The coaching conundrum

There is this Lucky Ali movie - Sur (wiki). I havent seen it but I know of the plot (thanks to this song). Then there is THE Whiplash.

While the two movies appear different, I think there is a common theme. That of this maverick who is on the lookout of someone that could take the legacy of the maverick ahead. Of course this is not exactly that either movie stands for but let me take that as the initiating thread. Maverick. Searching for someone to lead the legacy. Someone who's inherently talented but needs some bit of polishing. Lemme pause here for a second. Will come back.

So, the thing is, I am no maverick and I am not sure if I can help shave off the edges but I think I am pretty ok in terms of brains and capability (though I have nothing to show for it). Lemme call this Thread A.

Thread B is that out of three things that I want to do in life (by Jan 1, 2026), one is impacting a billion lives. And while impacts could be tough to quantify,  I'd love if impact is so big, so huge that they are 10x better as a result of my intervention. And no, I dont mean to play no God. No, I am not chasing immortality. And no, I dont know how to go about it. But I do realise that thats what I want! And I want it bad. Bad like B-A-D.

Now I understand that I may not improve things at the 10X level for everyone. But if I could do a 10000X for some, I'd be happy. Think of Mickey Goldmill. Who worked with a nobody and made a Rocky outta him. What if I could be the Mickey Goldmill to a few? Work with them, enable them to be so good that the entire world recognizes their talent.


Of course all this assumes that I have what it takes to be the coach, a mentor, a guide, a someone that nudges you to be a better version of who you are. Or, like conventional wisdom says, you must have done better yourself and you must know what it takes to carve a raw stone into a diamond. Like Lucky Ali in Sur, like I-dont-know-his-name in Whiplash. Which I am not. So thats a problem as well. Lets call this C.

So, if I club A, B and C, one of the things that I MUST do in life is to be a mentor. A coach. And even though I may not be the best, I need to still learn and be one.

So, I try hard to be one. Everyone I meet, irrespective of their age or the place where they are at, I try and see possibilities (what makes me think that I can spot talent better than the people themselves or others in their respective lives? Nothing. Blind faith in self. Or overconfidence ;)). Some days I get lucky when I nudge some people. Those days are among the happiest days of my life. All the Serotonin that I've ever had in my life comes rushing into my head!


And all was hunky dory.

Till... Lol! Took me so many words, thoughts to come to the point. Sigh. Mr. Garg needs to work on brevity. 

Till... some days back, someone brought something to my notice. And while I want to dismiss it, it has stayed with me and I want to vomit the feelings out and not think about them again.

She said that while I love to "interrupt" regular lives of people and nudge them to do things that I think they ought to be doing, the person on the other end may not appreciate my interruptions. And since I come across as a pushy man, they often do not have the balls to voice their rejection. And as a result, rather than helping people, I end up hurting them. Rather than shaving off the rough edges, I break the damn rock.

And that, to me, is NOT cool at all.

Agreed that I want to make people better but I dont want them to suffer. Agreed that they may not know what is best for them. Agreed that even though they have the gift, they may not want to acknowledge it and not work on it. Agreed that 80% of what you need to be world-class at something requires just 20% of time and rest is deliberate practise. And as the beholder of the talent you may not want to chase it to perfection.

But... but... I believe that the road to greatness is paved with sacrifices and practise and it is definitely starts beyond your comfort zone. And as someone who's been gifted with talent and brains and other things, its your moral responsibility to go chase greatness. Its a debt that you owe to the Universe. You HAVE to push hard and go achieve that greatness.

Why? Because with each shot at greatness, you would create something new. You will push limits. And in the process inspire others. If my mere nudge breaks you, may be you dont have the gift that I thought you had? It is unfair that I break someone who I thought had the gift. But if in the process of discovering the next big thing, I have had to do some collateral damage, I think I am ok with it!

And no, when I say these things, I dont think of people as objects. I think of them as conduits of doing the impossible. It is people that proved that Earth wasnt flat. We discovered the fire, invented the Internet and sent a man on Moon. We will go on to do amazing things and each of these things will get initiated by us humans. And the ones that were gifted and polished their gifts.

Yeah! I think this is what defines how I look at things. I think the Whiplash guy got it right. Ignore the ego, ignore the rude behaviour and all that. Its people like him, who I think bring the best out of the ones who deserve to be the best. I wish I had someone like that to egg me on. Someone to throw a Cymbal at me!

