The Aviation Abnormality

Funny thing happened. I must have taken some 300 200 flights in my life, including 11 in this year alone - thanks to my job as an event manager. And I have never been scared. Even when I took my first flight when I was at MDI.

But for some reason I was scared of this one (I am actually writing this while I am aboard 9W 304 and so far so good - not a single bump so far).

So, why am I scared of this one? You see, I am someone who believes in signs. And I believe in vibes. And feel. And for some reason, I have this really strong feeling that this one isn’t going to be the nicest of flights that I’ve been on. Don’t ask me why, don’t ask me how I know it. I just know. Of course I am often wrong and so far I’ve been proved wrong. Hope I continue to remain wronged till I land. And I post this. I did!

The sign actually came up the day before. There are times when I remember my dreams and day before I saw this weird dream where I was on top of an aircraft for some reason (top as in on the roof of an aircraft that was in the air and doing its thing of flying 30000 feet above the sea level). The aircraft I am on top of, suddenly takes a dip and it eventually crashes into the sea (yes a sea). And as it crashes, like it happens in the movies, I jump off it just at the right time to escape unhurt. I don’t recall the rest of the dream exactly but there was someone else who was on the roof of the aircraft and escaped with me. And I remember pinching myself to check if it were reality and it did feel like real. Damn the vivid dreams.

To cut the long narrative short, I escaped. And for the last 24 hours, I have had this lingering feeling that I am going to be in a place crash. And I was scared before I boarded this one. I am still on the aircraft and I am still writing and it still is pretty smooth so far. But before I boarded, I was scared. Scared out of my life. I actually thought about cancelling the flight - but I cant. I need to earn money to stay afloat. I am paying a lot of money to be able to attend a meeting that can potentially lead to work.

In fact I was so scared the whole day today that I had planned for my folks, my sis and sgMS after I am gone. Though sgMS doesn’t need me, I still ought to think about her. I even thought about the airline I was flying with - Jet Airways. I checked their safety record, thankfully I could not find any reports of a missing Jet Airways jet, unlike the Malaysia Airlines.

The flight is not over yet. I am not done yet. If anything were to happen to me, please see this link. The post has my last and final will that I wrote in all hosh-o-hawas. Mr. Gawri, please ensure that you execute it.

Update: As you would've guessed, I did land safely. And here is the post, almost unedited. Guess the dark cloud is over. And trust me guys, I am super serious on this one - while I know that commercial aviation remains the safest most of mass transit, I did feel weird getting into the aircraft. But as I did get in, the familiarity with so many previous flights took over and gave me this sense of comfort. And here I am!

And while we are on the subject, please do read this blogpost by my writing guru.

Untitled - 11Feb2016

This is a follow up post on my previous one about an event. For the lazy ones, on the last post I spoke ranted about how I loved working on an event after almost two years.

So, the event happened, with some changes (1-day instead of 3, less complex, more stressful, higher expectations, unfamiliar crew etc.). And I loved it. For the simple reason that I was on my toes for two days. I could see things happen - instantly - no waiting for approvals, no red tape, no jargon. All action. And then, I was on the top. I could tell people to move their ass and I could see things happening. I was in control. I was talking to different kinds of people - client (had to be polite), vendors (had to be tactful), workers (had to be rude), the hotel staff (diplomatic) and each kind of person had their unique backgrounds and experiences.

The show was a very very simple one in the end. A VIP speech, some awards to guests, a dance troupe and thats it. No frills (compared to elaborate things I did while I was at Gravity). So, may be I am making a mountain out of a mole. But it was important for me. I egged on RG to take up the project and told him that I will deliver it to perfection. And I think I did. And its a big fucking deal! Both in the short term and in the long term. Short - last few days have been messed up for a lot of reasons and I needed something to be happy about. Long - I now know that I can pull off whatever shit is required, at least in the events business. May be I need to focus exclusively on it and build it? May be. Lets see.

There are a few unrelated observations though. Let me make a list.

A. I missed the team I am used to working with (read Suvi from Gravity and Dipanker, Solomon, Piuysh, Sanjeev, Pradeep, Meghna, Mrs. Mohan etc - I want to list everyone at Gravity here but I shall not). Since this was an event for a new client, I hardly know trust their team. And I hardly know the client. And I did not know the vendors at all. So there were like a million times when I wished there was Suvi next to me on the console. There was Killa on the sound, Solo on AV, Sanjeev on call for everything else.

