I wish...

Here's a list of thing that I wish I could have / own / do / work on / etc.

I wish I could be a stand-up comic comedian
I wish I could sing well
I wish I could play the guitar
I wish I went to a college like Harvard
I wish my book sold as much as Chetan's sell
I wish I did not have to work for money
I wish my money worked for me instead
I wish I could work out from the road
I wish I had a fast Internet connection
I wish I had a faster computer
I wish I could help my ex-boss, ex-employer buy his dream car - Audi Q5
I wish I could buy myself a car. Any car
I wish I had more time
I wish I could choose how I spent my time
I wish I had more talent
I wish I had more brains
I wish I was creative
I wish I could earn respect
I wish I had more friends
I wish I had less people to answer to
I wish I did not have to marry
I wish I did not have responsibilities
I wish I could make shit happen
I wish I could meet Steve Jobs. Any Jonny Ive. And Warren Buffet. And Bill Gates. And so many more people.


I wish I could be with #sgMS

The three books for 2015

Its the 11th day of 2015 and this is my 5th post. If I continue to go at this rate, I think my goal of 250K words will happen. Of course I know that all the words need to take me close to a destination. Destination being - #trss and two more full-length books. By the end of 2015.

Let me talk about them here.

1. #trss
This will be similar to #tnks. I dont know the shape it will take. But this will be published by Grapevine, assuming the team at Grapevine likes what I write.

2. 12x12
I am attempting to write 12 love stories in 12 months. Short stories. Each a fan-fiction to the greatest love stories I've read. It's an initiative by Radhika, who I met on Wrimo India FB group. I dont know if you can still participate in 12 x 12 but may be check this page for more details. I even know what I am going to call it. Dear #sgMS. What else :)

P.S.: Last I heard, sgMS is getting married. That means whatever little hopes I had of reconciliation, they're all gone. Unless I turn into a murderer and kill the lucky man. But then why plunge her into sadness. More on this at some point in time in future. May be when I am ready to kill myself? 

3. Third
This is slightly tricky. I want to write on travel. And on stories that people encounter when they travel. Like 12x12, this will be a collection of sorts. But of essays rather than stories. Observations rather than lesson in history. Again, I dont have a structure in my mind right now. But once I am free from the rigmarole of a clock that I need to punch in at 10, I shall work on this.

In the meanwhile, please do read #tnks and do let me know how can I improve what I write. I am very happy with the response that I've got. I know, I know. It's far from making me rich. But it does make me happy every time I spot my book amongst a pile of books, at my home. The book is still not available at bookstores. I dont know why. The publisher is assuring me that it's doing everything that he can to make it available. But it's not.

Any answers anyone?

It costs nothing to encourage an artist...

From Zen Pencils - http://zenpencils.com/comic/kevinsmith/
Kevin Smith says, "it costs nothing to encourage an artist..."

Dear 500+ friends, family, readers, strangers and others, thank you so so so so so much for encouraging me. I dont claim to be an artist. But I want to be one some day. And you guys are helping me become one.

It's been almost two months since the book came out. And...
I have had people telling me that they love it.
I have had people telling me they hate it.
I have had people telling me to try harder.
Some say, may be, I ought to retire after my first.

There are some who say they don't want to read because they know that I am no good. I persisted and sent them copies. I don't know if they read. I hope they do.

Then there are some who read, re-read and sent copies to their friends and family. I asked them not to do so. But they insisted and sent.

Some said I ought to stick to writing my blogs and gave me tips to improve the blog. And on the other hand, some asked me the question that I loved the most - when is my next coming out?

And the answer is, by the end of 2015. It's WIP. I'd talk about it when I am ready to.

Coming back, to be honest, I couldn't claim to be a writer without inputs, support and encouragement from all of you. I know I have made mistakes and I know most of you have been tolerant. Thank you all of you.

#tnks is my first book. And like any other first, it means the world to me. All good bits have happened because I had so many giants to stand on the shoulders of. All the bad things happened because I could not push myself to do better. I promise that I'd leave no stone unturned when my next comes out.

As the cliche goes, the entire journey of #tnks has been nothing less than a roller-coaster ride. And I've enjoyed every bit of it.

Thank you so so much for sending me on the journey.

Oh, I am not done yet. In fact, I have just started. More books, more mistakes, more pushy marketing, more requests and a lot more is on the way. Till then, thank you once again for everything.


Thanks to Zen Pencils, Grapevine India, Wrimo India, Kevin Smith.

P.S.: Wrote this on the FB page and tnks blog after the FB reached 500 "likes."

Reclaiming life (search for meaning)

Wrote this towards the end of last year. Couldn't post it back then because the post got extremely person it. But now that I know that I am back to being good, here it is!

This is an edited version.

As the new year dawns closer, I am in my thinking mode that I get in towards the end of every year. I think about what went right, what went wrong and how to change things. And I realize that one thing that I am very sure is that I want to be the master of my time and there is no way I'd let someone else control my time.

