And on the 7th day

Since I started working (full-time, post my MBA in 2006), I have never ever felt the need of a "weekend" or a break. I could work long hours and I could continue to work long hours for weeks on the go (My personal "best" is a 4-day long "workday," without sleep and with a lot of food and gas).

Until the week gone by.

I can't remember of a time when I was so tired exhausted with work that I needed a vacation. May be because I take tons of time off to travel and engage in a thousand projects and a million hobbies. I do multiple things at the same time and thus I use different parts of my brain at different times. Or may be because I have worked in advertising, events and startups where every day is a new challenge and work is not repetitive. May be because I have always had great bosses to work for and they allowed me all the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do. Or may be I was plain lucky?

I dont know the reason but as such I've never sort of 'appreciated" the concept of a weekend.

Until the week gone by.

For some reason, the last week brought about a change. Even before the weekend started, I prayed, wished hard and I did not want the Monday to arrive. When it finally dawned, I wanted it to get over fast. Tuesday I did not want to get out of my house, but I had to. I was exhausted by Wednesday. Thursday, I crawled out of my home. I hated everyone. I was grumpy. I was rude to people for no reason. I was not me. I wanted to ask a girl out - I blew it. Friday I was literally begging for the week to end and give me some time to recuperate. And as luck would have it, Friday turned out to be the longest day. And when I finished work on Saturday afternoon, I was so elated that I could actually count it as amongst the happiest moments of my life!

Of course throughout the week, I continued to work and tried to give my best -- which at times is brilliant (from my lens), most times good enough (for people I work for) and often half-baked-half-hearted attempt (for #sgMS). I could elaborate but this is a rant for a different place, different time.

You know, thing is, the world I come from, either you work or your parents set you up a grocery store or a sweets shop (Garg Kirana or Garg Mishthan Bhandar). And as such, I have inherited middle-class ethos where work is above everything else and you simply do what you are asked to do. There is no time to crib, to be tired, to get exhausted, to look forward to the weekends, to crack jokes, to be happy about life. Money is tight and there is no entitlement that helps you tide over the hard times. You work. Or you sit at your grocery store and peddle soaps and shampoos. Of course you could choose to live under a bridge and die of hunger.

With time, thanks to the world we live in, things have become easy and I no longer have to hold a steady job. I have enough work that allows me to make some money, helps me pay my bills and yet have some left over to buy things I like, travel to places I want to, get those occasional gifts for the ones I love. And I am so so thankful to the stars that have allowed me to reach such a place. I know I am luckier than a lot others. I got dealt a pretty ok hand in the ovarian lottery. And the stars dont really work for you unless you put in time and effort. So, there was never a thing about weekends. There was never a break.

Until the week gone by.

I really needed a break. And I actually loved my sleep last night. I missed my Sunday breakfast ritual with VG but that's ok. He'd understand.

While I write this, I am thinking what changed over the years is wrong with me. Lemme indulge my obsession with (of?) making lists and try to list the things that come to my mind.
  • A, I am definitely older (and more depressed). And I am not getting younger (or happier) ever. So I have less physical energy, more stubborn ways, more toxins in my body, more patterns that are so set that I dont want to disturb, lesser neurons, more judgmental decisions and so on and so forth. It hampers my inability to get things done!
  • B, I am suffering from a terrible mid-life crisis and I am trying to overcompensate by drowning myself in work. I am jealous of everyone around me who seems to be happy (look at their FB timelines), doing meaningful work (that is actually changing the world and putting that ding, making money (the convertibles and automatics and third houses that these people are buying), climbing up the corporate ladder and doing well on all such metrics.
  • C, I am trying just too hard. For everything - money, relationships, achievements. And I am not seeing any results. May be because I dont know the direction that I want to move in. It sucks to work like an ass. And come to think of it, I have always talked about smart work being better than hard work. More than results, it is my inability to drive my destiny.
  • D, my inability to get things done. I mean look at this idea that I've been sitting on for almost 6 months. I just cant get it to work. While I sit on the sidelines, the world has taken it and went to another level altogether!
  • E, as #sgMS says, my mediocrity. Thing is, if I were dumb, I would have been content with a job that gave me some money, some respect, lot of grief, long weekends and occasional 5% raise. Or if I were brilliant, I would have had some impact on the world already (look at other 30-odd years old men - Zuckerberg, Altman, Dhoni et al. Hell, I dont need to go far. There are examples in my immediate surrounding - one of my ex-bosses, my classmates from MDI, my friends from school and college). Most people today know what they want in (aka from) life. And they are at it. Moving forward. If not fast, then one step at a time. I, on the other hand, am taking pleasure in ranting about my life. Case in point? These two tweets
  • F, oh my fetish with Masochism and Self-flagellation. I revel in misery I think. No wonder I dont have many friends. And funny thing is, life has been very kind to me. Really kind. I am a man of my free will. I am fat (and thus have enough food in my belly). I can afford a spacious place in Mumbai. I can take occasional weekends off. And I can dream. And I have all the things that are required to get that ding-worthy project off the ground. I want to enable people to see their purpose and do grand things - I have the opportunity to go ahead with it. I just dont do it. I dont know why. 
  • G, I leave too many open windows. More on this later. 
Phew! I am tired. And elated. Tired because I am generally tired. And elated because I just wrote for some 40 minutes (this post). And writing gives me happiness like no other thing.

