This week (and most the month) passed away in a blur. I was away (do see some of the pics I put up on Instagram) with super limited access to Internet. And unlike other times when I did not have Internet, I did not do any soul searching. I was merely living in the moment, seeping in the scenery and all that.
So the week after I came back from the travel, all of it was spent in recuperating from the laziness that had engulfed me over the previous three weeks. Its hard to get back to the groove but slowly, I am getting back. Thank God for that. There is so much to think about, capture, say, write. This is first in the edition.
So, a few lessons, observations and reflections from the trip are:
1. You are not irreplaceable. At work or at home. Or at friends. Or with anything else. Life goes on. The ego about you being the immortal and all that is so superficial that its not funny. Apart from work, all those pet projects that you want to nurture and grow, no one gives two hoots about them. You think you are adding value to people's lives and they must care? Nope! You are wrong. Nothing adds any value to anyone. And if it does, they dont care. Life is too busy and they'd rather do more things with their time than pause and reflect. Not everyone thinks about larger issues that surround them. May be everyone does. Well, am rambling.
2. Kids can be great! While I was in Mel, I met this Indian family and the young one, a 6-year old girl, was so innocent and so endearing that for those few days, I actually wanted a kid of my own.
P.S.: Now that I am back, I dont think I want a kid. I am happy with once-in-a-while meetups with Myra. And if I get more craving, there is N.
3. It sucks to be a dark-skinned man in a white-country. You may claim that beauty is deeper than skin and your mind is more beautiful than the body and all that. Bullshit. The fact of the matter is, the way you look makes a HUGE difference. You get judged moment you walk in. And why not? We are evolved animals and we have survived all this while by merely relying on the mental models we've created. If we know that we would be safe in the company of people that look like us, we go out and seek the company of similar people. And if you are brown, apart from the billion and half of us that predominantly live in the Indian subcontinent, you will be "them" for the rest of the 5 odd billion people. I dont know if we can fix this but there has to be a way for me to not get bogged down by things!
4. Poker is a tough game. Played at two casinos and both times I was card-dead. Well thats not an excuse. The likes of Negreanu are card-dead all the time and still do well. If they can, I ought to. But I dont. Thing is, I have been playing it pretty regularly (at a point I was playing it once a week, now I get to play once in three months) since 2012 and these three sessions at at the casinos has made me realise that I suck so bad at it. In all I've lost about 75K, not including travel, accommodation, hours and all that. I thought I was good but clearly I am not. I do think that I have what it takes to do well but I am not sure if I have the time to practise. The ones who do well, the ones I know who do well, they get in a lot of hours on the table. More on this some other day.
5. Loved the professionalism and the respect for time in people there. If someone told me that they would meet me at 2, they met me at 2. Irrespective if it was raining, middle of the day, bad weather, they had a bad day, it was their birthday or whatever. People respect time like nobodies business. Here in India, well. Time is like that thing that we want to be strict about but are not. I wish I could live in a society where time gets such precedence as it gets down under. Of course all things are not rosy there but then time has to be THE most important thing that we have and if we cant respect it, what else is there to life?
Apart from time, the other great thing was that people do it with all their heart. If they are working on something, they are in it. They are not slacking. They are not cutting corners. They are not sweeping under the rug. They are doing it as if its going to be the last thing they'd ever do. Something that we have to learn here in India.
So yeah, thats about it for the time being. Over the next few days I hope to write more. Even though there is travel planned but I am going to not let that affect how I live my life. I am pretty lucky that way.
Over n out.
Sent this email to a select set of people. Reply if you are in.
Writing in to explore your opinion (and help) on a new project that I am hoping to create.
I call it Modern Love and its going to be a collection of personal stories, anecdotes, experiences, incidents and other such things that emerge out of a middle-aged, modern Indian's pursuit of love. Of course, love could mean different things to different people. For some, it could be the love for their pet, for some it could be the chase of someone that they can retire with, for others it could be finding meaning in their otherwise drab married lives, or could be as cool as the love for a certain activity, thing, say driving?
Plus when I say modern, it HAS to be set in modern India, in the contemporary times. And it has to be a real life story. Your story. Your friends'. Your neighbours. Or of the guy next door. A real person with real emotions. Real story. So imagine you are writing about your experiences with your spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, pets, colleagues, tinder dates, okCupid contacts, twitter crushes, train-friends, building buddies, instagram celebrities and so on and so forth. The common "thread" for this collection has to be modernity. And the impact of modernity on how we Indians love (or express it, or talk about it, or experience it, or indulge in it etc).
What do you think? Will you want to contribute a story? Will you want to read these stories? Will you have the time to edit this? Will you want to tweet about this?
If yes, here are the specifics.
Who can contribute?: Each of you is a writer (some of you are published, some believe you are amateurs, some do blogs and some want to be; Plus, I've interacted with you at some point in time) and thus this email. How about I invite you to write a piece on modern love and share with me? And then allow me to publish on a blog.
Output:I am thinking of a blog right now. Once we have a blog out, if we get traction, I can pester Grapevine, my publisher or Crossword (the bookstore) to publish an anthology. Honestly, not a big fan of anthologies but I never say never :) Or we can gather all stories and do an ebook or something - free distribution over a blog / twitter etc. Nothing fancy.
And if all goes well, I would REALLY like to do a movie. Like Love Actually, Paris, Jetaime, NY, I Love You or even Metro from closer home. Yes, a super long shot but when they landed on moon, it was a long shot come true.
The thing is, the way Christmas binds the stories in Love Actually; Paris, NY and Mumbai bound the stories together in other three movies, I would want Love and Modern Love to bind our stories together. And no. It doesnt have to be hyperlink cinema.
Target Audience: I do NOT believe in writing for a specific audience. I write for writing. However if this helps you write, think that you are writing for a 30-something adult in India. Above average income, independent, "educated" and has been in and out of love for some time. Someone who is aware of the world around him. Someone who has an opinion. Someone who believes that his / her love story is unique. Someone like me.
Word Limits: None. I am ok with a couplet. I am ok with an entire book. You are free to a Proust if you want to. You decide. How many words do you need to tell your story?
Selection Criteria: I don't know. I am not a great judge. I thinking that each submission will be made live on a blog. And then let the wisdom of crowds take over. Or I will ask some of you to volunteer and help us.
Money: I am not even thinking on this. But, in case you are, whatever money we make, I will keep the numbers in public domain and all of it will be donated to Mensa India (or any other apt beneficiary we can think of). Please do NOT do this for money. Rather, do this for love!
End Notes: And like all my projects, this remains open - in terms of details. And unlike other projects, I am very sure that I want to do this.
It would be such a heartwarming thing to read stories of other people like ourselves. No?
Also, you may want to read www.nytimes.com/column/modern-love for some fascinating reading. And I think Love Actually is the closest thing to what I have in my head for this project.
Please do revert to me with your thoughts and ideas. In case you are ok with the details I've shared, please do send me a confirmation of your participation by end the week?
Will take it from there.
Thanks for your patience.