Why the Lockdown has been kind to me

I have been remote working since 2001 when I shifted to Mumbai from Jalgaon where I used to manage my a production unit. Since 2008, after I completely shuttered the manufacturing business I have been working on mostly the internet. My pain was working all alone all day. So I ventured out into cafe’s risking bad and over expensive coffee which has had a detrimental effect on my health and wealth. To save money from working out from coffee. I started working from public libraries. It was the best decision I made, it cost to be Rs 3800/ for the entire year.

Ist Lifestyle change

But lockdown shut down all those cafes and public library. This was one of the major lifestyle changes I had to make. Now I work all alone, sometimes zoom conferencing, Whatsapping and talking over the phone.

There is no social life left, work has become mainstream. The team has grown and there is more pressure on everyone and not be the weak link in the chain.

2nd Lifestyle change

I rarely cooked anything at home. I thought cooking was extremely labour intensive, particularly the cleaning, chopping parts. Also, I had reason to believe that for a one-person home, takeout or eating out is more affordable. (This is debatable).

Results of these two lifestyle decisions

Now I feel I am a much healthier, as I have been eating at home, and cooking myself. After some trial and error, I realised eating the same food every day makes me feel healthier. So I have been eating the same stuff for the last 2 months.

Here is my fixed diet for the last 2 months.

Breakfast. – Sourdough Bread Toast – with egg/cream cheese/clarified butter. followed by Tea

Mid Day (if exhausted) – Cinnamon Latte

Lunch – Rice+Curd with pepper+salt + sometimes I have fried chillies or papad as accompaniment.

Early Evening (if exhausted) – Cinnamon Latte

Dinner is usually before 9 and can be as early as 5:30pm – Toasted Bread + Grilled Chicken/Fried Egg + dollops of clarified (butter).

There are two things I love in my diet.

1. Clarified Butter ( I consume a litre a month or more) 2. Curd – in the form of buttermilk mostly (150 gms)

Of course, I cannot survive without this delicious sourdough bread, I get from Baker’s dozen.

Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

Lockdown is a great time for some inner work

Men usually don’t get time to ponder over inner feelings. We are busy trying to figure out the power structures of the world. But with covid19 taking everyone by surprise, we are all suddenly one, because covid19 doesn’t discriminate. 

All social signalling has come to grinding halt like our beleaguered economy. People are now greedy for essentials only. No more iPhones and other luxury goods. Of course, there are going to be exceptions. 

Disasters are also opportunities to get a foot in the door of the new economic system. But Humanity I presume as learnt a hard lesson. What use will all that accumulated wealth be, if our children cannot play in open spaces? What good, will any power be, if the young cannot meet at a social place? 

Yes, sometimes, I feel I have lived my life. Old as I feel, there are some things which are deeply rooted in our childhood. The excess energy saved due to not wanting anything other than the basic essentials gives room to explore this past. 

How long and deep will this lockdown be we do not know? Some experts say that it could be 4 years until vaccination happens. We will various stages of lockdown, like in China, they are putting a colour code on people. If you live near or have visited a zone which was having or later developed a covid19 case, your status is made RED. Yes, they track you by your cellular GPS. 

One of the most tragic after-effects of this coronavirus disaster is that we will be losing our privacy. But that is another story. Right now we need to find our true selves, our authentic self, who has probably been suppressed by our god-like parents. 

Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash

Removing the Heart Chakra Block

I grew up in what is called a broken family. A broken family is where communication is blocked or if they (parents) tried to communicate, they did it by shouting and screaming and sometimes physically abusing each other.

As a young child looking at my parents in a physical scuffle was most terrifying. I was worried more for 6 feet, 100 kg (almost) young 40-year-old dad than for my 5’2” inch tall 30-year-old mother. The reason is that it was my drunk mother who would start the brawl. In a 5-year-old mind, I was in no position to understand the context of the fight. For a 5-year-old mind, it is WYSWYG ( What you see what you get). My mother was the villain of the family. She was a drunkard and a trouble maker. I couldn’t have been more wrong. She was the powerless and helpless woman, as a young woman uneducated woman, the only way she could fight was by screaming and shouting her pain and it took a lot of alcohol to get her there.

Without the alcohol, she was quiet, loving and generous. With a lot of support from the alcohol, she tried to fight back my dad, who was a VJTI Engineer and a prosperous businessman with cars and disposable income. He was the personification of success for all his 10/15 nephews and nieces, many of them whom he employed in his factory.

I think am like my mother except that I don’t drink.

There is a lot of pain inside me, which should come out, but I don’t want to do it like my mother by hitting the bottle. I am looking for other ways.

I think all that fight between my parents has damaged me badly. Still at this age, if I hear people screaming at each other, I get very irritated, I think it is not normal.

I cannot cry easily.

Because of the constant fight between my parents, I became a zombie. I never felt hurt. A counsellor/friend – Reetu Walia (She is amazing) told me that I live inside a beautiful palace where “hurt” is normal. I hated to admit, but that sounded a bit true.

As a teenager, I slept a lot, sometimes 13/14 hours a day. No, I never did any substance. I just was numb. Many strangers who met me as a teenager or a young adult told me I look like a Zombie. I felt insulted, as I always thought I was an intelligent person, I mean I read Sigmund Freud when I was in 7th Standard and enjoyed it thoroughly. Little did I realise they were pointing at my heart which didn’t feel anything. My heart had stopped feeling when I was very young.

