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...

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