Hello monsoon!

The monsoon is almost here. It even drizzled for a bit last night. And from my vantage point of 9th floor staring into an open ground, the drops of water falling down from nothing but the dark sky, disappearing into nothing but the damp shrubs, leaving behind a trail of glowing streaks because of the yellow street lamps in the background, was pure magic. It was surreal. Like a scene out of a some famous director's movie.

It was a sight to behold and I could sit on my bed and stare at it forever, if only the rain dint stop within like 5 minutes. And if it dint bring back the memories of sgMS sitting next to me holding onto my hand, scribbling something on a yellow post-it note. Something that would be innocent, innocuous, so simple so insightful that it would make me smile. At her, at the way she writes, at the way she doodles, at the way she is at peace next to me. At the way she makes me feel.

Thing is, rains have always been very special to me. There is something magical about the grey skies, the purest green, the damp earth, the cool wind and the occasional splash of water on my face. So much so that I am willing to ignore the interruptions caused by rains in India. More on it some other day. In the meanwhile, here's something that I was reminded of...

from The Notebook

Will you?

I spot a recurring pattern in life. As readers of this blog, you must have noticed it as well. No?

That I play this game of hide and seek on the blog.

And if it's any consolation, I do it in real life as well.

There are phases when I have this spurt of activity where I get hyper active. I write almost everyday, think of ideas, get some exercise, do a lot of reading, talking, connecting and dreaming. I am in the zone. For days at stretch. I am in this Zen-like mode where nothing seems impossible and I want it all. And I work towards it. I am in the YOLO and FOMO mode and I say yes to everything. I overwork myself. To a point when I start cribbing about how overworked I am and how I don't have time to sleep. I do so till the time I start enjoying the pain. I am on this trip where pain becomes pleasure and I want more and more of it.

Till something happens and I snap out of it.

The "something" could be as large as the AC not working or as small as wrong signs from Universe. AC is large because I am the kinds that want everything in perfect order to keep me happy. So things like AC, relatives, visitors at home, Internet etc. bug me so much that I want to kill someone. Of course Universe-conspiring-to-give-me-gifts is important as well but I sincerely believe that I amongst the luckiest people. So I tide over that.

So till I snap out of the euphoria, I am getting things done. I am the king of the universe. But when I am out, I have this desperate urge need to crawl in a hole and wait for the winters to end. I sort of want to disappear. I cease all contact with the outside world (except my inner circle) and I don't want to be touched. I don't write, I don't tweet, I don't post updates on Facebook. I merely become a vegetable and try to exist. Of course if there's work, I have to live per shenanigans of clients. But I try to not accept work in such phases.

I know it sucks but this is probably that aspect of life that I cant change.

I know it sucks but that's how I am.

Of course I can blame it on my bipolarity. Or may be on the fact that I really really miss having sgMS around me. Or may be at the lack of direction that my life is flowing in. I can externalize the reasons but there's no one to blame but me and I will have to live with it.

The thing is, despite all that, as a friend, a reader, a patron, I will have to ask you, request you, implore you to allow me to live with it. Give me my space when I need. And hope that I come back stronger and higher.

Will you?

Couch Potato

You know how Homer is happy doing nothing but drooling?
Dear Homer, Thanks!
That! That's what I am up to. That's all I do the entire day.

I dont know what's wrong with me. I dont want to write, I dont want to read, I dont want to talk to people, I dont want to step out. I am happy sleeping on the sofa, eating Indian version of Doughnuts, drooling and doing nothing.

Of course this is not a permanent state. I am sure things would change and I will be back to the doing state. Till then...

#tnks for free?

Since #tnks is amongst the biggest things that I have done in life, I often talk about it to friends and strangers. And when I do that, invariably, I am expected to cough up a free, autographed copy of the book.

And ladies and gents, to put on record, it is pissing off!

I have nothing against signing the book. Or free copies. Just that I expect friends, acquaintances, clients, and colleagues to “buy” the book and help me! Free copies are meant for those who expect a favor (exchange, barter etc). And for those who are used to getting freebies (journalists, reviewers etc). Not friends!

