90/365

I’d like to say I haven’t written for a week to prepare myself for the mountain that is GloPoWriMo, because starting today, I’ll be writing one piece of poetry everyday. But I’d be lying. I haven’t written for a week because I haven’t gotten myself around to writing. It’s as simple as that.

I’ve maintained multiple e-mail accounts since I started using the computer for my own purposes. My first memories of a computer stretch back to 2004 and 2005, when, as part of the technology boom wherein my dad picked up a Nokia N95 Connector, we were privileged to have an HP Laptop in our house.

Actually, scratch that. It goes further back. I used Windows 98 on a big desktop PC in our house – to play Pinball, watch Tell Me Why CD’s and play a couple of deemed-to-be-educational games.

Anyway, post the HP Laptop, my grandfather installed Typing Tutor and tried to teach me the art of speed typing. He even helped me create my first e-mail ID on Yahoo. It ended with .co.uk – a fitting tribute to my colonial past as an Indian, but offered me something I could boast about to my friends – a presence on the interwebs.

I eventually found out this wasn’t the sort of presence on the Internet that mattered to people of my age. What mattered more was your Miniclip ID and the corresponding points you had earned, or whether you were a ClubPenguin/RuneScape Member (I was not). Nonetheless, I was pretty impressed with an e-mail ID, and because Typing Tutor expected discipline and daily practice, I weaseled out of it by formulating a typing style of my own.

That led to a manifestation of my thoughts about Kids Next Door on Microsoft Word – documents I still possess and value deeply.

When GMail erupted and you could voice chat through GTalk + they offered unlimited storage, my grandfather switched over. Soon, my dad did too, and I followed, creating a new e-mail ID in Bangalore during my 2006 holidays. It was crazy. GTalk opened up communications for me and my dad when he was in India, away from the prying eyes of my mother, and I assume he valued it more than I did at the time. To me, as a child, I thought GTalk was super cool because of how advanced technology was becoming, but to my father, it was an opportunity for him to talk to his son one-on-one. From Bangalore, he monitored my internet use.

From Bangalore, he monitored my internet use. I had auto-login enabled, so he knew when I signed in (to play RuneScape) and when I signed off. This worked till I learned about the Invisible mode (and therefore extended my gametime without his knowledge). Sorry dad.

I operated primarily on this ID for everything between 2006 and 2015 – the year I came to college. The e-mail ID posed a lot of social problems. Innocent as my intentions were when I created the account, an amalgamation of my parents’ names is also a very popular Indian feminine name. Which led to some (a lot) of teasing. An explanation however led to an animated situation where my friends found it cool, but couldn’t express their sentiments, since they had already made fun of me.

I switched over from this account in college, operating on a more formalized, so-to-speak, ID. However, so many essential functions were linked to the old account, that I had to log-in till I switched everything over. Having managed that, I logged in a few weeks ago to find some 300-odd mails left unread in my mailbox.

With some time on my hands these days I read through old e-mails. Things I sent during my time at school, responses I received, my chats with my friends from when I wasn’t on Facebook & WhatsApp didn’t exist, and that set off a massive nostalgia trip.

Aside from that nostalgia trip, it provided this amazing perspective on what has shaped me today. It’s crazy, but I have an e-mail from every strong memory that I have associated with school. Whether it was something positive: Board Results, Student Council Elections, MUNs, or something downright negative: A good sounding from dad, an e-mail from grandpa that went unread that he caught me out on, chats that went awry, a semblance of this exists on my Google Inbox.

I understand today with some maturity that I am a product for Google to sell, and a lot of spam I receive is Google’s doing, but damn, technology, and damn, science. You’ve provided a way for me to re-live a couple of years at a click of a button.

Forget the nostalgia trip. Go through your e-mail inbox when you’re feeling at your lowest.

You’ll find rays of sunshine and pearls of wisdom that have made you everything you are today.

And that’ll set you up for something truly special tomorrow.

In Anticipation of a month of poems (and hopefully normal blog posts),

Curdrice Out.

