Sunday, December 31, 2023


no matter how you paint it, 2023 was not a rosy year. if life's about taking the rough with the smooth, this year was more rough than smooth - no doubt about that.

still, now that the year is drawing to a close, I have much to be grateful for. of all the things that went wrong, as well as the many more things that threatened to go wrong, I'm grateful that no permanent damage seems to have been done.

2023 was the sort of year that made me second guess a lot of things I took for granted. I don't know if it's just the effect of things that happened, but now, every decision I make seems to be underscored by the thought that everything could go wrong. and I now accept that.

is it just all the risks I've been taking catching up with me? or have I simply been unlucky?

either way, I don't think I've changed my behaviour. I've just pressed on harder, conscious that I'm doing what I've always wanted to do.

I don't know what 2024 holds in store, and to some extent, I don't particularly care. I know what I want to make of it. 

I don't have any resolutions or even plans for 2024. I'm not going to think about what the universe is going to send my way. all I know is, I'm already doing what I want to do. I'll just keep doing it, maybe a little more earnestly than this year!

Thursday, December 28, 2023

The boring movie

It was some sort of spy situation, in a weird part of the world - looked somewhat like India, but not quite. Tom Cruise was with a female sidekick. They were in some sort of dangerous situation and needed to get out quickly. Tom hit some sort of contraption that launched himself and his accomplice like some sort of jetpack/ejector seat, but instead of being launched vertically, they were launched diagonally, almost horizontally, into the distance, past the seafront, into the sea. When they were just a speck on the horizon, the parachute launched. as they got closer to the water, it turned out it wasn't exactly the sea, but some sort of frozen iceberg, except that instead of the ice being white as icebergs are usually pictured to be, it was transparent - it looked somewhat like a frozen transparent wave! The wave was hollow - it had some kind of tunnel, the entrance of which Tom cruise and his accomplice slid through and came to a halt, as the villians or whoever was the cause of danger they were escaping watched on disappointed at their getting away.

Tom Cruise decided he had to go back in, alone.

The next thing, the sun had set, it was dark, and Tom Cruise was back in the ramshackle building he had escaped from, but alone. It was less a building than a crumbling abandoned, possibly half-constructed building, that was long but narrow. It was barely two or three storeys high, and didn't have any lights on. The street was lit in dim yellow light, and while there were other lights in the distance, none of the buildings nearby (all of similar height and not looking particularly well kept) seemed occupied or lit either. There were two guards at the top of the staircase, pacing up and down the corridor outside a room - presumably the room he had previously escaped from.

Tom made no attempt to avoid them, and got into a fistfight of sorts with both guards. The fight just went on with both sides trading blows, but no advantage gained or lost.

At some point, the door of the room opened and the guy who they were guarding (the boss of sorts?) emerged. He didn't seem to take too kindly to the scuffle and pushed the two guards aside, coming face to face with Tom Cruise.

At some point during the scuffle, the point of view had changed from third person to Tom Cruise's, and now it suddenly became apparent that the boss was some sort of giant - Tom's (and hence my) line of vision barely got to the bottom of his chest, and his hairy, muscular abdomen.

A set of quick punches to his middle, and the fight was on again. Despite the massive difference in size, there was still no clear advantage to either side. The fight seemed to just go on and on.

And then, I woke up.

It was 7:19am, and I think it was something on my phone that woke me up, although the wifi was off so it couldn't have been a message, my phone hadn't rang, and it wasn't my alarm either.

I thought to myself, am I really going to go back to sleep? That fight was super boring!

I did try to go back to sleep, and the fight seemed to resume, except the boss was now closer to Tom Cruise's height, and they were more kickboxing than fistfighting.

I remember thinking to myself, there must be some way to make this more interesting!

At some point in that fight I drifted off to a more dreamless sleep.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

The anniversary adventure

23rd December marked 7 years since we got married. I still remember some of that day very well, although given the amount of photographs, facebook statuses and other digital evidence I have of the day, it's hard to separate what I remember organically from what I remember digitally. It's true though that the statuses and photos and videos and whatnot are linked to feelings, feelings I can still feel inside me from that eventful day. And I guess one of the overwhelming feelings I have from that day was of adventure!

My life 7 years ago was definitely crazier and more unpredictable than what it is now, and while I remember the feelings and even feel the motivation to do the same things, it's almost like something's holding me back. It's like, every time I sit at my couch and look at my motorbike parked outside my front door, I think, I could just go for a spin in the middle of the night? Only difference is, there's no crazy friends to meet for tea at 1am, no all-night chai and bun-maska stalls, the waterfront feels boring, and I should really be going to bed.


On the 23rd, I sneaked out of the house to buy mutton from St George Market. I thought Shruti was still asleep and wouldn't notice. Turns out she did. Does that count as adventure? When was the last time I tried to sneak out of the house without telling Shruti? Must be years!

We then changed and headed out for lunch at the "Dirty Duck", a rather nice (and award-winning, it turns out!) restaurant at Holywood. I didn't really do any research at all, Shruti had done the reservation, and I was thankful I had stuck on navigation before we set off, because I wouldn't had found it - I had no idea Holywood had such a nice seafront, much less that the dirty duck was situated right off it!

