Where did WAR (the film) miss?

War, starring Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff (more on Wikipedia)
A couple of days ago, I did something that is very unlike me - went and saw a first-day first-show of a Bollywood Movie!

When I was told it is an action film and is a story of a spy, I had my doubts - I mean look at Bard of Blood and Family Man. But sometimes you have to do things that you may not want to. And to be honest, while I went for it very reluctantly (an understatement) but I must admit that I enjoyed watching it. I think War probably marks the coming of age for Bollywood action flicks.

Having said that, as a writer, there are a few things that I need to talk about that I could not digest. Please note that there are spoilers ahead. Please read ahead only if you have seen the movie. And if you plan to, please do not read from here on.

A. 
So, in the movie, you learn that the person betraying the country is someone from the team itself (as always is). But the traitor has been able to avoid detection because he has taken the face (plastic surgery) and tone (vocal cord modulation) and mannerisms (I don't know how) of another soldier that has died previously.

Now, the thing is, the tool of plastic surgery and vocal cords modulation is one of the laziest things you can ever use to spring surprises and suspense.

If you are a detective, you BETTER work hard to solve the case. You are a superhero, goddamit! Agreed that in the film the lead spy was flummoxed by this plastic surgery and all that. But what did I do to deserve earn answers? 

And more importantly, the audience needs to work hard alongside the detective. It is as important for the audience to solve the case alongside, as it is for the spy. People watch movies (or read books) because when they watch or read, in their heads they are living extraordinary lives (of the spy) that they can never live otherwise.

And finally, as the creator of the story, you better work HARDER to create a mystery that your readers / viewers can solve alongside. It is what gives them release. It is what will make them go wow. This release that the audience gets made Sherlock great. And Poirot. And Reacher. And almost all the detectives / sleuths / spies that we have come to love over the years.

Of course, they go wow when they see all those thousands of abs scattered around. But you are not making an eye-candy flick. It's a spy film! 

B. 
The other issue I have with the story is that the character of Tiger Shroff did not get his due.

In the entire first half of the film, he is shown as a person that is struggling, literally dying, to prove that he is a true patriot. And he wants to redeem himself and his mother for the things that his father did.

And the let down is that he is killed without him even getting a chance to get what he seeks! I mean, how DARE you kill a character like that like that?

Like that one - you did so much hard work to build a character and tell us about his wants and likes and all that. I want to fall in love with the character. I want to cry when he dies. In my case, I was laughing because of the frivolity of the plot.

Like that two - you invested so much time in building it and so much effort in creating his story and all that. And then you just killed him, just like that. And you gave him almost zero shot at redemption! Why would you do that?

In a story, you do NOT create a character and tell me what he wants and then do NOT take that character to a place where he gets what he's wanted all along. Of course in the pursuit of his "want", the character may fail (Joker failed to get what he wanted) but he has to die fighting and as the audience, I need to be a part of his struggle. I need to feel for him. Feel happy that he did or did not reach there. Feel sad that he could not reach there.

In #war, he just died. Like died without even putting up a fight. And the worst part? His last act before he died was insubordination. I mean is that great last memory of the second most important character in the story?

Can't digest.

So yeah. That's it.

Phew. I feel lighter now that I have written this. 

Of course, I am absolutely ok with creating eye-candy and with leaving logic behind. No doubt that the film is an absolute treat to watch. It has everything that a Bollywood fan may want. In fact, I would love to make films like that. But then this is very close to the kind of stories I write. And thus I had to speak my mind.

And in the end, I must mention that each piece I write where I critique the work of others must be read alongside this disclaimer by Anton Ego. Read is here.

PS: Even though I am one-half of the TheRedSparrow, this post has been written in my personal capacity.

Winter is coming!

So, I sent this email to some people that I work with. Triggered by some incidents at work. What those incidents were, different talk for a different day. The lesson, pertinent. For each day, for each person. Especially for knowledge workers in this information age and economy. 

Oh, some of my people told me that this sound condescending. Which it may. And if it does, I apologize. But the message is an important one to be sent around! 

