15 years (and 7% of the year). #3

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Yo whoever still reads this on a regular basis. Wassup?

So, the first post on this blog came up on Jan 18, 2004. See it here. And yes, its cringe-inducing. But heck it was a start. To something that has become such an integral part of my life that I cant imagine a life without it. There have been times when I've thought of shutting the blog down, making it private, publishing an archive in to a book and merging with other publications that I have started at various times in life. I am sure I must have had many more bright ideas about the blog. Thankfully, I did not pay heed to any of those. This blog has become a constant for me. Something that I cant imagine my life without! Really.

Ok, time to stop reminiscing and look at today. And at the future.

As on 26th, 7% of the year is over. Yes! It feels like yesterday when everyone was chilling and making merry and ringing in the new year. But ladies and gents, time flies. At least for me.

27 days are over and I have not moved an inch in this year. I mean I did...
- signup for what could be the project of the lifetime,
- a 40-hour fast,
- start working on book2,
- start writing #SoG and have been almost consistent with those.

I also am meditating on and off. I recorded a podcast with Krishna. I am journaling very regularly. I have been able to lo-tech in my daily life (more pen and paper etc). And other small things.

But these remain scattered. And these dont really add up. You know.

And, I am still poor and look up to friends when the month ends. I am not yet fit. The abs are like a million workouts away. I have a million reasons to be sad. But then, like they said in Inside Out, I dont want Sadness to control my machine. I'd rather have Joy talk to you.

So Joy! He says that life has been good. Things are going great. Things are actually looking up. Need to sort relationships and money. Rest of it is in place. And no, havent given up on the dream to make a dent in the world. Or make a billion dollars. Or to climb the Everest. I will do it. The last two, before Jan 1, 2026. I am committed.

I just need to pull my socks and get back to the grind. I feel that digital detox that I did in Dec 2018 is to blame. I never came back. I mean I started using technology but I never picked up speed with work. The way I was at it. And you know the worse part? I am perfectly ok with not delivery. And no, its not cool. I will fix it. Promise.

Anyhow.

How is it going for you guys? Are you on track with your yearly goals? This piece on Harvard can actually help! Or may be not. I shared with a few friends and they were dismissal of this piece. Clickbait, they said.

What are your ideas / strategies for staying on course?

The Shoe Situation

The pair of Crocs that I wear everywhere I go.
If you know me, you would know of my hatred for shoes. 

And you'd know that I have a million pairs already (even though I dont wear them). 

And I have tried rather unsuccessfully in the past to start wearing em. At times its been at the insistence of my mentors, at times at the need thrown by attempts at losing weight, at times by my own wild thoughts and opinions about how I want to run my life. 

But then none of these have been successful. And lapse back into this routine where I just throw on the Crocs and I am on my way. 

But this changes from today on. Here are some reasons why.

Reason 1. I want to dress better.
No serious. 
I mean even though I love all the ads that Raymonds makes, I have hated the concept of a well-dressed man. But now I know that I need to change that. Because I work in a world that evaluates people on the basis of what they wear and how they look. 

I cant change the way I look but I can for sure change the way I dress. 
Shoes is a great starting point! 
The next would be clothing. At some point in life. 

Plus, at the Mastermind group that I am a part of, I have made a commitment that I will be more presentable. This means that I need to have "decent" clothes on. Including shoes. And even though my design sense sucks, my choice of clothes is probably the worst ever, I will make an effort to be better. As long as I dont have to buy way too many clothes, minimalism you see. 

Reason 2. Mumbai Metro! 
Yes. The Metro. 
No, people arent stomping on my feet just as yet but the entire city of Mumbai is dug up like a minefield and the ones like me who like to walk (and live in chappals) end up with feet that look like a mason's. 
Which is ok. 
But then most times when I walk, I club it with work. And like I said, we are judged by what we wear and signals we create rather than work we do. So I dont want to reach meetings with my feet covered in dust and muck. 

From what I know, its ok to have a pair of shoes that is dirty but its a strict no to have feet that are dirty. Ergo. 

And yes, I know people that carry a pair of shoes in their cars. You see when they step in a meeting, they change into those shoes. 
I'd do this as well someday. 
But lemme get a car. Which if all goes well, will be this year! Like I've been planning for almost 5 years! 

Reason 3. Age. 
Age? 
Well, I am 36. And that means my body is on a downward spiral now. Joints, cartilages, muscles, tendons and I dont know what all are now weak, brittle and prone to breakage. And if I have to live till 120 (one of my #lifegoals), I better take care of these "assets". 

