Majama!

I’m two days into third year. Third year is something that is still sinking in, mostly because I’m at that point of Law school where I’m almost halfway through with my degree. Obviously very excited, getting to the meatier part of studying the Law, and also getting toward the end of my time at University.

But also a very good time to reflect. And what better place to do this than a long Uber ride away from campus toward the city?

The past two years have been frenetic. Utter madness. And I’ve loved every single moment of it.

It was only today, however, that I realized that I haven’t explored as much as I wanted to when I first came to Gujarat. A very big part of why I stayed in India was because I could not associate with my country to the extent I was hoping I would. The only way I felt I could do that, and that’s an idea that hasn’t changed, for me, is by exploring and having conversations with people from different parts of the country. Understanding their stories, their livelihoods, their lifestyles.

It’s been three years, and I’ve been so caught up in reading books and living behind a grey fortress that I’ve forgotten about my dream of visiting the White Rann of Kutch, or going to the Old City of Amdavad.

I’ve also forgotten about my desire to learn Gujarati – the maximum I can manage is with the storekeeper and the autowallah. And that simply isn’t good enough for me. To live in a place and not learn their tongue is horrid. Because some things get lost in translation, and I really want to be able to read some original Gujarati literature before I leave this place. I know there is some waiting to be found.

Till I can resume these dreams, I’ll sit with my Kannada copywriting book, for I am actively attempting to learn how to read and write my mother tongue. Maybe one day I can read Kannada literature also.

 

 

Summer(?)

I didn’t write for a week because I actively stayed away from writing for a week. Clarifies things? Yes? No? Okay.

My summer vacations are over, and as of one & a half hours from now, I’ll be changing my e-mail signature to say “Year III” in place of the “Year II” that it previously carried. This post will be a short, succinct summary (we shall see if this is true) of what my summer has been, and what I’m looking forward to in the upcoming year.

Summer has been that feeling of waking up in your own bed and the comfort of your own home daily. It’s been that feeling of being pampered by my mother’s food, eating rasam nearly three times a week, and being able to watch TV while sitting on my spot on the sofa.

What summer was, was escape from the life I live in University – that adventure that is restricted by grey walls, and being around the same people daily. Meeting different sets of friends, making new friends (hello to all who now follow this blog!), and getting back to the light blue shades of my life. It was pure, simple bliss.

On the side, I successfully completed a four-week internship at a marvellous place, where I learnt that I possess a liking of Tax Law, amongst other Laws, and am not completely averse to the idea of a desk job. I also understood that I can eat out of a dabba only when it is packed by my mother or my aunt, and that I am eternally grateful to the dabba gods for ensuring dabbas came in different sizes. Else my mother would have stuffed me even more.

Additionally, I wandered around using #NammaMetro, something I’m incredibly proud of. Bengaluru needed that Green Line. What a blessing it’s been. I got from Jayanagar to Blossoms in 25 minutes.

If you don’t know what Blossoms is, you have problems.

I also read a bit, and tried learning how to read & write Kannada, my mother tongue. I can now write 5 letters. Slowly, but surely, I’ll get there.

What didn’t I do?

I didn’t play Basketball everyday, like I set out to. I managed to play for three weeks(?) or something, before my body gave way to the warmth and comfort of my bed.

I also didn’t learn enough of the Piano. I bought two Piano books, hoping to learn a couple of new pieces. Eventually, I learnt two. I’ve now carried them back to University, in the aim of playing some more this semester.

So what am I hoping for this year?

I don’t want to be as mechanical as I sound on this blog. While I don’t believe I’m mechanical in real life, when I reflect on my day, I often find that I make the same observations daily, or that I go through the same set of emotions daily: Happiness, Frustration, Happiness, Comfort, Anger, Happiness, Sleep.

Yes, sleep is an emotion.

But, yeah. I find that University days throw up different challenges everyday, but that my response to these things are fairly predictable. Or, are responses which I am capable of foreseeing.

I see no point in that.

I’m hopeful, that more than anything else, I’m able to share some new observations here daily. Something different that starts a train of thoughts that eventually leads to a semblance of a blogpost.

That’s all I’m hoping for this year.

Break some shackles of creative monotony, and write things that communicate the gnarly waves of my brain (thanks, 3000), to my doting blog-readers a bit better.

Also study some Law.

Like, really, really study some Law.

Because that’s what I’m here for.

And also because I am, at the very core of my being,

A massive nerd.

 

Take-Aways (I Wish I Could) From A Wedding

Yesterday evening, I marked myself present on an attendance register that is invisible and non-existent to the attendee, but very much a sub-folder in someone’s brain, somewhere. To phrase it another way, I attended a wedding reception.

And in a rarity, I didn’t whine too much about it. Often I see that I search for things to crib about: a lack of good company, the distance I have to travel, being paraded around by my mother, not remembering anybody’s names, having to listen to “OH YOU’RE SO BIG NOW”, and countless other things.

