The Partying Predicament

Fact. I dont go to parties.

Why? I dont know what to do there. I dont drink. I dont enjoy crowded places. I dont have the balls to be able to strike conversation with strangers. Wait, I dont even wear shoes that allow me entry into most party places. If I am allowed entry, I can't dance. As they say, I have two left feet.

But I do love music. But then I am too much of a Delhi guy. So my music better be Hindi. Or may be Punjabi. Which is often a problem in Mumbai. Too hip.

Funny because I am in the entertainment business and nothing like parties if you want to understand the entertainment business.

Why this post? I went to a party last night. And for a change I wore shoes. White one at that. Saboot here. And a party where I stayed till the end. Well, almost. And where I danced a bit. Whatever my two left feet could manage. The only step I know. The Bhangra one. Where you point a finger and move it up and down. Oh, you must check out those Bhangra Empire vids on Youtube.

Thankfully the first place we went to played some Hindi music. And Punjabi. The kinds I've grown up listening to. The like of Kawa Kawa, Kaala Chashma, Gori Naal Ishq Mita etc. Rarity in Mumbai if you ask me. But then Mumbai is one of those places that always had this harmonious coexistence of polar extremes - rich vs poor, celebration vs hardwork, house vs punjabi. You get the drift.

The point of the post is that while the DJ played some hindi remixes (of Kishore), I realised a few things. Here they are in. In no particular order.
  • I miss company. I miss people. I miss "my" people. My refers to people that are mine. Where I am on in their VIP / Favorites list on their phones. I miss things that I could do with friends. Places I could travel to with friends. Impromptu drives I could go on (Addendum: Need a car for that Mr. Garg). One look back at life I realise that I haven't done too much. Most plans gets cancelled for some reason or the other. And I believe that busy is just another work for having things low on the priority list. So, I dont have too many "my" people. I have tons of connections that I could do things with. But I dont have too many people that I want to go back to. And the ones I have, they're married, with kids and thus busy. And I am too old busy to make new friends. So, in all, it sucks. I think I belong but I dont. Anyhow. Big deal.
  • There is all sort of music in the world. The kinds I love. The kinds I want to groove to. The kinds that I play on loop all the time. Like the recent favorite - Aazadiyan. And then, and then ladies and gents, there is Kishore Da. You play a song by Kishore Da and you are teleported to a different zone like no other. Which is amazing. I wish I could see him perform live (which I know by experience is probably half as cool as recorded music). The closest I'd ever come is this.
  • The concept of shoes suck. I have no clue why they make the shoes mandatory to allow people at fancy places. What does it say about a person? Rather, what does it hide about a man? More on this some other day. 
  • The youth of the country (and not so youth) is MAD about partying. Both places I went to, I could see hundreds, if not thousands of kids, youths, oldies binging on alcohol, dancing and making merry. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the jubilations and fumes from other drunk people around them. Guess that's the point of alcohol. Or maybe they faked things well. To someone like me (who wants to make people happy, give them joy and make money from these things), the realization was a cool one! 

What next? Well, next time I am invited to a party, I am going to say an emphatic no. Unless it is SUPER important to/for someone I know that I attend the party. As I move onward (and hopefully upward), I need to find sanity in life and make time for more important things - partying is definitely NOT a thing that I want written on my epitaph.

When is the next post? When? I dont know. Subscribe to the feeds :)

P.S.: Before last night, I can't remember the last time I went to a party. May be a new year's party in 2014. Yes, I am that old boring.

What makes us different?

Someone asked me, “what makes you different? After all, an event is an event is an event!”

True that! An event is an event is an event. But then how you go about planning that event could set you apart. How you produce it, conduct it, manage it could be the difference. How you think of events in the first place could be the difference. The devil, as they say, lies in the detail.

