Tuesday, August 29, 2017

survival

mumbai's having epic rain. it's been pouring for the last 48 hours or so, and the commute home was hellish for most people. i took a calculated risk and decided to ride home, and luckily for me, it paid off. there were a few things i did to mitigate the risk before i set off:

  • double checked the fuel level of my bike. i had at least 60 km worth of fuel for the 13 km ride home.
  • charged my phone fully, made sure the power bank i carry with me also had a fair bit of charge
  • carried a small water bottle of water
  • had a quick snack before i left off
  • wrapped and double wrapped everything valuable + electronic in a waterproof pouch inside my bag, which is supposed to be water resistant to begin with
  • called home before leaving
  • kept some spare change on hand outside the bag, for emergencies
  • weighed my options for the route to take home. chose to stick to broad roads, which i know are not low-lying, even though they would probably have more traffic than the alternatives

luckily for me, it worked out better than expected. i reached home in barely 45 minutes more than my usual time, despite a chai break on the way when the worst of the traffic was past me. most of my office colleagues weren't as lucky though - some of them took twice as long, mainly due to them traveling by car.

once i got home, i dried off and was treated to a mug of hot chocolate, courtesy the wife.

while i settled in and started thinking about dinner, my wife asked me if my phone was fully charged - a message she recieved reminded people that the electric supply might fail if there is too much flooding - and some low lying parts near home were already over a foot deep in water when i was getting home.

that's when i remembered an old thought, regarding survival (it was another rainy day, and I was traveling home by office bus, with a snack and some water to save myself). not sure if i blogged it back then (i can't find the post now - but i guess i didn't search much).

so anyway, i started thinking about what i'd have to do if the rain continued, and shruti and i were stuck at home under various circumstances.

we have the basics covered: about 800 litres of water in the overhead tank, which should last us comfortably for a week if we had to stretch it. plenty of batteries for our torches. and one puny hand crank torch, for an absolute last resort. about 3 days of ready-to-eat stuff. enough food supplies to last us two weeks, i'd say. but that's where i figured the problem lies: we have a piped gas supply, which runs underground. which means that if the gas AND electricity supply is lost, we'd have no way to cook.

now i do have my bike downstairs, and it does have a fair bit of fuel that i could get my hands on quite easily. but i have no safe way to burn it.

the only things i guess i could use to cook would be the 3 litres of cooking oil we have in store. and i don't have an efficient way to burn the oil. i guess i could make a makeshift stove out of utensils, but it's something i've never done before, and i'm not sure if i'd get it right.

also, i'm under prepared from a communication point of view, as i only have enough juice in the powerbank to keep my phone going for a couple of days. i could switch to a backup phone that has longer battery life, but i'd lose access to the internet. i'm guessing our adsl connection and wired phone would pop before (or maybe about the same time as) the electric supply does. but i guess we'd survive being holed up indoors, quite literally between these 4 walls, for about a week.

oh, and we have books. i wonder if there's anything else we'd need. hmmmm.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

the hunter and the grazer

long ago, someone told me that one big differentiating factor between hinting and grazing animals are that grazers have eyesight that's tuned to observing their surroundings (to look for predators), while hunters have a sort of tunnel vision: once they focus on something, they shut everything else out, leaving their senses fully concentrated on their target. i'm not sure how true this is, but it does make some sort of sense.

recently, i was having a conversation with someone and i realized that humans also operate in the same two modes. there are the grazers, who look around, worried about threats. they are the people who feel the need to conform to society. they are the people who always consider "what will everyone else think?" before they do something. they guess and second guess the world.

and they live in fear.

on the other hand, the people who behave like hunters do not care. they don't need to conform to society, as long as their target is in sight. they spring forth bravely, maybe not always successfully, but missing the target is not failure for them. the laughter or comments of society do not matter, unless possibly if they're constructive.

the grazers are safe. they have nothing to fear but society and humiliation, which are self-created fears. and they have safety in numbers. on the other hand, hunters have real things to worry about. few hunters would come to the aid of others. and the grazers would probably shy away.

but the hunter does what no grazer can.

and that's why, i feel, that's what we should aspire to be. hunters.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

34

I turned 34 a couple of days ago. my birthday was super fun, celebrated with friends, family and a bit of debauchery. but when everything settled down and I was alone at home that evening with my wife, things began to settle down. I started thinking back about the year gone by. and after a few minutes of thought, I had to actually read my blog to figure what mental condition I was in a year ago.

yes, things have changed that much.

I guess I wasn't really thinking ahead last year. I wasn't thinking about how marriage would change everything. how spending every single day of my life with this adorable doll of a wife would change everything. how having a cosy home of our own, despite it being mostly filled with stuff hoarded from our single lives, would change everything. i knew that my diversions and hobbies would change, but I had no idea that cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry and dishes, could be so fulfilling. I knew that I'd be riding less, trekking less, reading less... but I had absolutely no idea that I'd end up riding in two countries outside India, both of which not many Indians end up riding to. i had no idea that I'd be so detached from my friends and even my parents, and yet so attached to my wife.