But yesterday was just an all-round good function. Even though I had to travel from Whitefield to West of Chord Road, and bear the full force of horrible BDA planning, and the most ingenious utilization of BBMP funds known to mankind.

I digress, however. This post is not about the misfortunes of living in a country with below-average governance. This post is about the joys of attending a wedding reception.

Let’s begin, shall we?

I had an inkling yesterday would be pretty good when I left from home. As I got stuck in my first traffic jam of the day, I took some time out from staring at my mobile phone to really think hard about who’s wedding reception I was attending. I knew his name, his parents’ names, and how he was related to my father. But I wasn’t quite sure how he knew my mother.

Then, in the cool way that brains function, I found myself navigating through every branch in the family to see a cool dotted line joining my mother’s cousin to this groom’s father. And everything was clear again. My heart-rate considerably relaxed, and the sheer amount of concentration and willpower it took to figure out the familial connection put me into the dreamiest sleep.

I woke up 30 minutes later to a song from Mungaru Male (the best film of all time), the rain, and another traffic jam.

At which point I began to wonder who all I’d get to meet at this one function.

You see, at it’s worst, a wedding and it’s allied ceremonies can be thought of as a week-long proceeding of meeting people only your mother remembers, smiling, learning of their names, and then not meeting them for another 5 years. At it’s best, the function provides the perfect opportunity to catch up with people you met ages ago, but recently enough for there to be a continuous stream of conversation and no awkward silences.

Again familytree.exe opened up in my brain. I plugged in my manually handcrafted formula, which I have conveniently reproduced below:

If Tejas = X, and Amma = Y, Appa = Z, let immediate family = {X,Y,Z}
If immediate family = {X,Y,Z}, then let extended family = {Y}m * {Z}n = A, where m = Number of cousins of Y and n = Number of cousins of Z,
Then A = Number of potential relatives Y can introduce you to,
And A-mn = Number of relatives whose name you actually remember.***

Nonetheless, the formula works. And a depressing thought follows: why is it that my generation is not as adept with names/family trees as the previous one?

The answer, as with everything else, is somewhat rooted in Technology and how it’s pulling Millenials farther apart.

In any event, my calculation yesterday resulted in a computation of somewhere around 60, at which point I was extremely optimistic about the company I would get and the fun I would have at the wedding.

Till I checked how brilliantly Pakistan were playing in the final. At which point my mood dipped considerably.

To add to that I got stuck at Yeshwantpur. Hopeless, I tell you.

At that point, when Google Maps turned this horrible shade that is only comparable to clotting blood, I found my messiah in the thought of South Indian food.

There is no word that aptly describes the emotion that rushes through your body at the thought of an eight course meal (extendable to eleven, of course, or even fifteen), and the sound of a crispy dosa leaving the tava.

There is no word within the English dictionary that can explain the taste of the rasam prepared at weddings, or the pineapple gojju that has now become mainstream.

And no English phrase can tell you about the emptiness of your soul and the full-ness of your belly as you consume wedding food off a banana leaf, having given in to the people serving you food and hosting you, egging you on to take that extra serving of rice you knew you should never have been tempted into it.

It is pure joy coupled with salivating mouths.

It was amidst these thoughts that I realized I had arrived at the Mantapa.

Though I expected a Bollywood number to play in the background upon my entry, I was left disappointed. But then again. This isn’t my wedding after all.

After pleasantries were exchanged and I managed to have some mind-blowing conversation with my third(?) or fourth(?) cousins, I noticed a queue forming at the side of the stage. With the bride and groom stationed and positioned perfectly for the camera lens to get their 32s, everyone was in a rush to meet them.

When I noticed another queue heading down toward the dining area.

My Eureka moment!

I present to you, the Reception Theory.***

At every reception, you have a window of 6.42 minutes (the Scientific method has been followed to the tee: my independent variable is me, the dependent variable is the time taken to reach the start of the queue. Hypothesis has been verified with strong positive correlation after 60+ weddings) to make a choice:

Option 1: The Meet and Eat – Where you meet the newlywed to be, get some photos clicked, offer the groom an opportunity to catch up with the Indian batting scorecard, and subsequently rush to eat dinner.

Option 2: The Eat and Meet – An unconventional strategy that bloomed in the early 2000’s, with doting mothers attempting to pacify their children prior to taking them on stage. Where you eat food first, and get photos clicked later.

Neither option is without it’s flaws. With the M&E, you could potentially end up with a crowded line (if you move too late), and a crowded dining hall, where you’re forced to eat pani puri because all banana leaves are occupied. With the E&M, there’s the nasty situation of not being able to climb the stairs to the stage because you ate that laste spoon of mosaranna with too much pickle.