Reason 4. All Birds. 
All Birds has done what Nike (or Shoe Dog for that matter could not). No, they dint make a smart shoe or whatever. It has captured my attention (like all other things that wannabe hipsters like me chase). This is a pair of shoe I want! I dont need it. I have enough. But I want. You know what am saying?  


*** 

In the end, if 2019 has to be a year of change (and superlative success), why would I not want to change this thing called dressing up? 
Even though its devastating to have to change at 36 to be able to fit in. To get proved wrong after half the useful life is over.

But I think its not too late. 
We remain students and we ought to continue to grow. 
And improve. 
And change. 

Starting with shoes. 

#in2019, I will...

Hello hello! Long time no see!

In case you dint hear, I was on this self-imposed digital detox. I know these things are often attempts at vanity but trust me I was not trying to be vain. A lot was (and is) happening with life and I needed a break from the routine. And routine from me was work, hustle, dream. Repeated in an unending cycle. In an ideal world, you want this cycle to be a growing spiral (you know the difference? Dont you? Scroll to the bottom of my version of difference). But since it was a circle, I needed to get away from it and look up. And thus the break.

Anyhow.

So, its 2019. We are one year away from that fabled 2020 that all of us looked up to when we were kids. Unrelated, the other fabled time horizon that everyone looked up to was Y2K. And thats like 20 years ago. 

Truth be told, 2018 hasnt been the best year of my life.
Far from it.
In fact if I could undo it, I would.
I am not sure what did I get out of the year, apart from some very expensive lessons. I will probably talk about them in a few days (once I am ready) but for the time being, allow me to see ahead.

Coming to 2019.
2019, ladies and gents, means a new year. A new beginning.
And like every year, I want to make a longish list of all the great things that I will achieve in this year!

Oh, I dont know if you know or not, I am big on this concept of new year. Each year I spend substantial time thinking about how I'd make the new year the best of my life.
I write long notes on what I want to do.
I think hard about the year gone by.
I think harder about where I want to be.
And I look at my abilities.
I marry all three and then I come up with a list of things that I think I can do in the year ahead.
And because I was in this digidetox towards the end of 2018, I could not access my tools to do the homework required. I even made plans to travel to the hills for 3 days to work on these yearly things but because of a last minute snafu I couldnt go. Lol, such a cry baby! 

Not important.

Important is that even though I could not spend the days leading to the new year in deep contemplation, I could still think of 4 large themes that I would chase in2019.

These are Writing, Health, Meditation, Relationships (how obvious ;) and how similar are these to your previous year themes!)!

From these four keywords, I have culled out things, goals, resolutions, plans that I want to work towards and achieve in 2019. Each thing adds up to get me closer to these 4 things. And these 4 take me closer to my life goals (Everest, $1Bn, Impact a billion lives).

So, in2019, I will...
  1. attend a 10-day Vipassana retreat. I went for one in 2009 and its apt that I go after 10 years! 
  2. do 4 Keto cycles of 20 days each.
  3. launch 12 new projects. One each month. I am not sure what these projects would be but they have to be side hustles that allow me to make money. And more importantly, teach me!
  4. turn off technology for 3 consecutive days (weekends hopefully), once a month.
  5. read 24 books. I used to be a voracious reader at a point in time. I lost it somewhere. I will get back to reading this year. Biographies and supertexts only.
  6. work with 50 students and be the shoulder that they could stand on. Preferably MBA students. If you know someone who may need a mentor or sorts, please do point them to me. 
  7. do a water-fast one day each week.
  8. run / walk 10KMs every day.
  9. meditate 20+ minutes each day. Want to be able to do 45 minutes everyday. YNH does 2 hours EVERY day! 
  10. write 200,000 words this year that are available for public consumption. These would be spread across my blog, SoG, Book2, Podium etc.
I will track these goals and more importantly the progress here (a shared cloud document).
You are welcome to see and recommend changes.

Each thing has a reason for being in the list. 
Each is a number. So I can measure how I am doing with respect to the goal. 
Most have a frequency component (for example, to be able to write 200K words in the year, I will have to write about 700 words per day on an average). This will allow me to track my progress. 

I know I have conspicuously left out work here.
Not that it is not important to me - rather, I cant differentiate work from life (or home or play or whatever). Just that I am not prepared to think of tangible work goals yet. I will do so over the next few days. Before the first week is over. That will leave me with 51 weeks but its ok. One of the things that I learnt in last year was not to be harsh on myself.  

