Mumbai Part 2. Day 24.

This is going to be a short post. So that you may actually read the entire thing and not just skim.

Its almost a month since I moved to Mumbai. And I still trying to figure out things. Part reason of that is that I have decided to live with a friends from college. And that means I am dependant on two more people to figure out shit. Even if they are understanding and independent, human courtesy says that I need to include them in whatever I decide. So for example, despite a frantic house search, I we haven't been able to close on a place where I we would live. This, for the record, is against my DNA. I am like that lone mercenary who wants to remain independent and live like his way, without regard to all the burden that comes from "belonging" to a faction.

The other part is that I am older and hence more inflexible. And that means there is another set of problems that I have. Taking the example of house, I want to live in a spacious, airy, clean, new house. Which, in Mumbai, dont exist. The ones that do, demand a rental of a million bucks a day, which I cant pay. In general, the inflexible me in finding it hard to adjust to madness in Mumbai. But then, there is no place like Mumbai, anywhere in the world and I have to go through the grind. And no, I am not enjoying this at all. May be like all oldies, I am averse to change and since "growing up" is a slow and gradual transition, I am consciously in the same space as a 25 year old but subconsciously I am now 30 and that means there is a constant conflict between my two sides.

So, changing tracks, this post is about what I do in my spare time, which in my case, I have in abundance. And I am at my wits end trying to figure out what to with it.

Let me talk about Delhi to give a perspective. In Delhi, for some reason, I always had something or the other to do. If nothing, I could remain holed up at home and flick tv channels and maybe watch some movie. If not that, my family has stayed at the same place for almost 20 years and I know every nook and cranny in that part of Delhi. I know most people and there is a sense of familiarity. I could go for a walk, or a smoke and get back feeling good about the camaraderie that I share with the place. There are tons of friends/acquaintances that I could meet at random and have a good time and come back. I had a social life in Delhi.

Mumbai on the other hand, I have been out of this place for more than 3 years. All my friends are now married, engaged or seeing someone. And that means I am not high on their priority list (25 yr old). And that means that they are busy on weekends with household chores and stuff. And that means that I can only see them for a window of an hour or so, rather than entire weeks that we spent together at one point in time. Dissonance. Then, when I was younger, I was a promising and rising young man and had irrational beliefs about thing. That made me pseudo popular and I could meet strangers and paddle my beliefs and spend time engaging in mental masturbation. Now, I am a senile old man and I have a tough time going out to meet strangers. I refuse to take part in political, activist movements and pseudo intelligent conversations do not excite me anymore. As a result, I am not popular at all.

I can now spend all my time either reading or writing. Which is not bad to be honest but if I could change it, I would love to do so. May be in next few months.

RIP dear sgMS

If you know me personally, you would be aware of my stupid obsession with a certain individual, sgMS. A couple of you know who she is and what she means meant to me. For others, she has existed only as a name in my blogposts and tweets. For the uninitiated, she for me is like that long cherished dream that may not be coming true for me.

Here is a piece of news for everyone, including I. Starting today, I shall no longer crave for talk about her and move on. Atleast try to.

It’s a sad sad thing to do and I am not really happy about it but like they say, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. To be honest, I have often wished that her and my story ends like that of Anna and William but I am assured she is not staying indefinitely. Here is a clip, in the meanwhile to divert attention.

More than retiring her to inaccessible corners of my memory, I want to apologize as well for my behaviour over the last few years. I am sincerely sorry for being so blind and irrational. I have made enough sacrifices, including losing a few really good friends, because I wanted to be with sgMS. And no, I don’t have any regrets. It was amazing while it lasted. Just that I think I was harsh on friends and other around me.

Now that I am moving on, I suddenly miss all those old times. Such is life. Cant help it, can we? There were times when I thought she and I were meant to happen. Even the stars were aligned. Talking about stars, I believe know that I am God’s favorite child. Wait a minute. I don’t really believe in existence of God but I do believe in some sort of higher power that watches us all and makes things happen. The power that would have made the chemical elements play with each other to crate mixtures and compounds. The power that made us humans possible, the power that makes the sun rise in the easy, day after day. The power that gives me the power to breathe and sustain. Sad, that that all powerful power could not help me. If ChitraGupta, God’s accountant, really exists, when I meet him, I would ask from him why I dint get to be with sgMS.

I sincerely hope that there are better things in store for her. And for me. I look forward to what’s gonna come up in next few years. This for the record is the last post about sgMS. After this, I shall retire her to oblivion. If someday in future, I get around to writing my biography, I may talk about her in detail but for the time being, RIP dear sgMS.

Since this is my new life, thanks to “reset” button that Mayan’s pressed and this tweet made me aware of, I shall make the most of it. Starting with burying the remains and moving on.

