Sunday, December 18, 2011

traction vs control

when I started biking, I was scared of skidding. of course, my bike had much better brakes back then, and I was very rear-brake heavy, so I guess that fear was for a good reason :)

as my experience on my two wheels grew, my braking habits changed, and so did my confidence in making my bike do exactly what I wanted it to. I started pushing my bike to figure out exactly what point it would skid.

as an aside, notable markers:
100 to 20 on dry tar road with new tires in about one truck length with both brakes
90 to 0 on dry paved road with slightly worn tires in about 3 truck lengths with only front brake

anyway, there are many saner points between these extremes, and those are the points I usually find myself at. points that don't have numbers to put on a graph, but valid data anyway.

and with all this in my head, I've come to grow comfortable with the telltale screeching noise of my tires reminding me they're being pushed to their limits. but the real comfort is when I realized that there a big difference between losing traction and losing control. The squeak of tires when they bounce over rough cobblestones while braking strongly but steadily, the growl of cutting through gravel with one hand resting easy on the throttle and the handle held firmly straight, and many many more such things.

and somehow, that seems to strike a chord with my life too.

There are things you can to be liberal about, without losing control of your life. you may be pushing yourself, maybe because you find yourself in a tight spot, maybe in anticipation of something riskier than the current situation if left to chance, or sometimes, just for the rush of pushing yourself.

There are times when you don't need to worry about traction at all, just about staying on course and within your limits.

and of course, the are times when losing traction means losing everything. the end of the line.

traction is nothing. what matters is control.

Monday, December 05, 2011

precarious

i love my bike. i love riding it around.

people always say bikes are dangerous. i tell them i'm careful, not just to avoid risky maneuvers, but also to avoid situations where i'd not have time or the opportunity to react to someone else doing something stupid on the road.

today, i realized how wrong i could have been proven.

i was around 2 seconds from disaster. and i wasn't even moving fast. and none of the people in the cars involved got injured either (all 3 cars took quite a beating though!)

Sunday, December 04, 2011

google reader, you're messing it up!

I started reading blogs when I started using google reader.

in fact, I started blogging shortly after (and to a fair extent, because of) google reader.

it had the usual characteristics of a google product: clean, easy to use, functional, constantly getting features added, mobile-friendly, and eventually (inevitably?) popularity.

google reader was good for me for almost 5 years.

until early last month.

I now hate reader.

maybe google is trying to get more content on to google+ with this, or maybe getting people to use that "social network" a bit more, but whatever it is, they're doing it wrong.

I do NOT want the stuff I like to go someplace else.

I do NOT want the stuff I share to be on a closed social network.

I WANT to be able to read stuff my  friends share in the same place as I read my subscriptions.

I WANT my mobile experience to be as similar to my web experience (why on earth would they *remove* the like and share features from google reader mobile?)

I WANT to be able to search the stuff I've shared over the years (it's there somewhere, just that google isn't letting me get at it)

I WANT to be on a platform which I can trust will remain interoperable with open standards (mainly the ability to export my shares as a rss feed)

I could go on and on, but these are the biggest things google reader used to be, and isn't anymore.

my feed-reading experience is so crippled right now, that I don't even know how many other people have outraged over the new crippled reader, just because google+ is such a crappy platform that I can't bring myself to use it to read others' shares.

the final straw was 20 minutes ago, when in a moment of insomnia, I opened the android reader app, read one post, and then couldn't find an option to like/share it (other than the android native "share" option). seriously, what?

despite being the google loyalist that I am, I think the time has come to take my feeds elsewhere. I just hope google notices.

this is not being evil, this is simply being dumb.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Adriana Jenkins left a message on your guestbook

BABE... i guess your not getting any of my email huh? ive been tryign to email u so many times but this dam laptop is such a piece of garbage and keeps freezing.. anyways how u been? In case u dont know who this is its ME ADRIANA.. we used to chat a bit on facebook and then I think u deleted me :( haha.. anyways guess what... I got 2 things to tell u.. both good news.. 1) im single now.. yup me and my bf broke up about 3 months ago... and 2) guess where im moving? RIGHT EFFING NEAR U.. lol... ur actually the only person im gonna know there.. well 3 cousins too but i cant chill with them lol..I remember when we chatted u told me u thought i was cute and u wanted to chill so now we finally can HAHA! im kinda scared to move.. im hoping this email addy is still the one you use and u can chat with me ebfore i get there.. maybe even help me move my shit in...are u still on facebook? i cudnt find ui was soo confused...anyways im gonna need someone to show me the town and take me out so u better be around bebe...we only chatted a couple times but i remember thinking to myself i wanted to get ot know u better when i was single..a nd i thoguth u were cute too but cudnt tell u cause i wasnt single lol...ok so more info about me.. well im 23.. virgo.. love the outdoors and love to socialize, go out for drinks, restaurants, movies etc.. travel.. i have a lil kitty named BOO and i luv her to death... uhhh oh im a super horny gurl too but every gurl is they just wont admit it. so ilove watching p0rn and all that.. love sex etc blah blah blah...who doesnt..I really hope we get a chance to chat for a bit either online or on the fone before i get there enxt week.. i hope u remmeber me and still wanna chill and arent married yet lol.. OH YA also.. i need to find a job when i get there.. do u have any hookups or know anybody hiring? id LOVE to work in a bar or osmehting like that...really anythgin cause my current job is fun and all.. and technically i CUD keep doign it but i want a change.. i currently work from home and well thats cool but i need ot be out meeting people.. oh wait. i dont think i ever actually told u what i did? hmm shud i......???? ok WELLLL... and dont get all weirded out on me.. i work on a webcam chat community site and i get paid to chat with people and get naked HHAHA... BOMB right :)? I KNOW.. like i figure iim horny anyways why not get paid to chat with people and play with myself heheh...anyways i hope u dont look down on that and NO THATS NOT WHY IM CONTACTING U RELAX URSELF lol... i actually need help once i move and i remembered u live there so im reaching out....like i said before this computer is a complete piece of CRAP and freezes NON STOP.. ive tried ot send this email to u maybe 3 times already and im hopign this time i can hit SEND before i run into trouble lol.. ANYWAYS.. heres the deal....every month natalie (my boss) gives each of us 3 VIP codes to give out to whoever we want.. so with this code u can lgoin to watch me at work for free and dont have to pay like everyone else... the only way i can give u one of the codes (so we can chat) is if you absolutey DO NOT give it out to anyone else and u ONLY USE IT FOR URSELF... i only get 3 a month and she gets pissed if more than 3 people use them so DONT SHARE IT MISTER... i figured u cud always email me back instead but my email account doesnt even let me login half the time.. so the bets palce ot chat me is my chat room... if theres anyone else logged in when u sign in ill boot them out.. but remember DONT SHARE THIS PASSWORD PLEASE BABE IM BEGGING U.. I TRUST U... im online most of the day now to try and save money for my move.. also since im in such a huge debt already form my student loan :( I really thingk we need to chat before i get there and make sure u evern remember me hahha.. anyways ive rambled on and on now and ur probably soooo annnoyed with me so ill stop now.. im gonna go start work.. i really hope u come chat me. it wud make my day and releive a lot of my stress about the move... REALLY i mean that....anyways once i see u in insdie ill shoot u myc ell number and u can gimme yours.. if u dont wanna come chat i understand but its really the only palce to find me now days.. if u email me abck ill probably get it once i get there after my internet is setup so about 2-3 weeks fomr now.. but im hopign to see u in my chat room.. rmemeber its 100% free with this code im gonna give u.. just DONT GIVE IT OUT OR ILL KICK U IN THE BALLS INSTEAD OF LICK U IN THE BALLS WHEN IS EE U hahahahha...k babe im out for now... chat ya soon.. kisses xoxo ADRIANA FREE VIP BYPASS LINK ------>> [LINK DELETED :P]

ps: this was a message sent to me on bebo.com: turns out i created an account there even before i joined orkut... and never ever used it!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

road tripping (part 2)

it had all the makings of a great evening: a couple of hours of roaming the anjuna flea market, a perfect beachside sunset, a band playing awesome music while we sipped our drinks, and a bunch of some of my best friends.

but I never knew there was something better coming up.

all I can say is that I've never experienced such a blend of togetherness, while we still did our own thing...walked in small groups, sat and gazed at the sea together, walked around alone while the waves lapped at my toes, made some long overdue phone calls... and the best part is, we all had the time of our lives.

