Book 2. Zinda Hai.

For a millionth time, today I started working on #book2. Its been pending for a long time and while nothing has changed, there have been a few triggers.

Here's a list.

a. A friend thought that I am suicidal and sent me a copy of The Myth of Sisyphus.

I am not sure if I am / was suicidal or not but after I read the first 3 pages I felt that life was absurd and I ought to end it. Also, I recently moved to an Android phone (which is a suicide in itself) and I have spent last three hours searching for the Blue Whale.

But since a friend gifted the book and I had to respect the 250 bucks he spent on it, I went online and saw this video (that summarized the book in 7 minutes and took me closer to suicide). The video talked about how we must find pleasure in misery and why its absurd to even think of suicide. It did talk of more things but I am sure if I could comprehend it. So, left it at that.

Here's a tip. Avoid the fucking book at all costs. And if you want to read a book that prevents from you committing suicide, do read Reasons to Stay Alive. I read it when I was not suicidal and it was one of the best reads ever.

But then coming back to the context, book2, somewhere while I was either reading the book or watching the video, I felt that I ought to write. Ergo.

b. I read this piece on BBC where they try and postulate who will be remembered after a 1000 years after they are gone.

Thing is, I've never known if I want fame or whatever but I would love to be known 1000 years after I am gone. And the article says that either I need to become a famous villain or die a famous death. I cant control how I'd die but I can create a villain that is more villainous than anyone ever alive? Et tu, Brute?

And to be able to create a Brutus, a Joker, I need to write!

c. Pochu Prasad. Poch was my roommate at MDI. It was his daughter's birthday recently and when I messaged him after 3 years (thinking that its a good pretext to text long lost friends on their kids' birthdays), the first thing he asked was, "when's the next book coming out."

After I abused him and all that it left me thinking. That my identity is now of someone who's written a book. And while I am not a one-hit wonder (book was NOT a hit), may be there's something there!

d. Parijat sent me this.

This is screenshot of Syd's book and it reminded me that writing is my personal responsibility. And its high time I worked on it. I can cry about lack of a silver spoon us my ass but I do have a tiny gift with whatever I write. I ought to use it. No?

e. A discussion with a colleague reminded me that I am insignificant and for 35 years of my life, I have shit to show for. More than anything else, I am offended by it and I take it as a personal insult. And I will damn prove the dude wrong. I will achieve something large in my life. Of course I will continue to chase my ambition of climbing the Mt. Everest, impacting a billion lives and making a billion dollars in the process. But I will do well with my writing. You guys wait and watch. Ego makes you do funny things man.

So yeah. That's about it. More on this later. Right now I have a book to write. And you may want to order the first one here.

Post-Bangalore post-mortem post

I am just back from Bangalore. I was there for putting up a show for a client at Excon 2017 and since its a 7-day exhibition, I thought that I will do a million things while I am in Bangalore. The top few included...

  • meeting friends and almost friends
  • making new friends
  • exploring the city 
  • click some pics
  • work with a friend on a book 
  • work on my next book 
  • eat properly and get fitter
And so on and so forth.

Guess how many of these did I do? 


And why did I do nothing while I was there? No, time is not the culprit. After 7:30 / 8 most days, I had the rest of the evening and night to myself. And the reporting time the next day was at 8. And since I was leading the tram, I could actually come in by 9. So I had 12 hours each day to do all the things that I've listed above. But I could not. 

Here's a list of reasons. 

1. Bad planning. 
For starters, I was put up in a hotel that was in the middle of nowhere (about 20 KMs away from Bangalore). And most people I had to meet were reluctant to travel all the way. 

Two things from this. 
  • A, become so good, so valuable that people are willing to go through large quantums (quantum but added an s for effect) of trouble to get a sliver of time from you. 
  • B, Plan well. For example, when you know that you are in a city that you know is notorious for traffic, try to be at a place that is accessible. 

2. Energy. 
By the time I spent 12 hours at the exhibition, I was so sapped that all I could do is sleep. And snore. And then drag yourself to work the next day. 

Can this be fixed? Yes. I can work on my health and ensure that if I am up, I am full of energy. Most times I am but lot of times I am not. And I need to fix it. Health HAS to be the number 1 goal #in2018.

