The Itch. Dubai 2018, Day 12 and 13

The unthinkable has happened. I did not write yesterday.

That means that 10ish day streak I was on has been broken. Ok, let me not be harsh on myself and get on with the post. I'll just combine the two days. Big deal.

The theme for the day is reflection on the trip. I came here on the 12th (I think). Today is 26th. So I should be on 15th post. Ok, I did not post for the 12th. And this post technically is a reflection on the day gone by. So, 12 is ok. So its been 14 days and I have 2 more days to go.

More than anything else, I have a confession to make. I want to go back (home?). Enough of this sitting around. And thinking. And mental masturbation.

I am NOT made for thinking. I am a doer. The kinds that shoots from the hip. The one that acts first and then thinks.

So, while the trip has been worth it and interesting and I will do this again and again (at least twice every year, if not once a quarter), I think I am done. I am rearing for action. The kinds that makes me so busy that it does not allow me to think. I need have to go back. May be this is what recharging the batteries is all about? Maybe. Maybe not. Right now, I just want to go back and get moving with things.

The point is, BRING IT ON, Universe!

Saurabh Garg
26 April 2018

P.S.: This does not really classify as a post per se. Too small for that. But then thats all I had to say. And I havent done anything substantial in the last couple of days. I've just been meeting people and they've been talking about various opportunities that are available in this region. And they've been talking about issues with the region.  

The list of things that I was supposed to do while in Dubai remains unfinished. Not because I did not have time or place. But because I did not work. Simple. I will work on them once am back. I at least know how to work better. I did learn the act of focus (for 2-3 days) when I switched off mobile data (its that simple). By nature I am fickle and have the attention of a Gold Fish and thus need to shut all the external stimuli. #note2self! 

P.P.S.: Next time I go for a holiday break like this, I will live (and work) at a Roam. I dont know if they are expensive but I know that I would love to have things managed for me. 

P.P.P.S.: Oh the one thing that I've loved about this place is all the cosmopolitan exposure that this place gives you. I need to write on this. May be tomorrow. Till then, over and out.

P.P.P.P.S.: Now that I've been jobless for a bit, I do not understand the ones that do nothing and just sit around. It must be such a terrible way to live life? Any first hand experiences? 

Untitled. Dubai 2018, Day 11

Back again. For a change, I dont have much to write about. You see, for a change I was busy working. And means I did not have time to observe things Or think of things. The kind of life that I love. If you take away work from my life, I dont know what I'd do :(

Anyhow, the day was pretty ok. I got one HUGE thing ticked off my to-think list. I mean its still WIP but I have made considerable progress on it. If that clicks, the trip would've paid for itself. Wish me luck! 

The other thing I need to capture is that I ate a large lunch! That meant I was feeling bloated for a few hours. Need to listen to my body lot more. I did compensate by not eating a big dinner. And because I was this irregular, I ended up eating some toast and jam late night. I sinned. Twice over. A, I ate carbs. And B, I ate em at night. Not cool at all.

I think I am beginning to get into a rhythm with eating less and abstaining from eating things that dont add up. I just need to augment this with more water and some exercise. As a next step, I need to read more on longevity and make changes in my environment that help me reach my fitness and health goals (and what are those? Live healthy till I am atleast 120. And why would you want to live that long short? Well, I can write a book on it! Lets drop it for the time being). 

Continuing with the food thread, among other things that I discovered on this trip, two things will probably top the list. A, roasted almonds. And B, peanut butter. Since I am trying Keto and IF at the same time (failing at Keto, blame it on Dubai), I am trying to cut all carbs from my system. This means that I am left with proteins and fats and peanut butter is a great option. And I am loving the taste. And the convenience. Remember I kept saying I'd pop a pill if it gave me my nutrition? Well this is it! Pill. In the shape of almonds and peanut butter. Damn this is making me hungry as I write this. 

And what do I love about them? Among other things, the crunch! See, I've always loved crunch. Look at my addiction to Papad (I refuse to call it Papadum - the fuck is that? Its Papad!).

So yeah. This is about it for Day 11. Onward to 12.

Saurabh Garg
23 April 2018

Back of inane-ness. Dubai 2018, Day 10

So, the day.

I would've slept for like 8 hours yesterday. And when I woke up, I was not really fresh and all that but was groggy. I think the ideal hours for me is probably 6. I need to discover this. #note2self: find out the optimal sleep thing. 

Thanks to the whack in the head while I was writing post for day 9, I finished reading Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing. I am glad that I read this book. If you are a writer, you HAVE to read the book. I know that I will add this to my like of Superbooks and will go back to it again and again. Next book that I am going to read is Murakami on running. I've read this earlier but I think I will revisit this.


So, today I want to talk about the kindness of pseudo-strangers. Pseudo-strangers because while there is common thread, common background, I dont really know them.

Since I've come here, apart from not working, I've tried to keep myself busy by meeting people that I've known from previous life (MDI etc.). And I am surprised at the reception I've got. Each person I've met has been kind. They gave me their time, their homes and most importantly, their respect. Something that I am not used to - considering I am not really a big deal and all I do is events.

I think living in a different country does that you. You are so far from home that any thread, anything that connects you back to your roots, you welcome that. Each person I met had a connection to me - MDI, friends of friends etc.

#note2self: How about a business that takes advantage of this pining for home? 

Lemme talk about one person in specific. The dude am living with here. We grew up together in a lower-middle class part of Delhi. And he is a Punjabi that went to shadiest schools possible. Not because his parents couldnt afford the school but because he wasnt the kinds to study - so why waste money? Fast forward to 2018. Today, he manages a business in Dubai that has about 20 full-time employees. And has some 250 clients - most of them firangs. Lemme recap. A Punjabi from Delhi can manage firangs and employees from 5 nationalities.

And how's he able to do this? He got thrown into the deep end of the pool - Dubai in this case - and came out on top. When was the last time I threw myself into a deep pool? While he was in India, he was one of those resourceful, hardworking and funny kinds. In India, he lived in comfort, with his parents. At Dubai, he's had to figure out things for himself. And that figuring out probably made the man he's become. Dubai has been his coming of age.

I know for a fact that I need to come of age. I need to grow up. And I cant seem to find a way to do so. Do I need a jolt like that? Will it make sense to change countries? Change career? P.S.: This is the third trigger that I can remember (first one was Jan Chipchase's newsletter, second is all these friends that are moving to Canada / Australia etc.).

May be I will. If things dont work out by end of this year, I promise I will.

Adding this to my Asana (link here). And is this how seeds are planted in your head? You think of something. You write it down. And you start thinking about it. Letting it simmer in your head. Till the raw ingredients turn into this gravy that you can resist? And to a point where you are so consumed by the idea that you cant think of anything but that. That idea. 

The other thing that I realised while I am here is that entropy is such a strong phenomenon. Ok, wait. Entropy for me does not mean the thermodynamics one. But the one where it means "a gradual decline into disorder."

My interpretation is that if left to itself, most systems will reduce themselves into ashes. They will move towards the path of least resistance and stop striving. Most people will not want to work. They will become sloths. Easier way to explain? A man will do whatever it takes to NOT think about things. Find excuses - AC is not working, my head hurts, there is a monster under my bed, I am menstruating (dont kill me for this - I know of women who work harder when they are in obvious distress), I hurt my foot, I am sleepy, tired, my parents need me etc.

The same person, in same breath, with all the issues plaguing his existence will be happy to switch on Netflix and chug onto some beer. No? I bet my ass they will.

You see deep work is hard. Wait. Deep thinking is harder. And to find examples of people shunning this deep thinking work, I dont have to go far. I am a living testimony. I am supposed to think hard about how to position C4E as a business. And I am doing anything but that. I am trying to not think and I am filling my time with blogs, books, ideas, thoughts and mental masturbation.

Just struck me. I somehow have all the time in the world. I mean I have this bed that I wake up from. I get ready in about 20 minutes. There is no breakfast (trying IF) and then I walk to the local Starbucks (20 minutes walk) and by 8:30 I am on my computer. Working. Or pretending to work. Or whatever. I am done by 1. I go back. Sleep for an hour. Restart work at 2. And then I am done by 7ish. And then I have time to go for walks, gym etc (which I dont do). There is no one trying to get your attention. There is hardly any pesky meetings that will take forever to conduct. You are by yourself. If I had the talents of a solopreneur, I promise I would have moved to fucking Thane and probably beyond - air would've been cleaner, life would be slower and I'd get lot more done. Maybe I should. It wont be that bad (if I can get maker-manager going).

