Thirty And Me

Keep Calm Turning 30

At precisely 42 seconds past 5.30 PM this evening (on Aug 20, 2014) the Earth will complete it’s thirtieth revolution around the Sun with me on it. I have spent the past four hours reading about what it means to people when they exit their twenties.

Turning 30 is supposed to be a big deal, an achievement of sorts, having survived tsunamis, earthquakes, riots, murderers, diseases, ninja assassins and of course, traffic. It is also supposed to signify the fact that I’ve officially a grown up and cannot rely on my youthful ignorance as an excuse when I screw up. I am supposed to be responsible, financially and emotionally stable, be able to hold down a job for more than three months and not throw boogers at passersby. I am not supposed to scratch my balls in public and have random fits of paranoia causing me to run down the road naked, dodging invisible aliens. I am supposed to be mature enough to realize the difference between right and wrong, morals and immorality, black, white and grey, and most importantly, coffee and tea.

I am supposed to start leading a healthier lifestyle – no more smoking, no more drinking binges and definitely no more weed. I am supposed to drink lots of water and work out regularly to ensure that my first heart attack happens only three decades from now.

I am supposed to be a strong pillar of support for my parents, be able to provide a good quality of life for my wife and be a responsible role model for my younger brother. I am supposed to be mentally strong to deal with the real world and I am not supposed to get depressed with the fact that I am growing old and am one year closer to death.

When I look back on the things I’ve done during the past three decades, I am surprised at the level of ignorance, insensitivity and intolerable cruelty that I have exhibited at times. I am also surprised at some of the intelligent decisions I’ve taken, something I was not sure I was capable of.

I’ve alienated people, I’ve infuriated those who love me and I’ve driven others to murderous rage. I can think of people who would put a bullet through me right now given the chance. I can think of people who would walk past me on the street and pretend to not recognize me. I can think of people who would smile at me and stab me in the back with the metaphorical knife when I turn around. But I can also think of people who would love me unconditionally and take me in as a part of their family. I can think of hundreds of people who would still acknowledge my existence without any animosity.

In a world filled with hate and anger, where people are being slaughtered each minute, the fact that one insignificant boy in Bangalore has grown up and turned thirty should not make a difference. But when I look at the journey I’ve been through to get here, I am overwhelmed. I am moved to tears at the kind of experiences I’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly ones.

We all have fantastic experiences in our lives every day. Each moment of joy we experience means so much to us that it’s hard to imagine hordes of such people being killed. Millions of dreams and hopes being crushed every single minute by people pursuing theirs. I ask myself if it’s all worth it. Is it worth having a really ‘happy’ birthday when there is so much grief all around us. Or maybe, these tiny sparks of happiness keep the world turning.

We are all allowed meaningless rants straight from the heart, once a year. Today is my turn. As I see the clock inch closer and closer to the hallowed hour, I am filled with a little hope about hope.

Image Courtesy: keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

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Once Upon A Time In Mumbai

A few days ago, I braved the cold, early morning drizzle and freezing winds of Bangalore and made the 40-minute commute to the airport. Against my better half’s better judgment, I boarded a flight to Mumbai, and two hours later, at 7 in the morning, I sat on the pavement of India’s busiest city, drenched in my own sweat and stinking of fear and indecision. I took a decision that could potentially affect the lives of everyone I knew, and I did it with half an optimistic mind. At times like these, I usually look back on all the bad decisions I’ve made in my life and weigh them against the one I just made, and whichever is the lesser of the evils, I defend.  As I sat on the Mumbai sidewalk, waiting for a friend to pick me up, I questioned my reasons for being there.

Was it a career move? Most probably, yes. Also, this is the only rational explanation for which, I won’t hate myself. Was it a move based on a rapidly depleting sex life? Not really. I’ve been quite active and I didn’t need to come to Mumbai to get laid. Was it something that I was running away from? Probably not, because I’m just ninety minutes away, and not too far for my fears to hunt me down here. Was it the search for independence? Could be. To an extent, and definitely a few months later, I would be independent. Was it the incessant need to prove my worth to myself? A definite no. Was it a move that was rooted in long-term self-loathing due to twists of fate that prevented me from staying in a job for more than six months at a time? Might be, to a very small extent. But then again, all my so-called career moves in the past have made perfect sense to me.

Forty-five minutes later, I was sitting in my friend’s living room, talking to him about this and that, and I still did not have an answer. I went through quite a few misadventures in Mumbai, starting from a thirty-minute wait for an auto-rickshaw in the middle of the night to getting lost in roads that all looked alike. The fact that my body is not accustomed to the humidity of the island made matters worse, and I must have lost close to a kilo in body weight through sweat.

I am still searching for an answer. Meanwhile, the city that has the reputation of sapping people’s energies and leaving them soulless zombies getting pushed around from one corner to another on local trains, has been quite good to me. I like it.

