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 crueltyΒ 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:Β keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

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The Attic In Your Inbox

Have you ever wondered what kind of a person you were ten-fifteen years ago? How you’ve evolved over the years? I’m sure you have. Yesterday was a sort of a blast from the past for me. I managed to access my very first email inbox on Yahoo! Mail – something that I had created way back in 1999. And when I went through some of the mails I’d written and exchanged with old friends (some of whom are no longer in touch) it made me feel stupid, excited and happy. Stupid because of the ridiculous nature of my writing, completely ignoring the basic rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation and propriety.

Yahoo Mail
Part of an email conversation I’d had with a friend, on whom I had a tiny, little crush πŸ™‚

But, on the other hand, I was happy and excited to access my old inbox because it proved to be a veritable attic of forgotten treasures. I found a few old love letters that I’d written to my very first girlfriend. I found old photos of classmates, girlfriends, forgotten friends, forgotten moments and events that have had an impact on who I am today. I spent a lot of time digging through this inbox, trying to remember exactly what the conversations were about, who the people were, what my state of mind was, and there was no satiating my nostalgic indulgence.

I came across an email fight I had with a friend of mine over something that seems so trivial now but was perhaps the straw that broke our friendship back then. I came across old emails where I was making plans with a few close friends to meet up a certain pub for a few beers. Oh, those were weird times.Β I sent some of these photos to a friend of mine with whom I’m not in touch very much, hoping to rekindle some contact. I told him how weird we were back then. He thanked me for the trip down memory lane and responded by saying, “I think we’re still weird, but we’ve managed to embrace that reality.”

Reunion
Photograph of a class reunion that I found in my Yahoo! Attic

I think we should all stop running for a few seconds and look back on the path we’ve taken to get where we are. It’s just astounding how quickly time flies and we hardly recognize ourselves from back when we were younger. I read these old emails now and I am filled with an immeasurable curiosity to know more about myself – more precisely, to know what people thought of me back then. I look at my old photographs and I can hardly believe that I looked like that, wrote that way, spoke that way, used those phrases, and yet managed to have a normal life and turn out the way I did.

Last night, Mansi and I were at my parents’ house for dinner. One thing led to another and pretty soon my Mum decided that my wife need to see my kiddie photographs. So, out came the huge albums and the report cards from my kindergarten and school days. I looked at my photographs as a kid – the moments when I was with cousins, aunts, forgotten relatives, and I am a bit sad that I don’t remember much of it. These few memories that have been frozen in time are all that remain of my past. I wish I could remember it.

Go check out your very first email inbox and you’ll be thankful for the blast from the past. πŸ™‚

The Foodie Meme!

The word “food” evokes in me a primal instinct to mark my territory on the table, crouch in a corner with my plate of food and growl at anyone who comes near. I devour my food quickly lest someone steals it from me and smack my lips and return to my normal state of mind. I black out when eating, and sometimes, don’t remember what happened. I once came out of such a black out with the thumb of my left hand in my mouth, my white shirt covered in chocolate sauce and my hair smelling of onions. It remains a mystery till today! πŸ˜€

Shefaly tagged me with this very interesting food meme, and finally, I get to show off my love for all things edible. I would best describe my culinary afflictions as: “I am, therefore I eat!” πŸ˜€

Now, lets get down to the meme, shall we!

1. What’s your favorite table?

I wouldn’t want to go over the edge and make a big clichΓ© of myself by saying “Any table with food on it!” or something on similar, drab lines. Actually, my favorite table happens to be in the corner of a cafe called Barista, on MG Road in Bangalore. It was at this table that I was sitting when I realized that my life was going in no particular direction (but down) and that I had to do something about it. So, I ordered a cold chocolate, went home and got a haircut.

2. What would you have for your last supper?

I am going to die on November 4th, 2078 at 3.49 in the evening, while walking down the road after my routine sessions in the local laughter club, where I will perform for free, just to get rid of the boredom. My heart will have weakened enough for me to say my last goodbyes that day in the club, and that afternoon, my last meal will comprise of two chicken sizzlers on BBQ sauce and a portion of potatoes. I will drink half a glass of wine and choke on the other half, and finally, realize that its time to walk out of the club one last time…

3. What’s your poison?

Keeps changing with my mood and the season, and right now, it has to be roadside Dahi Puri with extra sweet on it. For more information on Dahi Puri, take a deep breath, smack your lips in anticipation and please click here. πŸ™‚

4. Name your three desert island ingredients.

Imagination, Perseverance and the ability to eat anything remotely edible! (PS: Cast Away was supposed to feature me, but they chose some guy who was a lot thinner than me and a disgrace to foodies all over!)

5. What would you put in Room 101?

Leftovers! πŸ˜€

6. Which book gets you cooking?

No book can get me to cook! God forbid, if I cook, I shall be responsible for mass hysteria and will be arrested for intentional food poisoning! πŸ™‚

7. What’s your dream dinner party line up?

Me..! πŸ˜€

Ok, I was kidding… Dream dinner party would consist of… um… uh… let’s see… no, I think it would still be me!

