The clock just struck 6:56 PM, and for once, I’m not blogging from my office.
I’m in my room, sat on my desk, and eager to get these words out so I can get a solid arm workout in, break a sweat, listen to some tunes, and get those endorphins flowing.
I cannot expect every blog to be as inspirational as the last. I’ve been telling a dear friend lately you cannot expect perfection from every job, but that doesn’t mean we cannot aspire to reach it.
It is high time I practiced what I preach.
And maybe, just maybe, there may be some beauty to be found in writing about the mundane…
The WhatsApp messages keep coming in as I type this; and they’re on the ‘Fam jam’ group and they pertain to two work-related issues from today.
It is tough to mentally unplug from work when you’re a business owner. Even more so when it’s a family business.
But this is what I signed up for, when I abandoned pursuing my dream of becoming a music vlogger.
It was a jolly good year, and the most creative (and hedonistic) year of my life; but I had to stop playing Peter Pan, shoulder responsibility, and become the man I was meant to be.
Please read about it by clicking the link below. I touch upon the perils of social media, the skills I have transferred from my old job as an advertising creative to my current job, and how I touched thousands of lives through electronic dance music.
Before I get into today (28th March 2022), I’d like to tell you about my weekend.
I completed my first 10K in an hour on Saturday, and I am chuffed with the effort.
- My knees aren’t in the best shape
- I didn’t practice for this run
- I haven’t run in 16 years (the last time I did was in school)
- I didn’t know I was running my final lap
An hour is not too shabby! With preparation, I can bring that time down to 50 minutes. Easily.
Once a runner, always a runner, eh?
After the run, the aforementioned dear friend told me she was done with her shoot (she’s an actor and a model) and asked if we could have breakfast. I was hungry, but smelly.
After a quick pit-stop at home to freshen up, I was raring to go.
Since I’ve been watching what I eat (I’m on a see-food diet. I see food and I eat it. Note to self: this dad joke does not work on paper!) and she does too, Subway was the perfect choice.
We spoke about many things, and the conversation flowed effortlessly, like water. She’s a new friend. Prior to this, we’d only met a handful of times, but she’s brought out the best in me, and I’ve helped her too, which I’m super happy about.
I love meeting new people. I love connecting with people. Two sides of the same coin.
And if I click with someone, I let them know how much they mean to me. Unconditionally.
It’s the Leo in me: we’re incredibly loyal, steadfast with our love, and generous with those we consider dear.
(Spoiler alert: this new friend played a telling role in inspiring me these past 3 days. And she’s played a crucial role in helping me rediscover my voice as a writer, and capabilities as a creative. To know more, read until the end.)
Right. So I’d chowed down on my footlong, and she’d grazed on her salad. With our tummies sated and hearts content, it was time to get going. We bade goodbye, and planned to hang another time.
I had to pick up a fabric roll from Naif, and deliver it to Al Quoz to get it fire-treated. We were going to manufacture acoustic baffles on Monday and ship them to Oman soon after, and it was critical I got the roll to the fire-treatment people in time.
Into my Rav 4 I go.
It was a long drive from Motor City. And my legs were crying for some much-needed R&R. Even though I’d had a hectic week, there is no rest for the weary.
After collecting the roll, I was off to Al Quoz. I was there earlier than expected.
The driver promised he would be, too.
I had to wait for half an hour. I was terse with him as he apologetically rolled up in his minivan.
Home. Sweet. Home.
Work done, I tried to sleep. It wasn’t forthcoming. I was still riding the euphoric wave of having smashed my first 10K.
I tidied my room, and continued reading Joshua Mezrich’s brilliant ‘How Death Becomes Life’. Notes from a transplant surgeon.
Before I knew it, the sun had set, and my mind needed rest. I fuelled up, and crashed. Hard.
Sunday. Fun day.
The day began with a choice. Do I get an ab workout in? Nah, I thought to myself.
My body had been put under enough stress yesterday. I instead had a healthy breakfast, and got my Rav 4, my pride and joy, a much-needed wash.
I headed in to the office afterwards, and attempted to get down to working on my post-10K run blog. It wasn’t to be.
