when you look back?

May be deep down, I somehow know that I can provide for her and I thus want to be with her? After all the biggest crib I have had with life all these years is that I was poor and she was not so poor. Not that I am now an equal, just that I am little more comfortable.

May be I am old and know that I have to settle down? (PS this is a change in stand. From a time when I was not willing to listen to even an argument about wedding, now I want her around. For good.

Anyhow, the point of the post is not her. Really. The point is, I realized today that while I am ambitious, I am not greedy. When I become big, I will not become an asshole. When I've made my first crore, I will chase more but I will not be motivated by the next milestone of 10 crores. I will chase more work and grow more and I will give back more (I have two interesting things lined up for this - will talk about them soon).

So, yeah. Thats about it. Of course this is a first-world problem and I am very lucky to have it. Hope the problem continues!

P.S.: Too much information?

By 2025

I just made a promise to myself. That by 2025, I would have climbed to the top of the Everest. Tall claim. But I will.

Everest!

Why a date in the first place? 
Vivek tells me that goals without dates are meaningless. And this cartoon by ZenPencils opened up my eyes. I had to put a date. And I couldn't think of anything else but a 10-year time frame to attempt it.

Why ten years? 
People tell me that it takes 18 months of preparation and 60 lakhs INR to give Everest a serious shot. 18 months to acclimatize the body and get to the required fitness level. 60 lakhs to pay the Sherpas and others (its an established business where you pay companies a certain sum and they ensure that you reach the summit).

So I need time to be able to earn that kind of money. And I need to provide for my family. And I need to fulfill my "reason" - the reason I was put here for. I refuse to believe that all this is just a big coincidence. May be it is - after all, everything will be dead in the long run, including Mother Earth. But I refuse to believe that. There has to be an explanation. Not too evolved spiritually but whatever little I know of, I have a reason and I need to find it in 10 years.

And yes, there is a big big chance that I may not come back. And hence the ten years. To live this life.

Why Everest?
Because it is probably the toughest thing to do, in terms of human endurance? Even if it is not the toughest, it is definitely the highest. And it may be commercialized and easy if you have the money and all that, it remains the highest point on Mother Earth. And I will go up there. By 2025.

Serious! 

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?