I think I've seen enough to say: this evening was as near perfect as it gets :)

Sunday, November 06, 2011

road tripping (part 1)

my classmates from vjti are some of my closest friends. we aren't exactly on a daily or even sometimes a monthly speaking basis. but somehow, those 3 years we spent almost entirely together, including half a year as roommates in a new city, at our first ever jobs (internships, to be precise), counts for something.

in fact, it counts for a lot.

so much, that 4 years of living our separate working lives seems inconsequential.

and even though this is just the end of the first of 9 daysof this trip to goa, and our first ever vacation together (barring one weekend last year), it already feels so naturally perfect.

Monday, October 17, 2011

matryoshka dreams

(you may have noticed that i haven't blogged in a while. nothing specific, just laziness and inertia, i assure you!)

saturday, september 17:

satej, a friend of his (who i didn't recognize), and i were on our way to matheran. i was on my bike, and satej and his friend were riding a scooter.

we passed through lush green fields, riding on dirt tracks that bordered each plot, until the terrain changed and we started riding uphill.

the way to matheran was without cliffs and winding roads, though. instead, there was a road that zig-zagged up a mountainside, and the slopes were covered with a canopy of broad, leafy trees.

satej and his friend rode ahead, while i was a couple of minutes behind.

all of a sudden, the brakes failed on my bike. immediately afterward, the right side handle of my bike just snapped off.

thankfully, i was going uphill, and managed to stop without any mishap.

i managed to fit the handle back together, but it was rather precariously attached, and i had to be very careful not to make any sudden movements, and hold it together while riding.

i reached a small village on the way (it was more like a cluster of shops and small eateries), and decided to stop and scout around for help. but satej's phone was unreachable.

i figured i'll haveto keep riding all the way to the top before i'd find him.

and that's when i woke up, in bed, at home. it's around 9am.

i was relieved that it was all just a dream. but it seemed very real! so i quickly dressed and went downstairs.

the bike was parked in its usual spot, but the brakes were broken. and the handle came off when i tugged at it.

i went home and called the mechanic. his phone was busy on another call. i was feeling lazy, and got back into bed.

i called again a while later. he answered and said he'll come over to collect the bike in a few minutes.

i fell asleep waiting.

i woke up at 2pm.

turns out everything so far was a dream, and i was late for the kingfisher beerup (which was supposed to start at 10am in bandra. panicked, jumped out of bed, started getting ready. but then i realized i'm already too late. went back to bed, fully dressed.

next thing i realized, i'm awake, with my phone in my hand.

it's 9am.

and it's still the morning of kingfisher beerup!

ps: kingfisher beerup was the day when kingfisher took us on a nice bus ride to their brewery, with chilled beers and snacks handed out all the way, a hearty lunch, a tour of the brewery, more beers on the way back to bandra, and then an evening of pizza and beer...all sponsored by kingfisher! no wonder i dreamed about it. thankfully, i made it *on time* too :D

Monday, September 05, 2011

contrast

I'm on my way back from gokarna (a chain of beaches in north karnataka). I traveled by bus, both ways. the contrast was quite extreme though:

going: expensive ticket (1500 bucks to goa, another 200 to gokarna)
return: cheap ticket (1250 bucks direct from gokarna)

going: fixed pick-up point
return: major uncertainity over the pick-up point

going: last row window seat that barely even reclined
return: middle row seat, almost-sleeper recliner seat

going: bus took 18 hours for a 12 hour journey
return: 11 hours into the journey, I'm almost at bbay

going: money spent getting to the pick-up point: 19 bucks
return: money spent getting to the pick-up point: 130+700 bucks!

going: cheese sandwiches for dinner, no breakfast - wasn't feeling like eating. spent 24 hours in all, with those sandwiches.
return: a delicious fish thaali for dinner, chicken roll for breakfast.

going: didn't have time to charge the phone, so spent most of the journey with the phone switched off, or with "battery low" - and no plug point in the bus.
return: charged the phone fully before leaving, and the bus has a plug-point at every seat.

ps:

going: sat next to a random shady guy who didn't even get up from his seat for those 18 hours
return: still sitting next to a cute girl...we played nudge-nudge all night :P

Sunday, August 14, 2011

a spiritual quickie

I've never been very religious. organized religion has given me a lot, no doubt, but god seems to give me far more through random encounters than through what I've ever received from an hour of devout attention at Sunday mass.

like yesterday, when I was walking to the nearest bus-stop from my friend's place (I was actually looking for a rickshaw, but it didn't look like they were interested in taking me anywhere). I called another friend who lives nearby, to see if he was free for a quick hi.

turns out he was in church.

I was right outside the church, and in no hurry to get home anyway, so I thought i'd do a quick march-past the pews outside to see if I could spot him. quickly, and from a distance, because I was probably smelling of whiskey and definitely looking and smelling like a sweat-drenched hobo with my soaked shorts and rumpled tee (the adventure that led to that is another story altogether :D)

I couldn't see him. but in those 30 seconds I caught a bit of the homily:

"the lady would walk by on the beach every evening and pick up broken and discarded bottles from the beach. and every time she would pick up one of those, she would say a silent prayer for the person who had thrown it there"

turns out, that's all I needed to hear that evening.

I went home a touched and determined man.

not because I'm planning on cleaning up beaches.

but because it's been ages since I've prayed for someone I didn't know personally. or for the secret intentions of people. or even just the greater common good.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

good intentions and the road to hell

my mom always loves to say: "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"

and indeed, it is.

I set off from my friend's place with a will to walk as far toward home as I could. which, knowing myself, would be all the way.

8km. an hour and a half, at a brisk pace, with a slight drizzle to keep me company.

also, I was telling my friend about how I rarely get time with myself, thanks to my connected lifestyle.

10 minutes later, I studied the signboard at a bus stop and decided I might as well take a bus home. 5 minutes later, the bus arrived. an air coditioned volvo.

of those 15 minutes, I spent a grand total of 12 minutes tweeting, texting and calling.

and now that I'm in the bus, myPod has been switched to full blast, and  here I am, moBlogging away.

walking? myself time? my ass.

the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Friday, August 12, 2011

level 2

another recent dream. almost a parody of an old one that I had in college. but the dream revised itself to make sense in a corporate setting.

I woke up one Monday morning. terribly late. so late that I was tempted to call in sick. but morals prevailed, and I trudged my way to office.

when I got there, it was already past noon, and there was an understandable managerial outrage.

funny thing is that, I my dream, my manager actually said that "if you're going to come in so late, you might as well call in sick and relax at home, instead of rushing to office".

and then I thought to myself: this sounds extremely weird. this is probably a dream. I should wake up now and check the time, and rush to work.

and so I woke up, checked my phone. I had overslept, but not as badly as in my dream. I jumped out of bed, raced to the bathroom, got into the shower.

and then, my phone started beeping next to me.

I opened my eyes and realized that was a dream too, and my phone was beeping for the first alarm.