I usually have my head in the right place when I sit down to write, but I couldn’t focus my thoughts into telling a compelling story.
A couple of hours had passed. And it was time to get Sterilac yogurt for lunch.
My dad insisted I get this brand.
I knew it was only available in select stores. He recommended one. Three stores later, and a not-so-fun adventure later, I’d given up and come home with Almarai.
I wolfed down lunch, and rushed back to the office to attempt to write. In the meantime, a friend wanted to catch up.
She’s a gem, and she’s been going through a tough time off-late, so I took out some time to Zoom, and inspire her to improve…
Experiences worth noting, not nothing.
I’m on the journey to become my best self. And people have been taking notice. They want to understand what drives me, what I’ve been doing differently, how I’ve seemingly been killing it at my life, and want to share some of my energy.
Without putting too fine a point on it, it’s bloody hard work. People are not privy to the behind-the-scenes. All they see is the final product: whether it’s an entertaining vlog, or an inspiring blog.
Which is why I’m learning to be more careful with my time than ever.
Be mindful of who I spend my time with; either physically or digitally. I’ve realized being a social butterfly isn’t easy.
I love people too damn much. And I want to help everyone out. But when you do that, you realise that you might not have enough time left over for yourself. To excel at work. Or succeed at your creative endeavours.
Thankfully, I’m old-school in more ways than one. When I want something done now, I call. I loathe texting.
Mostly because people respond to messages selectively, over-share, (guilty!) or are terrible texters.
As wonderful as it is to be in touch with friends the world over through WhatsApp, (insert your preferred comms platform of choice here) I’ve learnt from my past-life as a music vlogger that I place unnecessary importance on digital relationships.
Not anymore. From juggling conversations across Antibes to Dubai, from Los Angeles to New Delhi, and beyond; I now place responding to WhatsApp messages at the bottom of my priorities.
It takes time. And mental effort. For the first time (in a long-time) in my life, I’ve got goals. Which demand much from me.
Whilst it may sound selfish, I’ve learnt the hard way that if you do not put yourself first, you will not be able to help anyone else.
Of course – if there’s quick plans to be made, things that require immediate attention, or digital relationships that I feel are worth my while fostering – I will respond to you. On my time.
I love you. Don’t forget. But right now, I love me, first.
One digression later…
Right. Where were we? I’d Zoomed with my friend in Berlin; put a smile on her face, reminded her why she must soldier on with her musical journey, and I now had to get back to finishing my 10K blog.
Several hours and coffees later, I had to show my family (who were relaxing back home) my gorgeous mug for dinner.
In. And out. Both: the food and me. Back to my office desk. Getting those words out.
10:45 PM. And I still had loads to write. I was tempted to work late into the night and finish it, but if there’s anything the past few weeks have taught me, it’s that burning the candle at both ends is sheer stupidity.
Even though I’d got two blogs out and felt creatively satisfied, things at work were piling up. Big time.
The weekly work forecast was jam-packed, and I had to bring my A-game.
So I decided to call it a night, upload my 10K vlog, and head home to retire.
Karan, remember to live in the present.
Immediately after uploading my vlog, I was shocked to see it had been automatically converted to a YouTube Shorts.
Which meant it would pop up on people’s phones at random. Which, of course, is great to amass views. One of my best friends from school was stumped to learn his innocuous Honey Singh vlog had gained 14 million views.
Earning him over 18,000 subscribers in the process. I gave him the idea to capitalize on that, urging him to upload videos of properties in his portfolio to generate leads – he’s a fantastic real estate broker – so he did.
I trust this idea helped. Manav, you’re welcome.
Personally speaking, I did not want random eyeballs discovering my YouTube through Shorts, so I was freaking out about seeing my excited face talking back at me.
I will not disclose the biggest reason why I didn’t want the Shorts, but one of them is that I want my channel to grow organically.
As with all my creative endeavours, my YouTube is a labour of love.
I ask people to subscribe, but only if they want to. Only if they would like to support me as I discover the art of storytelling through video.
Anyway. There I was. At my work-desk. Freaking out.
