Thursday, December 05, 2013

rainbows and dumplings

last night had a lot of dreams. they all seem to have no proper end, which is quite rare. i have a feeling they're interconnected, but i've forgotten those parts. strangely, i also have no recollection of the order in which they happened.

rainbows:

i was walking down a street, which ran along the edge of a hillock, in a city i don't recognize, but which was too clean to be India :D the hillock was a pretty small one, as the highrises on the plain below actually rose past it in places. going by the sun, it was about 4pm.

i was walking downhill with two unnamed and unrecognisable male friends, and we reached a spot where we could see the plain beyond, framed by two particularly tall highrises on the side. we stopped walking and they stood together, back to the plain, presumably for me to click a photo. as i was fishing for my phone in my pockets, i saw a faint rainbow appear behind them. the rainbow rapidly got more distinct, and as it faded in, it turned into a double rainbow. and then a triple rainbow. in barely a second, the lower half of the sky was filled repeating rainbows, and they had gotten bright and pastel enough to look like they were literally painted across the sky.

i was transfixed.

my friends realized something was up behind them, and turned around to see the rainbows.

once the rainbows were completely bright and pastel, they started merging and fading into just two colours: a slightly brownish red, and a slightly brownish yellow. i vaguely recall the similarity with some music video, but i have no idea which.

by then I actually got my phone out of my pocket and launched the camera app. when i looked back up, the sky was clear again. disappointed, i put my phone back in. a crowd had gathered on the street by then. everyone was pointing in the direction the rainbows were, and chattering excitedly.

and then it happened again. but this time, the final two colour rainbow started pulsating, the red and yellow expanding and contracting, while the overall size of the rainbow remained the same. a hush fell over the street, while everyone stared at the rainbow, silently transfixed. i didn't even bother going for my phone this time. eventually though (it was probably a second, but felt like a minute), people fished out cameras, and as I could hear the shutters click, but the rainbow was rapidly fading, and i'm not sure if they got anything more than a trace of the rainbow, if anything at all.

the third time, I was ready with my phone camera. This time, it started off as the two colour pulsating rainbow itself, but as my phone's crappy camera focused and clicked, the red and yellow rainbow turned into a pink heart on a white background. the heart wasn't a complete one, but was made of three distinct pieces. it was just the bottom corner and the top double bump (both bumps separate). they were twitching and shimmering, as if it was some sort of mirage.

i managed to get a couple of passable photos, but they were nowhere as distinct and well defined as what i saw with my own eyes.

and that's all I remember of the dream.

dumplings:

my friend satej and i were at some sort of pub/club, which had a dance floor, a mezzanine with tables, a bar on one side, and a separate section which had a counter for food. the place had a wood finish, not a fancy, polished one, but a rough and homely feel that reminded me of my grandmom's place, down to the slightly uneven wooden floorboards. it was completely closed to outside light, so even though it was bright outside, it was dark inside, with dim light coming from bulbs.

satej and i were standing by the side and drinking beer out of mugs, looking on at the dance floor and generally catching up on each other's lives (i haven't met him since his wedding in January, btw). he was feeling hungry so we made our way to the food counter. the arrangement there was a very curious one: there were ziploc packets of uncooked portions, you picked one and paid, handed the packet over, and got it back in a styrofoam plate a couple of minutes later. we both picked a packet of dumplings each, and paid. it was 400 bucks a plate, and satej and i remarked to each other how expensive this place had become. i wasn't feeling hungry though, so i kept my packet with me, and told the guy at the counter i'd get it cooked later.

as we made our way to the table we were standing at earlier, I saw my dad waving out to me from another similar table from across the dance floor. he was with a guy who looked about his age, presumably a friend. I excused myself and went over. he told me he had finished his drink and was heading home. he asked me if I could drop him on my bike. i agreed, and after telling satej that i'll be back quickly, we left the place.

strangely enough, this place was actually built on a two storey raised concrete platform, so we had to go down a couple of flights of stairs, and past a vacant swimming pool to get to the large parking lot. it was about sunset by then, and the place was barely 5 minutes from home on bike. i reached dad to our apartment block and rode back. by then, the sun had set, and satej had stepped out where there were tables and benches set on the periphery of an artificial huge lawn on the concrete platform. it was a big lawn, and people were milling about with their drinks.

my brother was there with satej now, and he was ordering a plate of soya chips, from a waiter who was apparently his friend. he observed that the quantity of chips had been ridiculously reduced since the last time, and the waiter friend reassured him that something will be done about it. and that's when i remembered i still had a ziploc bag of uncooked dumplings. i opened it, and sniffed it. it smelled fine. I also picked a tiny one and popped it into my mouth. it tasted fine too. i walked back to the food counter, and told the guy there to cook them for me. he asked me if I wanted them steamed or fried. i decided i wanted them steamed, as satej had his plate fried. as i collected my plate and started walking back, the waiter-friend caught up with me. when we reached the table, he opened a bag of chips. i observed he was now without his waiter's uniform. as he emptied the bag into the plate, he sat down and said he's done with his shift, so he'd join us for a bit.

and that's all I remember of the dream.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

blind

my office bus is parked in front of the stairs of a bridge every morning. today, after over a year, I happened to set WhatsApp, facebook, Twitter and my email aside, and spent 10 minutes looking at the family that lives in a shanty under the bridge. I saw the girl wearing her school uniform over the clothes she slept in, possibly because there's no place to change.

I feel like I've been so blind.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

flying in a blue dream

I closed my eyes, and a thought sprung to my mind:

I should post to Facebook: "jango internet radio picking my favourite songs and streaming them over bluetooth to the speakers at full volume, while I doze after an awesome but tiring day"

and then someone commented on the post: "just like last night"

and I replied to the comment: "but you weren't there last night, I wasn't home last night, and I hadn't installed jango last night" (i just installed it 10 minutes ago, btw)

but then I thought... she was there last night, I was there last night, and we were playing songs over bluetooth. really loud. in a pub.

and then I thought, this doesn't make sense at all. how did my thoughts end up on facebook? and why would someone imagine something as contrived as that, and tell me too?

I thought, this is definitely a dream. but as I was thinking all this, I was actually awake, using my phone.

so this isn't a dream. this isn't real either. what is it?

the obvious answer is: "this is my imagination"

but the answer I thought of was: "this is because I'm half asleep"

and that's actually the right answer. I'm so sleepy that half these sentences are being typed in my head, and the other half on my blog.

this post doesn't make any sense at all, but I just had to write it down somewhere... because it's an example of what goes through my head when I'm extremely sleepy, but am forcing myself to be awake. have you ever experienced something like this? have you ever been so confused about your dream and reality, that you started reasoning about it in your dream?

ps: post title inspired by a Joe satriani song of the same name :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

love in an elevator?

evening "office bus" rush hour.

packed elevator. door opens. I take a couple of steps, making eye contact with the cute girl facing me from inside the elevator.

she gives me a look that says "are you really gonna squeeze in here?"