Read on... 
So I wrote a 2500-word email on how we need to be reliable as knowledge-workers and a collective and a company and all that. I called it "Winter is Coming" and I meant to say that the way the world around us is moving, most knowledge workers would find it tough to find work in an environment when purses get tightened, costs plummet and more and more people join the workforce. 
But in the morning while I was editing it, the email disappeared.
And there went my angst with it.
I think it was good that it disappeared - I had written nasty things in it. 
Wait.
Angst?
Why? 
Well, that email was triggered by three separate instances of people telling me that people I promote (you guys, your ideas, and your companies) are NOT reliable at all. 
Let that sink in. 
Not reliable at all. 
I was told that we promise the world and then we don't deliver. Heck, chuck the delivery, we don't even call back. We go radio silent for days. Clients keep chasing us but we don't take their calls, we don't respond to their messages while we are active on twitter and all that. 
Guys, everyone can see that you have time for chilling but no time for work. 
And 2 of those 3 told me that they are taking their work elsewhere. We may not be paid a lot by these people - we are in the build phase of our lives - but each interaction, each opportunity is worth a lot! We can't afford to lose opportunities. 
Boys and girls, I am ok with sub-standard work but I am not ok with not being reliable. And of course, sub-standard work is not cool. We must strive to do great work. More on this someday later.
So, as someone who has partnered with you (or hopes to partner with you soon), I can not have this.
I will not tolerate that we are not reliable.
If we cant deliver a certain thing, we MUST say so.
In as many words.
If we cant deliver, let's apologize and not keep them guessing.
It's ok to say no. But it's not ok to not deliver. 
In the business we are in, reliability is THE most important thing ever. If we cant be reliable, we have no rights to be in the business. In fact, we will be out of business before we know it. The world is run by people that are reliable. You could be the most brilliant person ever but if you are not reliable, you are nothing. I learned the lesson the hard way. Till a few months ago I was loose with what I said. But I am changing and improving. And can I request you to please improve as well, please? 
Each of you is better than me.
And I am super proud of what you do and super grateful that I know you and work with you.
But I am NOT ok with this thing about being unreliable.
This may be a tiny thing for you - for the world, it is LARGE.
Think of the times when you have promised things and not delivered. Swap yourself with the person you promised things to. Now, if someone tells you that something will be done by a certain time and then they don't do it, how do you feel? That is how the world feels when you don't call them back or do as promised. 
Not pointing fingers at any one person in particular. Just want to make sure you know who we are. Reliable. Trustworthy. Accountable. People that believe in Zubaan Ki Keemat. 
Ok enough. Have to go. That's the lesson for the day. I get so riled up with this! Imagine if I can write these 500 words dripping with exasperation, imagine the effort I had put in for that 2000-word essay! May I will re-write that 2000-word essay. But for the time being, the word reliable has to be tattooed on our foreheads. Please :D 
-
Love you guys!
SG 
PS: Not every one of you is unreliable. But I want to reinforce this as the number 1 thing that we stand for. 
PPS: Sending this to some people that I don't work with right now but am hoping to work with, in the near future. Please tolerate this outburst :)

The Birthday Blues

So, for the record, birthdays are the absolute worst thing in the world for people who are underachievers and are not ok with their underachievement.

You know what am saying? Some people do well for themselves. Most people don't and yet they are ok with it. And then there is a handful like me who want to do really well really bad and are unable to and have no clue what to do about it. And for people like that, people like me, birthdays are the worst thing ever.

The very idea that I am a year older with nothing tangible or emotional to show for is the worst ever. Most years I escape the feeling when I get away from the world I know and thus even the idea that it was the day when you were born almost 4-decades ago. This year, thanks to the lull in the business and dwindling bank balance, I had to stay put. And it was a terrible decision. I should've gone away.

Anyhow. So because I could not get away, I was watching this documentary on Bill Gates - where he is talking about his life and what he wants to do with it. And there's just one word that came to my head as I was seeing it. Wow.

Bill is a living example of what exemplary achievement is. On all counts. Business. Impact. Philanthropy. Investing. People. Growth. Partnership. Relationships (though he could do better on that count). Think of a thing and he has excelled at it.

