Sweet November - 1000 words a day!

Sweet November is just around the corner. Apart from being a movie that I dearly love, this is the month when tons of people across America (and probably many other countries around the world) decide and write a novel in one month flat. Matt Cutt says (in his very famous TED talk), the task is not that daunting if you break it into smaller units. And more importantly, stay at it for next 30 days.

I have always harbored a secret dream of being a published writer (not that I admit it all the time). So much so that its on my bucket list. So, November 2011 would be the month when I shall write my first piece of fiction. I dont know the plot or the characters right now but by end of November this year, I would have the first draft in place.

Oh, by the way, apart from the book (or novel or a travelogue or a collection of  short stories), I will write 1000 1700 words a day. Though I dont know if I would post these posts on this blog or I will host them somewhere else. And I am working on a secret project for a friend. Her birthday is around the corner and my gift idea for her involves a lot of writing. And I am travelling to Mumbai, Goa and Agra this month.  

November sounds like a super busy month! Wish me luck. And you may pre-order your copies here. The first 100 orders get a signed copy!

5 Crores on Kaun Banega Crorepati

Sushil Kumar, Anonymous, finally has won the grandest prize of all on Indian television, 5 crores in a game show hosted by Amitabh Bachchan (KBC). What makes the story so captivating and gut wrentching is the fact that the guy who won, makes 6000 bucks a month working as a computer operator and a private tutor. On the promo, he comes across as under confident, miss understood, dreamer and everything else that I can easily relate to.

Like, I was thinking yesterday, its not about the amount but about the fact that any individual from anywhere in the country today can realize his dreams. It reinforces my belief that nothing is impossible in life!

And yes, blame me for being yet another fool that Indian Television Industry has been monetizing for decades.

Pursuit of Fitness

So, as part of a bet, I need to lose 7 inches by first week of December. And for that I joined a gym. For the first time in my life, ladies and gentlemen, I stepped inside a gym. The scene inside made me sick the moment I got in. Men, women and others of all shapes, sizes, ages, odors, colors were at work. More than work they were staring at themselves in the huge mirrors that lined up the walls of the gym. After every nano second of workout, they would find the nearest mirror, twitch their muscle, smile at themselves and then look around, just in case that cute member from the opposite sex was appreciating the apparent display of hormones.I mean I have met tons of self-obsessed people but this was beyond me. This was self-obsession 2.0 and not one, not two but the entire human race in that small area was engaged in it.

Anyways a man's gotta go what a man's gotta do. So despite alle the testosterone around me, I tied up a handkerchief around my nose, tied my shoe laces, bought a fancy blue gym short and, as they say, hit the gym. The first few days were pain. And disgrace. I could barely jog. Now if you dont know me, you may want to visualize a sack of potatoes. If not that, than a walrus. If not even that, I think you need to move on to some other link. So I am as large and lazy as these two and its an effort to move an inch. Here I was expected to run for miles and miles if I had any hopes of losing flab around my waist.

I have been at it for about two weeks now. Of course the results havent started showing. I compensate for all the ahrd work but religiously eating daal makhani and butter naans for dinner. Though I am still off coke. Been more than three months. Who would have believed! Anyways so its been two weeks now and today for the first time ever, I managed to job for 2 KMs at a speed for 8 kmph. That means I was faster than what an average human being walks at and I covered more distance in one shot than I have ever covered. For me, this is nothing short of winning an Olympic medal, in bob-sledging . I was very very happy. I clapped for myself. Adn thankfully for a minute all the appreciating-thyself stopped for a minute and it was converted into is-this-bald-guy mad look. And then as if I had never clapped, people were back to their mirrors and mutual admiration societies. I loved myself at that instant for being able to pull off the the task. Reminded me of Pursuit of Happyness. And the scene where Chris (Will Smith) claps for himself.

And just in case you havent seen this movie, you need to see it for sure. The guy in the scene is offered a job and he needs it more than anyone else in the world and it has come to him after a very long wait and a lot of toil. This is how he chooses to celebrate the moment. Watch from 1:43 if you are short of time!

And in the end, if not anything, please do pray that I win the bet. On stake is something that can potentially change my life!

The Birthday Blues

If you havent guessed already, my birthday is was on Septemberthe22nd. I am not really a big fan of birthdays and I dont really celebrate it. I know this sounds stupid considering that my blog and my primary email addresses are titled septemberthe22nd. May be when I created these about 10 years ago, it must have been important to me. But not anymore. Times change. People change. Thoughts change. Changes change. I changed!