And detail oriented we are! Obsessive at that. To a level of being fanatical about it. Every piece we do, every event we put together, every live experience we deliver will reflect our obsession for attention to detail. We are committed to get things right. The first time. Live entertainment doesn’t leave a lot to chance anyhow.

The other bit that we work really hard on, is to deliver the message that the business wants to communicate via that event. We have a deep understanding of branding and communications business. Rajesh and I have 30+ man-years of combined experience of working with some of the most prestigious brands in the country and we apply all that we’ve learnt so far.

And we continue to learn new things. In fact, both Rajesh and I are really passionate about technology, the chase of the new new thing and applying those things while delivering brand solutions. The world as we know it, is changing fast. And how. And unless we are nimble, curious, adaptable, we would perish. Don't believe me? Ask Darwin.

So, the three things that make us different are:

  • Obsessive attention to detail and impeccable delivery.
  • Deep understanding of brands and years of experience of working on some of the largest, most trusted brands in the country.
  • Passion for technology and that constant urge to try out the new new thing while we work. 
We believe that if we continue to do these three thing well, the difference will eventually be evident in our work. It will take time and we in no tearing hurry.

Wait and watch!

P.S.: You can come be a part of the journey. I am at sg@c4e.in.

Originally posted here.

In 5 years

Someone I was interviewing today yesterday for C4 asked where I see it in 5 years.

I was bamboozled. I hadn't thought of it. I am in my fools world and I am probably enjoying the ride (juggling three four balls in the air) so much that I hadn't focused on the future with any one thing at all! This is probably why I need a board.

So when this guy asked me, I cooked up something on the spot. I rambled out whatever shit came into my head and if he had a bull-shit detector installed in his head, he would've seen right through me.

I said something like...
I want to be in the business of entertainment and I want to entertain EVERY person on the planet. That means 7+ billion people. And I want to be able to reach there in less than 10 years. In 5, I want to reach the whole of India, if not Asia.  
We will not be just an events management / live entertainment company, but will have multiple divisions catering to multiple facets of entertainment. This means we could be a movie production company, a TV channel, a content business or something like that. In terms of drawing parallels, we would be like a Marvel or a Disney of today. 
And while we do it, we will remain small. Tiny actually. May be we model ourselves on Berkshire Hathaway? May be we dont. That is not clear to me. But the thing that is clear is, that we would be a key player in the business of entertainment in the next 5 years. 

And how will I do it?

Now that I am thinking about it, I will establish C4 as an events business. Because despite the limited reach that a corporate events company has, the company will throw the much needed cash back at the business.

We will use that cash to seed other businesses that will reach larger audience. These could be startups, old wine in new bottles, fancy business models and what not. And I will also seed people and partnerships along the way. And with time work hard to make sure that these partnerships blossom as we go along.

Pretty simple! And of course we will make mistakes. Of course we will be wrong as we try. But then what is the point if we dont make mistakes and dont try?

And here's the thing. Why dont you help us create an awesome business? I am on sg@c4e.in.

Untitled - May 14, 2016

Yet another in string of long-time-no-post zones (last post was 20+ days back). Need to write more and do more. More on the more bit in a bit. Wah wordplay ;P

So there are quite a few things I want to talk about in this post - after all been sometime since I posted. And beware, this will be a longish one. In case you want to read. Get a coffee maybe?

P.S.: If you do read these posts, please please do tell me. I need to know if you do. I am actually thinking of writing a monthly newsletter to people who care (and to people who I want to care for me). Let's see what I do about it. But do let me know if you want to receive it. Here is a form that you may use.




Without further ado, rants for the day...

A. Work
So work is going ok. In 3 short months since I started (and 15 long months since I quit my last full-time job), I've seen ups and downs already. I have won clients, lost clients, clients have disappeared, someone has taken money and not delivered and everything in between has happened. I've been lucky and I've been unlucky and nowhere else has "this too shall pass" been so accurate!