I stop, inches from the closing doorway.

as it closes, the last thing I see is her smile, and she, my smirk.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

indian "419" scam

just got a mail from what was purportedly the reserve bank of india. with one attachment. it was very tersely worded, but knowing how inscrutable government communications can be (yes, i know, there's no reason for the RBI to mail me... but still), i previewed it in google docs. i was half expecting a virus, but what i read surprised me:


from: Reserve bank of India <info@rbi.net>
reply-to: <rbitransferunit9@gmail.com>
to: <info@rbi.net>
date: Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 3:12 AM
subject: (no subject)

«--
Please Find The Attachment To This Mail

attachment: open.rtf

Payment file: RBI-DEL/id1033/11.
Payment amount: $ 500,000. us dollars.

                           RESERVE BANK OF INDIA OFFICIAL PAYMENT NOTIFICATION    
Attn: Beneficiary:
The Foreign Exchange Transfer  Department Reserve bank of India has decided to bring to your attention, that you were listed as a beneficiary in the recent schedule for payment of outstanding debts incurred by the BRITISH GOVERNMENT Pending since  2009  to  2013  According to your file record with your email address, Your payment is categorized as:
Contract Type: Lottery/inheritance/ unpaid contract funds/ Undelivered Lottery fund/
Recently on the 01 October 2013. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor, Dr. Raghuram Govinda Rajan and Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General of the United Nations met with the Senate Tax Committee on Finance RBI Mumbai/Delhi branch. Regarding unclaimed funds which have been due for a long run, at end of the meeting (RBI) Governor, Dr. Raghuram Govinda Rajan mandate all unclaimed funds to be release back to the beneficiary stating that it is an unfair practice to withhold funds for government basket for one reason or the other for tax accumulations. Therefore, we are writing this email to inform you that $500,000usd will be release to you in your name, as it was committed for (RBI) Governor that Beneficiary will have to pay crediting fees only. So you are therefore required to pay 16,500 INR ONLY in cash deposit to credit your account immediately making a deadline of 2 working days after date of receiving this mail. Also reconfirm your details- for crediting.
Fill The Form Below:
1. Full Names: 
2. Residential Address:
3. MOBILE NUMBER:  
4. Occupation:                   
5. Sex:                                  
6. Age:                                 
7. Country:                        
8. Marital Status:              
9. E-mail id:                     
10. Bank Name:               
11. Account Number:
12. Account Holders Name: 
13. Bank Branch:                 

Dr. Raghuram Govinda Rajan                                               
RESERVE BANK OF INDIA
          GOVERNOR.

Monday, October 21, 2013

almost blind

Monday morning. I woke up, groggy, and started getting ready. my right eye was hurting, and I had no idea why. checked it in the washbasin mirror, and realized that although it was open and responding, it was covered with a very evil looking orange layer, with brown spots. I thought to myself: "wow, I can't see through my right eye, and I didn't even realize it!"

I realized a sty is only noticeable because of the physical realization of the eyelid not opening, and I may not even realize if I was blind in one eye, as long as my eyelid worked fine.

since washing my eye wasn't helping, I tried closing my (good) eye and judging my vision. there was none. but if I focused hard enough, I could see stuff. it looked like a dark, blurry version of the inside of my eye. I stared, fascinated by what I saw, a sight which I can't find words to describe.

and then my alarm went off.

I woke up with my right eye hurting.

I immediately went to the washbasin and looked at it.

I had a sty.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

random thoughts

my truest thoughts usually fit in 140 characters. here's a few that i had saved up for later:

on trying to figure how we solve the problem of rape:
"we can't solve one problem without solving the rest. we can, however, takes steps that bring us closer to one or more solutions :)"

on having completed a productive, but sleep-deprived day at work:
"the ability of the human body to gracefully degrade under adverse conditions fascinates me :)"

late night thought:
"not giving up on people, because some people have not given up on me, well beyond when they should have. i'm just spreading the karma."

when someone privately messaged that i should ignore people who diss my oversharing of pictures on facebook:
"haters gonna hate. but when someone tells me my facebook posts help them virtually live a life they'd love to but can't, i know i'm doing it right."

inspired by a discussion about my brother:
"you see, acting macho doesn't build trust at all. for that, you have to appear more real than most people will admit to themselves."

thinking about a muse:
"you didn't make me smile. I made myself smile. all I needed was a person that I could pretend was responsible."

not sure when, or why. but i think it applies nevertheless:
"my life may not seem perfect, but it is so :)"

every evening, when getting home:
"I get a creepy feeling every time I'm getting home from work and pass the electric crematorium. there's always a cloud of bluish smoke."

on learning a group of friends have decided to cut themselves off from me:
"after a few strange experiences, I'm wary of inviting myself into plans, even when everyone involved are friends. better lonely than sour."

one weekday morning, when everyone around was complaining about their jobs:
"to me, work is just like a relationship. 20% compatibility, 80% commitment. but then again, either my work and relationship philosophy is good, or I'm luckier than i imagine myself to be :)"

Thursday, August 29, 2013

TREACHEROUS!!!

5 friends, after postponing for weeks, finally decided that last sunday, 25 August, was the day we attempt to conquer rajmachi on bike. this was my 4th attempt on bike, and my 2nd attempt this year. the previous attempt, we had to turn back barely halfway as one muddy patch was so bad that we weren't sure if we would be able to go back up it if we went down it. but this time we decided that caution be dammed, and we would get to rajmachi come what may.

we already started on a crappy note: everyone was late, and by the time we reached lonavla to start off-roading, we were already 2 hours behind schedule. we started without even a pause or a chai break. the first 15 minutes were just rough roads, and we probably covered 1/4th of the total distance. after that, the real fun started. mud patch after mud patch, some peppered with big stones that we had to dodge as well, spots where it looked like normal mud, but suddenly sank a foot the moment we set a wheel on it. pulling bikes, pushing bikes, half the time ankle (or worse, calf) deep in mud ourselves. a few streams, which would seem dangerous to anyone else, but which we welcomed as a chance to get some mud off our bikes and ourselves.

we finally reached the top at noon, after 3 and a half hours of mad off roading. and the distance was just 14 km!

after a chai or two, lunch of rice bhakri, gavti (village) egg omelette, pickle, we were ready to go. but just then, the skies literally opened up and it started pouring. after a 15 minute wait, we decided, shivering, that it would be foolish to wait any longer.

the ride back was equally slow, and although we managed to avoid most the tricky sinking mud we encountered on our way up, we actually managed to find new ones and get stuck again. we made it back in the same time, 3 and a half hours... but this time with even lesser and shorter breaks! when we were about to hit the highway, my friend summed it up with one exclamation: TREACHEROUS!

well, one thing's for sure. the treachery wasn't in vain. i've realized i still need to get my nerves on mud. i need to get better at ensuring i don't get into sticky (rather, slippery) situations. but all said and done, i'm still looking forward to the next opportunity to take carly off the tarmac!!!





















Wednesday, August 28, 2013

repeat

after listening to one song on loop for 2 weeks, I decided to give it a break, switched from "repeat track" to "repeat album". looped the album for a day, now back to looping the track.

I have some 5000 more songs on my phone, and my ipod hasn't been touched for a month.

