Thursday, December 20, 2012

tapering off

4 posts in as many months. I wonder where this blog is headed. but wherever that may be, I'd have to be blind to miss the obvious: I have almost stopped posting.

A bit of introspection made me realize that my life has shifted from being public to being private. gone are the days when I'd pour my heart out on my blog, twitter, or even Facebook.

These days, most of my communication with the people around me is done in private.

I'm still trying to figure why.

This blog is in a state of neglect because of a variety of reasons: starting with laziness. The other thing is this feeling that my posts should be "quality or nothing"

twitter is still good, I still feel the connect there. I guess it's just laziness. but I do feel that now that I don't hang out much in real life with my twitter friends, I don't have that nudge to be there and read their every tweet. The friendships I've forged on twitter are strong enough to survive without much online interaction. and I don't really have the energy to make any more friends online.

Facebook, for me, seems to have disintegrated into a place to share random stuff from around me, but nothing *about* me. and when I look around, it seems like that's the case with most of my friends as well.

so what's left is: whatsapp, my phone, and meeting up.

and these 3 (not so much my phone, actually) have taken over my life.

I have probably typed more in  whatsapp+gtalk messages in a year than I have typed tweets, blog posts, and Facebook posts in 5 years.

my life is back to being private again.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

tiramisu

i have a confession to make. until today, i thought of animals as secondary to humans. i couldn't understand how some of my friends could love their pets more than they loved most humans.

but today, it struck me.

when you love "someone" (i shall use that term loosely here), it doesn't matter what species they are.

because everyone has a part to play in our lives. everyone teaches us something important, be a practical lesson in unconditional love and trust, the fragility of life, or in today's case, letting go of someone whose time has come.

when you put your life on hold to sit by the bedside of someone you hold dear, and feel their pain, cry for them and wish you could take some of it for yourself, just to make their last days easier, and when, finally, you realize there is no more pain, just a void... you learn something that will never leave you for the rest of your life. and if you loved enough, you will feel the same, whether it was your little child, or a dog.

and tiramisu, i never met you. but you have touched my life too.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

living the semi-charmed life

i'm used to people telling me they're jealous of my weekend trips and whatnot. it's easy to be jealous of my trips, i guess. everyone loves to travel, and i'm lucky to both have a nice set of eager friends, and am introverted enough to do stuff on my own when i don't :)

so anyway, the last month has been slightly tough on me as i have been without my trusty (and much loved) bike for most of it... unthinkable as that may sound to people who know me well.

the story starts from when i set off from mapusa on my wheels, after a hearty breakfast (beef croquettes, chops and patties, and egg croquettes!) from cafe st xaviers. hit the highway, tanked up (a full tank in goa is a full 400 bucks less than in bbay, beat that!), called home, and then set off with a plan to take no breaks until lunch.

it was a tough decision, between taking nh17 (which i have last rode on in the day 5 and a half years ago... and i was riding pillion back then - i didn't even know to ride!), and taking the usual nh4.

i would have loved to do nh17 in the day, since i've pretty much covered every other permutation of route + time of day. however, there was a risk of getting delayed by traffic, since it was the end of an extended 4-day weekend, and i also had to be awake at 630am the next morning to get ready for work.

so the decision was made while i was already riding: it will be nh4. i had turned on my gps tracker, just like i had when i was riding to goa 4 days earlier. i was looking for this new side road which i had discovered when going to goa. once i found it, it was relatively smooth riding (skipped the worst of the sawantwadi patch). the road to NH4 via amboli was crappy as usual, but i was in the mood to ride hard and fast over everything, which i did. touched NH4 at 12:30pm, in 2 and a half hours, a whole hour shorter than my usual!

after a tyre pressure check, i was back on the highway. it was a relief to be on smooth, open roads after all the hard bumpy riding of my journey so far.

that's when i discovered the joys of hugging the tank while riding. something i've never tried before, and to be fair, something the karizma isn't exactly built for.

long story short, after a good 15 minutes of near-redline riding, i dropped to comfortable cruising at 90-100, sitting upright as i usually do.

i was almost at the checkpost at kagal.

things happened so quickly that everything is an extreme blur in my head.

a lady and two horses were walking sedately near the median. i was between the two lanes of my half of the highway.

about 60 feet from me, one of the horses bolted across the highway.

i slammed the brakes best as i could at 100, and when i was about 30 feet away, i honked.

my stomach lurched and time seemed to stand still, as the horse stopped in its tracks, turned its head to look at me, and froze, while my tyres dragged the bike, screaming and whining in a dead straight line, straight to its midsection.

i'm not sure exactly what happened when i hit the horse. all i remember is putting my feet down, bike upright on its wheels, me still holding the clutch with the engine running. the horse was flat in front of me.

it stood up and limped away.

i did a mental sensation check. my body was responding. i walked the bike, still astride it, with the engine running, to the side. the fairing was smashed, the dash was bent upwards, but everything looked intact. the gear lever was bent so badly that i couldn't change gears with my foot. but all the switches were responding.

i turned off the engine, put the bike on its stand, and analyzed the damage. tried straightening the gear lever with a stone, but it was solid metal and wouldn't budge. luckily for me, i could shift down using my hand to neutral. tried the starter and it worked.

i breathed a sigh of relief, drank some water, did a quick wiggle of my fingers and toes, and hopped on. i had to ride on first till past the check post (a couple of kms), and about a km on a service road before i found a mechanic's shop, but minus the mechanic.

i had a cup of tea at a nearby stall, called harshad to help me get my head straight, and generally stretched my limbs till he finally returned. he had a sense of urgency when i told him i have to ride to bbay, and finally got the gear lever and the front support straightened (the dash was kinda just sitting in place with nothing but the wires to hold it).

neither the mechanic nor the shops nearby had anything to tie the fairing with, so i just popped it into as many stays as i could line up, and hit the highway.

i spent half an hour at the next town looking for nylon rope or duct tape, again to no avail. finally i decided i was better off riding with a hanging fairing than losing time here.