Moment I put up the walkie while running the show, I was taken back to our conversations and gossip while running a show.

The craziest realization was that while setting up, everytime I fucked up or I needed some advice, I would call out loud, "Suvi, nahi ho raha, just see this," only to realise that Suvi is nowhere around. I was testing the mics and I wanted the monitor levels to go down, I yelled, "Killa, reduce the damn monitor" and there was no Killa. When I saw someone from the crew fucking up, I missed having Piyush around to get them in line. You get the point. Damn, we were an amazing bunch at Gravity. Dunno what happened.

B. I think I now realize the importance of what I did while I was at Gravity. Wait, let me explain. There are multiple layers to this. I will not digress, but in short, sgMS did not approve of my choice of career as an events guy, she felt I could do better with my life. And I agreed back then. Agree even now. In fact, I even felt that events are sham and why spend money and all that. This time, however, even a simple event like this one made so many people happy, that I am amazed! May be events is interesting after all.

I think at an event, the emotional brain probably takes over. I mean, how many times does a client come and hug you after you have presented him with a brand strategy document? Even if the hug was awkward!

C. I grew up as an events guy. I got into technical discussion and fabrication and design and other things. Things that I always assumed someone from team (read point A) would have done. This time, there was no one to back me up. The people I was working for, they also dont really do events. So I was on my own and I had to do everything. And it was such a learning experience. I realized why Dipanker went out to smoke at least once with each technician before the show.

D. Realised the importance of planning. Things went well because we had planned so much and so hard. Next time on, I am not doing an event without putting this much effort.

Context: At Gravity, events is bread and butter and like Suvi says, "We do a show like this everyday and even a trainee at Gravity could execute it this well, without anyone else knowing about it." So, often we would not put a lot of time or effort in various shows. We would rely on the team to execute. And they did. But I dont have the luxury of a team. Neither I have the luxury of working with people who've given all their lives to events. So I have to be prepared. Because if I do my homework well, I could be content that I put in the effort. But then, do efforts really count? Results definitely do. Digressing.

So, while this one went well, I am sure there will be bad days. In fact I have faced quite a few of those. I can think of two particular incidents when everything failed and the client was left red faced (TKS at Mumbai and MB at Vancouver). Thankfully, there was Suvi to take the heat. Now on, however, there is no Suvi. There is me.

E. I learnt that I still get depressed after a show is over. I dont know why. May be something to with adrenaline pumping out? Who knows.

Anyhow, thats all I have for today's update. As they say, all that ends well is well. This one was well. Have taken my lessons and I shall continue to try.

So, until the next one,
Over and out.

P.S.: Thank you Suvi. Everything I know about events, you have taught me. And you have made me better. Hope to be as good as you some day. And the other unsung heroes of Gravity, thank you guys! Also, Hardeep Sir, if you are reading this, thank you. You know why.

P.P.S.: Thank you RG at V for trusting me and giving me the opportunity to do this. Thank you VG for telling me that you look forward to reading these posts. Thanks man.

P.P.P.S.: Want to hire an event manager agency? Please give me an opportunity. I am at

#note2Self: Thoughts as I was writing this...
  • For each blogpost that I write, I dont really have a direction where I want it to go. I spew words and when I cant think of more things, I end the post. May not be a great way to write. I dont think I will be a good writer if I knew of the agenda, the topic or the outcome.
  • My constant crib is that despite my age, I am worried about inane things - like my need to control the outcome, my need to remain busy et al. While people my age (read Mark Zuckerberg) are busy changing the world! 
  • sgMS says that I use the word I way too many times. I this, I that. In ten sentences, I type I 50 times on average. Take this one for example - 8 "I"s in the last three sentences! 

The job I love the most

In one of my recent freelancing gigs, I am working on an event. A full-fledged event with 400 guests, spread over 3 days. Though not as elaborate as events I did while I was with Gravity, this one is bigger than what I have managed, since I've been owner of an events agency (yes I own one - please give me work!). And I am doing this big an event after almost two years. And I can NOT begin to tell you how much I am loving it!

I had forgotten what it was like to have the adrenaline pumping in your veins. I missed juggling all the balls in the air while keeping in mind about a million things that you had to do. I realized I craved for airtime with the CXOs of big companies where I get to see how they think and take decisions. I longed for the informality and long meetings and indecisiveness and funny one-liners like "when in a large group, the IQ of an individual drops to their shoe size!"

