The Birthday Blues

So, the most depressing day is here. A day when you're constantly reminded by everyone - friends, family, neighbours, strangers, brands, businesses trying to sell to you, hoardings, pop ups, enemies, ex-girlfriends, future girlfriends, Tinder dates and what not - that you are an year older and have one less year left. To make that impact. To reach that goal. To give happiness away. Hell, to be happy. 

I know conventional wisdom says that I ought to be happy and get sloshed and throw parties and all that. I think the entire world has to be happy on my birthday. After all I am The One. Well, everyone is The One. But in my mind, my heart, I am.

Point being, the day is of course special. People look forward to it. People plan for it. Event managers like me actually make houses and what not, thanks to elaborate celebrations that people plan and the obscene amount of money they spend on the day.

Am sure at some point in time it was special for me as well. At least in 2004 (April 24, 2004) when I signed up for a google email address and a blog titled, well, septemberthe22nd. I don't know when the switch flipped and I became an escapist. Yeah that's the word. Escapist. I am sure I would be escaping something when I switched off my phone for the first time on my birthday. And since I've been pretty jobless almost all my life I would have easily escaped to a cave or something. And I would've liked the not speaking to people bit (afterall I get embarrassed about things and I dont know how to show gratitude or say thank you). And like a drug, I got hooked onto it. And it has sort of worked fine for me. And like any other creature of habit, I now do it every year. And I plan to do it for rest of my life.

Thing is, I've never understood all the festivity surrounding a birthday. Every day is a new day and you are sort of born everyday when you get up in the morning. Or in the afternoon, depends on how things are at your end. I am ok celebrating a new year - on Dec 31. Or on Diwali, as I've been taught as I was growing up. I am all for making yearly plans and resolutions about things you ought to do the next year. I actually take those pretty seriously - not that they work out often. But on the day you were born? I dont know if its worth all the hoopla around it.

You may argue that you turn over a year and you are older. And thus wiser and thus must celebrate. But you don't add a year to your life at the flip of a button on your birthday. It's a slow gradual process and you don't even realise when the eyes begin to sag, the hairlines start to recede (lol) and that stoop in your walk becomes prominent. If it were a flip, it would be worth celebrating. But its not and no there is no celebration. Nah, every day is not a celebration. There are ups and downs. Highs and lows. Smiles and tears. And so on and so forth.

However, there is that silver lining as well. sgMS texts you. By herself. So what if the conversation is awkward and you exchange all of 4 texts? And 2 of those texts are emoticons and one is a "thank you" from your side? How many times does she message you by herself in a year? Once! And that by itself makes the ordeal worth the effort.

So what about plans for the 35th year of my life? The same - that has been around since I was 16. Get rich (Richest man in the world). Buy a cars (cars actually, latest obsession is GLS). Buy a house (houses around the world). Make some impact (enable people, eradicate poverty etc). Get fitter (30", Everest). Fall in love. Learn new things. Work hard. Try and get sleep. Repeat till I die.

That's it for the time being. And here is a thing before I leave you. Thank you Swanand for this.



Oh, and, one more thing. Thank you everyone for calling me, messaging me etc. I did not know that so many people care for me. Humbled. Really am. The best thing to have happened today yesterday? A peck on the cheek from MG as she cut my birthday cake :)

Work and all that

C asked, "Hi hoomans who are happy with their profession/career path, did you always know what you wanted to do? How did you get here?"

I responded, "not happy but not sad either. no i did not. got here by LOT of luck, some hustle, some grind and LOT of help."

She asked me to elaborate. I thought 140 chars is too less. And thus, here is a longish explanation.

So, am I happy with my profession / career path? 
Sort of. I am very happy at the place I am at. I run two small businesses. One I know will become big - I have someone partnering me on it and giving me direction. The other, I am not sure. There's just me and a few friends that help as and when they get time. None of them is a well-oiled cash-churning machinery - I need to constantly work on them, think on them, invest time and resources and money and all that to be able to make ends meet. But then, I work for myself. And that makes me happy.

Can I make more money if I worked in a job? Of course.
Can I be happier? Of course.
Can I do better? Of course.
Could I've had a better career path? Of course.
Do I have regrets about what I do? No way!
Will I achieve my #lifeGoals? I believe I would. I am actually on my way!

Next, did I always know that I'd end up here? And how did I get here? 
Let me club the two questions.

