Untitled - 30 Jan 2012

Yet another untitled post (the last one was on 28th). To be honest, the entire concept of untitled is inspired from Hugh's blog. Anyways here are things that I learnt/saw/observed/etc today (and yesterday).
  1. Anyways is NOT a word. Apparently. That's what someone (@mooodles) on twitter told me. If this is true, about 90% of my posts now are grammatically incorrect. Anyways, I use anyways more often that I use I.
  2. I am now hooked onto Foursquare. Its been just a couple of days that I have started using and I absolutely love the experience. More than that, their BB application is awesome. It just adds on to the experience. This is my handle at foursquare.
  3. Meeting real people is more fun that chit chatting with them on twitter or on blog. Real people have real comments. They are more candid and open. They are lot more fun. The conversations are more meaningful. Since time is the most precious commodity, I'd rather spend it with real people than crating virtual linkages to people. I like talking about marketing, technology, starting up, ideas, poker, people, India and a host of other things. If you think you would want to meet over coffee, I am @saurabh on twitter.
  4. I will have to restart using Facebook. Because it has the audience that I want to reach. Both as an individual and as a marketer. Especially when I am serious about seeding a couple of ideas. I am hoping that my last login on FB is still active. I will decide in a few days about it.
  5. Finally, I am a big fan of Jason Statham. He is the epitome of how I want to look, if I ever get fit. I've already achieved the bald part, just need to work on the fitness bits.
And I guess that's it for the time being!

Eight years of blogging

This month, in 2004, I started writing this blog. Its been 8 years. If Malcolm Gladwell and the research he unearthed in his book is to be believed, I would become an awesome writer in another two years (10 years or 10000 hours to perfect a skill/craft rule).

Like I say every year, there is no other thing that I have done regularly for these many years, apart from living. People I know blame it on my attention spam lasting a mere 3 nanoseconds. I, on my ADD.

Hope I continue writing. And someday, actually get good enough to move people with my words. Till that overnight success happens to me, here is an awesome nugget from Calvin.

Link: GoComics

Untitled - 28 Jan 2012

As I write this, I am sitting at the Chennai airport. I have had a whirlwind day. Woke up at 4 to catch a flight, fought with an aunty who liked throwing her feminine side to people at 5, caught a flight at 6:30, landed in Chennai and navigated my way through the alien language, wrote a presentation about a project I had no clue about, delivered that presentation and rushed back to the airport to catch a plane to Mumbai. In the entire day, I hardly had time to breathe. I mean I did tweet about mundance things, installed foursquare on my phone, go out for that leisurely lunch at Sarvana Bhawan and bought a Grappo Fizz and an ice cream from Spencer's and created time to write this blogpost. But I had no time to think of things that otherwise bother me. sgMS to start with. Despite all the time that has elapsed since she and I spoke I still cant get her out of my head. Then there are things related to work. I am losing hair at the speed of light and am still poor. On the other hand, every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to be minting money as if they are the modern day incarnation of Scrooge McDuck! Then there is some shit brewing up at home. I dont even want to talk about it.

Anyways, the point of this post is that I have reazlied that I am the thinking kinds (MBTI - thinking) and more time I have on my hands, more I think. And more unhappy I become. May be the immediate solution to all my vows is actually finding something that can keep my head occupied for good. Something that makes me trapped in the rut so deep that I spend all my time wading through the shit. Something like what a bank teller does. Sits on a seat and attends to queries all day long. Now, if I had a degree that made me fit to be a teller!

P.S.: I wrote this in Chennai. Now as I hit the publish button, I am in Mumbai, waiting for Neo to come pick me up.

The Mastery of AR Rahman

AR Rahman needs no introduction. Last thing that I remember him doing (I dont watch a lot of movies btw) is the new Hero Motocorp jingle. At first I hated it. I thought it was too flowery and too flowing and was a bit of a drag. Neo, on the other hand, loved it from the word go. He even downloaded the jingle and put in his car. I distinctly remember laughing on his face when he first played it.

This week, Hero released their new TVC. Its a montage of "real" people from across the country, singing the jingle. And they are asking people to record their own version of the jingle and get a shot at getting featured in the next TVC. Good idea. But then this is not about the idea. This is about AR Rahman and his mastery. The same jingle that I hated when I heard for the first time, I loved it. Its so brilliant that I want to hum when its playing. I would not mind having it as my ring tone or caller tune. I would love to play this, along with all the other fab tracks I play every morning.