I'm not sure why I'm even doing this. I think i have looped the song over 1000 times. I stopped estimating at about 450.

song: "memories from the future" by Robert Gitelman, on trance energy 2007.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

breathe

it was the afternoon of my birthday. after a nice lunch, i was grabbing some much needed rest (it had been a crazy week, topped by a mad all-night party that i crashed out of at 5am, no less!). except that my phone would ring every few minutes with someone or the other wanting to wish me. and i had an hour to nap anyway, because i was heading out to meet a couple of friends later.

one of those calls was one of the said friends. she called to confirm what time we were meeting, and where. a quick, half-minute conversation. i spoke while lying down on my side, phone perched on my ear. too lazy to hang up, i assumed she would.

seconds after the conversation was over and she had presumably hung up, i realized i was breathing quite heavily. in fact, i could hear myself breathing. in fact, my breathing sounded different. almost like it was someone else's. but it seemed like the timing of each breath matched mine.

i held my breath, but the sound of breathing continued.

that's when i realized it wasn't me. it was from my phone.

"hello, hello? are you still there?"

no reply.

i closed my eyes and went back to sleep. i didn't hear the beep of the call being cut, but i was too sleepy to get the phone off my ear and hang up.

an hour later, i woke up. and thought back to the conversation, trying to remember the details of our meeting place and time.

i had in fact slept with my bluetooth on, and my phone was charging, in a place where i definitely couldn't reach from my bed.

and it was a dream.

to be sure, when i met her, i asked her if she spoke to me in the afternoon. sure enough, she said she didn't. she also said it's kinda freaky that i confuse my dreams with reality... but that doesn't alarm me at all. in fact, i love it :)

soundtrack for this post: breathe by telepopmusik

Thursday, August 22, 2013

30

i turned 30 last week. thirty. three decades on this earth. when i was born, india was almost half her present age. the fastest computer was orders of magnitude slower than my phone (which, btw, i'm waiting to junk because it's too slow). but those big things don't mean much to me. the world goes on, its' mostly pre-determined path, save a few surprises (mostly nasty, sadly). i've been more fascinated with how i've changed.

a decade ago, if you asked me how i imagined myself at 30, i'd probably be further off than 50s sci-fi was from their prediction of the 21st century.

sure, there are few things i'd have gotten right:

  • work wise, i knew i'd be doing something computer related. programming related to be precise. and that's spot on.
  • my best friends then are still my best friends today.
  • i still live in the same home that i lived in back then, true to my resolve of never changing cities or countries (my reasons for staying put though, are different).
  • i still listen to (and love) the same music. so much so, that i'm acutally caught in some sort of musical time warp.
but then, so much has changed.
  • i have gone from being a reticent bookworm, to someone who loves the company of people more than being alone. to the point where i'm actually called a social butterfly by some of my friends.
  • i have gone from having never left the city in 20 years, to leaving it every weekend. these days, staying at home feels alien, and people are jealous of me for the amount of time i spend traveling.
  • i have gone from having never ever trekked, or even sat on a bike (forget riding one) to riding and trekking every weekend.
  • i have gone from writing apps and games in my spare time, to tweeting, uploading photos of my food, and spending entire evenings on facebook. the last time i had an IDE on my home PC was 5 years ago, at least.
  • i have gone from never having anything more than a 4 digit bank balance, to earning more in a month than my parents spent on me in a year. from having never written a cheque, to having a flat to my name.
but these are all external changes. i feel i've changed more on the inside.
  • i've learned, multiple times over, about the fragility of human life. from losing near and dear ones, to almost losing myself.
  • i've realized that i'm not on earth for my own self-gratification, and that there is some higher purpose to my existence, even though i haven't figured it yet.
  • i've realized the power of change, both positive and negative. and surprised myself many times over with how easily i can turn my life around, if i try.
  • i've learned that i need to invest in relationships with the people around me, and that life is far more fulfilling when shared.
  • i've gotten rid of many of my false assumptions about what it takes to be happy. and through trial and error, and a bit of insight, i think i've even realized how to make it sustainable.
  • i have gone from being a skeptical atheist, to someone who has wholly (and vocally) embraced a pragmatic belief in god as a way of life.
  • and most of all, i've learned to live in the present, to embrace surprise, and to stay permanently curious.
and all this, in just 10 years.

i can't imagine what i'd be like at 40. from what i've seen, it's going to be a crazier journey than my entire life so far put together.

i can't wait for every single day of the rest of my life.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

statistics

i looked at my blog today after a while, and realized it's been languishing a bit.

but then i looked at the post history, and realized i've done 25 posts in these 8 months of 2013, while i did 33 in all of 2012... which actually sounds like i've posted above last year's average.

not wanting to things in half measures, i quickly calculated the quarter-on-quarter totals, and concluded that i'm actually at the exact same post rate as i was last year - what happened was that my posting tapered off dramatically, back then.

which reminds me of a conversation i had yesterday, on twitter:

@rohanbabu: In India, every year 1.2 mn new cases of cancer gets detected.

@vodkaholic: That's a huge number. :(

@krist0ph3r: 1.2m in a country of 1.3b = 0.1%. 1.4% of population dies annually. with 100% mortality, cancer accounts for just 7%!

@krist0ph3r: numbers are all my guesstimates + back of the envelope calculations. but i think 7% is a close enough ballpark.

@vodkaholic: My comment has nothing to do with statistics. Cancer is not a fun way to die.

@krist0ph3r: would you prefer malnutrition? tuberculosis? a heart attack? i think a 93% chance of not dying of cancer is decent :)

@vodkaholic: Never mind.

@krist0ph3r: thoughts: philosophically, it doesn't matter how you die. scientifically, dying of unpreventable diseases is a sign of progress.

ps: i meant "incurable", not "unpreventable" in the last tweet, but you get my gist.

it's true. numbers don't lie... but their interpretation can :)

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

the weekly grind

strange as it may sound, i like routine when it involves things i enjoy doing. just like may was the month of breakfast rides and watching movies alone, the last month has turned into the month of treks (with a ride, if the numbers make it feasible).

3 weeks in a row, and it's actually an established routine.

on wednesday we start gauging interest in a trek this weekend. figure who's free on saturday, sunday, and both. the date is the first thing to be fixed. a whatsapp group is created with people who are interested.

until 1-2 days before the trek, we then engage in mindless banter, with random breaks into where should we go, etc.

the afternoon before the trek, we fix the destination, the mode(s) of travel, contingency plan in case people back out/oversleep etc.

the evening before the trek, we determine the menu and the timings.

the morning of the trek... we head out and trek!

it's a grueling schedule, but it's totally worth it. i realize i've never pursued the things i love as passionately and relentlessly as i have this year. i'm so grateful that i have cooperative (nay, forgiving!) parents, and a 5 day work schedule :D

it's a routine of awesomeness i probably can't tire of.

so far it's been:


1. night ride to lonavla


2. off-road ride to rajmachi (turned back halfway, but not for want of trying!)


3. trek to kothaligad


4. ride to kalote waterfalls


5. ride + trek to garbut point

next weekend is the last (somewhat) free weekend. probably another trek + ride. then comes 16 days of riding to/from/in ladakh - and then... i'll probably know the wednesday after i'm back :D

Friday, June 28, 2013

serotonin sunrise

as my 30th birthday nears, I realized my clock seems to be running in reverse.