You know when you “buy” a book, you contribute to the sales of the book. That pushes the book a tad higher in rankings. And that in turn pushes the publisher for the next print run. Both these things give immense confidence to writers, especially the first-timers like me. More than confidence, it makes the writer grow balls to work on the next one (if he’s in it for the long run, like I am!). And may be negotiate better terms with the publisher (who often is very cocky and is used to getting his way with authors). Or get an advance (which is unheard of, for non-celebrity authors). Or may be secure a larger print run (which is like a wet-dream on starry night). And so on and so forth.

The funny thing is that the book is really cheap. At a selling price of about 100 bucks, the book is probably cheaper than a coffee at your favorite coffee shop or a meal at a mediocre restaurant or a movie at the most rundown cinema hall or a piece of garment that you wont even wear the second time around. If you’re telling me that you can’t spend 100 bucks to support a friend, who’s trying chase the most cherished goal of his life, God help you! And your friendship. And the friend.

To be honest, the ones who ask for free copies are not to be blamed. There are a few things that we just don’t “get” culturally (as Indians). Like music. It has to be downloaded for free from songs.pk (or some other combination of songs and pk). Or dhaniya and pudhina that has to come for free with any subzi you may buy. Similarly we expect books to be free. Especially if they are written by friends. No?

In fact I was like you till about 2012! When Suds wrote The Lost Story, I asked him for a free copy and I refused to buy it, till Divya put some sense into me and ordered a copy on my behalf. Thanks Divya. I now know what you meant. And thanks Suds for not giving me a copy for free.

And to everyone who’s been asking for a free copy, you know, you can still buy the book. Its available on Amazon and Flipkart. And hopefully, at a bookstore near you. It’s still not on any bestseller list and every copy sold contributes to that. Which helps me as a writer.

Thank You,
Saurabh Garg
Author
, The Nidhi Kapoor Story

P.S.: And no, not everyone asked me for a free copy. Some friends did buy it. Some actually bought multiple copies and gave extra copies away to their friends. Ankit, Gaurav and Parijat even supported my crowdsourcing campaign to raise money for a promotion tour. Thank you guys. Your support means a lot. Onwards to my next book!

Repost from #tnks blog.

Dear RedBull,

Clicked sometime in 2013. As part of #100HappyDays. More pics here.
Dear RedBull,

Thank you.

Thank you for giving me wings. I dont know what I would do without you.

You are one of those few brands (businesses) that has never ever disappointed me. I love you for your consistent performance. You live up to the promise that you make. You are someone I can bank on. With your always on delivery, you have earned my faith. So much so that if you fuck up, I am willing to excuse you. After all, none of is God and everyone makes mistakes.

In fact when I take a class in marketing and branding, I often start with you (I have one before the class and in the class I start talking with your example)
From the deck I use in my branding class.
You know, you have seen me enjoying the best of times (Imperium at MDI, road trips with friends - Neo, sgMS and others), worst of times (the depressive phase of my bipolar disorder) and everything in between. You are the rock that has always been around when I've needed some support (just like Agony Aunt - VK08May).

I have often been unwell and I've just need one swig at you to get back to my feet. Today is a case in point. I was supposed to get up early in the morning (~6) and work on my next book. I did wake up but I could not get out of my bed. And when I finally got up, it was well after 10 and that depressive streak held me hostage all over again. Until I had a Red Bull. And after that, I did my 30 minutes of guitar practice, wrote some for my book, worked on a deck that has been pending forever. And did a few things that I have been delaying for a few days, for no reason.

In fact in the past as well, you have been instrumental in helping me do my work as an event manager. So much so that I could not work without you by my side. You are one of the 7 things that us event managers cant live without. Remember all those shows where you've rested on the console while I was assisting Suvi in running the shows? Remember how I ask him to shut up at times (despite his obvious seniority and more experience) and let me make the decisions? If not for you, I wont have had the balls to ask him to trust me and let me handle the situation! Trust me! 

More than just work, you have given me the strength to stay up at night and work on my book when Sachin had put me under scary deadlines. I hate him for that. And I love you for allowing me to sail over the deadlines. Of course the book hasn't made me famous or rich. But thank you for being there. Thank you for the help. Sachin, if you're reading this, you better not push me like this for next one.