The point is, if things are managed for you (making bed, cleaning etc), you can be lot more productive. Maybe once I am go back, I need to put this in motion? Spend money to manage things so that I have all the time for myself?

Also, the maker-manager thing brings another thought to head. For context, maker-manager (thanks Paul Graham) says that you divide your week into working days (where you create things) and meeting days (where you manage others, do meetings etc). My addition to this is that you keep a tab on every chunk of 10 mins (probably learned this from Tim Urban). And you get anal about how you spend it. Every minute that you are up, you ought to spend on things that move you ahead. And you need to be ruthless about things that dont add up, or push you ahead.

Which essentially makes life boring, predictable and well, drab. I mean is this how life is supposed to be? This mechanical? I am not sure if all those businessmen (Neeraj Kanwar comes to mind) live drab lives. I am not sure all those filmstars have boring lives. Or may I dont see the grind that they go through to be able to enjoy life? Maybe we just see a fraction of a fraction of their life (when they are dressed well and are hobnobbing with other celebrities or posting those fabulous pics on Instagram)?

And assuming you slog it out over the next 5 years, make that billion dollars. Then what? I mean you'd probably be conditioned into thinking about work and work only. If you had all that money and all that clout what would you do?

I have an answer! Use that to try and change the world. Enable other people. Make lives better. And if not better, happier for sure. How? By being that jester!


Brings me to the last piece for the day. Guess who's the easiest person to fool? The one who's not as well read as you? The one who's a simpleton? The one cant speak well?

Nah. The person easiest to fool is yourself. Dont know who said this but as I grow up, I am realising how true this is! I've been fooling myself for sure. For way too long. Into thinking that I am working hard. But maybe I am not. Maybe I am merely pushing paper? Need to think Mr. Garg. 6 5 days to go. And as they say, if not now, when?


Oh, I said yesterday that I am done with Coke. Yet I had 2. And as I write this, I am on to the third one. Sigh. Is there a way out? Help me!!

Saurabh Garg
23 April 2018

P.S.: These posts are sounding lot more like meditations

Hah, you wish! 
Of course! Like Marcus, I am on this quest to learn more things all the time. AND improve myself! Not just in one chosen vocation. But as an individual. 

And why do you want to do that?
Well, remember what Joker said? I am like that dog thats chasing a car. He just loves the chase. He wont know what to do with it, if he catches is. So, I am merely chasing a better me. I dont know what I'd do once am there. May be I will once I reach there? 

The day when it started to come together. Dubai 2018, Day 09

So finally I got a good solid day of work done. Yay to that.

I walked some, I thought some, I wrote some and I did catch up on that cat nap as well!

Perfect! Save for meditation and reading.

I ate well, I think (I had almonds and peanut butter for lunch and egg curry for dinner - closet to keto. If not keto, low carb for sure). I slept at 11 and I woke up at 7. 8 hours of sleep (which I think is way too much for me - considering how groggy I am since morning).

And how did all this happen? I switched off the mobile data (I kept the radio on - so people could call / sms me). And since no one calls anyone anymore, I had no access to anything that could distract me!

Brings me to the revelation of the day... 

The Mobile Phone Dependence 
Lemme give context. When the phone data was off, I was trying to engross myself in work and failing at it. I was restless af. Side note. Do read about this fascinating study on Marshmallows (as Indians, we probably dont know what this is).

I couldn't focus, couldn't concentrate and was super restless as if something important's been taken away from me! I dont know how the fishes feels when you take em out of water (apparently the fishes are, well, dying to get back into the water!). I was dying to switch on the data and get back to the world where I had a thousand WA groups and messages vying for attention. Damn right I was.

You see, the phone was in my arms reach. Around me, I could see and hear people busy on their respective phones. And my phone on the other hand was a dud device. I mean the radio was on and I could've called whoever I wanted to. Or whoever wanted to speak to me could call me. But I dint want to call up one single person (I did make phone calls back home and to a couple of more people). Neither did I have anyone calling me. So lesson - you are not as important as you think. Life moves on. You are not wanted by anyone. 

I am sure you've experienced the same. When we are on the planes. You know when you are forced to switch off the phone? But the thing is, when on a plane you know that you are on a flight and the phones cant work in the flights and all that. Plus you know that once you touchdown, the phones will be back online. And you will be back online.

But this was unlike the plane. My phone was working. Just that the data wasnt. I knew all it would take is a flick of a button. It was tough 3 hours. Excruciating. Was tough to endure. But hey, I dint die. You know that already. Dont you? Lesson? You I can survive without constant connectivity and next time I take a break, I need to have radio silence!

So, I think I am going to observe a day of data silence every week. Of course I will still have SMS and I will have access to phone calls. But all the things that trigger the dopamine will no longer be active. Lets see if I can do it. Sundays could be a good idea. And that is the day when I could get some writing done? Ok stop day dreaming. 

P.S.: As I write this, its day 2 of switching off the data on my phone. And tbh, I am itching to go online and check on my whatsapp and twitter and instagram and all those apps. Thankfully I dont use Facebook much, so thats a relief. 

On Coke 
The other thing, I think I am done with the idea and concept of Coke. Or Diet Coke.

I realised that I dont really love the taste. Its just that I love to sip on to something all the time and I am not really fond of tasteless things (water). I dont like the taste of tea and I hate the milk in coffee. Plus lemon is probably the worst thing EVER invented! So, the only thing I was left with, to consume, was the Coke!

I need to find an alternative. Flavoured water wont cut it - its way too many crabs and sugar for someone who wants to transform his life into a healthier and fitter version of self. Alternatives anyone?

On reading and meditation 
As the trip is nearing the end (not really nearing but there are less days to go compared to days I've been here), if I were to do an objective analysis, the trip hasnt had the best outcome. I mean I did think about things and it was interesting to live in a new country without an agenda (no tourism, no soaking in the culture or the sights etc etc). Just that I had specific things that I wanted to achieve while I was here. I wanted to get fitter (eat better, meditate, run / jog etc.), inculcate better habits (re-start reading, writing etc). I had to decide on where life was gonna go from here on (like I said, all is good but nothing is amazing; journey is good, rewards are good but not great) and how do make this life a great adventure. The list of things to do, on my Asana ran into 14 pages. I kid you not. 

And I've made very little progress on most things. Of course there is time left. There is one whole week and things have started to fall in place since yesterday. I can probably hustle up and work harder and get to those things in place. None of them require a build up, like fitness does or like reading does. I mean I cant do a million crunches and get those abs. I can on the other hand sit for long hours and say, craft that personal mission statement that I've wanted to. You may argue that if I sit for long, my efficiency and thought process will go for a toss etc. Overruled, as a judge would say. The thing that I havent worked on and I think I should've was, meditation. And reading.

Meditation. The idea was that I had to build up a practise while I was here. The same practise could've continued and made me a calmer, better person. But I dint do shit about it.

Note2Self 2: Meditation probably takes about 20 mins. Why cant you do this today? Its just 11 AM and maybe you can do this before you start the next session, once you are back at the hotel?

Reading. I carried a few books with me when I came here (Bradbury, Murakami on writing and running, Checklist Manifesto, Longevity Diet, Creativity Inc and more). I did read some chapters of Bradbury but that was that.

I can decide today that I am going to read 100 pages everyday, at about 2 mins per page, I will need just about 3 hours to do this. Can I do this, I am sure. Will I do this? I dont know.

So there. To sum things, its been an interesting ride. Just that I need to pull up my socks as I come to the fag end. I know that once am back home, I am facing the same drudgery and predictable life. And a life where I have my people and my things.

Epiphany: I've shunned people all my life and what's making me call India home? People! Need to think more, Mr. Garg. 

So yeah, that's about it for the day. See you guys tomorrow.

Note2Self: I could've done all this and probably more while I was back home. I dint have to spend time and money on this.