Anyways, so having said that birthdays are not important, here are few obsevations. In no particular order.
  • I have no clue how to handle birthday wishes. Ideally a simple thank you should suffice in most cases but I honestly get embarrassed when people shower extra attention towards me for no apparent reason. If I do something awesome at work and I am praised for that, I totally enjoy it and bask in its glory for days, if not weeks. But birthdays? I am sorry. I dont enjoy all the extra niceness.
  • Last two years, I was away on my birthdays. 2009, I went for Vipassana and 2010, I was traveling. And both years, no one bugged me with inane wishes and I was happy. I had thought that I would make it an annual affair. Travel to an interesting place without any communication device. This year, because of some work stuff, I could not. May be next year. But would make it a recurring theme.
  • Been thinking of a lot of things lately. And on a lot of different things. Most of these are reoccurring questions that I havent been able to find answers to. Like, why do I blog? I tend to follow the golden adage that says that if you arent adding any value, you should shut up. The blog is not meant to add value to anyone's life but mine. And to add value to my life, why do I have to make my thoughts public? I dont know. It just sounds like the thing to do! Would someone even read it? I dont know. I ought to know!
  • Coming to the value, yes, there are things that I know I know better than an average Joe. And I know I can add value. Just like the New New Thing, Sandbox is meant to do just that. I havent started working on it as yet. But someday in near future, before end of October, I shall do it. 
  • I was reading my last post on New New Thing and I said I would become a doer. The post was in Feb 2009. Its been almost two and a half years. Two and a fucking half years. And I am still a lazy ass. Wow I should be ashamed of myself. I can talk of things. I left my job of that time. I started something and failed at it. I joined a different job after that. And yet, I havent been able to become a doer. Can I change that in next few months? Before we enter 2012? I promise to myself that I would. And yes, this is a yet another promise
And in the end, if you think you forgotten my birthday yet again and you want to send me gifts, lemme know. I shall send you the postal address. And I just accept cash. No gift coupons please. 

Safedi Ki Chamkaar

The day I wear white shirts, they inevitably end up being bad. And this is funny because I started liking white shirts after a very dear friend got me one for my last birthday. And being the superstitious dude I am, more than 80% of clothes that I have, are white!

Take today for example. The day started bad. I woke up with cold. Then I had to attend this meeting where nothing productive comes out. Peeves me all the more since I am reading Making Ideas Happen (if you are keen on the book, here is a nice summary, written by the author himself).

The no-outcome meeting started at 10 and ended up at 2. Then I had to do the driver duty for my sis and mom. They shopped for silk, cotton and what not and I was busy hogging. And all my weight loss efforts went down the drain. The effort, for the uninitiated and curious ones includes six days on treadmill for 20 minutes, small meals at regular intervals and no coke for almost three months!

After the driver duty, I came home, wanted to sleep but a woman decided to get married and erect a tent right next to my place. The music was really loud. And worse, it was bad. Got a splitting headache. Almost skipped the gym and ended the day with more eating.

As I write this, its almost midnight and I have 4 things on my todoist that I need to finish before I can sleep. And did tell you that I am supposed to get up tomorrow at 6? To be able to attend yet another pointless meeting?

RIP Steve Jobs

I woke to the news about Steve Jobs. My sis had left a message on my phone. With blurry eyes and hazy head, that only sleeplessness could do to you, I checked my iPad for news about Steve Jobs. Before anything else I wanted to verify and somewhere deep down I wanted to dismiss this as yet another hoax. And the first report that caught my eye was Bill Gates' note about Steve. And this is when I realized that hes actually no more. Then I read more eulogies by Zukerberg, Obama, Larry, Sergey and everyone else.

Initially, my brain processed this as yet another news article. In my mind I automatically thought of all the things, both good and bad, that would be triggered by his death. And then all of a sudden, it struck like a bolt of lightening. Steve Jobs, the nearest thing to God, has died. With him died an extraordinary brain, probably one of its kind. With him died a visionary who could predict see the future and make it happen. With him died a willpower that could move the mountains. With him, died my hero.

No other man, single handedly, has inspired me as much as Steve Jobs has. I have enjoyed watching him present perform on the stage, have been inspired by lore about him, awed by his fervent attention to detail, humored by his candor in his interviews and speeches and most of all, inspired by his thoughts and opinion about computers, technology and impact these things could have on humankind.

I would sincerely miss him. I wish the company he created keeps his legacy alive and stays at the forefront of technology and continues impact lives of millions. I really really wanted him to live. Not just for me, but for all the other hopeless souls who found comfort in his mere existence.

For me, he epitomizes greatness and there is no one else that I want to be. I dont want to be the greatest, the richest, the best, the happiest or anything else-ist. I dont even want to be Saurabh Garg. I just want to be Steve Jobs.