No I did not.

How requires the long answer. So, I did computer science before I did my MBA (from MDI, Gurgaon). And my first job post MBA was with GE Money where I was supposed to sell credit cards. I did it for three months (after a 11-month "training") and I quit. In fact I knew in the first month itself that I had to quit. And I did. Back then, I was still fresh out of b-school and I still believed that I could change the world. I was still hopeful. I was dreamy. And I knew I loved advertisements. And thus I decided that I had to join an advertising agency. With no portfolio to speak of (I did not even know what a portfolio meant), I approached a recruiter and asked her to find me openings. [grind]. She told me that I could be a brand planner at best and none of the bigger agencies would hire me and I would have to take a pay cut. So I interviewed with two, both accepted me and the person who offered me more money, I joined him. And it was the best damn move of my life. [luck].

For the next two years I worked with Raj at CLA. I saw Vikram and him build up a team and a body of work that was / is enviable. I learnt the business, met some amazing folks (some are friends till date) and most importantly, realised that I wasn't good enough. So, a time came when I had to move on. Plus Raj had shown me that my world is not limited to my batchmates and peers and all that.

Quit CLA to start something with a friend. I did not work out. Joined an events agency (not that I knew what events management was - I trusted the guy (Suvi at Gravity) and took a leap of faith. [luck]. It was the second best move ever. Next three years I worked really hard [grind], travelled the world, learnt how "real" businesses are managed and grew a lot as a person. I also realised that I am an adrenaline junkie. Well, not a junkie per se but I love on-the-spur decision. I love live entertainment. I love action. I love travel. I love to make people happy. And most importantly, I learnt that I am cut out for the business of events

Quit Gravity to startup yet again. This time with another set of friends. Each day at 5times5 was a battle. We tried a lot of things, most failed and yet we kept at it. It was the toughest thing that I've ever done in my life. Could've done more. Could've hustled more. But I could not. I still believe I could've done it better. Anyhow, while we sustained business for almost 18 months (purely because of the hardwork that my partners put in, we never broke even, leave alone getting profitable), it got reaffirmed in my head that I need freedom and independence in how I work. We eventually shut the business, moved on and I was lucky to find a job fairly fast. With a social media agency. [luck]. The guys who hired me took a leap of faith this time, by hiring someone like me who was new to this whole social media thing. But I think I did ok there. It got stifling pretty fast. And I had learnt the importance of time by then. So, quit them in about 6 months.

Started freelancing - thanks to (Sanjay at SWL), they offered me the first gig. And from there on, I hustled really hard. I told everyone I knew that I am in the market and I can work on brand planning, social media and / or events. People couldn't fathom how could one guy do all three (and they still dont get it). I was ridiculed (I still get ridiculed). I kept at it. [hustle]. I got a few projects that helped me pay my bills and survive in Mumbai. Oh, I was lucky that I did not have send money back home. [luck].

And then, one fine day, I struck gold. A guy I worked for knew a guy who knew another guy who was looking for a brand planner for a project in Nigeria. [luck]. I knew nothing about Nigeria and the guy who was hiring me knew nothing about me. He offered for some reason and I needed the money, so I took the gig. Did pretty well with that project (I think) and starting getting more work from him. With each piece of work, we got comfortable with each other and started working on more things. Think of a positive feedback loop. So much so that today Rajesh (at Viscomm) and I have partnered to setup an events management business, C4E. And I spend bulk of my time working with him at Viscomm and C4E. And this is where I am.

And this is how I got here! And now that I am at it, lemme answer a few more questions that C did not ask.

Will I do this for rest of my life?
I dont know. I have never planned my life and I dont think I can plan. I take things as they come and then react. All I know is that each year, I need to build on what I did in the year before.

What is next?
Again, I dont know. One things for sure. For the next few years, I am going to build C4E and grow AWSL. I have a clear idea about how I want C4E to evolve (an entertainment conglomerate). And a vague idea about what I want AWSL to be (enabler for other businesses). Will explain what I mean by this and intend these to be, in subsequent posts. For the time being, I think I am enjoying where I am. Wish me luck!