82/365

I can feel my brain form compartments for things that I do these days. Like a hard-drive, I see folders, sub-folders, and files for every task that I do. It’s very strange, experiencing this, because each time I return to a task after taking a break, I feel like Microsoft Word loading on an old Microsoft XP PC. Slow.

It’s uncanny how this all begun, and I think I’ve started to make these observations a lot more since I got free time, of sorts, but it’s trickled down to every part of my day. Conversations with people seem to be stored away and re-opened for reference each time I indulge in one. This compartmentalization has become so ingrained to things I do that my reading has taken on new forms: I have a book on my bed, on my table, in my bag, and in my laptop bag.

I think it’s pretty cool, being able to do this. I feel more dedicated and committed to the work that I’m doing as I do it, because I’m less distracted by the other things or the mountain of other work that’s staring at me, simply because I’ve stored it in some other part of the brain.

I wonder if there’s a word for this. Or if there’s Science behind how/why this happens. It’s very intriguing, but it’s helping me stay relaxed. I’m enjoying myself a lot more too. I’m also listening to a lot more music, which is definitely contributing to the way I carry myself these days.

There’s an Oxford Handbook about music therapy I have to read. Will source it from somewhere. More about this when I figure out what it’s all about.

Tomorrow’s a Friday, where I’m ordinarily supposed to have 4 classes, but I have 5, and then a working Saturday. Joy.

 

81/365

When hunger strikes,

Your mind forgets all else,

And your stomach rumbles.

When hunger strikes,

You dream of your favourite food:

Ah, the taste of tomato rasam,

Rice,

And Aloo Bhujia.

When hunger strikes,

You remember each time you’ve eaten your favourite food,

Every meal for which you’ve sat in front of the television,

With a cork-mat,

Because your mother over-heated the rasam,

And almost forced a burnt tongue,

By heating the rice,

Despite your warnings.

When hunger strikes,

You miss home,

Because home is where rasam is,

And these khakhra-eaters, and fafda-mongerers,

Make coconut float instead of tomato in their rasam –

Committing crimes against humanity.

79/365

I have a tinge of regret regarding my relationship with my peers from school. We were barely a batch of 40, but quite divided based on our sections – mostly because our sections were our boards – the ISC and the A Levels. So, in some ways, it was easier to relate your pains and struggles with your classmates, than with anyone else.

I always thoguht I’d manage, somehow, to be in touch with people I saw on a daily basis and shared a classroom with for 8 hours, 5 days a week. And that, chilling, just like the old times, wouldn’t be any different. A lot about this view started to fade away toward the latter half of the 12th Grade, but my fears were concretized only after my first semester.

I moral police, I’ll admit that. After a certain point, as a friend concerned for your well-being, I will inform you what I believe is the thing you should be doing, and may, perhaps, do, admonish you if you do not follow what I believe is in your best interest. I get that I overstep the line sometimes, and I’m pretty sure I did quite a bit with my friends in high school. I was and am a staunch believer in rules. It’s part of the reason I took up the Law. Therefore, when I was elected School Captain, I think it’s fair to say, I took the role of enforcing rules, and discipline fairly seriously.

At some point, I surmise this might have been the undoing of my relationship with some of my friends. But, I think what became abundantly clear as we moved to college was that we’re very different people.

Of course, hanging out will never be a problem, and yes, we can catch a meal, and chill for a good couple of hours. But our interests are extremely varying, and our environment in school had conditioned us to make us feel we had the same, overlapping spheres of interest. College allows you to follow your true passions, and I feel it’s where you become who you’re destined to be. It helps you find yourself. And it also means, because of a lack of shared space, and shared experiences, you lose layers of connection with people you’ve known before.

This struck me the hardest, and it’s what has sparked off this post, when I wished one of my friends – a pal I spent the entirety of 8th – 12th with ‘Happy Birthday’, yesterday. And I saw he was online, but he didn’t reply. And that’s strange for me, when you’ve spent 5 years together.

I have memories with him from my only road-trip so far in Pondicherry, and I’ve had a whale of a time with him in his house, with my other friends. We’ve watched numerous movies together, gone to school and collapsed in Physics class together. It’s been an all-round amazing journey.