But then, as he said in an address at Stanford, the new must replace the old, now that Steve has passed on the baton to us, we need to do things that would make him proud and smile on us from heavens above.

And in the end, thank you Steve. Thanks a lot for everything that you gave/taught the world.

Har Ghar Kuch Kehta Hai

Har Ghar Kuch Kehta Hai
Ki Iskay Andar Kaun Rehta Hai
Jo itna Gandha Banda hai
Ki Ghar Paint Karne ki Sochta Hai

The first two lines are from an Asian Paints jingle. The last two lines are my contribution, for the sake of this blogpost.

Of all the things that you can subject your home/house to, the worst of them all is painting. Of course its required. You must flush out the old to allow the new to take its place. Change is the very nature of, the nature. Of course you ought to clean your home every Diwali, after all God Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati like residing in clean places.

Painting is actually not bad. If you can live with some occupational hazards. And before I go and talk about them, please note that these could leave a permanent mark on your psyche and next time someone uses the P word, you may try and attack them. At least I have reached the point where I can no longer tolerate any painter anywhere within 100 feet of me!

Of all the million fuck ups that may happen, some of the most potent ones are...

A. The fumes of the paint. They say if the paint does not smell bad, it not a good paint. And since most Indians consume they-says too literally, paint companies, I think, put in extra effort to make the paint smell bad. Really bad. I mean I do enjoy the smell of petrol at a petrol pump and all that but paint, uh!

B. Dust. Everything gets coated in white dust. You know how things and places look when it has just snowed? If you're a five year old, you may play with it and use it as a chalk board and make smileys and scribble your names in it. You can get your legs and arms smeared with whiteness apt for princesses and polar bears. You could even put some in your hair and pretend as if you are 40 and your hair is graying. I mean there are multiple ways to find comfort with dust. Sadly, I dont think I can call a truce with dust. There is so much of dust all over the place that if you made bricks out of that dust, you could erect the great pyramids of Giza all over again, right here in my home!

C. No place to sit. Since the paint that you use to paint on the walls and doors, is the industrial quality one, you are scared that the tiny droplets of paints would spoil your electronics, bedsheets, sofas, clothes, shoes, crockery, rugs, toothbrushes, teddy bears and other things that are important to you. And to save on the damage, you cover these things as if they are the newly wed brides and put them in hiding. And when you want to sleep, you realize that you dont have the mattress. Wait, you dont even have the remote to the AC. And there is no bottle that you can fill water in that you are used to drinking in your sleep. And no, I aint got no teddy bears at home.

D. Disruption of normal life. You make plans about how you would lose weight because #sgMS asked you to. You get up at 5 in the morning, go for a walk. Reach work early. Come back earlier so that you may sleep early and go for a job the next morning. And once you reach home, you realize that only place not claimed by painters is barely enough to allow you to stand on one leg. But hey, look at the bright side. You could learn how to sleep while standing. I bet, not many people in the world can do that!

E. Finally, it takes forever. Last memories I have of normal life at home, I was happily reading some book in my room. Though its just been little over a month since I have seen normality (was traveling for work and ever since I came back, they've been painting the house. They could have painted the entire Taj Mahal in this long a duration!), it already feels like a lifetime. Everything is new. Everything has changed. The TV is standing on the tin box that used to have cookies. Cookies are now kept in a plastic box that had the detergent in previous life. The detergent is now in the washing machine. The top of washing machine is stacked with my bookshelf. The bookshelf does not have books but now has screwdrivers, other tools and the phone. The phone line btw is nowhere to be seen and with it, gone is the reliable and fast Internet. The bed that you dearly love is no longer there. You have to make do with sleepless nights on the sofa. While taking a shower, you cant use the shampoo because there is no place to stack that many bottles in the bathroom. Anyways, I could go on forever. Thankfully my towel, toothbrush and undies are in the right place.

You know I could go on forever about the perils of painting your home. I really wish there was a better way to do things. And like they say in the college, welcome to Painting your home 101.

Oh, and I just realized that I havent even spoken about the money that its costing us. We could have bought a Jumbo Jet, a Jaguar and a Yatch with all this money. And would still have had some change to buy a bike or two. And the painters give you so much grief that you for a minute think that you owed them some money or something!

And in the end, next time you want to get your house painted, please rent out an apartment (even if its a small one room set) and move in there with all the things that you hold dear to you. It would, one, be a welcome change from the monotony of living in the same place for all these years and two, help you retain your sanity while your home is being painted. And three, you would have the answer to the comment that the jingle throws at you, har ghar sahi main kuch kehta hai!

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?