Thing with the events business is that you have to be super hands on. You may have a large team and you may delegate everything but end of the day you have to stay hands on. Plus, you get to learn the ins and outs of so many industries that you could give competition to WEB. There is no corporate bullshit that is passed around and there is a lot of action. In fact, there is action all the time. One of your vendors will inevitably miss the deadline, another one will do a shoddy job, third will switch off the phone, the client in the meanwhile will have twenty new weird requests that you wont have the time or resources to pull off, tons of people would simultaneously chase for money, money that the client hasn't bothered to release. And so on and so so forth.

Of course there is the flip side - that you get treated like shit. Since you are not a marketing consultant or a brand manager with Widen or Ogilvy, you are treated like an adopted child. But then thats ok because deep down inside you know apart from this unfair treatment, you enjoyed the ride that it took to conceptualize, plan, run and execute the event was totally worth it. The high you get while you are at a show is like no other. Of course you remain the unsung hero while the world sings praises of the perfomers on the stage - and they deserve all the applause - afterall if they werent around, who'd hire a stage manager?

So, all in all, its a great package and I love it. May be, just may be, this is my calling? Putting up shows for people that entertain them? That allows them to send a certain message to their audience? That makes them happy? That solves a business purpose for them? May be I need to do something like the Cirque? Or like Dataton? Or like Bart Kresa? Or something similar?

Need to think more on this. I am sure answers are around the corner. Till then... over n out. And, in the meanwhile, do read my confessions of an event manager series of posts.

Thank You, Charles

I dont know who introduced me to Charles. Must've been Suds - he only talks about such radicals. Whoever it was, heartfelt thanks to that person. Even though I dont understand much of Charles' poetry, I think I can comprehend some of his prose. Actually, leave alone his work, I cant get the spellings of his name right. I have to look up everytime. Buk-wos-ki? Buk-os-ki? Buk-ow-ski?

The point anyhow is that some of things that he said are phenomenal! Like one of his pieces go, "I wasnt much of a petty thief. I wanted the whole world or nothing."

"I wasn't much of a petty thief, I wanted the whole world... or nothing."
The thing is, this is exactly how I think I operate. Either I want everything, or nothing. In fact, I remember when I was a kid, I was seeing one of Ashutosh Rana's interviews. He said something like, "dil to ada hai zid pe bachche ki tarah, ya to chahiye mujhe sab kuch, ya kuch bhi nahi." I dont even know how old I was at that point in time. But I remember these lines pretty distinctly. May be despite the grey hair bald head I am like a kid, that wants either everything that I can my hands on or I let go of everything.

I dont know if this is healthy in the long run but I know that thats how I am. That is what drives me. I want it all. Or I want nothing. And I am willing to put in effort and hardwork and brains and all that for it. I dont sort of shun away from work but I dont understand why I dont get it all. May be I need to put in more effort?

Exhibit A: sgMS! I have no clue if I have ever wanted anything as bad. No, I am not objectifying her. Yes, I am being selfish. Yes, I love her. Yes, I want to be everything that she wants her man to be and yes I am not even a one percent of her needs or wants. Yet, I want to be around her. Why would I want to be? Because like Rabbi said,
tere bin / besides you
sanu sohnia / my love
koi hor nahio labhna / i shan't find another
jo dave / who'll give
ruh nu sakun / peace to my soul
chukke jo nakhra mera / and indulge me" (via)
No one else gives peace to my soul. Of course I dont do shit to her and no wonder I am not with her.

In fact she alleges that my love is the stifling kinds where I dont let her breathe. I put her under the weight of my expectations and she is not at peace. Pretty messed up. No? These one-sided love affairs are pretty sad. It sucks to sort of shuffle between sleep and reality and seeing her nudging her cheeks to me, inviting me to kiss her. Its great till you can see her, smell her and all that and moment you go to touch her, you wake up to a rude shock.

I need a break. I will take a break. I am going to go away for a bit (Delhi for a week between 12 and 23 - if you are around, lets meet). Everything in Mumbai reminds me of her and I really need a break. May be I need to move away from India altogether? Damn the escapist in me.