It took me 7 days after my dad’s death to cry. I just felt numb for 7 days and went about doing regular stuff.

My heart opened a bit when I got separated from my kids

I guess God, wanted to do his bit. My biggest pain in life was when I got separated from my kids. Thanks to them, I am a bit more human. But still, my heart is half paralysed. I know if a tragedy happens, I will feel in weeks or months later.

It is a life/heart living in denial.

I am doing my bit to un-block my heart chakra. It causes me a lot of harm. All my decisions go wrong because my heart doesn’t talk to me. In love, the heart plays a vital role. I even missed a boat, when I realised I love a woman when she announced her engagement to me. Shucks, I said better luck next time. The heart laughs but cannot cry, because crying hurts. The 5-year-old doesn’t want to cry. He wants to block the images of his parents fighting but he cannot.

I hope, I succeed in unblocking the heart chakra soon. Wish me luck. In case you have succeeded in unblocking the heart, let me know. They say talking about it a good way to start.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

How I made a stranger cry on our first coffee meet

She – a stranger messaged me on twitter, I am interested in the writer’s job. Can we meet? Most of my writers have never even met me, so I thought to myself, why should I waste the lady’s time. So I asked her, how about getting on a call first? But also gave a link to my calendar where she had a choice to book a call or a meeting for the coffee shop opposite my house. She decided to go and book an in-person coffee meeting. I thought she would choose the call, I mean why would anyone waste their time. Now I was worried about my time, I checked her bio and saw that she had a blog, she was writing about Bollywood and TV which never interest me so I didn’t check for the quality. Also, I had interacted with her on Twitter a couple of times and thought of her as a pleasant and intelligent person. I decided it might be a good meeting. I reached and she was already sitting there. She asked me what I would like to have, I said, I won’t have anything, just water (which never arrived).

We connected immediately.

It was a flying start, she talked about the loss of culture in Mumbai because of UP migrants. I agreed that the city was getting overcrowded. But what she did next made me put my trust in her more.

What do you do?

She said, she has never really worked, but now has all the free time, wherein i replied, that I had just no free time. (this was a hint, she should have taken). She asked for my advice on what she could do with her career. She said she was interested in healing, Bollywood and events. I gave her an idea, which she wasn't particularly interested in listening. This is when I realised, that the lady had an agenda. (coming back here later)

I became vulnerable

Meanwhile, She looked at my eyes and said they are unhappy and whether I am bothered with paying bills. I was very impressed, and that she had guessed right. I opened up further to her, I told her about my personal life in detail, she was curious and I gave her all the answers about my life. It is probably unprofessional of me of opening my vulnerable side to a complete stranger, but I always want to give some context to a person to know me well. [But people take advantage of this, instead of showing compassion. I have to learn not to talk about my personal life. ]

We came back to her career

She said I should let her at least try writing for my publication, I said sure, i would like to give her the opportunity if she wants to give it a go. We then again went back to talking about her career, every time I recommended her something, she told me “ You do it”. I again emphasized that I don’t have time. This is my way of anchoring people who want freebies. (If you understand negotiation techniques). But I was losing my patience. Instead of asking me whether I would like to do it, she told me I should do it. I calmly explained to her, I have a database of 2000 businesses and about 500 of them are my past clients. I cannot get involved as in the nitty-gritty of their business, but I am their local media channel. After all this explaining, I realised, I was trapped in a meeting with a housewife who has not much experience of business talks. ( I wanted the meeting to end ASAP) She asked me again if I would like a coffee, now I realised that if she treats me for a coffee, it would be to oblige me. I said, I need only water and I will get it. She then suggested that she should do the counselling as she thinks she is good at it, I agreed, she had at least spotted my issue. She then said that I should give her some free publicity initially as she was new. I said it would depend on what content she creates and if it is relevant for our media.

I decided to give her some gyaan.

I now knew that I was with a person with no professional experience, but up till this time, she had looked up to me and that made me feel I was entitled to give her a piece of hard advice.

Never Ask for Freebies

I told her in a very soft (but irritated) voice, that please keep in mind that you never ask for freebies as I feel you are devaluing my brand. I explained that I know that you have no professional experience and if it was a professional sitting across me, I would have walked off. I guess it took her a couple of minutes to understand what had been unleashed upon her. I could see her eyes turn RED and tearful, she said, I had hurt her and had spoken vitriolic words and that I should have just left if I didn’t want to work with her. I told her, I never said I don’t want to work with you. She was not listening to me now. She was tearful.Her reaction stunned me, I said, I can apologise if it helps and I do. My intention was to give you business advice. I said I have to leave, she mumbled if I wanted coffee. I said no and offered her a handshake, she just touched my fingers like I was a toxic waste.

Why did this happen?

She has made a mental model of me, as she was following me on twitter of years. My online persona is of a carefree, reckless person. My real-life persona is of “ I don’t have time and let's get to the point” I have seen many people trying to be pally with me, only to be shooed away. I am 47, and I know I have 10/15 years of work left. People guess my age as 30 from my online persona and when they meet me in person, they think I am 36. Based on this perception the lady had planned her agenda when she saw that she had not only failed in carrying out her agenda (of getting a free business and marketing partner) and was actually called out for doing so. She decided to turn the tables before I could call her an ill-mannered woman she called me out as vitriolic.