Thats about it! 

Oh, if you do wish to indulge me further, pray do tell me what is that one big thing that you'd do this year. And do tell me if you need help with that. If not with specifics, I can be a great tool that reminds you to stay on course. 

All the best for 2019. 
Hope the year is full of love, luck and happiness. 
May you live long and prosper. 

Love,
Saurabh

P.S.: In case you are curious, here are similar posts from previous years: 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.

P.P.S.: Oh, while I wrote this, I was tripping onto Faridkot's Haal E Dil. Must support more indie work. Wish there were a way to show people beyond the ones that can buy media! Maybe I'll add to my todo list.

P.P.P.S.: Cycle vs Spiral.
Cycle - a never-ending loop that does not have the beginning or the end.
But has distinct stages.
And you are merely moving between those stages without any growth.

Spiral - again, a never-ending structure with distinct stages.
But at each stage, you grow up and you are doing things at a larger scale.
You are growing.

I' rather be in a growing spiral.

P.P.P.P.S.: This is probably one of those few years where I have not included wealth (or money) in my list. Of course I want to move towards that. There IS a financial goal that I have set for myself. But I want it to be the byproduct of how I live. Journey, as they say, has to be more rewarding.

#note2self. Must do a post on how 2018 went and the big lessons I took from the year. 

#Untitled - 21 Dec 2018

As I write this, its 9 AM at a residential area (Thane).
I am here to meet a friend and hoping to get some homeopathy treatment for whatever ails me (which is I dont know what, except Lichen Planus and a suspect pain in my balls - this could, if I believe Google, be anything ranging from an infection to old age to hernia to those diseases that I dont want to name). 
As I write this, I feel good. Really good.
The kinds that I havent felt in a while.
I dont know why.
May be because I am a morning person?
Or maybe because I am on pseudo Keto for last 15 days (most days I stick to Keto meals but I have been cheating and that means I am essentially on a lo-carb diet).
Plus the weather is nice (people are shivering even after layers and layers of clothes and I am in a thin tee and shorts).
And I am at an empty cafe (Chaayos, not Starbucks) and I am sipping on to Green Tea (which as per a twitter friend, is pure evil) and listening to Hindi pop-music (the kinds I like - Lucky Ali, Mohit Chauhan, Papon etc).
Right now, at this moment, assuming the mood swings dont happen, I have no worry in the world (the year is ending and I am going off technology in a couple of days - so I am excited, scared, intimidated and more about it).
I am in general hopeful about life and all (not that I have a lot of things planned #in2019 but I am hopeful).
I am writing frequently (#SoG) and words flow easy. Like I am in the never-ending flow state.
This is that feeling that I would love to last forever!
Fuck! As I write this, just thinking, is it all the meditation that I have done in the last few days (except yesterday when I missed)? I mean meditation doesnt really work for me. The mind runs in all directions all the time. But then I do sit stable for 10-15 mins that I meditate. I use Headspace which I think is brilliant. And no I have not tried other apps. 
Or may be it is all the mindfulness that I have been practising?
Or is it because I have forced EVERY negative thing out of my system? I mean I told my best friends that I dont want to talk to them if they merely diss me. And I left all the conversation opportunities (Whatsapp groups, family gossip, toxic workplace etc) that can drag me down. The kind of person I am, I feel bad for days for simple tiny things like someone being curt to me. And I tend to take on misery of others as well! Ok, rambling.
Back.

Just that I would want a tad lot more money. I would want to make a difference to the lives of people around me. I would want to write and create impact. I would want to enable passionate people. Soon, Mr. Garg. 

This is like the perfect day! I would however want to change a few things. Here's a list.

A, the place I live at? Thats way too crowded for my taste. I would love this laidbackness at where I live. I can potentially move in this part of the world, but then I would be super-cut off from work. And at this point in life that can NOT happen. Work is priority. And I have to make all the damn money. I will move and all once I make the money.

B, I would shift my patronage to Chaayos if they werent this wannabe and stopped copying Starbucks. But then who cares about me. Or I'd love to have Starbucks to start playing Hindi music. To me, music is the thing. And I love Hindi way too much! 

C. I'd like to be fit. This is something that I can work on. And I will, in 2019. After all this IS required to take me closer to my #lifeGoal of the the Everest. I dont know why I want to change this. Like I said, I feel good physically, mentally and all that! 

