It’s Never Too Late For Anything

The past 562 days have taught me three things that I’d like to leave you with, in the hope that your 2018 be a bit better than your 2017.ย 

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I woke up this morning to realize that it’s been 562 days since I last logged into this site and wrote something. It dawned on me when I was brushing my teeth, swaying half-asleep in front of the bathroom mirror. I don’t know why it did; it was one of those strange, disconnected thoughts one has after waking up from a troubled sleep that lasts less than five hours.

I’d just seen Negan beat the shit out of Glenn and Abraham the previous night (or to be precise, very early this morning), and those images stuck with me as I had tried to sleep. Somewhere in the walker-muddled mini nightmares that kept me tossing and turning, a tiny neuron sparked to life in the dark recesses of my brain and told me that I hadn’t written a blog post in quite a long time. Through my morning alarm and the obligatory emptying of a laden bladder, and halfway through brushing my teeth, my groggy brain managed to do the math and arrive at an accurate number of days since I’d last written something here. Google and a calculator confirmed the math to be accurate.

562 days.

It’s been an eventful 562 days, to understate it. With most of these days being spent under the dark cloud of my little brother’s death, there were a few moments that made me want to continue running in this veritable rat race. I drew my strength from a lot of quarters – people and places special to me helped me untangle myself from the quagmires of bad memories I frequently wandered into.

My wife, who’s been an absolute rock beside me through all my cathartic misdemeanors, finally found her calling in documenting the world. Her photographs are now being exhibited internationally – a journey that’s taken its toll on her, both mentally and physically. A broken nose and a fractured hand bear witness to her fights with destiny.

My parents have shown remarkable feats of strength to pull themselves out of the despair that only comes with losing a child. The coffers of hope and optimism are slowly being filled again.

With a couple of days to go for this year to end, I wonder what lies in store for us in the new year. If anything, the past 562 days have taught me three things that I’d like to leave you with, in the hope that your 2018 be a bit better than your 2017.

  1. It’s never too late to mend bridges. Go on, pick up that phone and talk to your parents. Your siblings. Your grandparents. That friend you haven’t spoken to in over 562 days. Mend those bridges because you won’t be able to live with yourself when it’s too late.
  2. That thing you’ve been wanting to do forever, but haven’t found the time, money, or the courage to – do it. Do it today. Take that vacation you’ve always wanted to. Tie that bungee cord around your ankles and leap off the bridge. Take that risk you’ve always wanted to. You won’t find a better time to do it than right now.
  3. Believe in your ability to pursue happiness. That’s what we all want, right? Peace of mind and happiness – those little specks of light at the end of the tunnel. It’s why you’re working a 9-5 job. It’s why you’re saving up. It’s why you have a cheat meal every week. Those lights aren’t too far away. Believe in your ability to pursue them.

Here’s hoping that it won’t take me another year-and-a-half to come back here and write something. Oh, and wish you a fantastic year ahead. May your dreams come true and your nightmares stop.

2011: Acknowledgements & Year In Review

2011 Year in ReviewIt’s been a long-drawn battle with time, and I finally won. A crappy year ends and a hopeful, new one begins. There were so many instances in 2011 when I thought that things couldn’t get worse, and each time I was proven wrong. I have laughed, cried, fought, patched up, been cheated, cheated myself, been lied to, lied myself and finally, searched for the eternal peace which has seemed just barely out of reach for so long. The past year has had occasions of absolute bliss and considerable misery for me, and I will very glad to end this year on a good note, with friends, lovely strangers and a lot of well-earned alcohol.

2011 began for me on a fairly good note, with a job offer at a promising firm. Just a couple of months down the line, I realized my mistake and it was too late to rectify it. The company turned out to be a nightmarish hell-hole managed by lesser mortals and run by an insect. After being sucked dry, my will to go forth and survive took over and I quit the garage (yeah, it was a communications firm being run out of a garage) and started managing my own firm, which had been neglected so far.

