Friday, March 17, 2017

purpose

our purpose in life is to be what we want to be
- kris, one afternoon, at work

Friday, March 03, 2017

taking over the world

we're in the future, sometime when interplanetary (if not interstellar) travel is commonplace, and humans are settled in multiple land and space based colonies. a leader with a fanatical pseudo-religious bent of mind has been taking over colonies through a propaganda war, promises of prosperity, etc. he is now poised to be the leader of the largest conglomeration of colonies and seems unstoppable. a lot of people hate his propaganda and policies, and feel that his promises are merely a fascist ploy to become the most powerful leader of human civilization. they, myself included, feel helpless and outnumbered. our friends and families are gradually being influenced by the propaganda and are switching sides.

someone on chat tells me that he/she knows a few others who are equally frustrated, and there is a plan on how to combat this leader. for security reasons, identities will be revealed to me strictly on a "need to know" basis, and i will have to shift to a neutral colony. I am given games to play on my pc, which are actually simulators for various combat craft and vehicles.

soon, we are waging an all-out war against the leader and we have to fight against the forces of the very colonies we are from. during the course of our battles, I meet friends from college, all of whom loved to play FPS/combat games back in the day. all of them seem to have the same story, of being contacted and instructed by chat, although each of their "handlers" are different. we even fly a few missions together. our handlers seem to know that we know each other and start grouping us into a team, more often than not.

we realized that other people are also forming teams based on people they know from their past. our teams start getting bigger and bigger, and soon it seems like majority of the people I've known throughout my life are now part of the "force". someone I randomly bump into after years, on one of my breaks, is suddenly on the next sortie with me. and everybody is being recruited and directed on chat, by different users.

somehow, the leader's forces don't seem to fight too well, and there weren't any casualties on either side - everywhere we went, they would retreat after a half hearted battle.

I got to know that although the "force" was in control of over half of human civilization, it had completely fallen out of favour with public opinion due to its use of (for lack of a better word!) force.

one day, everyone was instructed that they would be reassigned, and we're given daily sessions of retraining. I was trained to be a livestock handler. most of my friends were reassigned before we could meet again, and I was back to being with unknown people. the gossip doing the rounds was that all the chat accounts are actually bots, controlled by a single AI, and as it improved its understanding of humans as a race and of each of us, it was tweaking its strategies.

the gossip was that there was a plan to take over the supplies of vital items in colonies which were not yet under control of the force. I grew my first batch of livestock. they were some strange creatures that grew in melon sized eggs. my instructions were that they were designed to be eaten immediately after they hatched, and my job was to make them as tasty as possible.

by the time the first batch hatched, I was alone in the facility in the middle of some planet's desert. scores of them hatched that night, lining the shelves of the facility. they were pink and bulbous creatures that could barely crawl, and squeaked and purred a lot. the next morning, I couldn't bring myself to kill them, let alone cook and eat them.

and that's when I woke up.

ps: this dream had a lot of images from Sci fi movies, a few games, and faces of a lot of college friends. fun times!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

we got married

I know, the announcement is almost two months late. blame that on the awesomeness of the honeymoon and married life.
but yes, it happened. the planning and anticipation that built up over the better part of 2016, culminated in a crazy 36 hour marathon of awesomeness.
and at the end of it, two people emerged as one.
getting married was awesome. to me, it felt like that was the day nothing could go wrong. we were the king and queen of our universe. and when we went home together for the first time, our respective worlds joined into one. we were no longer lovers who met when we could - we were one shared existence, that branched apart only when we had to.
the run-up to the big day was crazy. no matter how carefully I tried to eliminate stress and loose ends, it was inevitable. at one point I found myself wishing I could fast forward to life after marriage. but I'm glad wishes were not horses... because we would have missed one of the most beautiful days of our lives.
and we have realized that the pre-wedding craziness was only a prelude to post-wedding craziness. yes, it only gets crazier and crazier, until you forget what single life was like, and start concentrating on more pressing matters like getting enough sleep, being nutritiously well fed, and basically not flaking out.
and so, here we are, happily married, without even the slightest doubt that despite its unsolved problems, life ahead is better than the life we left behind. looking back fondly at the day that marks our metamorphosis.
we got married. it was beautiful.