Like all AR Rahman songs, this jingle has grown on me. I dint like it initially but with repeated exposure, rather than getting bored of it, I now like it. With all other composers, you get bored when you hear something repeatedly, most AR Rahman songs, you get more attached to them. Salute to him for cooking this up. And salute to brand managers at Hero for letting this out. And salaam to Neo for identifying the genius when I missed.

Games People Play

Since I have some time on my hands, lemme think (with my fingers) on the reasons why I like playing poker. Of course like any other blog entry, this would have a long preface, followed by an even longer back story about he game. I would then beat around the bush aimlessly for a while, before I start uncovering the layers from the real reason why I am writing this. Finally after all the million words, I would write one line about it and then end it abruptly. And I know that once I read the draft after I have finished writing it, it would be about something else altogether.

So, here's the preface.
I have always played card games as a kid, but most of those were those Indian British games like teen patti and seep. And then since these were played with family, betting was a strict no. Not even on Diwali when even the Marsians gamble. Cards was more of an excuse to stay indoors during those fiery summers. And since playing cards helped with maths and brains, parents encouraged and we played for long hours.

The long back story.
But despite playing cards for all those years, my first tryst with gambling happened at MDI in 2005. I was the founding member of the teen patti club. We played a lot of Flush during those two years. So much so that at point in time, we were playing almost everyday.

It was at MDI, I think this was the time when I first heard about Poker. It is apparently Warren Buffet's and Bill Gates' favorite card game. And since I am on a perpetual ape-the-intelligent mode, I had to learn the game. I read about it, tried playing it with a couple of friends but I dint really like it. I even played it with some guys from IIMA who I bumped into on a trek trip. But again, I dint like it. Like everything, one thing lead to another and I passed out of MDI. I forgot about it all till I went to a casino sometime in 2007 and I played some poker on a real table. I ended up winning some 10000 bucks and it felt awesome to have the extra cash. Not that I would make castles from the poker money but it was something I hadnt anticipated. And like all humans, I like surprises and I like extra moolah.

Beating around the bush.
I think that was the time when I told myself that I need to start playing poker again. And I think once I came back from Mumbai, I started playing poker seriously. Started playing it online and every offline opportunity that I got - read home games, casinos etc. I even entered into a couple of tournaments at Macau and Amsterdam (no I dint specifically go there to participate, I was there and hence I participated). Both places, I was out before I knew I was in. I was that bad am still that bad. Last time I was playing on a real table (I think Casino Prime in Goa), I started with 10k, went down to 3k, went up to 90k and finally ended the game with 12. I must have played for well over five hours. I made 2k in 6 hours. Mr. Ahluwalia and the planning commission he deputy-chairs would be disappointed. I am after all in the elite category of skilled labour.

Anyways, so I started playing poker seriously in 2009 and played it on and off. I never got around to allocating a particular time of the day to it but I do try and play when I can. I tried creating a couple of groups in Delhi that could help me find some home games but I realized that for most people, poker is a mere hobby. For me, poker is something that I want to pursue as a professional. I am not sure but from Daniel Negreanu's tweets, it sounds like awesome fun.

One line about the reason why I am writing this.
I could have summarized the entire post in a few bullet points. They would have been (in no particular order if read it top down and in decreasing order of importance if you read it bottom up)
  • I want to get rich!
  • I want to develop myself as an individual.
  • I like the unpredictability of the entire game. 
  • I like the thrill and excitement of being on the poker table.
  • I want to play some sport at the professional level, even if its a mundane card game.
Abrupt end.
Anyways, I have been writing this for well over an hour. Enough. Blogger should actually create a feature that tracks the time that is spent on crafting a particular post. I would use it because it will tell me if I get my writing in the first attempt or I need revisions.And may be, some day bill some client for the time ;P

What I wanted to write about and what I wrote about.
I wanted to write about the reason why I play poker and this ended up being a bried biography. I think I suffer from, as Shatru puts it, verbal diarrhea. Oh, by the way, if you live in Delhi/NCR and are keen on poker home games, do write in. And if you arent, request you to please spread the word.

Incoherent thoughts on my car

En route to Patiala with Neo, Feb 2011
When I moved back to Delhi in 2009, I dint know how to drive a car. While I was away, my sis/folks had bought this car and since I loath using public transport, I got the rights to use this car. I learned (learnt?) how to drive on this car and now more than two years and 75,000 KMs later, I can confidently say that I am a good driver. More importantly, I enjoy love driving. So much so that at times I take longer routes while going home. I love the control I have over the car. I love the fact that I can judge the distances and gaps with clock-like precision. I love the response that the car gives me. In fact at times, like I was telling #sgMS during one of those rides, the car feels like an extension of my body. The way I can control my limbs effortlessly and subconsciously, the same way, I control the movements of my car. I dont have to divert any  attention when I am supposed to change the gears or step on the paddles or maneuver on the road. Its all ingrained in my head and it now comes naturally to me.

