Saturday, April 14, 2018

explaining dreams

i had a strange dream last night. i dreamed i entered an elevator, and pressed the button for the floor i lived on. except that there were already two people in the elevator: sejal and her friend. they giggled to themselves and told me i pressed the wrong button. i was convinced it was the right one though. they explained they thought i was coming over to sejal's place. and that's when i realized i was in sejal's building, which was identical and adjacent to my own. and the building in my dream was completely different from my real life home.

that's when i woke up. it was about 6am, and it was beginning to get light outside. i got out of bed, shut the curtains, turned off the air conditioning, and went back to sleep.

the dream was so funny, i thought i should explain it to my wife. so i woke her up, and told her about it. except that when i was trying to narrate the dream, i couldn't remember sejal's friend's name. i figured i should be able to recall her name using my phone. so i opened google, and started wondering what to search for. i was pretty clueless.

i finally gave up, and went back to sleep.

i woke up at 9 am, as my phone's alarm was ringing.

except that my wife wasn't beside me. i wasn't even at home. i was at sunil's place, while my wife was having a sleepover at our home. that's when i realized the second part was also a dream. and sejal's friend's name was dipti. and, strangely enough, the curtains were wide open, but the air conditioner was off!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

the game changer

I decided to cycle to the supermarket for my groceries today, instead of taking out the motorcycle. the weather seems to have improved a bit, and there wasn't much traffic. at a traffic light, a waiting rickshaw driver decided to relieve his mouth of its contents and spew paan on the sidewalk. disgusting.

this time though, I wasn't the only disgusted person around. a motorcyclist and another cyclist joined me in giving the rickshaw driver disgusted stares. he eventually noticed, but he somehow seemed to have a problem understanding exactly what we were disgusted about. he literally asked the motorcyclist "what happened? what did I do?"

the traffic resumed moving before I could hear the rest of the exchange, but it got me thinking: wouldn't the world be a much better place if people were more aware of the consequences of their actions?

as I watched a swarm of vehicles (almost comically) jump the signal *after* an ambulance, it reinforced my thoughts. if information was more widely available and supplied more easily, we probably could have far fewer social problems. and once there is a critical mass of informed people, the rest would be forced to keep up, or look stupid. and I parked my bicycle, lost in thought: how many things could be improved with proper information? would people be lining up to buy sugary cola, or cheap snacks fried in hydrogenated vegetable oil, or food loaded with sodium and msg? would they be taking the stairs instead of the escalators?

as I unlocked my bicycle and wore my still sweaty helmet, I noticed that the SUV that was parked next to it still had the windows up and engine idling from an hour ago, with the driver napping in his seat. I felt rather silly, trying to save the atmosphere from an ounce of burned petrol which the car probably guzzled many times over while I did my purchases.

and that's when it hit me: knowledge and information are not the game changers I seek. what we need is more people who think. people who think about the bigger picture, of cause and effect. after all, information is already out there for those who seek it. it may not be well presented, and may sometimes be hidden in clear sight and otherwise buried behind commercial interests, but it's still there. it's there only for people who care.

we live in a world filled with oblivious people, people who discard information if it doesn't help them achieve their immediate goals, and sometimes even if it does. and the only way to change that is to encourage critical thought.

and that's the game changer.

so the question is, how do we get people to think?

I rode home, lost in thought again, while a helmetless biker who was riding on the wrong side of a clear road sneered at me for cycling with a helmet.

I'm still nowhere near the answer.

but the answer, I'm assured, will change the course of the human race.

Monday, March 19, 2018

incomplete records

the other day, i was reading Darwin's book "on the origin of species", which is where he postulated his theory of evolution. one of the chapters was specifically about why fossil records are so incomplete. he put forward some very sensible arguments, one of which was: when evolution is progressing rapidly, it happens in the very same environment where preservation is unlikely.

and that reminded me of the last few months.

things have been changing rapidly, under the surface. evidence of these changes are probably only buried in verbal conversations which we have no record of, and a few chats which will be quickly buried in my history. and i know that in a short period, they will all be rapidly forgotten. so anyway, this post is a reminder of sorts. a reminder that thanks have changed, and that things will change more. and once the phase of "rapid change" is over, i'll be back to recording it as usual :)

Friday, January 12, 2018

6 years of mile-munching

carly turned 6 last week. a little battered from the last ride, but still running enthusiastically.

6 years isn't a very long time for most bikes, but it is for this one. 124k km on the odo (and around 3k km not on the odo... yes, it happens). before carly, i used to consider panvel/vasai as my "home stretch". now, my "home stretch" is a 200-odd km radius from home. i have my favourite restaurants, stops and even fuel pumps on each highway, in each direction, for each time of day. i even remember my "nap points" and the associated rides.

riding back home from goa last weekend, i was thinking about how my riding style has changed over the years. i remember my first ride to goa, with barely over 1000 km on the odo. back in those early days, it was all about pushing myself, seeing how far i could ride non-stop, how quickly i could reach my destination. now, it's all about relaxing, having fun, enjoying some good food, taking in sights on the way while sticking to a schedule when required.

and of course, now that i'm riding with my wife, i enjoy showing off the best experiences i've gleaned over the years. like sunset at amboli ghat, the last hairpin bend at gaganbawda, the pre-dawn fog on nh17, the road through yellapur, maravanthe beach, and the likes.

still, it feels like i'm slipping into my comfort zone. after over 20 mumbai-goa rides, they now feel repetitive. the only big changes over the years are that the highways get worse, traffic gets worse, and the drivers get more rash and aggressive.

still, there's a lot to explore, and making it a point to ride to new places or try new routes keeps things fun.

but finally... the most important thing is to "just ride!"