i rode for over an hour in this state, till things eventually came to a point where the stays would pop out every few seconds, and i was literlly pushing them back in as i was riding.

luckily for me, a friendly young man on a cycle gave me a piece of rope from what he was using to tie his luggage up to the carrier. with the fairing kinda secured, i rode on, minus breaks, including through extremely overcast skies followed by torrential rain on multiple occasions. rode at 80 through everything because i had to cover as much as possible before sunset.

and in my head, i succeeded. i was on the outskirts of pune when my watch told me it's 7pm, and time for dusk.

pune was choc-a-bloc with traffic, which was good for me in a way, as i had barely any light of my own, but it was also raining cats and dogs. i had brought a packet of biscuit at 7, but the stress of the ride killed any hunger, and i rode on doggedly.

past baner/aundh, traffic eased up somewhat, but the highway was lit, so i was fine. until the expressway began and most vehicles turned off NH4 and onto it.

my problem was twofold: the dipper's filament had fused, and thanks to the smashed fairing, my high beam was literally pointed at the sky (about 30 degrees upward or so). i rode by this tiny sliver of light cast by my high beam some 10 feet ahead (the beam that would usually be cast on the mudguard and number plate). slowly and painfully, i made my way to lonavla by the light of other vehicles' beams. thankfully, there was always some vehicle or the other with their high-beams on to give me some light. on some occasions, i was even using the beams of oncoming traffic on the other side of the median.

at khandala i decided there was no point in pushing myself any nearer to my limits, so i stopped for my first proper break: tea and omlette pav (i asked for a single but got a double - just as well!). that, and a phone call home done, i was back on the highway.

after lonavla there were even fewer vehicles on the highway, and i actually covered most of the distance doing 20 and squinting into the feeble glow cast 10 feet ahead of me.

once i entered bombay, i was glad to be on lit roads again, and could ride normally. barring one long break on JVLR when i realized my bag had almost fallen off its fastenings, thanks to the clothes inside moving around away from the bungee cords that were holding it in place. my hands were so numb from riding that unhooking and rehooking the bungee cords was a task in itself!

finally, i pulled into my building at 11:30pm.

13 and a half hours, mapusa to borivli.

definitely one of the craziest rides i had to do, both in terms of constraints and mental strength it demanded from me. the only one that came close was riding from murud to home without a right footpeg, but that was just 200km, and i had a pillion to keep my mind straight.

in short, definitely the craziest solo ride i've done so far.

which brings me back to my initial thought: you need to be crazy to be awesome. this trip was crazy. before you set off doing something out of the world, you need to be prepared to take all the crazies life throws your way. smiling. and i know i was lucky. i probably got off as lightly as i possibly could from such an accident. i've definitely seen and heard worse.

ps: wish i could be back on my wheels sooner. the fix itself is a 1 day job, but apparently white plastics for the karizma r have been out of stock for a while, and they still haven't arrived yet :(

Sunday, October 07, 2012

i'm not really bald

"just calculated that if you have one haircut a month, i've had as many haircuts in 29 years as you would in 71."
that's right. and here's how:
yearsweeks/haircuttotalexplanation
200dad grew my hair for my first 2 years
156130a haircut every month and a half, usually by dad
1.5126.5grew my hair - bit of trimming every 3 months
4.50.5468my first "bald" years - shaved twice a week, at home!
0.564.33took a break cos daphne didn't like my bald look :P
3.51182my working "bald" years - shaved on weekends only.
2.3259.8the age of laziness: go to the barber every other week :D
which adds up to 851 (after rounding).

and then people think i'm bald.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

naked

just woke up from this dream. one of the weirder ones i've had, recently.

it was easter sunday. about 1pm. i was returning on foot from someone's place in the colony, where i had had a drink with daniel. for some reason, mom and the brother were also walking back with us. while walking back home (along holy cross road, for those of you who know where i live), daniel and i decided we wanted to have a lemonade, so i told my folks to go ahead, and i'll catch up with them later. we were supposed to head to my grandmom's place in bandra, and we were late so they were in a hurry.

we had our lemondade, and then for some reason i wanted to smoke. it was drizzling outside so the shopkeeper said we could stand *inside* the shop, behind the counter. daniel stood in a corner, while i lit the cigarette and then stepped out in the rain.

as i stepped out, i saw a couple of girls standing slightly ahead, and one of them looked like someone i knew. i started walking towards them, but they flagged a rickshaw and went away. i then turned off holy cross road towards my place (via the back road). my walk turned into a jog, then a run.

i don't remember how, but while running, i started taking my clothes off, one by one. last thing to come off was my shirt (incidentally, the same shirt that i wore yesterday).

i crumpled the shirt into a ball in my hand, and kept running.

i realized i was naked only when passed a guy who gave me a really weird stare as i ran by.

i hurriedly unrolled my shirt and tried to wrap it around myself best i could. for some reason, it would only go around half of me. i ran to my building, through the compound, and entered the stairway. as i was running up the stairs, one flight away from my place, i came across one of my neighbours and two women, quite fancily dressed (probably heading to an easter lunch), were walking down the stairs. i waited for them to pass me on the fight itself, cos if i reached the landing i won't be able to cover all sides of myself. they, however, waited on the landing. and they somehow didn't react to my state of undress. i told them not to wait, and as they started walking down the flight, i ran up past them. but when i reached the top of the flight, i realized i had mysteriously reached the 5th floor. and my building has 4 floors in real life.

that's when i woke up.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

death

checked my drafts after ages, and of all things, i found a consolation message for the parents of someone who died an untimely death:
losing someone at such an age is indeed sad. but i believe everyone has a purpose, and so did Isabel. our purpose drives us, day after day, even through what seems like a mundane, "regular" life. i wouldn't wish for anyone, even a dearly loved one, to live a day of a purposeless life. i'm sad when i lose a loved one (and i've lost a few), but through the tears, i smile, because i remember all they've taught me, knowingly or not, and cherish and live by those lessons :)

strangely, i don't even remember typing this, let alone saving it. hmmm.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

contact

i love making eye contact with people. so many random things happen with just a shared glance with strangers.