Moving on. To exhibit B. Steve. If you know me even a little bit, I am probably the biggest fanboy that Steve has. And I want to be like him. I dont want to be Saurabh Garg. I dont want to be the unique dude that everyone else wants to be. I want to be Steve Jobs and no one else. He is that big an inspiration. I do everything that it takes to reach his levels. I push myself hard. I push people around me harder. I try and deliver the best. I connect with him philosophically - I want the process and proceeds both to be amazing. I can continue talking about him forever but allow me to digress a bit here.

After Steve, I needed a new "muse", a new inspiration, a new Iron Man and this is where I turned to Elon. Unlike Steve who's work was more about pushing the boundaries and making lives easier, Elon is about pushing the boundaries and making lives better (easier vs better). And while I read about what all he does, I often get drifted towards the concept of time and life and space and death and all that. I realise that we are so small, so tiny in large scheme of things. Whatever you may do, will come to an end and you cant do anything about it.

The entire thought makes me sick in the gut. At times I am scared. And I cant even sleep in night. At 33, this is a pretty stupid thing to admit.

More than fearing death, I think I am afraid of the concept of unknown. Everything that makes me - my thoughts, my memories, my longing for sgMS, my dreams, my aspirations, my personality, my friends et al, what would happen to those once I am dead? And if I am going to be dead in the long run, what is the damn point of this life then? Why not end it right now and avoid unnecessary heartburns and other such troubles that I give to people close to me? Case in point sgMS. The days I get to meet her, the days she talks properly to me, the days when I get god vibes from her, those days I am happy like hell. May be I need another session of Vipassana where they try and teach you that there is no you. 

Death in fact has been a recurring theme in my thoughts and my dreams the last few days. The place I live at, it has a board that announces death of every person that resides in the building; and every other day I see yet another name marked on it and a place where that person would be put to rest. Creepy in so many ways. Then over the weekend, I read Reacher 20 and it was about people wanting to commit suicides. Yesterday, a colleague asked me to make my will. Last night, I was craving for sgMS while she was getting drunk and I did not know what to do find sleep. I turned to Quora and the first thread that it showed me was about how a happy, healthy young guy committed suicide without giving any sort of warning to his family and the family hasnt had a closure about the reason why he killed himself. And then in the morning today, I woke up to my maid howling about someone who's killed himself back home. Pretty fucked up man.

I dont know what to make out from all these recent things. From real life to dreams to fiction, I see it everywhere. If by any chance I were to die tomorrow and this is my last blogpost and this holds and legal merit, here is my latest will...
  • I dont have any debts. In fact I am to take some money from some people.
  • All my movable, immovable assets must be given to my parents and my sis equally. My bike goes to Vivek. Everything else to be given to people who may need those. 
  • All my digital data (computers, hard disks, blogs, social media accounts et al) to be wiped. I dont know how would you do it. But I trust Vivek to get it done.
  • My dead body must be reused (parts given to those in need and whatever is left to be given to medical science for research).
  • Proceeds from my book, if any, to go to M. Gawri. 
  • sgMS, I love you. Loved you till I died.  
Fuck, its so funny. I could sum up everything in my life in 6 bullet points. 6 bullet points. And these 6 points have made me realize that things we take so seriously are so so insignificant.

Anyhow, I am sick in the gut and I dont know what else to write. Lemme move on.

Wait. I am not suicidal (just in case you happen to read this and care enough to call and reason and all that). Just that there is just too long a string of coincidences. This too shall pass.

So, if I were the spiritual kinds, I would say that I am inviting death - afterall the thoughts manifest into actions and all that. In fact universe has been throwing death at me. But deep down inside I dont want it anywhere close to where I am. There are indeed so many miles to go before I sleep. And some of those miles with sgMS if not all. Here is a song for her...
I just want to see you, when you're all alone
I just want to catch you if I can
I just want to be there
When the morning light explodes
On your face it radiates
I can't escape
I love you 'till the end

I just want to tell you nothing
You don't want to hear
All I want is for you to say
Oh why don't you just take me
Where I've never been before
I know you want to hear me
Catch my breath
I love you 'till the end
I love you 'till the end

I just want to be there
When we're caught in the rain
I just want to see you laugh, not cry
I just want to feel you
When the night puts on it's cloak
I'm lost for words, don't tell me
'Cause all I can say
I love you 'till the end

All I can say
I love you 'till the end (via)
That's it for the time being.