Some people are bad losers.

I wished the lady has read the cues.

Cue No 1

I told her I am extremely busy several times. If it is a compassionate person, she would have offered to pay ( as she kept saying she has no need to earn money right away). But she still was stuck with freebies.

Cue No 2

She herself told me my eyes tell her that I am worried about paying my bills every month. How could she then even think I would do anything for free.

My Mistakes

1. I should stop telling people about my personal life. I should come to business talk asap! 2. I should do better research on the person I am going to meet. Business talk is tough, people don’t want to hear it. I valuable advice to a person who was not ready to receive it. I need to qualify the person before I try to save the womankind with my free advice.

The Takeaway

I recently read Malcolm Gladwell book " Talking to Strangers". In his book, he explains, how human beings are built to trust other people by default. But we often completely misread other people. He tells some people to give false signals, for example – A person can be telling a truth but his facial expressions are of telling a lie. In fact, the CIA got fooled by Cuban spy for 25 years, who they hired and who eventually were part of a Cuban counter-espionage operation.

Scared of strangers

In the digital age, we have lost the art of reading strangers, I am a victim, I think the millennials are even worse, that's the reason they hide behind messages. We need to understand this art better.

Final Statement

I wish I had read her persona and I could have been more tactful. Who knows, this blog post would have been about a new friend made.

Better luck next time for me! 🙂

Stranger
Photographer: Aliyah Jamous | Source: Unsplash

For Singles Only – How to find the right life-partner.

There are chances that you have missed the bus, or maybe you got on the wrong marriage bus. Happens, it happened to me, quite a few times, that’s the reason I don’t understand people who marry their childhood sweethearts. I mean youth is all about trial and error till you find the right life-partner.

The single most critical decision you will ever make

But this most important decision is the single most critical decision you could ever make, but still, so many people get this wrong. I am lucky, I jumped out of the marriage bus. But single men are more ostracised than single women. We single men don’t know how to manage life without a woman. I have to consult my mother-in-law (her name is youtube) for every small thing, like how much salt to put in a dish. If I knew life as a single man would be so tough, I would have tried to stay on the bus. But then foolish people are not particularly gifted with hindsight.

Why am I advising on find how to find the right life-partner?

Have been single since 2005, I think I have a 15-year experience on how to stay alive as a single person. I think my insights could help some young people to get the right kind of life partner rather than being single and adopting cats and dogs for company. You can be a couple, have children and still have pets.

There is only one important thing to know if she/he is the right one – Communication

Yes, it is as simple as this.

If you feel you can understand the person without even talking or that person saying something to you, you have found your soulmate.

There is a caveat –

You might start with great communication with the person you date and eventually marry. But after you get a bit older in a relationship, you fall into what is called “[Closeness- Communication bias]” – which means the closer you feel to someone, the less you listen to that person.

Warning for men/boys

Women are more deceptive and manipulative. A woman might lie if she is insecure and communicate only what the guy wants to hear. This creates a wrong illusion that the women are listening or following you. She might do it for various reasons, like the guy is a good catch, she is missing her window of opportunity to carry children. A woman is always in much more hurry to get hitched before losing her value in terms of age and beauty. So guys, try to find an honest woman.

find the right life-partner
Photographer: Avinash Uppuluri | Source: Unsplash

Rape Culture and Why Men Rape.

Rape’s happen in our society and its basically men who are the Perpetrators of this crime. So there has so be some thing about men’s biological or sociological conditioning which makes them do this act. The laws are stringent and can mean you get a life term or get hanged for one little spurt of semen.

So why do men do it?

Let’s talk Biology first

It often argued by feminist that women have equally strong libido and so why don’t they rape. This is good rhetoric, but we know, what makes men aggressive is their testosterone levels. Even at their most fertile ovulating phase, a women’s testosterone is ten times less than a man’s. A woman’s sexual desire phase waxes and wanes as per her ovulating phase. While a man sexual desire is a pretty much constant (high) all the time. It is rather important piece of biological information everyone should know. A man is 10x more hornier than a women. This doesn’t mean he has a capability of enjoying sex 10x more than a woman, but yes he is horny and sex is always on the back of his mind.

Does this mean he should rape?

Of course not! The usual mating game is goes like this.

He is horny for a woman, he makes attempt to impress her and then he escalates by asking for her number and then a date. Till he gets what he wants.

Now there is this twist –

What if the woman he find’s so hot, won’t consider him a potential date. Women practise hypergamy, which is basically, dating someone who is equal or above in socio-economic influence to her.

This man now gets rejected. His chances of getting laid, are diminishing day by day. With every single rejection, he chances of getting rejected get more and more severe. He joins the numerous incel groups on the internet who make hate meme’s against women. Some of them also are about Rape. Fortunately, internet is an outlet for him to express his frustration. Also there is moral social contract which is hardcoded in the form of law, which is that just because you can’t get something you cannot steal it. He understands it. He is from that class which understands law.

It is often said the super rich and the deplorably poor have some kind of different morality or social contracts.

Rich people act as they have a basic impunity to act as they wish.

If a rich guy rapes a woman. He offers her a lot and lot of money or some potential big deal to compensate for this. If it reaches to the police, he has a battery of lawyers who can do a settlement with the Police or he can do a back hand settlement. Example Bikram Choudhary of HOT Yoga fame.

