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 :)

half a year

it's been exactly half a year since shruti and I took the biggest step of our lives. the memories are still as fresh as ever. but scratc...