Lunch was great, and we were so stuffed we decided to walk around before heading back. We walked to the high street, stopped at Cafe Nero for a coffee, and walked around the town centre and back to where we parked the bike. Wore our helmets, gloves, and was about to set off when I had an "oh no" second: I had popped the keys to the ignition into the locked fairing pocket!

I tried jimmying the lock open with our house keys (yes, thankfully we carried a spare set, there have been plenty of times we didn't because I have one set on the bike keys - in fact evern today, Shruti grabbed the spare set as we were getting out the door, "just in case"!), to no avail. Someone was unlocking their car in front of us, and we asked them if they had a screwdriver. Strangely enough, they said they didn't, but they checked the boot and found a first aid kit, which had a pair of scissors - that didn't work either. In the meantime, Shruti called the nearest locksmith (a half an hour's walk, but still in Holywood) but there was no answer. I then called the next nearest locksmith, but he said they don't do emergency callouts and asked us to call the locksmith we had just called.

After one last call to the nearby locksmith, we decided to head home and fetch the duplicate key instead. Luckily for us, we were just a 5 minute walk from the train station (we had just walked past it), and the next train was due in another 15 minutes. We booked a single ticket for Shruti and a return for myself. Back in Belfast, the quicket means of transport was actually the bus, so we took the bus home - again, a single ticket for Shruti and a day pass for me. Back home, I picked up the powerbank and charging cable, headphones, a bottle of water, and headed back out to catch the same bus that had just dropped us home, headed back the other way. Ran to the station, and caught the next train with just 4 minutes to spare! I was glad the timing worked out perfectly, and also that the key opened the lock, despite my attempts at forcing it open with a scissors!

Given the sort of thing that just happened, I was super cautious as I put the keys away and got ready to start the bike, conscious that all 3 sets of keys were now on me, and there was no plan b!

On the way home, I did stop for groceries, and also picked up a drill machine from Jay before finally getting home around 9pm - 4 hours after I locked the keys in the bike.

The rest of our anniversary was fairly mundane, sitting around with Shruti, watching youtube and talking about stuff - enough adventure for today!

It may feel strange, but less than a downer, I felt it was actually nice to have a bit of adventure on our anniversary. We had a good time, but we also took the rough with the smooth, and all's well that ends well. Which kinda sums up our relationship too.

Happy anniversary to us!

Friday, December 15, 2023

I dream of blogging

I was in a café, with Sidharth, Reshma and Shweta. It's hard to say where the café was, and there was no visible branding, but it did vaguely seem like it was in India. It felt like evening, and it felt like we had been there for a while. I abruptly turned the conversation to my blog. I told them, I've recently gotten back to my old style blog. The same style as what I used to write when I was in VJTI. In fact, the plan is to continue the old blog. Sidharth seemed unimpressed. I told him it would be interesting! The blog has stuff about our VJTI days, like copying Shweta's assignments and Reshma's notes.

Sidharth still seemed unimpressed. He said he'll decide when he can read it. How could he read it? 

This caught me off guard. How could Sidharth read my blog? I fumbled a bit, and then told him, it's in a database. An access database. 

He was even more unimpressed. What sort of blog is in an access database? 

That's when I woke up and decided I need to make sure my blog is fully uploaded to the Internet before the year is over! 

Thursday, December 14, 2023

grocery shopping

 I had just entered a supermarket. It was a Lidl. I had cycled in. There was a room right next to the entrance, which was painted in bright colours and with stuff that might make it appealing to kids - a play room of sorts. Except that there were no toys, furniture, kids, or indeed any people at all in it. There was a cycle parked right in the centre of the room though, so I figured it might be acceptable to leave my cycle there as well while I shopped. I decided to stand my cycle against one of the walls of the room - and noticed there's a small door at the end of the wall. The door was locked, but I moved my cycle so that someone opening the door wouldn't knock it over. I then left that room and entered the store proper. There was a counter which had bakery items and a slicing machine. A man was at the counter as well, and it seems he was operating the bread slicing machine, which was unusual. The machine also looked different from the usual ones I've been using in Lidl stores. I saw the man put a bar of dark coloured cake to be sliced, and noticed it was being sliced into long slices instead of along the width of the cake as would be usual. Menawhile, the man was also making some sort of cheese toastie, except that after the toastie was made, he cut it into strips lengthwise, so it looked like cheese and bread strips. I asked him if he'd slice a loaf of bread for me, but he told me this counter was only for cakes and sandwiches. I looked for the actual bread slicing machine, but isntead found an entrance to another room. This room was colourfully (but not very brightly) lit, and had a comic book theme, including moving spotlights that contained colour projections of comic book characters. It seemed quite vivid and surreal. The room looked like it might have comic books, but on closer look, it was actually comic book themed greeting cards!

I picked up a very fancy card - I don't remember what was on the cover, but it was a birthday card. The inside ofthe card had a whole long message, which almost looked like a whole letter to the person whose birthday it was! Strange. Stranger though, was the fact that it was pre-printed with the name of the recipient and the sender! It was a birthday card to Stephanie from Roseanna. As I realized the names, I thought to myself, this can't be real! Why would a card shop in Lidl have a card which was clearly from my (late) aunt to my cousin?

And that's when I woke up.

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