3. Team. 
I am in the process of creating a team, a set of people that are aligned to the purpose that we as a group are supposed to serve. And deliver. That of entertaining the world in such amazing manner that it inspires others. 

Now, to do so, I don't need people who work for a salary. I don't need people that stick on a list of holidays on their whiteboards. I need marshals that are aligned to the mission. And if not aligned well to the mission, then at least a part of their personal missions has to get delivered if they work with me and others.

Right now I have a few people that I think are in the zone. I need more. Are you the kinds? Help me. I am on 9819981337 /

4. My working style. 
I get super emotional about my work. I want everything to work with clockwork precision. I want robots that stand as long as it is required. I want machines to not overheat, to remain intact, to perform to the capacity and never burn out. 

While its possible most times, I know its tough to expect this all the time. After all there is a huge element of technology and people dependence. While you take every care to ensure that things don't go wrong (get the best crew, get the best material etc etc) there are times when you cant control things. 

And when things go out of control, I get unnecessarily harsh at people. I am rude to the point that I am amazed at myself. Reminds of that experiment where they made ordinary people cruel by giving them a role of a jailer. 

At this exhibition, I was the jailer and because I thought people were slacking, I fought with no less than 10 people. This included my team, my outsourced staff, other agencies that were working there and other people at random. I continue to believe that I was right in fucking their happiness but may be I was wrong. After all 10 people cant be wrong. No? Whatever it was, I know it has to change. I need to work on it or I will not reach anywhere.

The event otherwise as perfect. Apart from one time when the band was to play and the mics' cable came out loose. Of course we checked it right before the show but if a cable has to come out, it will come out. Wish I could ensure that as well. 

5. Raison d'ĂȘtre
So, why do we work? For love! 

Why do I talk about this? At the exhibition, I repeatedly saw people work for money. And not for love. And to save money, I saw people do things that they would otherwise not do. And that's not cool. I believe that money is important. But the mission has to be larger than just a hefty bank balance. 

I am the kinds that is ok to lose money to deliver a great job. Of course for a client that gives me the freedom to do things. The idea is, we must be able to do great work and charge the money that will make us happy. And find clients that are willing to pay the kind of money we want, to allow us to do great work! Its a vicious circle but I am sure we can find an opening. 

6. The silver lining
During the event, at one of the conversations that I had with the client (PV) on the side was about life purpose and all that. I realised that my life's purpose is to entertain people and do it so well that I become an inspiration to others. And in the process, grow as a human being. And then use the money I've made to inspire others. Its still shorter than making a dent in the universe (like Steve) or trying to save the humanity (like Elon) but its something larger than myself. And worth chasing. 

See this slide (from my companies' creds deck).

C4E's masterplan

I just need to work on it. 

7. Exit stage left
When the thing ended, I was out of there in 5 minutes. I did not say my good byes. I did not hang out to chill with the team. I did not want to get a group pic clicked (but I had to). I dint go out to grab a beer or something. DS tells me that its not cool. And I agree. 

But the thing is, I hate to say goodbye. 

And then there is post-event depression that hits you so hard that you don't know what happened. DS said it best when he said that a minute before the show ends, you are the master and you control lives and times of the crew and the event. And right after the event is over, you are nobody. It sucks. Thing is, I get super emotional about what I do. SC says that once an event is over and you get into a flight (or a car), you move on. To the next event. Or the next thing. Like, I shouldn't be writing this post but focusing on what will the next one be like. 

And third, I feel that once I have delivered what I was supposed to deliver, I can take off and die in my misery of an event getting over. Or I can go and sleep. Or do whatever. I am no longer on the client's clock. 


Now it has happened. I cant undo it. But I can take lessons. And these are things that I will do - no matter what.

  • Figure out a minute to minute plan of my time. If not a minute by minute, an hour by hour for sure. I will start doing this from the next trip (that starts tonight). 
  • Get anal about how and where I spend my time. And try to earn time. How do I do that? By putting in place processes that save me time. By getting people who can do things that save me time. 
  • Try to detach emotions from work. I am not sure if I want to do this. But lets see how it happens. 

In all, this trip was a clear case of setting expectations too high. Going forward, I need to lower down the expectations and then try to exceed those. Or may be not. One life. If you don't hustle hard enough, why are you alive?

That's about it. Until next time, over and out.