Phew! Now that I've put this out there for whoever to read, I AM lighter. Thank you, Universe. And for all those who need someone to push them, nudge them, polish them, I am on saurabh.garg AT gmail.com. Lets do this.

P.S.: Do see this. And then, read this.

Day 2. Oct 2017.

So, after a mammoth post yesterday (that took me a few days to write), its time to write one that is tad light-hearted. And while I was thinking of ideas to write on, I thought, why not write some words for #book2? Incidentally, #tnks started like a blogpost. Here goes. 

If Purav wasnt howling his lungs out at the dead body of Birju, the cops could've never ended the 30-year long run of the fearsome Danveer Karna Sevak Gang. Unlike their name, that meant servants to the mythological figure of Karna, they weren't really servants per se. They were merely a group of 5 thugs, notorious for stealing precious artifacts from museums, temples and palaces and selling them off to collectors. Amongst known list of robberies to their credit, the big ones included the Royal Crown of The Nizam of Golconda, original paintings from the time of Akbar from Itimad-ud-Daulah’s tomb near Agra, Sword of Ibrahim Lodhi from a museum in Delhi, statue of Shiva from the little known Rameswara Siva Temple at Kolkata and more.

The modus operandi was very simple. 5 of them will shortlist a target, often handed over to them by their contact. They would do an extensive research to understand the security arrangements and strike when no one would expect them to. And once they had stolen what they wanted to, they would part ways and lay low for months. Once the heat on the case was gone, they would regroup, often at Sehore, about 40 KMs from Bhopal. Partly because it was bang in the middle of the country and partly because Birju, the leader of the gang was a priest at the one of the hundreds temples in the district. Plus, it was nondescript enough to not warrant any additional attention to the gang when they did meet. Of course there was the curious case of these strangers walking into the temples once every few months and Birju Dada, as he was fondly called, disappearing for a few days. But back in small town India, such occurrences could be easily explained by dismissing these travels as side effect of having a large family.

After stealing this 14th century Bible from a church in Goa, they had decided to again part ways, with Birju taking the loot with him and regroup at Sehore after 4 months. If there was a change in plan, Birju would publish a specific obituary in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkatta editions of the largest newspaper, Nai Duniya and mention date and time for the prayer meeting. You just had to apply a small cipher to know of the exact date on which you were expected in Sehore. Thing with obituaries is that while people read it with interest and take a note of the long list of apparently grieving family members no one really pays any attention to who had died.

When the last obit carried the photograph of Birju himself, the gang had a hearty laugh when they were together. Birju had said that he was out of his collection of stock images and was too lazy to get more photos from the local photographer. Little did he know that he was going to be this accurate!

***

Thats about it. For some reason I cant get more than 500 words but at least I've put something up. Like Seth said yesterday,

Alive. And Kicking.

Last few days have been such a roller coaster ride. From trying to recuperate after a stressful event (which went ok) to doing another under duress (which went ok as well) to getting a painful operation surgery that was supposed to be painless (happened on the 23rd and till date there are no signs of respite), I dont think I have ever undergone these many transitions in my emotions in this short of a span. Ever.

I dont even know how I will write this. But I am still going to try. Stay patient. Will you?

Lets start with a list of thing that have been wrecking havoc in my head. In no order...

A. I turned 35.
That means I am now old. In no survey around the world I am a part of youth.

Apart from this, I was supposed to be a billionaire by the time I was 35. This is THE only truth I had known since I was a kid. I remember when I was passing out of MDI, I had told a friend that I will be a dollar millionaire and a dollar billionaire by the time I am 25 and 35 respectively. None of the two has happened and no, I dont say this lightly - if I were to die tomorrow, I will not be a happy man at all. To me, the only way I measure the impact you've had in the world is by the amount of money you've made and the number of lives you've touched / impacted / changed / touched. Money - few lakhs. Lives - fingers on a single hand will be lot more than the count.

I will come back to this. Lemme set context and talk of large themes.


B. I got my first ever evasive surgery done.
Yes I am lucky to not have had any big medical complications in these 35 years.

And if you are curious, it was a nasal polyp surgery. And it was painful. My respect for women has gone up many notches, now I know how surgeries could feel like. I dont know what makes them go through the labour pain to get a life to the world. And is this the kind of world where you want to bring a life to? Well...