I didn’t know who to turn to in that moment of madness, until the answer presented itself clear as day.
My new friend. Who I’d met on Saturday for breakfast. I am my truest self when I’m with her.
I can turn to her without being judged.
I feel comfortable sharing things I’ve never shared with anyone else.
And she turned up. I needed something confirmed, and she pulled through, when no-one else would have. What’s more, her words had the unusual effect of calming me down. I use the word ‘unusual’ because I’m fiercely independent, and can be as stubborn as a billy goat, rarely listening to people.
But because she’s someone I trust completely, I know she’s got my best interests at heart; so knowing she told me to calm down put me at ease.
Better still, she told me to stay in the present. And as I drove home, listening to this tune, I knew that is all we can do.
Live in the present. Not thinking about what may, or may not, happen tomorrow.
All we can do is give our best in the moment-to-moment, and trust that things will work out.
Which brings me to…today.
I woke up with my legs still smarting from Saturday’s 10K. Much to my chagrin but with the wisdom of hindsight, I decided to cancel tonight’s 8 PM HIIT boxing class I’d booked yesterday, because if I’d go, I knew my body would not thank me for it.
The first thing on my agenda was a meeting with our acoustic underlay supplier in their warehouse in JAFZA.
We’ve bagged the scope of undertaking acoustic works for The Marriott in the Jumeirah Village Circle, and I’m relieved to have secured this order.
The contract is worth around 750,000 Dirhams, and it will keep us afloat for the next 6 months.
Steady cash-flow is paramount to any business. Doubly more so because I still consider my family business a start-up that punches way above its weight.
We have a growth mindset in no small part thanks to my dad – who inspires me with his drive even as he nears 60.
My sister, who unfailingly lends a hand when I have surplus on my plate, and makes up for my weaknesses in Excel and accounting and finance.
And, of course, my two colleagues, who keep me on my toes. They’re hardworking. And loyal – I feel like my dad trusts people too easily, but the way things have progressed over the past 5 years – he seems to have picked the right pair.
Right. We had to determine the inventory situation in our supplier’s warehouse and confirm if they had enough stock to supply us for the next few months or so.
Although we’ve placed an order for 20,000 sq. m. of acoustic underlay, we’ve only supplied a partial quantity because the site is not ready for us to install.
Which is why we had to establish if our supplier would not run out of stock in the middle.
If they did, they would have to order more from Germany, and because of:
- Global freight prices skyrocketing;
- The Russia-Ukraine war, and subsequent increase of petrol prices;
- And COVID-19’s continued after-effects on the business world
Our supplier would hike their price. Which they would pass on to us. Which would affect our bottom line.
Which we cannot afford. Not in this market. But they gave us their word, on the condition we would collect the rest of our order over the next few months, and not wait until 2023.
This will be the second major project I will handle. I will admit, I royally screwed up on multiple occasions on my first, a 63-storey tower in Business Bay.
But I’m going into this project with experience, confidence, and most importantly, knowledge. I could have excused myself on the first, all variables considered.
On this one? No fuck-ups, Karan.
Before I left the warehouse, I shared a video of what I’d gotten up to with my new friend. I’m proud of my job. It’s honest work.
And if there’s one thing I will never forget from the first time I met my friend, it’s that she took an ardent interest in my job. That was 2020, and I was battling imposter phenomenon that year. So to have someone who gave a damn about what I did for a living that torrid year was refreshing, to say the least.
Time is money.
I won’t write about the rest of my day. But one episode of collecting an outstanding is worth recounting.
As assistant manager, I don many hats. I do a bit of everything: management, procurement, invoicing, operations, admin, social media, accounting (both receivables and payables), site-work.
And considering it’s been a mad few weeks at work, and I’ve been blogging, and I’ve been keeping on my fitness grind, and I’ve been maintaining an active social life, sometimes…it can all get a bit much.
Unsurprisingly, I’ve developed immense aggression. This is both a by-product of deciding to take ownership of my life; and rediscovering, and harnessing my raw, masculine energy.
Which is why I no longer have patience for mediocrity. Or stupidity.