Now, look at me. All 37 years of my existence. What do I have to report for these years?

Nothing!

But then, thanks to Bill, I am inspired to do more with my life. Really am. But I am also a tad bit depressed about my inability to have led a meaningful life. Or have any impact. Or reach any sort of success with anything. It's been 37 years and these years that I have spent amount to nothing.

I don’t have a thing that people evaluate others on - financial savings, tangible assets, intangible impact, etc. I don’t have a thing that will be remembered after I am gone. Fuck the legacy - I don’t care what happens when I am gone but I want to make a tangible difference to the lives of people around me. And beyond. I have nothing of that sort happening. If I had a fat-ass naukri, I would tell myself that at least I have this fat bank balance. But that too is, well, blue!

Damn!

Chalo, enough.

Hope tomorrow is a little better.

#untitled - 20092019

Yo Fam (see am a hipster - I call readers "fam". If you are old like me, you may want to read what fam means here)!

Trust you are well. I am ok. I could be better though. Such is life. You know, ups and downs. Ebbs and flows. Light and darkness. Yin and yang. Yes and no. Fuck I can make a long list of dualities that us humans are subjected to all the time! But that's not the point of this post. The point is, well, no point.

Thing is, I haven't written for a while - not here, not on book2 (which is a focus area for me this month), not on SoG (even though, thanks to a tweet by Ashish, it got more than 20 new subscribers), not on my echoChamber, not on my tracker that tracks EVERYthing I do. Heck, I am not even posting on twitter (well, I am. But not as much as I would like to).

There's this lull. I think its a reflection of how things are around us. Almost everyone including me seems to be struggling to make ends meet (except the ones that have stable naukris - and what's a stable naukri, well I don't know). And because there is this general pessimism, it probably has trickled down to me. And you know these things tend to have a feedback loop. I am not happy. That means I don't feel like working. I am not working and hence I am not creating anything. I am not creating anything, I don't see the output. I don't see the output, I don't get happy. And I get unhappier. And the thing spirals down to a point where I hit rock bottom.

This spiral had to be broken. And that can only happen if you are creating (in my case). Works different for different people. So, I am back to creating. Starting with this blog. And then extending this to work. And beyond.

You know, how they say that you can't control shit that happens in the world but you can control how that manifests at your end? That!

That's about it for the time being. Good to be back.

Oh and in case you did not spot anything amiss, I think I would say I've done a great job. And if you did, pray tell me. And if you don't care, well, who does :D

Hello, September!

I send a monthly letter to a few people that have helped me grow in my career. This is a slightly edited version of this. If you want me to add you to this list, please do let me know.

Hello, September!
Hi!

This is Saurabh and this is the September version of my monthly emails to people who care :) In case you forgot what I wrote in August, it's archived here.

August was long and yet it flew away faster than the fastest Bullet Train that has been promised to us Indians. August was faster than you can blink. I mean I couldn't even read and respond to your emails and the month had gone by!

I will talk about what I did in August, but before anything else, thank you!

Really.
Thank you! 
For being around.
For helping me when I was in a soup.
For tolerating these emails.
Even if you don't read these, the thought that you are reading these emails keeps me going. You know, Eklavya?

So, in August, I had said I'd do the following...
a. Finish Show Bible for my second book
No, I did not do it.
I tried. I could not.
It is taking longer than I expected. I did put in the effort and yet it is far from the finish. It is taking me longer. I will work on this in September as well.

b. Lose 1 inch from my waist.
I did this one.
Yay!
Thanks to a combination of a lot of things - sleep, tracking what I eat, mindful snacking, a 3-day fast to get into the healthy habit and walking more than what I would typically walk. And a lot of effort from BR on helping me understand the importance of food.