Really? You Sure?

“Man, your posts are boring nowadays…”

“They have lost the quality…”

“Who are you and what have you done with Nikhil?”

“Makes me wonder why I’m reading it after 2 lines…”

“Your blog has become so boring, dude!”

“You have lost that touch…”

“Why aren’t you writing like how you did before?”

“You are not being yourself but working to the formula…”

“I almost hate MirrorCracked now…”

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feedbackThese, and a plethora of other feedback have made me sit up and take notice. I look at myself in the mirror, searching for the cracks that were once so obvious, and fantasize in my head about them still being there. I wonder to myself what went wrong along the way. Maybe things went way off the mark and somewhere in the process, I focused more on being more than myself. Come to think of it, this may be the case.

Generally, negative feedback makes a person more focused on where they are headed in their venture. It forces them to re-look their act and make adequate changes to please everyone. More often than not, negative feedback makes people take a break, rethink their strategy and come back strongly with a fresh outlook on everything.

When it comes to blogs and bloggers, most negative feedback is meant to be a cause for improvement. I’ve known bloggers who’ve changed their complete profile of writing styles because of feedback. It helps some, it irks some. That’s life, I guess. After all, we all look in the mirror, hoping to see the tiny cracks that make us who we are, and panic when we don’t find them. For all those who’ve given me feedback, whether good or bad, I am indebted. Thanks for taking time off your life to show me where I’m slacking and where I need to improve.

Unfortunately, I’m a stubborn mule. I think MirrorCracked is a space where people can have a laugh, with me and at me, and I don’t see a reason to change. I will not change the way I write and I cannot promise whether my next post will be as uninteresting as this one, or as brilliant as something I wrote a long time ago. I write mainly because I feel obligated to share the details of my weirdly exciting life, and if, on some days, my life’s bland, then it’s not my fault, is it? Maybe it is… I don’t know, and honestly, I don’t care, as long as I’m happy in whatever direction I’m headed.

I repeat – I do not mean any offense to any one who gave me feedback. I am deeply indebted to you. It’s just that giving feedback to me is like throwing water balloons at a wall, hoping to make it topple. Sad, I know, but true.

I started this blog with two things in mind:

  1. Make sure that every person – man, woman, child, animal and jerk – who visits this space gets a good laugh or even a smile.
  2. Write scathing posts about the assholes of the world and show them just how much of a burden they are to this over-populated planet.

So far, in my posts, I’ve succeeded in both. Wouldn’t you agree? 😀

Quod Erat Demonstrandum!

Introspection Day

Turning a year older is not much fun if you start thinking about how old you are and how much more you could’ve done in the years past. I realized this the hard way yesterday, when I turned 24 and I realized that I am trudging along on the long road of life and there’re no detours in sight. Just before sleeping yesterday, I was talking to a dear friend of mine over the phone (she stays in Chattisgarh) and we were discussing random stuff and all of a sudden, it hit me that I am not really where I wanted to be at this point in life.

It’s been a pessimistic week for me so far, with too much work to do and too little time to do it in, and yesterday in particular was such a terribly hectic day that it was only when people smeared my face with some yummy chocolate cake that I forced myself to relax a bit and smile.

Most of the questions that people tend to ask themselves in such a mood as I am in, are kinda clichéd and would be on the lines of, “Where is my life headed?” and “Why am I here?”

But my questions went one step higher and I began questioning my attitude to life, my decisions in the past, my plans for the next few years and in general, the direction I am looking at, and to my surprise, I realized that I had answers to none of them! 😀

I guess this happens to everyone of us, and the best way to get over it is to ignore it and get on with life. I decided to face this head-on and I have challenged myself to find the answers soon! All this thought process took approximately forty-seven seconds and I slept soon after. I had this strong urge to share this with all of you, just to vent it all out. Sorry! 😀

Oh, by the way, I called up Vodafone customer care yesterday and this conversation with the customer care executive is absolute gold. It went thus:

Me: Hi, my international calling is barred for some reason.

Vodafone Jerk: Hi sir, thank you for calling Vodafone.

Me: Yeah, yeah, my international calling has stopped.

Vodafone Jerk: I will definitely look into that problem sir. First could you please tell me your 10-digit mobile phone number and your full name?

Me: My number is xxxxx-xxxxx and my name is Nikhil Kumar.

Vodafone Jerk: Hi Mr. Kumar, Vodafone wishes you a very happy birthday!

Me (Pleasantly surprised): Why, thank you. That’s sweet of you.

Vodafone Jerk: You’re welcome sir. Now, you said your international calling has been barred?

Me: Yes!

Vodafone Jerk: Ok sir, but first, I need to confirm a few details about your account for security reasons.

Me: Sigh, ok go ahead.

Vodafone Jerk: Mr. Kumar, can you please confirm your date of birth?

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Cheers! 😀

Image Courtesy: Munplblog.wordpress.com