I did that for a few months and made some absolutely lovely friends in the process. Here’s a shout out to Satish and everyone at Design Esthetics. A couple of more months saw me take up scuba diving as a pseudo profession. But, as luck may have it, the dive center for whom I was doing the marketing, was run by another insect who turned out to be a bastard of the highest order who cheated all his employees out of their hard-earned money and respect. It’s only sweet justice that his business is ruined and he has nowhere left to run. Oh, I’m waiting to see the asshole’s face in the papers when he gets arrested for fraud.

Things got really interesting after that, and I reached a point where I had to dip into my savings for the first time in five years, just to survive. A year-long courting ritual with a well-known and respected multinational communications firm finally reached fruition and I made the decision to move to Mumbai, tentatively at first, to check out the playing field. It was a decision that I have not regretted and I’m pretty sure I won’t regret for a few more years.

On the personal front, things couldn’t get more strange than they did in 2011. I had a lot of illusions shattered this year when the woman I was in love with turned out to be nothing more than that – an illusion. I made a few bad decisions, I agree, but when two people love each other, they are capable of both pain and pleasure. I realized that money plays a vital role in deciding how long you can love someone. So, on a fateful day in November this year, I lost someone very close to me and made me wonder if she ever was capable of loving someone for who they are and not how much their wallets can carry.

Just when I thought I’d give up hope on 2011 being a good year, I rediscovered what it was to fall in love with someone totally unexpected. A fresh feeling of puppy love, evolving into lust and desire and at this point of time, to a steady state of mutual understanding, trust and faith, made me a believer again. Here’s a warm bear hug to the woman I’m in love with – the hottest mallu chick in the world. Yeah, I’m dating a mallu, and if anyone’s got a problem with that, you can pick a number, get in line and kiss my ass when your number’s called.

If I were to send one message to 2011 and all it’s incidents and people, all it’s merry and misery, it would be this: Good riddance to bad rubbish.I can’t wait to enter the new year. I’m ever the optimist, cautiously pessimistic and according to my girlfriend, annoyingly pragmatic.

All the people who have made my 2011 bearable: Rohit Nayak, for his constant support and encouragement; Pavan Attavar, for making sure I never got drunk alone; Mum & Dad, for their support through financial famines; Satish, for his trust and belief in my limited abilities; Nargis Namazi, for making the transition to Mumbai that much more easy; Sagar Pandey, for his warmth, generosity, hospitality and for allowing me to use his PS3; Mark Monteiro, for ensuring that I didn’t kill the asshole dive center owner by replacing the air in his tank with rat poison; Mahesh Bajaj, my newest friend who took the leap of faith and is hopefully in a better state of mind after Gokarna; Renuka Balachandran and Niveditha Singh, who made my days in the godforsaken garage bearable; Nitin Kumar and Pooja Rao, for their steady supply of sex scandals, movies, television shows and porn; Gitanjali More, for making sure that I got my steady supply of interesting conversations; and finally, a very special mention of my new-found sister, Aishwarya, without whose support and love, I would not have been able to settle into Mumbai.

My love to you all and I hope 2012 will be a fantastic year for all of you.

The Christmas Nightmare

scary santa penguinEvery year, around Christmas, I am blessed with a nightmare or two about things that truly scare the shit out of me.

Very few things scare me as much as penguins do. Yeah, it’s a rare phobia to have, and I am one of those very few people in the world who are afraid of the flightless demons. They are evil and they won’t hesitate to kill you and eat you, every chance they get. They walk like they are on a mission to hunt you down and their stare is enough to turn your blood cold.

Last evening, I had one of my frequent penguin nightmares. But it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. I dreamt that I was being hunted by a penguin dressed as Santa Claus.

I found myself in a strange room with three doors and no windows. A loud, disembodied voice called out to me, “Ho! Ho! Ho! Nikhil!”

More intrigued than scared, I looked around the room frantically to locate the voice. From somewhere, a draft of cold air blew threw me and I shivered involuntarily. That’s why I realized I was naked. There were absolutely no clothes on me at all. I tried to search for the source of the breeze but couldn’t find any. There were no windows, as mentioned, and no vents or cracks in the wall. There was no furniture, no electric sockets or appliances of any kind. Despite the lack of light bulbs or any other artificial source of lights, the bare room was strangely illuminated in natural light. I wondered what the hell was going on.

