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

No comments:

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

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

Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?