I want to lose another inch this month. Even though I am on the road a lot this month, I am hoping to add running / brisk walk to my fitness regimen this month on. More on this in a bit.

c. The other notable things that happened in the month of August 2019 are... 
  • #tnks (my first book) got shortlisted at the South Asian Film Market at Singapore South Asian International Film Festival. Was a big deal for me. I hope it gets picked up and gets converted into a film. If it does, it will be a step closer to where I want to be as a writer. Also, when I was in Singapore, I understood how much harder and smarter I need to work to be able to reach where I want to be! I learned a lot and I was left humbled. I even wrote a short post on it. If you are curious, you may read it here.
  • Bin Bulaye, the first short-film I co-produced with a couple of people is now ready for release. This officially makes me a filmmaker that has shipped some content and marks the start of my career as a filmmaker. The next step is another short and then after a series of such steps, someday, an actual feature. Oh, for the next short, I am raising money. In case you know people who want to fund indie, short films, do connect. Please note that "investing" in a short film does not give any returns per se - so these are risky "assets" (the largest return you'd get is bragging rights). And if you want an esoteric answer, as a filmmaker (or a creative individual), you do these things and put your life and money and effort and blood and toil and everything else into the art to be able to open the eyes of people who've shut them tight. Indie films allow you to do that.
  • Launched Hop197.com. Hop197.com will chronicle the journey of a dear friend Sujoy and his wife as they attempt to become the most-traveled couple from India. So far they've been to 120+ countries. I am helping them put the website and a partner in the online piece. Let's see how it goes.
  • Gave my first paid-for talk on a stage to an audience of 100 odd people. On branding and storytelling. And oh boy, what a bad job I did there! I need to work hard on my presentation skills. I am thinking I will join some acting school or something to improve how I talk and how I conduct myself on stage. Thankfully the presentation I made at Singapore about my book was pretty cool. Phew!

So, September.
In this month, I plan to work on the following...

a. Show Bible for the second book
Been on this since August 19.
It is taking longer and from what I've seen, it will take more than just a month :(
So, even though I will gun for a finish in September, it may stretch into October. Let's see.

b. Start running
Not walking, not jogging. Running.
This means that I need to be able to 4 kilometers in 30 minutes.
I know it is not fast. But that is what I hope to do. To start with.
If I can do this, in October, I will add weights to my training regimen.

c. Get saurabhgarg.com up and running
I've always wanted to have a home for all that I do and think and play with and all that.
I've had the domain name for a while but never cared to work on a website.
In Sep, I will.
And along with the website, I will stop underselling myself and start marketing myself.
No, I don't want to go overboard but I want to be known a tad more. After all the size of opportunities you get is a function of the number of people you know! This thing about being known more has got reinforced after the trip to Singapore. In fact, I ran an experimental survey where I asked people to tell me what they think of me and this is what they had to say. Not really in the zone that I want people's perception to be about me, but it is a great starting point.

d. Do a one-month reading deep-dive into one specific topic
I plan to read about one topic in as much depth as I can. And then try to put a blog post about it. For example, can I read A LOT about whatever Warren Buffet has said (and see all his videos) and then catalog them into a nice note that can be a primer for others? Much like what Tim Urban is attempting about "everything". Or what Julian did for writing, muscle, and growth. And of course, I will continue to read about a wide range of things, apart from this one thing. I just need to find a subject. If not Warren, then maybe I'd read about crypto. Or about what Jeff has said? What do you think will be in demand in times to come?

e. Work towards creating a business that takes me beyond India
The intent is to go global and have reduced dependency on the motherland for my survival and growth.

And why would I do that? Long story. I'd write a post about it someday.

But help me. I can straddle between digital marketing, events, and strategic marketing. If you know of opportunities, would love to pitch in. And apart from that, please do tell me what other things could be done that take me beyond the borders. I've been meeting people and I have some ideas but I need more help.

That's it. That's how September is going to be. And no, these are not too many things.

So that’s about it.
Thanks again for your patience.
And all the help.

Hope you have a good day and a good month ahead.
Please do let me know if I could be of any service to you.

Gratitude and Respect,

-

Saurabh Garg
@saurabh
Send me anonymous feedback
Updates from previous months - 0819

***

Previous updates: Aug 2019
All posts here.

On writing (from my newsletter)...

Wrote this in today's edition of my daily-ish newsletter. Subscribe here. Thought it deserved a wider subscription. 