P.S.: Here are some pics from the exhibition. Do give feedback.

5K on 5th Dec

In the morning today I promised someone what I will write 5000 words today. Its 8:50 PM and I havent written a single word. So I have a few hours to go and 5000 words to crank out. And where else to start from but here. And what else to talk about but shit that's floating inside my head.

P.S.: I started writing this on the 5th. Today it's the 6th and since I was in office, it took me multiple passes to give shape to the post. The focus is on getting as many words of inane text out as possible. Lets see how many I get in. Also, I love this idea of sprints. This allows me to not worry about quality and all I am doing is pushing words out on paper. Perfect if you ask me. 

Lemme dump everything that I have on my mind. May be I'll feel lighter.

1. Year End
The year is ending and I am the kinds to actually take a stock of how the year went. I love making lists and then try to achieve the tasks on those lists. While I live with the lists throughout the year, I get really active around this time. I set lofty targets for the year and then I make plans for achieving those targets. So far, in none of the years that I've made lists in, I've achieved my targets - may be I dont have what it takes to do things. Or may be I love stretch targets. Irrespective. I love this list and yearly goal setting.

This year is ending soon and if luck would have it, I will get a couple of days off to plan for the life ahead. And even if I dont get time, I am happy to report that I have already started thinking about things. While I have a little clarity about things that I want to focus on, I need to figure out a lot of peripherals. I know that 2018 will be all about health. And not money for a change. I have chased money all my life and I am yet to get rich. So may be I'd focus on health and how that pans out.

Apart from health, the second most important thing will be writing (why? See 5). And then I will worry about work. This will be a marked difference from how I've operated in life. Lets see how that goes. 

2. The ever-expanding plate
I am involved in a million projects and anyone who's like that is bound to miss deadlines. On not just yearly goals but on other short-term goals as well.

For context, on last count, I am working on 48 major projects. These range from plans of taking over the world to public art to opening a college to teach events management to stationary and what not. And while I am a great beginner, I start things, I am very average finisher.

Plus I am now beginning to see the sense in the maxim that you can only do so many things with your life. I need to know that I am not limitless. Which sucks but such is life!

Or maybe, I need to discard this feeling of being inadequate and get back to being what gives me the most amount of happiness - day dreaming and cooking up a million things at the same time. Who says I ought to stop at 48? Why can't I have 96 projects there?

You dig what am saying? 

3. Fit/Fatness
Yesterday Day before it rained really hard in Mumbai and I got drenched. And as a result, the only pair of denims I had got wet. And I had this really important meeting today yesterday and thus I had to buy a new pair.

I went to the mall and went to each shop that the mall had. And in those scores of stores and hundreds of pairs of pants, denims, nothing seemed to fit!! I am unhealthy as fuck! I have become so fat lately. What do you mean lately? I have been fat since I can remember! 

And then I have this goal of climbing to the very top of the Everest. Can you imagine a fat man on top of Everest? I will stick out as, what Charles said, a cockroach on a wedding cake.

Apart from just being an impediment to my goals, it makes me look ugly. I mean I am not the one to have been blessed with stellar looks, the fat makes it uglier. I know, body shaming. But the point is that if I can, I must. It will probably motivate me enough to do something about my life. In fact as I write this, I am already having a green tea. In regular course, I would've had a coffee. Or a coke. But green tea. I hate the taste and it makes me pukish. But I am told that the pukish bit is because of all the toxins in my body. Once they are out, I wont be pukish anymore.

I am digressing. The point is I need to get fit. And fit like Jason. If I get fit like him, I am sure my bald head (with the new found physique) will make me like a darker version of him. That would be something. No?

4. Work
Work is in an interesting phase. There is enough and there is not enough. Enough that I am busy. Not enough that I dont make enough money. Enough money is the kind of money that allows me to get a car for myself, allow me to spend without thinking about bank balance, help me invest in bright people that may need help and finally, take care of my people. 

And I cant seem to fix it. Despite my brains and all that. And despite some super amazing friends that have done everything they could. And despite all the hard work. I mean the only way I know to success is through hard work. Increasingly, its about connections and all that.

I dont know what would it take to do so. In case you wish to offer assistance, you know my email address.