Oh, one more thing. Apart from "work", there are a few things that excite me and I want to explore further. I dont know how and when and where and why etc. but I will. These are:
  • Writing. I did write a book in 2014. And I am working (albeit very slowly) on the next. And I will probably write a few more before I die. So, writing is on the cards. 
  • Music. I want to play guitar. And I will learn it someday. 
  • Fitness. I really want to get fit. So I will probably spend a lot of time in the coming years on my fitness. I have made a promise to myself that I will scale Mt. Everest before 2025. So that. 
  • Compete. I want to compete in some sport at the international level. At 34, I am too old to be an athlete. So, I will probably pick up a sport like Pool, Snooker or Poker. So may be that. 
  • Teach. I dont know if I am wise enough to teach. But I have been in front of students and I love the feeling. I love being the enabler and I want to give teaching a sincere shot. 
That's it I guess. Thank you C for helping me think on this. While I was writing this, I realised that I've been extremely lucky in life. I may not have a house and I may not earn as much as my peers do, but I have a lot to be thankful for. I just hope things work out and I do make the ding. And I do become the richest man in the world! After all somethings never change - even if its been 10 years since you passed out of MDI. You are a change master and you can and you will change the world! No?

P.S.: And, if you have time, you must read the story of Prof. Bakshi.

P.P.S.: Another epiphany. All these people that I have met, all the things that I have done, is because I went out and made tons of loose connections. Last few months I have stopped doing that. I need to re-start. 

Untitled 1 - Sep 2016

So since I started working on C4E, I sort of "inherited" an office space. And now that I have a space, the middle-class Indian in me is making me maximise my time at office. Couple that with my hatred for traffic in Mumbai and the shitty house I live in, you have me spending 15 hours in office. Of course I am not working all of those 15 hours but I am busy on something or other.

I honestly dont mind long hours, if only we have a snooze room or something where I could take occasional naps. And a gym kind of thing with a shower that allowed me to pretend and do something to lose weight.

On lose weight piece, I stumbled onto this piece about this guy who wanted to climb to the top of the Everest with a Google Street View camera and record a panoramic view from the top of the world. No he could not, he died in an earthquake. Hats off to him and his balls. Really. I mean how many have such an audacious plan and the balls to actually chase the dream, while working at a hyper-competitive setup?

The other bit from the story is that providence seems to be sending me signs. Of two things - my promise to myself to climb the Everest before 2025 and the limited time that we have. Oh, on the shortness of life and all that, I re-read the account of Prof. Bakshi's life yet again. Read it. Must read. In BOLD. He also posted this note on the BFBV group. The thing that jumps at me is that a man ought to get financially independent as soon as he can. I am 34 years too late for that. But then I cant cry about it. Can I? What I could do is reach there fast. May be in the next 2-3 years? But wait. What's the number that I am chasing? At the way I live my life right now, I spend about a lakh a month and I dont have a car or a house. Should I want those, I need to shell out 5 crores upfront and say another 5 on maintenance over lifetime. Assuming my lifestyle remains same and I live till I am 50 (another15 years), I am looking at another 3 crores (adjusted for inflation). So, am looking at a 13 crore kind of corpus. In 3 years. 5 crores of net income each year. Or 10ish crores of topline each year. Wow! Thats a lot of money. And such a depressing thought.

Thing is, I shouldve more prudent like my batchmates from MDI. Almost all bought the house within five years after MBA and now they are almost EMI free. Wait. Lemme not compare. It will suck whichever way I look. The point of this post was to talk about how I am in office and I dont want to to back to where I live. There's no one to go back to and worse, the place sucks. Good bit is that I am going to move out soon.

And with that, the pain it takes to move! Sigh! You know of someone who wants to rent out a 2BHK in Mumbai? All I want is a high floor, new construction, gated community and a swimming pool in the complex. Too much to ask for? In Mumbai? May be. May be not.

Untitled 2 - Aug 2016

Note: Wrote this sometime last week. Never got around to publishing it as I did not get time to edit. 

As I write this, I am sitting at a site where a team I have hired is putting up a LED wall and other AV equipment for an event that I am producing, directing and managing. The work has come to a standstill as the other team that the client has hired has, sort of, fucked up!

The venue is about 30 KMs from Jaipur, on the Ajmer Road and I have been working on this event for some 20 days. Lately things have been so hectic that I haven't spoken to my folks in a week. And it is the week of Rakshabandhan, a day when my extended family gets together at my place. Once a year. And thus I make it a point to be at home on Rakhi (apart from Diwali, the other time in the year when I ensure that I am home). Of course for someone like me, these festivals are essentially symbolisms of archaic life that we Indians lead but its nice to keep some traditions.