I am actually making decent money (though I need to make a lot more and I define decent as being able to pay for expenses at home and yet having something in the bank) and doing some ok work. Need to upgrade what I do and make more more than decent. Of course its tough.

Decent is happening because am juggling two things and it's not easy. No, I am not saying this because I want this to be glamourous about what I do. But because I love both things. I can't choose one over another. Call it lack of focus but I can't. One is live experiences (events, travel, adrenaline rush) and Two is communication (brands, behavioural science, communities, platforms, social, networks, people and such). I wish there was a way to marry the two.

To do more than decent, I will have to put more than decent effort.

Anyhow. The point is not work. The point is that I am now seeing my limitations as an individual and as a professional. I've always taken pride in being the supercool and super-great guy who can do everything but now I am realising that I am not as cool as I think I am. Lemme give an example.

I have realised that I am super good (may be even great) with getting things done. I am a great manager and I can deliver. But I suck at ideas. And I suck so bad that I can't crack new clients if I dont take external help. Funny because I believe that no one wants brilliance with ideas - they rather want predictability in delivery. But then to be able to get the client on your side, you need to show your prowess with ideas. And I suck at it. It's almost like a vicious circle. Almost. But it is.

I spoke of this problem to friends and mentors. I was told to hire talent. But who would want to work for a nameless, directionless dude like me? I haven't won any awards, I have no portfolio to show (which clients are also surprised about - after all I've been a pony all my life and haven't done any award winning work), I have no contacts in the industry, I dont inspire people. I can't mentor. I can't teach. I dont offer any reason to anyone to work with me. Unless they are desperate. Or delusional. And no, I cant pay. No I am not whining - just putting facts on paper.

So what is the way out? I dont know! Do you? Help me!

The other example of my limitation is the constant struggle to grow. Thing is, all my life, I've worked with agencies with deep pockets (CLA had a rich client when they started, Gravity had years of experience and SWL was profit making). I've always had a structure to support me. I was not responsible for paying salaries. This time, there is nothing except the thin air beneath my feet. So that sucks.

There are more things I can talk about that talk about my limitations but guess you get the point. I am not as cool as I think I am. And I need to accept it.

I shall at some point write a longer post about about and my operational issues (BD, Hiring, Delivery etc) and strategic issues (Why am I doing this? What is my objective? What is the big picture? The purpose etc). Some day!

B. Yoga
I restarted Yoga with Shameem. And like last time, shes ensuring that I dont aggravate my hernia. It's been 5 classes and I know that my body has deteriorated so much in the last year. And more importantly, just like work, Yoga is making me aware of my limitations (the physical / mental / emotional ones).

And it's humbling to see an old man do asanas with ease and grace while you struggle to even get into the formation. Simple thing like touching the toes without bending the knees seems like a task (and there was a time when I could do it as if I did not have a spine). But I shall get back to shape. I like being active and I need to get back.

So I hope I continue going to her. I know that these are tiny steps towards reaching my #lifeGoals of running a marathon and climbing the Everest. And may be other goals as well!

C. Kindness of strangers
The most recent fan mail for #tnks came from a 70-year old man, a retired banker, from Telangana. He used the kindest words ever and I was so touched, so thrilled that I wanted to get the second book out that day itself. Of course the book is long way from completion but I do aim for a end-year release. Thank you Sir for writing in. Hope I dont disappoint you with Book2.

Then, Rana Sir gave me another advance yesterday. I will use his advance to work on the next book and get the Hindi edition of #tnks out.

Then, last week two people (unrelated to each other) sent me two separate "feelers" about trying to put some sense into me.

First, this lady read the blog and without knowing me personally took pains to write to me to tell me about specific things that she has inferred from the blog. She thinks I whine a lot and I am concerned about my fitness. She may be right about fitness but I sincerely think that I dont whine as much. I could be wrong - lets see. What do you think?