In fact as I talk of work, in the last few days, I actually got an offer to work for someone I really admire. But I could not make myself leave people who've backed me up when I needed them. Rationality says that I need to move on and all that. But I am not rational. More on this if I come out ahead. I dont want to sound like a sore loser.

5. Book2 
I heard this text by Allan Watts and I realised that what I really really want to do if money were not an object, is to write. Now I know that my writing is not good enough to help me get by but I know that I really want to write. I do not know how did I get #tnks out of the door. I was lucky I guess. Or my head was not this cluttered with all the shit on the huge plate (see 2). Whatever it was. Its been 3 years that I have been meaning to work on #book2 and despite repeated reminds and kicks on the backside. I havent done shit on it.

I have threatened myself, promised friends, even sgMS that if I did not write the book by the end of the year, I will stop chasing the idea of writing the book. And yet I havent done anything about it. I think I make too many promises and thus the promises lose significance.

Now on, I probably need to reduce these promises and live upto the deadlines. Which is in direct contrast to my personality. I love challenges. And if you want to bring the best in me out, dont tell me about the reward I stand to get but make it sound like a challenge. Throw me one please.

And may be I need a muse, like I said a few days ago.

P.S.: While I was trying to look up the link, I realised that all that I have covered here is like a summary of things that I have posted already. Theek hai. As long as I get some words on paper.

6. To give up or not
This one is tad philosophical. Post my MBA, even though I have held full-time jobs, I havent been able to make it big. Either in terms of impact or money or reputation or doing enough to inspire others. I wont be wrong if I say that have been struggling.

I increasingly feel that life is like a race where I am sort of getting left behind by everyone else around me. And even strangers. Its like am running in the slow motion, on a treadmill. And they are in the fast lane with rocket propulsion jets under their bums. And to a fly on the wall, I look like a stagnant shit while everyone is just whizzing past.

I know this is a stupid feeling to have but I have been having thoughts to reconsider this entire entrepreneurship thing.

I look at people who are like me and have done well, they are either super smart (which I am not sure if I am), super handsome (I am definitely not), super connected (I have zero connections that work - see next point). Or a combination thereof. They are confident, clear and have a large problem to work on. I on the other hand have a run of the mill business that I am trying to approach differently.

Everywhere I look, people are doing things that make me take note and go "oh faaak". And here I am. Wielding my fury dismay on a keypad. Trying to reach the goal of 5000 words for the day.

Thing is, I have been "struggling" since 2014. And unlike the struggle by other artists where they need one hit to take them to the next level, my struggle doesn't add up. For example, if you are a film-maker, you spend a month learning the skill and then you spend 10 years honing the craft. And then one fine day, you make a film that makes everyone's jaws drop. When that happens, all the struggle of the previous 10 years, one fine day and one month seems like a journey. A journey towards creating that masterpiece that gives you the platform to do whatever. Including an option to never work on your craft again and just become an armchair activist. You know what I am saying? An Anurag Kashyap doesnt have to make any movies anymore. After Wasseypur or Dev D or any of his masterpieces, he could choose to become a mere producer and give talks and all that. Its a different thing that he continues to work. I am sure we can find umpteen examples of one-hit wonders who knew they dont want to work hard again after they've found success.

In my case where I am a capitalist, my success does not depend on that one flash in the pan moment of brilliance. For me, I need to come up with hit after hit after hit. Like Elon. Steve. etc. There has to be a string of successes that I have to establish if I have to make those billion dollars. And the impact.

Oh, I define success as a point mile-stone in your career life where you stop the hustle and whatever you've done so far gets you more opportunities. Example, if you are Elon Musk, after you sold Paypal, a lot of opportunities would come your way. Because you have set a precedence in the market by doing Paypal. You attract opportunities. Right now, I am Joe Nobody. Even if I am the right parter for something, people will not want to talk to me or get me on board.

7. People
Last few days have been rough in the sense that people that I always thought I could rely on have been acting weird. To the extent that I am not sure if I want to continue to help others. And these are people that have been like family. These people and I go back years. Almost a decade in one case.

I have stood like a rock. For things big or small. And when I need them, for whast I think is a small favour, I get a curt response. Now I understand that they may be busy and all that. And I also understand what Gita says about this - karma kar, fal ki chinta mat kar. But, you know, I am human. A, it sucks that I am in a spot that I cant get out of myself. B, I am actually seeking help. And C, the person you thought could help you is not interested in even giving you a proper response.