In few words, to sum it all, it was awesome while it lasted. And I am so sorry to have become what I was. I shall try and fix things.

Mumbai Part 2. Day 13.

Its just a matter of few days before the world ends. And that means all I have left, is a handful of days to make that dent that I keep talking about. But then like all humans I have this thing that makes me inept at even scratching the surface, leave alone the dent. I need things in place before I can do shit. Things like a home a corner that I could call my own, a writing place, a perfect pen and things like that.

In Delhi, thanks to my parents, all these things were on the auto pilot mode. Thanks to my parents that over a long period, painstakingly made the most perfect home they could. It has everything that I needed am used to. Of course I got spoilt in the process and it made me depend on them and things so much that I have become rigid and lethargic.

Now that I am by myself in the jungle Mumbai, I need to take care of all those things. I have spoken about em in a previous post but there are few more challenges that a Day 13 brings about compared to Day 2.

For starters, clean clothes. In Delhi as a process, I knew a place where I need to pile my dirty clothes and by some magic they would be cleaned, ironed and placed back. Here, I dont have that magic wand working for me. The friend I am piling with, the maid is like a king/queen. She adheres to certain rules. For example she shall wash clothes  merely two times a week. She shall treat each kind of cloth same. Linen shirts, cotton trousers, denims, teeshirts are all soaked together and washed with as carelessness as possible. This means my entire wardrobe looks like a vomit of color, all clothes, in Mumbai, apparently have weak colors. I can still live with this, I can go buy new things, but after she washes the clothes, she would just leave them like that. Ideally I would hang those clothes on some line and let them dry up etc but no sir, not this one.

Then there is the biggest travail of anyone's life in Mumbai. A house. I am looking to move into a 2/3 BHK with another (maybe 2) friend(s). For the same, I have been talking to brokers for last 13 days. And have posted my requirement on all the portals that advertise on TV. The places available for renting out are expensive like cocaine and yet are as bad as cheap beer. Of course that we are "bachelors", it does not help.

Food is another concern area. I am used to having a certain kind of food. Vegetarian, low on oil/fat, simple, lot of vegetables, fresh, soft, made with love etc. My mom, like all other mothers, has to arguably the best cook in the world. Here food is a challenge. The maid cooks the world's worst daal. More often than not, I am eating out and as a result getting fatter and poorer.

There are more things but I think these are the top three things that are fucking my head right now. So much that I have considered multiple times already to drop everything and go back to the protected world that I am used to. But then a few days back, I read PGs essay on how not to die. Though it was not pertinent to what I am doing here in Mumbai, it gave me some hope. And anyways, I dont call it quits because I am facing challenges (but when I get bored). So I'd stay for the time being and fight it out.

Ofcourse with time, I would fix all these things. And you know, if I can successfully move into a decent house that is airy, clean, free of pests, spacious, has terraces, is away from noise and hustle of the city, is on a high floor, the dent would have been made!

No I mean it.

On Gratitude, Restlessness and Yearning

1. The ones who know me since I was a kid, would know how huge a fan I was of Lucky Ali when I was growing up. So much so that while I was in college, I made this huge website dedicated to him (to bad it was on geocities and I dont have any copies of it). Back then, it became a reason. I couldnt stop thinking about his music and the website. I tracked every visitor and updated every broken link multiple times a day. Now, in 2012, it sounds funny and inane, considering what 19 year olds create now. But those were the days and there I was.

2. There is this show on MTV that probably is inspired by Coke Studio, which in turn is probably inspired by some other famous show from the west, that invites amazing musicians and puts them on a stage and ask them to perform their best tracks, unplugged and slightly tweaked for the live audience. And to jazz up the offering, it makes these artists talk about the music and why and how of their music. So much so that there are times you get to hear behind the scenes conversations between these guys. Nevertheless, it reveals, to some extent, what the artist was thinking while writing that song.

3. This video. And the brief interpretation of the lyrics by Lucky. And to be honest, all music by him.

4. sgMS. And everything about her. And I. And how Lucky's interpretation/reason for O Sanam is so apt, so befitting, so true about sgMs and I. And that after all these years, the realization that the song I loved as a kid will actually become a true story some day. And my story at that. 

5. Nights in Mumbai are brilliant. You may think that the city is fast asleep, but its not. Under the covers, everyone is dreaming about something or the other. Then, there are people on the road who dont really have a place to goto and there are some who dont want to goto any place and just stay on the move (like me, dunno if everyone loves the feeling of being on the move as heady as it is to me). Each lost in his/her own world. And in their dreams - after all this is the city where dreams can come true. Some of them actually do. And each person, each dream has a story that could make you envious.