Saturday, December 23, 2017

a year of love

it's been a year. time has flown. like BC and AD, our lives feel like they've been divided into two different eras. we started off fresh and eager, figuring a lot of things as we went along. we've been surprisingly good at making things work, and though we still have stuff left to work out (who doesn't?!), there's a sense of satisfaction (and daresay, pride!) when we look back.

the term that best describes the more technical bits of this year would be "adulting". but it hasn't just been about responsibilities and chores and whatnot. we've found our space together. we can safely say that we've built our physical and emotional nest. happy anniversary to us!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

stressed out

recently, a talk organized in office by a cardiologist about prevention of heart disease and other related health issues highlighted the top three causes:

1. smoking
2. stress
3. sleeplessness

now, I've got (1) covered. and I do get 7 hours of sleep daily, even though it sometimes feels like it's not enough (complicated enough to deserve a blog post of its own, lol). so, action item number two: cut down on stress. Initial attempts have been rather abortive, in the sense that trying to be stress free makes me do things that indirectly contribute to stress itself. but gradually I've been able to regain control and kinda reduce my "hidden" and obvious stress levels.

and then, one day, I realized stress does have its ways of finding you:

I was on a bike trip with mayur. he had his bullet, rather heavily modified, and I had my karizma. it was dark, and we were on a highway, in a traffic jam. he asked me if I wanted to try his bike. I decided to give it a shot. the first thing was that, he had to kick start the karizma as its battery was at the end of its life. when I sat on his bullet, I realized the seat was deceptively plush. I literally sank into the seat. it felt good! the traffic opened up, and I revved it, leaving him and the jam behind. it was about sunrise by then, and in a few minutes the sun was out and it was bright. we reached the point where we had to turn off the highway into a village, to do some last minute purchases (I guess we were planning to go camping or something). I stopped there for him to catch up, we swapped bikes, and divided shopping responsibilities and split up. I went to a shop which was on the first floor of a rather ramshackle building. I thought it was rather unlikely that someone would make away with my bike (which was rather troublesome to start with the dead battery!), so I left the key inside, out of sheer laziness. I took just a minute to complete my purchases,but as I turned the corner of the stairs on my way out I saw my bike being ridden away by a balding middle aged helmetless man.

I chased the bike on foot as quickly as I could, but the village traffic and pedestrians were slowing me down as much as they were slowing him, and I couldn't catch up with him despite being able to keep him within sight.

a few minutes of chasing him later, my heart was pounding, and he got out traffic. as I turned the corner he did, running as quickly as I could, my wife woke me up.

and I realized it was a dream.

she asked me if everything was okay.

I insisted it was, and shut my eyes, to have the dream resume itself.

I was running down a straight village road, with greenery on both sides, interspersed with houses without courtyards, that opened directly onto the road.

and then I ran past some sort of movement on my right, and spotted the thief and my bike. he was on a raised wooden platform with the bike, facing away from the road, and the platform somehow led to a raised path that led into the woods behind. I yelled "stop, thief!", but he didn't. an aged lady sitting at the edge of the platform and facing the road, asked me what happened. I told her he was stealing my bike. she insisted that it wasn't possible, because the guy was her son. I realized she wouldn't be any help, and continued shouting.

luckily for me, an army truck passed by, and a few armed commandos stopped to ask me what happened. they asked me to prove the bike was mine by showing them my papers. I told them I would, but they should first catch the thief as he was quickly getting away, and was already out of sight, only marked by leaves moving where he had disturbed the foliage when escaping. the commandos quickly fanned out, while a couple of them inquired with the old lady where he lived.

she pointed to the house right next door.

and that's when I woke up.

my heart was still racing.

my wife asked me what happened.

I told her someone stole my bike and the army was trying to get it back.

she said: no wonder. you were twitching violently in your sleep!

and that's when I realized, there's no escaping stress!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

phone-y dreams

I had some strange phone dreams last night.

in my dream, my oneplus one (which has stopped working in real life) started working by accident. it started working when I disassembled and reassembled it, and accidentally used the battery and SIM tray of a oneplus two of my friend (who was also disassembling and reassembling his phone). his phone stopped working, and he assumed it was because he reassembled it wrong... and i realized what had happened only after he left, because my sim was loose in the tray. he left his phone behind as well, so I couldn't return the parts. I assumed he didn't care and continued to use it.

I also had another phone, one which defies explanation: it was called an elephant phone, and it was shaped like a miniaturized elephant. it stood on its 4 legs, and was about half a foot in length and height. i liked the phone because it supported dual sim + a memory card. these were under a hinged panel in its back. I was expecting superlative battery life due to its size, but apparently the battery life was on par with other normal phones. strangely though, the elephant phone had no visible earpiece or speaker... or screen! it was a toy elephant with two sim cards and a memory card slot. I didn't know the manufacturer's name, and someone told me it's a Nokia. I remember being confused in the dream about Nokia creating Android phones (but nowhere did the phone give any clue to suggest that it runs Android)

explaining dreams

i had a strange dream last night. i dreamed i entered an elevator, and pressed the button for the floor i lived on. except that there were a...