Onwards to the rest of the day (Dharma) and a lunch with a friend. And then, may be, some work (Artha). And then, may be poker (Kama). As, they say in Purushartha, life is about Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.

P.S.: The way I've moved on from Steve (did I move on?), may be someday, I will move on. Inshallah some day I will come out of it. Some day I will find someone that accepts the way I am.

P.P.S.: Talk of digression. From Bukowski to Steve to Elon to sgMS to Life to Death to I dont know what all. Verbal Diarrhea. But the fact of the matter is, I feel good once I have poured out shit in my head on a blog. I just wish there was someone who I could talk to - about things that I write here. And about things that I cant write here. 

P.P.P.S.: #note2Self: Read more about Purushartha. 

Jan 2016 - Recap

Today's 3rd Feb. I should've written this 4 days ago. But better late than never. 

So the first month of what will be the most amazing year of my life is already over. And it went by so fast, so fast that I have no clue where it went. Yes, I did some work and I traveled to a few places for work, meetings (Sidenote: Must write about the kind of travel I do - for work - which may not be too instagram friendly) and other such trivial pursuits in the larger scheme of things.

Over the last one month, I've had some hits and some loses. Let me list those.

  • I have finally come to accept that I can live survive in Bandra. Though I spend very less time there, I am ok with it. Its a mistake that I dont want to repeat once the lease comes up for renewal, in September. Also, next time I will be wiser with my house hunt. 
  • I wrote 14 posts in January. Which is amazing. Because each post took time to think, write, edit and publish. If not more than 14 hours atleast. I am back to serious writing and its now a matter of time when #book2 happens. I am so late on it that its not funny. 
  • I am now clear that in this year I will focus on three things - events business, brand / digital strategy business and startups. Well, 'focus" on "three things" sounds stupid but if you know me, you will know that I've cut the list from 30000 things to 3. Which is an achievement. 
  • Did not make 10 lakhs in the month. Adds to the pressure of making 1 cr in 2016. But I did add a new client that hopefully will give me additional 20% income for at least the next 6 months. At this rate, need to add 20 more clients to be able to reach 10 lakhs a mo figure. And that wont happen without a team! So, I will probably try and get one.
  • Tried getting over sgMS but could not. This is probably the longest running struggle of my life, apart from trying to lose weight. I have tried multiple times but I cant seem to find a solution. The only two things left to try are, a, substance abuse and b, going far far away from here. The physical proximity (she's in Mumbai and her place is like less than 10 KMs away) keeps the hope afloat I guess. 
  • Met Prof Dhruv Nath yesterday and he reinforced what Raj and others have been telling me - that I am a great employee but I will suck as an employer / founder. Funny thing is that apart from me, everyone can see it. And I can either try to ignore what the world is saying. Or leverage on things. I will think more on this.
Thats it. I cant think of anything else. Come to think of it, life is so insignificant. Oh, I have been wondering of that as well over the last few days. I have sort of deep-dived into the life of Elon Musk (this article is a great place to start) and he's making me think on things like life, time, intelligent life, "forever" and so on and so forth. I dont know where I stand on Fermi Paradox or I dont know what impact I am going to have on the world but my belief is now reinforced that our time is limited and we often spend that stupid time on chasing frivolous things that may not really matter. Of course nothing really matters in the long run and everyone, everything has an expiry date. You may even ask what is the damn purpose of living if things dont matter. May be you live for people around you? May be you live for yourself? May be you dont know why you want to live. May be you want to help others. There are just too many may bes. But I do know that some things keep me going - this blog and the thoughts of #sgMS. And the pursuit of enough money that allows me to not be at the mercy of work that I may not want to do.

Also, I realised that I use "that's it" and "so" a lot while writing. May be need to eliminate it?

Also, someone told me that I write as if I am thinking while typing. I dont go back and edit. I concur. I love to see my words spewed on

Going forward, I am planning to take 7-10 days off in February and not do anything and think and sleep and all that. If all goes well, I will be gone from 15th to the 28th (when I goto Goa to play a poker tournament). While I am there, I want to create a model to evaluate if I am doing any better. Some questions that I could ask are...
  • So what has changed over the last time I "evaluated" myself?
  • What has helped me? 
  • Where do I want to be at the end of the year? 
  • How am I doing compared to same time last year?
That's it. Hope I write these every month.

Like always, if you read this and you have something to add, please do share! 

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?