Coming back, I haven't opened my workflowy in a while. I haven't written. I haven't checked email. I haven't had time to get a haircut (whatever hair is left on my head). In one line, I don't even know what is happening in my own life. On the work front, I haven't cracked a single new client. The last client I had hopes of making money from has sort of disappeared. It wasn't going anywhere and I just did not have the energy to chase it. There are no new clients in the pipeline. Heck, I don't even know what a pipeline looks like. See how easy I digress into a rant? Especially when I want to hurt myself?

So, like I said, I am at a setup and work has stalled for a stupid reason. I am not really liking this feeling of time ticking away and me blogging while work has come to a stand still. I have a deadline to meet and there are people on my clock. And they better work. Shit is stalled because of the incompetence and oversight of the other set of people working on this. The sad bit, I cant control what they are doing - after all I am not paying them. The client is.

I can try and complain and get them to move their ass faster. But the industry I work in, things often get stalled and the pushing around will not help you. As they say, the baby will take 9 months to come out. So, I wait. And I will have to get my team to work harder to cover up for incompetence of the other team.

The silver lining is that I can learn a few lessons from this snafu. After all its not often that you get to learn from expensive mistakes of others. Here it goes.

First and foremost, the biggest lesson so far is that indecision can fuck things more than doing em wrong. Doing things leads to outcomes - desired or undesired, good or bad, loss making or profitable. But they are outcomes. They move things forward. They are visible. Indecision leads to nothing. It just makes you sit on your ass, making your bottom rounder. And we were definitely not gifted this life to make our bottoms rounder. I can rant all I want on this but the sense of urgency captures this like nothing else.

Second, I need to build in redundancy in the systems. I still operate like a one-man army and while I love the action, the adrenaline, it is a deterrent to growth. Of course I hate corporate behemoths where process manuals are longer than the Holy Bible but I can see that they are there for a reason. Just need to find the right balance. More on this on the work blog.

Third, while I was sitting around, it dawned onto me that my parents are now old and they need me. All my life I have opined that I need to live away from my folks. Not any more. I can see the frail bodies and parched souls. I need to be around them. I am sure I cant be in Delhi. And I am not sure if I want to uproot them and make them move to Mumbai. It will be the mother of all selfish things. So its going to be a tough tricky decision. And I am not even sure if I want to be Mumbai for long. After all I am in love with my nomadic life. I love it that I can pack a suitcase and move at the drop of the hat. So, I don't know. But I will speak to them, speak to SG and then decide on this. Fast. And act before end of September.

That's it for the time being. Oh, one more thing. I need to get back to writing. There is no other thing that gives me joy like writing. May be being on the road? I think its the ultimate pursuit - to create something. Even if its as small, simple, silly as a blogpost that no one may even read.

And, coming back to the setup, I will ensure that it gets done. And in time and cost and quality that we have promised to the client. They've trusted me to deliver a fantastic experience to their guests. After all thats what I we do at C4E.

Note: Like I said, I am writing this almost a week after the event and it went like clockwork. There were a few things that I could've done better. I will ensure that we address them as we put up the next set of events. In case you want to see how the setup, the event looked like, drop me an email (sg@c4e.in) or head over to the blog.

Untitled - Aug, 2016

So, I haven't written on my blog in a while. Its been more than a month! Actually I've been super busy lately and to be honest I am liking this busy-ness. Am making (some) money, am (almost) independent, (I think) am taking calls that I've never taken before, I control the output, I am travelling (within India) and so on and so forth. This is the closest to Kwan (Love, respect, community and the dollars) that I've ever been. After about 33 years of living, I feel alive. Well, excuse the hyperbole but you get the drift. 

Coming back, even though I have been busy, I had to take out time to write this post. Its been some time that I've written and I don't like the feeling. There is this emptiness in me that I dont know how to tide over. The same emptiness that shrouds me when I havent spoken to her for a while. If not for this emptiness, in the current life, if I could make more money, have a little more impact, get time to write, pick a hobby (guitar), get fitter (yoga, running, hiking) and make meaning, I'd be a happy man. 

Actually I dont have much to complain about. I am sorted for the time being and I just need to keep doing this well and hope I get all that I want someday. 