A better way to visualise A, B and C is to think that you were riding down a steep slope and you realise that the breaks have filed. And once you realise that you cant do shit about it, you prepare to jump and tell yourself that the jump will probably break a few bones but it'll not let you die. But when you actually take the plunge, you are hit mid-air but an oncoming freight train. That you never saw or considered. Makes sense?

8. The point of this blog
Honestly, no one reads this. Apart from VG. I mean even I dont read this blog. So why do I take the effort to write in the first place? All this is so stupid and meaningless. I mean it could be meaningful if tomorrow I chose to run for a public office and someone actually goes through all 1500 or so posts to dig dirt on me. Apart from that I dont see an application. Because, a Vanita says, we are all but specks of dust in this one big coincidence.

Maybe its the only place where I can pour my heart out and have a non-judgmental audience? Or may be it is that when I write, I get this clarity that I can never get while I am thinking. Or may be I just love the feeling of writing on this blog - you know, like I am doing this for the sake of doing this?

Like Sheldon (Cooper) says, "we'd never know."

9. Memory loss
Last few days I have noticed that I cant seem to recall things. I have always been the kinds to be able to not use a notepad and remember conversations, things, quirks, birthdays etc etc. At a point in time, I could use a memory place and remember a deck of cards. Now I cant even remember the 6-digit OTP pins that we get as SMS. Hell, I dont even know passwords to half things I know. I just go reset the accounts when I have to use a machine that does not have my data saved.

Note to hackers - yes my data is all inline and my password is ridiculously easy to guess. Want to take a shot?

Coming back. I need to do something about memory loss. The worse part is, whoever I talk to, they dismiss this as a shenanigan of a man who's growing old. They dont see the pain I go through when I am reminded that I was part of the conversation and I have forgotten. Reminds me of this piece by Robin Williams' wife on his last days. Funny that I am reminded of something when I talk about my memory loss. Do read that piece. Its really poignant.

To me, memory and recollection is not just one bodily function. To me, its a matter of pride that I dont forget things easily. I may not have an eidetic memory but people do call me an Elephant! And it sucks to be not able to remember things.

I am assuming that this is temporary and I will be back to being the amazing brain I was a few months ago. I have started using a few mobile apps to "train" the memory muscle. If its a muscle and actually helps to exercise it. These apps are making me do mundane tasks that simulate the brain for sure. I feel engaged and challenged. Its been a couple of days only and I am yet to see results but I remain hopeful.

Oh, in case this exercise does not work out, VG, please take to someone who can help. A doctor perhaps?

10. The music on loop
While I write this, I am at a Starbucks and I am listening to this song on loop. Why did I put this here? I dont know. Thats a lifehack, in case you are interested. Listening to the same familiar song over and over again, on loop, helps you focus. Trust me. Read about it.

11. Focus. 
I love multitasking to the extent that I have 23 tabs open in 3 windows. Yes I counted them. And since I starting writing this I have exchanged messages with friends, done a long phone call (who's hustling to become a comedian), had a tea and played Bubble Breaker (you must try - its an amazing game).

In the second pass while I was writing this, I have a Watsapp window open and I am talking to people on that. And what am I talking about? How to lose weight! I am telling you, I am super with making plans. ;P

12. The way I write
I am the kinds to write and not edit. I want to get things right in the first time I write em. So, as I write, I am constantly looking at grammar and spellings and links and other such things. However, this post, I am making a list of things that I want to cover. And then writing notes on each. The idea is that I want to cover a lot and optimise the way I write.

After I made a list and tried to fill in, the following happened.
- After I made a list, I had a goal. To fill in those bullet points. That helped me stay on course.
- It became easy to write in short bursts. I could write for one bullet point and then digress to a conversation on watsapp
- More words happens. Simply because I have a lot to talk about each bullet point and when I am focussed on that one bullet, I can write everything about that bullet.
- The fact that the list was incomplete gave me an itch. And I had to scratch it. That helped.
- When I got stuck with a bullet, I could move onto the next one. So I wrote more. Now I can of course edit it out and all that but to me the path to quality is paved with quantity.

So yeah, this experiment has sort of worked. I hope I can use this for #book2.

