#Untitled - 21 Dec 2018

As I write this, its 9 AM at a residential area (Thane).
I am here to meet a friend and hoping to get some homeopathy treatment for whatever ails me (which is I dont know what, except Lichen Planus and a suspect pain in my balls - this could, if I believe Google, be anything ranging from an infection to old age to hernia to those diseases that I dont want to name). 
As I write this, I feel good. Really good.
The kinds that I havent felt in a while.
I dont know why.
May be because I am a morning person?
Or maybe because I am on pseudo Keto for last 15 days (most days I stick to Keto meals but I have been cheating and that means I am essentially on a lo-carb diet).
Plus the weather is nice (people are shivering even after layers and layers of clothes and I am in a thin tee and shorts).
And I am at an empty cafe (Chaayos, not Starbucks) and I am sipping on to Green Tea (which as per a twitter friend, is pure evil) and listening to Hindi pop-music (the kinds I like - Lucky Ali, Mohit Chauhan, Papon etc).
Right now, at this moment, assuming the mood swings dont happen, I have no worry in the world (the year is ending and I am going off technology in a couple of days - so I am excited, scared, intimidated and more about it).
I am in general hopeful about life and all (not that I have a lot of things planned #in2019 but I am hopeful).
I am writing frequently (#SoG) and words flow easy. Like I am in the never-ending flow state.
This is that feeling that I would love to last forever!
Fuck! As I write this, just thinking, is it all the meditation that I have done in the last few days (except yesterday when I missed)? I mean meditation doesnt really work for me. The mind runs in all directions all the time. But then I do sit stable for 10-15 mins that I meditate. I use Headspace which I think is brilliant. And no I have not tried other apps. 
Or may be it is all the mindfulness that I have been practising?
Or is it because I have forced EVERY negative thing out of my system? I mean I told my best friends that I dont want to talk to them if they merely diss me. And I left all the conversation opportunities (Whatsapp groups, family gossip, toxic workplace etc) that can drag me down. The kind of person I am, I feel bad for days for simple tiny things like someone being curt to me. And I tend to take on misery of others as well! Ok, rambling.

Just that I would want a tad lot more money. I would want to make a difference to the lives of people around me. I would want to write and create impact. I would want to enable passionate people. Soon, Mr. Garg. 

This is like the perfect day! I would however want to change a few things. Here's a list.

A, the place I live at? Thats way too crowded for my taste. I would love this laidbackness at where I live. I can potentially move in this part of the world, but then I would be super-cut off from work. And at this point in life that can NOT happen. Work is priority. And I have to make all the damn money. I will move and all once I make the money.

B, I would shift my patronage to Chaayos if they werent this wannabe and stopped copying Starbucks. But then who cares about me. Or I'd love to have Starbucks to start playing Hindi music. To me, music is the thing. And I love Hindi way too much! 

C. I'd like to be fit. This is something that I can work on. And I will, in 2019. After all this IS required to take me closer to my #lifeGoal of the the Everest. I dont know why I want to change this. Like I said, I feel good physically, mentally and all that! 

D. All those kids that use these coffee shops as date haunts? I would line them up and open up a hose of cold water. I mean this sounds like an apt punishment for the ones in Mumbai that wear thick jackets and all that. Thing is, I have nothing against dates - life is meant to be spent in love. I hate the concept of their frivolousness and approach towards life. There ARE far more important things than whiling away time at cafes.

E. I REALLY wish Diet Coke was not harmful in the long-run. I mean all reports say that Diet Coke is just water and some secret recipe and aspartame and lot of carbon. And I know that all reports says that Diet Coke is not cool. And I love the taste and the feeling. I dont know what to do about it! #help

That's it for the day!

Oh, apart from these "changes", I think I'd sum up this piece with following.

  • I like vast, empty spaces with some habitation. And businesses that are open and are willing to cater to what I may need. This is probably why I like the US of A. Vast open spaces. Businesses that want to do business (unlike India).
  • I love mornings. Really. I think its the greatest thing that I have. I wish I can stay like this. 
  • Hindi music is my catharsis. Must make a playlist on YT or something that I can shift to when I need rejuvenation. 
Chalo, gotta go. Over and out! 

What books have changed your life?

One simple question. 
What books have changed your life? What books have made you think, made you give a hard look at your life, your choices, your decisions and everything that you stand for?

Thing is, starting Monday, I am hoping to not touch an electronic device. And for someone like me who literally lives on the Internet, this is going to be one of the toughest things I've ever done.