I was early.

and I was dreaming in my dream.

and I had somehow realized that I was dreaming while I was dreaming in my dream.

as the old rhyme goes:

"row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream,
"merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
"life is but a dream"

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

e1m3: new secret passage found

a few days ago, when browsing around google maps, i came across a curious looking small grid of roads near my route from home to office.

on closer glance, it looked like i may have found an alternate route that bypasses quite a few traffic jams on my way home.

so on tuesday, after work, i decided to explore the area.

what followed was something that took me back 15 years, when i was a big fan of doom: it looked like a secret passage.

it appeared out of nowhere. i wouldn't have even noticed it if i wasn't looking for it. it was a dark, narrow path, lined with high bushes on either side, peppered with briskly walking men and strangely aggressive bikers.

mud soon gave way to muck and slush, and finally, i got to the point where i thought the map was wrong: a 50-foot stream (more like an oversized gutter, actually).

everyone i had asked said there was only one way across that gutter, and that was the big, traffic-laden bridge, with traffic jams at both ends... and that was the main road.

but they were wrong. google maps was right.

there was a bridge. one that would have only been open to pedestrians, if it wasn't for a broken turnstile at either end (i'm sure it was the doing of those aggressive bikers!)

a few hundred feet later, i was back to civilization, and the strange aura of that mysterious path gave way to a squalid slum.

that's when i realized why there was such a tight grid of roads nearby: it was a neatly-laid-out network of lanes that led to each clump of shanties in the slum.

Monday, August 01, 2011

trekking in goa

this dream happened over 2 months ago - 19th may. thankfully my faved tweets (this, this and this) and a couple of narrations of this dream have kept it fresh in my head

there were 4 of us. me, dennis, and two girls i don't recognize (yes, i actually dreamed of people i don't know. strange but true). in the dream, i knew the girls too.

so we were at the top of the hill, in a slightly wooded area. there was a mossy, musty room that we had to pass through. and once we were out, it was just a cliff, and a drop straight down, into a rocky stream that was barely knee deep.

i was the first to step out of the room.

i stood at the edge of the cliff. i couldn't see a way to get down. and i was really scared of the height. one of the girls exited the room and was a few metres away from me.

she told me i could jump, the water was deep enough. but i was scared. i wanted to go back.

just then, a baby tiger jumped off a ledge that was behind me and onto my back. i was pushed off the cliff. i screamed as i fell.

and landed in the knee-deep rocky stream on my feet.

and somehow, when i looked back, what looked like a 100 foot was barely 20 or 30 feet high.

the girl jumped too, and landed safely. we crossed the stream and sat on a few dry rocks while dennis and the other girl got down.

we made small talk that i can't remember.

meanwhile, dennis and the other girl reached us. we looked around.

strangely enough, i can only remember what was on 3 sides of what i saw.



so we sat there, and watched the sun set behind the lake and the village. and then realized we didn't have any torches, and had to get to the village before dark. and dennis and i were craving a beer after the "trek" (that's what we called it in the dream, btw!).

thankfully, the lake was barely waist-deep too, and we splashed across as it got dark.

and that's when the dream ended :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

the perfect weekend...again?

I'm sure there's another post titled "the perfect weekend". so this will be another.

anyway, here's what went into my perfect weekend:

- a birthday
- a midnight ride
- a trip to my friendly neighbourhood mechanic (well, what can you do?)
- a second breakfast (cheese garlic bread, woo hoo)
- street shopping
- mangoes and milk, shaken together
- a new  bag!
- my favourite friend
- twitter at home
- a chicken sannndwich for lunch
- a long ride without rain
- a trekker-adventurer friend
- a short ride without rain
- one of my first "new"  friends
- her dog
- giving aformentioned dog (with friend) a ride to marine drive
- chaat at chowpatty
- a doggie walk in a drizzle
- a short  ride with rain. and the dog and friend.
- a longish walk in the rain
- a long chat...in person, after ages!
- a long ride with rain
- a 2 hour nap
- a train to karjat
- lots of deep fried, batter coated goodles. with chai.
- a 6 seater with 9 people. birthday boy included.
- a hike in the rain
- a head and back massage in a waterfall
- rum, rain and ham-and-cheese sandwiches
- a brisk walk through a downpour to get to the nearest cuppa chai
- a 6-seater race for a train (that we lost)
- a hour's wait for a train
- a 2 hour's wait for the train to reach our destination
- one of my best "old" friends
- falling asleep at midnight out of sheer exhaustion

yup, this was just one weekend.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

blur

i had another lucid dream today morning, a few minutes ago.

this one was not as sharp or memorable as the previous one.

to begin with, there was no story.

it's interesting. the dreams i remember, are always the ones with a story. the rest of them just fall apart into bits and pieces, that fall apart into photo-frames stuck in my head.

anyway, last night's dream included tisha, tushar and samantha (and the funny thing is, i can't remember what samantha was doing in my dream!). and involved random things centered around goa.

the most vivid scene in my dream was the last one, when i gave a gun-toting terrorist a lift, in exchange for him guiding me how to get through numerous checkposts on the way (quite successfully, i must add).

he was a really nice, polite guy. and he only hitched a ride until we were past the cops, and then actually got off and started walking while i rode off. he also lost his gun somewhere in the crowds while i was riding (i had to ride through a densely peopled market of sorts).

after he got off and started walking, i rode by myself through a narrow, winding, country road.

and fell really sleepy.

in my dream, i remember, everything would be a blur once i'd take a turn, and i could only keep my vision straight when i was riding in a straight line. and i was all over that road, not even noticing the number of near misses i had cos i couldn't see through my mental haze most of the time.

and yet i survived, unscathed. until the end of that road, which connected to another road - i could take the other road home, or turn back and take this winding one home.

and that's when i fell off the bike.

my last thought before i woke up was "what's a better road to ride on when you're very dizzy - a straight one or a winding one?"

the dream seems to be so very influenced by recent incidents in my life, that i'm kinda freaked out.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

scream

i was riding my bike on a broad and straight gravel path, by a long row of brightly coloured rowhouses on one side and a slightly high stone wall on the other.

hills on either side of me. gray, stony hills, without much vegetation. but the track i was on was tree-lined and green. it was a sultry afternoon, but the heat wasn't overwhelming. the weather was invigorating.

as i rode, i passed by a lot of bikini-clad caucasian women, not in groups, but colourfully dotting along the way, all ambling back in the direction i was heading from. and the odd topless one too.

i sped up a bit, despite it being a rough, gravelly path, filled with packed stones.

finally, i reached the end of the path, save for one rowhouse. this is where i was riding to. they had a swimming pool. and my bombay neighbours, were caretakers of the place.

everyone was getting out of the pool. a topless teenage girl just got out of the pool with her dad, who was toweling her down. she smiled at me as i parked my bike.

my neighbour nudged me and said "she's the only one left for you to eye now". i looked at her, but apparently she wasn't talking to me - she was talking to her husband.

i was feeling too embarrassed to take off my shirt because of the number of hot-looking women around, so i decided to get into the pool with my t-shirt and (obviously) shorts on.

as i was getting in, everyone else was getting out, drying off and leaving.

i walked to the edge of the pool. it had steps leading down to the water (more like a public bath looking thing than a pool, i guess). noticed the water was pretty dirty. lots of leaves and a bit of junk floating around near the edges.

i looked around to see which was the cleanest part of the pool to get into.

as i was walking around the pool on the steps, everyone left. except one woman, wearing a black, completely soaked, clingy dress that ran all the way down to her ankles. she had long straight hair, and really weird eyes (they had white corneas, making her kinda look like a female marilyn manson). i somehow didn't think much about her.

i kept my bike keys near the edge of the pool so i could keep an eye on them. the keychain was my old bright red manU one.