Lucky that despite more than 75000 KMs on it, so far I havent had no major accidents. Apart from that one incident near Haridwar when a truck banged my car from the back. And for the record, no fault of mine. And the other time I scratched againt a truck and it blew away my left rear view mirror (this was lapse in my judgement). And then there were tons of small scratches that you cant really avoid when the most part of drives happen in Delhi.

Just in case, I drive a Hyundai Santro. This is one of those entry level cars where they promise you comfort and yet leave a lot to be desrired for. Its not really powerful but can zip around for sure. India, the speeds are typically 60KMph and my Santro can easily handle it. It runs on petrol and I know it is an expensive proposition but then I think this is the only luxury I indulge in (dont like buying clothes or watches or fancy things). I dont make a lot of money and I could hypothetically travel in the awesome Delhi Metro or the other modes of public transprt, but I refuse to do so. I want my space and my car gives me that. Hopefully, things would take a turn for the good soon and I would be able to upgrade to a new car this year or the next year. Till then sgSantro would have to be around.

P.S. Dint know what to write about but had to update the blog today.

P.P.S. For all the bots and other social media aficionados, this post is NOT about a Santro, but is about my love for driving. And this could have been any other brand. Santro is incidental. And on the other hand, my posts about sgElectra, are VERY MUCH about the brand. You cant replace a Royal Enfield with any other bike. 

On blogging and the chase

Ever since I started taking my blog seriously (I mean I have always taken my blog seriously but for last few weeks I have been trying to put in more effort than usual in terms of thinking about what to write), I have seen something terible happening to me. Rather than worrying about what to write, I am obsesed with getting more and more readers. I get some 40 odd readers everyday, from Google mostly, and most of these are one off hits. They stumble on to my blog from obscure sources and read posts on Javed Akhtar and Harivashh Rai Bachchan and then move on, never to come back (btw these two were written in 2005 and 2004 respectively). Nothing wrong with it if I was writing to make a quick buck. But I am not. My objective with this blog is to improve my craft and try create a tribe that likes the way I write. And get that tribe to feed me back with their feedback. So I rather want people to read posts that have taken much more time and patience to craft. And the ones that reflect the style that I want my writing to evolve into. For example this post on Mumbai. Or this on Panchgani.

Ofcourse its not an easy task. It takes time and effort to create any tribe. I have already done the homework. I have committed myself to it. I would write and write and hopefully see some traction (a column with a weekly/monthly magazine etc) by the end of 2012. So far, just been 10 odd days, I have lived upto the promise. I have been able to write something or other almost every day. Even if its crap. Of course I need to figure out a genre that makes me want to write. I dont really have a strategy in place apart from writing something or the other regularly.

I would also try and write some stuff for blogs/websites that get far larger audience than this one. I submitted this one on Sachin Tendulkar to cricinfo last week. They chose not to publish it. I sent this one to afaqs in December last year. They said they like it but I dont think they published it. Anyways, rejections are fine. Rejections mean that things are moving. The outcome is not what you intended it to be they are outcomes none the less. Things are moving. I am hoping to send things to 50 publications this year. And keep a track. So if you are an editor, beware ;P

Anyways, for some reason, even I am not sure why am I doing it, I would move all the serious writing to a new blog/domain. Need to think of a name for it. This shall remain a repository of whatever I write but I would have a separate domain for my serious writing efforts. And then I would try and market that domain. Even on facebook/twitter etc.

Only thing that I need to remain careful is that I dont want to be chasing readers and hits. And p.s. if you do read this blog, please please let me know (comments or emails or phone calls) that you do read this blog and I would send you a small questionnaire and see what can I do to improve things.

Subah Hone Na De

Heres something for the otherwise mundane boring Monday mornings.

If you havent heard this song danced your heart out on this song, you have missed a very important thing that life offered you. Next time you get an opportunity, try shaking a leg and you'd know what I meant.

Home Alone 2012

Despite my age, I still live with my parents. Most Indian men in middle class families do so. Anyways, the point is that my parents have been away for a week. And I was all alone for those days. First time in I think three years when I was alone for this long. And I learnt a lot of things. I mean I have lived along in the past when I was in Mumbai, and that too for more than 2 years but somehow I dint realize things back then.