But what sucks, is that, today, out of a batch of 40, I’m in touch with 6 people. 6.

That’s partially my fault. I gave up on preserving a lot of relationships after my first year, and I can see that today. I tried quite hard in first sem to keep in touch, because I missed home, and these guys were all in close proximity to Bangalore. But few responded.

And these few are the ones I’m in touch with today.

If any of my school friends are reading this, I’m always around for you. Know that. We survived an experience together. We overcame similar challenges together. We graduated together. And that’s something even months of radio silence cannot take away.

See you on the flip!

76/365

It’s rather easy,

In a world where social media dominates interaction,

To find people with whom conversation never ends,

To find people with whom you feel inspired,

You’re never bored,

And life’s every instant is an adventure,

Because of some new idea introduced into your discussions,

Things that surprise you,

That make you happy,

That keep you alive.

But what I find tough,

And what we miss out on,

Is searching for people to reach out, with

A hand,

To hold, on nights of sorrow,

A shoulder,

To lean on when life’s stability disappears,

A person,

To share our silences,

And understand every word that’s left unsaid,

Because silence sometimes heals wounds that

Words merely pierce,

And jokes merely shatter,

And time merely intensifies.

 

 

 

75/365

I’m averse to the notion of unhealthy competition. My belief, at this moment, is that human greatness has been achieved by people spurring themselves on and being surrounded by people who pushed them to work harder, simply because they worked hard as well. Healthy competition fosters this beautiful learning-teaching environment, where everyone learns collectively because everyone accepts and understands they’re weak at something.

The other beautiful part of healthy competition is that it allows you to appreciate people’s achievements, and it teaches you to learn from people’s accomplishments through conversation, understanding and self-introspection. It’s rather lovely.

Law school is a rat race at times. Everyone’s cracked an entrance exam that prides itself on the small acceptance percentage, so everyone is very capable. But everyone is equally motivated to end law school at the top, and that can get ugly at times.

Today’s been one of those days where the competitive environment I’m in has gotten into my head. I’m not sure whether I can talk to people openly about avenues I’m exploring, or things I’m doing, out of a vague fear of sparking off negative vibes. I don’t know how to pinpoint it, but I’m scared to get people’s views on projects I’m currently undertaking.

Yet another thing I need to get over with time, I guess.

74/365

Did WordPress change something? I think it did.

Well, missed a week of writing, so it’s time for a mega update. I’ve missed all these days for valid reasons (excuses), with multiple drafts on my phone, but nothing concrete written out.

I guess it’s time to explain Bombay.

I’ve been amazed and enthralled by the idea of India ever since I moved to the country. Till that point, I was disenchanted by the country, each trip here emphasizing the idea that India, was in some way inferior, or, below, the foreign land that housed me. I think it was the cockroaches, the mosquitoes, on one trip, and on another, the general lack of drainage systems, which clogged up Bangalore roads everytime the monsoon passed through the city. As a younger brat, it was the fact that milk didn’t come in cartons, and had to be boiled over, or that, set-curd as a concept existed, but nobody ever sought refuge to it, preferring, for some vague reason, their home-made curd with a layer of cream.

Since I moved here, however, mosquitoes have become friends I fence with, the lack of drainage has allowed me to step on puddles, and setting curd has become a household chore my day sometimes feels incomplete without.

To that end, since I’ve come here, and especially since coming to college, I’ve made some effort to move around and explore, instead of being lazy. India has a diversity that is incomparable, and one goal of mine, before I finish my law degree, is to explore and witness as much of it as I can, first-hand.

Going to Udaipur last weekend was one experience. Going to Delhi over the winter break to intern, was another. However, in my memory, I’ve only ever been to Bombay (the city, not the airport) 4 times. And all of these were extremely short trips – some, in transit to Pune, and therefore, a mere day. My memory of these trips are hazy and unclear, and for the most part, are not memories I call my own.

Which is why last weekend was extremely special. I took an Indian Railways train after forever, and headed to Bombay for a debate. Unfortunately, we didn’t do too well at the tournament, which left me a lot of time to explore the city and really soak in the entire experience.