as i dipped my feet into the water, i could hear the radio playing inside the house, announcing that nuclear tests were happening today.

the male caretaker said hey, this is cool, let's go there, take the kids and all. it'll be fun.

his wife (she has quite a booming voice, in real life and also in the dream) replied/shouted "what's with you and taking the kids for these nuclear tests, you're all so boring. i don't wanna go."

meanwhile, i decided to wade into neck-deep water as that was cleaner.

while i was reaching the middle of the pool, i realized why the water was so dirty.

there were two dead rams floating under the surface, near the middle of the pool.

i was super grossed-out, and found my way to this one raised pillar in the middle of the pool so that i could get out of the water for a bit.

sat there, looking at these two dead goats, wondering how i'd get out, considering how grossed out i was, and that the water was neck-deep.

i turned around to see how near the other end of the pool was. turned out it was nearer. but there was something else floating about there. face-down. a long haired woman wearing black.

i shivered.

as i turned to face her, she stood up with a start from the water, hair flying backwards, roaring and screaming, and i realized she was atleast 16 feet tall. she lunged towards me.

i woke up with a scream. literally jumped up, and looked around the room.

ps: i was surprised i didn't wake up my bro. maybe my scream was part of my dream, and i woke up silently. funny thing is, my dream continued for a fraction of a second after i woke. that was when, i looked across the pool and saw my bike keys at the far end, and realized there was no getting away.

Monday, July 04, 2011

the weekend in a village: purushwadi

disclosure: this trip was organized by grassoutes, and they happily offered to sponsor my weekend if i was ready to blog it. the opinions and experiences are solely mine though. also, special thanks to verena for letting me use some of her lovely photos :)

i've always loved the village lifestyle. my first brush with it was at tushar's village in goa, which was still semi-linked to civilization...and besides, that was still goa, with all its trappings of madness ;)

the village i went to two weeks ago, on the other hand, was a different world altogether.

first of all, i arrived without any transportation of my own (2 trains and then one of a villager's jeep). was hoping for rain, but unfortunately there wasn't as much of it as i hoped.

but that weekend, what i hoped and what i found were two completely different things. and i mean it in a good way.

from the welcome (i think it's called a "tikka"), and the caps, with the villagers drumming at the entrance of the school compound, i just knew it.

the goal of the weekend trip was to live as much like the villagers did, while keeping it fun and engaging... and i must say, we did achieve it for the most part.

from the sweet black tea (black, because the villagers don't milk their cows, and sweet, because that's all they have for energy before they head to the fields in the morning), to the home cooked lunch (we were "adopted" by Sulochana Gangaram Kondar and family, and all our meals were at their house) - this was about as close an experience as we could get.



after our lunch, we went to our home for the weekend for a short round of introduction while a few of us rested our backs on the mattresses. our "home" was the beautifully decorated 5th standard classroom, covered from floor to ceiling with posters and tidbits of knowledge hung from lines across the room!



the view from our room: picture perfect!



late in the afternoon, we then set off for a meandering walk-turned-fruit-gathering-turned-trek that took us through the fields, a bit of jungle, and then a short climb to a plateau.







ps: bite marks are only cos i wanted to make sure the fruits were as delicious as they looked!







and then came the plateau. i haven't been to a place as windy since...never! the view of the plains from all sides (in fact, they weren't plains, but plateaus in their own right - we were far, far, far above sea level!). it was just breathtakingly beautiful.









on our way down, we got to see a rare sight: one of our guides caught a crab while it was in the process if hatching hundreds of babies! a lovely sight indeed.





back at the village after a quick (and far easier) climb down, we settled in with a cup or three of chai and biscuits, and waited for the sunset and the fireflies.

the fireflies (which sadly, neither my phone nor the best of cameras people had brought along could capture), were breathtaking. i had seen such a brilliant display only once before, in matheran, but this time, since we were surrounded by such lush greenery and no artificial lighting, it was even more breathtaking.

after dinner, five of us went for a long walk (about an hour long, in fact! time just flew and the atmosphere was energizing!), where we saw even more fireflies. we walked without any lights whatsoever, our only guide being the fireflies, and the light of the (clouded) moon reflecting off the wet road. it just got us high on life and nature.

after a good night's sleep, we had a simple breakfast, and then set about interacting with the villagers.



the village jeep, packed with over 20 people, about to head off to the nearest village (rajouri), 20+ km away, which has the nearest market/secondary school/medical clinic/state transport etc.



a rock altar in the middle of the village - we thought it was carved, but it turned out it was a naturally formed rock that was found in the stream!









among the things i tried my hand at were: chopping wood, grinding flour, and *GET THIS* ploughing a field! yesh, it's actually much easier than it seems. i haven't perfected my sounds, but i can control the bullocks, even!!!





finally, we all settled in for a scrumptious lunch (3 families cooked, so there were almost as many dishes as there were people!) a rustic, but delectable treat. best part being, everything we had consumed this weekend (barring the tea, i guess) was 100% organic food, all grown by the villagers!



and finally, the time came to bid farewell. but not for long, because i will soon be back! next time, it'll be with a tent and my bike, and it'll be a whole new way of experiencing this paradise!





in conclusion, this was a trip of a lifetime. i have fallen in love with the experience, and am hoping to go on a lot more such weekends, with the help of grassroutes.

ps: grassroutes organises such trips all year around. just contact them and they'll be happy to help!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

insivible

my gtalk status has been the same for the last year and a half. it says "insivible"

why this status?

it's a double joke. first of all, people have actually ping'd me saying that there's probably something wrong with gtalk, and that i'm actually visible.

and then i point out to them that my status doesn't say "invisible", but "insivible" :D

Sunday, June 26, 2011

clarification #win

someone added this disclaimer to their reply in a debate happening over email at work:

"sorry if i misread and that you're saying the same thing as I did, in which case i hope it clarifies to others reading it the same way as i did."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

the window's a wound, the road is a knife.

funny how when you're in control of your own wheels, you feel nothing but the road. and when someone else is driving, the road pales in significance to the driver.

and yet, the driver is oblivious to you.

ps: posted from a bus to goa. and I can tell the difference between overtaking and a meandering road without even thinking. if I close my eyes and lie back, I might just be able to sense the speedo and tacho.

Monday, June 20, 2011

and never say never again...


last Friday evening, my friend martin called me asking the directions to nashik.

6 hours later, I was on my way there.

in the 3 years that I've been riding, I guess I've always had my fear of riding in the rain. I used to also have a slight fear of night riding, but that was right at the very start of my riding life.

at 5:30 am that Saturday morning, the sun was far from making its appearance. nor were the rains (it had been pouring for atleast 8 straight hours around home) any nearer from going anywhere.

so I got on the road, armed with my now-aging helmet (that let's rain in from the gap between it and the visor), and my windcheater that was never intended to be waterproof.

5 minutes later, I realized how freaky a task I had set for myself. and so I said to myself, while squinting through starbursts of oncoming high-beams through a rain-streaked visor: night-riding is fun, rain-riding is okay...but night-riding in the rain? never again!

little did I know.

the ride to nashik was fun (martin was late, so I spent 45 minutes standing at the highwayside, soaking my already-soaked bones - and he arrived right after the sun, but that's another story). chai and a breakfast of super-fresh jalebis (so fresh that they were crunchy!) primed us, and the next bite we had was lunch in nashik.

the plan was to ride to bhandardhara on our way from nashik, but post-lunch laziness got the better of us and we decided to drop that leg of the itinerary.

so finally, we set off homeward from nashik at 5:30 pm.

a 4-5 hour ride with an hour left for twilight.

and so, the inevitable happened: it started raining right after the sun set.

in fact it was hard to tell if the sun had set, riding as we were, through clouds inside kasara ghat with barely 10 metres visibility (and by visibility I mean being able to determine the presence of a vehicle ahead by its tail-lights).

right as we set off from nashik, I felt the urge to pee, but kept myself going, chasing the sunset.

by the time the sun set, I was so firmly planted on my trusty bike's seat, that I didn't even feel the need to push myself to keep going.

and as dusk faded into darkness, I was gradually brought face-to-face with my recently declared enemy.