So here are few things that I have learnt/observed in the last few days when I have been home alone.
  1. When you are alone, you dont sulk. I was fucked up in my head read bad on Monday night. Normally, when I am fucked up, I go home and sulk. And sulk so bad that I dont even have my dinner, dont speak to my parents, shut myself in my room and just not do anything. But then when you dont have your parents, you dont know what to do when you want to sulk. Like, on Monday, I reached home, I was alone. I put on the TV, played some poker and slept. I woke up the next day as fresh as a baby. I mean I did ignore work that I was supposed to do but I dint sulk.
  2. Time expands to take up all available work. I could do everything that I was supposed to do/fix/buy etc. For a change I dint want opinion of my mom or dad to buy the soap or what to order for dinner. With lesser opinions, things get done faster. You get lot of free time. You actually create time. I used that time to live like a free bird. I could wake up at any time I wanted. I could sit anywhere in the entire house.
  3. Breakfast gets screwed. Ever since I came home from Mumbai, I have always had a good and heavy breakfast. And since my mom is the world best cook, the breakfast was super awesome. Compare it to a time when I was living alone. That time, I would grab a sandwich or a fruit on the way to work and thats about it. It also meant that I would have a heavy lunch and that translated into the 36" belly! To be honest, I dont like to be erratic with something as important as food but I dint have an option. Once I start staying alone again, I would put a schedule in place. I really like the diet that they taught us during Vipassana. Two simple meals and an empty stomach while sleeping.
  4. Simple tasks lose their meaning. Like every day when I get up, I am used to folding my rajai neatly into 5 folds and then putting it in an almirah where we store all other quilts, from all other rooms. Now with me living alone, I know that I would come back at night, goto the almirah, unfold the rajai, bring it to my bed and sleep with it. So today, while I was getting up, it occurred to me, that if I left it on the bed, it would be ok and actually save me trouble of folding it, storing it, retrieving it, opening it etc. Of course it's not about a mere rajai, but about larger things. This is how anarchy in initiated. Seemingly harmless things, balloon into stuff that is easily labeled anti establishment and we start talking of blasphemous ideas like revolutions!
  5. You hardly speak ten words (apart from conversations with your work colleagues). I have always had an innate need to speak up and express myself (a large reason why I maintain this blog). But when your folks are not home, you cant really speak to anyone (assuming you are married and sgMS is not around). Does that translate into more thoughts and more productive things? I am not too sure but its an area that is worth exploring.
  6. You party lot more. Since there is nothing that you do apart from office, that is anyways boring, you attend lot more parties. I partied on three consecutive nights. Each day I reached home well after midnight. And for the record, the number of times I went out is more than the combined number of times I have been inside a club. Ya, I am boring like that. I'd rather be on the open sky, on a highway, heading towards dunno where.
And I think this is it. Ofcourse I was alone for just a few days. I am not too sure if I was to live alone for longer, what how would it be. But all in all it was an interesting break. Both for my parents and for me.

Dear sgMS

Dear sgMS,

Its been quite some time since we decided that things weren't going to work out between us and we need to move on. Of course its far easier said than done. And like we both knew all the time, that despite you being younger by more than a year, you are far more experienced in worldly matters. And you were the man in the relationship.

From the look of things, I guess, you did work on what we decided and you have indeed moved on. At least the constant barrage of messages, emails and phone calls has ceased from your side. Not that I wanted it to stop. I really really miss them. Every time the phone rings, something in me hopes its you. Every time there is an email, I hope its yet another picture of you that you would have clicked to show me the new accessory, dress or the gift you bought/got. Every-fucking-time baby!

You know, there hasn't been single a day when I haven't missed holding on to your hand. When I haven't wondered multiple times a day what would you be up to. In fact in my greatest moment of glory, when my entire world (of less than 10 people) was showering praises on me for being the best, something was amiss. Till five minutes back I dint know what it was. Now that I am writing this and thinking about you, I know it was you who I was missing. I had kept searching and searching through all the faces that I knew and it sucked to know that you weren't there. The damned victory felt incomplete. And you know that I don't win often and every such instance matters a lot.

You know that whatever I do, is never ever complete without your inputs. You lend me so much strength that even insurmountable tasks become easy. I become oblivious to all the hardships and obstacles. So much so I refuse to even acknowledge their presence. The X, that marks the victory target becomes so easy to spot and reach. Of course I am lazy and procrastinate all the time but with your reminders, some of which are really cute, got things done. If not sooner, then later. There was this game that I constantly played. Cook up an idea, make you privy to it and then see you make me bring that idea to life! With you not around, life ain't as much fun.

But then things change. Time changes. People change. You and I changed. From being inseparable, we grew comfortable living in different cities. And now a time has come when we no longer talk to each other and yet we continue to live. Survive in my case.

