Category Archives: people

The Usual Concerns

So, umm…winter is here. As I lie on my bed, neatly tucked in the comforter, pondering about the present and future, reflecting on  peevish tone of present, and an expectant but dimming image of future, I take this opportunity to make another fleeting appearance  at the place that used to give me most comfort – this blog.

After the customary greetings, if you ask “How are things going?” and I would be obligated to say, “Not too great!” Here I will take another opportunity to vent out my professional frustrations and tell you my version of world-is-unfair saga, and probably keep wording my pessimism till you feel sorry for asking a rhetorical question. But the truth is that things have not been going too great; I have never been more lost or confused regarding my professional goals. Thats what happens when you believe in something passionately, and receive no support from the places you usually expect one.  For good or for bad, I still haven’t figured out a way to separate my professional life from personal one, and more importantly and worryingly on personal front I am aging like everybody else. I completely missed out on the current trend of using mason jars as coffee mugs. I am aging. And among all this I have missed writing/blogging more than ever.

Call it onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or a random pessimistic bickering, I think it was a good chat, and did I tell you that the winter is here?

PS : BTW I am hooked on to this song by Imagine Dragons. Give it an ear (or two)…

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Sleepless

8.00 AM PT, and I have just now officially completed a totally sleepless night. Not one of those red bull powered, assignment-due-date-looming-over-your-head type all nighters, or out-with-friends kind night-out. A sleepless night full of thoughts about why life has turned out the way it is, when did I lose the control of steering wheel, and in these moments when I was not in drivers seat, how many exits have I missed. What was on those missed exits? An interesting person, an intriguing story, a brilliant idea, a hidden trail to somewhere, a village, a treasure, a monster, a disaster, sunshine, rain, fall, or spring?

How would life had turned out, if I had not made certain choices? Were these choices worth it? Were people for whom these choices were made, worth it? Did people change, or was it just me?

An old friend used to quote another of his friend, and say ‘People come into your life for a reason or a season…’. 4.00 AM miracle, and you realize; some people come into your life for a reason, some for a season, some for a seasoned reason, some for a reasonable season, some for a reasonable enough reason, some are just like monthly magazine subscriptions. Very few, but some, come to your life for the journey.

A tinge of existential crisis, a pinch of broken dreams, a brushstroke of nostalgia, an underlying canvas of longing, and you get a picture called ‘Sleepless’.

[PS: Sorry for swapping channel of this blog from Comedy Central to Hallmark. Normal programming would resume soon.]

Meditation

[Announcement on PA system in Yoga Class]

Man’s Voice: Close your eyes.

[Single note on guitar]

Man’s Voice: Focus on the sound. 

[Single note on guitar]

Man’s Voice: Focus on the sound.

[Single note on guitar]

Man’s Voice: Follow the sound. Imagine the sound wave passing through your body. Follow the sound.

[Single note on guitar]

 

Man’s Voice: Sound wave is leading you through the forest, mist surrounds you. Musical notes are guiding you. 

[Single note on guitar]

 

Man’s Voice: Move the leaves in front of you, and you see a lake. Lake is filled with emerald blue water. You can see reflections of cloud in clear water. You can also see…

 

[Electric Guitar starts…Ting Ting Tin, Ting Ting Tina Na, Ting Ting Tin Tin’ Na, Smoke on the water….]


Noises and Money

[Conversation]

(Loud Crashing Noise, somewhat similar to a stainless steel vessel falling)

“What was that?”

“Sound of my dreams getting shattered!!”

“No, it was something real. I mean real sound -somewhere close.”

“So, my dream shattering is not real to you. You think I am lying?!”

“No.”

“Then what?”

“Umm..Nothing.”

“What? Say It”

“Your dreams are quite sonorous.”

 

[Quote]

“…the problem is the money. Not the concept of currency per say, but the idea of a raising some scraps of paper to special, somewhat mythical, status of ‘money’, and you can use this money to buy food, shelter, energy in terms of gas, and even more money. Moreover, no body understands what it is, countries just fail, collapse and go bankrupt.

My solution is to just decide one day that paper money is defunct, and make ‘bananas’ as our currency. Firstly, it is edible, and thus can be eaten when its valuation goes down. It is also energy in terms calories, an quite a good source of it too. It can be used to generate more money by planting more banana trees. So essentially it is self sufficient, self propagating system of money .  Lastly, nobody can’t hoard on to it as it will go bad after sometime anyways.”

 

[Music]

I have started liking country music. At least songs by Gregory Alan Isakov.

Caution.Ice Cream.

A road sign that says ‘CAUTION, Ice Cream’ is bound to stir more intrigue than circumspection. Even more so, if you are traveling on an exceptionally hot day, in a car that seems to be made of more glass than metal. So here I am, traveling on CA-180, with the sole ambition of reaching the point where this winding highway ends, somewhere at the foot of some giant monolithic granite rock in Kings Canyon. At one curvaceous turn, there is a sign board that says ‘Caution. Ice Cream’. Firstly, ‘ice cream’ is one of those words that completely masks any emotion written (or implied) before or after it. If one day, the headline in ‘News of the World’ would have said ‘Aliens land on Earth and Steal Ice Cream’, the general mood among public would be that of sadness generated at lost ice cream, completely overlooking alien landing. Secondly, ‘Ice Cream’ is hardly, if ever, preceded by word ‘Caution’. The only possibilities I can think of is, if an ice cream parlor is on space-sharing agreement with a weight-loss clinic, or somebody somewhere using his extraordinary creative thinking decided to name a flavor of ice cream ‘Caution’.