Unfortunately, I experienced both when trying to collect a cheque this afternoon.
Here’s the backstory: we’d submitted an acoustic report for a hotel to a contractor.
We were supposed to get paid some 2600 Dirhams within 30 days.
I called every few days. They never answered. I emailed their accounts team (it wasn’t worth my time going to their office to chase them) but to no avail. They were indifferent to my mails, occasionally responding with the generic Indian corporatese I despise with every fibre of my being, “Noted. Shall update.”
On occasion, it infuriated me we still hadn’t got our dues, but I had bigger cheques to claim, so this relatively paltry sum fell by the wayside. Before I knew it, 90 days had gone by with this back-and-forth.
I had had enough. I decided to cut out the middleman. And go straight to the decision-maker. Who in this case was the project manager.
It only took a few stern calls with a brusque tone (on my part), and sharply written mails (my time in advertising will continue to serve me well in the future) to start applying pressure on him.
Finally, they budged. A man-who-shall-not-be-named asked for our bank details last week, and mentioned he’d prepare our payment certificate, which I had to sign in order for them to release our long-overdue outstanding.
What worried me, however, was him mentioning this would be a PDC (post-dated cheque). Those were not our payment terms. Our payment was already late by 90 days…how much longer would they delay this by?!
Which is why I went into this encounter hostile. I was prepared for it to be delayed further, but it was the circumstances around collecting this payment that set me off.
I entered their office, and was redirected to another counter, where some clerk had no idea what was going on. I mentioned our company, and he dawdled towards the back of the office.
Realizing, and relishing my words have power.
The useless clerk returned, and still hadn’t communicated my company’s name to the right person.
Vexed, I opened the receipt book and pointed to our logo, and mentioned who had told me to come in.
He walked off. After far too long, the accountant came in. The guy who’d asked for our bank details. So he could prepare the payment certificate.
I took one look at it. And immediately spotted a typo in our company’s name.
I pointed it out to him. He didn’t understand. He robotically asked me to sign.
(God, everybody I meet seems to be meandering through life! Or is it me that’s got too much energy?)
I told him again. He finally understood. I then noticed when the payment certificate was dated for.
26th June 2022.
This payment was already 90 days late. A little over 2600 Dirhams. All this trouble was not worth my time.
“Stuart, (name changed) this payment certificate is dated for June. Which means this payment would be 6 months late. Are you joking?”
“No, sir, I’m not. This is my management’s decision.” came his robotic reply.
“Fair enough. Tell me, when you go to the supermarket to buy a bottle of milk, do you pay them 6 months later?”
“But this is not milk. What are you saying?” he asked, unintelligently.
“Exactly. This is a business. If we go by your logic, how is it fair to pay for FMCG’s on time, but not pay for an acoustic consultancy service on time. Do you know what the sole purpose of a business is? It is to make a fucking profit.”
I could tell he was more shocked than usual by my rude tone. As an accountant who’s been delaying other people’s payments, I’m sure Stuart had faced the wrath of many.
I know he’s been delaying other supplier’s payments because I had a chat in the lobby with a poor chap who was owed 63,000 Dirhams, and he’s been waiting for it for over 6 months.
But here, Stuart was defeated by my argument. Besides, I’d switched up my accent to add a bit of British flair (love you, Lancaster!) for dramatic effect, and he could tell I wasn’t your usual, meek Indian.
“I cannot do anything.”
“Yes, I know you can’t. You’re just following orders. But can you explain why you’ve made a mistake in our payment certificate? You asked us for our bank details. We sent them. You merely had to type our company’s name and print this out. You had one job, Stuart. Were you half-asleep when working? Or did you not have your coffee? And then, you try to justify a delay?! You delay a meagre sum of 2677 Dirhams for 90 days, periodically respond to emails, never answer your God damn phone, and then have the audacity to date this 3 months later? Preposterous!” I started to raise my voice.
My mask slipped off my mouth, he saw my angry jaw, and I spotted fear in his eyes. So I went for the jugular.