What about the poor guy who rapes – Well the police generally don’t care as there is no money to be extracted. The poor man usually threatens the poor woman he has raped and the deal is closed. In some cases where there is strong social pressure, the man is even wedded to the woman he has raped. (The poor man respects the village/caste/community law more than he respects the police. )

Poor man rapes a women from a higher socio-economic class

( I nowhere mean to imply the rich raping others or poor raping their own is OK, I am just explaining why this particular kind of rape is more gruesome )

If this poor man rapes a women from a higher socio-economic class (middle class) the outcome is gruesome rape + murder. The case of Nirbhaya and the recent Reddy case are such examples. Nirbhaya though from a poor background was on her way out of her socio-economic circle. The recent case of reddy where she was already a veterinary doctor.

Now here some guys from lower economic strata raped a someone from the upper socio-economic class. They are not capable of threatening her family so the only recourse left to them is to kill their victim and destroy all evidence after the deed.

It is said that the Police are there to save the 80% of the population from killing the much well to do 20% of the population. The 80% of the people who live in squalor need a strong deterrent to not kill or loot the other well off people. It is via the police they are kept in check.

How to avoid this gruesome rapes.

Rapes should all together stop. But we live in a society where lot of women are killed by men in domestic violence. So there is certain developmental stages we need to transcend as humanity.

But these gruesome rapes, could they stop all together? What if there is broader social contract between the have-not’s and haves to live peacefully and respectfully.

Closing Remarks

The #metoo was also an inversion of this paradigm. It was an outrage to bring down powerful men (predators) who thought they were above the law and the social contract theory. Though we didn’t have any gruesome rapes, as powerful men usually think they can buy out their victim or the police.

Caveat to the above – This is not always true. Some powerful paedophile’s men have been accused of killing their victim’s.

#Metoo – Of Nudes and Dick Pics

These were the early days of the internet and way before #metoo. I met her on yahoo chat. When I first heard her voice, I felt I had never heard such a beautiful and sexy voice ever! I felt like a desert experiencing rain after several years of drought. She was the woman of my dreams, educated abroad, from an elite family and looked like a model. She, on the other hand, thought I was a “perfectly imperfect” man. In her elite world, there were probably no men like me. We hit off superbly.

Our friendship goes on for years.

One Late night

She messages me “ Are you awake?”

I check the message and my heart skips a beat.

I love speaking to her. We speak for hours into the wee hours of the morning. She speaks to me like I am her secret lover. She tells me all about her past relationships and even her current boyfriend. I am her top confidante. I love her stories about her studies and her relationships, mostly about the chemistry and lovemaking she describes to me. At that time I didn’t know that those stories were probably cooked up. She wanted my attention at any cost, even if she had to cook up the most outrageous story she could. Maybe she was using this strategy with several guys. Event the pictures she sent me was of someone else. Even though all stories were false, the connection was real, I was under her skin and she was under my skin. The false stories just took away the un-aesthetics aspects of daily life out of the way. After all, there was a slim chance we would ever meet.

I reply – Yes, I am awake. Please call…

She calls up –

I ask her what is she doing? She says she is in the bathtub. Our talks go on for hours. She tells me how her Dad and she made the Biryani today. I am riveted with our conversation and our talks go on till the wee hours of the morning. I tell her I am horny, she admits she is too. She tells me what she wants to be done to her, I tell her what I want. We make out.

We end the call.

The post #metoo era

Back then I was young, and my hormones were crazy. I would never do something like this today. I am too old for such stuff. Also, there is a fear of #metoo. What if the girl records or screenshots and selectively decide to share it during the next #metoo wave.

I am not worried about myself, I am too wise and old and know who not to get intimate with. ( Basically no one!). But what about young guys who think the rite of passage is to getting laid as soon as possible with as many girls as possible.

This could prove to be a landmine of these guys. Who will clear the landmine for the young boys?

Story of Utsav Chakroborty

Utsav Chakroborty was one such rather unfortunate guy who was outed by a girl who he was talking for around three years. I don’t blame the girl here also. She got swept off her feet during the wave of anger during the India #metoo movement. She retold the story about her interactions with Utsav and believed she was the victim. Utsav Chakroborty became the most hated man in India, at least on twitter for sure. Utsav was at no fault either. Maybe he misread and his testosterone levels peaked and he did a rather risky thing of sending her image of dick in exchange for what he thought was nude pic.

I feel sad that the trust is lost between young boys and girls. I hope the young boys and girls are not taking screenshots of every slips and misunderstanding now.

If you are blissfully unaware of the #metoo characters below are some references.

References and Citations

As Utsav Chakraborty calls #MeToo allegations 'fabricated'; Mahima Kukreja says he needs to own up, apologise- Entertainment News, Firstpost

“In October 2018, the second wave of the #MeToo movement was triggered in India with a series of tweets from women calling out their alleged harassers. Among those tweets was one by aspiring comedian Mahima Kukreja, who alleged that AIB collaborator Utsav Chakraborty had sent her unsolicited photos of his genitalia”

www.firstpost.com

https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/as-utsav-chakraborty-calls-metoo-allegations-fabricated-mahima-kukreja-says-he-needs-to-own-up-apologise-7697521.html

(Accessed Tuesday, November 26, 2019)

HOW MAHIMA KUKREJA THREATENED UTSAV CHAKRABORTY PART 2 – YouTube

“In this audio clip, Mahima Kukreja and her lawyer/sister Mansi Kukreja can be heard telling Utsav Chakraborty that his life will be destroyed by them if he releases screenshots that would exonerate him from all allegations made by Mahima. He tells them to file a police complaint and go to court so he can come out with his side of the story but they refuse, saying that he cannot release anything without her permission. But didn't SHE release false information about him without HIS permission?”

www.youtube.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1MpI6_XSxg&feature=youtu.be

(Accessed Tuesday, November 26, 2019)

#metoo

Living without Love can make you more Authentic

Love, love, love! It is everywhere. We are all begging for more love. We just want people to love us. Love has its upside but have you ever thought about the downside of love?