Saurabh Garg
22 April 2018

The inane 2. Dubai 2018, Day 08

Few things happened yesterday. No, none of them was special. They were inane again. This word inane is a repeating theme. Need to work on this. So, I had a day very similar to one yesterday. I ate, I slept, I did some work. I met friends. And I slept again.

So, another inane day. Which is ok. I am not here chasing excitement.

However a few things need to be mentioned.

A friend sent me this (the image on the left. Hope it loads). This is a screenshot from a post on this blog.

I need to clarify. To her. To others. And to myself!

When I use "full-time help, a girlfriend or an EA" in the same sentence, I do not mean to demean any of those. Each has a function and a role to play.

A help means someone who is paid to look after me. And I use help s a gender-neutral word.

A girlfriend means someone who is invested in my success and eggs me on and makes me better and is a partner in this amazing thing called life. Someone who stands by me when I rise up and is there to cradle me when I fall down. Someone who understands that I dont have the luxury of weekends (I am on a mission after all). And someone who'd love when I can steal time and ask her out for a tea in the middle of the night.

A girlfriend is NOT a help. And that does not make anyone small.

An EA means someone who controls how I spend my time when I work. No, this does not mean a glorified help. This means that an EA is someone who accelerates my work. More about the role of an EA is here.

These three were used in the same sentence because I feel the void of these three profiles in my life. And no, I am not trying to have just one person fill that in. So, yeah, I did not want to hurt anyone's sensibilities. I am not the one to be derogatory about others (except when they dont work - irrespective of their age, gender, race, color, sexual orientation etc).

I want to blame it on my limited capability with the English language. But I think apologies are in order. I am sorry. Sincerely am.

I saw this Will Smith video today while walking to a Starbucks. And he talks about his experience with Sky Diving. Where? In Dubai! Wow! If thats not a sign, what is? Also in the talk he talks about conquering your fear. The lesson am taking from this is that I need to do things that scare me. He says, "forget security, live for experience."

The start I think is accepting the things that I am scared of. And then probably conquering them? Anyhow here's a list of top few things that I am scared of.

  • Rejection
  • Poverty
  • Old age 
  • Stray dogs (because I got bit by one and since then I havent found a way to get hospitable to the creature. In fact I dont goto places that have dogs. I find the animal unpredictable and irrational and I have no way to control the behavior. Or the outcome. Much like kids. Yeah I am not too found of em either)
  • Medical science (everytime I go to a hospital, I am fucked in the head)
This is ofcourse an incomplete list. Need to make a more exhaustive list. #note2Self - upload the list here

At Starbucks, I found money. Second time on this trip (first). Wow! Hope this is a sign. I really want to be fooled by randomness into believing that I am getting rich. After all, beliefs breed thoughts, that turn into work and then into action and they eventually manifest as reality!

Today on, I am switching off data on my phone. That means am trying to get closer to radio silence (where I dont have access to social networks etc). The plan was to not have access to data while I was on this trip. I couldnt do much about it as I needed connectivity and phones in Dubai are super expensive. So to save money, I had to get a simcard!

So I failed. And how. Not cool Mr. Garg. 

I have enough of fun and frolic and all that over the last few days. Now, till I go back to India, I shall observe a radio silence (may be use it once a day to catch up on important things). So, moment I hit the publish button, I will switch off data. If you want to reach me, you know how to. Try not to. Just a week more to go. Help me please :)

The hernia I think is back. The balls hurt as I walk for long hours. I need to go see a doc once I am back in India. That means I need to stop whatever forced walking that I was indulging in. Running is of course out of question. In fact I noticed the pain when I had just finished the first run. The only variables that had changed were that I had gone running. And I've been erratic with my diet (I am on and off Keto, eating a lot of fat and less carbs in general). Dont think the diet is to blame. May be because I am drinking less water? I am not sure. I need to go see a doc once am back in Mumbai.

I have restarted with Evernote. I dont know why. It just looked like a better way to manage notes than than the notes app and Google Docs. While I can link and use great search from Google, somehow, Evernote is a far better experience. Lets see how long does this last.


So yeah! Thats about for the day. Hope you have a good day. Hope I have a good day. Its just 8 AM here. Apart from changing the hotel and going shopping (for friends and family), dont have anything on the agenda.

Saurabh Garg
21 April 2018

P.S.: In the posts that I've written, I talk about the previous day and I put the date of the day gone by. Not cool. So today on, changing it.

The inane. Dubai 2018, Day 07

I dont have too many things to report for today. I did nothing special. Just stayed at the hotel, got some things done, met a couple of people - one was super inspiring and one not so inspiring and slept like a log.

In fact this trip is turning out into this big holiday where I am meeting people and sleeping and eating. The things that I had expected to do, the thinking on large goals etc, are not happening. And since I am not working, I am not really happy about it. Thing is, I am the kinds that needs constant action!

A few things are clear though.

A. I do not have it in me to go to the gym on a regular basis. Or the treadmill. The most regular I've ever been was when I was doing Yoga. Maybe I will go back to that. Just that the teacher that I want to go to is way too far for my comfort. I may want to move houses but the part of Mumbai where the teacher lives and operates is kinda uncool. I am Bandra is probably the place that everyone wants to be at but I dont like it. #note2self: I was about to write "kinda not like it" and I wrote "dont like it". I need to get more definite in my opinions. Also, I need to be solution oriented, rather than opinion oriented. So I dont like Bandra but what is the alternative? 

B. I can control what I eat and when I eat (I've been reading about IF and it sounds like an interesting thing to do. I will probably club it with Keto and I am home). Of course I need to be able to run a marathon. Will have to find something that triggers the thing about running.

C. Can I covert notes from this trip into a travelogue? Say, People of Dubai? Instead of making their names public, I look at their profiles and write a 100-200 words profiles of them? And my interpretation of those? For example, I met this taxi driver from Pakistan who came to Dubai at the age of 15 and now claims to have 3 cars and a comfortable life. The ambition that drives him? Go back to Pakistan someday and pay for the piece of land that he grew up at. Or this girl from Philippines who came to Dubai about a year ago and fell in love with an Indian and had to learn how to eat dal and roti!

Sounds like a good idea. Who would read? May be attach a pic with each of these people? Lets see. If you are reading this and you want me to do this, tell me. Here is an invite. I am @saurabh on twitter.

The other option is that once am back home, I can reach out to expats in India and chat up with them about why did they choose to make India their home. It will help me learn so much!

The other thing is, do I want to take new projects? Dont I have my hands full with all the things? I do. But I am sure I can have these as a part of some business. Like this project that I just spoke about, could be a part of the culture project under AWSL that will evolve into a think-tank, a platform for doers. 

Epiphany. For most of my projects, I need someone to help me. As a co-creator. And that is probably why I havent been able to do much?

D. One of the ideas of this trip was to disconnect from the world, hide in a cave and think. I've done anything but that. I have been on twitter, insta, phone and all the other places where you expect me to lurk at. I am doing all this under the garb of having access to things. But not cool. I will try from tonight on. Or tomorrow. Or something. Have just a week left to sort things.


So yeah. Thats about it for the day.

Oh and Dubai, it sucks that you dont have this rule where you could people free tap water at restaurants. Bottled water is way too expensive. Over and out.

Saurabh Garg
April 19, 2018

Back to being good. Dubai 2018, Day 06

Finally a silver-lining. A day where I got some work done, ate right, went for a walk (on the treadmill), wrote, thought, met some people and got some office work done as well.

Well, well. This is what life is supposed to be. Just need to make some money (ok, LOT) and find people to spend that money with (I do have those people but they are FAR away). Lemme elaborate.

So, I am now in a hotel where little things are taken care of. Like breakfast. I am ok skipping it most times but when I am travelling and things are limited, I like the breakfast because thats the only time when things are predictable. Other times, when on a holiday, could go haywire and that means that I often need to compromise on what to eat and all that.

Lesson A. Just realised that so much of my life revolves around breakfast. I need to fix this. I should be able to go hungry for a few hours - I am not sure if I am suffering from a diabetes or something that makes me want to eat all the shit I eat. Or if its any psychological disorder that makes me fill my belly with food. Whatever it is, I need to fix it. I have to find ways to be able to go without food. And it not without food, I need to be able to do a 18-6 IF for sure. Its tough but I can manage. I did when I went for Vipassana way back in 2009.