“Is this what you’re paid to do? Make elementary mistakes on payment certificates? You’ve wasted my time, and even if I accept this ridiculous delay, why on Earth should I excuse mediocrity?!” I bellowed.
He backed off, and said he would do something. Amidst hearing me shouting, two colleagues came over. One tried to pacify me. I told him I chose not to relax in this moment, and to mind his own business.
I noticed the drones in the back room shift with unease. I reckon they were probably even enjoying the drama.
Well, I won’t lie. I loved it. I loved using my command of the English language to make that grown man squirm.
I’ve only recently come to realize the power of my words. Off-late; I’ve used my words to inspire, make people cry with joy, help them tell their stories, and in a professional context, make money.
Of course, it’s not my words alone that are having an impact on people, and changing my life as I speak.
I’ve also been boxing for the past 3 months. I’ve always been a supremely confident guy (bordering on cocky, some may say). And boxing has caused my confidence levels to soar. I’m the fittest I’ve ever been, and I’m only going to get better with time.
My posture has improved drastically. I stand straight, with my shoulders back. I don’t merely walk; I strut.
Also, when you know you can knock someone out with a few punches if you wanted to…you tend to be more assertive with what you want.
I’d like to say this story will have a happy ending, but I doubt that will be the case. There’s only a slim chance our client will prepare a new current-dated cheque – there’s excessive bureaucracy with big companies – even to release a tiny sum of AED 2,600. Nevertheless, Stuart Little has asked me to come in the day after to collect the cheque, and I’m going to enjoy toying with him again….
Update – 31st March 2022. Being assertive paid off: I received a cheque dated for 2nd April. Which means I do not have to wait for 3 months more for this money. Admittedly, it is a small amount, but I will take it as win.
On finding someone who matches my vibe, and inspires me.
I ended my day by posting a story on my WhatsApp status, where I shared how I felt bogged down after the events that transpired when attempting to collect that cheque. But as I watched myself talking to the world, (rather my world – I’ve limited who can view my status) I didn’t like what I saw.
I saw a guy complaining. Moaning. Whining. And bitching. About how things didn’t go my way.
But things will rarely go your way. Such is life. It is a test. Of our mettle. And it is how we respond to life’s trials and tribulations that makes a world of difference.
I don’t want to put negative energy out into the world. As I’ve explained in my blog’s about section, I’ve chosen to play the hero in my life. And a hero doesn’t complain. He may occasionally take an arrow to the knee, but he marches on, resolutely.
So I deleted my vlog 20 minutes later. I rarely delete content I post online, because I publish with consideration.
But it’s what happened immediately after deleting my vlog that not only cheered me up, but caused me to rush home, and write. And write. And write.
I started typing this blog at 6:56 PM. It is 12:26 AM, and the colons continue to blink. I have not had dinner. And there’s no way I am going to work my arms out now. If I do, I will probably be up until 4 AM.
I thought of my new friend. Scratch that. I thought of my best friend. I wanted to know how her day went. I also felt like telling her about why I deleted my story.
I knew I could talk to her openly and tell her exactly how I felt, because she’s a great listener.
And that is important for someone like me, who loves to talk! Thank goodness I’m well-read: I know a little bit about everything. I draw from psychology, creativity, anthropology, the arts, biology, pharmacology, culture, philosophy, self-development, pop-culture, the human condition, and my own deep wealth of experiences, and numerous adventures.
So whenever I open my mouth to utter something, it mercifully isn’t complete horseshit. Most times.
But enough about me.
I am keen to share the story of how I met my best friend, who has inspired me in my creative renaissance to the point where I continued to post videos on my YouTube because she motivated me in her signature carefree,
and energetic way.
Remember how, earlier on in this blog, I mentioned how I used to place importance on digital relationships?
Well, that is me to a T. I value relationships; period.
Again, I write: I just love people too much, God damn it. I want to be there for everyone, all the time. And want to uncover the best in people.
But just as my network has expanded over the years through travel, my world has shrunk as I start to shoulder more responsibility.
There simply isn’t enough time in my day to adequately maintain strong relationships. As I’ve matured, I’ve become aware of this fact.
