The Sunday Shortage

So, the world needs more Sundays.

No no, the world doesn't mean you and I that (who?) work in cushy corporate settings where workplaces are lined up with glass panels and the biggest worry is keeping the coffee warm hot in the centrally air-conditioned buildings. We have earned them. Both the hot coffee and the Sundays. We are entitled to them. And to Saturdays. And even more entitled to other occasions reasons for not walking into the jail office. Willingly.

World means the aam aadmi that slogs the ass off for 6 days on the trot, come sardi, garmi or barsaat. The person that keeps the office kitchen stacked with goodies, the air-con humming, the glass pane spic and span. The person that often travels almost 2 hours everyday to reach work, work for 12 hours and then take another 3 hours to reach back. And then get ready to go through the same rigmarole in less than 6 hours. Including sleep.

The Sunday I am talking about is the day when he can be a boss. The day when there's nobody breathing down his neck. The day when he must get things done for this home, his house, his family. Fast. So that he can stretch and get lazy about things. And then take his family out to a place where they may indulge in simple pleasures of life. Places like the Juhu Chaupaatis, Marine Drives.

And since almost everyone is resting, recuperating, is at home, the city of dreams appear much less crowded, even liveable. When there's hardly any traffic on the road and you can reach where you want to be in a jiffy. Life looks so simple, so manageable on Sundays that I wait for 6 days to get to a Sunday.

No, not to recuperate. I dont want to recuperate on a Sunday. I dont want to sleep late on a Saturday so that I can sleep till late on a Sunday. On a Sunday I want to be up and about as soon as I can. I want to live it up. I want to enjoy the calmness that prevails around me. I want to soak in the space that I dont get on other days. I want to be less rushed. I want to breathe - take a deep breath that I dont get on other days.

I want to team up with other romantics and dreamers like me and take off to the fantasy land that is made up of our respective ideas of right and wrong. Like, right now, as I write this, back of my head, I am thinking about utopian business where everyone is an owner and has the freedom to choose what they want to work on. I'd talk about it sometime later. Right now, rant is on Sundays. So, sundays are perfect to do things that you never thought you had the time for. For example, this blog. As worked has picked up, I have sort of ignored the only true companion that I've had since 2004 I think. Have been irregular this year, the year when my next book will hit the stores. Do buy it.

Coming back, on a Sunday, even time seems to slow down. Except the speed at which the Starbucks' barista can whip up the coffee. Do you see the irony in my post here? May be you need a Sunday to think about it.

P.S.: Not happy about how this ends!

The Partying Predicament

Fact. I dont go to parties.

Why? I dont know what to do there. I dont drink. I dont enjoy crowded places. I dont have the balls to be able to strike conversation with strangers. Wait, I dont even wear shoes that allow me entry into most party places. If I am allowed entry, I can't dance. As they say, I have two left feet.

But I do love music. But then I am too much of a Delhi guy. So my music better be Hindi. Or may be Punjabi. Which is often a problem in Mumbai. Too hip.

Funny because I am in the entertainment business and nothing like parties if you want to understand the entertainment business.

Why this post? I went to a party last night. And for a change I wore shoes. White one at that. Saboot here. And a party where I stayed till the end. Well, almost. And where I danced a bit. Whatever my two left feet could manage. The only step I know. The Bhangra one. Where you point a finger and move it up and down. Oh, you must check out those Bhangra Empire vids on Youtube.

Thankfully the first place we went to played some Hindi music. And Punjabi. The kinds I've grown up listening to. The like of Kawa Kawa, Kaala Chashma, Gori Naal Ishq Mita etc. Rarity in Mumbai if you ask me. But then Mumbai is one of those places that always had this harmonious coexistence of polar extremes - rich vs poor, celebration vs hardwork, house vs punjabi. You get the drift.

The point of the post is that while the DJ played some hindi remixes (of Kishore), I realised a few things. Here they are in. In no particular order.
  • I miss company. I miss people. I miss "my" people. My refers to people that are mine. Where I am on in their VIP / Favorites list on their phones. I miss things that I could do with friends. Places I could travel to with friends. Impromptu drives I could go on (Addendum: Need a car for that Mr. Garg). One look back at life I realise that I haven't done too much. Most plans gets cancelled for some reason or the other. And I believe that busy is just another work for having things low on the priority list. So, I dont have too many "my" people. I have tons of connections that I could do things with. But I dont have too many people that I want to go back to. And the ones I have, they're married, with kids and thus busy. And I am too old busy to make new friends. So, in all, it sucks. I think I belong but I dont. Anyhow. Big deal.
  • There is all sort of music in the world. The kinds I love. The kinds I want to groove to. The kinds that I play on loop all the time. Like the recent favorite - Aazadiyan. And then, and then ladies and gents, there is Kishore Da. You play a song by Kishore Da and you are teleported to a different zone like no other. Which is amazing. I wish I could see him perform live (which I know by experience is probably half as cool as recorded music). The closest I'd ever come is this.
  • The concept of shoes suck. I have no clue why they make the shoes mandatory to allow people at fancy places. What does it say about a person? Rather, what does it hide about a man? More on this some other day. 
  • The youth of the country (and not so youth) is MAD about partying. Both places I went to, I could see hundreds, if not thousands of kids, youths, oldies binging on alcohol, dancing and making merry. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the jubilations and fumes from other drunk people around them. Guess that's the point of alcohol. Or maybe they faked things well. To someone like me (who wants to make people happy, give them joy and make money from these things), the realization was a cool one! 