So, like I said, I am at a hotel. I woke up on a nice bed (way too nice for my standards), in a room that was set to 22 degree. Perfect. Then I took a shower where the water actually, well, showered on me (and not trickled). And then the hotel am staying has a co-working spacish feel to it in one of the common areas (it's actually a letswork). Went there. And wrote and worked. Then towards the evening I met an acquaintance. Got some more work done at a Starbucks. And then back to hotel. Where I went on the treadmill and cranked about 20 mins at 6 kmph. Ended with a light dinner with my friend and his girl.

As I edit this, I realise that most things I did are pretty inane but you know, I was craving for exactly this inaneness. I wanted a comfortable place that as fast internet, high ceilings, a table and a chair and no one to bug me if I sit for long hours. This hotel is exactly that. And more. There is a gym (yes I went to the gym, on the treadmill). There is a store that sells coke (for the craving). And there is that comfort that allows me to think. And like all places outside of India, staff is courteous and unobtrusive. Actually, I must say that people in general in Dubai have been better and better behaved than they are in India. They are professional, respect time and are generally hard working. Most of them, if you ask me are working out of fear (and not out of motivation). The fear of losing their jobs in an expensive country is a great fear. If I were here, I would have worked harder. Ok, am ranting. Back to the post.

Got this on WA a few days ago. 
So, I like this feeling of niceness around me - the kinds that you get at informal hotels. Can I replicate this once I am back? I am anyway no hoarder (I dont have any bags) and I am happy living out os a suitcase. The thing to think on thus and Lesson B is, can I go and live at some serviced apartment once I am back in India?

I know it will be expensive and I dont have the money. But now that I've taken a resolve to improve my life, if I cant move into a serviced apartment complex, I am sure I can throw some money to make my house into a serviced apartment. May be a full-time help? May be a girlfriend? May be an EA. I am sure it can be done. One of the things that I am supposed to do is control my expenses (especially, the rent that I pay).

The other thing I want to talk about is the treadmill. I got onto a treadmill probably the second time in my life. The last time I used one, I think I was still in Delhi (so at least 4 years ago). And honestly, I dont recall what happened on that treadmill back then. So, on the treadmill, I did about 20 minutes yesterday. Compared to about 45 minutes that I was doing most days when the year started. Probably treadmills ARE boring (something that I've always suspected). I even put a Feynman video. It was super and yet it could not hold my attention. But then from the look of things, I probably will have to rely on a treadmill, more than on the road. And thus I need to train myself to live in a gym. Like those gym rats ;). Lesson C? For things like exercise and food, get flexible. To a point where you dont have to cheat. 

So yeah, the thinking, the work has started to happen. Food is ok. Keto is not happening but I am on a lo-carb diet. Can pick up Keto once am back home. Things look ok. A big yay for that. Pat on the back.

The other thing that I'd want to add is that I need to read more. And start work on #book2. And meditate. These three were big on the agenda for this break. And I havent done anything about these.

Oh, one more thing. I found a one dirham coin under a sofa while I was talking to my sis on the phone. Why is this importnat? Because, I think its a sign! Thing is, when I was travelling for work when I was at Gravity, on each international trip, I'd always find some money on the road. Like the entire world was giving me a sign that you are gonna be rich. Literally every road was paved with gold! It became such a routine and I knew that I will find money lying around if I am travelling out of the country.

Last few trips (especially towards the time when I was quitting Gravity, I stopped finding these coins and notes). In fact I cant recall when was the last time I found one. Except yesterday. so, is that a sign? May be it is. May be it is not. Whatever. I just hope it was. And good things and rainbows and unicorns are all around the corner :)

That's it for Day 06.

Saurabh Garg
April 18, 2018

P.S.: No I am not going to any touristy spots. Two reasons. A, I've been to enough and I dont get fascinated anymore, unless there is a story attached to it. #note2Self: Why do I travel then? B, this trip is not leisure per se. I want to get some shit done and I cant afford to not do things. I am supposed to buy stuff for friends and family - I am yet to do that. When I goto do it, I will probably see whatever places I encounter. And oh, I will buy some postcards. You guys want some

Untitled, Dubai 2018, Day 05

So I finally started work. 5 days after I came here (out of the 15 days I had for myself). But then, better late than never. I think checking into a hotel has helped matters. There is this definiteness about a hotel that you don't get at a home - things are managed automatically (food, cleaning, laundry, maintenance etc) and they are generally impersonal. So all there is, is you and the work.

And you know what? I value these material things. I am not the ones to subscribe that doing dishes or buying grocery brings you closer. I think any shared experience can do that. I'd rather outsource these chores. When I work, I dont want to fret with the small stuff.

The day was pretty ok. I walked a lot, I said no a couple of times (even though I feel obligated to say yes), I ate healthy (except the dinner), I met a couple of people from MDI, picked their brains on what could be done with C4E, took out time to think and then checked into a hotel. And you know what, got access to a decent bed.

So, a few lessons am taking away from this day, and the experience are:

a. I like comfort. This is not new. Just that its getting reinforced with each experience. The takeaway is that I must seek comfort. Even if I have to pay for it, I must.

b. Saying no is not easy. It makes me sad. Social proof and need to belong and all that. Again, I've known this and its getting reinforced. The good part is that the benefits outweigh the agony (of disappointing people).

The other sad thing about this is that there is evident disappointment when you say no. And I think that with each disappointment, you push people away. At least I am pushing them far from me. I have seen that I've actually pushed people away so much that they dont even care about me anymore. Which, I think is ok. After all I am on a mission and everything and everyone that stops me from taking the shot at it can leave. The ones who really care will stay. They will be around. The ones who get offended, all the best!

c. I met VS and we had this longish chat about things. I asked him about what I should be doing in life. I laid out options as I see in front of me, so that I may reach my #lifeGoal (lists here and here)! To my mind, my approach was very simple. I looked at where I am. I looked at all the options in front of me. I listed the alternatives. I then put in place odds of success (and failure) for each. And, finally I wanted someone to listen to things and give me an opinion.

And instead of opinions, he had an interesting take. He said identify the right question to ask. The question I'd rather be asking is, what do I want to do in life. Well, its a tough one. I know what I want to do in life. I want to entertain and inspire. And how do I want to do this? I dont know. Whats the tangible? I dont know. If I knew, I'd be doing it already! 

The next thing that he asked me to think on was, who do I want to be? The answer was simple. While I've wanted to be a Steve Jobs, a Bill Gates and an Elon Musk lately or a Jeff Bezoes, I am beginning to realise that I am not the kinds to be able to create things myself. I am willing to put skin in the game (read this thread) but I am not sure I am the kinds to run one thing meticulously. I am more of a big picture and vision guy. I am the kinds that likes to acquires a lot of ideas, know about things (and not know things), interact a lot and then let connections happen. Basically you are a socialite. I am not the kinds to go deep. But I am for sure a connector. And I am happy connecting people. And I love to give gyaan that is rooted deep into my experience and understanding of the world. Someone like Paul Graham or may be Ron!

Fuck! epiphany. I make connections and often leave at that. I need to be able to somehow make money from this! Of course without bastardizing the entire thing.

Now that I know what I want to be, he said, whats stopping you from becoming that? He said, what stops you from moving to SFO where all the action is and chase the pie? The rationalising mind kicked in and I thought of answers like family, friends etc. And while I was at, being the bastard VS is (in a good way), he asked me to book the ticket on the spot!

To further his perspective, before I could ponder on more rational things and get worried about money, he said money follows if you are on the right track. He gave me examples from his life and his work. It sounded inspiring - exactly how I want to be! 

I was so tempted to take the advice and I almost did it! But then the pragmatic me won the race (or may be I got scared of it?) and I decided against it. May be I will take his advice once I have the conviction. I will atleast start working on it. Write to a few interesting companies and offer assistance.  

Thats it from VS. I am so lucky to have him around! 

d. Water. I love water. So much that I can drink it all the time. And here in Dubai, the concept of tap water is absent. There is bottled water and its expensive as fuck. So I am not drinking as much water as I would want to drink.

And because I am not drinking enough water, I think I am not being able to think well. I will tweak this tomorrow and figure out. Lets see.


So yeah, thats about it for the day. Over to tomorrow.