today, when i was riding to a friend's place, a car stopped slightly ahead and beside me at a red light. the rear door was opened, and a guy leaned out and poured a fair bit of pepsi on the road right below the door. when he finished, as he was leaning back into the car, he looked up at me, we exchanged a glance... no guesses for what he was up to :D

a few weeks ago, taking the office bus drop on a friday after work, i was sitting beside a girl in the first seat of the bus. i could feel her gaze on me, but whenever i turned in her direction i just caught her turning away. this continued for a few times, until we finally made eye contact: in each others' reflections in glass partition that separated the passenger area from the driver's cabin. i guess we were both too surprised to react, but after a moment, we found ourtselves smiling at each other. in the glass.

a couple of months before that, again when riding along link road one evening, i was waiting at a stop light. the rickshaw in front of me, like most others, had a transparent window at the back. a couple was making out in the rickshaw. at that very same moment that i looked at it and noticed what they were doing, the woman opened her eyes, and we both looked at each other through the window as she continued doing whatever she was with the guy in the ricskshaw. i kid you not.

but all this brings me back to how i got started. it's an interesting thing, especially useful for bikers: how do you know the driver of a larger vehicle (especially a truck) has seen you, before you overtake it from the right?

simple.

you look into their rearview mirror. when you flash your headlights, the driver will look into his mirror. and you will make eye contact.

once i got used to that as a road-safety trick, making eye contact through mirrors just became second nature to me.

i'm just surprised that most people i've asked, don't know about this trick.

it's all so simple to me, really. when i make eye contact with a stranger, the other person suddenly feels human. sometimes, it even makes them an anonymous friend, someone my trust in humanity can be extended to.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

addiction

my life is dominated by technology. i spend 9 hours a day writing software for a living, and when i'm not doing that, i'm almost always on my phone. on my first phone, back in 2004, mobile internet was a rather sucky experience, and there wasn't much you could do with it other than check email and (extremely painfully) chat on yahoo messenger. which is why i would play games on my phone instead. my favourite game back then was "sims 2" and "worms world party".

as the years went by, i moved to blogging from my phone, facebook mobile, and finally the ultimate mobile addiction: twitter.

5 years later, things have come full circle, and how.

my friends complain i'm not on twitter any more (which isn't true, btw - i'm now only down to replying to @mentions, and the occasional tweet when i'm walking to the water cooler at work, or something like that).

and the reason is, i've started playing games on my phone again.

and guess which games: worms world party (yes, the exact same game from 7 years ago, now released for android), and sims freePlay.

anyway, that's it for now. i need to prepare for a bake sale by teaching my sims how to bake. yesh.

ps: and my mom thinks i'm addicted to facebook. lol.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

my secret

i hate seeing depressed people. while i have my own bouts of depression too, they're usually shortlived (read: they disappear with a good night's sleep), i don't get people who claim there's nothing to life and everything seems to be consistently going against their way or whatnot. because that somehow never happens to me, or so it seems.

am i lucky? maybe.

but maybe i've simply learned how to game my luck.

the overarching principle is: be selfish. do what makes you happy, and that's it. sometimes, making someone happy makes you happier. that's cool too.

but then again, "be selfish about your happiness" is quite a fuzzy and wide-open principle to follow.

so here are a few things that i am selfish about, that work for me:

  • keep your balance:

    predictability vs madness
    doing things you love vs things you hate but need to be done anyway
    entertainment vs rest
    staying in control vs letting go

  • sleep well. on tight days, you can get by, but eventually, make up for it. for me, "eventually" means 4 days or less, and "sleep well" means 7 uninterrupted hours or more. 9, if i have a deficit, for as many days as it takes till i bounce back.

  • figure out what refreshes you. don't be afraid to make mistakes in this regard (as long as you keep your balance, you should be okay). if you're doing everything you thought you like, but are still bored... you're doing it wrong! shake things up, and start again.

  • stay connected to those you love. keep an in-person connection with atleast a few of them, because i've learned online or even the phone doesn't always work.

  • keep some self-time. time to think. time to switch off from the bustle of life and the world around.

  • take care of your health. your body can only take so much abuse. while i'm particularly notorious in this regard, i've found all the low points in my life coincide with physical inactivity and the messes it creates.

  • have long term goals. but don't be too strict about them.

  • enjoy the small things. i can't remember the last time a *big* thing made me truly happy. i've lost count of the beautiful sunsets and wet licks from puppies that have. and the things money can buy usually come last on my list.

  • introspect. you won't know if you're doing better or worse unless you analyze yourself. helps figure what exactly is your balance, and how many liberties you can take with it :D

  • finally, don't panic. never panic for any longer than you need to trigger the "fight or flight" response. every situation has its way out, and bad things usually look far worse than they are.

that's all i can think of, for now. and i don't even need follow all of these at any given time. life is *very* forgiving that way :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

silence... i keel you!

first of all, this post is to remind all 10 (okay, a few more) of my readers that silence doesn't mean this blog (or indeed, yours truly) is dead.

it's so easy to post, and it gets easier by the year, but laziness and my misguided ideas of "perfection" stop me. yeah, i know... it sounds funny that i claim this blog aspires to perfection. when i started off, i wrote this blog for myself (mainly because i never really thought anybody'd want to read it), but as the years went by (yes, it's been over 5 years now!) i realized i write for you as much as i do for myself, and some of the stuff i wrote for myself was downright drivel (although, a good friend begs to differ). and she prefered my earlier style, apparently.

anyway, all that is unimportant. what's important is that the blog reflects me.

and i'm not a perfectionist. in fact, i revel in my imperfections.

so here's celebrating my return to blog-imperfection.

