Monday, February 12, 2024

popf;ret

A couple of months ago, I decided to maintain a daily online journal. I wanted it to be a low-effort thing, available to the public on the internet for now, but not publicized to feed into my social feeds like this one.

I managed to keep it going for a few weeks, but right after the holiday season was over and the new year began, I started falling behind. it started with writing 3 days entries back to back with whatever I could remember, then turned into a couple of days of entries after a few skipped days... until i finally stopped completely. as of today, my last journal entry is dated 8th January.

When I started the exercise, I wasn't sure if it would work long-term, but I wasn't sure why either.

I think I do, now.

I can't stick to a routine. Even if I follow it for 21 days.

ps: popf;ret are the two opcodes in x86 assembly that execute a return from an "interrupt" subroutine. this just popped into my head from like 25 years ago, thanks to a youtube video about using chatGPT for programming assembly!

Friday, February 09, 2024

dad smiled

We were at home. it was a Saturday afternoon. We were downstairs, in the dining area, discussing what we should do today. Shruti handed her phone to me and showed me a message from Abhishek saying B&Q has an offer on fancy flush tanks. She asked if we could get ours replaced with flushes operated by a pull cord. I explained there are two types of such flushes, the Victorian style "high flush" which are quite old fashioned, not very practical, and not really better than what we currently have, and completely concealed flushes which would be hidden in a false ceiling. However concealed flushes would require us to redo the ceiling of all 3 toilets, which would be much more expensive than the flushes themselves. Shruti agreed it didn't make sense, so we could go out for ice cream instead. She went upstairs to get ready (I was already dressed to go out for some reason), while I waited.

I noticed it looked quite damp outside and sounded like rain beating on the windows, so I thought I should go out and check how bad the rain actually was. I went out without my jacket, and the rain was really barely a drizzle, and it was pleasant despite there being a fair breeze.

Our house was identical to the Belfast one, but its surroundings were completely different. there was no fence. we had no neighbours! on one side of the house, there was a dense evergreen forest of pine trees. on the remaining three, it was well trimmed grass. not flat but not hilly either - just undulating. there was a path leading sideways from our house to a row of similar looking detached houses, about 100 metres away. the path was paved, but quite narrow - just about enough for two people to walk along it, side by side. I took a few steps along it, and turned around to look at the house. in the window of the room facing me, beside a couple of small bits and bobs, was dad's head, stuffed and preserved. it was placed facing out of the window, into the distance. the eyes were pointing straight ahead and his expression, neutral. Shruti must have just moved it there, and I made a mental note to check if direct sunlight is fine or will affect the preservation of the head. 

Just then, I realised I was wearing my home slippers (the flip flops I used to wear in Mumbai, specifically), and I may have got a bit of mud on my left slipper. I bent down to check, and when I stood up and looked at the window again, dad was now looking slightly downward towards me, and smiling broadly! I couldn't believe it. How was such a thing even possible? I must be seeing things! My mind is surely playing tricks on me! It didn't make sense though, as everything else seemed quite real and exactly as it should be.

I closed my eyes and stood still. After about 5 seconds, I reopened my eyes and he was no longer looking at me, and his expression was back to what it used to be. 

And that's when I woke up. 

I thought to myself, that was my first ever dream where dad hasn't been alive. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

one week

the year started on a very different note from how it's going.

what makes it worse is, i can see it going wrong.

i feel like i'm out of my depth.

i'm sure there's the right thing/things to do, that are in plain sight.

it seems like I'm missing the obvious.

wish me luck.

Monday, January 08, 2024

Sailing from Charni Road to Portpatrick

I woke up at 7am and headed to Carrickfergus. It was a gloomy morning, and only two other people had arrived - the rest were on their way. We were going to leave for Portpatrick between 11am and noon, so I was very early. I took the train. Shruti, Kevin and Brenna joined me on the train as we headed to South Bombay. We got off the train at Charni Road (although from the layout of the platforms and bridges it seemed more like Mahalaxmi). I wanted to use the toilet. Shruti and I looked for it. We could only find the one marked Ladies but not the one marked Gents. We arked around and was eventually led to the station master's office. There were a bunch of people inside, a few sitting around a table, having some sort of meeting, while the rest were in a queue. It was a queue for the toilet!

Thr toilet and the station master/meeting room were in one big room, with nothing to separate them - the toilet was a commode surrounded by filing cabinets and files and stacks of paper other things you'd expect to see in a station master's office. I didn't really pay attention to the queue ahead of me and before I realized it, it was my turn. There was nobody queued up after me, and I was thankful. I would have really liked some privacy but the best I could get was the fact that there was nobody in the room other than Shruti, and the bunch of men having a meeting in the other half of the room - the men were bent over something on the desk and discussing it animatedly, so Iwas quite sure they wouldn't pay me any attention.