What I write, to be honest has nothing to do with my book or the film. Neither it inspires any of my readers to do anything extraordinary. But to me, writing is about writing for the sake of writing. You know, getting some words on paper (or keystrokes on a laptop) is like the best thing that can ever happen to me. I mean, I can't paint. I don't have the ability to hold attention. I am not well-read (ok, I read a lot but I haven't read deeply about things - you know, have merely scratched the surface). I cant doodle. I am not funny. I have two left feet (so dance is out). I am the greatest bathroom singer to have ever walked the Mother Earth and thus I must never sing outside. The guitar and the Uke are rotting in some corners in the house. Bicycling is not my thing. Clubs are boring. I'd love to take photographs but requires way too much patience. Video games were a thing when I was younger - now, I don't have the reflexes. I would watch TV when I had more time but with attention spans getting shorter and time becoming increasingly rare, I tend to pick other things to invest my time on. 

So, I am left with writing as the thing to find an escape. And to find inspiration. And to try and get to salvation. Of course, I am yet to reach a point where I can say that I am good writer, the point, ladies and gents, is, writing is what makes me happy and makes me forget the fuckeries and vagaries of the world around me. And you know what, I am grateful about it. I just need to do a lot more of it!

<end>

Originally posted in today's edition of my daily-ish newsletter. Subscribe here

Saurabh Garg - Personal Brand

This is an excerpt from the daily newsletter that I send out to some friends. More about the newsletter is here.

Please read this and tell me what you think. 
The next thing that I want to share (and more than share, write and thus get clarity in my head) is my personal brand.

For starters, twitter. 
So, twitter is the largest, strongest, baddest, bestest connection I have to the outside world (I remain an introvert at most other places). And on Twitter, I would often post whatever comes in my head, even if those things are embarrassing and cringe-inducing. You know, I was being authentic (I am like that IRL). Which was great to a point in time. But I feel that authenticity is making me a tad more human that what I hope to be and is thus preventing me from making business connections. And to be honest, right now, I need business connections more than anything else at this point in life.

Ergo, fixing twitter. Step 1 towards fixing personal brand.

Last night, I split my twitter usage in three. Yes, three. I am not for small measures ;)

@saurabh - where I'll mostly talk about work. Try to create connections that can take me far. I will talk about my writing, marketing consulting assignments, events and all the projects that I am a part of. The idea will be to use the platform to showcase work, create more opportunities and meet more people that can help me grow.

@altsaurabh - this is where I would move what I was doing with @saurabh. Put things that I want friends and family to see.

@altsg - this remains the way it was. A backup account that I use when I am super-fucked in the head. 
And yes, I take myself very seriously ;P

I know I should not - I have been warned by enough people in as many words (including that longish comment). But I don't know how else to live. I am a reflection of my work. And my work consumes all of me. I don't have a personal life, heck, I don't want one. I don't enjoy anything else but this grind. There is nothing else that I am passionate about. There is nothing that I think I will ever do in life but think about the next. You know, divinely discontent. Each thing I do -- from writing to fitness to hopes to live long and more -- is an input for things that I can work on.

I know my definition of life and work is kind of warped. I don't know what is work-life balance. I don't even want to know. And the range of things that I work on is pretty wide but it is what it is.

Assuming that is the border you have to work in, if you are willing to help, do see my LinkedIn profile and my website and please do tell me if all these are in sync and make sense to you.

That's about it I guess for the time being.

See you guys tomorrow!

On drives!

Wrote this yesterday on my newsletter. Subscribe here

Hello!
I continue to fail. Sigh!
But I continue to not give up either. Yay!

That's' how the life of an artist typically is. At least mine is.
Lot of action. Lot of lulls.
Lot of work. Lot of waiting.
Lot of inspiration. Lot of dark periods.

So anyway. Coming back. A Saturday. How's it going for you guys? Yesterday, I slept at 8 PM and I thought I would wake up at 4 AM and get all the pending things done. But then I woke at 1:55. Then I woke up at 4:01 and finally at 7 ish. No, no remorse for sleeping in for 11 hours. I have this drive today (if it happens) where I would be up for some time.