This day on, I promise that no one else will control my time.

Why this time-bound thing all of a sudden?

Because when your nose starts bleeding all of a sudden and a trickle of blood starts dripping from somewhere inside your nose and makes a puddle on the white-tiled floor below, you know that your time is limited. It's like that wake up call that shakes and wakes you up.

If it were a one-time occurrence, you may dismiss it. But when the bleeding happens again and this time soils the bed-sheet you are on, you realize that life is fragile and you dont have control over it. You realize that life is indeed limited and precious and you ought to row your boat, however small it may be; Rather than being a captain of the largest ship they ever made.

The deep red liquid that supports life, when you see it flowing like that, it makes you question the meaning of life. The more evolved ones may have questioned before me. But then I am one of those "if it doesn't affect me, I am not affected by it" kinds. It sucks to have such a philosophy but that's how I am made. I want to change but I haven't been able to. May be someday I would. For the time being, I know that my time is limited and I ought to control it. I can no longer be at the mercy of others. I need to address that meaning of life question now!

I dont know how many more days I have left but I better make the most of em. And unlike a lot of other people who have real talent, the closest thing I have, that I can call talent, is the ability to write. I may not be a good writer but I know that writing gives me pleasure. I know that I love to see words appear magically on the screen in front of me. I know that it's a vocation that I can better at, if I keep at it, if I keep showing up.

So, while I continue to question the meaning of life, I am going to continue to write. Till I find answers, if there are any.

In terms of meaning of life, is life about making a difference? Is it about immortality? I have no clue.

But whatever it is about, I know that I ought to be healthy and happy. And I ought to master my time.

Next question is, how!

Jan 01. Much ado about nothing?

Stack of post-it notes on a wall in my room.
If you know me, you'd know that I am big on new year resolutions and I make an elaborate list every year. This year is no different. I have made a long list.

And as a result of the list, at the stroke of the midnight hour when the clock ticks in to the new year, I am supposed to be infused with some energy, some superpower that would make me an invincible superhuman and I'd rush through the list as if it was a walk in the park.

But Dec 31 came and went. The clocked crept into Jan 01 and continued ticking. But I could not see any apparent change in me. I don't feel any special. Neither do I have extra spark running in my veins. I am still the same. Cranky, old as always.

I understand that change is often a slow process and the rate of change is so slow that you can hardly notice it. And thus I am willing to be patient about it. Some day, may be something ticks in me that makes me better.

The change was supposed to start on the 1st of Jan. It did not happen. I am not disappointed. Because, I did DO a few interesting things and a handful of good things happened to me. I also took first baby steps towards some of my goals for 2015 - 250K words, 30", marathon etc…

So here is a non-exhaustive list of good things from day 01, 2015.

- As a regular at Starbucks, I love their Java Chip Frappuccino. Apparently its the most loaded beverage that they have. I replaced it with a variant of Green Tea. Oh by the way, I HATE green tea. But apparently the green tea makes you healthier and thus the change.
- Stopped eating Rice, Sugar, Potato and replaced it with pulses, roti and cabbage. More on this in subsequent posts.
- Got calls from a college where I taught event management. This I think is good news. Because this translates into money. And more opportunities of interaction with young students. And opening up of avenues. I just need to be able to negotiate the money better.
- Got a tax refund that was stuck with the Govt. of India. At the risk of jinxing the inflow of money, I hope that more money comes my way in 2015. And the kind of work that I want to do; rather than work that I am forced to do.
- Started a tumblr blog where I would eventually dump whatever thoughts swirl in my head the entire day. I should ideally use Evernote but I think I have worked out a system for sorting things in my entire life. Twitter for marketing and networking. Facebook as a content hub. LinkedIn as my CV. Evernote is my extended brain where I capture things and context. Tumblr blog would be where I vomit ideas and thoughts without any inhibitions. You are welcome to follow the blog, if you find it useful. I will add more tools in a post about productivity. Or tools that I use to manage my life. Again in a subsequent post.

However the day did not go as planned. These were quite a few misses. Actually more misses than hits. Here is a list.

- Wasted time helping someone else. I was supposed to say no. I would've loved to help if it paid. Or taught me something that I did not know. Or if it were a way to pay if forward. What I did for close to three hours today was none of the above. Need to stop such things. My time is precious.
- Played poker and lost. I have to complete a few assignments that are due tomorrow today and I haven't even started on those. So, I should've worked instead. I played poker instead.
- Had to have a Red Bull to stay up. Deadlines like I said. I don't like using things to keep me up. I will try to reduce the consumption. It's already been close to three weeks since I had a coke. That itself is an achievement. Over time I want to reduce my reliance on Red Bull as well.
- Had to start on a few projects - Guitar, Capt Obv, OnWriting. I did nothing about the projects. I did not start. I did not plan. I did not think of those. I was too bored, too blind, too busy with helping other people that I ended up doing nothing. Something that I need to stop doing, if I am to be rich or successful in the year.