And if I do come across as a cry baby, I need to send out better vibes. I can't change my situations but I can change the way I look at them (glass half-full). So, thank you N. Hope you see a measurable change in how I write and the vibes I send out. Hope you continue to read. And I will summit the Everest.

The other person sent a longish whatsapp message. Again telling me of things that I need to improve on. I am on it. Thank you A.

D. Travel Book
A new project. I have decided that I will start work on the travel book. With Vivek. He is my travel partner (apart from R & gang and sgMS) and in one of the random WhatsApp conversations it popped up that we ought to do a travel blog together. And here I am. I've added it to the list of things to be done in this year. Lets see when we get around to doing it. I suck at travel writing and I know I need to improve on it. It can only happen with practise. I did write one (on Udvada) and I will write more as I start going out to travel. If... if only he finds time to meet me.

So that's all I have for the day. But before I disappear again, here is a pic that I took at a Starbucks. *drops hint at Vivek*


Over n out!

P.S.: I will try to make the next post soon! Do fill in the form at the top of this page.

Long time...

So the last post on this blog was on Mar 25. And today its Apr 17. Been some 20 days since I've written something. Wow. This has to be amongst the longest dry stretches of inactivity as a writer.

Universe has funny ways of sending signals. I haven't written anything in a while (almost 20 days I think - last post was on Mar 25 and today is Apr 17) and just when I was getting comfortable about the idea of NOT writing, someone sent a great review of #tnks. And another mini-crush asked me to write - apparently she loves how I write.
So maybe, I ought to write. While book2 is a longer plan, today is as good an opportunity I would get to write as any other day, so here I am. On one of my freewriting things.

P.S.: Freewriting is where I just pour out whatever is in my head, without worrying about the output or quality. And anyhow I have always been about quantity and not quality - I assume that if I continue to write for years (been 12 already), someday I will become a good writer. Remember the infinite monkey theorem - just that my time is very very limited.

Let me think about a few reasons why I couldn't write the last few days weeks months.

I can think of two things only. A, work. B, sgMS.

Let me take up work bit in a bit and tackle the issue of sgMS. If you know me, you'd know about her. And trust me she is the most beautiful thing to have happened to me. This ladies and gents is the last time I am talking about her on a public platform (apart from tweets on @altSG, book2 and the secret book I am writing for her - as and when I get time to work on it). I know this love obsession(?) is not healthy. I know that even though she's been sent for me, she doesn't want me around. So thinking about her, even in my head is not being on the right side of karma. It tilts the balance. And as I grow older, everything IS about tilting balance. So I have to stop doing that. I have to let go of her (as if I had her in the first place - wishful thinking Mr. Garg). I have to move on. Let me attempt to do so umpteenth time.

Dear sgMS, I love you and will hopefully continue to do so for the rest of my life. If you want me back, I will be waiting. Of course if you need something, I am a phone call away!

Moving on. To work.

Life has been REALLY kind and I can't emphasize more on "really." Compared year-on-year I've done 3x better. This year was the first time in my life when I made 7 figures in a year by myself. So, hopefully, the first million is not far.

Of course I have been extremely lucky with things. I know for a fact that I am not the best at what I do but I know that I am willing to work harder than anyone else. And that I think has paid. Coupled with luck of course.

However, while the money has happened, impact hasn't. And more I think, more I realize that I want to be able to impact things. Not at a small level but at the world-changing level. Am I wired for that? I dont know. But I want to do it. I dont know the how but I will.  More on this in a bit.

On the work front, I created a new business (I consult clients on digital marketing and brand planning) and I got lucky with a few clients to help me get it off the ground. And I got support from few people who put their faith in me. More about it is at sowhatif.in. The website is still under development. I ought to thank them there. Apart from the regular people angels that have helped me over life (ghar ki murgi daal barabar) thank you Rishi, Shail Sir and team, Mahesh Sir, Sonam, Anju, Simit, Stylior team.