And then there have been times when my ultra conservative folks have questioned if you were an alcoholic beverage. Because you are priced at a premium. And you had me seriously addicted. I had a tough time explaining to them that you were an "energy" drink and it was safe, as long as I consumed you in "moderation". Well, moderation is a subjective word. No?

Finally, the greatest part of my fandom is because of all the awesome marketing that you guys engage in. As a marketer and someone who wants to go down in history books as David and Leo, I have super amazing respect for your marketing methods. I mean who else could have thought of sending someone up in Stratosphere to jump! Or creating a damn racing team. Or those crazy things that you often cook up! I often tell people that if you want to learn marketing, all you need to do is look at how Red Bull goes about it and decode the method behind your madness.

You know, come to think of it, I owe a lot to you. And I ought to have Red Bull more often. Just that I am trying to be healthy. May be I can cut on Coke and binge on Red Bull when I crave for a beverage. May be. Let's see. 

More later. Till then,

Love,
Saurabh "high on Red Bull" Garg

End of the starry night...

Note: I have been acting crazy over the last few days (about ten days or so). I've tried to not show the crazy bit to people around me. They may or may not have noticed. But deep down inside, I know I have been crazy. As they say, the easiest person to fool is myself and the hardest to help is also self. So instead of falling in the delusion that all is well, I shall work on and fix things. 

van Gogh's Starry Night
Since this is a very public place (and yet apart from PD no one reads this blog and I am not sure if after IM she has time to read this anymore) I will not get into a lot of details. But I know I need to fix a few things. Let me make a list of things that I would work on over the next few days.

1. Find that office (or a place where I could sit and work). Fast. Super fast. I cant work out of home. Even though I have a fancy table and an ok chair to sit on. Starbucks is fine but I no longer want to spend 200 bucks every hour. I have a couple of options. They are not ideal but I shall exercise those options and see which one can I close. 

2. Do something about my fitness. I just do not like the way I look. I need to loose (or lose?) that fat around my belly. There are so many things that could be done. I have to finish a marathon before the end of this year and apart from buying running shoes, I haven't done shit about it. It will change from today. I will go for a walk, if not a run every day from today. Irrespective of the city I am in.

3. The longing for sgMS is making me super crazy. I know I can't be with her and I know I can't live without her. Everything I do is meaningless without her. There are times when I question the very reason for doing things (writing etc). I will no longer worry about it. Let the reasons take a break. I am just going to assume that she's around and do my shit. More on it on the secret blog.

4. There are couple more things. I will not write about em here. Too personal. Too private.

Apart from these, other things that often trouble me are my attempts to improve the way I write, my quest for learning and the never-ending chase of money. I am thankfully doing pretty ok for the time being (I am learning about writing, have enough money to feed myself for the next 6 months and learning new things everyday). I am moving ahead in my own little silly ways. The only thing hampering em is the general gloom that I have subjected myself to. Like I said, I need to get out of it. And I will do it now!

Oh, I am working on a new business idea. And this time, I have a partner who's been there and done that (started and exited a successful start-up). So, things will have a higher probability of working out. Look forward to it. More in a few days when we are closer to the output.

That's it for the time being.

P.S.: The very damn act of writing this is so therapeutic. I often wonder why I write a blog when I very well know that very few people read this on regular basis. And in the process of writing, I am making my life public. More public that those cricketers or film stars. Just that they have people who care about the color of underwear they're wearing. And in my case, the person I love the most, doesnt even care if I am alive. Or dead.

Anyhow, I dont know the real reason why I write. I just think that writing helps. Like I said, its therapeutic. And if you're reading this, thanks a ton. It really is gratifying to know that people can read through long personal rants. 

More as and when I have newer updates.

P.P.S.: Why did I put van Gogh here? I dont know. It felt like the most natural thing to do.

P.P.P.S.: I have made similar list no less than a hundred times in the past (too lazy to post links) and every time I have failed to keep up to them. Let's see if this time I can.