On my part, I put my best foot forward, and express myself sincerely.
Not everyone may like me or my energy, but they don’t need to.
No, wait, that’s not true. Most people like me. I’m a likeable person. (I’m also a lickable person, but you’ll have to verify that with one of my old flames…)
Jokes aside, once I’ve identified that someone wants the best for me purely out of the goodness of their heart, I will let them know I love that. And I will tell them I love them. And I will be there for them. To celebrate their victories. And give them company in their miseries.
Several years ago, when I didn’t have a plan for my life, and no goals, I would constantly think of my friends, and how I could add value to their lives.
I’d often use the phrase, “I’d take a bullet for you, xxxx!”
There was no need to get emotional.
Because as my friends have grown older, and they’re married, they can lean on their partners for support.
So, I’ve backed off. I trust by now my close friends know I’m there if they need me.
A chance meeting with
a beautiful soul.
It is perplexing how some people appear in your life at critical junctures.
I will forever marvel at this unexplained phenomenon.
The person in question is a friend of a friend, but I’d never known about her existence.
Until one winter day, I went to hang out with my friends, and she was there.
I remember how she carried herself with grace, was well-spoken; and like I mentioned earlier, exhibited a genuine interest in what I did for a living.
We didn’t see each other for 10 months after. And when I saw her again, I felt like I was reuniting with an old friend, which was strange, because I barely knew this girl.
Subsequently, we bumped into each other at parties, danced together to Bollywood music, and got to know each other over a glass (or three) of Merlot.
And we kept in touch. Over WhatsApp. Which is key. You see, although I’m not on social media anymore, this doesn’t mean I’m not a social butterfly.
My personality rang through by way of voice notes, and my words.
I’d also launched my YouTube around then, which she supported, wholeheartedly.
And at one point, there was an unexplainable sixth sense that pushed me to check in with my (then, still-fledgling) friend.
I shared this video. And texted, “Just in case you needed this. If not, keep your head down and continue getting that work done. (Insert bicep emoji here)”
What followed was 16 days of hard work. For both of us. It was a collaborative process, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I helped this new friend with a project that pushed her out of her comfort zone.
Personally, I was in my element once again. I used to come up with ideas, and write and edit scripts; and headlines for a living.
And helping this friend reminded me of how much I used to love doing this.
How I was excellent at this.
By helping a friend tell her story, I’ve been able to tell my own. Again, and again, and it will happen again.
Because now, after 4 years, I’ve finally found the courage to start publishing on my blog again. And now, I’ve hit my stride.
My mind is buzzing with ideas and I need only make time to get them on my blog.
I can’t quite place my finger on what it is about you that’s inspired me so greatly, Ridhdhi. Maybe it’s your vivaciousness. Maybe it’s your energy. Maybe it’s your bubbliness. Maybe it’s your infectious laugh. Maybe it’s your innocence. Maybe it’s your goodness. Or…”Maybe you’re born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline.” (Sue me. It’s the perfect tagline, I couldn’t help but weave it in there. I’m sure you laughed out loud – I cracked up writing this.) Whatever it may be, thank you, once again, for bringing out the best in me. I love you.
As I’ve told you, I feel incredibly comfortable in your presence.
I feel like I can talk to you about anything in the world. And to be yourself around someone; to speak without judgement, laugh about silly things, share personal anecdotes, and grow alongside them is an indescribably precious thing indeed.
And that concludes yet another story on my blog! God, I feel elated to publish another one. I have definitely hit a purple patch in my writing.
But at this point, I know unleashing your creativity is neither good luck, nor is it something mysterious. It is work. Plain and simple.
And you’ve got to put in the hours. Like with anything you want to succeed at.
The next blog in my series will be about my first 10K. I look forward to sharing.
If you’ve enjoyed reading, I would love it if you subscribed to my blog by email.
You can scroll to the top, hit the button, and I bloody well hope I don’t need to tell you how to type your email in.
I promised myself I wouldn’t bring this up until I’ve built a habit of consistently publishing. Now that I have, I have no shame in doing so.
I appreciate you reading, and I will catch you in the next one.