D. All those kids that use these coffee shops as date haunts? I would line them up and open up a hose of cold water. I mean this sounds like an apt punishment for the ones in Mumbai that wear thick jackets and all that. Thing is, I have nothing against dates - life is meant to be spent in love. I hate the concept of their frivolousness and approach towards life. There ARE far more important things than whiling away time at cafes.

E. I REALLY wish Diet Coke was not harmful in the long-run. I mean all reports say that Diet Coke is just water and some secret recipe and aspartame and lot of carbon. And I know that all reports says that Diet Coke is not cool. And I love the taste and the feeling. I dont know what to do about it! #help

That's it for the day!

Oh, apart from these "changes", I think I'd sum up this piece with following.

  • I like vast, empty spaces with some habitation. And businesses that are open and are willing to cater to what I may need. This is probably why I like the US of A. Vast open spaces. Businesses that want to do business (unlike India).
  • I love mornings. Really. I think its the greatest thing that I have. I wish I can stay like this. 
  • Hindi music is my catharsis. Must make a playlist on YT or something that I can shift to when I need rejuvenation. 
Chalo, gotta go. Over and out! 

What books have changed your life?

One simple question. 
What books have changed your life? What books have made you think, made you give a hard look at your life, your choices, your decisions and everything that you stand for?

Thing is, starting Monday, I am hoping to not touch an electronic device. And for someone like me who literally lives on the Internet, this is going to be one of the toughest things I've ever done.

While I am on this digital detox, I am hoping to feed myself healthier things, including books! So, I am trying to gather a selection of books that I could read when I dont have technology around me.

Some of the books that I plan to read in this break. 
Which one would you recommend? Some books that I am considering are...
  • Factfulness, Hand Rosling 
  • Bad blood (not too keen but Bill Gates has recommended this and thus) 
  • Measure What Matters 
  • Deep Nutrition 
  • Headstrong 
  • Principles, Ray Dalio 
  • Walden (old but I've been meaning to read this forever) 
  • Seneca'a Letters from a Stoic
  • Autobiography of a Yogi
  • 21 Ideas for 21st century, Yuval Harari 
What else? I dont want to read fiction. And I dont want to read books that are centred around one idea (say, Tipping Point). I would rather read biographies, health books, narratives et al. 

I know am being ambitious that I will be able to read these many books in 10 days. But I think with zero access to tech, I think I'll just read and do nothing else! And thus, I am hopeful. And even if I cant read al the books, I will have a list of supertexts that I can eventually read!

Help!! 

#Untitled - 16 Dec 2018

So its been sometime that I wrote here. There are a couple of reasons for it.

A
I dont have anything interesting to report. Thing is, this is my personal blog and I think I have said all that I had to. I mean there is nothing special happening on the personal front. I am merely growing old and along with that, I am growing more rigid, rude and un-companionable. And thats not something that I want to report. Or write about. I can talk about how growing old is giving me the clarity and making me better and all that. I actually wrote. But when I did some review while editing, I realised that it had become a ranty piece. And since I've decided that I wont whine, I removed it all.

So, in one line, nothing worth writing, reporting.

Of course I do write a letter everyday to a few friends (called #SoG, some letters are available here, where everyday I talk about one thing that you can do to improve yourself; lemme know if you want to subscribe) and I am active on twitter and all that (this will change, read below). But I simply dont have anything that I may want to write.

One may argue that the blog is not meant to be a report-card but a place where you dump your thoughts. Thing is, I have found better alternatives for that. I write on my echoChamber, my journal and other places and that helps a lot.

Oh, in case updates are important, there ARE a few things that I am trying in the next few days. Maybe those will interest you!

Here's a list.

1. As of today, I am off twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Till the 2nd of Jan 2019. Lets see how long do I last. This is important to me. Because I believe that these SM channels allow you to create your personal brand, that in turn gets you opportunities and all that. More than that, I really enjoy "eavesdropping" on the chatter on the twitterverse. Twitter in fact is the first source of information for me! 

2. On the next Saturday (or maybe Sunday), I will get off whatsapp as well. Till the 2nd of Jan' 19. In case you wish to reach me, you will have to call me. Or SMS me. Like the good old days. Its ok if I lose out on the opportunities. Again this is big. MOST of my work happens on WA. From tiny things like coordinating to large things like reports and invoices and all that - all happens over WA. Lets see how I survive.

