The Coffee Jitters

Got the shock of my life, thanks to too much black coffee at a Starbucks nearby. Read on as I describe my “battle” with it!

You know how life is funny? All’s well, you are at your favorite place (a Starbucks), in the zone (writing, working, plotting, etc). And all of a sudden, deep inside the pit of your guts and bowels, you start feeling funny. You cant pinpoint if it’s your gut that’s wrenching or if it’s your chest that’s burning. Or is it a mini-heart attack? May be you are just constipated? Or an acid-reflux?

Like any other informed individual, you quickly log in to Google and type the symptoms. The results are not encouraging. They say you could have anything ranging from cologne cancer to a case of mild acidity caused by having too much coffee and too little water and almost zero carbs for over 14 7 hours.

You continue to wince in pain. But because you are in a public place, you can’t really scream out loud. You create scenarios in your head that you are dying and you begin to message the custodian of your last will to action it. No, your life does not flash past you. That only happens in the films. But you do think of all the promises you made to yourself about life and career and family and the world at large. And you start beating yourself about wasting your life with mere faff and no action. You are reminded what your friend told you once – “you are writing cheques that your body can’t cash.”

You also start thinking that if you make through this, you would try and get healthy. You would sleep on time, eat organic, vegan whatever shite that will ensure you live till the 120 years that you’ve always wanted to. You plan the route that you would run walk on, to get back in shape. You start thinking if there’s merit in being religious – after all, nothing else is helping!

And while you are stuck in this stupor and blaming yourself for all that is wrong in the world, the truth dawns onto you. It’s the coffee jitters.

And that’s because you just had 2 Americanos, venti (for the uninitiated, that’s almost 1.5 liters) in less than two hours. After you’ve been off coffee for more than a month. All this coffee is causing your system to go into a spiral. And pushing your system into overdrive. And of course, you haven’t had any water, to dilute the coffee. You are basically killing your gut with all the acid. Easier would be to put a pipe down your throat and pour Sulphuric Acid down it. Or may be suck onto the exhaust pipe of a cab?

And what do you do next?

Somehow, sense prevails and you stutter out of the cafe. You get the first cab available (which is 12 minutes away, damn you Delhi traffic!). You implore the cabbie to drive like your life depends on it. Well, it does! You reach back home. Implore your mother to give you something to eat (one of the search results told you that you need a sugar rush and water rush to get over the coffee rush). You gobble it up as if your life is dependent on it. It does.

And then after a bit, you start feeling like a human again. And you start thinking of those things that give you instant pleasure (like more mithai, more coffee, more slouched back, etc), and you forget all those promises you made to yourself about your health less than an hour ago. Life’s back to being good. Well, mostly it is…

This is part of 30 minutes of writing everyday challenge. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211, 0311, 0411, 0511, 0611, 0911, 1011, 1211, 1311, 1411, 1511, 1611, 1711.

Hello, extra 10 KGs

I rant about why and how I put up weight everytime I am in Delhi.

The thing that I hate the most about traveling to Delhi is all the food that I eat when I am here. I stay at home, with my parents. And since we are a typical middle-class Haryanvi family, all the affection comes out in form of food. And since my parents love me more than they love anything else (am hoping), they present me with so much food that I go back to Mumbai 10 KGs heavier! I often lament that amount of food I eat in a day when I am in Delhi is easily more than what I eat in a week when I am in Mumbai.

More than just the love and affection bit, there are quite a few reasons for this. Lemme list.

1. #ForeverAlone vs Family

In Mumbai, I live by myself. Been living like that since 2013 or 14. And that means that all the taste buds I had, I have sort of brought them under control. I can now go without eating tasty food for days. Food has become this functional thing that I need to consume to stay alive. I know there are foodies and food photographers and whatnot.

Plus I have focussed way too much on work and that means I have had limited time to indulge in finer things in life (food, friends, recreation, etc). And thus I’d eat whatever is presented to me.

Finally, I hate all the mess that cooking makes and I am a freak when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness. And I decided a long time ago that I don’t want a kitchen in my house till I am rich enough to have a full-time staff to manage it.

On the other hand, in Delhi, life revolves around food. And the times when people eat. Not just my family but all others that I know of. Meeting a friend? Let’s do lunch. Visiting relatives? Dinner! When you ask for ideas around what you could do, they’d say, go grab something to eat.

2. Access. Availability. Ease.

Thing is, in Mumbai, I don’t have a kitchen. And thus I don’t have anything stocked. Unless I am on a subscription, each meal is ordered. And that means I don’t have anything that I could munch on, in between the meals.

Plus since the pandemic, I have been working from home. So no kachra.

More recently, I’ve been working from a Starbucks. And the snacks there are expensive af and tasteless like a wet piece of cardboard. So, even though, I’d love to keep chewing on things, I can’t. And that means I am eating less.

At home in Delhi, it’s a home. And there are magical things that only a mother knows how to pull off. At strategic locations in the house, “healthy” food is strewn all over. Like this small bowl near my father’s desktop. It’s always filled with soaked almonds! There is this drawer in our kitchen that has roasted almond stocked in. Then there is this barfi kinda thing that my mom makes – again of almonds and again placed on top of the ref, easily accessible. The point is, at each part of the house, there are convenient eating options.