The other big thing with work is that I am setting up an events agency with a partner. I've been working for him for close to an year and he has shown faith in me and given me confidence to start something with him as a partner. And I am very excited. Details are sketchy to be honest right now and I will talk about it as I go along. But its events (something I love), backed with experience (of the new partner) and the general feel good about how things are going with me. Hope it does well. I aim to do 10 cr in the next three years. Wish me luck. Please.

So, apart from work, I have been thinking a lot about other things. I dont really have any clear ideas or directions but I think I know where I want to go. I love it when I can help someone (what did Freud say about people who like to help others? anyone?). And when I create impact (though my "impact" has been pretty limited but I would want it to grow). So may be, my life goal, my purpose is to do that. I dont know the why but I know the what for sure. More on this as I go along. And yes, this is like the 1232324th purpose that I have identified for myself. And no, this is not about creating a NGO.

I've also been getting some health scares. The hernia has started to hurt back. I get palpitations around my chest multiple times a day. At my age, heart is the single most important organ and I have to go see a doc but I dont have the time. Or may be I am too scared? I anyway dont like hospitals - I dont have a single happy memory of hospitals. May be this week? Lets see.

Let me sum the other insignificant things in one para. I restarted yoga. And then stopped again after one class. Hope to be regular from Tuesday onwards. I practise with Shameem and she is amazing! I stopped being a teetotaler. On insistence of friends, I started experimenting with beer. And no, I dont like the feeling. I dont want to. So I am going to go back to being a teetotaler again. I remain committed to climbing the Everest by 2025 and run a marathon before that. Here is a list of my life goals. Its good to revisit the list once in a while. It tells you that you are not cool enough and you ought to push yourself.

Another thing that has happened in the past 20 days is that I've got hooked onto Netflix. I have been netflix and chilling with self lately and it's not that bad to be with self. Of course I enjoy company and I love people and all that. However I suck at meeting new people and hence I dont really have an opportunity to break the netflix addiction. I am going to work on it as I go along, here on.

So, yeah this is about it. When I look back at this post, 20 days seem to mean little. Life is like that. I just passed by. Ought to live it up. Enrich every minute, moment and live it to the fullest. I am glad that I have had the opportunity to attempt that. And I am trying to.

Lets see what the next post is about. And more importantly, when that happens!

The Delhi Dislocation

So I am in Delhi. Been here for almost three days and haven't stepped out of the house since. I merely ate, slept, crapped and Netflix and chilled with self. I did take a few work calls but I kept those to minimum. And as a result all the work that I had to do has piled up the way cars stall on a highway after an accident. And because I can see work piled up like a long line of cars stuck on the highway, I dont want to work at all. Am stuck in that vicious circle. And I dont know the way out. 

Anyhow, today I'd had enough of home and I had to step out. The nearest Starbucks -- the place where you can sit for hours and work -- is about 20 KMs away from my place. And though I hate going too far away from home for work, I had no other option. 

Fat forward. I am parked at the Starbucks CP. And I am trying to fix things. And how do I fix things? By writing. The other thing that I typically do to fix things is go for a drive. But then I dont have a vehicle and I am tired of begging from friends. And I can't afford all those self-drive cars. Like they say, #FML. Let me not crib and do the other thing that I dont have to borrow for - write! 

So I am in Delhi and unlike other trips to Delhi, this time I haven't called anyone (called = made an attempt to meet friends et al). I want to be with myself and fix shit in my head. The ones I am meeting are the ones that can't wait - perils of being self-employed.

Thing is, last few months have been crazy (not work wise but emotions wise) and I needed a break from the madness. One option was to take off to an unknown land and meet strangers. I could even go to a familiar place like Panchgani or Goa or something. But then I looked at my bank balance and decided not to. Thus the only place that I could escape to, without spending too much, was Delhi.

However, little did I know that Delhi no longer gives me the peace, the sukoon that I craved for.