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” came the voice again. It was a deep, guttural voice that was a bit menacing as well.

“Santa?” I whispered.

“Have you been a good boy this year?” asked the voice in a lilting tone, as if daring me to say yes.

“Wh.. What? Yes! Yes, I’ve been a good boy!” I stammered, now thoroughly scared. I could feel my bladder filling up.

“Liar!” screamed the voice. “You’re a liar!”

“No, No! I swear!” I yelled back.

Then, the door on the far right flew open with a bang and I couldn’t see beyond the darkness of the doorway.

“Run,” said the voice simply.

I stood there, frozen on the spot. Where was I? What was going on? I took a gingerly step towards the open door when the door on the far left flung open and there, framed in the dark doorway, stood a penguin, three and a half feet tall, wearing a blood-red Santa hat and brandishing a gleaming knife. It had a sneer on its face that almost seemed to tell me that my time was up.

It waddled towards me in the sinister way that penguins do, and spoke in the same creepy, bone-chilling voice, “I said, run.”

Then came the laugh. The laugh that echoed all over the room, penetrated deep into my very soul and made my balls shrivel up into tiny dots. The laugh that seemed to cut open my skin and suck all my blood out. The laugh that echoed all around me and inside me and threatened to rupture my brain. The laugh that forced some feelings into my frozen legs and made me break into a run through the open door on the right, away from those menacing, blood-shot eyes of the crazy bird-beast.

I ran, sweating and panting and unable to scream or shout out for help. I ran as fast as I could in the darkness, not knowing where I was headed or where I was stepping. I could hear the pitter-patter of the beast’s tiny flippers chasing after me. I could still hear it laughing as it ran, as if the beast were toying with me.

“Run faster, Nikhil,” it called out to me. “Is that the best you can do?”

I could feel the voice growing louder which could only mean one thing. The penguin was gaining on me! I increased my speed and felt my lungs burning for oxygen. Every muscle in my out-of-shape body ached and screamed in pain as I forced my legs to work faster.

“Merry Christmas, Nikhil!” said the penguin-beast and laughed out one last time. I could feel the cold steel on my leg. It had caught up t0 me and was slashing at my legs! I found my voice and screamed out loud.

I woke up, drenched in sweat. I saw a Santa hat lying on the floor next to my bed, the hat that I had purchased from a roadside vendor that very same afternoon, in my misguided Christmas cheer. I glanced at my clock and saw that it was almost time to wake up. I swung my legs off and stood up, snatched up the Santa hat and threw it in to dustbin. I put the trash out and made sure that someone picked it up and recycled the bloody thing.

Merry Christmas, you say? I’d say it’s a fascinating start so far! Even now, I sit here and wonder: what might have been behind the middle door, the one that stayed shut?

Resolutions And Wishlists :)

There were quite some sights to behold last night:

1. Mom, who prides on being a teetotaler and frowns when I even think of alcohol,ย  nursing a mug of chilled beer and ‘Cheers’ing everyone in the room!

2. The great-grandmom of the family dancing to Elvis Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation”!

3. Uncles and aunties enacting skits and acting like kids!

4. Overflowing beer!

5. Four people trying to force open the cork of a wine bottle, without a cork-opener, and managing toย  break the cork into tiny pieces that fell into the wine!

6. Turning around in circles with a confused look because I was drunk and I couldn’t find the bottle of scotch!

7. Calling up friends and singing Nickelback songs while standing in the middle of the road!

8. Scrambling for money to fulfill the last-minute orders for booze in the packed wine store!

… and other memorable sweet nothings marked the end of 2008 and brought in the new year with much anticipated revelry, fireworks and a collected sigh of relief. It was something that everyone needed, I guess – a break. It was a fantastic start to the new year when I closed my eyes at 2 in the morning, drunk, expecting a major hangover and with a contented sigh on my lips.