While I am on this digital detox, I am hoping to feed myself healthier things, including books! So, I am trying to gather a selection of books that I could read when I dont have technology around me.

Some of the books that I plan to read in this break. 
Which one would you recommend? Some books that I am considering are...
  • Factfulness, Hand Rosling 
  • Bad blood (not too keen but Bill Gates has recommended this and thus) 
  • Measure What Matters 
  • Deep Nutrition 
  • Headstrong 
  • Principles, Ray Dalio 
  • Walden (old but I've been meaning to read this forever) 
  • Seneca'a Letters from a Stoic
  • Autobiography of a Yogi
  • 21 Ideas for 21st century, Yuval Harari 
What else? I dont want to read fiction. And I dont want to read books that are centred around one idea (say, Tipping Point). I would rather read biographies, health books, narratives et al. 

I know am being ambitious that I will be able to read these many books in 10 days. But I think with zero access to tech, I think I'll just read and do nothing else! And thus, I am hopeful. And even if I cant read al the books, I will have a list of supertexts that I can eventually read!


#Untitled - 16 Dec 2018

So its been sometime that I wrote here. There are a couple of reasons for it.

I dont have anything interesting to report. Thing is, this is my personal blog and I think I have said all that I had to. I mean there is nothing special happening on the personal front. I am merely growing old and along with that, I am growing more rigid, rude and un-companionable. And thats not something that I want to report. Or write about. I can talk about how growing old is giving me the clarity and making me better and all that. I actually wrote. But when I did some review while editing, I realised that it had become a ranty piece. And since I've decided that I wont whine, I removed it all.

So, in one line, nothing worth writing, reporting.

Of course I do write a letter everyday to a few friends (called #SoG, some letters are available here, where everyday I talk about one thing that you can do to improve yourself; lemme know if you want to subscribe) and I am active on twitter and all that (this will change, read below). But I simply dont have anything that I may want to write.

One may argue that the blog is not meant to be a report-card but a place where you dump your thoughts. Thing is, I have found better alternatives for that. I write on my echoChamber, my journal and other places and that helps a lot.

Oh, in case updates are important, there ARE a few things that I am trying in the next few days. Maybe those will interest you!

Here's a list.

1. As of today, I am off twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Till the 2nd of Jan 2019. Lets see how long do I last. This is important to me. Because I believe that these SM channels allow you to create your personal brand, that in turn gets you opportunities and all that. More than that, I really enjoy "eavesdropping" on the chatter on the twitterverse. Twitter in fact is the first source of information for me! 

2. On the next Saturday (or maybe Sunday), I will get off whatsapp as well. Till the 2nd of Jan' 19. In case you wish to reach me, you will have to call me. Or SMS me. Like the good old days. Its ok if I lose out on the opportunities. Again this is big. MOST of my work happens on WA. From tiny things like coordinating to large things like reports and invoices and all that - all happens over WA. Lets see how I survive.

3. And on the 25th or so, I will switch off my computer. Again till the 2nd of Jan. Really. Last time I went this long without my laptop, it was in 2009 when I went to Vipassana. Lets see how the experiment goes this time.

I plan to do a complete digital detox. This means no electronic device except a basic phone.

I will still goto Starbucks and wework to work sit and read and write. With a physical book and a pen and a paper. It will be tough to walk around without a laptop or an electronic device that gives me access to Internet. Lets see if I can be a modern day hermit!

Oh while I am in my self-created hermitage, I plan to revisit some old classics - Walden, Meditations, Count of Monte Cristo et al. There are health books that I am hoping to read (Bulletproof Coffee etc). If I can find time, I will read some modern ones as well - 21 ideas for 21st century tops the list. I would have learnt to code but I am not sure I can do that without a computer. And I dont even want to try.

Oh, while I go on the detox, the only thing I am worried about is my meditation. I am dependent on Headspace for guided sessions. I will see what I can do about it.

The other thing I am worried about is writing with a pen and a paper. I really suck at it. Ideas dont really flow while I use a pen. But a decision is a decision and I dont want to have an iota of distraction.

Wish me luck ;)

I am on this trip where I want to eliminate all negativity from my life.
Negativity. Not feedback.
Trolls, not debate.
Things that drag you down.
That snide comment, that mocking reference to your achievements or to your shortcomings. Those jokes that are cracked at your humor. Anything that puts you on the back foot. Of course as a man you ought to fend those off and get back with a louder wise-crack. But, do you want to invest your energy or time or intention in that?