Saurabh Garg
April 17, 2018

Anatomy of an ugly day, Dubai 2018, Day 04

If Day 3 was bad, Day 4 was ugly (read about the good and the bad). And ugly as in painful to the point where you want to die. I kid you not. I wanted to escape Dubai and go back home. Not to someone but home. A physical space (that even though is rented, I can call my own). And why home? Because I have my comfort zone there.

Lemme pause here.

I want to talk about three things today. My comfort (and the comfort zone), money and attachment detachment (conundrum).

A. Comfort Zone
Thanks to the day that has gone by, I now know the meaning of comfort zone. All my life when I’ve said that I’ve always stepped out of my comfort zone, I’ve merely pretended.

Now I know what is discomfort. Now I know what is pain. And I dont mean philosophically - I mean for real! Literal pain. Lemme elaborate.

When I say I am old, I mean it. I like my things in a certain manner and if there is even a slight deviation from things, I get fucked in the head. For example, when I dont get an AC I cant function. When someone speaks rudely to me, I get fucked for days, if not for weeks. I’d never survive with Fletcher (Whiplash). I would give up. I need my space and my time to be able to do great things. I may not be the gifted one but I want to be the one who worked the hardest and I dont need grief for it.

I am digressing. So I said I am someone who wants to live in comfort. This means I want things that are in working condition, clean, new, hygienic and all that. 

This trip to Dubai, with all due respect to the friend who is hosting me, he is after all a bachelor, I haven’t found the conditions that I think are bare minimum for living. That means he is ok with things being unorganised. I on the other hand suffer from OCD and I get sleepless nights if all objects on the table are not aligned well. So I am not happy about the cleanliness and all that. Thing is, back home, labour is cheap and we have a million people to help on things and in Dubai, there are no maids and that means its a lot of work keep things maintained. And you cant expect someone living by himself to work hard for hours and then go back to cleaning things. 

And no, I dont have the energy to fix it. If I were to spend my energy fussing over things like that, I was happy staying in India. At least the psycho maid gets shit done even if its too much effort. The point of being away from Mumbai was to not have anything that could potentially fuck my happiness. I think I need an assistant. Lol. Any applicants

So, anyhow, to cut the long story short, I am finding it impossible to be in peace and thus, finding it impossible to think and all that.

As I write this, one voice in my head (don’t know which one - rationalising, patronising, the one that wants me to give up or any other) is asking me to rush to a hotel that is comfortable and offers a nice view and all that and just focus on the task at hand. The other side of me (again, I dont know which one is asking me to battle is out).

The third voice in my head is evaluating all this and telling me that I am such a fool to heed to these thoughts. Mark Zuckerberg is influencing public perception, Elon Musk is sending rockets to moon, Jeff is the richest man, Bill is eradicating diseases etc. And here I am, talking of comfort and all that.

The fourth voice is telling me that all those people have been able to do all of that because the basic needs are taken care of and while I may be old, I am still struggling to make ends meet!

You see, I am like the Ravana with multiple heads and multiple voices - each in sharp contrast to each other. 

Coming back. So yeah, comfort is a challenge. 

B. Money.
So, money is important and all that. And money is not important either.
Important: While money may not buy happiness (I dont agree to this - it may not be able to buy happiness, it can definitely make life more comfortable and comfortable life is very similar to a happy life).

Not important: I’ve always had this notion that the kind of money I have, if I save a large part of it, it will never add up to even a crore in the next 5 years! And the amount that I dont save can upgrade my lifestyle by a few notches. Its a battle between promise of a bank balance of a crore in the next 10 years. Or a better lifestyle for the time that I have right now. 

I am thus better off spending that money and enjoying life. 

So I think I can not let the limitness of money guide my decisions. So, for example, when I travel, I want to travel in luxury. I cant do backpacking or something. Lemme give a further example here. Some people say that a hotel is not important as you spend just the hours you sleep. I on the other hand want it to be nice because not being able to sleep fucks up the experience of the day. 

So when I am not at home, I spend money like I own all the money in the world. To the point of being wasteful about it. Which is not cool to be honest. But then I have rationalised it to myself, by telling myself that it saves me anguish and grief and brains and thought and all that. And I am absolutely ok with that notion.

And why am I talking about this? Because Dubai as a city is expensive af. 

Funnily, one to the key criteria of choosing Dubai as the destination for the break was the low cost. I was under the impression that it will be cheap and convenient. This is turning out to be anything BUT cheap. Or convenient. Each ride (taxi, Uber or Metro) is expensive beyond imagination. Lemme share numbers. I’ve been here 4 (plus 1) days here as we speak and I’ve spent 40 fucking thousand! 40000. The amount of money I spend in a month when am in Mumbai (which is not cheap by any standards either). On top of that is money I’ve spent on tickets (and rescheduling). This is easily the most expensive trip of my life. For lesser than this, I’ve done 3 weeks in Europe some years ago. Again for little less than this, I did 3 weeks in America in 2013 or so! If I add the money that I am going to spend on the hotel (if I want my comfort back), the number will probably become enough to buy me a RTW, three times over. And PS I know of people who are paid by the world to travel. And I know people who’ve been to a 100+ countries and have done it on the back of their points! 

If I know these giants who are so anal about their plans and all that, I am probably the greatest fool in the world to have taken the break without any planning per se. Maybe I am.

If this sounds like a whiny man, I am sorry. I am merely presenting facts. 

Back to work. 

C. The attachment detachment conundrum. I’ve been here 4ish days now and I did not miss anyone in the last few days. Not my parents, not my sister, not my friends, not my work, not my girl, not my muses, not my people and not my place. May be I will miss them when I am miserable. I am not miserable right now (I am on the edge though). Is it good to be devoid of emotions? And what is a man if there are no emotions? As I write this, I am listening to “uske the jo sapne, wohi uske they apne, aisa tha Sindbad the Sailor. Am I Sindbad? I'd probably never find out. And as they say, a different decision, reserved for a different day. 

Thats about it I guess for today's post.

One More Thing Few More Things
D.1. The other thing that has happened is that I've learnt that I can not manage the Keto diet while I am here. One of the original goals was to lose weight and get fitter while I am here. That is not happening for sure. I tried and I did buy paneer and eggs on my first day here. I managed it for 2 days but it just became too difficult to manage. Difficult, mind you. Not impossible. So, I took the easy way out. Quit. 

D.2. I met a senior from MDI for a coffee and while narrating my life story, I told him that "I am no petty thief. I wanted the whole world or nothing

Reminded me of the promise with which I started. Gave me the spring in the step to bounce back and come from the slump. I promise I will. Day 5 on, things WILL become better. Will post things here.

The Silver Lining
So, this is the first time when am trying to live (live as in live, not visit or travel) in a different country and think on things. Even though I am creature of habit, am loving the unfamiliarity (what familiarity Mr. Garg? You may be in dubai but you are still at Starbucks! May be. But context is unfamiliar. And do you see the power of global brands?). I love that I am catching up on sleep when I am in transit (because I cant sleep at home). I like that I am walking so much and ducking in and out of places and I am taking decisions that I was not taking back home. This is a new me. I've not experienced anything like this. 

Plus I am loving the idea that I am a stranger in place that I dont know about. I’ve always romanticized the idea. I hope Vivek is reading this. And even better is that I am not just living like a nomad, I am actually here on a mission, for a purpose. To figure out where I want my life to move. And I love the idea, the mere thought, that I can move anywhere and try to setup the new. This is probably how those travellers in the times gone by would've felt?

Just that I need to ensure that these things make money. 

So, yeah. While this post is about things that are going wrong, the silver lining is that I am now VERY sure that I will take similar trips at least once a year, if not twice or more times. 

Where can I go next? I am thinking a cold place that has a 24-hours library (to work out of) and a gym or a swimming pool close by. 

Just that next time I will be better prepared.

I’ve realised that I want comfort and I cant survive without comfort. Thats not a great thing. I always thought I could. Need to think more on it. As Guru Ji taught, this too shall pass, this will INDEED pass. 

I will have to see times when I won’t have the money to just book a ticket and take off. Or escape from an unclean room to fancy hotel at the swipe of a card.

Thank you for reading this! 

Saurabh Garg
April 16, 2018

Update. I got myself a hotel. And its been such an amazing decision. Should've done this sooner. And see this ad when you get time...