Am sure there are more things that I ought to have done but did not do. Like the next book, I should have written 1000 words by end the day. I did not write a single word. On 2nd, I will have to write 2000. The backlog just keeps piling up! I need to get away from the backlog clearing weekend habit!

So may be, just may be, Jan 02 is better. I'd make it better. Who am I kidding? It's 4 AM already and I have a long long day at work. Only thing I'd probably be able to do once I am back from work after 7 PM would be to crash on the bed. Damn! Jan 01 was I had to reset and undo life. I had to eliminate clutter. I had to start saying no. And I failed royally at all those.

May be Jan 02 is better? Wish me luck!

It better be better!

P.S.: Apart from setting the goals, I haven't had time to split the goals into tasks and short-term actionable items. I will do so on the coming weekend. It means that I would have fewer days to reach my goal. Am I ok with it? Yes I am! As long as I am moving towards something!

P.P.S.: From Jan 02 onwards, I will post these updates on the tumblr blog. This blog shall remain for the consumption of the world at large. Tumblr will be open as well but I will not talk about it much. If it's of some value to someone, they would flock it!

Hello 2015.

2015. Via
Every year, around this time, I get into this self-evaluation mode. I think about what went right and what went wrong during the year. I think about the year ahead and things I would do in the coming year. I am after all, big on new year resolutions!

So, #in2015, I would do the following.
  • #writing. Write 250K words. Yeah. 250,000. Translates into about 4 full-length books. Looks tough to do but if I manage to write a 1000 words everyday, for say 5 days a week, for 50 weeks, I'd do it.
  • #writing. Publish book 2. I don't know what to call it though. I am thinking of calling is #trss. But let's see what it ends up being. I have a vague idea of the storyline. I was supposed to get the first draft ready by the year end. But havent been able to even start. So, I am looking at a 2015 release, I will have to get the draft out to Sachin and Parul by end of March 15. 
  • #fitness. Will be 30". This's been like a perpetual goal. It's been three years that I've been trying but nothing has happened. I did lose some inches but I am back to my former glory, thanks to long work hours and a sedentary lifestyle. 
  • #running. Will run a FULL marathon in the year. Despite my hernia. I am targeting a marathon in August / September. I am following this book (after I saw it on Prof. Bakshi's blog). Will start training in January. Have started the prelim training already. I am using the C25K app to get me to start running for 30 minutes before I begin the book. 
  • #money. Will have saved 10 lakhs. Right now, my savings account stands at Rs. 5005 700. Also, I will have created an alternate source of income. And I will not have to work for money. This is the number 1 goal on my list. For this, I am willing to be taken for a ride, willing to follow those babas, talk to those self-help gurus, walk the tight rope between ethics and legality. 
  • #music. Learn to play guitar. It's going to be an expensive hobby. But I will learn it. Not because I want to perform on the stage but I want to challenge myself to learn a new skill. Why guitar? Because I like it's sound. I love music. I can give an arm and a leg to be good at it. I just need to give it some time! 
  • #poker. Restart poker. I am an average player and have had some limited success with it. As per my poker stats, I have actually lost a total of 30K (not including travel, hotel and other incidentals) on poker. So, yeah I have lost money. I will focus on it and see if I can get any good at it. I will give it a year and see where it goes. If I dont become any good, I will revert to being a recreational player. The dreams of WSOP can take a back seat then.
  • #social. Identify a cause and work with that. Human conditions, diseases, nature, culture, conflict etc do not move me. Rather, education does. Development does. Sustainability (not in terms of nature but in terms of perpetual existence) does. Or may be something else. I will pick something up and work on it. 
  • #sgMS. I will try to get over her. No promises though. Thanks to rr for pointing out that it's sucking the soul of me and I need to move on from her. 
  • #read. Read more. Learn more. Write more. Talk less ;P
  • #travel. As much as I can. Irrespective of money. Travel. 
So, in terms of a calendar, the milestones look like...

Mar: 5K race with a friend (Akshay)
May: Stop working for money
Sep: Marathon (full, in about 5 hours)
Dec: Book 2 out in market
Dec: 30"
Dec: Money in the bank
Sometime: Poker Tourney

That's it. Wish me luck! And may be, help me crack these goals may be?

Oh, to get me to actually achieve these, I will have to resort to a few ideas. These sound like deviation from what I have been like. But like most other learning systems, I remain an evolving specimen of the tribe called the homosapiens. So I am learning. And evolving. Here are the ethos for 2015.
  • Do. 
  • Ship. Steve Jobs way.
  • My time is limited. Money is not. I can earn money. I can make money. Not time.
  • No regret principle. Something that Jeff Bezos says
  • Idea to project in 90 days. Read on Anaggh's twitter stream. 
  • Get aggressive about marketing (without being obnoxious about it)
For the context, here are the links to previous posts. 

What about you? What are your goals #in2015? And, most importantly, can I do something to help you reach your goal #in2015?

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?