Friday, December 09, 2016

imperfectly perfect

two weeks from now, the big day will be upon us. we have gone through the gamut of emotions, from eager anticipation, to nervousness, to exhaustion. there have been moments when we've questioned what we are doing, what we want to do. there have been moments when we've realized we have been overconfident about things we shouldn't have taken for granted. plans have been made and waylaid.

today morning, unlike the last few days, I woke up with a sense of peace. it was like the feeling of seeing the sun when the clouds part after a thunderstorm.

I woke up with the feeling that whatever happens, happens for the best. that I've been sweating the small things so much that I've lost sight the big things. that it doesn't matter if I choose pork vindaloo or pork sorpatel for the menu. or if shruti and i can't jive (we still can't, yet!). or if my tie doesn't perfectly match my shirt. or any number of other things.

life has never been perfect. we are far from perfect. how can our wedding be perfect?

maybe perfection isn't absolute. maybe, just as I regard my life so far to have been perfect in the sense that I don't want to change anything about my past, the next two weeks, the big day(s) - yes, there's two of them - and life after that will also be perfect in hindsight.

maybe imperfection is perfect.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

avenging: the avenger

(forgotten in my drafts from mid December - better late than never!)

my bike's been giving trouble lately. she's spent the better part of the month parked at the garage, getting the equivalent of a heart transplant: new crankshaft, connecting rods, bushings, piston, block, timing chain, tensioner, clutch plates, and all variety of minor paraphernalia. so, while I waited it out patiently for fate and my mechanic to give me some relief, I've been living off public transport and the generosity of my friends who have lent me their rides whenever they could.

the last few days were with ajith's avenger. his was the bike I was the most excited about borrowing, as it was one of the options i considered long ago (when I was looking for the next bike after my pulsar, before I decided on the karizma). back then, I rejected it as I was sick of bajaj's quirks: some touches of bad design, and a reputation for bad longevity of the engine.

after a pretty successful run with the karizma, I've been thinking about my next bike. and i decided to approach the avenger with an open mind: it's been 4 years, and bajaj has done intresting things with the pulsar platform, so i figured getting my legs around it should give me the feel of things.

before I mounted it, I was nervous. after all, I had to ride it from powai to bandra in the peak of rush hour traffic, and i had an impatient lady waiting for me at the end of it. and yes, she was already done with her stuff and was killing time until I arrived. my main concern was the position of the foot pegs... would I be able to handle switching to feet on the ground from feet on the pedals quickly enough?

once on the road though, I was quite reassured. it was possible to get my shoe caught on the gear lever or get my ankle on the silencer when switching, but with enough care it wasn't a problem.

the riding position had its pros and cons: it seemed more relaxed, and having mirrors and other cars' headlights at eye level meant that I had a good all round view. the low seat made me almost feel like I was in a go-kart, and that made me feel like I was going a lot faster than I was. the engine was nice and smooth. the gears were so unlike the karizma that it almost felt like my foot was doing its job by itself and I was riding an automatic! the gear lever was too long though, so I ended up using it as a toe shifter only. old habits die hard, I guess. I reached my destination comfortably and without incident, and on the way home, my lady was also happy to ride pillion.

the next morning, riding to work without much traffic, I had a chance to explore the handling better. and that's when I was truly worried. the bike brakes scarily. it skids on light braking on tar roads in a straight line... at 60. on curves, anything less than a perfect surface is scary at best. that would have been a deal breaker, but I got a second opinion from a die hard avenger fan, who said the same thing: the avenger brakes and handles terribly. his "technique" was to ride slowly and use engine braking. lol.

anyway, I still had a couple of days more to go, and one important errand: transporting a rather heavy bit of luggage across town. the avenger handled that perfectly, with my fully loaded rynox (64L) saddle bags, a packed 90L backpack, and a pillion. the seat is roomy, so it doesn't feel cramped even with the huge backpack and the pillion. full points there. but I realized during the 3 hour ride that the seating position actually puts your weight on a weird part of your butt. I didn't have any aches at the end, but it did get rather uncomfortable.

so, in short: comfort, uncheck. safely, uncheck. ergonomics, check. load carrying capabilities, check.

my next bike? uncheck.