The other thing that has happened in the last few days is that I got myself an Air. And its such a brilliant machine that my productivity has gone up by at least 10 times. I wonder why did I not buy this sooner. Have to have to learn the importance of investing in self. I need to revisit Rich Dad Poor Dad

While am talking of investing on self, I want to talk about the place I live at - Bandra. In a dilapidated building full of old people. In a house that need maintenance. And not just a coat of paint kinds. But the kinds where you tear down the walls and erect it foundation up. 

Taking up this house has been the worst decision of my life (except may be moving away from Mumbai the first time around). And not a day goes by when I dont regret the decision. The good bit is that the lock-in period for the lease is getting over in another month or so. That means I can change the house. And when I do, I will ensure that I get a fancy place - even if I have to pay extra.

Of course I can crib about the fact that I have to hop from house to house and all that, while all my friends and their friends and their pets and everyone else in the world have houses worth crores. But thats not the point. The point is that I need to change this place. In an ideal world, I would move into a place of my own, do it up the way I want (minimal) and then keep it spic and span and airy and all that. In one line, make the place has to be inspiring.

In fact I am going to blame the delay on #book2 to lack of inspiration caused by the fuckall place I live at. Of course it's a lame excuse but I sincerely couldn't write. I go back and I am fighting the pests, spiders, crows, leaking faucets, the AC that doesn't work, noise from the street and all that. Of course the ones who really write can write anywhere, under any duress and all that. But not me. I need the perfect setting, the table, the temperature etc etc. I have these amazing walls built about me! Thing is, it is depressing to even go back to the house.

Now you know why I spend so much time in office (yes, I have an office - actually it's a seat that I've borrowed from a friend who's made my life infinitely times better in the past few months) and you know why I dont invite you home. I am embarrassed about it. Had it been a shack, I wont mind showing it off, hell I pimp my poverty all the time. But this place, its like pseudo - everyone thinks Bandra is a cool place but no one gets to the underbelly. You know what am saying?

Ok, need to change the rant about the house. Lemme rant about something else. The other day I was thinking that most pieces on my blog are longish pieces of depressing content. I mean the last few posts are about how I am alone, an attempt to make friends, cribs about work. Essentially, I am discussing people. They say, bad people discuss people, good people discuss things and great people discuss ideas. I think I read this when I was very young but the lesson has stayed with me. To the extent that all my life I have tried to discuss ideas and not things or people. One of the reasons I have no clue about politics, relationships, gossip etc. My EQ, I think is zero, if not negative. May be going forward I will try and post ideas and their implication. But then, am human and I want to be able to vent out and in absence of friends, I don't know how else do. See the paradox?

Where does all this lead to? I don't know. But I do know that its awesome to have written after so so many days. Thats the point of a blog. You write for yourself. And to end this, some days back, I came across "ना सम्मान का मोह , ना अपमान का भय" on FB wall of Udita, one of the early readers of #tnks. And I've been blown apart since. Its such a simple statement and yet it says so so much. Exactly the kind of writing that I hope I can pull off some day. I sincerely wish she makes me her शाग़िर्द some day. Till then, over n out.

Why am I #foreverAlone?

Been meaning to write this post for almost more than a week. As I write this, I am at an empty office, not wanting to go home (because there's nothing to do at home) and finding excuses to delay the inevitable. So, here it goes. 

Disclaimer: This is probably one of the most depressing posts that I've written in a while ever. A HUGE huge crib alert. PLEASE read at own peril. Graphic content ahead. Extremely personal. Judge me if you will but this is me. My truest thoughts and feelings. In black and white. Of course, I will try to cover up this post with an extremely cheerful one (to maintain balance - if nothing else). But before that I need to pour my heart out. And I don't have anyone else to share with but the pseudo-anonymity of this blog. 

Last Monday, I was in Bangalore (because I was transporting a car) and I was super excited to meet some really good friends. I also had made plans of meeting up with some fans of #tnks (yes! there are some). 

And for a change, there were no hiccups and I did all that I had planned.

In fact, I loved the day I spent at Bangalore. I am beginning to think of Bangalore as my secret love affair (the way Delhi is my identity and Mumbai is my life). So, the weather was perfect. I did not get stuck in traffic. The credit card worked, the free wi-fi was fast, I wore shorts all day long. Etc. Etc.