My dad had worked in Bombay in the early 90’s, so I’ve heard a bit about the city from him – the fact that it can make you, and break you. The fact that Bombay is a tough city to live in, that you need to adjust a lot. My friends had told me similar things. All in all, therefore, my emotions prior to the trip were just excitement and nerves. Having gone around a fair bit for 4 days,a few conclusions follow:

First, Bombay is beautiful. I come from Bengaluru. A general characteristic about Bangaloreans is that we find things to complain about easily, because we’re spoilt at home. Nothing will come close to a flower exhibition at Lalbagh, or the sight of a Brahmin’s Cafe plate of idly, or a perfectly formed dosa from Vidyarthi Bhavan, but Bombay, oh my word, is beautiful. I love how the city is different in different parts, and your experience of Bombay is so dependent on which part of town you visit. Each area: Andheri, Juhu, Churchgate, Fort, has something unique to offer to the experience, the smell, the sight of the city. And I couldn’t get enough of it.

Second, Bombay is accepting and warm. I spoke earlier about the diversity of the country I call home at present (more about the transitive state of ‘home’ sometime later), but Bombay exemplifies all of that. And the city embraces the diversity, moudling itself to ensure everyone gets a little bit of it. I think the best example of this is the local. Space is understood to be shared. People can spot an outsider to the city, and take time to teach you the ropes, if you seem lost or confused. People care. Genuinely. And my understanding of the Bombay culture has changed over 4 days in the city.

Third, the food is incredible. I had the privilege of being with two localites: one, who cared for me on the days of the debate itself, and another, who offered me refuge in his home and took me around the city post-debate. Before embarking on more about food, a massive thank you to two amazing human beings. I would have judged the city a whole lot differently without you guys. This bit about food is a continuation of the accepting nature of the city. There’s food for everyone. And it’s well made. And it’s cheap, and delicious. I went to one city, but ate food that was an interpretation of the Middle East, a bit from North America, some South Indian, and oh-so-much food that Bombay is known for.

Lastly, because of this, there’s no one definition of a Bombay kid. I think that’s the biggest misconception I had. That Bombay kids were type-A, or type-B or type-C. But that’s untrue. The way the city takes you in and moulds you, you’ll end up being your own person, I think. You can generalize people from a lot of cities, Bengaluru included. But, I think my biggest takeaway from the weekend was that you cannot, and should not, generalize a Bombay kid. Because a Bombay kid has characteristics that are so dependent on so many factors, and each time you think you’ve identified a type, the Bombay kid will surprise you.

I love Bombay, and I cannot wait to go back there soon.

66/365

Today I passed out and missed all my classes. I slept at 2.10AM last night, after some debate practice, and then woke up this afternoon at 1.30PM – in a daze, with the fan switched off, and confused about where my last 12 hours or so went. I imagine this is what a black-out or a hangover feels like. My drug, or addiction, in this case, was work. ­čśŤ

Post-Udaipur, I ran around and did a lot of stuff in the afternoon we returned to campus, which meant I was exhausted – having barely slept on the trip. I can’t describe to you how sound my sleep was.

The panic that followed waking up was torturous. I’ve bunked several classes this semester already – for Committee Work & Moot Work, so my attendance is borderline regret. Adding another day to the column was a frightful experience. Legitimately cannot afford more meaningless bunks this semester.

I laughed it off though. My mom laughed on the phone because she could imagine me asleep and unresponsive I presume. I gave her hell through my study holidays, because I slept late & never woke up on-time to start my studying for the next day. Once you’re a night owl, it’s a little difficult to change your body orientation.

The easy solution is not to be a night-owl or an early riser. Be an efficient worker and manage 8 hours of solid sleep every night.

But what’s the fun in that?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Ed Sheeran’s new album, and I can’t get over how fantastic it is. I love the transition between songs, and it’s got a very 2008/09 vibe to it – that period was when I really, really got into music, so I find it very nice & relatable, in a strange way.

What else about today?

Oh yes.

I found work! After about a month of being relatively free-ish, I’ve managed to find myself a string of work and a bunch of deadlines again. The wind seems to be more breezy, the sun seems brighter and I feel each breath passing through my body. I also imagine this is what love is like. What has college done to me? Love is work is love now.