I wouldn't say that I've conquered it completely, but I've realized that I'm at the point where night-riding in heavy rain is fun.

it's an amazing feeling, when your senses are so tuned that in the haze of rain-occluded headlights and oncoming high-beams, you can still see a tiny frog jumping across the road.

that was the beauty of the ride. and it was an awesome feeling.

oh and some interesting things I learned on the ride:

the best way to use the helmet visor is half-down: it protects your eyes from rain, and still gives you a dipper-style field of view.

watch your rearview: vehicles overtaking are my biggest fear. I think I focused more on my rearview than the road! especially because you've slowed down, and 4 wheelers on the road somehow get a kick out of speeding even more. scary.

beware of the blind spot: don't know about other bikes, but my bike's rearview mirrors have a blind spot on either side...and the blind spot is dangerously nearby. what I do is, wait atleast 10 seconds after signaling a lane change, and slow down a bit before switching lanes.

follow a big vehicle: pick a decently fast-moving bus that can be recognized from far away, and stay near it. don't tail it (I've had way too many near-misses to even consider it!), but stay in the same lane. you don't have to worry much about fast vehicles cutting you off when you're behind a big bus :)

don't bother overtaking: seriously. don't even bother. just keep your eyes on the rearview.

anyway, it was the ride of a lifetime. looking forward to doing many, many, more!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

where there's a will...

was hoping to blog during my 35 minute train journey.

I managed, I guess.

ps: guess the guys in the train were suspicious about what I was trying to click. got some suspicious stares from a few people. and one guy is reading this post as I type it ;)

Thursday, June 09, 2011

mmmm, fresh meat!

i live such a strange life, that on days when my lunch only contains veggies, i still microwave it in the microwave reserved for non-vegetarian meals, in the hope of picking up some non-veggie aroma/flavour.

it's never worked so far, but i still do it, 4 years later.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

alive

if you're fighting to live, it's okay to die.


to elaborate, the price we're ready to pay should be commensurate with the goal of the fight. and that's how it should be. anything else would be unrealistic, or worse, foolish.

Monday, June 06, 2011

help yourself

much as i hate labels, i'm forced to conclude that i'm a geek.

and one thing that geeks hate, are people who refuse to seek answers for themselves.

there are days when i'm asked a question, and my answer is "why don't you google it?", and refuse to tell the answer even though i know it.

why?

well, first (but not most) of all, efficiency. you're the one with the question, you're the one who needs to recieve the answer, and you have the means to get at it. i don't see what value i'd add by finding the answer and passing it on to you.

but most of all, it's because i'd rather teach you to fish than give you a cooked one for lunch.

it may seem funny (and almost contradictory to the efficiency point above) that i usually actually google the question myself before asking someone to google it. after all, i don't want to mislead or make you run around in circles. but i do want you to run for yourself.

ps: post inspired by a conversation with ankita and harshad, and eric raymond's post on how to ask questions, that i read long ago and so completely identified with :)

Saturday, June 04, 2011

aquaplaning

the much-awaited first rains were 2 days ago, on thursday. but surprisingly, this time there wasn't the much awaited petrichor, or scent of the first rain on dust. probably because of a drizzle 2 days before, which left my bike coated with a layer of muck within the 2 brief minutes that it lasted.

anyway. back to the first proper rain. as usual, there were reports of rain from other parts of bombay, culminating with mom looking out at the terrace and declaring that it has finally arrived.

i didn't waste a minute.

last year, the first rain was such a brief spell, that by the time i called nickolai and took my bike out, it had pretty much stopped.

this time, thankfully, it was different. nickolai was studying for her exam the next day, and the rain was mroe a torrent than a drizzle. 10 seconds on the road on my bike, and i realized i could barely open my eyes against the gusty downpour. fun times.

so yeah, i got drenched, passed teenagers dancing and frolicking in the rain, scouted the colony and areas around for puddles to splash through (this is probably the only time you can splash bystanders without affecting your karma, after all!), and finally found my share of rainy bliss.

unfortunately, the neighbourhood vada pav guy shut shop with the rains (he probably hadn't carried his huge umbrella), but there was toasted bun-maska and chai waiting for me at home to make up for it.

anyway, what was the most fun part of the ride (after the splashing through puddles bit, of course)?

attempting to engine-brake hard on a downhill sharp left turn, and doing a nice 90 degree spin. but no feet on the ground. yesh, my bike's tyres can now be proclaimed bald.

i love the rains.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

the late mr. kristopher.

the problem with getting home after *my* stipulated deadline is:

why did you come home?

never mind that my bed has been made just for me, and dessert has been set on the table (just in case, you know?)

no. dessert can go back in the fridge. don't mention the bed.

the icing on the cake: people who come home after 1am should live in their own houses, or with their friends. then they'll know.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm a selfish person.

just like the blind can't lead the blind, an unhappy person can't make someone else happy. you make people happy not by doing things, but by first being happy, and then teaching them your secret, either by example or by word.

hence, focus on your own happiness. be selfish about your happiness. because the responsiibility for your happiness lies on you and you alone.

conversely, doing something just because it will make someone else happy, will make you unhappy. and the other person may learn to rely on you or other people for their happiness. and this situation makes nobody happy.

so pursue your own happiness relentlessly. nobody will even realize you're being selfish about it, unless you tell them. and when you find your happiness, you'll find your work is pretty much done.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

happy eather

so, it's easter evening. my hangover has subsided, and i'm now ready for a round of visiting relatives and some more merrymaking. yeah, i know, i didn't really have an excuse for all the frivolities of last night, considering i didn't fast, sacrifice, or do any sort of penance this lent. heck, i bunked confession, even.

sounds like this is everything easter isn't supposed to be, right? there was a time when it felt like that to me too.

but not any more.

what is easter? it's a celebration.

it's a celebration of hope. of salvation. of having a singular purpose to our lives, however wayward our means may be. it's the spirit of christianity. to me, the rules, the norms, are all secondary.

eat and drink your fill. be merry. but do not forget that christ is risen, and we will rise too. all we need to do is the work of god.

happy easter!

um...and pass the easter eggs, please? :P

Thursday, April 21, 2011

rape me

disclaimer: this post is not intended to offend. just an insight.

a while ago, a female friend told me about how she was having issues with this friend who uses the word "rape" very casually in conversation. i didn't comment back then, but somehow, my initial reaction was that she was being overly-sensitive. after all, in today's lingo, curse-words aren't really meant to be taken literally, and quite a few abuses that nobody seems to take undue offense to would have been extremely offensive if they were.

which got me thinking aloud on twitter:
i'm afraid to use the word "rape" in female company for fear of causing an outrage. this is not good.

guess my thoughts at that point were focused on two philosophies of cursing (yesh, i do have such philosophies):
  1. anything not directed at a person isn't offensive

  2. once something is designated a curse-word, it is not to be taken literally, unless there is no other plausible meaning

thankfully, a friend reacted to my tweet with something that got me thinking:
  • the word "rape" is not a curse-word

  • rape implies violent damaging sexual abuse. and i'm ashamed to say, with the exception of the sexual part, my usage of the word does imply the other three. so maybe i'm not sticking to principle #2 myself

conclusion: "rape" is not a curse word. and i will never use it as one. i hope you're convinced too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

music: it's all around us

halfway through my shower, I realized the water on this mug was vibrating to the beats of the music! not just the music...only the beats!

ps: re the previous post, option 2 it is!!! photos whenever possible, and maybe also option 1, "the week in photos" every sunday :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

direction

the blog goes where it wants to. but sometimes, it needs a few twists and turns.