Of course both of us are extremely social. You have always had fans, friends and followers that were spread from New York to New Delhi, Surat to Sydney and Mumbai to London. I am sure you would have found comfort in their company. In fact some of them were really cool. So much so that it made me insecure. Though I told you that your friends make me insecure, and I have never admitted to this in the past, but when we were together I hardly had any issues with anyone. You were mine, you told me you were and that was all that mattered. But now, when we aren't together, for some strange reason I feel bad, really bad when I hear that you are meeting them. I hate it when I get to know that they send you gifts for even non-occasions. Its a right, that I thought I had reserved, for rest of our lives. But then I cant really control things. Can I?

You know, after you left, even God seems to have deserted me. Of course I have been His favorite child and things have fallen in my lap when I dint expect them to. Dint you happen to me by chance? Who could have thought you and I could be together. You, the princess. And I, the ugly frog. I still remember that kiss that changed it all. Ya, that awkward one. Always brings a smile. I cant believe I turned away from you. I know you'd hold it against me for rest of our lives! There are tons of moments like that, and I can talk about them forever.

But then, I cant really live in the past. I need to look up to what future holds for me. There are dreams that I have always had. I need to work on them and get cracking. I know it would become all the more difficult without God and your shoulder for support. But I would still chase em. Its a different story that once I do get to those milestones, I will not be celebrating them. There cant really be any celebration when some part of me is away from me.

Baby, this is one those letters that I know would not reach you and even if it did, I know, it wont make an iota of difference to you. But then its my karma to write. What it does, what effect it has, I cant really control. And even if I could, I wouldn't. I'd do my bit and then let things take their course. I had to write this because I was missing you like hell. I try not to!

I think that's about it for the time being. Hope you are doing good. Hope you are as strong as I have known you to be. Hope you are happy. I know I need to move on and all that. I am trying. Trust me.

Till next time,

Curious case of bluetooth headsets

If you read this blog regularly or follow me on twitter (I am @saurabh and @sgSandbox on twitter), you would know that I drive for more than 4 hours and 100 KMs almost everyday. Blame it on the distance between my home and office. And since the drive is such a mundane and boring part of the day, I hate to waste it. Ever since I got onto the productivity drive, I thought if I gathered all the calls that I am supposed make (and return) and made them while driving, I could utilize my time.

But then Delhi Police is super efficient. They have a vision better than the stump vision and the hawk's eye and they are experts at spotting people who are driving and talking on the phone. And to save on those unnecessary  traffic challans and further waste of time arguing with the cops, I decided to buy a bluetooth headset.

A bluetooth headset is a wonderful device if you ask me. It allows you to speak on the phone and yet let your hands remain free. I could do the same thing if I put my phone on a loudspeaker but then the voice quality is really bad. And then the headset comes for like a thousand bucks.

So using headsets is a no-brainer if you ask me. I bought one and could actually drive and talk and get a lot of thing done. Totally loved it. Till, I realize that these tiny devices need to be charged often. And for the same you need to bring them out of the car. And once they are out of the car, they have the tendency to get lost. As of writing this, I have lost about 5 such devices. The last one, about two hours back when I was out meeting a friend. And it has been bothering me since then. I am the kinds who likes to keep things at their place and I try to be organized. Losing things is something that is just cant tolerate.

And you know the worst part? I would have to buy it once again. I consider it that important a gadget. And I think this time, rather than the bluetooth headset, I would buy a wired headset with a mic. Atleast the wire will stay attached to the phone and hopefully I would not lose it. And since the wired ones are cheaper, I would not lose a lot of money, even if I lost it!

The lonliest job in the world

Of all the things that people chose to do with their lives, there are some people who knowingly or inadvertently chose stupid ones. Gynecology comes immediately to mind. I mean there is nothing wrong with being the hands of God and helping bring a new life to this wonderful world but why would you want to subject yourself to blood and flesh all the time? And why would you chose to work for something where you could be called anytime anywhere and as a result, wreck havoc with your personal life? There are more such professions but I am not talking about tough ones right now. I am here to create a list of lonely jobs.

So, I define a lonely job as something where in the process of discharging their duties, people are left to themselves and all they have for company is monotony and their thoughts. The main aur meri tanhai kinds. I know there must be lot of people who like doing such things but then I wish I could peep into their brains and understand what drives them.