I'm functioning without sleep, doing things I'd have balked at when I was 25, and yet it seems like I have a boundless source of energy somewhere. living in top gear, and yet squeezing out every bit of mileage out of every hour. to the extent that when I look back, I find it hard to believe my memories.

yet it all somehow seems fine, even though I know it shouldn't.

and I have absolutely no idea why.

ps: title inspired by the identically named track by "man with no name"

Friday, June 14, 2013

unsustainable relationships

over the years, I've noticed a pattern in my life. it seems to have been happening ever since I started making friends online (orkut, twitter, and to a small extent, Facebook). it's the path most of my friendships seem to take:

  1. interest: the person needs to catch my eye for some reason. it could be the stuff they post, the stuff people say about them, or sometimes (probably more often than I'll admit) just a pretty DP - obviously applies to girls only ;)
  2. contact: a period of intense messaging. usually multiple simultaneous conversations on different topics, replying/commenting on their every post/tweet etc.
  3. assessment: going through past posts. finding the person's profiles on other sites, engaging with that content if possible, or making a mental note to do so later.
  4. integration: add the person everywhere. Facebook, foursquare, subscribe to blog (okay, not always), find an excuse to swap email addresses, the works.
  5. meeting: this is the make-or-break point. my online friendships are created solely for converting into offline ones. people who want to keep their online lives separate from their offline ones, despite going through all of the above, strike me as weird and probably a waste of effort (unless they live far away or something). meeting is usually preceded by exchanging phone numbers, but thanks to whatsapp, it rarely involves actual speaking.
  6. making plans: after the initial meeting, the person is probably on my mind for the next few days, and so will probably get invited to most of the things I'm up to. plans rarely work out, but there have been the odd (un)lucky few who actually happen to be free at the right places and times. I make plans anyway.
  7. settling down: we eventually shift to the communication medium that suits both of us, and attempt to find a sustainable rate of communication. this is the trickiest part. mainly because I only have time to do steps 1-6 with one person at a time, and usually need a short recovery period to catch up on other stuff I've been ignoring. making friends is exciting for me, and the excitement tends to overshadow more necessary, but mundane, things. and after that's done and we're in a state where I can manage the rest of my life while remaining in contact, that the future of the friendship is decided.
some people then just drop off the map. they become the "has-been"s

some people put in a bit of effort from their end, and since I will reciprocate, we end up being in regular online contact, even if we don't meet often (or ever again). if one of us stops putting the effort, everything subsides. they become the "can-be"s

some people end up hanging out with me, and as a result we end up knowing each other pretty well, but then there's a fall-out of sorts, usually after one of us discovers something we can't stand about the other. they become the "somebody-that-i-used-to-know"

and finally, some people hang out with, me, get along fabulously, and eventually reach a point where we don't need to be in online contact to be a part of each other's lives. they end up meeting my other such best friends, and generally become indistinguishable from (say) my college and childhood friends. they become my BFFs.

they become my sustainable relationships.

Friday, May 31, 2013

saint xaviers college

someone posted on my college's facebook page that she's conducting a survey and was looking for one sentence quotes about what they miss the most about st xaviers' college. a lot of things ran through my mind:

the obvious foyer, woods, library, the slightly offbeat "arches", the practically unknown quiet spot behind the chapel, the "foodie" mess, the regular cafeteria. but all that can be just summarized in one word: geography.

then there was the "boring" academic stuff that i probably won't admit - mainly because academics seemed so effortless in college (atleast, in hindsight). but there was a hidden brilliance to that. profs who stayed out of your way if you didn't care, but went the extra mile if you were passionate. some profs who were almost parental, others who treated you like an adult despite some (incredibly!) juvenile behaviour.

but that's not what i missed the most.

"i miss being surrounded by brilliant people, and yet never getting the feeling that someone was 'better' or 'worse'... everyone felt equally accepted, no matter how different"

because that's what changed me.

because when i left college, it just took me a few weeks to realize that what i had, that most others didn't, was confidence. a belief in myself.

and then it took me a couple of years of post-graduation to help me realize beyond doubt that everyone looked up to me, even though in my head, they were harder workers, faster, smarter, more creative, and in general more brilliant. because i wasn't afraid to stand out and show exactly who i am, without caring how it looked. and nobody could teach you that, without you being there.

those were my wings.

xaviers, you gave me wings.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

how to embarrass yourself at work: part 6

okay, there are actually way more than 6 ways to embarrass yourself at work, but this is one i particularly remember:

i was walking from my desk to the restroom. and i felt a bit of flatulence on the way. now i usually am quite the expert at letting 'em loose discreetly (read: silently), so i decided to take my chances. and let out a clearly audible toot, right behind a colleague's (from another team) desk.

i'm not sure if he turned to see who did it, because i walked as briskly as i could to the restroom.

the hilarity of what had just happened was too much to stifle, and so i burst out laughing while i peed. luckily for me, the restroom was empty, and i had an incredibly satisfying fart while peeing.

until, seconds later, the same guy entered the restroom.

and witnessed me laughing, peeing, and farting. simultaneously, and with gusto.

i did my best to stifle my laughter, while staring at the ceiling to avoid eye contact. i'm sure that made me look even funnier, but there was no way i could anyhow acknowledge his presence in that situation.

i'm sure he still thinks i'm some sort of freak. but that moment was priceless... and totally worth it!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

change me, may-be?

may has been a month of unplanned (but desirable) changes. so far, three:

  1. joined a gym. took a three year membership. no excuses for the next three years (or so i imagined)
  2. after a year's break, got back to watching morning shows of movies. alone. also helps that i get two heavily discounted tickets every month ;)
  3. bike trips. mostly breakfast rides.
the only thing left to do is cut some cruft out of my life to make room. currently the only thing i've ended up skimping on is sleep. which is a terrible thing, really!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

mr know-it-all

most of my school years are a blurry memory now. and today i realized why.

i wasn't living in the world around me. i was living in another world.

i was living inside books. a lot of books, in fact.

i remember, when i was about 6, dad brought the whole "childcraft" collection. a big box of hardbound, glossy, full colour encyclopedia volumes. he paid a bomb for it, because he probably knew it would cost even more by the time i was old enough to start reading them.

he didn't have to wait too long. once i started, there was no stopping me. i read them once. i read them twice. i read the parents guide on how to get the child to read them. and then read them again.

when i was 8, i was hospitalized for a week, for appendicitis.

the evening before we went to the hospital, dad took me to the local library, and signed me up. "king's video library". the deposit was 30 bucks. my membership number was 1530. each book cost about 50p to 1re to borrow.

i don't remember what was the first book i borrowed, but i remember finishing every book i was "allowed" to in the next two years. luckily, i turned 10 by then, and was allowed access to my school's library. i still don't understand why you had to be in the 4th grade to be allowed to read, but that's how it was.

my school library had two sides, the fiction side, and the non-fiction side. fiction had about 8 racks, non-fiction, about 10. about 200 books in each rack on the fiction side. the fiction and non-fiction racks were arranged in ascending order of appropriateness for age.

in the 4th grade, i finished the first rack.

in the 5th, i finished two more.

in the 6th, i finished another two racks, and all the ones i had missed from the previous two.

in the 7th, i finished fiction.

that's when dad handed me three cardboard boxes from the loft. it was filled with packages, wrapped in yellowing (browning, in fact!) newspaper, with years written on them.