I thought I was a loner. but it turns out my definition of alone has changed to mean alone with her ☺

the amount of changes have been so overwhelming, that when I think back, I can barely remember my single life. my life from last year is almost as much of a blur as when I turned 13, started riding my bicycle to school and started using my first computer.

and the coming year promises to be even crazier. unbelievable.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

distance

the normal reaction to being "hurt" is, quite simply, to react. but in that case, it no longer remains "hurt". it becomes retaliation. and retaliation inevitably escalates. the end result is that we have a situation where both are to blame.

sadly, trying not to react externally doesn't entirely resolve the issue. internal reactions are natural, and they produce external effects. suppression of internal reactions are not normal or natural.

and so, I'm left wondering, is there any way to respond to externally inflicted hurt, which is both natural and right. I always assumed that the path would be forgiveness, but I have realized that the aggressor learns to take forgiveness for granted, and when forgiveness happens too frequently to be accompanied by forgetting, there remains a residual effect, which negates the expected ideal outcome of forgiveness.

I am beginning to feel that when forgiveness is ineffectual, circumstances demand that I distance myself from the situation until it is complete.

the only question is, how?

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

sold out

so, i've finally "sold out" and started a FB page of my own. and blindly invited the first 100 or so friends FB suggested. i still hate pages and will probably not even look at my page unless facebook forces me to. it's just there so that as long as the free app i'm using to cross-post my blog posts works, it can fight it out with all the other trash on facebook these days.

please don't feel obliged to like/share/comment/whatever. i couldn't care less if you do, lol.

seeya!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

half a year

it's been exactly half a year since shruti and I took the biggest step of our lives. the memories are still as fresh as ever.
but scratch the surface, and things have changed over these months. we have gotten attached to our home. to each other. to our way of life. it's a sort of passive-aggressive attachment, where we welcome time apart (after 5 months of literally no time apart), because our time apart reminds us of how inextricably attached we've become.
we have grown on each other. I have fallen in love with her dal khichadi (with the occasional addition of bacon), and she has started adding schezuan sauce to pretty much everything. I can't sleep without her embrace, and she has gotten used to my perspiration. fart jokes have lost their charm. we haven't perfected our tea recipe to the point where we both enjoy the result, but we're getting there.
we're rediscovering each other, peeling off the layers, and changing things as we go along.
it's surprising how much can change in just half a year.
it's fascinating to imagine what lies ahead.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

wag the dog

it was a lazy afternoon. we were in this spacious house/apartment, and everyone was taking a nap or lazing around in bed. Clive and I were in the lower half of a king size double bed, the sort made of ancient, heavy wood.

we were watching a movie on his laptop. the movie was titled "wag the dog". the movie was about a struggling musician who inspired another guy to learn to play the guitar. the inspired guy became a famous musician, and one fine day, the guy who inspired him (let's call him *x*) turned up anonymously to watch one of his performances. after the performance, he went up to the now famous musician (let's call him *y*) and reintroduced himself. *y* remembered him and thanked him for the inspiration. *x* was very curious about his unique playing style and asked him to play a solo piece for him. as soon as *y* started playing the role *x* realized that he was only pretending to play the guitar, but was actually using a touch sensitive sensor on the back panel of his iPhone. this agitated *x* and he considered it an affront to his musical legacy. there was a tiff, which ended with *x* smashing the guitar on *y*'s head, to assess from the sound whether it was a real guitar or not. the guitar was real, and the movie ended.

Clive shut his laptop, and I got out of bed and walked to the other room. sunil and a lady were in one bed, shruti was in another, and suraj was in the third bed. they were discussing something when I walked in, and I told them I just watched "wag the dog". they asked me if I liked it, and I told them it was brilliant. they all chimed in with their own appreciation of the movie as well.

shruti suggested we go for a ride. we stepped out and got on the bike. we were riding to CST railway station, which was a straight ride down a highway, which looked more like marine drive than any other highway. only differences were that there was some sort of construction work (metro work?) underway along the median of the highway, and the opposite (i. e northbound) side had a broad, landscaped garden between the road and the sea face.

somewhere on the way, a cyclist darted across the highway from behind a rickshaw, and nearly missed colliding with us. I chided the cyclist, and we resumed our ride. we reached CST railway station.

the road ended at a grassy quadrangle which was bordered by a single lane tar road on all 4 sides. on the right of this road was the railway station and tracks, while on the left, there was the ticket booking counter. straight ahead, was a stone building which had the entrance to the station. I parked the bike, and we stood in line for a platform ticket. there was a guy in front of us in the line, who had a huge backpack on his back. he walked away from the counter, and I was about to buy our platform ticket, when the person at the counter started calling out to him as he had forgotten to collect his ticket. I called out to him as well, and he turned around just then. the person at the counter said that in addition to the platform ticket, he also had a special permit to carry a fossil across the bridge. he handed me the ticket and permit to give to the guy. the permit was a piece of paper, with a t-rex hand drawn in blue ballpoint pen.

I handed him the ticket and permit, and got back to the counter to get my own ticket, only to find that someone else had gotten ahead of me. the person ahead happened to be another friend, Elizabeth, and she was buying a monthly pass for the platform. she nodded at me without saying anything while the person at the counter prepared her pass.

for some reason, I changed my mind about the ticket, and decided to return home. but strangely, I was looking for my folding cycle instead of my motorbike. and I couldn't remember where I had parked it. I thought I had chained it to a tree, but there was no tree in sight.

and that's when I woke up.

survival

mumbai's having epic rain. it's been pouring for the last 48 hours or so, and the commute home was hellish for most people. i took a...