Anyways, here is an indicative list of things that I think could qualify for being the lonliest jobs in the world
  1. A security guard. Recently at the Auto Expo, I realized that the security guards that we hired for helping us manage the maddening crowds probably had the lonliest job of em all. I mean they are expected to stand for upwards of 12 hours and manage people. It has to be the most monotonous job in the world. Doing the same shit over and over again all the time. And then when you are not managing crowds and just manning a gate for example, you have nothing but the scenery to keep you company. Of course people change, situations change but end of the day, it remains the same.
  2. A model standing next to a car in an auto show. The model has to have that regulation, plastic smile on her face all the time. And more than that, she has to stand with her back straight. Worst, she cant engage in any small talk with anyone. She is just expected to stare in the zero and smile and ensure that her back is straight. Ofcourse she is paid a bomb and she gets to chose the guy she wants and all that but come on!
  3. The liftman. Ofcourse. All he does in his entire day is press some buttons and solve sudokus and croswords. There are people that he is supposed to greet, salute etc but he must be really lonely. Imagine shutting yourself down in a 3 feet by 3 feet cubicle for an entire day and play with buttons. And he doesnt even have a water cooler that he could visit to engage in office gossip. 
  4. The sentry at a remote watchpost. Someone manning a light house. Or someone guarding a royal palace. In fact I have thought of a love story of a royal guard and the princess. The guard has nothing to do but stare at the emptiness and the princess has nothing to do but indulge in vanities. Her best friend happens to be the daughter of the chef at the royal palace. The best friend, because she is a commoner has easier access to the sentry. The princess falls in love with the concept of a lover. And then like all other love stories, there is deciet, lust, emotions, harmones, anger, betrayl etc. Still a concept under development. What do you think of it? 
  5. A farmer. A poor farmer who toils the entire day in the field by himself. All he has for company is his crop, the sun and some hopes. The man works so hard that he doesnt even have time to think of things that perplex people like me all the time! 
I think thats about it for the time being. I am sure there are more such professions that I am missing. Do you know of some?

Open Letter to 2012

Dear 2012,

Welcome! You are finally here. You took some time but you did arrive.

For some time, I actually thought you would not come at all. No, I am serious. You took forever. I mean dude you are only supposed to take as much time as it takes for a second to go around a year. Not this long. And when you are waiting for something to happen, time goes around slower. Anyways I dont know about others but I have been waiting for you very very desperately.

You know the reasons. You know everything. 2011 was supposed to be the year when I was to get rich and famous. Remember that pandit that made that prediction when I was born? And the funny name that he bestowed upon me? Thankfully better sense in my mom and dad prevailed and they named me Saurabh. Coming back, 2011 was a big dampner and things dint happen the way they were supposed to. And now, my dear friend, I am pinning my hopes on you.

You may argue that there are rumors that you would be the last year that us humans would see. I dont know how true they are but whatever may be the case, you need to be good to me. If you are the last year, I would die knowing that finally the lady luck shined on me and if you arent, at least things would continue in the future. Either ways I win. And I need to win big. You know the goals that I have set for myself. I know they are steep but there is no reason that I cant achieve them. I have already set the ball in motion. You just need to give me some momentum.

I think thats about it. And I hope you are good to me and everyone else. Thank you once again.


Some questions from Auto Expo 2012

Yet again, I am staring at a blank screen and have no clue what to write about. I am sitting in a green room behind one of the largest stalls at the largest automobiles exhibition in India. I have an entire circus running downstairs. There are more than 100 people that are managing the crowd, not including the security and cleaning staff. And there must be more than 20, 000 people in the hall. Easily. And I am not exaggerating. 

So there are a few questions that I have and I have no answers. May be you have some?
  1. Who are all those people who stand in queue for more than an hour to enter a hall that is merely showcasing cars, that anyways you see on the roads, newspapers, Internet all the time.
  2. Who are all those people who use their elbows, knees and other joints at their whims and try and make space for I dont know whom.
  3. Who are the brand managers who agree to spend probably crores on these exhibitions where all you display is skin and glamour? And this, when on the backend, automobile industry is as bland and as mundane as a plain white sheet. 
  4. Do these exhibitions actually help the brand? May be it does with all the media coverage? Does any brand manager actually track returns on their spends on these exhibitions?
  5. Why is that everyone cooks up something that no one could even imagine existed, and that too at the drop of the hat, and all this when they have had ages to plan for it?
  6. And finally, why this, why this Kolaveri Di?
Any answers anyone?

Jan 04, 2012. Bored.

I have been staring at this empty blogger panel for last ten minutes. I have been trying to write a piece of fiction. I am thinking of plots. I thought about a serial killer plot who stalks his victims before he kills them. Then I thought about a school teacher who works as an extra in the cheesy movies to escape his monotonous life of teaching maths to third graders. Then I thought about a farmer who wants to go live in the comforts of a city. I also thought about reinterpretation of the classic that I love the most - the Mahabharata.