Started the day by spending the first few hours at a Starbucks, working. Then lunched with a really really dear friend - met her after ages. Followed by a coffee at a fancy hotel with a reader. And then the evening snack with a fan at one of the most famous watering holes in Bangalore. I even played a game of pool, that I lost terribly (I need to pick up the cue all over again and get back to the game).

After the game when the beer started flowing, things went out of control. I had one drink too many.

If you know me, you would know how much I loathe people who consume alcohol beyond their limits. And I did that. And like all drunkards, I puked all over the place. I detested it but I couldn't do anything to stop it. Thankfully I had enough sense to not spew on my clothes or at the houses of others. It's a miracle how I took an Uber, a flight and eventually a rick to reach home. The next 4 days that followed, were nightmarish.

They've been so bad and so gloomy that I want to hide under a thick quilt and not emerge out of it. And I hate it when I am like that. I do everything it takes to not go down that lane. 

Brings me to the first resolve of this post. I will not consume indulge alcohol ever again. In any shape or format

Continuing. 

So while I drove the 1000 KMs to Bangalore and when afterwards I was sick of all the alcohol, a few realisations happened. I mean what else do you do when you are unwell? All you are left capable to do is puke, make attempts at eating (and vomiting out whatever little you've eaten) and ruminate about the days gone by, trying to relive the good times and creating the fantasy world where all is hunky dory? May be this is why most great poets, authors have / had a problem with alcohol?

Well, I don't know about them but when I was down and out, I did not get any interesting plots or conversations or brain waves. Like I said, all I got was self-pity, self-loathing and the urge to dig a hole, hide deep in it, close the entry with an immovable rock, shovel it with some snow and grow a huge banyan tree over it. And stay shut in it. Forever. 

Not one thought was a happy one. In fact I think the gloomy mood of the last few days has been induced by alcohol and all these sad thoughts. May be it's a feedback loop. Whatever it is, I have to confront it. I need to pour it out. Can't keep in my system. 

One of things I realised was, I've left just too many open windows. And I've never been the kinds to leave so many of these open. It sucks to know that you agreed to help someone and then you did not get back to them or deliver. I know how it feels when something you count on does not pan out. I dont want to be to the source of someone's disappointment. I really need to apologise to everyone. If you are reading this and I haven't got back to you, I apologise.

Of course you judge people on the basis of their actions (not words). Thus, the second promise to myself. I need to learn to say no. Even if that makes me less likeable. I havent had a foggiest clue as to why I have this thing where I want to be liked by people?

Dont know. Moving on. 

The next thing that makes me miserable is this thing about constant comparison with others. I know I have achieved less than others (self-pity alert) and you know what? I love to flaunt it! I mean I have reduced this to an extent but I am yet to stop. And honestly, I can't seem to stop it.

In fact, as I write this, there is this thought in my head that people younger than me, people who more troubles than me, people who seem to be on their own, say SamA, think deeply about things that could impact others. Then there are people like Lalit who've taken their passions and haven't waited for any vindication before launching their careers! They just do. I just whine. Like a 6-year old. For no reason. sgMS is right. I am yet to see real life and if these simple things can break me, maybe I dont have any right to believe that I can change the world!

So, thing # 3. I need to stop comparing myself. And thing # 4, need to realise that there are bigger things than I

Next, like they say, when things go tough, tough gets going. Everyone around me is giving me a hard time for some reason. From my yoga teacher to my partner to my vendors to my clients to my team to my parents to my accountant to sgMS and even I myself am giving a hard time to me. And funny thing is, this is when I need people around me. I need a shoulder. I need support. When I dont have anything to look up to. I mean there is no unicorn happening. The book is delayed. There is no sight of the reason. There is no meaning. 

I could take shelter in work. But that too is stalled. Not stalled per se but needs solid intervention. I have so so so many things happening at work front. I desperately need to hire and I can't find people. I know I cant pay well. I know I am not as inspiring as Steve. Or even Raj for that matter. And the vision that I have for what I do is very very utopian at best.

Apart from pulling up my socks when it comes to work, I need to up my game. And I am struggling with it. I talked about it last month as well. And even though its been more than 30 days since, I am still struggling. Need to end the struggle and get some real action. Real inspirational work. Real dent. 