or, to put it more into context: more posts, less editing, more arbitrary/meandering stuff. no excuses for bad grammar though (unless you see "alcohol" in the tags :P)

welcome back to the blog of my life. catch you around :)

ps: if you read this, say hi in the comments. that button hasn't been used in a while!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

how to embarass yourself at work: part 5

yeah, the number is probably more than 5, but i'm not gonna check now.

first, some background. i got a new job recently (yeah, i don't like talking about what i do for a living... let's just say it pays me enough to bring home the bacon :) without being particularly glorious in any other aspect).

on the first day of work, we were shown through the building, so that we knew where the important facilities and whatnot are located. since we were a largish group (too large to fit in an elevator), the guy showing us around told us that he'll take us through the stairs instead.

i don't know why offices insist on calling the stairs the fire escape. i like taking the stairs. they provide a bit of much-needed exercise, some private space when you expect to be on a personal phone call that takes more than 2 minutes, and more.

anyway, the first day of work was spent in all sorts of orientations and talks by people from various functions, so my second day was the first time i was actually free to move around the office. to start off, i had to meet someone two floors below. perfect.

so i exited the elevator lobby and swiped my access card at the staircase.

somehow, it didn't strike me that the staircase was protected by access but the elevators weren't.

anyway, the door opened, and i found myself in the huge stairway. walked down the two floors, and then realized the door was locked from inside. interesting. walked down another floor, and the door was locked from outside. but my access card refused to work on it. i walked down 5 floors in all, and each of them couldn't be got out of.

finally i figured i better go back to my floor and use the elevator. so i walked back up five floors.

the door opened.

but that's when i realized i had to swipe my way through two doors to get to the stairs, and i was back through only one. the second set of doors were glass, and they refused to open from inside.

so i stood at the glass doors, knocking on them and waving out at everyone who passed by, hoping someone would notice. a few did, but they walked on anyway.

worse still, this being my first day, i had exactly one colleague's number on my phone. she didn't work on this floor though. and she wasn't even answering her phone anyway.

as minutes passed, my gestures got more frantic, and finally i managed to grab the attention of two middle-aged looking women who were walking by.

since it looked like nobody could hear my knocks on the door, i had to communicate via sign language. i told them with signs that i was locked outside and my access card didn't work, and theirs probably would.

that's when one of them said "one minute", and i heard her loud and clear through the door.

*facepalm*

she tried her access card. it didn't work.

at this point, i was more freaked out than embarrassed.

it looked like i was locked in the fire escape, and there was only one glass door through which i could communicate.

anyway, while these desperate thoughts were going through my head, the two women were having some sort of discussion among themselves on the other side of the door.

the finally came to the conclusion that the only way out of the fire escape was to walk all the way down 12 floors (my office was only in the upper half of the building), and get out through the lobby.

thankfully, on my way down, i found the door of the 2nd floor held open by a plank of wood. used that door to enter some other company's office. luckily, i got to the elevator without further event, and got out into the lobby (and then took another elevator back to my office - the two sets of elevators are separate and don't go to each others' floors!)

and that, ladies and gentlemen, was how i spent the first 20 minutes of the first day i was allowed to roam freely in my new office.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

petrichor dreams

like every year, i've been waiting eagerly for the rains to begin. this time, more than ever, because i have decided a *LOT* of riding and trekking shall be done.

anyway. the rains have finally made their appearance after playing hide-and-seek with me for over a week (it rained in karnataka the *DAY* I left... last week!)

I was in IC church. evening mass. with Sinatra and her two friends who I don't know. mass got over, and sin and i were leaving. I asked sin about this one friend of hers who had added me on foursquare, and who I in turn added on facebook. i had never met the girl though. sin was surprised I didn't know her. apparently she was some friend's cousin.

while we were walking out through the use parking lot, her friends started playing tag like kids. We walked to where I had parked my cycle. she thought I had brought my bike! I told her I'll reach her on my cycle. it's been years since anyone has sat double-bar, so getting on was quite tricky for both of us. i thought I'd reach her to the nearest ric, but she wanted me to reach her till orlem on my cycle! at the slow rate i was going, i figured it'd take forever... so i bucked up a bit. we picked up a bit of speed downhill, and that's when it started drizzling, and then raining.

we rode into this low-lying area after the slope that was slightly flooded with muck-brown rainwater. that's when i decided we shouldn't be cycling in this weather. took a u-turn and went to the nearest shelter, a tarp over a panwallah.

sin brought a cigarette. i told her to buy one for me too.

the petrichor was overwhelming. as we took shelter under the tarp.

that's when i woke up and realized it was raining outside. and the scent carried into my dream :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

crash and burn

i was at home, at the comp. it was late at night, the parents were asleep, but the brother and I were very much for up-and-about. The lights were on too.

bro suggested we play a game. a flight sim. i agreed. it was a race of some sort. we started the race, when i realized i didn't know the controls. in fact I didn't know if I was player 1 or player 2. tried "wasd", tried the arrow keys. neither seemed to make any difference to the trajectory of my plane.

that's when i realized we weren't playing split-screen (obviously!). so i figured the arrow keys should do it. by the time I realized I was actually already controlling the plane, the game announced I was 30 seconds behind.

okay, some description now: we were flying over some sorta urban terrain, it was dusk-coloured, but the colours were very crappy and dithered, everything was huge dotted blocks (as if it was actually text-mode graphics). everything was dark and i could barely see stuff on-screen.

next thing I knew, the screen burst into bright shades of red and yellow and orange. it looked like everything just blew up around my plane. the camera angle changed to a view from the sky, and i could then see that it wasn't a plane, but a car! and it had mysteriously blown up in the middle of the track without crashing or anything.

and then i realized it was a dream.