What next? Well, next time I am invited to a party, I am going to say an emphatic no. Unless it is SUPER important to/for someone I know that I attend the party. As I move onward (and hopefully upward), I need to find sanity in life and make time for more important things - partying is definitely NOT a thing that I want written on my epitaph.

When is the next post? When? I dont know. Subscribe to the feeds :)

P.S.: Before last night, I can't remember the last time I went to a party. May be a new year's party in 2014. Yes, I am that old boring.

What makes us different?

Someone asked me, “what makes you different? After all, an event is an event is an event!”

True that! An event is an event is an event. But then how you go about planning that event could set you apart. How you produce it, conduct it, manage it could be the difference. How you think of events in the first place could be the difference. The devil, as they say, lies in the detail.

And detail oriented we are! Obsessive at that. To a level of being fanatical about it. Every piece we do, every event we put together, every live experience we deliver will reflect our obsession for attention to detail. We are committed to get things right. The first time. Live entertainment doesn’t leave a lot to chance anyhow.

The other bit that we work really hard on, is to deliver the message that the business wants to communicate via that event. We have a deep understanding of branding and communications business. Rajesh and I have 30+ man-years of combined experience of working with some of the most prestigious brands in the country and we apply all that we’ve learnt so far.

And we continue to learn new things. In fact, both Rajesh and I are really passionate about technology, the chase of the new new thing and applying those things while delivering brand solutions. The world as we know it, is changing fast. And how. And unless we are nimble, curious, adaptable, we would perish. Don't believe me? Ask Darwin.

So, the three things that make us different are:

  • Obsessive attention to detail and impeccable delivery.
  • Deep understanding of brands and years of experience of working on some of the largest, most trusted brands in the country.
  • Passion for technology and that constant urge to try out the new new thing while we work. 
We believe that if we continue to do these three thing well, the difference will eventually be evident in our work. It will take time and we in no tearing hurry.

Wait and watch!

P.S.: You can come be a part of the journey. I am at sg@c4e.in.

Originally posted here.

In 5 years

Someone I was interviewing today yesterday for C4 asked where I see it in 5 years.

I was bamboozled. I hadn't thought of it. I am in my fools world and I am probably enjoying the ride (juggling three four balls in the air) so much that I hadn't focused on the future with any one thing at all! This is probably why I need a board.

So when this guy asked me, I cooked up something on the spot. I rambled out whatever shit came into my head and if he had a bull-shit detector installed in his head, he would've seen right through me.

I said something like...
I want to be in the business of entertainment and I want to entertain EVERY person on the planet. That means 7+ billion people. And I want to be able to reach there in less than 10 years. In 5, I want to reach the whole of India, if not Asia.  
We will not be just an events management / live entertainment company, but will have multiple divisions catering to multiple facets of entertainment. This means we could be a movie production company, a TV channel, a content business or something like that. In terms of drawing parallels, we would be like a Marvel or a Disney of today. 
And while we do it, we will remain small. Tiny actually. May be we model ourselves on Berkshire Hathaway? May be we dont. That is not clear to me. But the thing that is clear is, that we would be a key player in the business of entertainment in the next 5 years. 

And how will I do it?

Now that I am thinking about it, I will establish C4 as an events business. Because despite the limited reach that a corporate events company has, the company will throw the much needed cash back at the business.

We will use that cash to seed other businesses that will reach larger audience. These could be startups, old wine in new bottles, fancy business models and what not. And I will also seed people and partnerships along the way. And with time work hard to make sure that these partnerships blossom as we go along.

Pretty simple! And of course we will make mistakes. Of course we will be wrong as we try. But then what is the point if we dont make mistakes and dont try?

And here's the thing. Why dont you help us create an awesome business? I am on sg@c4e.in.

Untitled - May 14, 2016

Yet another in string of long-time-no-post zones (last post was 20+ days back). Need to write more and do more. More on the more bit in a bit. Wah wordplay ;P

So there are quite a few things I want to talk about in this post - after all been sometime since I posted. And beware, this will be a longish one. In case you want to read. Get a coffee maybe?

P.S.: If you do read these posts, please please do tell me. I need to know if you do. I am actually thinking of writing a monthly newsletter to people who care (and to people who I want to care for me). Let's see what I do about it. But do let me know if you want to receive it. Here is a form that you may use.




Without further ado, rants for the day...

A. Work
So work is going ok. In 3 short months since I started (and 15 long months since I quit my last full-time job), I've seen ups and downs already. I have won clients, lost clients, clients have disappeared, someone has taken money and not delivered and everything in between has happened. I've been lucky and I've been unlucky and nowhere else has "this too shall pass" been so accurate!