30 years of reader's digest. 1972 to 1992. i finished them in the summer vacation.

that's when things came to a head. i was out of reading material. my only option was non-fiction.

i started at the 4th grade end. and worked my way to the top.

around that time, i started cycling to school as well, so i wasn't restricted by school bus timings. i would reach school 5 minutes before the library would open, and leave after it shut. since it was full-day school, we had two breaks. i would eat my tiffin walking to and from the library. while reading.

i would also read in class. at home. in bed. over breakfast. i would have probably read in the shower if i could. i would read a paperback in about an hour and a half.

during the vacations, the school library was supposed to be closed. but it wasn't.

before school shut for the vacations, i made my arrangements. i took the librarian's number, and since she lived near school, i'd call and let her know my ETA. she'd lock me in the library for as long as i told her i wanted to read. i was allowed to take expensive encyclopedias (that students had to take permission to unlock the case, even!) home.

by the time i finished my 10th standard board exams, i had pretty much finished reading most of the library. my dad's college textbooks. all the manuals at home. and heaven knows what else.

it sounds unbelievable. but it's true, and i know it. i don't have many other memories of my school years.

i don't know whether it was because i overdid things, or whether i found more interesting things to do, or that college opened my eyes to the world around me, but everything changed. by the time i was 18, i had practically stopped reading for pleasure (and it's surprising how little i had to read to pass exams!)

most of my present-day best friends probably don't know about my reading story. most of them won't even suspect that i've probably read over 4000 books in 25 years, 3000 of which were in the last 5 years of my school years.

but they probably still find me an irritating mr-know-it-all.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

... and the art of motorcycle maintenance

i woke up two minutes before my alarm today (6:28am, beat that!) and got ready for work with time to spare for the office bus, but when it was time to leave, i realized i was so sleepy i might not be able to function if i didn't grab another hour of sleep in bed (as opposed to the office bus, where i usually simply toss around, half awake)

i was at home. there was a bike, placed upside-down on some sort of stand. it was an orange and black duke 200. the stand was interesting. it looked something like this:

(yeah, the blue is the stand.. and yeah, i drew this in paintbrush :P)

anyway, it's kinda strange, considering that i live on the 1st floor of my building, and there's no way a bike would have made it up the stairs, but i guess dreams don't care much for technicalities :D

so i was doing some sort of maintenance on the bike (oiling and greasing stuff, i think), and then wiped it down with a dry (microfiber?) cloth. while wiping it, i noticed one side of the fork was orange while the other was grey, and concluded the paint had been scraped off the grey side.

when i was done, there was some sort of weird sprocket wheel left over, and i didn't know where on the bike i had to reattach it. i also noticed that the left handle's lever was moving freely, disconnected from whatever it was supposed to be connected to (it should have been the clutch, but somehow in my dream it was the brake)

since i guessed the missing sprocket was the reason the front brakes weren't working, i tried fitting it there. tried it in all sorts of clearly unusable positions, before i decided that wasn't it. i clicked a photo of the sprocket with my phone and tried using it for an image search (yeah, not sure how that was supposed to help either). finally, i gave up and flipped the bike back on its wheels (much like i would flip my bicycle over after repairing it) and plonked it right on the ground without so much as a thump.

that's when i realized why the brake wasn't working... it was a disc brake, and the brake hose was a transparent rubber tube, and there was clearly a huge air bubble in it. i tilted the bike while pumping the brake, and (inexplicably) got the bubble to the top of the hose. a bit more pumping on the lever and the bubble mostly disappeared.

i then thought the sprocket was from somewhere around the rear brake. but then a quick glance revealed that the bike has disc brakes at the rear as well.

that's when my second alarm went off. 8:15am.

Monday, May 06, 2013

glutton for madness

i usually try to budget my time before making lifestyle changes, but i suddenly find myself completely out of my depth.

my to-dos pile up until i decide to start afresh, and then they pile up again.

i click more photos than i sort.

i favourite more tweets than i can read.

i note more blog ideas than i write.

i borrow more books than i read.

i subscribe to more blogs than i read.

i queue up more music than i listen to.

i dream more than i write.

and sadly, i promise more than i can deliver.

i finally bit the bullet and took a 3 year gym membership. with every intention of proving the cynics (and the precendent set by my past attempts) wrong.

and then there's stuff that i want to do, that i don't note or plan for anywhere. places to go, people to meet, things to do, food to eat.

i'm running out of time to sleep.

i'm running out of things to keep my sanity intact.

to make things more difficult, i've always lived without regrets: doing what i can, with no second thoughts about what i can't. but when the "important" stuff seems like it will take 10 lifetimes to take care of, it feels like i'm doing something wrong.

sometimes, it feels pointless. after all, i do a fairly decent job of keeping myself happy, no matter what i do. either my activities gravitate toward things i enjoy, or the things i enjoy expand to include things i find myself doing regularly.

it feels like i have no way to quantify and qualify my ever-expanding appetite for things i must do.

how do you prioritize?

Friday, May 03, 2013

man overboard!

i'm quite an extreme person. i don't like moderation, even though i occasionally strive for it. it's just not how i am.

as the joke goes: "who's this moderation, that people keep telling me to drink with?" :D

anyway, it appears i'm not the only one, or so some tweets suggest:

@Aletheaius: "Wow! Someone just RT'd, favorited and manually RT'd the same tweet!"

yeah, that would be me. i sometimes even un-retweet and retweet the tweet later, so people can see it again. seriously.

@lisa72s: "Some people make you want to respond to everything they say. Then you worry about coming across as a creep. And you hold back."

yeah, that would be me again. except that i usually don't hold back, unless the person expresses irritation. after that, it's usually just a matter of time before i unfollow the person. because it feels unnatural to restrain myself from going overboard when i want to, and i hate feeling unnatural :)

anyway, this weekend, i feel like going overboard on the blog. brace yourselves.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

that's what she said

before we begin, the first sentence of my twitter bio says "#TWSS bot."

i never bothered finding out how this genre of jokes came about, but i love innuendo and wordplay enough to (some may say, excessively :D) indulge in it anyway.

"that's what she said" jokes are simple enough: reply to any innocent-sounding statement, which, taken out of context, could be interpreted as innuendo (wordplay, slang and all other such things are allowed while reinterpreting), with "that's what she said" or "that's what he said". or, if you're on twitter, #TWSS or #TWHS for brevity.

so far, so good.

the confusion arises when you need to decide between "he" and "she". and that's where i need to make a point.

the gender of the person who made the original (innocent) statement doesn't matter at all. nor does the gender of the joker. the gender *has* to be picked so that the hypothetical innuendo is as funny as possible, taking into account pop culture, slang, gender biases, and whatever else may work to make one side funnier than the other.

eg:

@TheSoothsayer_ said to @hinnaz: "they look so awesome!" (both people involved are women)
me: that's what he said.
yes, that's a he. why?

simple. ever heard a girl telling a guy (assuming both people involved are straight, to avoid confusion) that "they look so awesome!" (they, referring to *ahem* body parts here)?

me neither.

guys say that to girls all the time though.

and so, it's a *he*.

on the other hand:
@Sakshikumar: "Phew. All good now. Couldn't breathe there for a moment."
me: that's what she said.
no points for guessing why that's a she. (fine, sakshi is a she too, but that's irrelevant)

okay, enough lecturing for today.