Anyhow, the surgery meant that I was in the hospital for a few days and I was under a lot of pain and distress. And I was hungry. And since I was given general anaesthesia (GA) so that they cut cut the damn thing from inside of my nose, I could not even drink water (for more than 12 hours. And since I breathe through my mouth, the throat, lips and all other things were parched like a forgotten road in the damn Sahara). I dont remember much from after the surgery once I got my senses back; except that I was in the ICU and begging for water. I remember folding my hands and asking the nurse on duty to let me die if water was that toxic for my system. Again, more on this at some other stage.

Also, I realised that my capacity to tolerate physical pain is very low. And the experience has made me rethink a lot of things in life. The first one - the shot at the Everest. Thing is, while I will prepare for it, out there, you dont know what hits you and when. And unlike at home where you have doctors and medical science and money and time and nature by your side, up there, you have nothing. May be a couple of injections with adrenaline shots.

At some trek when I had hair. Lemme use this opportunity to show off. No? 

Second, I want to change the world and all that but in case I cant tolerate pain, how am I supposed to set an example?

Third, when I am in pain, I become someone else. I am often rude (to taxi guys that I use to commute from my place to the clinic, to chemists that dispense meds, even to my parents who are with me, like a rock!). I become someone that I am not. And I need to fix that.

P.S.: Whoever said Nasal Polyp surgery is painless, please do go get one. I will change my name if do not scream your lungs out. The procedure could replace those ancient torture methods. The kind of shit they make you go through, its unimaginable.

First you are suffering from a polyp - that means while the surgery happens, you would not get water for 12 hours (like I mentioned above). When you eventually get back to eating and drinking and all that, you cant feel the relief because there is this thing in your nose that makes your life uncomfortable. It is stuffed with meters of gauze, rolled into a thin tube. But thankfully, there is water and food. And btw you are still breathing from your mouth.

They remove gauze after about 3 days. When they do, you realise that all the blood and muck and other things inside of your nose has dried along with the gauze and is now stuck to the open would. Inside of your nose.

And how do they remove it? They yank it out. Simple enough.

But when they do that, it comes along with it flesh (ripping the wounds that had just started to heal) and some more blood. No, you are still not breathing. Neither from your nose because theres muck there. Nor from your mouth because you are screaming out loud.

No, its not over.

After this thing is out, they put a tiny suction pipe into the nose, goes about 3 inches inside (yes. 3 inches) and they start to literally scrape off leftovers with it. Again, nerve cells tingle so much, so bad that you are screaming. And no, you cant move your head. If you do, the drill suction pipe may damage something else.

They could give you local anaesthesia but thats another horror story altogether. Its like a spray in your nose. The first ten milliseconds are nothing. And then it starts to hurt the nose. And slowly, like a drop of water trickling down a dry surface, the pain descends to your throat. It gets "heavy" - at least you cant scream after that. If you do, I dont remember hearing it. Oh, the anaesthesia is local. Local as in millimetres local. The suction moves around so much that its actually of no use.

Also, this is where treatment for most patients end.

For me, for some reason, I had to get a silicone thing embedded in my nose. And stitched. Thankfully I was injected (not sprayed) with some more anaesthesia before that happened. I would've died otherwise. I dont know how do women get the nose pierced. While it looks gorgeous, it cant be simple. Second time when I realise that women are so much so much stronger. All this while I would think of women and men as merely equals. No they are not. They are better.

Coming back. I am not sure what are the next steps. I need to see the doc in a few days. If the nose is healing well, this silicone thing may be removed (by, I am guessing cutting the stitches and yanking it out, hoping it doesnt come along with more pain or blood, and thus no further surgery). If its not, I will have a second round. And no, I dont have it in me to go through it.

I now know of the plight of patients that need painful treatment to be able to see slim chances of survival.

To me, pain was an academic interest area at best and I would use it loosely all the time. I would write about it in my blogs, books book and other things. I would romanticize it when I would see a Rocky or a Rambo revel in it. I would think of it as a no big deal when I saw people fall down and hurt and cry. Now I know what a wound is. Now I know what pain is. And I dont know if I have hurt any sentiments ever over pain, but if I have, I apologize.

This thing has made me appreciate life a little more. Respect others a tad more. Hope the change is permanent.