Monday, May 07, 2012

feeling light

last night's dream was set in my college (st xaviers). but strangely, none of my college friends were present in the dream.

it was lunch hour. we were in the mess, which had wooden tables and benches that were pretty much unpainted, roughly cut planks on wooden legs. the plates were huge steel plates. everyone was there for the unlimited "thali" lunch, but i had carried my own tiffin, which was in those cheap plastic boxes that restaurants use to pack for home delivery.

the food they were serving looked very similar to what i recently ate at the "mahaprasad" at a temple in sajjangad, satara.

anyway, i was sitting at the the table with my school friend jude, and opposite me was my ex-manager tony. while the servers started making their way, spooning out rice and vegetables and khichdi and daal, i suddenly realized i needed to pee. so i excused myself, and for some reason, carried my lunch-box too.

i saw the restrooms right outside the mess, but for some reason i decided to go to the one on the lower floor. but then realized there wasn't one there. walked down two more floors, and found myself on the first floor. walked along the corridor along the length of that building, and then turned to the next. this one was an open corridor, and for some reason, the college walls were white stone instead of the grey i remember. the corridor was bustling with people walking either way. everyone was speaking loudly, and their voices added up to a crescendo. it somehow had a very happy, festive feel too... as if everyone was excited about something. that's when i bumped into cleona, who was walking the other way.

she noticed the lunchbox in my hand and asked if i was done with lunch. i told her i hadn't, and i'm not hungry any more. she reminded me i had just 10 minutes left of the lunch break, in case i changed my mind.

and at that moment, i did.

i turned around and started walking in the direction she was (back to the mess), but she had already hurried through the crowds and was impossible to spot.

that's when i looked upwards, and saw that at the end of the corridor (the end i had just passed on my way here), a crane was lifting a huge brass angel onto its mounting on the wall. the angel was huge, but then i realized so was everything else, and even though i was just on the first floor, it looked like the ground was 3 floors below me. and the 2 more floors of the building towered over me. and that's when i realized that space was strangely distorted, as everything looked normal when indoors (in fact, the ceiling of the mess and the height of the stairway seemed pretty low), but viewed from outside, everything was just super huge!

i raced back to the mess, and once i was back indoors things again seemed small. ran up the stairs, and then ran up an extra floor. the stairs ended in two corridors at right angles, one so low i couldn't even get in without stooping, and the other just about high enough for me.

i walked the entire length of the latter corridor, looking out at the 4-storey white walled building opposite, that looked well over 20 storeys high. it also looked very distant... basically everything outside looked like 5-10 times their expected size.

i reached the end of the corridor, and climbed up a very narrow wooden staircase, that opened onto the roof. one part of the roof was tiled and slightly sloping, and the rest was flat. a girl i didn't recognize was lying at the point where the sloping roof met the flat one. she was reading a book and smoking.

she told me the point where the tiled roof met the next building is an awesome place to sit and relax.

i walked along the roof, half crouched cos i was scared of the height.

and then i suddenly reached the end of the roof. there must have been atleast 100 feet of gap between this roof and the next building. the end came upon me so suddenly that i was literally at the edge. i looked down and realized how tiny i was. the wall stretched down as far as the eye could see.

i felt this light feeling that i get (even in real life), when i look down.

in fact, i can still feel the same light feeling as i type this.

the feeling that i'm weightless, and that i should jump.

(that's when i woke up with a start)

Friday, May 04, 2012

the very very arbit dream

i have strange dreams. but this one takes the cake.

a certain girl and i (can't give more details about the girl, for reasons you'll find out soon - let's just call her "M") had figured out a way to mine the rocks in a certain place (a narrow rocky gorge, near a waterfall, with awesome rock pools all around). and we were mining for (yeah this is the weird part):

a runny bright red liquid to be used to make nailpolish.

that's right. we drilled the rocks, reached the point where we could get at the liquid, took out a bucketful which she tried on her fingernails. (strangely, no memory of how exactly we drilled). and she said it was perfect.

so we fitted on a grey plastic lid to the hole we had drilled (it looked like a slightly enlarged bathroom drain cover), to prevent it from evaporating. anyway, it was evening, about an hour from sunset, so we had to find a place to sleep. it was dark by the time we found an isolated place in the middle of nowhere, a dusty two-room cottage. we had carried a rug, bedsheet, quilt and pillows, which we spread by torchlight and fell asleep.

the next morning, we woke up late. and strangely (again!), the room looked exactly like the hall of my own home! and we were snuggled very cozily under the covers :P

i heard the sound of someone moving in the other room. a woman's voice. a man's voice. the sound of someone washing utensils. but the door was still closed, and our bags seemed untouched.

i nudged M. she awoke, sleepily. i whispered in her ear (yeah, her ear was very near :P) that someone was in the outer room, and we were trapped here.

M: "what on earth are we doing?"
K: "nothing, i just woke up. i can't move. you've like pinned my arm"
(M rolled off to the other side of the rug)
M: (definitely loud enough for those people to hear) "get off me, or everyone a few miles away will know we're here!"

that's when i woke up.

in the same spot i was sleeping in, in my dream.

dad and mom were making breakfast in the next room.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

grow

a lot of people wish for their childhood, wish to go back to their past, when things were "simple" or "different".

whenever i come across a friend in such a frame of mind, i somehow cannot keep silent. i'm always in love with the present, and i feel those who wish for other times, haven't truly realized what they currently have, and what they have gained :)

as i once said:
people who wish for the simplicity of childhood, please remember, those were also the days when your happiness wasn't in your own hands :)

life is a zero sum game. for everything we lose, we gain something else. it is always as perfect as it was, and ever will be :)
that's the problem with going back. the essence of each moment is to prepare yourself for the ones to come. and if that's what you want to do, you're implying you can't see the meaning in your past. and hence, you want to leave a potentially meaningful present, for a definitely meaningless past. it doesn't quite add up for me :)
fine, so you're getting older. you feel time is slipping by. your body and mind can't do what they could before. but that's because they did what they were meant to!

there's nothing wrong with losing control of your body with old age. because you should have gained enough in your mind now, to realize what matters.