TL;DR: picture a guy saying x in a sexual situation. picture a girl saying x in a sexual situation. which one is funnier? bingo!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

scream 2

this one hit closer to home than the last time i woke up screaming. so much closer, in fact, that i was of two minds about blogging it, because the people involved might read it. also, i was extremely distressed when i woke up from this one, so i didn't have the chance to commit it to memory before i tried to sleep again. the actual dream started a bit earlier than this section that i can remember now :)

in the dream, i was at home, half asleep. not in the hall (where i usually sleep), but in the bedroom. on a mat on the floor. it was late at night, and the lights were out in the rest of the house. mom was asleep, and dad was about to. suddenly, we heard a splash outside. turns out that where we have a terrace in real life, we had a swimming pool in my dream. and someone (let's call him S) had just jumped into it. the splash jolted me out of my half-sleep, and i opened my eyes, in the dim light, to see dad getting into bed.

a moment later, the splashing got more agitated, and S started screaming for help.

i sat up, and was about to jump out of bed, but from the sound of it, S had jumped into the deep end of the pool, and there was nothing i could do as i don't know how to swim. so i screamed for dad to save him, but dad said he couldn't. when i insisted, dad said that whatever was drowning S would drown him as well.

i refused to listen, and got out of bed despite dad trying to stop me. as i was passing through the kitchen to the hall (which had the gate to the terrace), the splashes subsided. as the sound died, i started screaming his name. but strangely, only a gurgling sound came from my mouth.

as i was trying to scream, i woke up.

i was in my bed, still trying to scream S's name, making that weird sound instead. my brother was holding my hand, telling me it's okay, everything's okay, nothing has happened. but at the same time, i could still see and hear my dream. and in my dream i was still in the kitchen, looking out of the window. in the moonlight, i could see S's legs and sticking vertically out of the water, head inside.

as i watched, he leaned backward, legs moving towards the window, almost like a slow motion backward tumble, until he was sitting on the window ledge, facing away from us. but the slow backward tumble continued.

he tumbled through the window, the grill, the net.

and then by some strange twist of physics, he was sitting on the kitchen counter, staring at me.

except that it was a drenched, long-black-haired, ghostly-white-skinned, white-dress-clad (yeah, exactly like that girl from the ring) girl now. she was looking at the ground. and as i stood there, staring at her, transfixed, she looked upwards, straight at me.

this time, i screamed for real.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

meta-existential-crises

that weird moment when you realize yesterday's existential crisis was triggered by a junk food craving. and then wonder what triggers the rest of your "deep" questions. #meta

Friday, March 29, 2013

living the dream

there's a tag for it, but this is something more:

bike overnight to goa.
3 days of relaxing, exploring, with good food, beer and friends on the side.
one morning of biking to gokarna.
4 days of exploring, relaxing, surfing, again with good food, beer and my best friend on the side.
and there's still a weekend in goa and two long rides to go.

this is what I live for.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

the morning drill

every weekday morning, I ride my bike to borivli station, park it about 50 metres from where my office bus waits, and walk to it. the bus leaves shortly after 7:26 (it used to be 7:26 on the dot, but it's now usually 7:29), and it takes me a minimum of 4 minutes to unpark, ride the 2.5km to borivli station, and park. also, I have an incentive to be as early as possible: my favourite seat.

anyway, over the last 6 months, efforts have been on to shorten the the time I take to get ready as well. I started off taking 45 minutes (wake at 6:30), which I then reliably shortened to half an hour. this year, I had shortened it to 15 minutes if I skip something (usually breakfast and tea, but sometimes other things that I shall not specify :D). today, I actually got ready in 18 minutes without skipping anything. I guess I'll have to prove it can be done reliably before I can set it as my daily schedule. but I'm digressing:

last Friday, I probably woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I don't remember if I skipped anything or woke at 6:45, but I had left home at 7:18, and was 2 minutes early for the bus. and I also had no enthusiasm to do the 50m dash the way I usually do it (which is a flat out sprint, btw). so I walked.

halfway to the bus, the driver of a school van parked on the road waved at me. I slowed down, and he asked:

"why do you run everyday, and why are you walking today?"

I told him I need to catch a bus, which leaves at the exact same time daily, and I'm 1 minute early today.

but there is a deeper question I haven't been able to figure the answer to, yet:

why do I *need* to run for the bus everyday?

Saturday, March 09, 2013

the middle-aged blog

blogs have personalities. blogs change. blogs age.

sometimes, sadly, blogs are stillborn. but the ones who make it through, will probably flourish in some sense.

a newborn personal blog is quite rough at the edges. experimenting around with features, widgets, layouts, colour schemes that change by the week. in one word, unpredictable. they're full of pent-up energy, stories, ideas. and everything seems like a good idea. the overflow of ideas can make it directionless. and in all these senses, the blog is childish. but nobody really cares too much about the personality of a young blog, because the author is probably the only reader and definitely the biggest fan.

and then there's blog youth. when the blog finds its rhythm, is lively, fun. finds its direction. explores its spaces, occasionally goes beyond, subtly altering its direction in the process. the best part of a blog's life.

but at some point, the blog becomes a victim of its own maturity. the expected standard of posts becomes exceedingly higher, and hence the quantity of posts becomes increasingly lower. barely any self-proclaimed junk can make it past the publish button. it is so set in its direction, that quirks become rare. posts get re-read, proofread, edited for style. the layout and theme is so set, it can't be changed easily. everything just works. and hence, nothing can really change.

that's where i think this blog is at, now. i don't want to reinvent it, because i'm happy with the way it is, but i realize something's missing. my posts these days are nothing i'll be embarrassed about 5 years later (i hope!). i don't think i can go back to posting jokes, crying about missing an ex, sharing my favourite songs' lyrics. because feel my blog has grown past that. my last decision to make it more lively with photos, fell flat when i didn't post a single photo after the announcement.

and now, i'm wondering where it's all headed to. more middle age? senility? death? or some misplaced attempts at acting youthful again?

maybe i should go back to stop caring about who reads what, and write for myself. make it personal again. throw away this act of political and grammatical correctness. make it more like the real life, uncut, uncensored "me".

i wonder.

Friday, March 08, 2013

office shenanigans

it's been 9 months since i joined the new office. my first few months were kinda lonely there, and the few attempts I tried at making "frandsheep" failed quite tragically.

still, my nervous attempts at being sociable and the general niceness of my office-folk ensured it wasn't a permanent situation, and i'm now quite well-settled. not like the previous place, where well over a 100 people knew me personally (yeah, 5 years is a *long* time!), but it feels like i have some real friends here, and that's what matters.

anyway, what's friends like without a few shenanigans? since we mostly hang out over (and after) lunch, the stories are mostly food related.

like this one day, when i refused to share my gulab jamun dessert. and coincidentally the veggie was something with baby potatoes.

after one slightly sweet spoonful of veggies, i realized what my friends had done: swapped the gulab jamun with a baby potato. lucky for me, i swapped them back... no damage done.

But then, the day came for revenge.