Drives.

One of those things that I am a BIG BIG fan of. If I had all the money in the world, apart from playing poker and teaching, I would own a few good cars (and some bad ones as well) and spend a lot of time on the road. And no, I would not get attached to these cars (I am perfectly ok to drive the car to a far off destination, flying back to my place and then letting a driver bring the car back).

I have no clue what is it about the road and driving that I like. I think it is that feeling of escape from the routine that is so enticing. Maybe it is the chase of the unknown - you know, how us humans have always wanted to push boundaries and unravel the mysteries? Or maybe it is that feeling of control that you get when you are behind a steering wheel. You know, that fake sense of being in control that motivates all those dictators and egomaniacal people?

I think I will never know what it is about these drives. But I do know that these are getting increasingly rare. And because they are getting tougher and tougher to make, I am craving for them a lot more. To a point that I do not leave a single opportunity to go on these. Just that I hope it never reaches a point that because of all the craving, I just give up on em. You know what I am saying?

See, that's the thing with most cravings. They follow a graph.
You experience a new thing.
You get excited about it.
Then you want it more.
You get a lot of it.
You get used to it.
And then when you stop getting it, you get withdrawal symptoms.
And then you do whatever it takes to get that kick.
And then after a point, you can no longer afford to do whatever.
And then either you kill yourself. Or you give up.

In my case, I give up on things. And on people. And on situations. And wants. Probably explains why I am the way I am. Ok enough of revealing my dark sides.

So, the drive is what I am looking forward to this weekend. What about you? What is it that you are working on that is not letting you sleep?

First posted on my newsletter. I try to send one email every day. Subscribe here

Update - August 2019 - Saurabh Garg

I sent this letter to a few people that have helped me grow in my career. I plan to send this every month. If you want me to add you in this list, please do let me know (please send me your email address - you have it with you). I plan to send one letter a month. 

Please tolerate the formatting - I composed this on Google Docs, sent it on Gmail and now posting on blogger. And even though all three are Google products, there is zero interoperability in terms of fonts etc.

Update for Aug 2019

Hi! Good morning!

I am Saurabh Garg.
Of course, you know me!

You are one of the 30 or so people getting this email. And you are getting this because…

A.
You know me from one of the places I’ve been at - MDI, GE, CLA, Gravity, Social Wavelength (aka Mirum now), VISCOMM, C4E, The Nidhi Kapoor Story and at airport lounges, community tables at Starbucks outlets, Twitter threads, and other similar places.

Yeah, I’ve been around a lot.

And because I have been around a lot, I have a lot of experiences and opinions and ideas and thoughts and expectations and ambitions and energy and more ands and lot more ands. You know, the kid in the candy store?

So, I know you. More importantly, you know me (you may not remember me though - if you don't, I don't blame you - I’ve largely flown under the radar). And thus this email.

B.
Newton apparently said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”.

Newton never named those giants, but I know who those giants for me are.
You are.
Yes, you!

Each of you has helped me shape my personality and helped me reach where I am. At various times, you have taken an active interest in my career and without your generosity or your shoulder, I kid you not, I wouldn't be here.

Whatever little I’ve done in life is because you allowed me to stand on your shoulders. And no, I don't mean it as a humblebrag. I’ve done very little and I have a really really long way to go - and I promise I will reach there!

From where I stand, I see a lot of hits.
Thank you to each of you for making those hits happen.
Can't stop thanking you!

And even more misses.
And I know I could've done a lot more with the kind of opportunities, time and access I had. If I could not reach where I was supposed to, I am solely responsible for the miss. And oh boy, I only know how many misses I’ve had! I could write a book on those and it would run longer than the Bible!

So, thank you for your shoulder. I feel I owe a regular update to you. And thus this email.

C.
I read this Harvard Medical School study (link, story, TED Talk) that postulates that healthy relationships are key to a long and happy life.

And the age I am at, not young enough and not old enough, I am beginning to think a lot about these things.
Of course, I continue to think about making that dent in the world.