Anatomy of a bad day, Dubai 2018, Day 03

Today was Day 3 in Dubai. I dont have much to report (nothing of importance happened) but I know what to talk about. Remember yesterday's post? I said that yesterday was a good day. And why? I slept well, ate well, did some work, thought some, I even went for a run (even though it was more of a walk for 2 KMs), learn a few new things and all that.

By that metric, today was as fucked up as a day could be. I did not one of the things that I've listed above! Kid you not. Not one. And on top, I ate a wholesome Indian meal (that means carbs). And I blew money on like a million Diet Pepsis. Goodbye Keto or great teeth!

Keto reminds of that old quip that I've always had. That if I could get some pills that I could just chew on to get the nutrition that my body requires, I'd do that? With Keto, I think I've found the solution. Just that its super hard to arrange for the food. With the Food Darzee subscription, I am sorted for the time I spend in Mumbai. Its just that when I travel, I get fucked. Like last night I had egg curry and paneer parantha. In Dubai. And considering it was made here, it was delicious. And since I've been starving myself for last few days (in absence of Keto options and erratic schedule), I probably enjoyed it all the more. Brings me to another point. I am trying to listen to Geeta as I walk. Now, I am not religious per se but I find that Geeta has quite a few observations about conduct and life and Karma and other things. And for reason, I tend to agree to those. One of the observations in Geeta is about the ability to tame senses that seek pleasure. The question is, does good food merely nourish your body? Or it gives your senses that, well, sensory kick? Answers? Thoughts? 

So yeah. Back to the day.

Like I said already, it was one big giant blur because I had to help a friend and attend the Seamless conference with him. It's a great show. The kinds that I would want to create. I would love to be in the similar business! Rant for another day. For the time being, here are my raw notes from the venue (edited slightly)
  • Exhibitions actually work - how can I use these for our advantage? Not as an organiser but as a company, an individual.  
  • I have to be better dressed. FAR BETTER!
  • Need to get a new domain to send newsletters. Say or for sending out emails. 
  • I need to have a great story to tell and it has to be a story that I believe in. Because if I dont believe in it, I will not be able to sell it with conviction. And the ones that don't have conviction, often get caught! 
  • Rather than selling things that people often do not want (and thus they avoid you and all that and relegate you as a mere vendor), you need to have something that people want from you. 
  • I will get a lot of flak for this but people outside India are really dumb. They get stuck in this whole work-life balance thing and work by the clock and thus just do that one thing that they are supposed to do. And thus they dont explore things that could make them wiser and better and sharper and all. PS: by dumb I mean people are typically lost and they dont try hard enough. They are content with whatever they have! I mean they want to make money and all that but they want that effing work-life balance as well! 
  • Is there a merit in creating a business outside India? That takes advantage of the dumbness of people and yet delivers value? 
It was probably the only good thing I did this. For a change, I participated in there like an exhibitor and the business opportunities are immense. Must make it a point to visit every exhibition and talk to people. 

So yeah. That was that. 

Also, just realised that I have spent one-third of my break on doing frivolous things. I have about 10 more days to go and I am nowhere close to a decision or a movement on any of the thousand goals I had. I am not reading, I am not thinking, I am not running, I am not eating well. I dont have a life plan. I dont have any notes on what are the ethos that I want to live by. 

Heck why am I here then? I could’ve stayed back in Mumbai and used this lakh on something tangible! 

Brings me to a point. Why do we travel? Do give pleasure to our senses? Or to make the world jealous? I have a definitive thought on this (to experience new things and to run away) but its for a longish blogpost. I'll probably write it one of these days. What do you think why do we travel?

And last but not the least, what can I do to use the rest of my time well?

Saurabh Garg
April 15, 2018

Anatomy of a good day, Dubai 2018, Day 02

Day 2 in Dubai. Technically third day but I am not counting the day I arrived here. So, day 2. Here's a list of things that I did yesterday...
  • Woke up early. Went to a Starbucks. Read and wrote and day-dreamt for about 4 hours. Published this and this.
  • Ate a late lunch. It included loads of Diet Coke and some bit of boiled rice. 
  • Roamed around Dubai. Did not go to a single touristy place (except a large departmental store to buy groceries for Keto). Soaked in sights and sounds and smells and conversations and Diet Coke. 
  • Had peanut butter for dinner and slept early. Sleep is still fitful to be honest - second day on the trot that I havent been able to sleep well. Need to work on this. 
  • No exercise.
  • Blew like 30K in the last few days even though I am staying with a friend (large pieces of expenses are running shoes - lol, AirPods (which are amazing AF), groceries and commute (Uber is expensive AF here)).
Apart from this, I was pretty ok. I did not have any dark clouds shrouded over my head. I was, for a change, not worried about the future. While Dubai is not the place for poor or for middle-class people on holidays, I would've ideally been fucked in the head for things but I did ok. 

So how could I do this? What enabled me? Here's a list. 
  • While I am here, I am on a break. That means that I dont have a full-time job that mandates that I spend my time (physically and mentally) occupied with something. I am so relaxed that its not funny. I would love to remain in this state for perpetuity. But then, I know that life is not meant to be relaxed. Need to learn the difference between a cook and a chef
  • I have access to some savings (hardwork over the last year with Rajesh and VISCOMM). And since in general I am not worried about how and where I spend my money, I am ok with the expensive lifestyle. I mean who buys water for 140 bucks at a Starbucks? Back home in India, I must be drinking like 5 litres of water while I am Starbucks. For free! 
  • Since I am at a place where I dont have access to a phone, this essentially means I am away from all the "news"(updates from my parents, friends etc). Plus the guy who calls me the most (Vivek) is also travelling with limited access to phone / data. Plus I had recently pruned by twitter list to about 100 following. All this put together means I have NO distractions. Also, since I am not at home, I am not managing any chores per se. This has freed up time as well. 
Tried hard to think of other things but I could not. So, it boils down to having time for yourself and having enough resources to fill that time with things that matter to you. And eliminating distractions. Not really rocket science per se. 

Can this be done over long term? Dont think so. Wait and read more. 

Before that. An enquiry. Is this life worth living? Where I dont have relationships and I dont create anything that adds value (#note2self: write on value) and just spend all my time in enquiry, thought and chase of mental orgasm. You know, I'd rather create! More on this over the next few days (hopefully).

So, here are some lessons (and interpretations and introspections and realisations). 

A. Its tough for me to be alone. I need a constant companion. I dont crave for affection or attention or sex or anything like that. I just like someone around. In most cases I tell that someone to stay shut while I am doing my thing. But I want someone. I dont know how to put this. Weird. But I cant be alone. I this need to find someone who could be a companion. Not a spouse. Not a business partner. Not a soulmate. A companion. More I think on this, more fucked up I get.

But I am admitting that I need someone. Not a great idea that you need someone around to be able to conquer the world. Will probably think more on this and work towards eliminating this craving need.

B. I need a purpose to wake up. If I dont, I cant wake up in the morning. Since I've come here, I have this constant itch to go out and do.

Why? Because this trip has a purpose. I wish to find answers. I want to ensure that I live my life on my terms and do things that wont make me regret my choices when I am 80. I am here to find the answers.

And then to go back home (am glad that even though I am enamoured about the shiny-ness of Dubai, I still want to go back) and do things that I wish to do.

Get the drift? 

So as I grow old, I need to continue to have that carrot dangling. Something that makes me continue the chase - even if I am unable to (for whatever reason - health, time, brain etc). I need to find that muse that continues to illude me. 

C. I quite love the change in scenery. While this could relate to cutting off from your present (move to a different place for a week or so to think and ponder), I am talking about a micro-thing here.

I typically work from a Starbucks. After I've spent an hour or two here, I start to crave for a walk or something. And then post that break, that walk, I dont want to come back to the store where I was at. 

One simple solution could be that I work for a few hours from a certain place (coffee shop, office etc) and then get up to take a break (get something to eat, coffee etc) and then go to another place to work (work or coffeee shop). No shit, Sherlock! 

So once I go back, I need to create this life for me. Divide the week into maker-manager, day into chunks of 4 hours each and time slots in 25 mins. And then identify those places where I would work from. 