I've always known in my head and heart that I may live anywhere in the world, I will always remain a Delhi Boy. And and East Delhi Boy at that. For things like bhai, feel, bhasad, jugaad et al define me. I am as unpolished as they come - I like to wear socks and chappals, I like to scratch my arms and head at public places, I like lounging on a chair, rather than sitting with my back straight. I am loud. I am a showoff. I like attention. I am embodiment of everything that a Mumbai girl (aka sgMS) hates. And no, I am not apologetic about it. I am proud of my roots. I dont have any deep cultural ties to any religion or a location, except Delhi. Delhi is me, I am Delhi.

I knew I could count on Delhi. Anytime. Everytime I needed a break, I could scoot away to Delhi, meet old friends, get in a car, blare the car music system at are you crazy levels, drive fast, get into petty arguments and yet find the peace of mind. I could go for walks with locals, go to far away malls with friends, even hop to Gurgaon when I wanted to feel good about how I dont do the Delhi-Gurgaon grind anymore.

There was no ailment that a trip to Delhi could not fix. Even the craving for sgMS is a tad less when I know that I am not in a 20 KM radius of her.

However, this trip I realised that in the last few years, between all the Delhi - Mumbai trips I've severed my ties with Delhi (the bonds with Mumbai are shaky at best). The friends are still around, things are still the same, there is that familiarity with the place but I no longer get peace here. I am as restless as I am in Mumbai. I continue to get those cravings to search for that promised land where weather is perfect, things are the way I want, and I have a life of abundance.

Couple this with my permanent bone against the Bandra house.

Thing is, I am finally rootless. I dont know where to go, where to sleep, where to go to find peace. I am lost. And I dont know where is home. And I dont know what to do about it.

May be home is between soft, white, cold sheets of a hotel where the AC is always at a perfect 22 degrees. I love the feeling of being in perpetual motion. I love airports more than I love home. In fact, when I worked for Gravity, the best bit was all the airports and hotel rooms that I was supposed to live out of. I loved the muted opulence and pseudo-luxury. I loved the distance that the staff maintained while I was there. I liked how at a press of a button, things magically appear. May be, next time I need a break, I'd book myself into a 5-star and switch off my phone! May be. I shall try next time.

P.S.: Of course I need money to be able to afford a lifestyle like that. And by God, I will.

PG04,

With age, I am turning into a sentimental fool! How do I know? I sent the following email to my batchmates from MDI. Read.

