#untitled - 28Mar19

This is an excerpt from #SoG130.

What is SoG? 
A series of letters that I write every day where I talk about ideas that can help us become better. Subscribe here. You would not regret. Promise.

Here goes... 
I did not send the letter yesterday. Even though I could. I had the time. I knew what I wanted to talk about. But I did not. In fact, not just the letter, last few days have been tough for almost everything. To a point that I am unable to write. And I am unable to even think. Or operate. I have no clue why. Maybe its all the heat in Mumbai? Or maybe its something else? Is it all the work on my plate that is keeping me occupied? Or because I am not working out? The worst part? I can't seem to find time to workout! Oh, workout for me means a leisurely walk for 10 minutes. 
Also, I am not doing so well in my head. In the sense that thoughts are swirling and "flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup, they slither while they pass, they slip away across the universe. Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind, possessing and caressing."

I am actually at that point where I am questioning if I want to write these. One part of me says I must - each letter is an opportunity to write and thus, an opportunity to read. Plus writing every day is one of those discipline things that I must have in life. This is the thread that could define my life. Heck, define me.

And then I read how Picasso lived for 33,403 days and has 26,075 published works (see this tweet and this post). And I realised that if I can't write a letter a day, how am I going to get closer to my mission of inspiring a billion people? 
On top of it, I got this message from a stranger (on Twitter) that said that he would like to subscribe to my letters. I don't know if it was a random act of kindness but it did make me smile. I know that these letters touch a chord and thus the resolve to write every day got stronger. Thank you, Mr. Shah. I hope you are reading this. 
Oh, and of course responses to this letter affect my writing. And my sanity. And of course people, things, incidents, circumstances and all that affect my sanity as well. There are a few things that I can control. And a lot that I cant. Writing is one. Feedback, readers, subscribers, unsubscribers, I cant.

So yeah, I am committed to writing these. Let's see when the next jolt comes in. Do let me know if you would want me to write something specific. 
Thank you for reading and staying with me! Here's to 1000 True Fans.

The Fitness Inspiration

Everyone I know around me is on the fitness bandwagon.

And why not. As societies and humans evolve and you rise up the Maslow's pyramid, you look at things that you could do to make life better and simpler and more fulfilling. And to be able to able to do that, you ought to be in the prime of your health. Health is an enabler if nothing else.

I have been unwell past few days and the impact and the effect that it has had on how I work and on my productivity has been visible. Not just to me. But to the ones around me. My team, my employers and all that. And it's not a great feeling. And I feel so helpless, so constrained that I don't know what to do.

And the funny thing is that every day I meet someone that has sort of transformed their lives using fitness as a tool.

Exhibit A. The marketing God.
Yesterday I met this guy who is like a marketing genius. He loved his alcohol, still loves his smokes and had this super unhealthy lifestyle that most advertising professionals have. Last I saw him, he was a fit dude. You would call him anything but fat. Yesterday? He was a transformed man. There were cheekbones, veins popping out of his arms and legs, thin frame that could not hold even a medium sized tee. At first, I thought he was unwell. But then he told me that he's off cigarettes, alcohol and any sort of oil for more than 6 months. And that has made all the difference.

He also said something interesting. He said that food used to be an ingredient required to keep us alive (like water and air). Just that over time marketers and the vain ones have made food into an experience. And of course, if YNH is to be believed, its food that domesticated us. Not us who tamed agriculture. It's a powerful idea if you think about it. Thank God that I am not that sold into this entire experience thing. 

Exhibit B. Shatrujeet Nath - the popular author!
I haven't met him in a while but his Facebook post told me that he can now do a plank for like 5 minutes. In the world of planking 5 minutes is like an eternity. Last time I tried a plank, I herniated my intestines. And Shatru is someone who loved his cigarettes and old monks. Oh, he's off the smokes as well. It's been a year now. Fuck! Mad! Respect!

Exhibit C. Someone who's not fit.
There is this friend who just started on this super amazing, life-changing opportunity. And when I met him yesterday, instead of being ecstatic about things, he was unwell and miserable. Physically. Not in the head. And the reason was that he's unhealthy. And not because he smokes or whatever. But he loves his food. And eats whatever moves. As long as it is vegetarian. And all the food that he eats gets accumulated and fucks with his systems.