The friend who did the swap was poised with his dessert in his hand. don't remember what it was, but it was something dry and sweet.

and he was engaged in conversation, looking at whoever was sitting to one side... while i, from the other side, liberally sprinkled it with salt from the shaker.

The expression on his face after that first bite was priceless.

ps: typed in a bandra-fast from borivli, while sipping on my party pack of monk and coke. funfun!

pps: title dedicated to nickolai, who is the only person i know who uses the word "shenanigans" :)

Monday, March 04, 2013

work offer)

From: "Andrew Smith" <andrew_smith009smith@aol.com>
Date: Mar 4, 2013 2:10 AM
Subject: work offer)
To: <kris...@gmail.com>

Hello,

I'm Dr Andrew Smith, 53yrs of age, I'm a Dentist, I have been pretty successful in a handful of ventures which have involved. I'm presently working with UNICEF and other private organizations, also various welfare and community service programs.

As my assistant, your activities will be:

* Running  errands and supervision
* Taking care of my Financial activities
* Appointment schedule
* Memo

Wages is $ 500 per week.

We will start with things as soon as possible. I do have a pile up of work and a number of unattended chores which you can immediately assist me with and i hope we can meet up with the workload eventually. Permit me to use the coming week to test your efficiency and diligence towards all this, also to work out your time schedule and fit it to mine.I really need to find the perfect person for this job, I have confident in you that you can take-up the challenge and on the long run we should have a relatively sound working relationship between each other.
This is only an introductory e-mail, as time goes on we should be able to arrange a proper meeting to get things started officially when i get back from my trip because am currently in Belgium for health Summit.

So i will be here for couples of weeks, till i get back this position will be a part-time and home-based job because my new office in your local area will not be set up till i get back to the state.

I have been checking my files and I would want you to do for me is to help my clients get their monthly medication from the Pharmaceutical Company.

The funds will be in form of certified Cashier's Check, it will be sent over to you from one of my clients and I will e-mail the guidelines to you once you receive it.

FILL YOUR DETAILS BELOW FOR APPLICATION:

First Name:
Last Name:
Full Street Address (not PO BOX):
Cityy:
State:
Zip-Code:
Cel Numbr:
Home Numbr:
E--mail Address:
Ag:

Sunday, March 03, 2013

spooked

i'm usually quite fearless, even when alone. i remember poking fun at my friend reshma, who apparently gets scared to enter one bedroom of her own house when the lights are out.

today was different though.

i was alone at home, sitting in the dark at my pc. a few minutes earlier, i had just made tea hot for myself (and also added a bit of vanilla essence in a random kitchen experiment, but that's another story), and placed the empty milk vessel and my mug in the sink before going back to my pc.

after a few minutes, i heard the sound of water coming from the kitchen. went there, and found the tap around half open, water flowing out of it. i knew it couldn't have been me, as i'm quite particular about these things. still, i closed it and went back.

few seconds later, i could hear water flowing again.

went to the kitchen, and the tap was wide open.

closed the tap again, this time being a little extra careful to make sure it's completely closed, and went back to my pc.

and then a few seconds later... i heard it again.

closed the tap, waited in the kitchen for a few seconds, and it held.

went back to my pc. sat there. and heard the sound of water again!

this time, i tweeted about it. and frankly, i was finally slightly spooked.

so i went to the kitchen, closed the tap as far as it would go, and not knowing what to do next, went back and tweeted some more.

this time, i was relieved. no sound of water. i was going to tweet that all's well at last (a couple of people responded to my tweet saying that it's probably nothing, etc), but decided to check again first.

and guess what. the tap was open, water flowing, but i somehow couldn't hear it from the hall. this time, a chill literally ran up my spine.

scared as i was, i decided to open the tap and keep staring at it.

turns out, the tap was rotating backwards and opening by itself. it rotated quite slowly and had to turn quite a bit before water started dripping, which kinda explains all the earlier occurrences.

relieved, i fished out my camera, and tried taking a few 30-second exposures of the tap... for science.

nothing on camera, other than motion blur on the knob of the tap, while everything else is completely sharp and still.



guess this is the first time i've ever been creeped out in my own house. just had to get it out there.

ps: i also recorded a video on my phone (probably the fist video recorded on this phone, possibly due to its embarrassingly bad quality :D) and uploaded it, making it my first ever youtube upload! ah, well. small joys.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

motor(bike+boat)ing

i had a few dreams last night. most seem to have disintegrated into images/short scenes that flashback into my head, but with no interconnection. i can only distinctly remember one.

it was early evening. i was biking around the colony on my karizma. except that my colony was in the state it was around 20 years ago. a lot less buildings, and a lot more plots overgrown with mango trees. while i was riding down one street, a young lad (must be 15 or so) waved me to stop, and told me he's late, and would be grateful if i could give him a lift. since i was just riding aimlessly, i obliged. he wanted to go to borivli east, but for some reason i rode down link road. we reached this one junction, which doesn't look familiar to me now. the sky was painted with the hues of a vivid sunset (although the sun was nowhere to be seen). i took a right turn off link road, and went the wrong way down a one way street. i then took a u-turn,stopped next to a bus that was waiting at that signal, and told him i've changed my mind, and that he should take that bus instead. he thanked me, and took that bus.

and then suddenly, it was late morning (yeah, some sort of time hop in the dream, i guess). i was riding again, this time with my brother pillion. he had to reach some college in SoBo for an interview. and had exactly an hour to get there.

on the way, i told him it's very irritating that he delayed and then forced me to reach him because he was late. we were figuring the way to south bombay while riding. apparently, there were only two ways across: the sea link, or a ferry across. we decided to take the ferry. it was a really short distance of sea that had to be covered, barely 500 metres from the looks of it. the pier at the end we were at looked like the one at gorai creek (only, a lot narrower and shorter). also, both sides were overgrown with mangroves, with a small clearing near the jetty on either side. the water right next to the pier was more like sludge (i guess everything about the jetty was exactly like the one at gorai creek).

except for two differences:

the boat was *tiny*. and by tiny, i mean enough for maybe 10 people to sit, or two bikes (as opposed to the regular gorai ferry, which carries around 100 people, and sometimes even 20 bikes!).

and to get to the boat, we had to cross through floating rickshaws, bobbing in the water. seriously.

the floating rickshaws were already occupied, and i had to pass by from one side to the other, past people who were sitting inside. my bike wouldn't fit into the rickshaws, so i had to dismantle the bike, and carry it in a black coloured sack, through the rickshaws, into the ferry. i was surprised that the bag was so easy to carry.

my brother and i sat in the boat, and it sped off to the other side. the pier on the other side looked like the one i've seen at rewas (a beach near alibaug). it had a roof, and broad pillars, and the boat had to go under the roof till the actual landing point. the roof and pillars were covered with seaweed, barnacles and dried muck, as if the sea rose to cover them during high tide.

the boat stopped, we alighted, and i opened the sack to reassemble the bike. that's when i realized why it was so light: only the fairing, headlight, and front mudguard were in the sack! also, the parts looked like they were from my previous bike, the black pulsar. since the rest of the bike was forgotten on the other side, i had to make another trip across.

strangely, the boatman refused to take the boat across, claiming he had some urgent work he had to attend to. so despite my protests, he started the engine, and leapt off the boat onto the pier.