You who have ruined you health and life searching for love, somebody to love. What if I told you, that you could be better off without LOVE.

Let us get the upside of love out of the way

Love is a great de-stresser.

It is a great antidote to chronic stress. As you very well know that science now has discovered that stress weakens the immune system and it is responsible for all the major diseases from a heart attack to cancer. It has even gone and debunked “ diseases are passed via gene’s theory”.

Yes, Love can save your life by making you less stressed in life.

Love is a safety net

When you love someone, the promise is basically something like this –

“I will take care of you or I want to be taken care by you.”

This manifests itself in a term called Attachment. When you are attached to a parent, husband, you are basically promising to take care of the person or you are asking to be taken care off.

Love is leverage

Pair bonding is the 1st unit of the tribe and Love is how to extend your tribe. You produce children, friends and get more relatives. This web of people promise to be there, to cheer you on your birthdays, anniversaries and to mourn on your grief.

This tribe is your community. They make your passage through life less harrowing by acting as a lubricant to your goals.

Sorry to keep you waiting, now you must be wondering what the fuck could be the downside of love.

Downside of love – You become a fake!

Do you like fake people? Lets define a fake person first. A person who is not aligned to his being is a fake or anyone who is not true to their inner self.

So you might ask how can love correlate to one becoming a fake. Well, love is needed for survival. Our children love us since they are born, they quickly learn not to piss off mom or dad. They know they have been punished in the past for not complying to their parents vision of what a good child should be.

Many people in their late 50”s are still working for their parents approval. It need not be a parent, it could be a elder sibling, it could be your husband or wife whose validation you seek all the time. You cannot imagine not living without their approval. It is hard-wired into your biology. Anyone you feel attached to is responsible for you not being true to yourself.

Authenticity

If you are always trying to please your loved one, when will you ever get time and courage to be your authentic true self. Does that ring a bell?

Have you ever sacrificed, a very important passion or pursuit for your loved one? Do you worry more about your loved one than you worry about yourself? These could be sign’s of your fakeness.

Ok, if this has got you interested, go and google “Dr. Gabor Mate” to learn more.

What it is like growing without a mother?

Yesterday, I attended a talk at the Tata literature festival on “ Writing as a Catharsis”. The panelist were Avni Doshi who has just released her debut novel “The girl in white cotton” which is about a complex relationship between mother and daughter. Then there was Istavan Voros and David Vann whose father committed suicide when he was just 13. David went on to write a novel about his father’s suicide but ended up committing suicide himself (in the novel of-course).

I guess that event yesterday and some feminist on twitter calling me sexist, triggered me and I had some revelation about myself and my relationship with my mother which I thought I would write in this blogpost. Yes, it is mostly about me, and a bit about my mother.

The Memorable Childhood Incident

I was seven or eight years old. I went to my mother and asked her I wanted her to make something sweet (sheera) for me, as I was hungry. She was having an emotional moment perhaps at the same time and she shooed me away. Not harshly but her expression was deadpan. That was perhaps the most painful of my memories of my mother. That day she had given up on me, or rather that day she had given up on herself perhaps. I would never ever again ask her to make anything for me. That was the last time, I asked something from her.

I felt betrayed. My own mother had given up on me, but I was also deadpan about it, like mother like son. I never showed my pain. I ignored her completely. My dad was the hero, he earned a lot of money and I didn’t need an alcoholic mother. But I was wrong.

After that day, things spiralled downhill for her. She was a raging alcoholic, I never again saw her sober from that day onwards. She used to drink when awake and go to sleep when drunk out of her senses. She was drinking to numb her pain. How could a woman in so much pain even think about the needs of a young child? I didn’t understand then, I never forgave her for not being responsible towards me. She was supposed to take care of my needs as Dad was working 8 am to 9 pm every day.

The Divorce

Soon things spiralled to rock bottom. She had become a threat to our safety, and every day we had one or another scene. One day I came home from school and saw my mother sitting on the window ledge and threatening to jump off the third floor. It was attention-seeking at its best. We all knew she wouldn’t jump, but I died thinking that my entire school now knows about (my mad) and alcoholic mother. Dad was summoned immediately and the crisis was taken care of.

Soon the divorce papers were done and mother was sent away.

Growing up without a mother

My dad took very good care of us as far as food and clothing were concerned, but he was old school and was never really could understand my emotional needs. It was hands-off parenting. As long as I was safely back home every day, no questions were asked as a child.

No one to talk about problems which a 10 year could understand.

A child needs to be talked to every day, a child needs to be questioned about all the things which happen daily in a non-intrusive way. This was missing in my childhood.