Exhibit D. Saurabh Garg. Hello :)
If I am to get close to my life mission, I HAVE to live long. And not just live long, but be healthy. And I have so much inspiration around me. There are these Silicon Valley icons that I respect and want to emulate (Kevin, Larry, Sergey, Peter, Tim and others) and yet I can't seem to get going with a fitness routine.

I have so many friends that I am surrounded by, that believe in fitness more than anything else. So much so that it is central to their existence. Abhinav, Amol, Ashima, Bhaargav, Harshit and others. You talk to them and all they can talk about is how it's imperative to work on the health and nothing else. They get up early, do their workout, eat well, take supplements, sleep on time and all that.

I even have a few strangers that have been egging me to run with them. And yet I can't do it.

I have so much motivation around me that I should just start running and never stop. You know, like Forrest. And yet, for some reason, I can't seem to get a regular workout done. I have tried and failed to continue. I fucking need that zabardast toofan to get me out of my slumber!

Come on, Universe!

Feels like home!

As I write this, it's 7:18 AM and I am at Starbucks Powai outlet. There is yellow lights, the smell of freshly crushed coffee, AC at 22 (I guess) and not another soul here. Except for the Baristas, of course. And for all that it's worth, it feels like home. Really. More home than the place I live at. Or the place I lived at for years in Delhi. They were right when they said they would create the third place that people would keep coming back to. I keep coming back to it.

I don't live close to this one anymore and thus I don't really come here often. I go to a different one. And even though I am there literally every day, I still don't call it home. This one, the one at Powai gives me that feeling that a home is supposed to - safety, warmth, belongingness and other such things. The funny bit is that this place is not very comfortable and is always crowded with rich kids and fancy people. I can't stretch my legs. I can't lie down. I can't wear comfortable clothes. But despite all those things, this place, ladies and gents, feels like home.

Thanks for reading.

Oh, as I write this, the only thing swirling in my head is that I must hate my current place so much that I find comfort in a strange land and with strange people. May be. Any shrinks reading this? 


The unthinkable happened yesterday.

I got a call from my landlord asking me to pay my rent that was overdue. No, the rent was not overdue because I could not pay. I have the money. But because there is a cash component in the rent that requires me to withdraw cash and send someone over to his office and deposit the same. Haha, cashless economy. And of course, I could not find someone to do that! Thus the snafu.

So the landlord called me and was curt when he spoke to me about it. I don't blame him. If I were him, I would do the same. I would probably be rude as well. He wasn't. Thank God for that.

This call is not the point. Neither is the fact that I am late.

The point is, I haven't been able to sleep since then. Because I am rattled that I owe some money to someone and I haven't paid them on time. Fuck these middle-class values that are so deeply ingrained in me.

I am so rattled that its 2 AM and despite the long, tiring day I had, I am unable to sleep. I had to get up and get this out of my head. I can't seem to stop thinking about the call from my landlord! And no, I am not exaggerating! I just couldn't sleep! And not that I am getting thrown out of my place anytime soon, the landlord is very kind. But this is unsettling af. To a point that I had to get up and dump my thoughts on the blog! Darn.

Thing is, all my life I have lived debt-free. The last big loan I took was for my MBA at MDI. And that was in 2006. Since then, the only money that I've ever owed to anyone has been either credit cards (which are great to give you some liquidity for a few days) or business loans (I still owe some a lot of money to a lot of people I've borrowed from, for work). In either case (cards, business loans), I understand my obligations. I know that there is an impending deadline and I know that I will pay the money back. Was the same with rent. But I know I missed the deadline. And that has set in motion a chain of events that I am not sure how to fix!

Fuck I have lost lakhs and lakhs on business ideas that I thought could work, people that I thought were sincere, cancelled hotel bookings, expensive gadgets that I don't need and even on friends that I thought would pay me back when they could. And more. And yet, I've slept like a baby. I have not given money a second thought ever. Even when I had close to zero in my bank, I did not bother. I knew something would work out. It always does. Not this time.

You know, time and again I am reminded that my relationship with money is warped and I need to fix it. For multiple reasons.