8. What was your childhood teatime treat?

Tomato juice, followed by salted biscuits and half a potato bun! Sometimes, when I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, I still follow this ritual. πŸ™‚

9. What was your most memorable meal?

December 2008, New York City, Lexington Avenue, Shravana Bhavan – That meal was perhaps the best because the whole day had been spent walking around the city and my feet were aching so badly and my insignificant breakfast had long been digested! πŸ˜€

10. What was your biggest food disaster?

My roomies and I once decided to cook a South Indian delicacy called Bisi Bele Bath. Its a concoction of rice, dal and lots of spices. We called everyone over and were so proud of ourselves, when we realized that we had forgotten to add the dal…

We made up a story that we got the recipe from MySpace, and that the dish was called Ranatunga! πŸ˜€

Some people actually bought the story and liked the dish. Never been near the kitchen since!

11. What’s the worst meal you’ve ever had?

My very own insipid version of chicken soup! πŸ˜€

12. Your food hero/food villian?

The food in my hand is the damsel in distress. She cries out for help and begs for mercy from the huge villain, who wants to eat her alive. The hero is no where to be seen. The villain lifts the helpless damsel and brings her close to his mouth. She can smell the foul breath and see the remains of her brothers and sisters sticking to the villain’s teeth. “Hero! Where are you?” she screams. Her screams are in vain. The villain devours her.

13. Nigella or Delia?

I don’t know what either mean and as long as they’re not some exotic, tasty food items, I don’t really care! πŸ˜€

14. Vegetarians: genius or madness?

Paranoid and morally confused! Plants have life too, you freaks! πŸ˜€

15. Fast food or fresh food?

Edible food!! πŸ˜€

16. Who would you most like to cook for?

I can’t think of anyone who has a death wish! πŸ˜€

17. What would you cook to impress a date?

Hmmm…

18. Make a wish.

I wish every living being in this world can taste Tiramisu before he/she/it expires.

19. I tag…

Namrata, who would be doing her first tag with this one! I wish her all the best! πŸ˜€

Fruity, who seems to be bored enough and senile enough to be tagged! πŸ˜€

Suda, who seems to have gotten all techie all of a sudden! πŸ˜€

Meghana, who would be doing this as her first tag on wordpress! πŸ˜€

Rekha, who is, like me, from South India and her answers would give me a clue to my sanity! πŸ˜€

Cursed! Again and again…

…and again!! I don’t know which side of the bed I woke up yesterday, but I’m never going to do it again, hopefully! My day wasn’t all that bad, actually, but for some reason or the other, I got cursed seven times!! Seven different people in seven different situations cursed me with some unspeakable pejoratives! There was a movie, where someone asks, “If you are called a jerk seven times, do you actually become a jerk?”

If the answer to this question is true, then I don’t know what I’ve become now!! Here’re the situations, as best as I can remember them, and I’ll let you decide whether I deserved all the colorful language hurled at me.

1. Late afternoon, I was riding my bike in heavy traffic and singing a romantic song, thinking of my girlfriend, and gleefully unaware of the honking and tensions all around, when all of a sudden, a lunatic auto rickshaw careened out of the corner and scraped my front fender. I’m not a person who loses his temper, and as long as I’m not hurt or my wallet is not hurt (read as, bike screwed) I don’t care. So, I just whipped out my middle finger at the auto driver and continued my singing. This guy, I don’t know why, he popped his head out the vehicle and screamed, “Ninakkan!” and drove off. This word, in my language, has something to do with elder sisters and incest. I don’t have an elder sister, but still, I was kind of annoyed. I hadn’t raised my voice, only my finger, and I don’t think I deserved this insult!!

2. The second incident occurred when I was walking down the road from my office, with a breath mint in my mouth. I was rolling the piece of mint in my tongue, when I passed a mother and her small girl walk past me. Just then, my tongue made a smacking sort of a noise because of the piece of candy, which the mother mistook for something else. She turned around and glared at me and called me a pervert! I knew there was no point trying to reconcile. I just shrugged and moved on.

3, 4, 5. The next three instances happened almost simultaneously. I was in my friend’s place in the evening, watching the cricket match and munching some peanuts, when three of my other friends walked in. They said the following things to me:
Friend 1: “Hey asshole! How’s it hanging?”
Friend 2: “You bastard! How’re you man!?”
Friend 3: “Fucking moron! Long time no see!!”

6. Just when I was about to sigh and resign to my fate of being cursed all day long, there was an ad running on TV, which screamed out, “Nikhil’s a loser!” I mean, why couldn’t the ad feature some other name? If they wanted to portray a loser, then why choose a name like Nikhil?? Not fair!! 😦

7. Lastly, when I realized that my day had been extremely weird and that I’d been cursed enough number of times, things just got worse. While driving back home from my friend’s place, late at night, I was whistling to myself, when I stopped at a red light. I was still whistling, when I heard a scream of anger from next to me. There was a couple on a bike, the man driving and the woman sitting behind him, and both of them glaring at me and the guy was about to take his helmet off. He said, “You pervert! Stop eying my girl!”

I lost my temper a bit. Just a bit. I was about to open my mouth to retort when the lights changed and the guy flipped a finger at me and drove off at full speed.

I started thinking on my way back, that maybe its not a good idea to sing or whistle when driving. Maybe its something else altogether.Β  I don’t know. I’ve been wronged and I demand justice!! πŸ˜€