Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bloggers

Most realized that it was a long route to a non destination, and slipped away, wisely, in what were still, from where I see it, early days. Others found love. Yet others, more adept at staying with the times, took to twitter. Some of the old fellows, who I am still in one kind or another of touch with, remember it fondly, nostalgically, as if it belonged to another era, now extinct. When I remind them they needn't be wistful, that they can restart today if they miss its charms, they laugh. Some laughs, I just never understand, and I tell them, ingenuously, that I'm still at it. What follows is an expression of admiration, with a tinge of suspicion that you can't miss, and, once in a while, a promise!  The first few times, I bought in on the promises, but now I know what to make of them. They are the promises of small-talk, those adornments that make the mundane memorable, even if briefly.

I wanted to be quiet, so I guess I still have some way to go.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Day 119

I did write posts on days 114 and 115 which I never could post for internet reasons, but I will be posting them tonight. For today, there's not a whole lot to say. I have an important work day on the 12th of May, similar to the one in January from which I had put a picture up on the blog. I do think I'll put a picture up from this time as well, unless I'm in a really bad place after the event, or, if I'm looking shabby. Soon after that day, I've taken a couple of days off adjacent to a weekend to go to San Fransisco, just to chill out. This sounds like the kind of thing which if I read someone else write a few years ago I would have concluded he's a wierdo, if not a full scale asshole. But how things are, is how they are.

I think I have an unhealthy capacity for self-reflection, and continually run an internal feedback loop. The main goal of the feedback loop is to become a more able, more helpful, and healthier person tomorrow, but the by-products of the loop are revised views of the same, unchanging past, and revised views of my past selves. One of the consequences has been a revised view of the role and importance of relationships. While last year I believed that relationships, especially romantic, are an indispensable part of personal growth, I am not so sure anymore. I still hold that relationships goad you on to become better, but my newly acquired conviction is that they goad you on to become better is certain set ways, and inhibit exploration of the infinite other unseen dimensions, an exploration that is as necessary in liberating you as it is rare. Note that I merely use the word inhibit, and not something stronger like cease, because of course it is still possible, only more unlikely.

In another news, I've decided to work out intensely until my CFA exam on June 5, just to do something counter-intuitive. Through late 14 and early 2015, I used to work out a lot, both cardio and strength, and then sometime in late April last year (yes, exactly 1 year ago) I stoppped, because I had to dedicate myself to preparing for the CFA exam a month away and who has the time to waste on working out, or so the warped reasoning went. It is characteristic of me to skip even showers, let alone work outs, in the days of intense preparation preceding exams. Part of the reason is I start very late, but that's only part of the reason. The bigger part, I believe, is that I convice myself that by skipping this and that I am somehow being more "serious" about the exam. But of course that is self-fooling hogwash, the kind that we realize is bullshit and continue to subscribe to all the same. So, to get out of this self-fooling tendency, primarily, I've decided that in the 35-40 days left before the exam, I will not only be not skipping workouts and showers, I'll infact be doing more of it. More exercise, more showers, ironing my clothes everyday - basically everything I would have ordinarily avoided I will amplify. Let's see how this experiment goes.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Day 113

Today was an odd day. I ate a lot as soon as I woke up. Like, a lot.

Something has thrown me off balance a little bit. I don't know if it is the incessant, unnecessary hullabaloo in my family surrounding getting me married, or, whether it is the seeping realization that my mom is clinically depressed, or whether it is something more endogenous. I got myself steeped in eastern spirituality and meditation last year, and had finally come to a state of balance that was not so transitory. I had thought it was for real, not a fluke peacefulness that hits you intermittently one way or the other. I still hold that it was, for the balance did last me fairly long, but maybe I had overestimated its longevity when I naively assumed it will last my lifetime. There were signs of it going astray in January, but I was able to quickly set it right before giving imbalance a chance to set in more solidly, and then it was back to good times. Besides, I took on so much work back then that there was little time for peacelessness. But the trip to India, it changed something.

Now I'm back, and I'm going to try to salvage the project that had begun last year from disintegration, and hopefully it'll work. Maybe my impatience to make it work is the thing coming in the way of making it work.