3. Distractions galore!

At Mumbai, I am so distracted all the time by so much action all around me that I forget to eat. Really. Some people may call it flow. Some may call it being in the zone. Some may not have a name for it. But when I am in Mumbai, I am really really busy on I don’t know what! There’s always work to do, dreams to conjure, projects to kick off. There’s always one or two fires that I am fighting out all the time. So, no time to eat.

In Delhi, I am mostly free. And even when I do have work (like this trip, I am loaded with work) and I am scrambling hard to meet people, get things done, for some reason, I am still eating like a whacko! May be its availability. Or may be it’s planning around food. Whatever it is. I can’t seem to keep my hands away from my mouth.

4. Stress?

This is unique to this trip and I did not really want to include it here. But I think I must. So, I think I have managed the pandemic well, in terms of my mental balance and stress levels. But the last two months have been terrible. For a variety of reasons that we shall not get into. A large part of coming to Delhi (see footnote) was also to take a pause, take a break, get away from humdrum, and the muck in the head. And may be, just may be, I am eating all this food this time around cos am stressed?

Footnote 1: If not for this random stress, I would have still come to Delhi. Just that I used stress as yet another rationalising input to justify the travel during the pandemic.


So yeah, that’s my story on how I always go back to Mumbai 10KGs heavier. What’s your story? Of food? Of when you are at home?

This is part of 30 minutes of writing everyday challenge. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211, 0311, 0411, 0511, 0611, 0911, 1011, 1211, 1311.

The Confined Spaces Complexity

A rant on the new house that I have just moved to.

It’s no secret that I am not a big fan of confined spaces. And yet, I know that I need to embrace those. In fact, here are three situations I can think of where I actually look forward to trapping myself in these confined places!

  • I love airports and travel. And I thus need to be ok with confining myself in those metal tubes for hours as they hurl me through the skies. And if I am on the road, I need to of course get in them cars and navigate.
  • I love highrises and rooftops and the birds-eye view that these heights give you. And I thus need to use those lifts to reach the top and enjoy the view.
  • I love Mumbai more than I love Delhi. Actually, I am not sure of this one. But I do like to be in large port cities (at least the ones I have been to – Mumbai, Calcutta, HK, NY etc). And these cities are typically cramped. I have no clue why.

Staying with the bit about staying in Mumbai, lemme talk about this house that I just moved into.

Even though this is fairly decent for a house in Mumbai, this one is probably the smallest I have lived in (except the 1 tiny room where I was a paying guest for the first two years of my life in Mumbai between 2007 and 2009 — it had just half a bed, a tiny cupboard sized “thing” to be used as a washroom, one-half cupboard, and just enough space to stretch my arms).

Funnily, the day before yesterday (my second night at the new place), I realized that the new house gives me the same vibes as an airplane! The same that I get when I am in a lift. Or a car for that matter.

What vibes? Stay with me. Lemme talk about the house for a bit.

To be honest, it’s not bad. Just that it’s in an old building and it’s small and has all the paraphernalia that comes with a house that’s, well, well-lived in. You know, a bed that’s too high and big for the room that it’s been plonked in, those wall-to-wall wardrobes that are deeper than what they needed to be, fake ceilings that bring the roof lower, the weird color of paint that makes space feel even smaller. You get the drift?

Coming to vibes, so, when I was drifting to sleep, even though I was on a bed, it felt as if I was sleeping on a flight. And when I woke up, I realized I had curled into a foetal ball – I can’t recall when was the last time this happened to me (I typically sleep on my back). I felt as if those walls are closing in on me. Reminded me of that scene from some horror movie where the protagonist is trapped in a room, and the walls and roofs of the room are closing in on the protagonist, purportedly to crush him! That!

For some reason, I also was reminded of this quip by a friend about highrises in Mumbai. She says that these towers are merely urban chawls without any respect for humanity. These are made to stuff as many people in as less an area possible as if we were mere cargo and they had to optimize the storage. All this while, I did not agree – I’ve always had some space to move around in the places I lived at. Not in this one.

I was also reminded of my abhorrence for things like aquariums, birdcages, muzzles, leashes et al. And the hatred for clothes in general (and the ones that fit way too well). I’ve always wondered how do people operate in such cramped quarters. The experience at this house will probably teach me that.

As someone who’s been a sponge when it comes to learning, I think this house will teach me a lot over the next few months that I will live here. Like I said a few days ago, these are interesting times, indeed!

With this, it’s over and out. See you guys tomorrow.

This is part of 30 minutes of writing every day for 30 minutes challenge. I missed the post on the 7th. Yesterday, I wrote on the Hero’s Journey for Deewaar. Today’s is this. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211, 0311, 0411, 0511, 0611.

PS: Though I have not been able to cover this per se in the post, I will miss inviting friends and family over. To be honest, I don’t really extend the invitation to a lot of people over but the ones that I do invite, they OWN my house (and my life) as much as I do. And the one that I have moved into, I am not sure I can invite any ūüôĀ