that's when i realized the boat had no controls whatsoever, other than an ignition switch. and it was currently pointed the way we came: along the pier, pointing straight at the land a few hundred feet ahead. and heading toward it at full throttle (there was no throttle to speak of, to begin with!)

in my panic, i tried leaning, to see if that affected the boat. and it did. the boat started turning away from the pier. i banked hard, and took the turn, almost like a bike leaning into a curve. and so, i was pointed back to the starting point of the ferry, on a boat that was racing at full throttle.

i leaned around, to get the feel of the boat's handling. leaned backward, and the boat surged forward even faster. it felt exhilarating!

that's when i realized, i was almost where the jetty started, zipping along at an insane speed. and i hadn't figured how to stop.

i did the only thing i hadn't tried yet: held on tight to the bow of the boat, and leaned forward as much as i could without somersaulting the boat over the front.

it worked. the boat slowed down, and it looked like i won't crash into the mangroves looming ahead after all.

that's when i woke up.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

the cyclical dream

last night, I had three vaguely connected dreams. The funny thing is, each of the dreams seem to lead into each other. anyway.

part one:

i was dressed in my suit, with my brother, and we were in a train. It was late at night (post-midnight, from the feel of it). We were traveling down central railway to an unnamed distant station. We were going to my friend saket's place. saket was in a different coach in the same train. also, there was another friend of saket, who was traveling in the ladies compartment. my brother and I were near the south end of the train, while saket was near the north end. At every station, my brother and I would get off, run one compartment north, and get back in. until at one point, where we found saket's friend also on the platform, running north. We asked her what she was doing, since she was already in the ladies' compartment to begin with. before she could answer, the train started moving. She ran and jumped into the last coach, while my brother and I missed the train (since the last coach is only for ladies).

part two:

i am at saket's place, which strangely looks like my grandmom's place. my brother doesn't make an appearance in this part of the dream. it's still night. while we're making the bed, his mom (who I've never met in real life) is complaining about the number of empty wine bottles in the house. He sneakily hid an empty wine bottle under the bed when she wasn't looking. we then went to sleep... and woke up in the afternoon. We were supposed to go out somewhere for a function in the evening, and we'd have to get ready and leave quickly for, to make it in time. I decided to have my shower first. since the layout was the same as my grandmom's place, i thought i knew where the bathroom was.

except that when I opened the door, it opened onto a grassy downhill sloping lawn, which ended in a forest. and yet, right next to the door, was a shower. in the open.

There was nobody around, so i turned on the shower and put the upper half of my body under it, with my towel still around my waist.

just as I was about to take off the towel, i saw a few workers at the edge of the forest, within the trees, looking at me.

At that very moment, someone knocked on the door, from inside the house. I hurriedly turned off the shower and opened it.

It was the maid, telling me that the bathroom was next door. When I checked that door, I realized that what used to be my grandmom's toilet, was this house's bathroom-cum-toilet.

part three:

it's evening, around 8pm. i'm at am outdoor lawn, decorated like it's some sort of function. everyone around in suits and gowns. i was seated with saket and his parents, at a table that was much larger than the rest, and heaped with brightly wrapped gifts. at one corner of the table, there was a heap of pastries. saket offered me a chocolate croissant, which i had. He then offered me sugar sprinkled pretzel, which i ate half of, and then decided to walk around.

And then I bumped into another friend of mine, myron. he asked me whether I had dinner, and what i thought of the food. I told him I wasn't hungry. He asked if that was because the food was bad. I told him it wasn't, and (jokingly) said he could have my share if he wanted.

and that's my three dreams... in one.

ps: strangely, this blog post was typed over an evening, while traveling by train, wearing my suit, to my friend satej's wedding reception... and on the way back, in a cab, thanks to my friend amit and i missing the last train home :D

Sunday, January 27, 2013

my favourite stories

there are some (true) stories that i love to tell everyone i know. some people are (un)lucky enough to even hear them multiple times :D

like once when we were kids. We were playing cricket in the building compound, and our aging neighbour walked by, forcing us to temporarily halt our game.

my friend said to him: "uncle you must die!"

after a long enough pause for everyone to be suitably shocked, he made an action of brushing his hair and continued: "your hair, your hair! you must dye your hair!"

luckily for us, he took it sportingly, smiled and walked on :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

relief

what a relief, to open your eyes, and to see the world exactly as you imagined it!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

99 red kites

yesterday was makarsankranti, or as we would call it as kids, "kite flying day"

on my way home from work, near the railway station, i passed a young guy who was standing on the sidewalk and smiling broadly at passers-by on the busy street. he had a red string in his hand. the string let straight upwards, into a tree above him.

i asked him what he's holding.

"patang" (a paper kite), he replied.

i peered upwards and asked him where's the kite.

he peered upwards too.

after a moment of unsuccessfully trying to locate the kite in the foliage, he looked back at me, smiled, and wordlessly let go of the string.

the end of the string that he was holding went straight upwards, and disappeared.

as i walked on towards where i had parked my bike, he went back to smiling at the people on the road, but now empty handed.

it was a strange moment. i still have no idea what to make of it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

20000

my bike completed 20000 km on the odometer, and exactly a year since she rolled out of the showroom, on saturday.

it's been a crazy journey. countless long highway rides (the first time she left the roads of bombay was when she was 3 days old!), all the way from my usual weekend trips to overnight rides to goa (5 goa rides this year, a lifetime record of sorts!) and her longest overnight ride, which was a little over 700km - to bagalpur district in karnataka. most of my rides with her have been solo as well, unlike on my old pulsar.

since the story is too long to tell, a few pictures shall do the talking instead.

13th january: her first 100, little over a day old.

14th january: purushwadi. her first trip outside bombay.

15th january: my first pic with carly :)

22nd january: her first 1000, on our way back from kolad.

25th january: our first goa trip, 13 days old.

31st january: back from goa.


12th february: malshej ghat - exactly one month!

8th march: first overnight ride to goa.

12th march: first overnight ride back from goa - exactly two months!


18th march: dhena trip.

15th april: back from goa, my second overnight (and third, overall) long ride.

19th april: the first (and only, so far) puncture - riding to satara.

28th april: random pic in the colony, early one morning.

10th may: evening ride to and from vaitarna with tushar.

18th may: her first 10000 - riding back from khandala :)

26th may: 11111km somewhere on our way back from mahalingpur in karnataka - my longest overnight ride ever :)

10th june: our first rain ride, on the way to matheran :)

16th june: naneghat. a mad ride, with lots of off-roading on wet, muddy paths.

25th june: 12345km.

29th july: 13333km (riding back from vasai fort)

4th august: the day i sold my pulsar. back to having just one bike!

2nd october: my first accident - hit a horse that ran across the highway in front of me, riding back from goa. and then 420km with a smashed fairing, through pouring rain and eventually darkness, with practically no headlight.

26th october: bike still not fixed yet.

17th november: 16000km. still not completely fixed from the accident.

3rd december: 16666km. bike finally completely fixed from the accident, 2 months later!

16th december: ride to dahanu. first highway ride with both my loves ;)

27th december: my last ride to goa in 2012.

31st december: riding back from goa on the last day of 2012.

12th january: riding back from pune on carly's first birthday!