Dear PG04, 
Wait! 
When was the last time someone called us PG04? When we all got placed? Or the last time the faculty addressed us? Or was it when we had our convocation? Or was it in one of those emails that one of us sends to each other once in a while? 
This PG04 to me (atleast) had a really strong connotation. This to me was the call to our wolfpack (see Hangover if you haven't), call to our brethren, call to the family (Godfather) that separated us from them. Us was PG04. Them was everyone else including PG03, PG05, Faculty, Hostel cooks, the security guards, the professors and the companies coming on campus to hire us. And others were people not on campus like the world beyond the college walls, the families back home and so on and so forth. At MDI, we were all we had. Ok, exaggerating. I made it sound like we were in a concentration camp. May be we were. It was a wild world out there and we had to emerge from MDI as Change Masters. To give credit to the salutation of our hostel, some of us have did become Change Masters! 
But over years the wolfpacks have dismantled, families have gone to the mattresses, other pressing matters such as buying houses, acquiring corner offices, raising kids et at have taken precedence. We've gone busy with our respective lives. So much so that we cant meet even if we live 3 KMs away from each other (pointing accusatory glances at Ridhima and Ketan - I live 3 KMs away and we've been making plans for three months). What has remained is faint memories of times spent at MDI. And there were tons of incidents that I probably will never forget. 
The beauty is, each of us would have had our own sets of memories to look back at. And the sad bit is, none of us would ever discover all the stories that went around back then! May be someone has to catalog all these into one journal? May be I will at some point. 
I can share my story to start with. When I walked into MDI, I had no clue what was in store for me. I came from a small college in a remote corner of Delhi and everything about MDI was intimidating to me - the ones I was talking to on a yahoo group (before college started) went to fancy colleges, were sons of army colonels and so on and so forth. My roommate, Pochu, was topper from BITS Pilani. The dudes next to me in class - Satya and Gupta - were so brainy that I had no idea where to look at where stuff was happening in the class. Right in front of me was Piyush who was so tall that I had to stand on my chair to make sense of stuff happening on the blackboard. The first friend I made at MDI was Ashish who literally lived in the library the whole of first semester. Despite being the odd one out (I still am come to think of it), with time I found my place. I became a part of "us." I discovered things that made me happy - reading, counter-strike, music, spreading myself too thin, staying up at night, travel and of course, writing. I learnt that I was not the king of the universe. And I made friends that probably will last for a lifetime! 
Thing is, if I did not go to MDI, I probably wouldn't have discovered any of these and I would have been a far different person from what I am today. 
Wait a minute. So, why this email? 
Because (Vivek) Gawri told me that it's been exactly 10 years since we passed out! Ten fucking years (and almost 12 since we started). I can't say it feels like yesterday but time does fly away. While at campus those two years seemed like eternity and now 10 years are insignificant. 
Back then, when I was joining MDI, like someone starting a new phase in life (see Shawshank), I was super excited - after all I was going to MDI! And I was afraid of the unknown. I was clueless about what was expected from me - MDI to me was (and is) the most decorated tag that I've earned. I was dreamy eyed - I remember I wanted to be like Bill Gates and make money (of course I am nowhere close). And I was apprehensive. I had no glass globes to gaze into and predict what would become of me in 10 years. 
In fact, I remember getting asked a million times, "Where do you see yourself in 10 years."
I dont recall what I'd said but there's a high probability that I would have said, "I'd be the CEO of a large organization." Talk of wishful thinking! 
BTW, what did you say? And are you any close to what you thought you were gonna be doing in ten years? 
And may be, just may be, today is the time to plan for the next 10 years. What would you be doing on Mar 16, 2026? 
Me? Well, I would be living on a sparsely populated location (if there is one left till then) and I would be a teacher. And a writer. Please be my guest if you visit the city I am in. And do buy my books ;P 
So, here the deal. Lets come together? Meet each other? If not meet everyone else, may be come back to meet your friends that you spend so many countless nights with, on the dome, on the steps of the hostel, the acad block, library, computer centre and of course behind the closed doors of rooms ;) 
So what if we are older now? I am sure there is some fire left in the belly. And that little fire finally succumbs to a slow, painful, nondescript death brought about by years of monotony, how about a meet up? I am sure there will be reasons, excuses, spouses, deadlines, missed connections, red-eyes and all that troubling your brains but it would be fun! 
Guys, time does flies (Tomorrow never dies) and it goes away fast. Next time I send something like this out, we probably would be 20 years out of MDI and as Sharma told Gawri, "it would be a miracle if we are alive by then." Lets do this. For you. And for I. And for us. 
Thats' it guys. 
Oh, one more thing! Thank you for such an amazing time at MDI. Whatever little I know, whatever little I do, all of it has happened because I was lucky enough to be at MDI and more lucky to have you for company. 
Love, Regards and Headshots
Saurabh "MML | h!+m4n" Garg 
P.S.: Thanks to Gawri for reminding me that we're ten years out of college and Ketan for confirming. And guess I've seen too many movies. 
I have set this form on Google where I am asking you for your location and contact details. Please do fill in if you are keen. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1hDAfjywcF0r6UPgxToB-R58lxSpScNPFPkpx9YxYmr4/viewform

Why the fuck...

So it's been some time since I've written. Last post was on Feb 23 - that time I thought I was going to die. But as I've found out, I am not! And if I am not dead, why the fuck have I NOT made a post on my blog? Or written anything else? Why am I even alive?