3. And on the 25th or so, I will switch off my computer. Again till the 2nd of Jan. Really. Last time I went this long without my laptop, it was in 2009 when I went to Vipassana. Lets see how the experiment goes this time.

I plan to do a complete digital detox. This means no electronic device except a basic phone.

I will still goto Starbucks and wework to work sit and read and write. With a physical book and a pen and a paper. It will be tough to walk around without a laptop or an electronic device that gives me access to Internet. Lets see if I can be a modern day hermit!

Oh while I am in my self-created hermitage, I plan to revisit some old classics - Walden, Meditations, Count of Monte Cristo et al. There are health books that I am hoping to read (Bulletproof Coffee etc). If I can find time, I will read some modern ones as well - 21 ideas for 21st century tops the list. I would have learnt to code but I am not sure I can do that without a computer. And I dont even want to try.

Oh, while I go on the detox, the only thing I am worried about is my meditation. I am dependent on Headspace for guided sessions. I will see what I can do about it.

The other thing I am worried about is writing with a pen and a paper. I really suck at it. Ideas dont really flow while I use a pen. But a decision is a decision and I dont want to have an iota of distraction.

Wish me luck ;)

B
I am on this trip where I want to eliminate all negativity from my life.
Negativity. Not feedback.
Trolls, not debate.
Things that drag you down.
That snide comment, that mocking reference to your achievements or to your shortcomings. Those jokes that are cracked at your humor. Anything that puts you on the back foot. Of course as a man you ought to fend those off and get back with a louder wise-crack. But, do you want to invest your energy or time or intention in that?

Not me. Life's short and there are things to be done. And now that I am on the wrong side of 30s, every minute is at a premium.

So, if this means that I need to choose my battles. And if this means I need to get away from things that I dont appreciate, I will. If this means leaving all friends behind because they cant understand where I come from, they will have to wait on the sidelines. If you are the woman I love and you dont respect time, I am out. I will run on my clock and if you can keep up, good for us. In case you cant, well, there are so many great men! If you are my family and all you care about is what would others say of my decisions, please stay with them. If you work FOR me, WITH me or I work FOR you, please know, work takes priority over everything!

I know I am being a dick about things. But thats ok. Its about time I took control of my life and it starts today. I sincerely hope that people important to me can keep up.

In fact I am told that when people die, one of the top 5 regrets is that they wished they kept in touch with their friends. I think thats bull. I'd rather die alone than die a pauper because I spent all the time in doing things that made my friends "value" me. More on this later. I have a letter (#SoG51) to write :)

Thats' it.
Over and out.

PS: Of course at some level I am responsible for this. I revel in self-deprecating humor and texts (this blog is a testimony). But all of it changes now.

PPS: While I am on detox, I will have help from my "assistant", who will help me order books, change my meals (I am this subscription service that sends meals at home) and all that.

#SoG42 - Personal Fitness

This is one of the emails that I send to some friends and strangers. The emails are based on one thing that I learnt in the day and how that could be applied to becoming better versions of self. If you want to get these emails, please lemme know (on twitter). 

#SoG 42 - Personal Fitness This one comes at the request of one of the readers. She says she's saturated with all the "heavy" things and needs something lighthearted. And thus, this one is aimed to be that.
Lemme start with a question.
When was the last time you threw up? And what did you do that made you throw up?
Most common answer would be, after a party. Some months ago. After all most recipients on this letter are sane!

When did I last threw up? Today morning! I dont know if I have mentioned this earlier but one of my #lifeGoals is to climb the Mt. Everest.
And then if that goes well, probably goto other peaks.
But Everest to start with. And I WILL do it before Jan 1, 2026.

This means that when I take the shot at it, I need to have about 60K USD + inflation + whatever else is required, 3 months of free time where I can make the attempt and most importantly, be in the prime of my health! Health means fitness, stamina, will power etc.

And that is what I have started to work on from this December.
I am on Keto Diet (to help get back in shape).
I ensure that I walk 8 KMs everyday.
And finally, today I started with Cardio. HIIT.
Went to a class and all that.
At 6 AM. In the morning.
Like a hipster - in Decathlon shorts (black), black Nike training shoes and a black Nike dry-fit tee.
It was so black that my bald head was reflecting the mood of the moon.
Blacker than the blackest black you've ever seen.
Thats not the point.

Point is, we started at 6.
Did some warm up and while doing do, I was sure that I will kick ass of everyone else around.
It seemed so easy.