I have a few ideas.

1: my social life (photos + story once a week)

2: arbit photos (I click a lot of them, some funny, some weird, some...mundane)

3 regular blog posts, with unrelated but awesome photos :D

4: no change, the same boring stories, an occasional photo of my shiny head...you know the drill!

your choice. 1 to 4. I save comments.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

the wrong kind of sleep

I've not been sleeping well lately. somehow, I get a fresh burst of energy at 1am, and then even counting sheep keeps me awake.

I was in office till midnight, last night. also, there was this strange feeling of weakness (I was actually feeling cold in my office parking lot...at the peak of summer!). so when I got home, ate two quickly made chicken frankies (thanks, mom!), and crashed into bed, I was relieved. sleep at 1am, after weeks!

unfortunately, I had dozed off in the parents' bed (bro was doing stuff that needed the lights on in our room).

I slept like a log for an hour, until it was finally time for the parents to sleep. dad tried waking me up as gently as possible, but the moment I opened my eyes I jumped up with a start.

I'm not sure why, but something felt wrong. something felt very alien.

I exclaimed: what is this? how did this happen? this is the wrong kind of sleep!

I can't explain what I felt, but it was this weird feeling. like all my senses were connected. like the world tasted metallic, despite there being nothing in my mouth.

it felt like the wrong kind of sleep.

anyway, today morning I had a weird dream. forgot most of it, but I remember it involved going to this gym which was big enough for only 1 person, and where all the exercises were to be done sitting down.

also, my personal instructor complained that I have bad breath.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

the triumph of murphy

disclaimer: extremely long sob story to follow. read only if you want to make yourself feel better about your own day. no sympathy will be accepted.

ever since the accident last month, which happened for absolutely no fault of mine, my life's been a little more painful than before.

there's the fact that i lost my backup phone, and was down to using other peoples' phones until i brought one for myself.

there's the thing about not having a bike, which makes getting everywhere more painful, time-consuming, expensive and...i guess painful is the word.

there's my leg, which wasn't so badly affected that i couldn't walk or anything, but is pretty bad anyway. over a month later, it's still painful to climb steps with it, i can't take a couple of quick paces even if i really have to, and i get cramps and stiffness when i sit or even sleep.

as a result, every single working day is a battle for me. i struggle to wake up because i have problems falling asleep thanks to my leg. it's always been hard to get rickshaws, but now it's even worse because i can't run towards or behind them.

rickshaws take twice the amount of time to get me to work than my bike used to. and my one way ric fare is close to a week's petrol money.

i wait in office till 8:30, because it's pointless taking a rickshaw at 8, to sit breathing fumes, caught in a traffic jam, paying by the minute. the airconditioned office drop is better, even if it means trying to work for half-an-hour when i'm already well past my saturation point. and then roaming all around the place to drop individual people, sometimes covering 1.5 times my normal way home, and taking close to 3 times my bike time.

as a result, i'm never home before 9:30pm. which means the only time i can meet my mechanic and make any progress towards getting my bike done is on saturdays.

anyway, i've been pulling through for 5 weeks in this fashion, when today happened.

the story begins with yesterday, actually. i was supposed to meet my mechanic in the evening, approve of all the parts he had purchased, and give him the go-ahead to start repairs.

unfortunately, i also had a meeting scheduled from 7pm-8pm.

when i called my mechanic, he informed me that he didn't get the chance to purchase the parts, so i should come over tomorrow (i.e. today).

great.

except that come 7pm, i got a mail saying that the meeting is can't happen as one of the important attendees didn't realize there was a conflict on his schedule.

struggled to get through the day, got home via the drop.

woke up today morning, late as usual, and then discovered that my stomach isn't in the best of condition. so i couldn't eat the chicken curry that mom had packed for lunch. left it at home. since my lunch is pretty much the reason i carry my bag to work, i decided to leave it at home.

stepped out in the blazing heat, and started my daily search for a rickshaw. except that this time, it took me 20 minutes, covering the road around my block twice, and and atleast 5 refusals before i got one.

reached work late. barely 5 minutes before my first meeting. trudged through the day.

at around 5:45, i realized i had to meet my mechanic today. and also had the meeting at 7.

i called the mechanic. he hadn't brought all the parts yet, but would go to the dealer at 7, so should be back by 7:45 or so. he asked me to meet him then.

alright. so i had to leave at 6, to make it home before my meeting began, and after the meeting, rush to meet the mechanic (he closes shortly after 8). and then possibly finish some work from home.

got out at 6pm sharp. there were no rickshaws outside. i didn't realize the car parked opposite, that was just about to start moving, was the office shuttle to link road.

at 6:05, the shuttle and the extended shuttle were back at the gate. i asked the extended shuttle if it went to link road. and then was informed that that was the car, waiting on he other side of the road. and it leaves every 10 minutes, so i had just missed the 6pm one.

so i sit inside, wait for it to start moving at 6:10, and finally it takes me all around and drops me at inorbit, despite me being the only person in the shuttle. whatever.

inorbit signal. no empty rickshaws at all. but the road ahead seems reasonably clear, unlike at 8pm when it's pretty much gridlocked.

and then i see a bus waiting at the other side of the road, for the signal to change.

i limped across as quick as i could, and got in. it was a route number i recognized, so i was pretty sure it would go near home.

asked inside, and it did indeed go near home, but not very near.

that's when i realized there was another bus behind it, and that one definitely passed near home, as i recall seeing it when i was still biking around.

got in. the bus was packed. found a spot to stand somehow. the bus started moving.

it moved pretty quick, i must say. barely any traffic.

10 minutes later, i got a window seat.

i thanked my stars.

25 minutes later, i was almost home. happy. this is less time than the ric would take on a usual day at my usual time.

the bus then turned off link road, about a 10 minute walk away from home.

and proceeded to go in the exact opposite direction, but from an inside road.

it spent 20 minutes wandering around borivli, until it eventually got to another point around 10 minutes from home. that's where i had to get off.

this stop is the same place where buses that go directly to my home stop. so i decided to wait for a bus instead of walk.

5 minutes later, when i was getting restless and about to reconsider my decision, i saw a bus.

it was jam packed. i couldn't even get an arm in.

i gave up and decided to start walking.

2 minutes later, another bus passed me. empty.

i couldn't run for it, so i just kept walking.

finally reached home. 20 minutes late for my meeting.

rang the doorbell. no response.

rang the doorbell repeatedly. no response.

my parents had gone out.

they weren't expecting me home so early.

they also usually don't think about where i am and when i'll get home, as my house keys are usually in my pocket.

except that today, they were in my bag.

they reached back just as the meeting was probably got over.

i got home, logged in. meeting over.

called my mechanic.

his phone has been switched off.

i have nothing left to say, or think.

i don't even know why i try to continue.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

positive social networking

two interesting things happening this week:

the mumbai twestival, on march 24th, is raising money for Welfare of Stray Dogs. the twestival is an annual event, and supports a different charity every year.

you can donate, check the facebook page and rsvp for the event if you're interested.

and my cousin has set up a page for her friend anthony, for the cause of getting him to quit smoking. he has pledged to quit smoking if the facebook page for the cause gets 1000 likes in a week. so hop on over quickly, and save an 18 year old boy's lungs!