P.P.P.P.S.: The other change that has happened to me is that I no longer care about the perception that my acquaintances have of me. The realization happened as a result of this long rant on the events industry. May be read it, if events business interests you.

Life and Death

I woke up on Monday morning to the news of demise of Parag Parikh in a car crash, in Omaha. He had gone to attend the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder's meet. 

Although I did not know Parag but I knew of him. He was part of the small close-knit value investor community in India (spearheaded by Prof. Bakshi). And since I have been wanting to be a part of this community, I knew of most people in the group (some are friends that I often exchange email with). Of course I am not good enough to be a part and thus I just knew of Parag (and others).

And even though I did not know Parag, for some reason, his demise has moved me. Probably because he is was one of those few who were working on something that they loved!

In contrast are people like me. The ones who have a million dreams and aspirations and yet we dont move a muscle to get closer to those dreams. We don't realize that the life as we know it could be over in a minute and all those dreams would be left to rot after we are gone. We continue to breathe and do non-useful things and occupy space and resources on Mother Earth and kill time. Waiting for that inevitable end.

What use is the life of mediocrity when the great ones are not allowed to live to their fullest potential? Remember Steve's words? If you don't it, now would be a good time to revisit what he said. Here is a snippet.

Via @adatar on twitter
All I can say to Parag is thank you so much. You were an inspiration. I was envious of you. Always wanted to be a friend (there were so many stories about you from people I know who worked with you). I promise I will make my life count!

Also reminded me of something that I wrote way back in 2009. And for some reason that Earthquake in Nepal that brought the country to its knees did not affect me. Neither did any other accident or something. Although Parag's accident is just a news for me, it moved me. So much that I am reevaluating a lot of things.

Dear sgMS

Dear sgMS,

I dint mean to write to you this soon. I am supposed to show little restraint, little caution, little more control over what I do and how much I miss you. You know I am supposed to move on and all that. And anyway, I just wrote a letter to you last week!

The thing is, I am at a place that has something that reminds me of you. Actually not just one thing. But a lot of things. Its like the universe is conspiring against me or something. To get me close to you.  Lemme talk about those things.

Starting with the fragrance that the hotel uses. This hotel has Lotus Flower as their signature smell. Now I dont know much about fragrances and perfumes and all that but I know that the perfume is uncannily similar to the one that you use all the time. So much that everytime I use one of those free things that come in the room, I go rushing back in your arms. Living with you. Breathing in that smell off you. Holding your hand, traveling with you to a new place. Remember that ten-page long letter that I wrote you before we went on that trip?

Then there is this entire thing about me being at a very chilled out place and not having you for company. Every time I do some mischief, pull a prank on people I am with, I am left searching for you and hoping that you would be around to see me smirk like a mad man. I would crave for that dismissive nod of yours that says so much without saying anything at all. Something that only you can do. Something that I think is one of your superpowers. Something that I miss sorely. 

Then ofcourse there are millions of tiny nicknacks that I think you would've loved to buy. Of course, to this date I cant guess what your taste is like but I have a vague idea of things that would pass your scrutiny. You remember how towards the end of that trip, I actually got good at guessing the trinket that you liked? I wanted to point at things that I think you would like. But I couldnt. You werent around you know.

And last, the fact that the room has pristine clean bedding, just the kind that you prefer. It is so  perfect that you probably wouldnt have stepped out of the hotel! Neither do I want to for that matter. And when I miss you, and when I dig my face into those soft pillows, every time I curl up in the bed craving for your company, that whiff of that Lotus Flower takes me back. To you. It reminds me of you. Of your company. Of your greatness.

God, I miss you. I really do.

Please come back.

Love always,
SG

The 14-hour sleep cycle

Every often, someone something comes along that challenges the human limits. Pushes things to an extent that no one thought was possible. Sort of, opens the doors for the rest of the world to follow. Makes the world believe that something everyone believed impossible is actually possible.

Take the 4-minute mile for example. Before that person ran the mile in less than 4 minutes (I dont know his name), no one thought it was possible. And now, the 4-min miles are as routine as people running barefoot.