I am actually making decent money (though I need to make a lot more and I define decent as being able to pay for expenses at home and yet having something in the bank) and doing some ok work. Need to upgrade what I do and make more more than decent. Of course its tough.

Decent is happening because am juggling two things and it's not easy. No, I am not saying this because I want this to be glamourous about what I do. But because I love both things. I can't choose one over another. Call it lack of focus but I can't. One is live experiences (events, travel, adrenaline rush) and Two is communication (brands, behavioural science, communities, platforms, social, networks, people and such). I wish there was a way to marry the two.

To do more than decent, I will have to put more than decent effort.

Anyhow. The point is not work. The point is that I am now seeing my limitations as an individual and as a professional. I've always taken pride in being the supercool and super-great guy who can do everything but now I am realising that I am not as cool as I think I am. Lemme give an example.

I have realised that I am super good (may be even great) with getting things done. I am a great manager and I can deliver. But I suck at ideas. And I suck so bad that I can't crack new clients if I dont take external help. Funny because I believe that no one wants brilliance with ideas - they rather want predictability in delivery. But then to be able to get the client on your side, you need to show your prowess with ideas. And I suck at it. It's almost like a vicious circle. Almost. But it is.

I spoke of this problem to friends and mentors. I was told to hire talent. But who would want to work for a nameless, directionless dude like me? I haven't won any awards, I have no portfolio to show (which clients are also surprised about - after all I've been a pony all my life and haven't done any award winning work), I have no contacts in the industry, I dont inspire people. I can't mentor. I can't teach. I dont offer any reason to anyone to work with me. Unless they are desperate. Or delusional. And no, I cant pay. No I am not whining - just putting facts on paper.

So what is the way out? I dont know! Do you? Help me!

The other example of my limitation is the constant struggle to grow. Thing is, all my life, I've worked with agencies with deep pockets (CLA had a rich client when they started, Gravity had years of experience and SWL was profit making). I've always had a structure to support me. I was not responsible for paying salaries. This time, there is nothing except the thin air beneath my feet. So that sucks.

There are more things I can talk about that talk about my limitations but guess you get the point. I am not as cool as I think I am. And I need to accept it.

I shall at some point write a longer post about about and my operational issues (BD, Hiring, Delivery etc) and strategic issues (Why am I doing this? What is my objective? What is the big picture? The purpose etc). Some day!

B. Yoga
I restarted Yoga with Shameem. And like last time, shes ensuring that I dont aggravate my hernia. It's been 5 classes and I know that my body has deteriorated so much in the last year. And more importantly, just like work, Yoga is making me aware of my limitations (the physical / mental / emotional ones).

And it's humbling to see an old man do asanas with ease and grace while you struggle to even get into the formation. Simple thing like touching the toes without bending the knees seems like a task (and there was a time when I could do it as if I did not have a spine). But I shall get back to shape. I like being active and I need to get back.

So I hope I continue going to her. I know that these are tiny steps towards reaching my #lifeGoals of running a marathon and climbing the Everest. And may be other goals as well!

C. Kindness of strangers
The most recent fan mail for #tnks came from a 70-year old man, a retired banker, from Telangana. He used the kindest words ever and I was so touched, so thrilled that I wanted to get the second book out that day itself. Of course the book is long way from completion but I do aim for a end-year release. Thank you Sir for writing in. Hope I dont disappoint you with Book2.

Then, Rana Sir gave me another advance yesterday. I will use his advance to work on the next book and get the Hindi edition of #tnks out.

Then, last week two people (unrelated to each other) sent me two separate "feelers" about trying to put some sense into me.

First, this lady read the blog and without knowing me personally took pains to write to me to tell me about specific things that she has inferred from the blog. She thinks I whine a lot and I am concerned about my fitness. She may be right about fitness but I sincerely think that I dont whine as much. I could be wrong - lets see. What do you think?

And if I do come across as a cry baby, I need to send out better vibes. I can't change my situations but I can change the way I look at them (glass half-full). So, thank you N. Hope you see a measurable change in how I write and the vibes I send out. Hope you continue to read. And I will summit the Everest.

The other person sent a longish whatsapp message. Again telling me of things that I need to improve on. I am on it. Thank you A.

D. Travel Book
A new project. I have decided that I will start work on the travel book. With Vivek. He is my travel partner (apart from R & gang and sgMS) and in one of the random WhatsApp conversations it popped up that we ought to do a travel blog together. And here I am. I've added it to the list of things to be done in this year. Lets see when we get around to doing it. I suck at travel writing and I know I need to improve on it. It can only happen with practise. I did write one (on Udvada) and I will write more as I start going out to travel. If... if only he finds time to meet me.

So that's all I have for the day. But before I disappear again, here is a pic that I took at a Starbucks. *drops hint at Vivek*


Over n out!

P.S.: I will try to make the next post soon! Do fill in the form at the top of this page.

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?