Friday, March 18, 2011

(un)luck

I think of luck the way I think of black magic:

if you believe in it, it has power over over you.

but you know what's the other thing about luck?

when you curse luck, it curses you back.

and it's not just luck. it applies to all sorts of creations of our minds. it's just that we don't usually think about what we were thinking before something happened to us. and usually, I wouldn't either. but something happened a few weeks ago that made me sit up and start thinking.

it was exactly 4 weeks ago (almost to the minute). I was riding home after a long day at work. it wasn't just long because of work, but because of something very personal. I was in a terribly dark mood, and frankly, I still don't know why I felt *that* bad.

that ride home, I was thinking about death. my own death.

I wasn't thinling about suicide, but in a way, I almost was. it was more like how I'm so near death so many times a day, and how easy it is to die, because of my mistake, someone else's mistake, or a combination of both.

I was thinking of what sort of things could lead to nasty injuries but not death, death with no chance of survival, all sorts of these things.

I also had thoughts about engineering some of those situations.

and then I turned to get off link road.

the rest is history.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

child abuse

I was travelling by rickshaw, when i happened to see a car slowly cross the intersection in front of me. a man was driving, with a woman (his wife, presumably) riding shotgun, and between them, a kid of about 3, a cute litte thing with curly hair, almost an afro.

the kid was probably refusing to sit still, and was pretty much standing between her parents' seats. A rather unsafe place to be, but still.

it was nothing compared to what i was about to witness.

as the car exited the intersection, the driver slammed the accelerator, throwing the kid onto the backsrest of the rear seat, and then onto the seat itself.

i didn't get to see what happened next as my rickshaw moved ahead, but what i saw freaked me out enough.

i'm speechless on more levels than one.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

commitment

a recent late night conversation spurred me to come up with this gem of an observation:

everyone is commitment phobic...those who seem to not be, also don't really commit. they just appear to!


when you commit to something, you're also making a decision to stand by that commitment. and you can't truly commit unless you've considered what it takes to stand by that commitment.

so if you commit "easily", you're not thinking it through. things may be smooth sailing for you, who knows. but if they aren't, you haven't already made the decision to plow through. and when you do, that's when you're truly committed to whatever decision you've made earlier.

i say that there is no such thing as commitment-phobic.

Friday, February 25, 2011

click here if you forgot to forget your password

i've been going through turbulent times with my phones. after i lost the galaxy in a rickshaw out of sheer negligence in december, i've been using phones ranging from my marine, to my friend's motorola w220, back to my marine, and now another friend's samsung j-somethingsomething.

and in the process, i've realized that i've lost my touch when it comes to remembering passwords.

just like my first cellphone led me to remember just 10 vital phone numbers down from my peak of 50, my everything-signed-in galaxy took me from remembering all my various passwords, down to remembering just two (i'm not gonna tell you which).

and now, i'm back to having to remember multiple passwords.

except that over the last year, i've gone from simple, crackable, shared passwords to stronger, unique ones.

bottomline: i can't remember half my passwords anymore.

as a result, i've been (unsuccessfully) trying to log in to twitter for a while now.

i don't want to use the "forgot password" link as it'll sign me out of all the services that are linked to twitter.

so in my spare time, i've been trying all the passwords i remember.

till today, 5 days into my current phone, when i had the brilliant idea of trying the twitter password from back in december.

apparently, i forgot that i haven't forgotten my password.

for the record, my first tweet from this phone was:
Wonder wtf gave me the idea that i changed my twitter password. tried all combinations on this phone for days. my old password worked. #fml

Thursday, February 24, 2011

trance

i was just randomly clicking around trance videos on youtube (more like songs with a still image in the video box, actually), when i chanced upon this beautiful track, and a comment below it that summed it all up for me:

ive thought about this alot, and posted comments about it, and the true listeners of trance music, a beautiful bunch, seem to be more in tune with their emotions, more receptive to the emotional quality of trance tracks. if all you hear is bass kick bass kick, of course youre not gonna like it. if you hear the deep, hidden emotional meaning in the subtle melodies and chord progressions, only then can you appreciate trance for what it really is! trance is the ultimate form of emotional expression
- anjundoobies89


that's the thing about trance. it's deeply rhythmic, and its melodies touch the heart and soul, but if you aren't in the mood to appreciate it you will just be carried away by the superficialities like the repetition and beats. i hope you all get to see beyond that someday.

ps: i also agree that like every genre of music, trance has its share of crappy tunes. what makes a song awesome? nobody knows. but there are tracks that take you to another level, and that's the truth.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

peace on earth and love to all

on monday afternoon, i was traveling by train to churchgate. one of those super fast trains. it was late afternoon, so the train was pretty empty (i had a comfortable seat from the moment i boarded), but almost all the seats were occupied.

a stop later, i noticed an elderly woman standing in the gangway between two doors. not very well dressed, with a hardy air about her (probably like that of someone who has to live without material comforts) but still, clean.

she stood in the gangway for a few minutes after boarding the train. at some point, she walked towards the seating area where i was.

she laid her right hand on every person's head, one at a time, and mumbled something for a second before moving to the next person.

the guy sitting next to me (a middle aged man) fished out a 2 rupee coin and handed it to her while her palm was on his head.

she spent an extra couple of seconds mumbling over his head before moving on.

once she was done doing this to each of the 15- odd people in the section of the coach i was in, she went back to her place near the door.

she didn't go to the rest of the coach.

she also didn't actually ask for money or anything. or even say anything out loud, for that matter.

and she then alighted at the next stop, a few minutes later.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

anatomy of a crash

yesterday ended terribly. not as terribly as it could have ended, but terrible nevertheless.

on my ride home from work, there was this really irritating pizza delivery guy (who somehow had this really dim expression on his face), who was riding stupidly, for i don't know what joy. we were stuck in a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam, and he took it rather literally by bumping every other vehicle from behind.

i stayed out of his way, cos i'd rather take a minute more to get home than get bumped (or worse).

turns out he wasn't the only stupid guy i'd encounter that night.

when i had almost reached home, i had to take one right turn off link road.

it's a somewhat busy intersection, so i waited as usual for a clear way across. when i finally did get it, i slowly crossed the road towards home.

only to be surprised by a bright headlight that appeared out of nowhere, bearing down straight at me.

this dumb rider was behind two rickshaws who had almost halted to take a turn from the other side, and waited for the last moment to overtake them from the left. so neither of us could see each other until it was too late.

i didn't get a look at his face. all i could see was his headlight bearing down at me at what must be around 80 or so.

the next thing i knew, i was flat on the road, atleast 10 feet from my bike.

checked my arms and legs for movement, everything seemed okay.

a passerby helped me up to my feet, and i almost stood up but the pain was too intense so i wanted to sit down again. he finally convinced me to sit on the sidewalk.

limped there, took off my helmet, thankfully accepted the bottle of water someone handed me, shook off my daze and looked around to see where the other guy was.

turns out he flew clear over my bike and landed some 30 feet away. head and chest injuries. needless to say, he wasn't wearing a helmet.

i hope he learned his lesson. i wonder what is my lesson to learn from this incident.

ps: damage incurred: scrapes, aching left leg (the bike hit me on my thigh), completely bent bike, trashed phone. too scared to check what's the state of my ipod as it flew a good many feet from the collision.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

the polar bear song

to the casual observer of my facebook/twitter, i may appear to be obsessed with polar bears. i'm not.

it's just that a certain track that i really really really love happens to have a sleeping polar bear in my favourite part of its (unofficial) youtube video.

btw, my description of the entire video is:

"trippy lights. polar bear. polar bear. cool sunset."

yesh, arctic wildlife will never be the same again.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

people specific

i was having a discussion with a twitter friend a while ago, and she was telling me how she deals with online weirdos.

meanwhile, i was explaining to her how i decide who i want to interact with and who i don't.

it's a topic i'm rather vocal about, since i'm rather picky about people...and i also love to have some sort of rationale behind my behaviour.

