Coming of Age

Back after 2 days. I read somewhere that when you are trying to build a habit, it’s cool to miss things for a day once in a while. The odds of you coming back are about 70%. If you however miss what you are doing two days in a row, the odds of you picking it up again drops down to low double digits. And if you miss three days in a row, the odds are less than 5% that you would pick the habit again. So, here I am. Not missing the third day.

When I say “Coming of Age”, I do not mean Bildungsroman (the German word that doesn’t really have an equivalent in other languages, but is applied to a young adult and means something like growing up). The word merits an entire book to be honest. May be at some other time. Today I want to talk about some other coming of age.

The coming of old age.

A rant about how age is creeping up on me and rendering me useless to function in the society that I need to be young and fast to operate in.

Once upon a time…

I remember there was a time when I could pull all-nighters for like 3 days nights on the trot. Without any fancy coffee, tea. May be I’d have a Red Bull but I don’t think I had the money those days to buy Red Bull. That’s not the point. The point is that I could stay awake for more than 3 days and yet no bat an eyelid. And function at more than my optimal. I was like Popeye with Spinach running through his veins, a car on Nitro boost, Bradley Cooper on NZT-48 in Limitless.

To a point that people would ask me if I was ODing and abusing substances.

However…

With time, I have seen this ability to stay up gradually diminish.

From uncountable streaks of these three-day don’t-sleep and crank-out-things fests to now a time when I cant get by even if I stay up beyond 8 PM. Take yesterday for an example. It sucks that age is creeping up on me like that.

Source: pa3kc on DeviantArt

Mind you, this ability did not go poof like that one fine day. It crept away from me. Like you know you have this house (imagine Carl and Ellie’s house in Up) tied to a million Helium air balloons. And as it goes up, the balloons start popping out and the house can no longer continue going up. In fact, the weight in the house starts to drag it back.

That is how I feel!

With each passing day the body seems to be weathering more and more and the ability to recover seems to be reducing more and more.

In the end…

As I write this, it’s 4:06 PM. I have just woken after an afternoon siesta. I did not really want to sleep in the afternoon. I just could not continue to stay up because I had to pull an all-nighter for a project that I was working on.

I need to go stretch my rickety old back and lie down on a hard surface till I feel like a human again.

That’s about it. That’s the post.

Oh, and, FUCK YOU, OLD AGE!


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, 1811, 1911, 2011, 2311.

Tales of Troubles with Technology

Super ranty post ahead. Read at peril.

I missed the post yesterday. No, I did not have anything specific to write about. That’s a problem that’s solved easily – I now have a couple of friends that give me prompts. The larger challenge was that I broke the screen of the laptop that I use. And even when I tried to connect it to a television to try and get some work done, I could simply do nothing on it! More than the post, I missed a couple of deadlines and that is a larger problem IMHO.

Yes, 2020 is being a bitch. Like it is being to everyone.

I broke my iPhone screen the day the lockdown was announced. I had to wait for a few weeks before things could move and I could contact an iPhone Repair shop. But before I could get it restored, I broke it again. I am sick and tired of dropping it so many times. I do not think that I should try to get it repaired anymore.

Coming to the laptop.

The laptop snafu is not new either. First, the laptop charger stopped working. I don’t know why or how. May be it was too old? I have had this charger for almost 5 years now. So, I had to get a replacement charger. Then, after a few days, the motherboard crashed. Again, I had to get it repaired. And each of these took time. I mean, you order a charger from the nearest store. It comes after a day or two. Repair normally takes anywhere between 1-3 days, after you identify a reliable person that would not fuck with your data.

And yesterday, in Delhi, the screen broke. Here… this is how it looked like. The blurs on the edges are to hide the embarrassing filenames I have for my work. The wallpaper is of Steve. In case.

The broken screen. Sigh.

I did get it repaired today. But not before I lost face with two clients and the two deadlines that I had. And I will have to work extra hard over the next 24 hours to first deliver on the work I had promised to deliver yesterday. And then catch-up on what was planned for Sunday (and was to be delivered on Monday).

Damn!

No, not the work. I am ok with work. I actually would not know what to do if I could not work. The shitty part is losing face. I can not afford to lose it!

I think I need to go get checked for the saadhe saati of Shani or something. There is no way it is not upon me. I mean can not think of anyone that’s been having so much trouble with simple things like computers and all. Plus, these devices are all Apple and that means they are WAY too expensive to either replace. Or even get repaired.

It’s so mind-fuckery-inducing that you are left laughing! Universe, get your fucking act together, bro!

And with that, it’s over and out for the night. Have a lot to do.


This is part of 30 minutes of writing everyday challenge. I missed yesterday’s post. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211, 0311, 0411, 0511, 0611, 0911, 1011, 1211, 1311, 1411, 1511, 1611, 1711, 1811, 1911.

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). At first, I was kind of disheartened to move into this one, constantly complaining about the lack of space to carry out my daily activities peacefully. For instance, I wanted a personalised workstation. Initially, I thought I would create a workspace wherever I moved. I had already considered looking for office furniture pieces in the hopes of buying them pretty soon. Also, I wanted a tiny balcony garden. Alas! neither of the two could be created.

But 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 🙁