as i once said about my (recently-turned-91-years-old) grandma:
she is now too old for irritation, anger, hate, jealousy, and even hunger and sleep. she eats because her body wants to keep going. she sleeps because it feels like it's a perfectly natural thing to do. all that she does voluntarily, is love :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

nuggets of wisdom

i occasionally think up stuff that might be quote-worthy. sadly, i tweet them more often than i blog. decided i'll catch up through my list today. feel free to debate/discuss/differ :)
when arguing, we progressively eliminate points of agreement till only differences remain. hence, a solution will require us to agree to disagree. in other words, arguing never changed anyone's mind.

it's easy to laugh at people in love. it's easy to forget that the feeling was so awesome, that you didn't care if everyone laughed.

conversation is overrated. it is silence that we truly require.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

darkness

i love darkness. i feel at home in pitch blackness. i can navigate my home, locate a glass, fill it up with water, all by touch. and by touch i don't mean feeling around. i put out my hand, and it is exactly where my glass is. i don't have to touch the water filter to know the glass is under the tap. i know when the glass is full by the sound of water.

anyway, last night, everything went pitch dark at home. i got out of bed, and stepped out onto the terrace. it had never been this dark before. i realized that it was different from regular darkness when i noticed the usually glowing digits and hands on my wristwatch had stopped glowing. some sort of weird indescribable thing was happening in the sky. i'm not sure what i sensed, because it was silent and the air was still, and it was pitch dark to begin with.

two minutes later, the lights at home were back on, but my watch dial was still dark. as i was walking back towards the terrace gate, i passed by a window, and a beam of light fell on my watch. it started glowing again.

that's all i remember from last night's dream.

ps: this dream was strange because i don't remember waking up at the end of it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

belief and believers

i love getting into debates about religion and the fundamental god-question. i'm more of a pragmatic believer myself, but i choose to focus more on peoples' (and my) thought process and reasoning, than their actual beliefs. here are a few thoughts, based on conversations i've had over the last few weeks (sadly, there are many more such thoughts, but i'm already tired of digging through my archives of faved tweets :D)
you can either believe in something or nothing. nothing you believe in can be proven true to someone who doesn't believe in it.

the root of all theistic debate is that we can prove anything and everything to be wrong, but we can't prove anything right.

believing anything will appear irrational to those with different beliefs. but believing nothing collapses your universe into nothingness. hence, i choose to believe something. and to all of you who believe differently, i appear irrational.

anyway, for the record, i believe in god, and i choose to be irrational about my belief. because i feel i'm incapable of reducing my beliefs to rationality, and i'd rather have a name for my inspiration that makes it seem greater than myself. also, i can see that the concept of god has given rise to the concept of religion and the social structures arising from it. and since these social structures have personally done me good, i choose to acknowledge them, and follow them whenever they appeal to my sense of self-preservation and happiness :)

Monday, April 09, 2012

the dreamcatcher

i've been blogging my dreams for years now. dreams are fun to blog, because they aren't constrained by the limits of rationality and possibility. i'm not very good at making up stories myself, so my dreams are far more entertaining than anything usually think up when awake :D

the problem with dreams are, they're usually hard to remember. and that was one problem i had to tackle early on. so i've figured how i can best remember my dreams long enough to blog them:
  • the moment i'm aware than i'm awake, before i even open my eyes, i replay the dream in my head.
  • once i open my eyes, i lie in bed and replay it again in my head.
  • once i'm up and about (usually getting ready for work and whatnot), i replay it again in my head one last time.
  • as soon as i have a few free minutes, i make a short note of my dream (because there are so many dreams that i remember, but actually haven't blogged cos my memory isn't searchable that way), and also to make sure i have some way of ensuring i don't mix dreams up. i especially note people from my dreams, because i've found that over time, they disintegrate into faceless, nameless people :)
  • twitter seems to work best for this for me, and a lot of my twitter favourites will be notes from my dreams.
  • finally, blog them as soon as possible! same day is preferable, but i remember my dreams up to a week, with enough of notes... although i have a tendency to find jumps in the story if i wait too long to blog it.
yep, that's pretty much it! i haven't figured a way to remember multiple dreams in the same night, sadly. i have managed to recall multiple dreams, but not very reliably :)

let me know if you try this technique out and it works/doesn't work for you. and of course, link your dreams here :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

i woke up, and i was in microsoft!

last night's dream was funky. i dreamed that i started working someplace new, a place with white walls and a white cubicle-maze and white desks. everything white. but a kinda dirtyish white.

and on the first day, in between orientation and induction sessions, a thick envelope of papers arrived at my desk. it was an offer letter. to start working at microsoft. with the join date of that day itself. and a 20% pay hike.

i called the number on the offer letter immediately, and told them that i just received the offer, and will join tomorrow.

a blurry episode of taking a flight to a different city followed, and i awoke in a hotel the next morning, and walked to the office.

as i entered, the guy who was supposed to show me around spotted me. the ground floor had a lawn around the building, with chairs and tables set up, and small groups of people conducting informal meetings at some of them. as we walked around, he told me which team each of the groups were from. there was the mobile team, the live team, the .net team, and so on... all of them about my age, rather brightly and casually dressed, and they all seemed rather relaxed.

till finally, we came to a largeish table that wasn't exactly in the lawn, but rather, in a glass-walled room that was open on one side to it. about five or seven older looking guys at it. in the middle, with a laptop, was steve ballmer, with a wolverine beard. my escort-cum-teammate said this is the windows team, the team i'll be working with: "the biggest and baddest chunk of microsoft".

he called out to them, and said i was the new guy, and a couple of them left the table and walked with us into this conference room that was full of PCs lying about, looking rather dumpy with wires running across the table and even on the chairs.

they did a quick presentation, and asked a few questions. one question i remember was they asked for the full form of some acronym. i guessed three of the four letters, which they said is good.