Two weeks. I have no excuse to be honest for not writing. I know I was busy. I know I was travelling. I was unwell. I know I was fucked in the head. But then, that's no excuse for not writing.

In an alternate universe, in two weeks I could have written 15000 words. And in 6 such two-week pockets, I would have written the next book! Like Charles says...

Source: Unknnow. Found via Google Image Search

Now that we are talking about book 2, ladies and gents, I know its long overdue! It was to hit the stands last december (2015) but I am nowhere close to even completion. I am sure my publisher has given up on me. However from what I hear the first book is no longer hardly available on any of the online bookstores (the wait time to get delivery is 10 days). So the first print run of 2500 is almost over - I guess. So may be there is a reprint sometime in future. Depends on the publisher. Let him take a call. I've done my bit by writing it.

Coming to the next book, lately, a lot of people have started to ask me about the status of my next book. May be they genuinely enjoyed the first one. Or they are genuinely concerned about my writing career. Or they dont have anything else to talk to me about. Irrespective, I need to uphold their trust and faith in me. I ought to write. If not for them, then for myself.

So there. I will ensure that the book comes out before end of this year. With or without a publisher. Wish me luck!

The Aviation Abnormality

Funny thing happened. I must have taken some 300 200 flights in my life, including 11 in this year alone - thanks to my job as an event manager. And I have never been scared. Even when I took my first flight when I was at MDI.

But for some reason I was scared of this one (I am actually writing this while I am aboard 9W 304 and so far so good - not a single bump so far).

So, why am I scared of this one? You see, I am someone who believes in signs. And I believe in vibes. And feel. And for some reason, I have this really strong feeling that this one isn’t going to be the nicest of flights that I’ve been on. Don’t ask me why, don’t ask me how I know it. I just know. Of course I am often wrong and so far I’ve been proved wrong. Hope I continue to remain wronged till I land. And I post this. I did!

The sign actually came up the day before. There are times when I remember my dreams and day before I saw this weird dream where I was on top of an aircraft for some reason (top as in on the roof of an aircraft that was in the air and doing its thing of flying 30000 feet above the sea level). The aircraft I am on top of, suddenly takes a dip and it eventually crashes into the sea (yes a sea). And as it crashes, like it happens in the movies, I jump off it just at the right time to escape unhurt. I don’t recall the rest of the dream exactly but there was someone else who was on the roof of the aircraft and escaped with me. And I remember pinching myself to check if it were reality and it did feel like real. Damn the vivid dreams.

To cut the long narrative short, I escaped. And for the last 24 hours, I have had this lingering feeling that I am going to be in a place crash. And I was scared before I boarded this one. I am still on the aircraft and I am still writing and it still is pretty smooth so far. But before I boarded, I was scared. Scared out of my life. I actually thought about cancelling the flight - but I cant. I need to earn money to stay afloat. I am paying a lot of money to be able to attend a meeting that can potentially lead to work.

In fact I was so scared the whole day today that I had planned for my folks, my sis and sgMS after I am gone. Though sgMS doesn’t need me, I still ought to think about her. I even thought about the airline I was flying with - Jet Airways. I checked their safety record, thankfully I could not find any reports of a missing Jet Airways jet, unlike the Malaysia Airlines.

The flight is not over yet. I am not done yet. If anything were to happen to me, please see this link. The post has my last and final will that I wrote in all hosh-o-hawas. Mr. Gawri, please ensure that you execute it.

Update: As you would've guessed, I did land safely. And here is the post, almost unedited. Guess the dark cloud is over. And trust me guys, I am super serious on this one - while I know that commercial aviation remains the safest most of mass transit, I did feel weird getting into the aircraft. But as I did get in, the familiarity with so many previous flights took over and gave me this sense of comfort. And here I am!

And while we are on the subject, please do read this blogpost by my writing guru.

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 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?