For eg –

I had a tuition teacher who taught me for 5 years and every day he would make me feel guilty how i was not doing my homework. He would talk down to me 30 minutes of the one hour of tuition time. I just blanked out and he went on lecturing. I didn’t hate him for it, I liked the guy, but he just didn’t inspire me. He just didn’t get me.

Dad never took one day of my homework. He was just too busy making money, I think if I had a functioning mom, she could have helped in my studies. But I wish my 5 years of school life was not wasted with an uninspiring tutor and I could at least tell someone about it.

But perhaps I am applying today’s “Helicopter parenting” standards to the completely care-free, hands-off parenting of the ’70s.

Eating food outside

I must be the youngest kid who started eating lunch everyday at a hotel, I must have been eight. Though my sister would manage some dal-chawal. I preferred to eat my lunch from the neighbourhood restaurant. Eating every day from the Udipi joint is not the greatest thing for a growing up.

Eating right is so important if you understand the gut-brain connection. Yup, eating right can make you bright. Forget about looking hot and sexy. A child needs sharp brains!!!

The Biggest Void

Our biggest voids define our life.

I think my biggest void is not having a woman to take care of me. I just cannot find a woman who genuinely cares. It is said that woman want grown-up men and at the same time, they also say that women make men grow up. What are the rites of passage for a boy to become a grown-up, I suspect the role is played either by the mother or by the wife or a woman who deeply cares?

This insecurity destroys my relationships and otherwise gets me glued on to some relationships where perhaps I shouldn’t be looking.

The sense of betrayal when a mother gives up on a child is biological and could perhaps take a lifetime to heal. Till then I will keep looking for a woman who will care enough or chase women who have the capability to care. I think it takes a certain madness to care for a grown-up child. 🙂

This Blogpost now raises another question? What it is to grow up without a father? Let’s explore that sometime. If you have been brought up by single parent. Do email me you thoughts on manoj@manojnayak.com.

The Importance of Authority Figures

I have a problem with Authority. I have serious issues with authority figures like Dad, Bosses, More succesful Dickheads, and alpha males.

Why do I have a problem with Authority

I loved my dad, but he was someone who would say “No” to any thing i really wanted to have. He was a kid himself and there was only room for one kid in the house. He bought all the toys for himself (machineries, mercedes and toyota’s). As he indulged in his toys, there was no thought about indulging his kid. So anything I asked was met with a flat ‘NO”. He was not someone wordy, he just said “No”. As a 8/10 year old, I just went sad on hearing that “No” evverytime. But he was an authority figure, I can no courage (or understanding on how to) to question him on his decision.

But this led to a repression of desires, that when i took over the (his) business as a young man, i was already making him redendant. Someone times i would out talk him in front of important clients (and he would suffer silently). He couldn’t say much as I was managing the works for him, I was bringing him the money.

I think this must have been exteremely disturbing for him, I was now the alpha young male he had to compete with. He was so insecure that when he passed away. I was not authorised signatory or a joint account holder in any of the bank accounts. This was how insecure I had made the old man.

But he was from the silent generation and could never express his insecurities to me. I had become his biggest competitor inside and outside the house, he had to survive me, he didn’t unfortiunately.

He had made me a competetor by saying “NO” to all the things I wanted to have as a 10 year old. My repression was the mistake he had made. He started working as a ten year old, he never had a childhood and he never could give me a childhood because of this.

This is how generations of messed up individuals grow up. Now I am a child, who fulfills all this whims and fancies, without even thinking of whom i am repressing.

I guess it is time for me to deal with this repression and stop playing with toys, because if i remain a child, i am snatching somoene’s else childhood or I have already done that unknowingly.

Why are authority figures important?

I don’t have a single person in my life who can call out my crap, (except my elder sister, she rarely does though). But I need more authority figures to call out my crap, to question me.

This is scary, as we become independent, we don’t like to be questioned and be answerable. But everyone needs checks and balances perhaps?

How to become a better Listener

I have a ringing sound in my ear. It is very irritating, it is like your mom or wife constantly trying to tell you something. The ENT doctor says, my ear canal is blocked because of the cold. It is the most ridiculous health issue, but I had worst, so I might as well accept this one as another feather in the cap.

This sickness of mine, medically known as tinnitus as made me think about the psychosomatic factors. It is now well established that there is a link between our mind and body. There is an entire branch of psychoneuroimmunology that links some auto immune disorders from Multiple Sclerosis to IBS to your mental stress. Enough of cutting edge medical science talk!!

Do I have a listening problem?

I met a acquaintance the day before, and I realised I was talking a lot of my issues. I was so focussed on using him as a sounding board that the entire conversation felt a bit surreal. My fears, my irritation and his defence and guard let me feel that the conversations shouldn’t happen in this manner. I cannot use every person I meet as a sounding board and expect to gain resolution for my problems. No wonder I have problems connecting to other people. I am forever trying to get things go my way.

How do I become a better listener.

I have decided that next time, I feel somebody really wants to talk, I am going to drop all my projections and just let it be. I will just be a mirror reflecting what the other person wants to hear from me. It may be praise, compassion, empathy or criticism.

Do you want to talk?

Why I choose fun over connections.

I feel all doors are closing or more like the ceiling is going to collapse. Can one open doors without experimenting with Psychedelic substances? Health issues, financial problems and no relationships, yes this couldn’t look worse. But in spite of all this, I manage to have a lot of fun each and everyday.