then, my escort said that since it's my first day, they want to keep it light, so we should go for a drive. we picked up cans of sodas from the vending machine, and my teammate and i were joined by this girl in an orange top and blue denims, who said we should go for a drive in her car. a sleek, funky convertible. before we got in, the guy handed me my official phone (a windows mobile), and while getting in the car, he said i can swap my personal phone for an iphone. i told him i'd rather have an android, and he said that's perfectly fine too, and said he saw a galaxy s2 lying around today.

we drove around for a bit, and it definitely didn't seem like anything i've imagined i'd see in india. cobblestoned narrowish streets, a lake on one side, glass buildings on the other. we drove back, and it was evening.

apparently people like to stand around and chill out at a big balcony around sunset. my teammate led me there, introduced me to a few people, and then moved off. people were opening beers all around, and i (inexplicably) fished out a quarter of vodka from my pocket.

when i was about to pour a drink, i noticed a girl standing in the corner, alone. looking intently at me. she was pretty, and quite nicely dressed, but looking rather disheveled at the moment. i remembered seeing her earlier that day. she was one of the receptionists. that's when i looked outside and realized it was drizzling and overcast. and she looked drenched.

behind her, there were a group of girls chit-chatting. as i poured my drink, one of the girls walked over to me and introduced herself. she asked me if i'm a regular drinker, because apparently i didn't know how to pour my drink. she said she'd have poured my drink for me, if i hadn't done so myself. i wordlessly held her gaze for a moment, smiled, and emptied the rest of the quarter into the glass.

and that's when i woke up.

ps: i'm surprised i remember this amount of detail of the dream!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

sunrise at matheran

it's been years since i've been to matheran. it used to be my favourite ride, be it rain or shine. usually, just to the entrance of matheran (dasturi point), for a cup of tea, and back home.

so when my friend said she really wanted to go on a night ride, plans were hastily made. she proposed pune, but i insisted that matheran would be more fun :)

i left home a little past 3am, and her other friends dropped her by car at kala nagar at around 3:45, right after i had my first cup of chai for the day.

we rode via sion-vashi-palm beach-uran road-jnpt road-panvel circle.

another chai break at panvel circle. we we beginning to feel chilly. neither of us were prepared for the cold, but that made the ride all the more fun :D

rode to matheran via chowk (mumbai-pune highway). made it there at 5:45am.

chit-chatted until the sky lightened up, when i took out my phone and clicked a few memories :)







since the tea-stall at the entrance wouldn't open till almost 2 hours later, we decided to grab breakfast on the way back... this time, sonali had a chance to see the ghats we had just climbed in the dark :)



it was still chilly when se stopped at badlapur for breafast, but the sun warmed us up as much as the hot chai and sizzling-hot potato bhaji (with the dynamite chutney) did :)





finally, i reached sonali to thane, and rode off on another adventure... a 100 km ride, to spend my weekend at a remote village in thane that's not even on the map :D

Monday, March 19, 2012

falling anywhere

i love electronica because it lets me attach my own feelings to words. i'm currently listening to "falling anywhere" by kyau & albert, and this is the imagery it conjures:

cruising along at a happy speed, you watch the scenery change from desolation to light greenery. you slow down, anticipating a change. suddenly, the road peaks and then dips, and you find yourself riding downhill into the most beautiful meadows, a breathtaking valley like you've never seen before :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

residual dreams

some of you may know that i brought a new bike, early last month. a few pics were on my post about my purushwadi trip (but i didn't mention much about the bike then either... let's save that up for a future post!)

anyway, this dream was about my new bike. around a month ago, when the bike was barely 3 weeks old.

i dreamed that the headlight would prevent the battery from charging (somewhat like how it does on my old bike).

i woke up, knowing fully well that it was a dream, and that i have nothing to worry about. people ride their bikes with their headlights on all the time. and the karizma is better than most other bikes in that regard anyway.

but the next evening, when i was riding home, i didn't switch on the headlights wherever there was street lighting.

and that has stuck with me ever since.

i still have no idea why i have the irresistible urge to switch off my headlights unless absolutely necessary, after that dream. it defies all logic and explanation. and yet, i still do it, a month later.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

late-night musings

2:30am, last friday night. i was tossing and turning in bed, in anticipation of an important, and early saturday morning.

as a last-resort cure for insomnia, i tried praying (since prayers usually put me to sleep in under 5 minutes!). and i then turned to twitter. and kinda logged my stream-of-consciousness:
everyone's tweeting to themselves at this hour. The beauty of late-night-twitter :)
I think I should just fish out my half dead earphones and my barely charged ipod and listen to kraftwerk while I try to sleep.
something about the way that tweet looked to me struck me. it's hard to describe how, but the sentence seemed to fall together in a fascinating way to me at that hour. it was just a simple one-line description of my thought, that somehow fascinated me.
sometimes, my words seem so alien. the fact that my thoughts can be put together into something that makes some semblance of sense to you.
are we really communicating? or do my symbols have an entirely different meaning to you? are my sights your sounds? your words, my thoughts?
humans are so good of making sense of nonsense, that you all could be white noise from cosmic radiation.
the brain in the vat doesn't need its computer.
we define everything in terms of ourselves. which why we accept no power greater than the self.
even God is anthromorphised. how does your God look like, to you?
are we intelligent? we create the world around while creating ourselves. we destroy the world around, and realize we've destroyed ourselves.
is our perceived intelligence merely a by-product of defining our universe in terms of ourselves?

my fried andrea (who had probably just woken, in australia) asked me what sparked off the stream of thoughts. my answer:
I don't know. I couldn't sleep, tried praying, then singing, and then the rest of my thoughts are on twitter for you to see :)
scrolled back & found it. I had read my own tweet about taking the ipod out and was struck by the words matching my thoughts :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

networks

the memory of a friend's wi-fi ssid (which is also his apartment building's name) took me back to when i was 4 and my dad would sing me to sleep every night:

Pearly Shells,
From the ocean.
Shining in the sun
Covering the shore
When I see them
My heart tells me that I love you
More than all those little pearly shells

Saturday, February 11, 2012

the morbid

I've been dreaming a lot, daily. been trying to remember them, but it's now a little too much to write.