C. This is probably the longest that I have gone without writing. 
More than a month now.

To the ones who meditate and the ones who pray, they would know how they feel when they are devoid of practise. I feel that something really important has been taken away from me. Some part of me has been taken away. Something has happened that makes me incomplete. After all this blog, this set of posts that I know no one reads (except Vivek and at times PD) is the thread that sort of gives meaning to my life. Like I keep saying, apart from living, this is the longest I've ever done something.

And no, I have no plans of stopping. And everytime I am away from it, I feel this void that nothing seems to fill, but a spewing of words on this blog.

And no, I am not complaining. I just wish I could do this everyday.



So, now that a broad table of contents (and a not-so-short rant on the surgery) is laid on the well, table, here are some thoughts. In no order. Lol. Why would I put a table of contents if I wasnt hoping to follow any table? Never mind.

First. My underachievement conundrum. Like I have said this a million times, I feel like a am a failure.

I mean look at any culture around the world. They would have their respective definitions of success. Most would have money, contribution to society, family, making the world a better place in varying degrees. Thing is, what I am, in no culture around the world, ever, would be considered a success.


Closer home, in Hinduism, there is this concept of Purushartha (this slideshare is a good intro). A man ought to have four types of goals - Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Each has a specific reason and order. When I look at me, I am not sure if I have discharged my duties on any of the 4 counts - I have a sketchy understanding of Dharma, I have literally no Artha, there is no Kama and Moksha is anyway kinda far.

Agreed that I get things done and I am good at what I do. And agreed that I am actually paid fairly well for it but its not something that gives me satisfaction. It does make me happy and I am in the zone when I am doing it. But, the thing is, I want more. Lot more. And I dont know why I cant seem to get that. Or there. May be I am not meant to be big. May be I am not the Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezoes that I've always thought of myself as. May be I need to accept it and move on in life.

May be, in an alternate universe, I could have hit the reset button and undo a lot of things that I could've done things differently - what bits, I dont know. Sincerely. Each thing that I've done has shaped me the way I am. May be I need to let go? I could simply move to a cold country. Find a boring job in a boring place that keeps me occupied and gives me a few hours each day to chase a hobby. Think of Mark Whalberg from Shooter. Once he is retired, he lives at a cabin in the mountains, keeps to himself and stays like that. Does odd jobs. Chases his hobby of shooting.


Or look at Denzel Washintgon's character in The Equalizer. All he does is, does a stupid boring job at a hardware store. And then reads because he's an insomniac. And becomes pretty much a creature of habit like no one else is.


For me, the day job could be driving around an Uber. Allows me to gather stories. And then with whatever time I get, I could go play pool and then may be write. These two -- writing and pool -- will allow me to get unwind after a day spent behind the wheels. Any way thats all you do when you are no longer young?

Or I could be Jack Reacher for God's sake! P.S.: Have this dying need to create someone like that. Why create? Because I want to be one and I dont have the ability to be one and thus, create one. Sidenote: Hah! Jack Reacher. One small surgery made you wince like a baby and you want to be a tough guy! 

Or may be, just may be, I could give things another shot. Till the end of the financial year. Go all-in and see what I am capable of? That means the next 6 months will be hardwork, hustle and lot of effort.

Lol.

Like I havent had this peptalk with me earlier. I forget the number of times I've done this. Sigh. But like I said. Time to correct course and that will happen from now. Next 6 months should be interesting.

Thing is, I have always said that I want to work on things that give me two or more of the following three...

  1. 1. Money (a lot of it)
  2. 2. Respect (from peers more than anything else)
  3. 3. Opportunity to learn (and network and make friends etc)

And on top of all of that, I have to enjoy the process / outcome.

But then because I have chased this triad, I am left as a poor man, in an industry that requires little or no expertise to pull grand things off and limited possibilities of future.

I think for the next 6 months, I need to just chase money because I have enough to be able to pay my bills, I can invest the leftover at other places. And that could give me opportunities to learn and to earn some respect. No? Guess so. Will decide and figure out the next steps soon.

Anyhow, so this longish rant is actually very long now. Time to wrap it up. Hope I did not lose the plot. I still suck at going back to the post and editing it.

Thanks for reading. Pray for me. Please.

P.S.: This is the first day of the month, lets see if I can make a post on each day of this month. Lets say yet another 30 posts in 30 days challenge?

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?