Till we reached a point where the trainer asked us to do burpees. Now burpees is nothing too difficult. We've seen enough and more people do it on them youTube videos. No? All you do is jump, kneel down on all four and extend your legs backward. Then up get up again, jump, kneel, leg extension. In that order. Over and over again. Its that simple. Try it. Its like a cake walk. I knew I could do a 100 of those if I had to.

I was like, bring it on.

First one was great. I jumped so high I touched the clouds. Kneeling was easy-peazy. I suck at push-ups (throwing my legs back to stretch seemed like a push-up to me, so will use push-up to talk about it) but I did that one fairly easy. I was feeling good. The best day of my life! I could see the Mt. Everest.

Second was even better. I jumped and I felt like Icarus. And I think I did the push-up faster than you can say push-up. I could see myself as Farhan Akhtar doing those 100 reps. I was on my second. 98 more to go.

And on the third, I was going to launch myself out of the space with the jump. Which I think I did. And I went down to prep for the push-up. And... and, I passed out.

Well, not really. But I knew I've had enough.
I couldnt continue.
And I took the permission from the trainer and sat.
And I promise you, the gut was in my mouth and I was this ---> <---- close to throwing up.
And may be I did. I dont know if I did.
I was in that delusion-ary phase where you just want to lie on your back and gasp for air and nothing else matters.

Ladies and gents, in less than three burpees, I was dead.
People around me may have done 5. Or 50. We'd never know.

But I have not lost hope. I will prevail. It was Day 1. And I hate stasis.

Wish me luck! See you tomorrow.

Thanks,
@saurabh

Day 1 at WeWork 247 Vikhroli

Today was my Day 1 at a WeWork. Prior to this I sat out of Red Bricks Offices (RB) for almost 2 years. Here's what I noticed on my first day.

A cool place to work out of! 
As advertised, Wework is definitely cooler. Everything is premium AND international. From the decor to space to ambience to the way staff is dressed. I've been to almost all major co-working spaces in India and WeWork hands-down is THE best! And probably THE most expensive. 

Co-workers
Most people at this office are "employees" and not entrepreneurs. I am not sure how do their employers afford! That aside, I had thought that WeWork would attract entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, artists and other creative kinds. But I am not sure how many of those are here!

Also because a lot of these are employees, for them work is a way to while time while they are paid. There is no energy around. They spend more time in gossip and "chilling" compared to working. Of course I have nothing against chilling but a place where everyone is on a mission is buzzing with lot more activity! You know what am saying?

I dont want "comfortable" people around. I want the ones that are on a mission to change the world! Think Elon's of the world.

I would've loved to see more interesting people.
Or may be its me who's not interesting enough ;P 

Quality of work
As I write this, its 9 PM and I have been here since 11 AM. And for some reason I have been able to focus better than what I could at RB.

I cant say I got done a lot but I could definitely stay at a particular for a longer time.

Maybe because I dont know anyone here and thus I am not gossiping?

I think it has something to do with the way the place has been designed. From comfortable chairs to spacious desks to high ceiling, things here are designed to help you work.

Also, at this hour work is a tad better. Probably because the only ones here are the ones that actually want to get some work done! The ones that were chilling have TV serials to catch up on ;P

Oh, its tough to take phone calls at this place. People and the place is way too loud. 

Food 
If I plan to work from here, I need to plan my meals.

Since 11, I have just had processed food - coffee, coke (regular, not Diet, not Zero), biscuits, chips and all that. For one day its cool. But I cant be doing this everyday. Especially when I hope to get fitter and climb the Everest and all that.

In fact this could actually work in my favour. I could get a keto dabba and that could enable me to lose weight and get fitter! Need to think. 

Headphones
Because of the kind of people I have around here, I will have to invest into some headphones. The Airpods offer me a limited noise cancellation.


***

So yeah. This is it. More as I go along.

Good to be back to publishing here :) 

Untitled (and The Wheel of Life)

Hello, world!
Where've you been?
Well, life's been up and down last few days.
I got a new workplace.
I have started to learn new things.
I am discovering re-discovering meaning of friendship and relationships.
I am little more aware of my limits as an individual.
I am still as dreamy as I were when I was 16. For context, am 36. PS late 30s without money sucks. Please do whatever you can to make all the money while you are in your 20s. Must write a thing for people in 20s to not waste the best part of their lives on chasing frivolous things. And make them pick skills that computers cant do! 

Ok, lemme use this Wheel of Life thing that I found on the Internet, to talk about things.
It looks like...