There are numerous such things. There is the 10-second 100 meters dash, the 10-second Rubik's, score of 200+ by a batsman and so on and so forth. I can make a long list of things like that.

The point is, someone has to prove to the world that things are possible. And then everyone else, sort of follows.

All my life, I have struggled to find that something that I could claim ownership of. Something that I could claim that I've invented. Something that I am the first to achieve. Something that I show the way with.

So with much difficultly and exploration, I think I have found it. Something that I can claim as my baby. Ladies and gents, say hello to the 14-hour sleep day. It's doable and its not too tough. I mean if I can do it in the hot and humid Mumbai weather, you can do it from other more comfortable places. For sure.

From whatever little I know, it is recommended that us humans sleep atleast 7 hours everyday. Most people are lucky if they can manage 5. The great Kumbhakarana did 6-month sessions but then he's the stuff the legends are made of. I am a mere mortal. For me, 14 hours is like an achievement!

Kumbhakarana - The original sleep athlete!
And no, its not one off, freak occurrence. I have been doing 14-hour sessions for last few days. On the trot. Without much ado.

It all started on the recent trip to Goa. There, I was in middle of so much action that I hardly got anytime to sleep. And I was totally fine by it! But when I came back, I dont know what came over me, I started doing these 14-hour sessions.

Of course sleeping is serious business and I need to burn some calories. Thus to go along with my long sleep sessions, I have been eating as if I am from a famished land and the days ahead are full of scrounging in a foreign land. And since I need to burn all the 5000+ calories that I've consuming, I ought to sleep. You know, the vicious circle?

The thing is, writing, dreaming, work and other things have taken a back seat and I am missing a few deadlines but what are these deadlines when I am on a mission to push the human limits! I am trying to make that dent. And I am sure that work can wait. No?

So ladies and gents, come be a part of the revolution that I am creating. It really is possible to sleep for 14+ hours everyday. You got to believe that you can do it. You just need a little bit of push. On the bed. And then drift away. To that world beyond your boring old life! 

I would've written more.. but sleep beckons... you know!

P.S.: The amateur scientist in me tells me hat these are early symptoms of bipolar disease (aka clinical depression in simpler terms). Or may be its the Vitamin D deficiency. Or I am missing sgMS a little too much and I am trying to not think about her by succumbing to sleep. Or maybe I am merely running away from something. Whatever is the reason, I am loving it. I know that this depressive state wont last too long, like the maniac state that I was in a few days ago. And I need to totally live it up. 

P.P.S.: In memory of @AapChutiyeHain. I did not know him but his death has affected me. And I think I know why he did what he did. I can relate to him. RIP dude. The world did not deserve you. Thank you for spreading smiles. You will be missed.

I fold.

I fold!
This is one of those big decisions for rest of 2015.

I am going to stop playing poker. Few reasons.

1. I have been on a losing spree. As per my poker stats, I have lost 9 out of 10 times I have played. Also, I have wiped all my bankroll. Since I dont have any predictable earning, I am not sure how to build the bankroll without investing anything from my savings. And that, ladies and gents, is not happening.

2. Luck doesnt seem to be favoring me. Not luck, odds. I mean what are the odds that hand after hand you would have like 30 outs and you wouldn't connect even one? Or you'd have pocket kings and every flop would have a string of aces? Or on the button you had hands so cold that you could deep freeze your coke with em. I am losing that perpetual "war with luck."

3. I dont see myself improving at it. Improving at poker, I think, is a simple function of time, practice and reading. I dont have that time. There are just too many things that I am busy with - earning my bread, writing my next book, travel, trying to get fit and so on and so forth. Take guitar for example. Neo just got me a new guitar. A F310. It's something that I've always wanted to do. May be I would focus on it for 2015.

4. There is no 4. The above three are reasons solid enough reasons to make me reconsider my poker "career."

That's it. I think I would get away from poker. Except that home game once in a while and that occasional tournament.

I know quitting sucks but you ought to know who you are and what could you do!
 Wish me lucky with the guitar :)

P.S.: I will get back to poker at some point in life. It gives me everything that I want - money, travel, decision making, access to great minds, time and all that. Just that I have other things to chase right now. May be in 2016?

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?