Right after I sat on the commode, I started feeling very weird. I felt dizzy and unstable. I asked Shruti to come closer and hold my hand, as I felt I was about to faint and fall off the commode and make a mess. She held my left hand and asked me what happened and if I'm OK. I told her I'll need a minute but I feel better already.

In the meantime, a lady walked in, wearing a white nurse's uniform, including a nurse's cap.

I somehow assumed she was in charge of keeping the toilet clean, and complained to her, while still seated on it, that it was not. She replied that it's not her fault it's not clean, as I'm the one currently using it. I told her it wasn't clean before I used it, and in fact I almost fainted as it was so dirty. She refused to believe me until Shruti backed me up.

Job done and I was back on the platform. We took the bridge on to the road. We were trying to get to the beach, but I took the wrong bridge out and we had to walk along the road, and take another bridge to get on to the beach. Kevin and Brenna were waiting at the end of the bridge, and I told them they should come sailing too. At that point, a group of about 3 or 4 older people (one of whom resembled my school science teacher) told me it was too late to go sailing - it was already noon! Also, we were at Charni Road, and the boat left from Carrickfergus!

I wondered why Hugh didn't call me when he was leaving - I thought about it a bit and realized he may have not left yet, but I definitely wouldn't make it, so I should message him instead and tell him that I couldn't make it. I also told everyone that we weren't sailing today as it had gotten too late.

And that's when I woke up. It was 8am. I had dismissed my 7:40am alarm in my sleep. If I didn't leave at 8:30am, I'd have been late to get to Carrickfergus to go sailing! I thought to myself, damn - that was really close! If I didn't wake up when I did, I'd have actually missed sailing that day!

ps: Turns out I had not read my email and we were actually supposed to get to Carrickfergus at 10am instead of the usual 9am. Still!

Thursday, January 04, 2024

I'll fly away

two years.

they say that time heals, and in many ways it has, but in some ways, it hasn't. he's still here, following me everywhere in a way I never felt while he was alive, like some sort of omnipresent vacuum.

I am aware of my human weakness when it comes to making up memories, subconsciously adding a little detail to moments that may have been blurred by the passage of time and distorted by the strange way the human mind works. but I know there's something that rings true with every memory. that marvellous man, my beloved father. a man who, despite obvious shortcomings and failings, I still maintain was the best person to have walked this earth.

just the other day, we were discussing what dad would have had to say if he was present at that moment. the moment was something mundane, possibly me breaking the garlic press in an attempt to disassemble it. it's easy to imagine something logical, sensible, brilliant. or maybe something witty and irreverent. and I know, it's also equally (or maybe even far more) likely he'd have said something extremely mundane - maybe one of his favourite tropes/quips. but to predict what dad would have said is futile. every fantasy of being reunited with him in some sort of weird predicted interaction would fall short.

but that's all I have now. thoughts, memories and my imagination. 

I know that sitting on my couch, typing a blog post when I should be sleeping would elicit a gentle nudge from him to go to bed, to remind me that I have work tomorrow. he cared for me in a way I've never felt anyone care for me... in a way that was both protective and freeing. and that's what I remember best about dad. he was only human, in a way that made "only human" something to aspire to. he made the imperfect feel right.

everything feels imperfect right now. but I know this is the sort of moment that dad would meet with calm acceptance. with making the best of the moment, even if it looks like I'm failing miserably and everything's lost. 

I just realized I have never ever, ever, ever, absolutely ever, seen dad give up.

good night. please come to me in my dreams. I miss your hugs.

Tuesday, January 02, 2024

serial killer dad?

a recent dream was too traumatic to even blog, but I guess if there's some hidden meaning to it, it might be worth interpreting. in short, it was a dream about dad being a serial killer, him killing someone and dragging the body into our living room and propping it against a wall. for some reason we didn't seem to even react to this other than saying hello to dad as if it was just another day.

the victim was shot through the head so cleanly he had bandaged the bullet wound and it seemed like the victim (who was a bald middle aged caucasian man, btw) had simply had a bump to the head. but after the body was in the house (which looked like our mumbai apartment from the inside), we were surrounded by police cars (they looked like UK police cars) hiding in the thick pine forest surrounding it. the house was on the side of a hillock that was slightly higher than it, and looked like some sort of modern glass and metal house, with one side built into the side of a hillock and the other side held up by stilts, with a garden below it.

I had to get out of the house to go to the shop for something (seemed like something mundane like milk) and basically had to get away on foot without being spotted by the police. thankfully there were only about 3 cars and I was able to evade them by moving outwards in a spiral.

and that's when i woke up.

ps: I've had recent conversation about the hidden meaning of dreams, and while i insist there isn't any, my friend who I was discussing this with (and a few other people I know, and loads more on the internet) said they mean something. so - what does a dream about my dad being a serial killer mean?

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