Health
I've tried to get into Ketosis at least 5 times in last one month. But I have failed. In fact as I write this, I am at a McDonalds and I have had half a KG of vegetable oil. And deep fried potatoes. Well!

I did start jogging and meditation but that lasted exactly one day. I plan to start from tomorrow. Lets see how that goes.

But I am reasonably sharp and alert and active. I'd thus give myself a 5 on 10.


Wealth
I am doing ok. I have enough in the bank to fulfill all my commitments for a year. I would have wanted this to be at 24 months. But thats where we are.

Money is an object that allows me to do things that I want to do. Nothing more, nothing less. Right now the amount of money I have, I can do whatever I want to but there is that nagging thing at the back of my head for sure when I spend. In fact, I am running in the Eco Mode. I wrote about it in 2012 and 2013. Will write about it in today's letter. What letter? See below. 

I'd give myself a 3 on 10.


Relationships (and family) 
I am probably at the bottom of the ocean, with a rock of the size of the Mr. Everest tied to my legs with a chain made of Titanium.

After all these years I think whatever little emotions I had left (and had buried deep in my heart) for sgMS, they're gone. I dont know if its a good thing or bad. Its a thing. Like they teach you in mindfulness, I am just aware of it as a thing. No emotions attached to it.

Most friends are increasingly busier with their respective lives and things that are important to them. And I know I dont feature in any of those things. Not because they dont. But because I'd rather be writing or reading or dreaming.

Other relationships, well lesser said the better.

Also, recently, someone I know decided to call it quits and depart from the world. 
He was a colleague for almost 4 years and even after I quit the company we worked at, we decided to stay in touch. And we continued to help each other out. To me, he was one of those "magicians" that could get things done, come what may. 

I will never know why he decided to do this. He was strong, confident and had things figured out. 

I still dont know how to cope up with death. I like to ignore it and bury myself in meaningless hedonism. I try to make my life into a blur and pile on things. So as to not think about them. 

I'd give myself a 3 on 10.


Writing 
Of course I have been writing. I think the month gone by has been amongst the most productive when it comes to writing. As I write this, I have written 28K words (and I have written EACH day for last 25 odd days). And I have edited a few blogposts for friends, I have written things that I havent pushed in public domain and more.

Most of what I've written is in public domain (just that its not on this blog). I sent a email out EVERY DAY to people who have subscribed (this is what I talked about when I talked about Eco Mode above). They are archived here and should you want to get those in your email, send me your email address. I am @saurabh on twitter.

In those emails I talk about one thing that I learnt in the day. And how you could apply to your lives. And often when I dont learn a new thing, I talk about things where I need help. I sincerely think I add value to readers. Lemme know if you want in.

PS: I am substituting hobbies for writing. I would love to read, play the Uke, play pool, learn swimming and all that but I cant seem to find time after all the work and writing. May be once I get into a routine. But writing is fun. Its my catharsis. 

I'd say I am at least a 7 on 10 on this.


Work
A lot has changed at work. There are new challenges and new opportunities. That's all I'd talk about.

There is a lot of excitement (when do I not have this?) and if things pan out the way I planned those, I would get lot better on the work front. Finger's crossed.

I'd say, I am a 5 here.

Thing is, I have decided that the work I do HAS to inspire others, make an impact and of course make me rich. My ability to inspire and make an impact is constrained because of the limited influence that my company has. Once we are able to scale, I think this will sort itself out. 


Personal Space
On a personal front, I think I am challenged enough. However I am still not making the kind of impact that I would want to make. And that is not happening because I dont have a podium to talk from.

But I am reasonably sure of things and the path I am on. So, I'd give myself a 5.


Contribution.
I think I am making a difference to the lives of people around me. I try to make them better, I nudge them (even if I am rude), I invite them to challenge themselves and chase a higher calling, a higher purpose.

I'd give myself a 6 on 10.


To end this, 
So, once I do this little exercise, I came up with this edited version of the wheel.

As on Nov 2018

The idea is that over time this wheel must have more area confined in the lines than outside.
And of course all will not be stable all the time. Things will change. But idea is to work on all these aspects as I chase that elusive dream of the perfect life!

That's about it for the day. What does your wheel look like?

And finally, no, I havent disappeared. I am still around. Still writing. Just that life hasnt been kind lately and I hope to get out of this better, stronger and richer! 2018 has been among the worst years of my life. I will write about it toward the fag end of December.

Do let me know if you would want to subscribe to my daily emails.