6. I, alone. With nothing but music. And a million thoughts swirling around in my head. Ranging from music to life to travel to poker to money to dreams to "holocaust to quality of cucumbers in winters". And the sad bit is that I cant seem to find any answers to any of these genuine questions despite the Mensa membership and all that.

Club all the 6 above together (Apart from this list thing, I dont think I could have written this any better). I dont know the nature of resulting concoction but its like that amrit that makes you restless, fills you with gratitude and makes you yearn. All at the same time.

Restless because despite trying everything, there is something that binds you to her. Because despite trying everything you cant seem to get over her. Even her rebuttals, her insults, her public display of affection for everyone else refuse to work. And funnily she if of the same opinion.

Gratitude for people like Lucky Ali for cooking ups songs and stories like these. And for people on the streets of Mumbai. And their dreams. And all the efforts they put in. Everything gives you inspiration and hope to continue to work and pray that someday the hardwork is redeemed.

And finally, yearning. Yearning for achievement, for greatness, for immortality. And for sgMS.

Happy Birthday Rr!

If you are reading this, thank you for everything that you have done for me and that you have taught me. And thank you for all the wonderful friends that I have made because of you. Thank you for helping me out when I was stuck up with sgMS. Thank you for showing me the way when I was lost. Thank you for being by my side when I was all alone. Thank you rr. Thank you being who you are.

Oh, and, one more thing. Happy Birthday!

Looks. Do Matter.

This post hasn't been authored by me. This is by the planner in me, who I tried to kill three years back, but he refuses to go away. All characters used herein are fictional. Including references to a certain Bollywood actor. And yes, read at your own peril. 

It no secret that I like adore Shahrukh Khan. And the way he talks and the way he acts and the way he looks. No I am not talking about the KKHH look but the way he looks in general.
The KKHH look.
If you excuse his bachpan ka mistakes, he does not look that bad. On a normal day, he is lot more "cool" and far more polished. Take the Kabir Khan look for example.
Kabir Khan. Chak De India.  
And if given an opportunity, he can actually get nice shades and do his hair better and look even more awesome (or delicious, as a lot of his female fans say)
The Yummy look. 
So, SRK can chose to look great, bad, ugly, yummy or simple as per his wishes. Agreed he has the looks and hair and all that but I think a large credit goto the stylists as well. Merely by changing the way he dresses, his personality goes through a sea change. Like the movie Rab Nay Bana Di Jodi. He plays a simpleton and suddenly, if you dint know who he was, you could easily mistake him for an office going commoner from North India.
Ready for office! 
Ofcourse the point is not how brilliant SRK's style team is, but the fact that merely by changing the way you dress, you can change how you look.

And there are lessons to be learnt, for the mediocre, average Joe like me. The world makes their impression about you, merely by their first look. There is some number to it (first impressions are made in 30 seconds etc) but I am not sure. Imagine going to a client and promising them earth shattering insights about who to sell that expensive hand brewed tea to, and dressed in a torn jeans, old chappals and an ill fitting linen kurta. Will the client trust you with her brand? How many odds do you think you have to win that account, even if you were David M Ogilvy himself? 

Let me park that thought for a minute. Lets talk about other men who are not actors but have a distinct look/style. Steve Jobs for example. Black turtleneck, blue jeans and sneakers. 
The Steve "God" Jobs. Since 1988. 
Steve went like that to all the meetings. After 88, there were hardly any occasions when he made a public appearance in different look and yet he could command an audience faster than most of us blink our eyes. It would be brilliant if I could be like that. Irrespective of the way I look, I should be judged on what I bring to the table. 

But, alas, we are programmed to be lazy and conserve energy. We are happy to put people in silos and group them into generalizations. We love to categorize people and them rather than taking each case on its merit, we try to put every incident in a previously thought of bucket and apply all characteristics. So for example, if you called a nanny and he was bearded, wore denim shorts, Vans shoes and had tattoos and piercings all over, would you trust him with your kid? May be the nanny is more comfortable in a pair of shorts than a boring set of trousers. May be the tattoos are an extension of this thoughts and he has the balls to cry his thoughts out loud. May be his girlfriend appreciates a beard over a clean shaved look? Remember that talk about being comfortable etc? 

Coming back to thought I parked, I realized today that if I am to be successful, I need to leave my stubbornness behind and try to do things that are in line with the expectations of the world. And start "belonging" to the safe and trustworthy bucket. And this ladies and gentlemen, marks the beginning of the end of the great SG. I mean I can chose to be someone like Gail Wynand but what are the odds? I dont even know what Hell's Kitchen actually mean.

I mean if I was Jobs, or Gandhi, I would have been so good with what I did that I would not need a "look". But then I am not. Ofcourse it took them time to become who they were. Inshallah, so would I. And now that I am starting my business where I need to do some real work (rather than coding a website where my audience votes on pics of college kid), I would rather not leave any stone unturned. I will not die for sure. The looks bit, may end up being just another tactic to delay the death. Lets see how it goes.