And in an otherwise ok mood because I am rested. I have an exhibition to go to. Hope it is worth the time and effort. Hope you're having a great weekend. Hope things are working out. Lemme end this with a cartoon by Hugh.

And of course, hope you (and I) do something that matters!

Over and out.

Notes to self
1. Elaborate on half-baked-half-hearted attempts and Open Windows some time. 
2. Stop using to many ands.
3. Find a solution for self-flagellation. 

On the clock

Here is a new experiment. I will write for the next 24 or so minutes. I will not think about what I write. I will not edit what I write. I will not proof read. I will not do a grammar check. I will not do any "post production." I will post.

Screencap of an screen.

I will use to track 25 minutes. Starting now...!

So why this experiment? Because I havent written anything in a long time. I mean I have written but that's been work related writing. Next to negligible (if there is a word like that) for recreation. And come to think of it, I really really love writing. I may not be great at it but I love it. It allows me to express what I cant often speak out loud. It makes me research things. It makes me put things in perspective. It gives my thoughts a structure and a flow. And I get in the other flow - the one that you get in when you are totally immersed in a task. When I write, my writers block, my pseudo depression goes away. I am in the moment. I am in the zone. I feel alive. I am not lethargic. I am not lazy. I dont think of anyone else. May be I do think about #sgMS but not anymore.

As I write, to accompany is some music by RD Burman in the background. Streaming on youtube. The phone is one the night mode. So apart from people in the favorites list I will not get any phone calls. And anyhow who is going to call me? I spoke to my sis already during the day. I am meeting Neo for dinner. My parents have now adjusted to my bouts of absence. And I just finished whatever little work I had on my plate. Of course I have to make some phone calls to get people to do their bit of work. Which they may or may not have done. But I will still have to remind them.

Wait. The track got over. I need to click on a new track. Back in a second.

Back. A quick glance at Eggtimer tells me that I have 20 odd minutes left. Another thing that I would want to do at the end of this excercise is that I would like to know my speed. I would copy paste this post into word and see how many words I typed. Why? I dont know. I have this thing for random data. Like for example, do you know of the Golden Ratio (I shall resist the urge to insert the hyperlink to the Wikipedia article on Golden Ratio, since I am on the clock)? The ratio of 1:1.6? Its insane. And then do you know of the numbers of playing cards? There are 52 cards. There are 52 weeks. There are 4 suits. There are 4 seasons. The total of the face value of all cards is 364. Etc. I love numbers. Just that I am not cool enough to chase my love for mathematics and dive deep in to it. For that matter I dont think I can deep dive into anything. I love being the jack of all trades. And I want to continue to be that. I recently read somewhere that its easy to learn about 70% of any discipline. And from there on, the journey gets tough. So most people would get easily to about 70% of any discipline that they choose. But only a few go beyond that 70%. And that's why we see a few people rise to top while most struggle in mediocrity. I think I have been blessesd that I "get" upto 70% of most things without putting too much effort. This ability allows me to straddle across disciplines. But the lack of expertise in any one stops me from making that impact.

Impact. Damn the word. And damn this guys called Hugh (runs the popular GapingVoid blog - he has been posting things about doing "things that matter" for last few days - again resisting the urge to post link). Wait the song got over. Lemme switch the next one.

I have 13 minutes left. So I wrote for some 7 minutes. More than my ability to concentrate, it was the track that was in the background. The track that I put on now is about 5 minutes long. So the next break will happen when I have 8 minutes left. Ok.