PS: Do I sound like a whiner? Or do I sound like a dude who's got no one to share things with and thus is trying to use this blog as his audience? 

Letter 8 / 3 Nov 2018. On Cricket.

This is an edited version of a letter than I sent to a closed mailing list. I try to write one everyday to a select set of people. Should you want to get one in your mailbox, please do let me know. The first letter is here. A complete archive is here.
So, I played cricket today. Properly. Bowled, batted and all that. Must have played after a year. And back then, about a year ago, when I played, I would've played after decades. With a S. More than one. Serious.

Here are the things that I take away from the experience. Lol. Experience :)

A. I enjoy physical activity. I love to move around.
And contrary to what people close to me believe, I am not inherently lazy - its the heat that has made me lazy. And I hate wearing shoes or too many clothes. If I could live in a cold country, I promise I would dress up well and even wear shoes. And I would love to move around.

B. My game sucks.
Of course there are no surprises. If it dint suck, I wouldnt be here. Writing about the experience. But today, it sucked so bad that I am embarrassed. Well, I have never been a batsman but I used to be a pretty handy bowler. And I was a brilliant fielder if nothing else. While I bowled ok today, and batted as expected, I was probably the worst fielder that I have ever been. There was no hand-eye coordination, something that I have been proud of all my life. I MUST improve. And no, I cant really "practise" but I need to get better. May be if I get regular things will improve?

C. My fitness sucks more than I suck at the game.
If I dont get regular and dont improve, I guess it will be ok. I am anyway way past my prime and I cant even imagine playing at the highest levels. But the game today made me realise how unfit I am. And at all levels. Thankfully I wasnt really panting (maybe I dint run too much?) but I couldve run faster, been more agile, fielded better! And after the game, each part of the body was hurting. And hurting as in HURTing. If I had a "functional" home, I would have sprayed myself all over with some painkiller or something. I even wished I had a masseuse to ease the pain. And although its past 11 (and thus about 12 hours since the game ended), my ankles, tendons, calves, knees and the back still hurt like crazy. Well, the Achilles tendon and the knee's been giving me problems for some time but the calf and the back is new. Side note. When I wear the Nike sneakers, the pain is little bearable. I need to wear them more often, once the weather becomes bearable.

In fact, here's a lesson. Things that connect you to the ground (Earth), you MUST not compromise and invest into getting the best possible alternative.

A few things that "connect" you to the ground are mattress (and the bed), shoes, chairs, footwear etc.

I dont recall where I read this first but more I think about this, more sense it makes. Its cool if you want to buy a cheap phone, shabbily made dress etc. But your feet take the most of the grunt in the day. You better have great shoes. And no, not fancy or goodlooking ones. But functional ones. And the only two brands that I recommend are Nike and Crocs. Ditto for mattress. And chair. Think about it. Use logic.

D. I love my mornings! I may claim to love nights but I love my mornings even more. To the point that the day my mornings dont go as per plan, the entire day is wasted. Take today for example. In my scheme of things, mornings are not meant for exercise et al. But then a game like Cricket requires a team and for most others, morning is where fitness takes priority!

Coming back. The days I cant get up early and step out of the house and get some things done, I feel terrible and the entire day gets "wasted". I mean today, all I have done is write for a bit, worked on SoG for a bit and agonised in the pain inflicted by the minuscule amount of cricket that I played!

If I were to club A, B and D, I need to probably find a sport that makes me move around and can be played at afternoons. Or late evenings.

And you could try and understand if you are a morning person or a night person. How do you find out? Not through what you love. But as Charlie says, invert! Question to ask yourself is, "fucking what part of the day affects you the most?" For me, its the morning! You?

E. Sports bonds people like nothing else.
The people I played with, they were probably aged between 20 and 45. And from different backgrounds, interest areas, personalities, varying degree of proficiency and all that. But while playing, most of them had the single-minded focus of the game. And they could do whatever for their team to win. They dint think about their differences and they came together to focus on the game!

Can I take lessons and use sports as as tool to make my team at C4E and all other initiatives more tight-knit?

I have seen team-building games in action at most of the events that I have worked on as an event manager but most clients do it as mere lip-service. They do it once a year and hope for miracles. Can I use create an ongoing intervention that makes my team come closer? Need to think.

And, having said that, I know that sports can also create great divides. I saw it happen today. And we all know about "enmity" between fans of competing teams! So, need to put some thought!

So yeah, thats about it for the day.

Over and out.

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

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