13. And this is the last. #aPicADay on Instagram.
On Instagram, I have reached Day 9 10 of the #aPicADay pact that I made with Anusha. Today is Day 10. I will post something before mid-night. Lets see. Follow me on Tell me which of the 10 is your favorite.


And with this, its a wrap. Thanks for indulging!

Mumbai, Dec 2017

P.S.: Stats for nerds.
As on typing this line, time is 9:44 PM. Word count is: 1215.
As on typing this line, time is 10:16 PM. Word count is: 2306. Breaking to walk back home.
After I finished writing the post, date is 6th Dec. Word count is: 3354 or so.

P.P.S.: Whoever is reading this, if you care, please do tell me (in comments or on email / whatsapp) if this post sounds cribby and all that. I am trying to be someone who doesnt crib. Thanks! 

Gratitude - MDI, Gurgaon

Today A few days back I met Chirag (MDI 2009). He was in office and we got talking about life and times at MDI. And I realised that everything that I have in life, good or bad, has its roots at MDI.

Wanted to make a list. Here it is.

I run C4E. We are a full-service, bespoke, corporate events management agency. When I was at MDI, I could have never predicted that I will run an events agency someday. I wanted to change the world but events? No.

Funny thing is that my first ever tryst with events happened at MDI. Back in 2005 and 2006, I was part of Imperium - the annual cultural festival at MDI. And I arranged and organised the entire thing (along with few others).

The second time I got to work on events also happened because of MDI. In 2009, after my gig with CLA and Cyntax got over, I was looking for an opportunity to do something and I wrote to the MDI alumni group. Off the people that responded, I chose to work with Suvi (at Gravity) and Suvi chose to work with me. This was a full-time job in events and I was part of the client servicing and planning teams. Since at Gravity, everyone does everything, I got immense exposure that shaped me into who I am. Plus the stint with Gravity gave me the tools to run C4E.

It was at MDI that I first started taking writing seriously. I did have a blog before I went to MDI but it was at MDI that I started documenting my mundane life. And because at that age you really want to get really famous, I would share the link with friends and family. While most people ignored me, some of them did encourage me. And each piece of encouragement made me write more. And then it became a feedback loop. And it is yet to end.

Oh, it was at MDI when I first thought I could write a book. While I had wanted to be an author since I can remember, it was at MDI that Sandeep and I planned to write a novel inspired by our time at MDI. I think Chetan Bhagat had just written Five Point Someone. So nothing was impossible. We were young and had a lot of time on our hands. And writing was not too tough. You know what I mean?

P.S.: The inspiration and confidence to actually write the book came after Suds published his. And it was an alum from MDI that agreed to publish my first!

Out of 5 people that matter to me (apart from my immediate family), at least 2 are from MDI - VG and VK. Both these are my closest confidantes and are key pillars in my support structure. Everytime I am down in dumps, I find solace in their company. Every key decision in life requires their approval. Conversations with them have shaped the way I think. There is no shame or guilt or any other negative emotion when I talk to them. I can bare my soul and share my deepest fears and darkest thoughts with them. And I wont be wrong in saying that I dont know what I'd do without them.

Apart from these two, some of my closest friends and well-wishers are friends that I made because of MDI. The list is way too long to actually fit into a blog. If you guys are reading this, thank you. All of you. Class of 2004-2006, seniors, juniors and others.

I am still figuring out what I want to do in life and identify a purpose for myself (I do have vague ideas that I want to create and in the process inspire others) and my raison d'etre. Thing is, the closest thing to a perfect human being -- where the guys' doing a great job, making impact, making money and living a life that inspires others -- is Prof. Bakshi. And where did I meet him? At MDI!

It was Prof. Bakshi that introduced me to the ideas of Warren Buffet and the advantages of multidisciplinary thinking. It was at his BFBV classes that I realised that I dont know so many things and there are so many things that I dont know that I dont know.

Its a different story that I got a D in his course - blame it on all the financial number crunching that he expected us to do. Here's the secret. Numbers is NOT my thing.

Any how. In the end... 
So, yeah. MDI has had super influence. Of course, serendipity and random luck has had a large role to play in putting me where I am. I would've loved to control it. But because I can't, I dont want to bother about it.

P.S.: What about that thing where you say you are more than what you do? 

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?