Thus as expected the sight of such a sign just makes me and my friends anxiously wait to eat ice cream, instead of being cautious about some giant ice cream cone chasing lonely travelers in desolate parts of this largely uninhabited area. A few hundred yards down the road, we see this log-cabin gas station that does not look like a stereotypical gas station. It has something called ‘a double gravity’ gas pump, and while I stand and stare at the marvel of 2X gravity, my friends go inside to order ice cream. As a probabilistic co-occurrence of two different space time events (usually called coincidence), a biker stops to fill gas at this pump. My immediate thoughts are that ‘Wow! This pump works’, and  that my friends should not miss out on this extraordinary event of past paying a visit to future, so I rush into the log cabin creamery. As soon as I open the partially broken door, I hear these words “CLOSE THE DOOR!…THERE ARE LOT OF FLIES”.

My eyes anxiously search for the source of these words, and without any difficulty they land on this twenty something guy, whose countenance is suited to play “Draco Malfoy”(or Lucius Malfoy). There is nobody else in the creamery except Draco, and my friends. No one on the counter. No one with an ice cream cone in hand. Nobody shamelessly staring at the glass that separates people from ice cream. Actually there is no such glass in first place. Even without entering the creamery completely, I can tell that their is an uneasy feel to the place. Now, I suffer from a condition that I myself define as “Confusion Induced Embarrassment and Vice Versa Syndrome(CIEVVS)”. So, I am standing in middle of the door, unable to decide whether I should stop flies from entering, chase the ones that have already entered, tell my friends about marvel called double gravity, feel empathetic for Draco’s condition (a losing battle against flies), or just step in, and apologize. The latter seems like a slightly more sensible option, and I decide to take that course.

“Am sorry!” I say while stepping into the cabin, and things return to normal. At least, as it seems, for him, as he goes back to working on his meal (a pack of chips, a sandwich, and a Pepsi).

I, on the other hand, am staring at the ceiling which is a taxidermy museum of sorts. Hanging in the middle of room is the skin of a dead mountain lion, gazing straight into the the face a dead bear. Rest of ceiling is filled with skins of lot of small animals, all facing towards the battle scene of a dead mountain lion vs dead bear. The whole scene reminds you of a boxing match where the boxers refuse to fight, and audience refuses to leave (but everybody hangs upside down from ceiling like spiderman).

When people talk about air, often a few times do they talk about air smelling of fear and/or incoming doom. If I have to draw a parallel, air inside this cabin smells of unwelcome-ness. After patiently waiting for somebody to appear at the counter, the guy who was earlier so concerned about having to fight flies, turns out to be the owner, and after having patiently finished his meal in front of us, steps behind the counter, and gives us ice cream. Under normal circumstances, you are greeted by a nice warm smile in ice cream shops, but here, it is a completely different scenario. This situation is somewhat like Amtrak ticket counters, where if it was for the man behind counter, they would always run empty trains.

An about-to-fall-cabin, more dead animals than living beings in the shop, and ‘you-smile-I-shoot-you’ demeanor of the owner create tension levels, best portrayed in Western Classics. The air is so heavy by now that no one is saying a word. We are all talking using silent gestures, or at least hoping that we all somehow telepathically are getting access to each others escape strategies. Draco is also not saying any words because I think that is not part of his nature. I don’t even remember if I said ‘Vanilla’ or he just gave it to me. There is door behind the counter that faces a closet,and on closet’s door there is a poster, depicting rays of light coming from a source (presumably God or a star or both) under the words in bold font saying ‘I am the Door’.

In the meantime, I am thinking, if credit cards are not accepted and I am not carrying enough cash, which place would my skin be hanging on the ceiling. Will a dead me get good seats to watch the battle between a dead mountain lion and a dead bear? It turns out that creamery accepts credit cards. When we pay, Draco seems more angry at having less ice cream in store, then having got money for it.

Me and my friends get out of the store, get into the car, after driving for a mile, we hear the first words in a long time when my friend says, “Didn’t it say CAUTION.ICE CREAM back there?”

 

Lets Start Over Again

Eight months, and not a single word on this blog. Shame on me!

First few months of my not so prolific blogging period, I blamed everybody and almost everything, for not writing. After some time, I got bored of blaming too. So, I stopped that too.