Yes, fun all alone. I really don’t see myself in other peoples company. I feel the work I am doing though not paying, but it is one of the things which keeps me connected to other people. Also, inspite on my ADD (attention deficient disorder) , i have been doing the same thing for almost 10 years.

I haven’t changed profession or the line of business, though I have taken some freelance assignments to pay the rents. I have managed to stick it out. Also I am having a lot of fun doing my core work.

Is it OK to have fun working?

One potential business partner told me “Manoj, You seem to be having lot of fun, doing what you and that is a problem”. On prodding further, he indicated, that I was not focused on making money, but focused on having fun and this is the reason for my dire financial state of affairs”. But then you cannot really expect something radical from an MBA graduate.

Different school of thoughts on Fun@work

Some say, be professional, don’t have fun. Others would say, have fun, do what you love and do your best, money would follow. I chose to follow the other line of thought for my professional life.

Being serious means you gain your power from manipulating others, some day you will find your match and you will be ousted from your vantage point and left powerless. If the source of your power is outside of you, it is matter of time till your luck run outs.

But if you analyse the “fun” part without the context of space, it could be a valid point

I was talking to my young 18 year old friend, she said that she only has people in her life whom she feels strongly connected to. This hit me out of nowhere. In fact, i realised that the only reason she is talking to me or is connected is because she feels connected to me, while i was thinking I have a right to her life. (She has no obligation as such).

The other thing, which made me realise is I have never chased deeper connections. I have always preferred people who are fun to hang around with. I have never judged or evaluated if i feel a deep sense of connection, the idea of connection never crossed my mind.

If you are in it for fun, the problem is sooner or later you get bored and have to move on and meet other people. The problem is replacing people is darn difficult. You cannot replace your school best friend or college buddy, when the fun runs out.

So why the fuck do i chase fun

Fun is a way for me to not deal with life’s real problems, it is a coping mechanism, which has become a addiction. I don’t know how to make new relationships or mend the broken relationships from my past. I don’t know how to make more money, I don’t know how to make people believe in me and follow me.

I am very incompetent at the practical things of life. So the only thing i can do is have fun. Are you up for some fun? Lets have fun!!!

Getting out of my comfort zone

I am very bothered by this book by Robin Sharma. It is irritating the fuck out of me! This blogpost is an attempt to vent out.

I hate every word of the book, but still I am painfully trying to read the crap Mr. Robin Sharma has written. The reason why I hate the book 5am Club is the following

  1. It is a terrible cliche and badly written peice of shit.
  2. It is forcing me out of my comfort zone.

So I am in this terrible place, where if i read this badly written book, I will be the bigger loser than Mr. Sharma and if the reason is number 2, that I am avoiding to read the book because it challenges me to get out of my comfort zone. As one of the primary purpose i picked up the book was I want to get the fuck out of my comfort zone. I am sick of the comfort zone!

Now I think I can get deeper than Mr. Robin Sharma

What is a comfort zone?

What if I am already living too much out of my comfort zone?

How does Mr. Sharma know that I am about to be eaten up by a blue whale and will dissolve in the whale stomach acid in minutes?

Anyway!

The blog has acheived it aim of venting out on Mr Sharma and his silly book. I feel like I should troll him by writing a book called 3:30 am Club!

Any publishers here would like to give me an advance?

My Intermittent Fasting Lie

Ok, I wanted to give my stomach a rest. So I thought I will do only one meal a day! The first day I skipped all meals and had my dinner. The result for massive acidity.

So now I do one meal a day, but I snack in the morning, afternoon and early evening. I try to snack something which is just enough to fill the palm of my hand.

Dinner is a bit elaborate sometime, but sometime again it is a small snack. I feel fasting really improves energy level. Heavy meals are a productivity killer. I am extremely wary of over eating and paranoid about over eating.

When people ask me how I am so fit

I am perhaps naturally thin, also I eat less and less. Also I walk like crazy. I love walking. But I am far from fit, stomach bugs, throat infections, tooth issues are my constant companions. But Yeah, I might be looking a bit boyish, which I really cringe at sometimes. I wish I looked more like a grown up man!

But then someone huge men want to look boyish so they could pursue younger women.

Anyway sorry for digressing.

Late 40’s are a crisis. Infact the entire 40’s are a crisis state. I hope 50’s would be much better than this? 40’s is about getting aware of your immortality and your responsibilities for me. I was blissfully carefree till i hit 44 I think.

It is kinda sad, I think i had a privilege life. Some men start earning for their family right at 21.

I just drifted and drifted.

Ok!

# My Microbiome is whacked out.

This is not a pleasant topic to write about, but shit happens. The stomach of mine has always been a mystery, but a few years back. I realised my GI (gastro-intestinal) tract is gone for a toss. It is something which happens when you you are always under stress, the body stops producing the acids needed to digest the food and you end up eating smaller and smaller meals. Also eating out (where you don’t know what ingredients are being used) is the last straw which broke my gut.

## Eating Small qualities

I eat extremely small quantities of meal. But I eat about 3 times a day, this is also a bit too much for my stomach to process. After doing lot of online research and reading books, I have found that there are many people out there like me. What do these people do?

# Fad diets

Many westerners start prebiotics and probiotics. Indians do Ayurveda which is chaas (butter milk) and kitchdi diet. Bone broths is another popular diet which has plenty of gelatin which helps soothe the stomach lining. There are a pleathora of diets out there. There is Keto where one eats majorly protein based foods, there is paleo which has the ultimate snob value as you eat the kind of food which your ancestors ate before they started farming. It means berries, tubers, seasonal veggies and your preferred animal of choice.