So I was talking about impact. Blame on the universe conspiring (I tweeted about it yesterday, or may be day before). I sincerely believe now that universe does conspire. There are a million examples in front of me. When you want something really bad, you actually get it. Not that I have got what I want (what do I want? simple - money, freedom, opportunity, love, travel). But I am seeing signs of things coming to me. I mean who would have thunk that I would be making my ends meet without having to hold a regular job? Of course I am working harder than a regular employee but I am happy. I can control my time. I can choose what to work on. I can get away from dirty work (P.S.: I think no work is dirty. More on this in some other post).

Ok I am now scratching my head. I think I am stuck. But I shall continue to write. So apart from impact the other thing I chase is making a difference in the lives of people who make me a part of their lives. I love it when I can help people learn things. I may not be the teacher per se. I could merely be someone that triggers something in their head that makes them chase some knowledge. I could be the conduit. I could be the catalyst. I could be that bottom most step on a ladder that helps people rise. And shine.

Wait. Time to change the track. 7 mins, 50 seconds to go. And 19% battery on the laptop. Brb.

Back. I put a 5 minute lone song. Main Koi Aisa Geet from the movie Yes Boss. I shall not post a link. I love the song. So so much. For a ton of reasons. Its SRK. Its a cute love story. Its about making someone you love happy. Its about you being that jester that exists only to make other people laugh, smile and be happy. In an alternate universe I could be a jester, if I could choose. I mean I want to be one in this life as well. But I lack the balls that it takes to try and make other people smile. No wonder I like being part of the entertainment industry. Well, not a part. But at least the fringes. May be, just may be, the meaning of my life is to be that jester? And use my [questionable] understanding of various disciplines to create something that makes people happy? Even if that happiness is for a fleeting moment? May be that's what the universe is trying to tell me all along? May be thats my purpose?

Oh purpose! I have had long discussions with two of my gurus over the last few days. Again, I shall not post links but the gurus are RG and KG. Both are a part of the communication industry and whatever little financial security I have now is because of these two. And because of HG and VK. Wait I am digressing. But thats ok. I am not getting any points for staying on track. The points are to be awarded for continuing to write. Which I am thankfully doing.

Another thing that I could talk is the ongoing shit on my head about my advancing age. It actually happens around this time of the year, every year. And I dont know what to do about it. Wait. Time to change track. Probably the last track. I have a minute and 40 seconds left to go. 

Back. The next is Chaand Taare Tod Laaon. Again, a track that I love. It is all about ambition and all that. Something that I can totally relate to. Anyhow. A thought struck me. Do I want to write for 25 more minutes? I thought as I wrote and the answer is... No!

Why not? If I like writing so much?

Damn the buzzer just rang. Time's up!

More later! 

So I am done. 

I am not editing anything. I am not adding links. I am not correcting grammar. I am not formatting it any different. I am not touching the bit I wrote. If you are a psychologist, may be you want to do an analysis? 

And as I was adding labels (read tags) to this post, I realized that I just did a session of free writing. Sounds interesting. Will explore. Until next time, over and out. And a random number fyi, I wrote about 1300 words, excluding this and the note on the top. Which is not bad, if you ask me!

Talk to Do ratio

If the numbers are to go by, this is the worst year of my life so far, in terms of number of posts I've made on this blog.

I mean look at the screenshot. This is the twelfth year of writing a blog and apart from the first two, the only other year when I wrote so less was 2010. And in the last four year, I have averaged more than 100 posts per year. Why do I care about how much I write? Because I am a writer. And I want to be better one at that. And unless I practice my craft, I will not become what I want to become.

Like all other lapses when I haven't been able to write for long duration, I have multiple excuses. The first one among those is that work has kept me busy. The other is that I just havent felt like writing.

Now, is that a good thing? Of course not. And what am I doing about it? Nothing as yet.

So here's the deal. I will post something on the blog everyday, starting today. Till the end of the year. We should thus end the year with 150 odd posts - making this year the second best year of my blogging life. Now that's a great goal to chase!

I know. I know. I have made this promise umpteen times in the past. But then in the past I was not touching 33. And I am not getting any younger anytime. The time to do shit is now.

Oh, one more thing. A dear friend (RN09Dec) recently told me that I start a million projects and then never work on those. And when I do work, I dont finish. When I discussed this with kAgE and Agony Aunt, kAgE told me not bother as the projects left unfinished are left abandoned for a reason. And AA told me that my "talk to do" ratio tends to zero and in long run, people who have a high talk to do ratio do well. And I want to do well. And I shall work on improving this. Any tips anyone?

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?