And while thinking about it, it dawned on me that each of you is important to me.
After all, you’ve given me your attention and mindshare.
And backed me up.
And gave me a long leash.
And allowed me to experiment and make mistakes. And grow.
And helped me to develop the ability to master my time (most months, I can get by without worrying about going to an office on a daily basis; few months I need to beg. But that’s ok).
And shaped my personality (all the opinions, ideas, thoughts, experiences, expectations, ambitions, value systems that I spoke about earlier? All of those have happened because of your patronage).

While I continue to wander, in search of that ever-elusive new new thing, that shiny new toy, I realized that I need to work on nurturing existing relationships.

And what better relationship to nurture than that I have (/ had in the past) with you?
You were a teacher / employer / mentor / partner / colleague and lot more and you made me who I am!

And thus this email.

D.
This weird epiphany happened that most of the misses I talk about in B above are a result of two things and two things only.
1, I am / was not a finisher (I am working VERY hard on it and early signs are encouraging).
2, I thought as a “creator” all I must focus on is to create. Even though I am a marketing consultant (to brands, companies, individuals and everything else in between), I never thought about marketing myself. You know, build a personal brand! I even tweeted about this.

So, need to fix these.

Like I said, I am working hard to fix 1.
I pick fewer projects, I have measurable objectives (thanks John Doerr’s OKRs - blog, book) and I have clear deadlines. The number of things that are left unfinished has reduced considerably. I can now proudly dole out the most important advice that Steve Jobs ever did - ‘Real Artists Ship!’

The 2, marketing myself, remains a challenge.
This letter is an attempt in the direction.
And thus this email.

So, clubbing A, B, C and D…
So, like I said, I am sending this to about 30 people that have helped me over time.
So, why this email?
So, what if…
So...

Ok, I so got carried away.

So, well, the agenda is threefold. Lemme use bullets.
I clearly love em!

1. Seek your help as an advisor
I said I am making great progress on the ability to finish things. And I need to accelerate that ability. In the sense that I want to finish EACH project that I take up. By making a commitment to you and holding myself accountable to you (I do NOT want to disappoint you ever), I will increase the odds of me not missing the goal!

This is not peculiar to me but is a universal thing - many research studies postulate that when you make yourself accountable to people you don't want to disappoint, the odds of success go up manyfold!

The other way to look at is to consider yourself as a board member on a company called Saurabh Garg’s Life. I am accountable to you, even though I may not have access to you. You know how Eklavya built a statue of Guru Drona and taught himself and held himself accountable? And became so good that he was better than Drona’s best student, Arjun? That!

So, at the risk of jumping the gun, here’s my first promise to the board.
In the month of Aug 2019, I will…
a. Finish the Show Bible for Book 2.
Yes, I am still working on my second book. And unlike the first one, this time, I am writing the entire story beforehand. In the form of a show bible (what is a show bible?).
b. Lose 1 inch from my waist.
I will do this by focussing on the diet, working out and generally working on my fitness. I met a friend yesterday to take tips on this and he told me that number 1 tool you need to get fit is to get great sleep. So, I will fix that as well.

I will write in September and update you on how I do on those goals. If I get stuck, I will ask you for help! If you have something that can help me work on these two, please do point out.

2. Learn from you!
Thing is, I consider myself a sponge. I love to know more. And I love to know about all sorts of things. And I love it even more when all those things make a connection in my head. You know, when I see the dots connect. And I sincerely think that this ability to use a large information set (howsoever shallow it may be, Feynman will hate me - here’s why) and use inputs from multiple disciplines will be a necessary skill to succeed in the times to come! Jacks will rule the world soon!

When I was with you, I was on this steep learning curve that kept me on my toes. And I loved it! Plus, you are among the most learned, evolved, intelligent people I know.

So, can I request you to please share content (books, texts, links, videos et al) that you loved? That you thought were brilliant? That you would revisit over and over again? That you think I MUST read if I want to become better! May be on email. May be on Whatsapp (click to message me)? Or on email?