Of course there is no end to the number of plot ideas you can cook. The challenge is to be able to bring these stories to their conclusion. In the past, I have realized that I simply dont have what it takes to be able to create a huge body of work. I simply lose interest after a while. More than that, I am easily distracted. And hence its easy for the next shiny object to get my attention away and stop me in my tracks.

But there are times when I am completely in the zone and I can work for hours. But then moment I take a break, I lose it. So I need to be able to figure out a way to concentrate on things. I have tried things in the past. from Vipassana to music to sitting in an empty room to breaking the task into tiny sub tasks to even bribing myself. Like they say, its easy to control everything but the mind. I wonder what Devdutt has to say about it. Actually a good idea. I will try and mail Devdutt and ask him this question. Ans as I was working on this post, playing poker, listening to music and replying to a message, I did manage to send an email to Devdutt asking him about this. Hope he replies.

In an ideal world, I would have ended the post right here but then when I started writing it, I did not know what all would I write. And to do justice, I cant really end it like I end all my other posts. The end has to be as unpredictable as the beginning and the rest of the post. I think I am just bored. And come to think of it, there has to be an outlet for all the people who are bored of their wits. I did try something. Remember n00b.in anyone? Wondering if there is any merit in reviving it? I dont think so to be honest because I am anyways flooded with work. Really? Why, then my friend, aren't you writing this and investing your precious time on working and writing something that is adding absolutely no value to you.

Bas ab khatam.

Bawra Man Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna

I love iTunes. And not just because its a brilliant music player but because it has this feature called Shuffle. All the shuffle features are brilliant in the sense that they allow for serendipity, the happy accidents. I came to office, booted my PC and then put on iTunes. I clicked on shuffle and it played Bawra Man by Swanand Kirkire.

O M G !

I havent heard that song in a long long time. Months I think. And this is when I love it. Probably more than any other song. Even more than all the Lucky Ali and Mohit Chauhan ones. I love it for the lyrics, the way Swanand has sang it, the way he has written it. Its the complete package if you ask me.

Everytime I hear this song, I get lost in my world where I let my imagination take over. I can conjure images of two people madly in love. The guy is full of ambition and wants to do well in life. Like me, he is dreamy, eternal optimist, knows no rules and has no respect for the status quo. And the woman, is rock solid and is the foundation on which the guy would create his empire. The woman would act at the support, the guide, the latch that keeps the guy grounded. The two are different as chalk and cheese and are yet inseparable. They complement each other beautifully. So much so that its hard to even think of them as individuals. And I can think of so many shots! Like they sharing a Kulfi at a busy market. Or they travelling in car full of family and friends and yet talking to each other, with their eyes and looks. Or a shot in bed where they embrace each other and sleep curled up like babies. And a shot the next morning when they are in the kitchen together, getting ready to take on the world. There are so so many things that I can think of. If I ever become a film director or something, I would shoot this one before anything else. I think I can do at least this much for the great song.

Anyways, coming back to the real world, the best line I think is "Bawre sey ek jahan main bawara ek saath ho // Is sayani bheed main bas haathon main tera haath ho". Has the entire life's philosophy in a mere two lines. Thats all that we crave for no? Someone who we can share our lives with?

Epitaph of a hero

I did it!

I have been waiting for it for over a year now. It was always so close and yet so far. Like that trek that you go for, when the summit is always just a stone's throw away and yet you need to walk a thousand miles to be able to even touch it. You can feel it in the air, you can see it, you know you can conquer it and yet it takes you so long. Two years, in my case. Two long years.

I think more than me, everyone around me was waiting for it. Everyone I met, everywhere I went, everything I read, was invariably about it. "When are you doing it?", "Please do it soon.", "We cant wait.", I started getting tired of all the comments. I know that all of them were my friends and they really want me to do it. But after a point, the words became harsh and got into a very narrow zone. It sort of became the final frontier. Its like that last thing that a man can do. It started to feel that I'd die after this. Its like my epitaph is being written and everyone's waiting for me to etch my final words on it.

What people dint realize was that I am a mere mortal and I too have dreams. And insecurities. I too want to scale the peak. And I do get scared every time I get an opportunity. And of course more than my personal achievements, I need to fend for a larger cause. I represent a collective. I can never let my focus wander and chase personal glories. If only words could describe the pressure you are under when you have more than a billion people expecting you to entertain them and live their lives.