But, I am aware enough to know that its super tough. And I know my limitations. I dont know how people do things by themselves - all those entrepreneurs, scientists, athletes etc. I dont know how those lone nuts pull through things. I need to either learn from them. Or I need a Warren. Or a Charlie. Even a Watson would do.

Thing is, most of my friends are merely marriages of convenience. I do not have any close friends - the kinds they write about in books and movies. And I know secretly crave for some. I really want to be a part of a cult, some gang, something where I belong. And the belonging goes more than just a tattoo on the right-hand sleeve. 

Not just the friendship bit, in general loneliness sucks. May be, just may be, I am ready for a relationship, a marriage (I know this is song for my parents' ears).

But this feeling of loneliness is a one off thing that I get when I am unwell. So may be not. Do I want a relationship on the days that I am well? I dont know. I guess I am too old for anything meaningful. I mean I am 33 already. And if not there, then almost at the halfway mark. Why would I even bother. The way these years have gone by, the others will too. No? 

Brings me to that eternal debate, the never-ending thread that holds me hanging onto and wanting to let go of everything I do - What is the purpose? What is the meaning of all this? Why do we exist? What's the reason? Any sages? Or do I go back to Guruji's wise words and assume that this too shall pass?

Anyone? 

P.S.: This post is not meant to be a piece of exaggeration. I really am sorry for have wasted a week of my life and a very very important one at that (I had a very important event that I missed). Unrelated, someone I know (a friend's husband who has observed me from far) quipped that I am a high-functioning sociopath. May be I am. And may be that's why sgMS went away. May be that's why I dont have a Warren. May be that's why I am #foreverAlone?

P.P.S.: No, I do not want your sympathy or attention. If you can read this with equanimity, thank you. If you can't, please do not lend a shoulder or a glass.

Your first book!

In short, here's an offer (that hopefully you can't refuse). Hire me as your writing coach and I will ensure that your book is done in less than 6 months. Email me at saurabh.garg@gmail.com and we'd take it from there.

The longform.
Writing The Nidhi Kapoor Story was probably the toughest thing that I've ever done in life (may be except enduring 10 days at a Vipassana camp). And though it was not a sell-out per se, the fruits were as satisfying as any other. When I held the preview copies in my hand, I was literally in tears. And as luck would have it, Vivek had come over for some reason and helped me give the first copies to #sgMS and him. I am digressing. But thing is, writing a book is up there in terms of opening restaurants, traveling the world et al on the bucket lists.

And the experience is / was so superlative that I want to help others get to it. Its not that difficult. 

So here is an opportunity to work with me while you work on your book.

What can you expect?
I am not the best when it comes to grammar or literature. I am not even half good when it comes to plotting. But I know what I am great at - getting things done. Reliability. Ensuring that I meet the deadlines. Getting the thing out of the door.

I will use some of the tools that I use to manage two very small businesses. And trust me, the tools work. May be someday I will write a book about how to use project management tools to work on a creative project - like writing a book. May be not. The point is, I know how to get a book done and I want to help.

Actually it's no rocket science. It all boils down to merely showing up. And on persistence. And writing the next word laying the next brick. That's about it. More when we sit together to work on your book.

Please be warned that I can't help you with the art (the story, storytelling etc) and I obviously can't help you with craft (the language etc). But I can help you by nudging you in the direction. Think of me as a writing coach. If this is any assurance, three different authors have included my name in acknowledgements pages of their book(s). Of course they are being generous - I did not help them write their books per se. But I figure I must have done something to deserve the honour. How about you put my name in yours?

Is my time free? 
No it is not. You have to pay a one-time "donation" of Rs. 5000 for it. No, not to me. You need to give the money to your favorite charity. And share the receipt with me. If you can't afford 5K, email me and let's talk about it.

Why am I doing this? 

I want to giveback. Simple.

Deadline? 
No deadline. I am going to accept 5 authors / books. As soon as I get 5, I will close this. And then I shall see how it goes.

So that's it! Help me help you. Help me grow as an author. And like Steve said,
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
So ladies and gents, the time we have is limited. Life is a wonderful gift and you never know when it's going to get taken away from us. And thus we ought to live it up. We ought to do things. We ought to do them now.

The book can not wait. Let's work on it. Now. 

The Transporter

I stumbled onto a new career opportunity today. It's a mix of everything I love - people, roads, driving, travel, storytelling and more. It solves a very evident pain point - albeit for a small number of people. Here it is!