Not me. Life's short and there are things to be done. And now that I am on the wrong side of 30s, every minute is at a premium.

So, if this means that I need to choose my battles. And if this means I need to get away from things that I dont appreciate, I will. If this means leaving all friends behind because they cant understand where I come from, they will have to wait on the sidelines. If you are the woman I love and you dont respect time, I am out. I will run on my clock and if you can keep up, good for us. In case you cant, well, there are so many great men! If you are my family and all you care about is what would others say of my decisions, please stay with them. If you work FOR me, WITH me or I work FOR you, please know, work takes priority over everything!

I know I am being a dick about things. But thats ok. Its about time I took control of my life and it starts today. I sincerely hope that people important to me can keep up.

In fact I am told that when people die, one of the top 5 regrets is that they wished they kept in touch with their friends. I think thats bull. I'd rather die alone than die a pauper because I spent all the time in doing things that made my friends "value" me. More on this later. I have a letter (#SoG51) to write :)

Thats' it.
Over and out.

PS: Of course at some level I am responsible for this. I revel in self-deprecating humor and texts (this blog is a testimony). But all of it changes now.

PPS: While I am on detox, I will have help from my "assistant", who will help me order books, change my meals (I am this subscription service that sends meals at home) and all that.

#SoG42 - Personal Fitness

This is one of the emails that I send to some friends and strangers. The emails are based on one thing that I learnt in the day and how that could be applied to becoming better versions of self. If you want to get these emails, please lemme know (on twitter). 

#SoG 42 - Personal Fitness This one comes at the request of one of the readers. She says she's saturated with all the "heavy" things and needs something lighthearted. And thus, this one is aimed to be that.
Lemme start with a question.
When was the last time you threw up? And what did you do that made you throw up?
Most common answer would be, after a party. Some months ago. After all most recipients on this letter are sane!

When did I last threw up? Today morning! I dont know if I have mentioned this earlier but one of my #lifeGoals is to climb the Mt. Everest.
And then if that goes well, probably goto other peaks.
But Everest to start with. And I WILL do it before Jan 1, 2026.

This means that when I take the shot at it, I need to have about 60K USD + inflation + whatever else is required, 3 months of free time where I can make the attempt and most importantly, be in the prime of my health! Health means fitness, stamina, will power etc.

And that is what I have started to work on from this December.
I am on Keto Diet (to help get back in shape).
I ensure that I walk 8 KMs everyday.
And finally, today I started with Cardio. HIIT.
Went to a class and all that.
At 6 AM. In the morning.
Like a hipster - in Decathlon shorts (black), black Nike training shoes and a black Nike dry-fit tee.
It was so black that my bald head was reflecting the mood of the moon.
Blacker than the blackest black you've ever seen.
Thats not the point.

Point is, we started at 6.
Did some warm up and while doing do, I was sure that I will kick ass of everyone else around.
It seemed so easy.

Till we reached a point where the trainer asked us to do burpees. Now burpees is nothing too difficult. We've seen enough and more people do it on them youTube videos. No? All you do is jump, kneel down on all four and extend your legs backward. Then up get up again, jump, kneel, leg extension. In that order. Over and over again. Its that simple. Try it. Its like a cake walk. I knew I could do a 100 of those if I had to.

I was like, bring it on.

First one was great. I jumped so high I touched the clouds. Kneeling was easy-peazy. I suck at push-ups (throwing my legs back to stretch seemed like a push-up to me, so will use push-up to talk about it) but I did that one fairly easy. I was feeling good. The best day of my life! I could see the Mt. Everest.

Second was even better. I jumped and I felt like Icarus. And I think I did the push-up faster than you can say push-up. I could see myself as Farhan Akhtar doing those 100 reps. I was on my second. 98 more to go.

And on the third, I was going to launch myself out of the space with the jump. Which I think I did. And I went down to prep for the push-up. And... and, I passed out.

Well, not really. But I knew I've had enough.
I couldnt continue.
And I took the permission from the trainer and sat.
And I promise you, the gut was in my mouth and I was this ---> <---- close to throwing up.
And may be I did. I dont know if I did.
I was in that delusion-ary phase where you just want to lie on your back and gasp for air and nothing else matters.

Ladies and gents, in less than three burpees, I was dead.
People around me may have done 5. Or 50. We'd never know.

But I have not lost hope. I will prevail. It was Day 1. And I hate stasis.

Wish me luck! See you tomorrow.


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?