I think that is what it boils down to. Live their lives. More than myself, I am living lives of millions others. Everyone has the potential to do great things but they dont really get as many opportunities as I have got. I got lucky I guess. What do they call it? Ovarian Lottery I think. And when I do well, they probably see themselves doing well. They celebrate my success, as if they have played a significant part. Of course they do. A performer can never survive without patrons! And they are sad everytime I perform poorly. As if they are responsible for my failure. And no, its me, am individual that fails to perform my duty, my karma, everytime I fail. For others, if I dont do well, they can move on. I on the other hand, am left alone. To reflect on things. Trust me, someone rightly said, its really lonely at the top.

But now that I have done it, I think I can take a sigh of relief. All my life I have been measured by everyone along a long highway dotted with milestones. It took me a while but I have crossed all the milestones. And now there are no more milestones to chase, the onus is on me to set the new ones for people who would walk on this road in times to come. This is what every artist wants to be! A benchmark. A milestone on the sands of time.

And you know the best part? I can now go out and play like a kid. The way I used to, when I first walked out on a cricket pitch and had the entire ground at the mercy of my strokes.

Say hello to Categories!

Starting today, when I write blogposts, I would try to club them into categories. Like typical categories that any wordpress blog has. 

I have been using labels for a long time but I think categories is also a must. It helps identify posts with the same context. One may argue that labels are supposed to do the same thing, put all posts with a context in the same place. But, the simple answer is that (at least) I use labels frivolously and I create labels for fucks sake at the drop of the hat. With categories, I plan to be more organized and serious. Like this post for example. The labels could be personal, blogging, wordpress, blogger, thoughts etc. But if I was to put category to this one, I would say Blogging. I would use the plain old hashtag. So some categories that I have been able to think are #poker, #horrorStoriesFromWork, #attemptsAtFiction. 

And no, I am not putting any categories on this post. May be I can put this post under #notifications? May be not!

First post of 2012

I have been trying to write this for quite some weeks now. I started with thinking I would write about the year gone by and review all the posts. I started and could not finish it. Then I said I would talk about my most favorite post of the year. Again, I starting writing, and could not finish it. There were reasons and there were thoughts, too long to be constrained to a small blogpost. Then I said I would talk about why 2011 sucked so much and how I had been waiting for it for more than five years. But I couldn't finish it.

But then I had to write something. After all I am an aspiring writer storyteller and I have to be able to write well tell compelling stories. Even if the stories are boring and mundane, I should be able to make them interesting by the way I tell them. And to be able to tell good stories, I realize that I need to write often. More I write, better I get (apparently) and hence this blog. And this post. Like Yogi says, "You can't think and hit the ball at the same time". I ought to hit, hit and hit.

Anyways, after the longish introduction, coming onto the first post of 2012, let me do something that is as cliches as white safari suit and white shoes. I shall talk about my resolutions for the year. Without further ado, here is a quick list.

  • Lose weight. This has to be the most common resolution. If I owned a gym, I would promptly drop the prices of memberships, get as many members to pay for it and then retire to Goa. And if all the people who have promised that they would lose weight, the sea level would actually drop!
  • Eat right. At least once a day. I plan to stop having dinner. Vipassana taught me how to live on two means a day (just a simple breakfast and lunch) and I was fine with it. I plan to do that. I will try and achieve it by end of January. I am not sure if I can but I will try hard.
  • Continue to not drink Coke. I stopped drinking coke in 2011. So far I have resisted the temptation to restart it but I will try to not have it as long as I could. I dont know if it does any harm to my health but I know any sort of addiction is uncalled for. And I know that once I start having coke, I would get hooked on. So why take a chance!
  • Get Leh'd. I have been dreaming about the trip for a long long time. I have made plans and failed. This year hopefully I would go to Leh. With sgElectra. 
  • Play poker more seriously. I have been toying with it, off and on, for last two or so years. I have now reached a stage where I think I am an average player and I have a keen interest in the game. And with almost two years of non-serious play, I have developed a fair amount of understanding and gut for it. Its about time I capitalize on it. I plan to play more and hopefully goto more live games. But then this is something I am not too sure about. I dont have the money to invest that the game calls for. 
  • Start making a lot of money. I have had the pleasure of chasing my dreams and working for companies that you don't often associate management graduates with. Its been fun ride but as a result I have been left poor. Now that I am almost at my half life, I need to fend for myself. And I need to start making money. Btw, any recruitment placement hr consultants reading this (three keywords in one line ought to attract some bots)? I am a MDI graduate with almost 5 years of solid brand management and advertising experience. I just need a lot of money and I will sell my soul if I have to. You know where to reach me.
  • Ensure that all the resolutions listed above. :)
And ofcourse this is no way a complete list. I would keep adding things to it. 2012 could be the last year for us humans and I better make the best use of it. I need to live it up. And, if, by any chance, this is not the last year, I am sure having done these things would do no harm. It would only help. Right? 

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?