The service proposition
If you are moving cities / states and you have a car to ship, rather than sending it via train/truck/transport, allow me to drive it from Mumbai to your new home!

In other words, say you are moving from Mumbai to Delhi and you have a car in Mumbai that you want to take with you to Delhi, how about letting me drive the 1600 odd KMs?


Why am I doing this?
I love the roads. And I love to drive. My ideal holiday is a great clean car with great music that I can sing along with and a road that takes me away. Takes me away. Not take me to. Takes me away from where I am become I dont know where I want to be. And I wish the road never ends.

However, Earth is flat and the roads are limited after all. So what do you do? You keep on driving on the same routes. Till the dhabas become familiar, the various handymen that you find at pit-stops become friends, the monotony of the road sets in and you start the journey within. And so much more!

Lemme not ramble. The point is, if you have a car that needs transporting, I want to drive it to your new destination.


Who am I?
I am Saurabh. 33, M, Mumbai. Been driving since 2010 I think. In all these years I have had one accident (I know it doesnt inspire trust but I ought to be honest). Have driven, if not more, at least a lakh KMs (did the East-Delhi to Gurgaon and back routine for close to 3 years. That's 100 KMs a day for 1000 days).

Apart from that I have driven in India and abroad. I've driven by myself and with others. I've made roadtrips as inane as Mumbai to Goa and back and as exciting as SF to Vegas. I've driven for 24 hours straight and I've been pissed off with just a 10-min commute. In all, I believe I am pretty ok driver and I want to make my passion my second third profession. My first is running AWSL and C4. Second is writing.

References available on request.


What do you get should you choose to hire me?

  • A guarantee that I will take care of your car as if it were my own. I will keep it clean, not stress the engine too much by overspeeding or using wrong gears. I will check the tyres at all stops and strive to keep the car in the same condition that I get in. 
  • Commitment on time. If I say that I will take, say 3 days to reach Delhi (ex-Mum), I will reach in three days! 


What do you pay?
You pay for the fuel and on-road incidentals (tolls etc).

And in some cases, a flight ticket from the city of drop to Mumbai. Of course this is negotiable. I am not doing this for money. In fact, in an ideal world, I ought to be paying for this!


Pros

  • Your car gets to feature on my Roadtrips thru India blog (which is non-existent right now).
  • The peace of mind that your car is being taken care of well.
  • An autographed copy of my book! Lol! 
  • Probably some saving on the transport costs.


Cons

  • Probably more time consuming than sending it via transport. Not sure though. 
  • May not be safe. Should there be an incident, you will have to bear the cost of repairs. Of course I will take every care while driving. 
  • I am not too much into cars. So I can't really rattle names of the parts and do quick-fixes should there be a problem. But then Indian highways are full of mechanics that know a car better than even Henry Elon himself! 
That's it. I can't wait to get started. I am on saurabh.garg@gmail.com and / or @saurabh should you want to hire me! 

Thank you! 

The inconvenient truth...

...of being a self-employed dude trying to run a services business is... that it sucks. Running a business I mean.

Thing is, the days are really long. And short at the same time. Long because you start work at 7 in the morning and end at... well, you don't end. Short because there is so much to do that at any given point in time you have 20 thing that require your attention as of yesterday. There is little room for being organised - everything is last minute, it's a constant battle between cashflow that is running out fast and the plug of hope that every phone call brings along.

Of course I chose this life. I could've taken the easy path where a cushy job would allow me the luxuries of life and a weekend where I'd have a huge bankroll and I could take off to the Macaus and Singapores of the world to live it up. But then no, the stubborn me, the anti-establishment me, the dreamer in me refused to heed. And here I am. Struggling hard to make things happen.

May be I am doing this wrong. May be I should have taken the easy way. After all, I dont really have the skills that allow me to make easy money. I haven't been blessed with looks or with a golden voice or the gift of the gab or a talent with design or writing. Or a last name that allows me to become a pastry chef or the confidence to be a food critic.

As she says, I am at best a fakir. And jugaad. And I need to use these two not-so-desirous things to get things that I want. But then it's hard to do so when you are so dependant on others for work and for delivery. When the world around you has it super easy and when you question the fairness of it all.

I know I know. Life is unfair and while most days I take it in a stride, today, I cant. I think this is one of those where I could do with a drink. But since I dont, I guess I need a hug.

However...

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?