  • A, I don't understand money. At all. I thought that it was a mere tool to conduct exchange. But clearly, it is a lot more. 
  • B, I want a lot of it but I don't know where to go get it. 
  • C, I know its not important (it is important but not worth obsessing over. Its just a tool) and yet a lot of my mindspace is occupied with it. 
  • D, I wont know what to do with it, if I had all the money in the world! 
  • E, I don't even know the utility of money apart from buying comforts. I mean money to me means freedom - to do things as per your whims. And to say no to things that you would not want to do! What else is it? 
  • F, The kind of life I live (and plan to live), I am not sure if I would ever want to buy a house. And if I am not buying, and renting is the only option, how will I ever live with peace? Pay all the rent in advance? 
Of course, I am privileged to have access to enough money to live a fairly decent lifestyle, so what if it is in Ghatkopar - it is still a modern high-rise. I sincerely don't know what would I do if I had to live like most other Indians do. I'd probably give up :(. The thought itself is scary. 

To a point that I have this renewed commitment to do whatever it takes (saam, daam, dand, bhed and more) to make all the money that I can. So that I don't ever have to get a similar call from anyone. Ever. 

Oh, and one more thing. If I have to be that ruthless dude that can make the dent in the universe, how am I to survive if a simple phone call can rattle me so much?

Any ideas? answers? tips? 

Saurabh Garg
3:51 AM, 20 Mar 2019,

#untitled - 17Mar19

There is nothing specific that I want to say. I write this because I have nothing else to do. I mean I do have a few million tasks to do a few thousand projects to work on and a few hundred conversations to make and a few billions to make. But right now, I am not sure if I want to work on any of those things. I do however want to not waste the time and consume something that just allows me to not get bored. Plus today is a special day. Plus there are so many thoughts in my head that need taming. Plus I am so restless that I need meditative things to be able to not lose sanity. I need music from Lucky Ali and Rabbi Shergill and Silk Route and the ilk. You know, the one that I grew up on? Or from Bob Dylan, if you will. If I were any different, I would get drunk. Or get high. Or get slow. Or whatever. Something that soothes me. Something that pats me on the back and tells me that all would be ok. And gives me that big bear hug that puts me at peace.

No no. I am not in need of medication or therapy or something. Alls well. Just that I need to be able to find ways to make enough to chase that I want to pursue.

Chalo, over and out and lemme go find out something that adds meaning. Meanwhile, see this.

A new writing project - Secret Diary of an Uber Driver

Lately, I have been using this app called Headspace to meditate and get sleep. While meditation is a guided "lesson" in one or more disciplines of life, sleep is where I listen to bedtime stories that have soothing voiceovers, ambient noises that humans like when they sleep and calming non-commital stories. You know how those old nannies would sing a lullaby? You know soft kitty, warm kitty? That!

So, one of the sleep stories on Headspace is a mid-night scene from a Laundromat. In that, its the story of a boring room where people come and wash their clothes. And while they wash, the machines make this rhythmic sounds that are sleep-inducing. I don't know the science but they work! In the story, they talk about people and that's when it hit me. What if I wrote a book, a collection of stories about people where they are at a certain place for a short time and reveal a small part of their lives. And that's it!

Lets park this here. Call this A.

You've seen Forrest Gump? Essentially, the entire movie is in a flashback as Forrest sits on a bus stop and narrates various slices to various people. Let's call this B. 

On my way back home yesterday, I was in an Uber and I had this long conversation with the driver on Punjabi music (see tweet). In that conversation, the driver told me about the kind of people that sit in his car. From a couple that the driver thought was faking it, to an old man that shed tears for some reason, to a student running late for her exam, to so many more. Each ride, he said, was a story! And while some may come across as commonplace stories, I am sure there would be many that would be worth telling. And worth listening. And worth spreading. This is C. 

Now, if I club A, B and C, what if I worked with the driver to write a series of short stories about the people that travel in these cabs? Each of these is inspired by the riders. Each of these has some element of truth. And then there is fiction. And the element of storytelling.

What do you think? Would you read? Would you share?

Oh, I call it the 'Secret Diary of an Uber Driver'.

Lemme know!

PS: I know you may be thinking of privacy and all that. At no point, we would use any personally identifiable information when we write these stories. 

PPS: Why would I do this? As a writer, I need practise. And while the daily SoG and Book2 are happening, I need to flex the muscle. And this is a pretty interesting way. No? 

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?