anyway, one of last night's dreams included, among other things, a friend (actually, two "friends", of which I could only identify one.) who tried to dig a tunnel straight down, into the wet sand inside a cave.

to cut the parts I don't remember, lets say that he somehow disappeared underground. since we have had no idea, we sent crabs to look for him (in my dream, I could speak to crabs, and they could speak to me).

the crabs came back in a couple of minutes, saying they had found a couple of "graves".

later (in the dream), I read in a book that an unidentified friend of mine who loved to watch volcanoes, lost both her arms in an eruption but otherwise survived fine. she continued to watch volcanic eruptions from up close after the accident, but always took someone along to watch.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

hagru

i was in goa last week for my friends' wedding. as usual, i tagged along with a goan friend (this time, with his mom and 4-year-old daughter too), and stayed wherever they were staying. one of the places being, his aunt's home. his aunt has some 8 dogs and as many cats. so anyway, the cats somehow weren't very cosy with me. i'd have to sneak up to them and pet them when they weren't looking, and they'd suddenly jump and run off a few seconds later. except for this one cat, that snuggled in between me and my friend's lil daughter on the sofa. i tried to make small talk with the girl, and the conversation went something like this: (k is me, e is the kid)
k: so you like this cat?
e: yeah, but i don't want to play with him.
k: why?
e: he is hagru.
k: hagru? is that his name?
e: no, he doesn't have a name. he is hagru.
k: but his name is not hagru?
e: no, he doesn't have a name! he is hagru.
k: so if i call him hagru, will he play with me?
e: don't play with him, he is hagru!
k: meh.

anyway, i finally found the same cat sleeping in my bed a couple of hours later.

turned on the light in the room, and it jumped out and ran for the door.

i found it had pooped in my bed.

apparently "hagru" is what they call cats with bowel problems :S

Sunday, January 29, 2012

hello


found this in my inbox, today morning. looks almost legit. this is getting freakier and freakier!

From: "Alicia Mabou" <*************@yahoo.in>
Date: 28 Jan 2012 17:30
Subject: hello
To:

Hello dear,My name is Alicia,I know that you may be surprise how i get your email, i got your email today when i was browsing on Internet looking for honest partner,then i feel to drop this few lines to you. I will be expecting for your response so that i can send you my pictures and also tell you more about myself,my dear,age or color even distance cant deny any relationship. Please lets give our self a trial,Thanks,Awaiting for your mail above Miss Alicia.

Friday, January 27, 2012

what crap men yaar!

(funnily enough, I'm typing this in a farmhouse in goa)

I was walking through a lightly wooded forest with nickolai, one winter evening, enjoying the sunset through the trees. when suddenly, a bird crapped on me. and then another. and another. and another. and so on... 8 times. In quick, rapid-fire succession.

thankfully, we weren't far from nickolai's family farmhouse. we reached there after dark, the pale yellow porch light shining through the woods like a half-hearted beacon. as soon as I got home, I wanted to wash up.

Unfortunately, the house had just two bathrooms, and nickolai's mom was busy washing clothes in one of them, so I had to use the other. so I had to use the other one, which was attached to ninoshka and nickolai's bedroom. but the door of the bathroom was barricaded by a large wash-basin, which I had to remove in order to use.

ninoshka and I couldn't get ourselves to agree about the way to open the bathroom door, but we finally figured the correct way to open it was to lift up the wash-basin to detach it from the door-frame.

and that's when I woke up.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

falling anywhere

i woke up with a start in the middle of last night, feeling sickish, with my heart beating wildly.

it was a dream that was to blame.

i don't remember much, but the last thing that happened was, i was walking down this huge long flight of stairs from a church. The stairs somehow seemed similar to the ones outside St. Fancis D'Assissi Church near home, but the view of the road in front of the church reminded me of Our Lady Of Immaculate Conception Church, Panaji.

anyway, while i was near the top of the stairway, far from the side railing, and walking down the stairs, the stairs suddenly became near-vertical while i was in mid-step. and i was holding my foot in mid-air, around 4 storeys above the road.

i woke up in a funk. checked twitter in the hope of calming my nerves down by distracting me, but a few seconds later, i closed my eyes to recall that final scene, and the sick feeling returned.

i could reproduce that feeling of vertigo by just closing my eyes and recalling that scene.

thankfully, i can recall it now without any vertigo. but this was the first time i've got this feeling in a dream.

ps: blog title inspired by one of my favourite tracks, "falling anywhere" by kyau vs albert.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

the only rule is: there are no rules!

mumbai traffic is interesting (if you can look at it with detachment from your sense of self-preservation and sanity). it comes with chaos and madness that only years of hard-headed aggression and trust in fate will let you tolerate.

amidst all that, i always ride with one guiding principle: follow the rules, and you'll be safe.

looks like i might have to amend that.

one morning, riding to work along link road, i reached a traffic jam. the cause: a traffic cop had decided to take over a (perfectly working) signal.

i inched my way through, sneaking between cars, nudging bicycles and honking at less-aggressive bikers, until I reached the edge of the traffic jam. after a 5 minute wait, i decided to remind the cop that I was waiting, with a couple of honks.

he turned around and waved me through the intersection.

right into the path of a car he had waved through 2 seconds earlier.

thankfully, our reflexes and brakes worked, and we stopped a few inches short of each other. the cop didn't even bother to look!

a few weeks later, i was riding home along the highway. bumper-to-bumper traffic from jogeshwari to malad, as usual. and me doing my usual "disciplined" lane cutting (checking my rearview, signalling lane changes, the works). till a lane broad enough for a biggish vehicle opened up alongside.

since i was at a standstill, i decided to avoid confusion by staying in my lane until the first vehicle passed, and then tailgating along.

and i was rewarded with a nudge to my bike from behind.

turns out the next driver didn't imagine i would wait and let a vehicle pass, so he just launched his car at where i was standing.

i'm not sure what rules i should follow any more.

survival

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