Afterwards, I decided I will drive down from Pennsylvania to California to get some interesting ideas and life experiences to talk about. Road trip has done many wonders to many lives in many movies (The one in particular that I like is ‘One Week’ by Michael McGowan). Well after 6 days of driving across this vast and widely diverse country, I thought I had a lot to talk about, but again I failed to put that ‘so much to talk about’ into words. Maybe, sometime soon, I will be able to tell you here, how people in Indiana/Nebraska drive while reading magazines on dull straight roads, while, there is a Punjabi-owned Gas Station in middle of desert. I will tell you about the salt flats, and my fridge magnet collection from road. My road trip ended at Davis, a small college town in California, which is my current home. A place where even after 6 months, I have not settled in. There is a lot to talk about this place, my gradual Californication (not in the sense of the popular TV series) mixed with a nostalgia for Pennsylvania wilds and winters (Yes, you read it right. I missed Pennsylvania in winters).

Also, somewhere in the middle of all this, I made a trip back home to Delhi. Family, friends, frenzy and fun. Lots of fun. Delhi, how much it has changed in two years. How in my heart I always feel I am a Dilliwallah, but when people asked me about Metro routes and bus numbers, I replied, “Sorry! I am not from Delhi”, and then felt sad that I had to say this in a city where I grew up. Anyways, more on that later.

Then one day, I sat down on my new chair, placed my macbook on my newly assembled Ikea table, hit play on the ‘Chariots of Fire’ from my playlist titled ‘Blogging’ (a playlist that I had made earlier weekend), and then I stared on blank screen for next 2 hours. I think I might be the only person in world with a blogging playlist.

Then in last few months, I looked for a perfect blog to make a come back.Then late today, in a moment of revelation, it occurred to me that much like everything else in life, there is no perfect topic/blog to make a comeback. So here it is, lets start over again with whatever we have. Shall we?

Birthday Post

“As you get older… some of the things you love might not seem so special anymore.  And the older you get, the fewer things you really love.”

-Hurt Locker

When a few days after your birthday, this is the only dialogue that is ringing in your head, you know that you are getting old. Yes, ladies and germs, yours truly is getting older. Turned 25! TWENTY FIVE.

As you grow older…you are battling your own inconsequentiality in this scheme of space and time. You realize that your own elemental existence, is nothing but just a temporary speck lying on the more permanent threads of time. Space, that seemed so easy to conquer, is actually defeating you on unanticipated battlegrounds.

But, thats not all I have to say, because blessed I am, for having friends that make this getting older special for you in more ways than you could have ever imagined. It is because of friends like these, that I can say, “To hell with the inconsequences, to hell with the insignificance, to hell with time and to hell with space! CHEERS to TWENTY FIVE”

Return

I nearly forgot I had a blog. Why? Well, here are the facts, and here is the reasoning…No, lets dump the reasoning, dump the facts too. What matters is that I plan to make a return, but I am emotionally drained out. Life has been smooth sailing on certain plains, and rough on others. If anybody is interested in ‘What happened?’, my answer lies in this quote by Summer Finn from 500 days of summer, “What always happens. Life.”

Oh! did I tell you, I love ‘500 days of Summer’.

Zeitgeist

I just wanted to title this blog as Zeitgeist.  I don’t know what Zeitgeist means.

I also don’t know what Stromboli is exactly! You can serve me a jellyfish cuddling an emu eye  hanging on granite forks, along with a miniature fountain constantly washing this arrangement with crab juice, and I would readily accept it as stromboli.

There are many other things/words that I don’t know.

Whenever I see a well with stone boundary, I pretend that I am that guy from Super Mario Bros (the game).

Video games are worthless without cheat codes.

Knitting is one of the most complicated things a human civilization can ever learn.

When I was a kid, my brother told me that Bruce Lee was so quick that he can switch on light switch and reach his bed before light bulb turns on. I kept on wondering, why does Bruce Lee sleep with his lights on!

I love my macbook but I am not one of those people who believe that kids should be born with two apple stickers.

Well…

…this blog has become my favorite ground for “promise-cide”. Every time I come back from an exile, I promise to stick around, and then leave again, then some months later come back-back. Quite a bad habit I have picked up. Anyways, all this while I had enveloped my writing aura into a layer of self-doubt, and sealed the envelope with general hatred for mankind. I had casted an impression on myself that I could not write, but, late last night I realized that the reason I could not write was a) I was not writing b) I did not have my superman cape on.

Easy things to take care of!

So, here I am, back again…

What did I miss?

A few people, dressed up in suits, sitting in high chairs, decided how many people should get rights to be covered under the miracles of medicines. Earth’s belly shook a couple of times. Few people played a crazy game, many watched it, and few collected the money.

People expressed opinions. People opposed the opinions. People burned other people while opposing the opinions.People burned themselves while opposing the opinions. People burnt flags in opposing the opinions. Flags were draped around people who got burnt while expressing or opposing the opinions. Water in seas kept rising. Water in eyes kept rising.Smoke from burning kept rising. Rising smoke blinded the mayflies. Mayflies collided and died. Dead flies waited thousands of years to become liquid. People became addicted to the liquid, and started burning it. Smoke kept rising.

All this while, the rock that we call home, kept falling towards infinity. Mathematicians said, “Ahhhaa…Infinity!”

*****

[Music]

Here is the song playing in my head…enjoy!