## You have also IF (Intermittent Fasting) diet and OMAD (One meal a day diet)

In IF diet you fast for a good 12/14/24/36 hours between meals, OMAD is radical and it means you have only one meal per day usually at the same time before 7pm. As per Dr. Gundry, pre-farming humans only ate once in a while which could be once a day or once in a few days. Our bodies are designed for fasting and not for eating. First time in modern history, more people are dying out of over-eating rather than starvation. (Not sure that is a good or a bad thing). But I certainly don’t intend to die from over-eating.

## What hurts my gut and what is good.

Eating oily stuff hurts really bad, ghee doesn’t hurt me. Chips and spicy stuff is out of question. Cardamon is excellent soothing spice. Sabja, Apple cider vinegar is good to cool your body down too. Fermented pickles works wonder for me. I love them and have them whenever I am eating non-veg food.

# My Diet

I want to eat less, but already I am underweight at 65 kgs. I am planning to have atleast 2 solid meals 6 hours apart. I am also planning to get started on a food journal so as to avoid those ugly episodes. I also don’t want to eat my dinner later than 7pm.

My dietary restrictions have already having bad effects on my social life. A friend asked me to meet for a drink and i had to say, I don’t drink.

# Medicine

The saviour is this case is Triphala, which eases the discomfort.

A smile to the rescue.

When two ego’s collide, there is bound be destruction. Inspire of having the best of intentions for each other, we may end up seeing the end of relationships.

In our overwhelming need to always be right, we might do a wrong to a precious friendship or a relationship. It is extremely difficult to change our opinion on what is right & wrong, but a smile is very easy.

It you want to put a point with all the force behind it, say it with a smile, If you need is swallow other’s opinion which you still dont agree on, swallow it wilt a bigger smile.

This is IIfe lesson I learnt today.

Dream Big and be happy with small things.

Think big or Dream Big are the phrases we hear often in motivational talks. But it is easier said then done.

There is a opposite phrase which is also quite true-It is- “Happiness lies in small things”.

So what do you follow.

Do you think Big or take happiness in the small pleasures of every day mundane life?

Here is my recommendation

For inspiring yourself and motivating your team → Dream Big

For personal happiness – Enjoy the beauty in the smart things like aroma of coffee, the beauty of a flower, or the company of a pet.

The Gas leakage Episode. → I could have got roasted.

I was making my kitchdi. I smelled that There was a leakage but for some reason I decided to ignore The smell.

Alter a while the smell was less I continued doing my thing which was listening to pocket articles & preparing for bath. I think I also did Yoga.

there was an urgent knock@ the door. All my neighbours who never really get a chance to talk to me were at the door. They looked alarmed.

I was a bit non-plussed what the hell have I done, I dont talk to anyone here.

they asked me if my gas cylinder is 0N?

I said, yes I was making my lunch. They said your gas is leaking we can all smell it.

And it stuck me, I had been careless.

After a few days I called the gas repairman. He said the regulator is leaking & needs to be replaced.

“Well, That was a close call he said” you were lucky!

How I lost my Middleclass Status when I sold my car.

My father collected cars, like I collect Apple gadgets. I inherited 4 cars when he suddenly passed away. In that collection was his Favorite yellow left hand drive 240D Mercedes.

For me the cars were just utilarian tools. Since our factories were 400 kms from mumbai. I used to drive often from Mumbai or to Mumbai. Highways were very risky and I drove very fast. There were some lucky escapes but the 400 kms drive mostly alone were a sort of a roller coaster ride.

Eventually I got sick of all the driving to and fro, and didn’t want any of it. I took the train then.

But what it means to be without your own car is only realised once you are not left with one.

Uber launches in Mumbai

When I moved to a rented house, the landlord would park his 4 cars in the premises while all the tenants were expected to park on the road. Again every day the parking side was alternated by Mumbai Police so people couldn’t just park their cars and forget about it.

A coconut falls and breaks the windshield

One fine day, my landlord calls and tells me the car windshield is shattered as a coconut from the tree has fell on it. I am exasperated, I have to now spend an entire day in the garage and shell out 10K (which i get back via insurance). I think this car is taking too much of my energy and I am not getting enough out of it.

Decision to sell the car

Ironically I am very nervous, I cannot think of a life without a car. But I try to reason out, that Uber is infact better. But still I am having sleepless night over it. The car is also 10 years old and I finally decide that it should go.

With the car goes my Middle class values

My relatives ask me why did i sell the car, They ask me 100 of times. It’s unthinkable for them too. They suspect that my finances have hit rock bottom. They lack the tact and still keep pestering me. I am speechless and keep eating the freshly made idli/dosa while they figure out why I sold my car.

Do i need to buy a car to claim my middle class status

We humans send status signals by things we own. Cars are one of the biggest status signals after the area you live in or the size of the house. I see many jaws drop when I say I live in Bandra West.

I have no plans to buy a car as of now. What I miss the most is the hot steamy dates inside the cars. In a space starved city, you mostly hit the first base in the privacy of the car. Atleast I have done that, even made out in a parking lot once. (Which is rather uncomfortable). Besides the privacy the car offers, I think there is no use for it for me.

Also I dont think I want to get back in to the middle class.