3. Give back…
If I could be useful to you in anything you are working on, I would love to volunteer.
No, I don't want anything in return. I really want to help. I want to do good work. I want to be of use to you.

Thing is, I sincerely believe in the concept of Guru Dakshina.
Lemme get back to. Eklavya. Guru Drona asked Eklavya for his thumb as Guru Dakshina (here's why). And as an archer, you can't do anything without your thumb. A regular person would have probably said no. Eklavya did not bat an eyelid before he chopped his thumb and placed it at the Guru’s feet.

You’ve are and have been a Guru to me and I owe you. I don't have a thumb to offer. But anything that you think could be useful to you, I will be very happy to offer! I am pretty nifty with marketing, events, digital, branding, writing, storytelling, content, brainstorming, big-picture thinking, etc. And I have a fairly large risk appetite. You will probably know this if you remember me.

Please do tell me if I could be of use to you.

***

Phew!

So, yeah this is it.

I plan to send similar emails every month, once a month. I know this one is long (1800 words or so). Promise that the next one will be shorter, crisper (not CRISPR) and more concise. I don't know the difference between these words. They just sounded nice together!

So that’s about it.
Thanks again for your patience.
And all the help.

Hope you have a good day and a good month ahead. Please do let me know if I could be of any service to you.

Gratitude and Respect,
Saurabh Garg
+91-9819981337
saurabhgarg.com, @saurabh
Send me anonymous feedback

PS: I understand that you may not want me to clog your mailbox. Some of you probably wouldn't even remember me! So, PLEASE do tell me if you don't want to get these once-a-month emails. I promise to not get offended. I’d understand.

PPS: The intention of this email is not to seek work or connections or something from you. If I need em, I will ask for those things directly. What I seek is continued patronage and an active interest in my life, my career, my ambitions et al. That is it.

PPS: You may use https://forms.gle/28bVP8DYz2WGdHdp8 to give me anonymous feedback on this email. Or anything else under the sun. I will read EACH input and work on it! Promise!

Three things that tell me that life's amazing!

You know how life is amazing?
No?
Lemme give not one, not two, but three examples!

One. 
I told Parijat a few days ago that I want to speak to a large gathering and be good at it. And develop that skill. He mentioned that the only way to do it is to get more face stage time. And like most advice that Parijat gives, it made sense.

So, from then on, I am on a lookout for opportunities to speak on large, public forums.

And somehow Universe conspired and made it happen.

I am going to speak to a group of 120 people about communication and branding.

Now, it is not exactly what I want to talk to the world about but it is a start. And the two other speakers that will speak on the same date to the same audience from the same stage are FAR FAR better than I. And thus, the opportunity is thrilling and scary at the same time. And yes, I am getting paid for it!

So, yay!

Two. 
I've been wanting to make public art for a long long time. And I am keen on establishing myself as an artist. Even though my "art" skills are non-existent and even though I try and write every day, my words are barely passable. And thus, the idea of a being an "artist" has remained a distant dream.

Till I saw this opportunity to exhibit at a museum. See Affordable Art Fest.com. These guys are new and are willing to give an aspiring artist a chance. And a chance is all I want.

The moment I saw it, I knew what I was going to send there. If you are curious, this. I need to work on it and polish it a lot for it to be even considered. After all, these days, every person with a camera is a photographer! 

Of course, I am yet to be selected and all that. But it did inspire me to think more about the "art" and the "artist" in me.

So, yay again!

Three. 
Recently, while thinking about my brand and reputation, I realized that I need to give my words a longer flight. And one of the ideas that I considered was to somehow get into the business of writing songs  I thought if I could make music and put that out, it would be awesome. And this is when I met this singer-writer-composer who is EXACTLY in the same zone as I - Indian, Sufi, Ghazal and similar.

Of course, I got talking to him and found him really affable. One thing led to another and he ended up asking me if I could write some songs that he could compose and sing. And I was like, "Woah dude! this is what I wanted!"

No, I haven't composed any songs. But the opportunity to do so is here.

So, yay yet again!

***

So you see, life does throw opportunities your way.
And it is amazing.
All you need to do is, give luck a chance :)

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?