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Resolutions, Wishlists, Hopes And Fears ๐Ÿ™‚

Once upon a time (2 days ago) Apar had asked me for my resolutions and I had deftly deferred (adamantly refused) the issue until the year actually begins. Now that it has, I can avoid it no more. Through my hungover haze, I thought about it and realized that there are quite a few things that I’d want to do this year – resolutions and wishes – and I made a rudimentary list. I began prioritizing them all, and here’s the final result:

    • I want to smile more this year, irrespective of the situation. I want to be able to convince myself that punching myself in the face while asleep is not worth losing a smile.
    • I want to make sure that I think seriously about making a resolution to consider the possibility of a faint chance of quitting smoking.
    • I want to get the two books in the pipeline out this year, come what may.
    • I wish this year has some surprises in store for me, because all 2008 had to offer was one heartbreak after another.
    • In the same vein, I hope to find true love, clichรฉd as it may sound. I’m tired of one-off dates and two-week affairs and one-month ‘girlfriends’. Sigh!
    • I want to go to France.
    • I want to succeed in organizing an All India Bloggers’ Meet in Gokarna this year – it started out as a South India Bloggers’ Meet, but I decided that Gokarna is too beautiful a place to make anyone jealous!
    • I want to feel like God – I want to buy an Avenger!
    • I wish I can convince myself to start working out again – running for 40 minutes a day isn’t enough. I want to pump iron again!
    • I wish I could sleep for 16 hours a day and laze around in bed for the other 8.
    • I’m going to booze more often and get drunk less often.
    • I wish I could wish for more wishes.
    • I wish I could make others feel better.
    • I wish people can live in peace without having to kill for it.
    • I wish I could make at least one person happy per day.
    • I wish I can grow a year old and look back at myself with pride for having accomplished at least one of the above.

Have a great year everyone! It’s been one hell of a journey, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜€

And So, The Crappy Year Finally Ends!

It took 365 days for this year to end. Usually, I wouldn’t have noticed how quickly the time flies and would have said some inane comment like, “I didn’t know how quickly the time flew this year!” but this time it’s different. It took an eternity for the year to end.

It was a crappy year, with good memories few and far between. Resisting the temptation to lash out at certain people,ย  slander a lot more and regret a lot of choices I’ve taken and decisions that I’ve made, I’ll try to re-live those moments that were worth remembering.

PS: All pictures have either been clicked by me or I hold the exclusive copyrights to them.

Brooklyn Bridge, NYC
January: Brooklyn Bridge, NYC
View From The Brooklyn Bridge
January: View From The Brooklyn Bridge
Central Park, NYC
January: Central Park, NYC

nyc-collage

Buffalo, NY
February - March: Buffalo, NY
Niagara Falls
February - March: Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls
February - March: Niagara Falls
Gokarna
April - June: Gokarna
Gokarna
April - June: Gokarna
Self-obsessed Photography
July - August: Self-obsessed Photography
Honing My Super Skills
August - September: Honing My Super Skills

I really hope all of you have had a much better year than I have. I wish you all a fantastic new year ahead! Don’t bother making resolutions – they’re too optimistic to live up to! ๐Ÿ™‚

As He Slides Down The Chimney…

… we all prepare ourselves for a fabulous Christmas and a wonderful holiday season. Offices are shut, schools are out, colleges don’t bother to announce holidays as no one turns up anyway, people are relaxed, credit cards are swiped, gifts are bought, new friendships are born, old ones are revived, songs are sung, movies are seen, smiles are wider, roads are emptier, hugs are warmer, kisses are sweeter, vacations are planned and blogs are forgotten…

I wish you all a fantastic year ahead. Have a Merry Merry Christmas and I hope all your wishes, dreams, hopes and fantasies come true! It’s the time for miracles, after all! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m in two minds – to take a vacation or to sit at home, all cozy and warm and snug. I guess my lunacy will rule and I’ll take a much-needed vacation! ๐Ÿ™‚

happy-holidays

Cheers! I’ll see you when I see you! ๐Ÿ™‚