D. I love to spend money. Again, this is not new. I've known this that I love to spend money. Not spend on frivolous things. But spend on getting good things. I dont go and buy random expensive watches or toys or whatever. My benchmark is simple. I want great function and even greater form. If what you make can amuse me, make me smile and make me wonder, you have a convert. 

In fact these are the general principles that lead me in my decisions and output. Idea is to create things that can amuse, entertain, and above all, inspire others! This HAS to be the guiding principle of how I work once I am back. For C4E and for others.


So yeah, this is how day 2 was spent. Lets see what the next day has in store. Over n out.

Saurabh Garg
April 14, 2018

The Rite of Passage, Dubai 2018, Day 01

In most cultures, traditions, societies, civilizations, communities, when a man has learnt enough and is ready to be the "person in charge", he is often sent on a trip, a rite of passage of sorts where he comes of age. He comes back better and stronger and is ready to discharge the higher duty - the purpose for which he's been sent, or created, if you will. In fact in his seminal work, Hero With A Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell talks about the journey that any Hero has to undertake to find resolution to the conflict that requires his heroism. And while the Hero is on the journey, he often discovers who he really is.

As an individual and a storyteller, I've always been fantasised about such a journey.

As an individual, I've longed for that unknown adventure that makes me better, stronger and richer. That helps me discover my true purpose. That tells me what I ought to do. That guides me. And makes me richer - richer as in emotionally and mentally. And of course financially ;). Make me stronger - as in a stronger personality that can impact lives and things around me. And make me better - as in a better human being. So that I am not swayed by this newfound strength or wealth.

As a storyteller I want to observe, capture and narrate the story of someone who's taking the journey. I want to tail the someone and experience with him the highs & lows, the trials & tribulations, the wins & the losses and everything else in between.

Blame it on my innate curiosity, by being the traveller and the writer, I've wanted to evaluate and understand if the trip, the journey is worth taking. I mean, what the heck! Every Hero seems to have taken the journey. For example, The Pandavas took to Vanvas and Agyatvas before they could battle it out and claim what was apparently rightfully theirs (Pandavas come to mind because I am consuming Geeta on this break).

There must be something that happens on those trips! There are umpteen examples. These stories and the journeys are scattered all over the place - in popular culture, in mythology, in even those little tales that we create for ourselves.

I tried to find people who've taken these and come out better. But I couldn't locate anyone. So I thought, may be it's about time I took one myself?

Thing is, for someone like me who loves to shoot from the hip (and do things before I think them through), if I were really fascinated by the journey, I would've probably taken it by now.

But of course I haven't.
May be because I am not sure if I am ready to go on the journey.
May be I don't feel the need to go and discover myself and come back stronger or more mature or whatever.
May be I am scared, like it happens with all such things.

But then the call of the adventure, the beckoning got the better of me and I planned the trip. Tentatively at first. And with more gusto and conviction eventually. Probably because the longing got to me. Reminds me of what Anais Nin said, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

If you replace risk with pain (or charm), you'd know where I am coming from.

So, fast-forward three months. Here I am! At a Starbucks (where else) somewhere in Dubai. Trying to discover things. Today is first day!

Even though I am here and it's the first day, there is that fear, that tentativeness in my thoughts and actions. Truth be told, as I approached the date of travel, I tried to cancel this trip on multiple pretexts. I even postponed the trip by a few days. I was that scared!

Fear. I always thought I wasn't the kinds to be scared of the unknown. It's an emotion that I thought did not exist in my head. After all I have always been the one to walk up in a dark alley behind a tall building and gawk at whatever lies up ahead. I have always embraced uncertainty and my pitch to most of my clients and friends is, lets do this and then we'd see what happens. I believe in doing first and apologising later (if apologising is still required). And I've found that in most cases, apologies are not required. So, yeah. Fear hasn't stopped me ever. And thus the surprise on this perpetual delay.

Coming back.

Even though I was scared, I had to take the journey. I heard someone say that "the teacher comes when the student is ready". Now that I am here, to be honest, I am not sure if I am ready but I can not wait for the teacher to arrive. I want to go seek. Shoot from the hip. Act. Find the teacher. I want Saurabh Garg to evolve into 'The Saurabh Garg'. The damn the makes all the difference.

I don't even know if the break would do me any good. It's just a vague notion. Maybe I'll come back the same. May be I would merely blow up a lot of money while I am here (on expensive coffeeshops and even more expensive commute). May be I will lose opportunities back home.

What I do know is that I had to do this. Take the break.

Thing is, I have been planning dreaming of a break for years. A break where I go off the radar and don't have access to anything that defines me (people, things, ideas etc.). In an ideal world, I would go to the mountains where there are hardly any people around and the loudest sound is of your intimidated heart, fluttering at the thought of the height of the peaks and the depth of the gorges. Or I'd probably goto to some beach where I will have the endless spread ahead of me and there's nothing else that surrounds you but the sun, the sand and the loneliness. Either would've required a lot of work in terms of planning and logistics.

So I decided to hole up with a friend in a different country. This will allow me to be separated physically and stay detached. And the only person I knew outside of India that I could trust is the guy I am living with. He and I know each other for more than 25 years (if not 30 years). We don't talk on a regular basis but I trust him as much as I can trust anyone ever.

Oh, this is not the first time I am taking a break like this. In 2009, I had just quit from CLA and was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I went for a 10-day Vipassana course. I am not sure it changed me but it did teach me that I could do tough things (back then, if someone said I could not speak for 10 days on the trot, I would have laughed at them. But I did it!). The benefits were not really tangible (I should've ideally practised after I finished the course but I did not). Oh, it did make me fitter. Also, it was my first stint with intermittent fasting though I did not know about it back then.

So, this time I am on a 15-dayish break. Not really meditating. But I plan to cut off from my regular life (I plan to NOT use any social media tools, NOT check my email, NOT use whatsapp etc). I will continue to stay in touch with close friends (VG), family and work (limited to one phone call a day). This will allow me to get away from non-essential timesinks.

Of course I plan to explore Dubai - I don't really want to see the touristy places (been here enough times in the past and done all that needs to be done) . I will meet some old acquaintances, probably make new friends, expose myself to new ideas and try to soak in the life here.

In the next few days, I hope to eat right (do a 16-8 IF and if not Keto than low-carb for sure), sleep right (I had thought of experimenting with Polyphasic sleep but I am sure if I can do this in an alien environment), write a lot (blogposts, ideas, book2 etc) and get fit (go for long walks, meditate etc.).

There are other agendas - work (need to figure out what to do in with life - continue the hustle and try to make it big, or get back to the safe havens of a full-time naukri where I get peanuts to make someone else rich), relationships (with parents, friends, colleagues, co-workers, strangers and the all important "better half". I am sure that I don't want to "settle down" but as I grow old, I am told by every sage (aka learned person) around me that I will need a companion at some point in time. I am not sure. I need to think on it), review my annual goals, and finish my todo list (that has more than 400 items as we speak; and I use Asana for managing my tasks and projects).

Most important of them all is that I need to learn how to do things solo. I've always done things in groups or with close friends. I haven't done a lot of solo travels. This trip, I hope I learn what it takes to do a solo thing in an alien location.

I also want to go through the motions of trying to move to a different country, inspired by Jan Chipchase (who I think is one of the most interesting people ever). Of course I am not moving per se and I don't have what it takes to just leave my family and life behind. But I want to understand what goes in the head when you do that. I've moved cities but it's always been easy (the language, food, people, experience and other things are very similar even within a country that's as diverse as India in). Moving to a new country is a different ballgame altogether! One of my long term goals is to be a true global nomad (with luxurious homes in multiple countries and no permanent base - and I can do it - I hardly have any material possessions that I want to move around; more on this later).

So yeah! There is so much that I wish to pack in the next 15 days!

Wish me luck.

And while we are at wishing and all that, how about you think of taking a similar break and come back better, stronger etc?

Saurabh Garg
April 13, 2018

R. Roads.

Post 4 in series of 30 posts in April. Each about a thing that I am grateful / happy about. Others in the series are W, M, G. I haven't been able to write on the 4th or the 5th. So glad that I could write today.

Today I'll talk about Roads. 