Ahh! Save me.

I’ll be in Mumbai this weekend. If anyone is interested/free to meet up, please reach out.

P.S.: Reach out if you know cheap pizza joints also.

 

 

63/365 

Today, I wrote my last mid-semester examination for this sem, and the relief I something I find difficult to explain. Over the past week, books have kept me more company than my actual friends have, which I’d normally be fine with. Except that it messed up my sleep cycle again. Just when I was getting used to something of a routine.

The exams didn’t go as well as I hoped they would, and a lot of that is down to the amount of pressure and expectation I put on myself. As I’ve ranted about and explained on multiple occasions, I have problems and fears of failure, which means I work out of that fear quite a bit – more than I work out of the motivation or the happiness that learning gives me. This mindset often messes with me, so it’s something I’ve been working on. 

For the first time, I laughed away a paper that went horribly. People who’ve known me would understand how antithetical to my character that is. And it felt fantastic. I hope the results turn out okay, but it felt good to let go of something I stressed about with my friends. 

I type this as I sit on a bus to Udaipur, the first of several trips I’m taking in the next month. Should be a fun night.

More sometime later, I guess!

62/365

I overthink decisions.

It’s one of the reasons I struggle to deal with rejection and find it tough to come to terms with approval,

Because acceptance to me is not merely a word, but an emotion,

That carries so much associated value.

Acceptance to me is,

That fat chubby kid being allowed to play striker even though his left foot is the weakest,

And the ball is not his

And that same fat chubby kid not being yelled at,

As he runs away from the ball because you put him in goal and,

He is scared of breaking his glasses.

To me, it’s a sign to,

The Tejas from 10 years ago who lied to his parents and often to friends that

He does not need to lie about himself and his considerations any more.

At its core, acceptance

Is the definition of not caring one bit about judgment

And not being swayed by peer pressure,

Because at its very heart

Acceptance is self-validation of who you are.

 

I overthink decisions,

So going out for me is not as easy as it is for others,

Yes is not an instant reaction to a planned escapade or the spontaneity of plans that are made,

But a calculated decision and a cost-benefit analysis of everything that could possibly take places and a slow,

Slow,

Factoring in of each and every ounce of utility I will experience

And the decision is based on which way the scales tilt

 

I overthink decisions,

The scales often tilt away from the convenient option, and my brain responds with a

No,

A No that is rarely understood,

A No that prompts backlash and rejection, and several layers of rejection because

I’m unable to explain how and what my brain has computed and why,

So it is often that I find myself,

Having to accept rejection and feel guilty,

But not feel so guilty,

Because since I’ve been a child,

Self-validation is all that’s ever mattered to me.

60/365

When people spoke about disappointment,

They told me of the pity glances they received, and the motivational words they heard around them.

They spoke to me, about how they were stuck,

Between a rock and a hard place, but managed,

To come out unscathed.

 

When people told me about their biggest failures,

They always told me about their biggest regrets.

The missed opportunity, the lack of effort.

They told me about how people rallied around them in support,

And eventually picked them up from the dark hell that had surrounded them.

 

Each time I spoke to people about failure,

They told me a story of success, the exact opposite of what I had asked to hear.

 

No one told me about the sleepless nights that followed failure, or

The unending repetition, repetition, repetition of a singular instance in your brain,

Playing out like a broken tape recorder

 

No one told me that your emotions would swallow you whole, and

You would be hugged by the ugly, heavy arms of expectation,

Which would, slowly,

Slowly but surely,

Consume you.

 

No one told me about the physical brutality of failure,

That it would suck the hope out of you and push you into a corner so extreme,

That you shrunk far into your own thoughts and emotions.

 

And no one told me about the frightening claw of appearing normal,

An act that deserved every Emmy, Tony, and Oscar there is, because

We are conditioned not to let people see our weaknesses

 

No one told me that failure was like love,

That I’d think of it far more than it thought of me,

But some time into thinking about it,

I’d feel a renewed sense of hope,

A spark of ambition,

And like a dying flame,

Be used to light another candle.