Thursday, March 17, 2016

Day 77

Coffee is a big part of American culture, sort of like tea in India. Except that coffee in America tastes like shite. The fact that it's the most awfully tasting coffee I've had anywhere (granted the only other places I've drank coffee are Toronto, Brussels, Vienna and maybe 7-8 towns in India) makes it all the more remarkable that it is celebrated as much as it is. But then, Donald Trump is on a winning streak as well.

I slept early yesterday (for fear of having to drink that coffee to stay awake, perhaps?) when I shouldn't have slept at all. I do that every now and again, I think it's an escapist tendency. By way of analogy, it is not too different from laughing at a question paper you know will leave you with a Fail. In the spectrum of performance anxiety, both extremes are dangerous -- escapist and over-anxious -- and I think I tilt a wee bit towards the former.

I traveled to India last March and it was much fun. I'm not one for celebrating my birthday, but my parents wanted to, and it drew a lot of my relatives and cousins and everyone looked good and was chirpy. It is eerie what a difference a year can make. Compared to last year's visit, my grandfather, one chachaji and one mausaji aren't around now. Another mamaji, and a cousin sister, are now very ill. Another previously high-flying uncle has gone bankrupt and am told is battling severe depression. My closest chachaji, who has for all intents and purposes actually always been a real elder brother to me, his business isn't doing well either, to put it mildly.

My current trip to India, due in 8 days, will also find me 20 pounds heavier than my last one, which limits my possibilities in flirting with hypothetical random girls in hypothetical wedding functions I might hypothetically attend.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Here, this is the day
of many knocks
on your door.
I made sure
that I have locks
on my doors today.

Day 76

The thing that halted my blogging isn't over until the 20th, but I have resumed already. I am not sure that I will be able to complete what I set out to, which is not to say that I won't continue to try. My mom asks me on the phone if I will be able to finish the thing off in time, and I say "I don't know". My mom knows that I don't say yes, unless I am sure.

She has asked me over the years if I would qualify for this college, secure that job, pass that exam, and she knows that I rarely said that I would, even when I did end up passing those hurdles. It is not the case that I decide to be conservative for fear of making a fool of myself. 'How would it be if I turn out to be wrong' is never at play. What is at play is only saying things I can also say to myself without feeling like I'm fooling myself (and I am the easiest person for me to fool).

Last year when mummy came to stay with me for the summer, it was the happiest period of my life in many, many years. We weren't having rollicking fun, but I suppose I've outgrown the charms of rollicking fun some time ago. I used to take her to the usual places - temples, Gita discourses, and, of course, shopping, which, with her, is invariably grocery shopping. I loved it all, which I guess doesn't bode well for my romantic success with girls my age, who, I'm told, hate bloody mumma's boys.

That aside, grocery shopping reminds me of a particular trend that I find a little annoying, although perhaps no one shares my opinion on this. I'm all for using technology to make our lives easier (in fact, what I've been working on fits the description) but when I see one startup after another making apps to get your groceries to you, I have to stop and wonder: where are we going?

Call me a lunatic, but grocery shopping, I think, is one of those integral parts of life that make us who we are. So much of my growing up days was sometimes being excited about grocery shopping because I'd secretly sneak in that other thing I also want, and sometimes being so unwilling to go for it because its such a chore and "I have more important things to do" but then getting over myself and doing it anyway. And then there is the time when you're actually getting stuff, waiting in lines, waiting for your turn, being careful about discriminating between two similar looking but significantly different products, learning how 1000 rupees don't go a long way and altering one shampoo for another as a last minute decision, and so on. Grocery shopping was at least as formative for me, if not wildly more, than reading Camus, Frankl, Wallace and Nida Fazli combined.

Now I've grown up, but grocery shopping is still a part of life I don't want to relegate to an app. It has its value for adults, as it brings us to appreciate and engage with the daily, the nondescript, the commonplace, which is what real life is, once you get past the concoctions of grandiosity. It is one thing to use apps to ease our lives, and it is another to invite them to substitute our lives. For this reason, and I hate to say this, those of you making grocery-delivery apps, I hope you don't succeed.

Evergreen song......

Monday, March 7, 2016

My loving grandfather passed away today.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Kanhaiya Kumar is not my hero. It takes a lot more than good oratory to get that spot.

I will continue this post later, as I get more time. Will try to finish it over a month or two.