but then she said something that got me thinking:

@krist0ph3r To be honest..I'm people specific :) so in your case i won't mind.Its easy to find out of the compliment is genuine or not.


and that's when i realized that all my rules about who i shall and shall not follow, interact with, meet...they're mere rationalizations after the fact.

and that i'm just arbitrarily people specific.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

output

i blog, i tweet. i talk.

in desperate situations, i even write my diary.

or tweet into my office notebook, 140 characters at a time.

i don't know when this happened to me, or why. but if i think of something, i have to do something about it. say it, write it, note it down for future reference, email it to myself. and occasionally, act upon it.

the only way i can survive when i have a thought on my mind that i can't express due to lack of a medium, is to sleep. or listen to music.

ps: and i finally realized why this post seems so familiar. i wrote almost the same thing 20 days ago.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

every trip has a purpose

shameless plug: i'm doing this cos i joined up for the contest but i hate doing things in half measures. so i wanna win. and so you gotta VOTE FOR ME!!!

so i went on a trip last year. the trip had a purpose.

so...why? "camp in the wilderness!"

where? "kolad"

and who? i, me, myself...of course!

go ahead, click and vote!

alien music

i've already proven to myself beyond doubt that music influences my mood and my behaviour. but there are incidents that have made me realize, the relationship between the two isn't as simple as it would appear to be.

imagine a beach shack in goa after sundown. speakers blaring psychdelic trance at full volume. visions of acid and other illegal hallucinogenics.

and then the only patrons: a family sitting at the shack, enjoying their dinner of steaks and fried fish, smiling away at each other, passing the salt when required to.

they might as well be sitting at a quiet, classy restaurant if it wasn't for the seedy tablecloth.

sometimes music inspires the same reaction in me.

ever tried listening to infected mushroom while in a traffc jam? i have. and when the jam clears, the insane speed of the music feels so alien to me that i still don't feel like riding above 40.

i remember once listening to some slow, western classical music while riding on the highway.

it made me do freaky things on the road that even megadeth hasn't managed to push me to yet.

guess music tends to be part of my grip on reality. and when the music happens to be too far removed from my reality to act like a grip, it behaves like the exact opposite. like a wheel that's locked and is now skidding out of control.

i call it alien music.

i love the feeling, and fear the music.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Excuses to change

Last year was a lot of fun. But some hard decisions that i made in december are going to fall flat unless i adopt an almost extreme brand of austerity, both economic- and lifestyle- wise. And since i'm committing to go halfway there, i might as well do it all, right?

so here's my list. Friends, feel free to remind me whenever you think i'm going off-course :P

- save more (spend less)
- eat out and drink less
- eat healthy
- cycle daily (okay, atleast 5 days a week)
- more time outdoors (camp, trek, bike around: see all the places i always wanted to)
- get back in touch with my loner side

quite an ambitious plan, i must admit. But this time, i have two things on my side: i've already started, and i have friends who share some of these objectives with me. The odds have never been this favourable before :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

a letter to a friend

dedicated to mich:

we're all born to be fighters, from our first cry to our last breath. but in between the fights, there are moments that make it all worth it. think about the year gone by. it wasn't perfect, but then again, nobody else's was, is or will be. but what matters is that things happened that made you smile, laugh, forget about the past, dream about the future. and they will happen again.

think back. did you ever feel this terrible before? the worst of your past may not feel as depressing as your present, but how bad did it feel back then? life is full of ups and downs. like a rollercoaster, you'll never know how low it will go or how high it will take you. and it doesn't matter either. what matters is that the end of the ride, you will look back and feel that it was all worth it. and you can't say that it's over until feel with all your heart that it was worth it.

i've given up on things i can say. i think your inner voice speaks to you louder than any of us ever will.

may god bless you!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The compulsive communicator

I can't believe i was an introvert around 5 years ago.

i'm now at the crazily opposite place, where i go insane if i think of something to say and don't have someone to say it to.

the blog, twitter, facebook (and to an extent, even the people i offlinely hang out with) are sometimes just avenues to express myself.

even if nobody's listening.

the only things that probably let me get away with not being able to speak out are my short attention span and my appetite for #awesomeness :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

One

I had an awesome bike ride yesterday. The first time i actually enjoyed off-roading. The feeling of being in control even when things aren't exactly following your command is exhilarating. But that's not the greatest thing i got from the trip.

rather, it was one moment, over halfway through our dirt-biking, when i felt like turning my iPod on. Minimum volume so it didn't distract me.

it made the world quieter, and everything seem faraway. And it was just me, tiesto playing "in my memory", the throb of three bikes' labouring engines, gravel crunching, and birds chirping.

the union of sublime music, solace, mind, machine and nature.

it was a moment to live for.

Friday, January 07, 2011

it's personal

yesterday, i wasn't really in a hurry to get home, so i was riding slowly. this was the road just behind my office, which is rather vehicle-free (albeit rough in patches).

keeping an eye on the rearview, i noticed a scooter approaching quickly from behind. stuck to the median (i was already near the right) while it zoomed past.

the young woman who was riding pillion took a long look at me, and slowly, deliberately, extended her arm towards me and gave me the finger.

i sped up a bit and tailed it from a few metres away (it was a scooter after all), and watched her then deliberately extend her other arm, and stick out her finger, and then wave both of them, making some sort of flying motion with her arms as she did so.

i went back to my slow cruising and put some distance between us.

the scooter went another way (a shorter, bumpier route) while i went mine, and our paths met again two intersections ahead.

this time she kept her arms to herself, but smiled at me as i zoomed past.

i really wonder what she wanted me to think.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Foresight is always 20/20

I just dreamed that my life was struck by a catastrophe.

i survived it, but only just about.

i woke up in a funk. What if it (or something of equal proportions) were to happen to me now?

one thing was clear: i'd live my life differently.

but i also realised that there was nothing i could find in my past that would hinder the changes i envisaged in my post-apocalyptic future.

which led me to conclude that however incongruent my current plan of action may be with the possibility of a future disaster, it's still a good one to follow.

because as long as i live with no regrets, i have no disaster to fear.

and that's what i call 20/20 foresight.

Monday, January 03, 2011

respect for life

i have no respect for people who put their kids' lives in danger.

today was particularly bad. two incidents in 10 minutes, on my ride home.

one guy with 2 kids on his scooter. one little fellow (not more than 3, for sure), standing in front, and one probably a year older, sitting behind, holding on to him. and *sleeping*.

the kid was so sleepy, that when one of the guys on another scooter screamed at this rider, he stopped and made the kid stand in front too, and the kid was actually dozing off while standing, in the few seconds i had to observe. and then the signal turned green, the guy started his scooter and resumed his ride.

a few kilometres ahead, i was heading towards a section with a gap in the median, at a rather decent speed, since there were no vehicles anywhere in sight.

and then i saw a bike crossing the opposite side of the road, guy riding, with a kid on the tank, and two more riding pillion.

something clicked in my head as i realized the guy was heading across the road a bit too quickly to just be crossing over to the rightmost lane. no, it looked more like he was heading across all the lanes, right into my path.

lights flashing and horn blaring, i braked screechingly hard, and finally stopped a few feet from broadsiding him. the guy finally looked to his left and at me. waved out to me and winked, still making his way across the road.

he fuckin *winked* at me.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Keep walking.

2009 felt like a year when lots of good things were started. 2010 was a year of the culmination of a lot of those things, and realignment with some others.

2011, on the other hand, might prove to be a tough nut to crack. The stage has been set for bigger and better things, but lofty goals require a greater sense of direction, and the strength to stay true to that direction.

that's what i pray for today: direction and strength.

may god bless us all.

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 scratc...