R. Roads. Or may be H. Highway. Depending on other days as this becomes increasingly harder. You understand that right? 

So, structurally a road is a stretch of paved surface that connects two places. And maybe takes you beyond. In an ideal world, this stretch is smooth to drive on, is lit well and has loos and pitstops at regular intervals. It should go on forever, if you ask me. And if forever is tough, which I think it is, may be it could just go around the world a few times, taking you through hills and valleys and cities and villages and people and stories and memories and dreams and all such places that typically seem accessible; but are not. You know what am saying? Its mithya. Its an illusion. You think its there but it aint not there. You think you've seen it all, hell, you know that you've captured the scene in your cameras and have uploaded to Instagram and have like a 238 likes on it already. But did you really get it? Did you see it? Did you capture it? Or all of its just a myth?

The thing is, I love the roads like I love life and money. I can spend all my life on the road. I could live on road. If I am home for a few days on the trot, I get itchy. So itchy that I have to just leave. The sad bit is that I don't have a car yet. I am buying one this year. I had thought that my first car would be a premium car but in case I cant get one, I will get whatever I can afford but will buy a car this year for sure.

With roads, thing is that you have this illusion of freedom. Freedom because you are moving all the time. Illusion because you are still confined to the road. You are on the road. You are tethered to it with the wheels and the seat and all that. But then like they say, you see the glass half-empty or you see the glass half-full. I see the road as a liberating agent. You are on the move. You can see the world go past by. You can see yourself move on. Move ahead. And move towards a destination in most cases. What destination you may ask? Well, often, there is that loved one at the other end. Wait. You know what's better than having someone at the end of the long road? That loved one next to you, as you try to break free from the road. And no, not break-free like in full-of-rage break-free. Just plain old pleasure of being in control and that great feeling of getting away from the trappings of the drab life.

Oh, I just noticed that drab life features in way too many posts that I make. I need to do something about it. Break the monotony. How? May be by hitting the road?

Well, maybe! 

G. Giants.

Post 3 in series of 30 posts in April. Each about a thing that I am grateful / happy about. Today I will talk about Money! Others in the series are W, MToday I'll talk about Giants. I've talked about them multiple times in the past. But I think the subject deserves all the attention and mention that I can give it. 

G. Giants. 

For the context, I believe that I am very average. And that means I have to work hard to get things. And I'd have to work harder to be able to reach my #lifegoals. And one of the ways in which I can reduce the time that it'd take to get things, is to learn from others (who are learned, better than me, more intelligent than me and so on and so forth). I want to metaphorically stand on their shoulders and see farther than what they've seen. So I want to essentially build on top of what they know and push things further. You know, I want to stand on the shoulders of giants

I am so grateful that I have had access to some giants that shaped me who I am and gave me whatever little I have. This post is an ode to them. 

Here is an INCOMPLETE list - for I can never know who all have contributed. Its a long list and that goes to show that it has taken so much effort on part of so many people to help me reach a point where I live in relative abundance! 

So, here goes. 

Wait. I wrote a long list of people (and lessons), I realised I cant do justice if I were to publish it. Not to the people. Not to the lessons. So, no names. No lessons. Just gratitude. 

Thank you! 

Original post that I wrote, which I've since removed. 

M. Money.

Post 2 in series of 30 posts in April. Each about a thing that I am grateful / happy about. Today I will talk about Money! Others in the series are W

M. Money.

If you are a regular reader of what I write, you would have noticed that I talk crib a lot about money, poverty, unfairness of life, purpose, reason etc.

Truth be told, I am doing fairly ok for myself. In the sense that I have enough and more to live a upper-middle class lifestyle. I live in a decent house (rented of course). I have the latest iPhone available in the market. I buy the best brands. I eat good quality food. I travel to international destinations often. And so on and so forth. I have enough money in the bank to last me another 6 months if I stop working today.

And I am so thankful and grateful for that. Really am.

Of course a lot of things had to come together to make this happen. I had to get a good hand at the Ovarian Lottery to end up with my parents. They had to have the insight to send my sis and I to good schools. And pay for expensive education. I had to be lucky to get an admit at MDI. I had to have the keeda for learning. And I had to have a certain mention proficiency to be able to absorb things. You see a chain of things that had to work well?

What am I, if not lucky?

So, like I said, I am doing ok. A thing like money has no end to it. I do have enough if my aspirations were limited. If I were a simpleton, I could've retired on what I have!

But. The damn but.

But that's the problem as well. I do not have simple aspirations. They are tall. About 8848m tall. And more. I want to do large things. And to do large things, you need large ideas. Or access to large capital.

I don't have any big ideas to be honest. I am a mere aggregation of other giants that I have had the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of. So if I have to make those inroads and make this world a better place, I need to have access to large amounts of capital. Now I was not born a Baron. So I need to do things that can make me that kind of wealth.

And that can NOT happen with the ideas I have. Or my talent. Or the amount of money I have. And neither it can happen with the potential I have. So I need to work hard, slog and get access to more. And that's what keeps me up at night. The question is not "if". But "when". More on my dreams and ideas and aspirations some other day. Today its about being thankful for what I have.

Over n out.

W. Writing.

Its April. And that means a new financial year is here. That also means its yet another opportunity to start afresh. For this blog and for my writing, it specifically means that I can try and restart writing and creating. So, I am going to attempt to write a blogpost each day in this month. So 30 posts in the next 30 days. Each will be inspired by a thing that I am grateful (or happy or thankful) about in life. I call this Project 30Posts30DaysChallenge (yes I suck with naming conventions but I get things done). 

Here's the post for the day. Starting with W. Couldn't think of anything that starts with A. 

W. Writing. 

Among all things that I am so so thankful for in life is the ability to write. I may not be able to move mountains with what I write but I do think that I can write well. And unlike those super talented people who write so well that each piece is like a masterpiece, it takes a lot of effort for me to write something that is worth reading. So the only way to writing greatness for me is to write more. And the plan is to write so much that even if 1% of what I write is good enough, there is enough for a my audience to consume.

So yeah, I love to write. And I am thankful that I have some amount of talent that allows me to express. I do wish I were better at it. And its something that can of course improve with practise. Just that on the list of things that I want to do in life, writing is not really up there. I mean if I had all the money in the world, I would travel, teach and write. In that order. And if I had money and / or time left, I would play poker.

Why travel? To enrich myself.
Why teach? To learn more.
Why write? To connect with others.

And what would all these things do me? Allow me to become a better version of myself. And then use that to impact the world. Sigh. High hopes, Mr. Garg.

But then I dont have all the money. And that means I need to invest all the time I have to earn money. Like they said, "you're slave to money and then you die." Oh, the good part is, I am getting there in terms of money. I will have abundant money very soon and then I will put this plan (travel, teach, write, poker) in action.

Meanwhile, coming back to the agenda for the evening - writing.

So writing is such an integral part of me that I can not imagine not writing. I've been writing this blog since Jan of 2014. Thats like 14 years! I dont think I've done anything for longer than that!

Writing has helped me express thoughts well, it has helped me make new friends. It has given me the vain satisfaction of seeing my name in a bookstore. Agreed that tnks is not a bestseller but it is a book nonetheless. May be the next one will be. Or the one after that. May be its delayed because I dont see writing as an avenue that could give me enough to make my ends meet?

Thing is I've never been able to make it commercial - there are no blogging awards, no fans, no regular readers. Its just me and and my echo chamber. And may be thats why its not on the priority? Even if I had some people who'd ask me for an update or tell me that they wait for what I write, I would probably be more motivated. Vivek does. But I need more. And I need strangers. Why? Because like everyone else, I often take my people for granted. No am not crying about it. I would continue to write even if I had no readers. Its something that I do not need external validation for.

Anyhow. The point is, there is certain therapeutic value to writing. Its like pouring your grief, your tears, your sadness and your anger and your heart on paper. And its like leaving streaks of happiness, excitement and everything in between on a blank canvas. Of course it helps if you have the words and ideas that could make others share your grief as well. When the entire thing becomes a shared experience. That probably is when you succeed as a writer. Probably.

So yeah. Thats about it for the time being. Writing. One of the things that I am grateful for. First in the list of 30. I dont know what I'd talk about tomorrow. Lets see. Till then, over n out.

P.S.: If you are reading this, tell me what part of my writing has moved you the most? What can I improve. What can I do more of? 

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

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