A fair bit of the day is yet to go, but I'm posting already. It's not as though something mind-blowing is going to happen, anyway.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Day 112

My sleep cycle has been a little twisted since I came back. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a jetlag, though. I sleep at around 9 and wake up at 4 AM. For some people who do everything by the book, these might even be perfect sleeping hours. For me, it's just a consequence of having moved from India. In any case, I seem to like it. Maybe if I woke up at 5 instead of 4 I'd like it even better, because at 4 it's dark so I can't really head out right away. I wait an hour (how do I wait? I surf facebook and quora, reply to emails and messages, watch the youtube videos of my subscriptions. Yes, how I wait is pretty uninspiring) and then get my camera and walk out into the breezy, chirpy spring mornings that bless us here at Princeton these days. There's a good chance of running into the most unique, colourful birds, even though getting a picture of them is challenging all the same. But there are squirrels out aplenty even if you miss the special birds, and they're guaranteed fun. They're better captured on video than in pictures, but I don't make videos of them, because they are best captured by the naked eye, not by eyes behind lenses. I've loved squirrels since back when I used to go to morning walks with my grandfather in the very early nineties. When I first moved to the US, I thought gosh the squirrels in the US are so big, no no no. But it's just a matter of getting used to them and then they're fantastic again, I guess, because on my trip to India earlier this month, I was equally surprised by how little India's squirrels were. Other than this, I'm particularly fond of American spring, when the flowers start budding and flood the trees, and the ground starts turning lush, lustrous green, and the sun is out just the right amount - not too hot, just sunny enough to help you smile like a fool. If I had my way, I'd lie in a park near my house from sunrise to sunset - standing up only to play cricket in the evening and for going up to the taps to drink water. But, I have to go to work. Which is also cool. Being employed is pretty cool. I say so because I've known the contrary, and it sucked like a miele vacuum cleaner.

Maybe I'll put some pictures up one of these days, but most probably I won't. I don't want to promise more than I can deliver, since that's a habit I've got to kick.

I don't know what else to say. I'm getting kind of bored of the whole blogging thing, and to a large extent I've been continuing only because I decided to do this at the beginning of the year. I'm unsure how long my obedience to myself will last, for the price of disobedience is pretty small when you're as close to your master as I am to me. I guess now I'm just droning on, so I'll go.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Day 110

I don't know what I'm doing with my life.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sisyphean wish

I have sought you for years.
And now if you'd yield,
it'd be of great value.
And if you don't,
invaluable.

On my mysterious liking for Mad Men

Mad Men is one of my favorite TV shows, and I don't even know why. It doesn't keep you on the edge of your seat the way Breaking Bad does. It does not betray the caustic, clever brilliance of House. It has not the comic genius that makes the commonplace become the source of everyday laughter and joy for your soul, like The Office has.  In fact, I can only talk of Mad Men in terms of all the things it is not, than the things it is. Because of what it is I have little clue. Many of its episodes just linger, like life, without a set goal or aim. Like an afternoon spent without knowing what to do or who to call. Unlike my other favorite shows, which I watch with rapt attention whenever I watch them, with Mad Men I often find myself drifting away, zoning out, and realizing it 10 minutes later, at which point I scroll back to wherever I last was with the show, and watch again. Reviewers of the show tell us that it is about the feminist movement, about the changing social mores in the 1960s USA, but I've never bought it. I like the show because it doesn't pretend to know any answers, propose any theories. Because it is interested in different kinds of people, its characters, without painting with a heavy hand exactly how their stories should look and be interpreted. Because it is more interested in knowing than in telling. I like the show because it has the spirit of someone who knows they do not know. Don Draper, the lead character of the show, is one of my favorite TV characters. Media reports extensively on his looks, his womanizing habits, his affairs, as though that is what Don Draper is about. Don Draper, if you ask me, is about trying to feel meaningful the possibly meaningless, about trying to act like stuff matters, day in and day out, when he doesn't know if it does. And that is why I like this character. 


Mad Men is a show I really like and never recommend to others, not only because I'm not sure they'd like it, but also because I'm not sure what I could say to recommend it convincingly. My feelings about Mad Men are very similar to my feelings about John Banville, the novelist.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Day 108

It's already day 109, woah! Days have a way of passing you by like credit card bills, furtively, smugly furtively.

I came back to the US in the wee hours of the morning today, and spent the day chatting and watching TV and driving about and eating with my brother. It was like we were doing all of these things simultaneously, all of that time. Although of course we weren't.

I didn't feel any heaviness of heart while leaving India, the way I used to feel before. I don't know, maybe I don't want to say much other than saying that I don't want to say much.

There's the CFA Level 3 exam in the first week of June, for which I'll start studying in a few days. Probably only next week.

And I've got to start running and playing a little bit from today, after gorging on everything edible with reckless abandon for 21 days.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Delhi 2016

I am in your town again,
which was once mine too,
until you, happened.

Now there are no towns that I call my own,
there are towns where I work, where I'd grown,
there are towns of my friends, of my mother.
But not mine, I go from one refuge to another.

Don't get me wrong, I love them all.
I love them, but they're not mine.
Towns are like people, and that's fine.

I'm in your town now, but I don't feel its beat.
I do probability for a living, and yet, naively, I
expect you on every once-friendly street.
Faces that resemble yours in faint ways, say 'Hi',
as they see me solving their contours, and that's also sweet.