And the real reason of posting this? Does anyone know of any good professional "image/looks consultant"? In Mumbai?

Mumbai Part 2. Day 2. King of Wishful Thinking

Today was officially day 2 of my second innings in Mumbai. Hopefully this innings is as fruitful as the first one. Under this tag, I plan to chronicle my time and adventures in the city that never sleeps (who coined this term btw?)

So the day was not really special. I woke up with groggy eyes to the sound of someone banging the bedroom door. For a minute I thought it was an earthquake and someone is here to save me. But them I heard the maid yell something about no washing powder in the bathroom. Confused, I looked around and I realized it was not my bed. It wasnt even my room or my home. And this is when it dawned on me that I was in Mumbai, sleeping on the floor of a friend's room. I yelled something at the maid and looked around for some water to help me wake up. No no, I dont splash my eyes with it. My machinery needs a couple of glasses of warm salt water to get started. And lo and behold, there wasnt any water, leave alone warm, or salted. There is something about water that makes me want as much as I can. I am known to have copious amounts everyday and as a result visit the John one too many times. Wait, let me go grab my glass of water.

So no hot water, unfamiliar bed and a pesky maid beating the door started my day. Note to self, once I have a house of mine, the maid will not come until I wake up (maybe after 9 AM) and if she does come before I wake up, she shall not disturb me, at any cost.

Next up was the battle to find a place to live. I mean I cant be sleeping on this floor for rest of my life. I have to find a place that I could call my own. I have thought about it a million times, the way I would do up my place, make it my den. Too bad I cant afford a place by myself. Side note, by the end of 2013, I have to have a place just to myself. So with real estate prices going up faster than petrol and gold, I had to find a place to live quick. For, every day's delay could mean even more money to be paid as rentals. So first thing I did after I woke up, was to fill up forms on all the classified websites of the world - olx, quickr, magicbricks etc. And this is where the memories of 2007 came back. For some reason Mumbai does not want to rent out places to bachelors. Especially bald ones. I dont know why. May be its a risk profile thing, the way I had at GE for issues home loans (for example, back in 2005, if you were older than 28 and living with your parents, we couldnt give you a loan).

So I filled all the forms and it started the flurry of endless calls from brokers and "agents" who would talk more and hear less. They assumed I was someone related to Mr. Mallaya and had all the money in the world. But moment I told them that I am a bachelor, they would leave me alone, the way Mr. Mallaya was left alone in the last few days of Kingfisher (disclaimer: I am a shareholder) and have excuses as funny as, "my wife's calling me. can I call you back sir".

Finally someone, sent specially by God agreed to show us a place. Went to see it. Like if but was too expensive to afford. Such is life! Sigh!

In the meanwhile, it was time for lunch. Went ahead and feasted on amazing sandwiches and french fries. Next up was recee to a site that a friend is considering for his business (disclaimer: though its his idea and his money, I am helping him with the venture). Post that I had to drop him to the station to catch his train. A little adventure ensued.

Dropped him somehow in time and went ahead to meet another friend. This one just got promoted to a CD post, which is an achievement, considering he's got just 5 years of experience under his belt. Discussed few ideas and a lot of things with him. May get to work with him on something that we want to paddle to business schools. If I get to, it would be awesome cos he is one of the most intelligent and creative people I know and then I would be talking to college kids, something that excites me.

Dropped him and went to another friend's place who fed me her world famous Rajma Chawal. She is thinking of a venture as well. I like what she is thinking of. Dont have a lot of money but made my first angel investment (on her business). Left her place and got caught by a cop. The car I was driving, dint have papers. Had 300 bucks in the wallet. Gave 200 bucks to him. Yes, a bribe (Arvind Kejriwal and his cronies, are you reading this?) and drove back home. I wish I had the political contacts to get away without having papers and all.

And I am home, writing this and planing for the day tomorrow before I sleep. And yes before I sleep, I shall brush my teeth. Something's gotta change, now that I am in Mumbai (more on this soon).

Finally, no I did not miss sgMS. And, yes, like they say,
I'll get over you..
I know I will I'll pretend my ship's not sinking
And I'll tell myself I'm over you
'cause I'm the king of wishful thinking
I am the fucking king of wishful thinking.

P.S.: How many times did I promise something in parentheses on my blog and actually did it? Someone's keeping a tab?

Ishqzaade - tr!p Worthy!

After ages, here is a song that I think is worthy enough to get a mention on my blog. Its one of those tracks that you need to hear on are you crazy levels on your headphones and play it on a continuous loop.

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?