The M&E presents another unconvential challenge: you may miss highlights where the camera is on your face as you eat, because everyone is eating alongside you, including the cameramen. With the E&M, cameramen are evenly split to get photos of people relishing food and people meeting the bride/groom, so you’ll 100% get your Kardashian moment.

It’s a tough choice to make. One I hope my mother continues to make for me for a few more years.

Till then I’ll dream about takeaway food from these weddings and revel in that comfort.

***Denotes that Patent is Pending. Any attempt to plagiarize and utilize the formula and/or the theory in whole or in part for any attribution, commercial or non-commercial purposes whatsoever will attract strict legal action. 

 

 

 

Surya Sudarshan AKA DJ Sunny: LIVE, Saturday night at 10pm!

Surya Sudarshan looked down at the deck he was playing, and looked up to see children holding martini glasses, grooving to the sick beat blaring out the surround sound audio system in his friend’s rooftop bar.

Everything seemed well. He had just made a slick transition from 126bpm to 127bpm, people were still jiving, and the song was still an instrumental, which meant S.S. had no sinking ships to save.

These kids, he thought. At 17, in front of the 14-year-olds, he felt like a Tata.

They all needed a lesson.

And a listening.

Everyone needed to listen to the classics. Suprabhatam at 5AM, followed by Bhaja Govindam, Kamakshi and Dolayam. Ah-ha!

That would teach them to appreciate music more. His morning playlist for the last 17 years, his source of joy, his soother of melancholies.

M.S. taught S.S. to be Simply Super.

*SNAP*

“Yo, hello?”, he heard a faint noise from down below.

“Play some Lana no?”, she said.

Sweat beads rolled down Surya’s face, his heartbeat increasing rapidly.

Ayyayo! Baap re! Kaapadam!

LANA IT SEEMS WHO IS THIS WOMAN AND WHY DOES EVERYONE WANT HER???!? COULDN’T THEY BE HAPPY WITH THE KATY PERRY HE HAD LINED UP NEXT?

Very calmly, S.S. responded with an “excellent” sign with his fingers. As a DJ, the sole motto was that the host was always right.

Even if she gave you a 11 inch laptop to organize your songs on.

As the little girl sauntered away from his line of sight, Surya prepared his ears for the loud chants that were coming.

“Forgive me, Tiesto, for I have sinned”, he cried, loading Summertime Sadness onto deck B.

Before the song ended, he ducked down into his brown Nike bag, taking out the Bisleri bottle his mother had purchased from Kamath Stores yesterday for this momentous occassion. Even Kamath uncle was surprised that Surya had finally landed his first gig, and gave him a cold one to crack open if he ever needed it.

Kamath uncle gave discount also.

What a nice man.

Surya took a swig, re-emerging in front of the laptop.

“DJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ SUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!”, he heard a voice bellowing from behind him.

Kapaaaadam!

That fool Ankit again.

 

The Binary: My Relationship with Sports

Born with a passport that carried the flag of a cricket-crazy country, I was lucky enough to be introduced to sports at a very young age.

My parents enrolled in me in all sorts of classes as a child, and I had the freedom to watch 50-over cricket matches when they were telecast over the weekends, without restriction to my allocated Television Time. The first pages of the newspaper I read was the Sports section, and nothing interested me more, except being up-to-date with every sport I could possibly lay my hands on.

As with every other aspect of my life, I found ways to make sports nerdy. I held massive passion in my heart, with emotions getting the better of me quite often. This once, in 2006, I watched an India-England series, and was so upset at losing, that I threw a tantrum, threw some pillows around, screamed, and made my grandparents laugh at how expressive I was being. That same year, I watched every single match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, from my grandparents’ home in Pune. My uncle (a Doctor) used to come home really late every night, and it was only then that I could spend time with him, so I stayed up with my grandmother, and watched every match that was telecast till he went to sleep.

After putting in all that effort, a power cut made me miss the finals. I later read about the headbutt in the newspaper, and watched it the next day. I was extremely angry.

But none of these emotions compare to the thrill I find in knowing numbers and statistics. The entry speed of a particular corner at the Monaco Street Circuit, the number of clubs that have been banned for violating financial fair play rules, the number of times Inzamam ul Haq has been run-out. These things give me a kick like nothing else does.

I latch onto this sentiment nowadays more than anything else because I don’t find numbers playing such a big role in my life anymore. Mathematics was one of my favourite subjects all through school, but doing Law has meant that I’ve been away from all the numbers for 2 years now.

Which brings me to the binary nature of sport.

As a sports fanatic, my memories of identifying my favourite club, my favourite players, and my favourite drivers, are by watching and figuring out which individuals represented the way I would respond to being in their shoes.

Were they honest – like Kumar Sangakkara, or Adam Gilchrist, walking off when they knew they had edged the ball?

Were they risk-takers? Did they leave their hearts out on the field of play?

Within a couple of games, you can figure this out.

Most people would accuse me of a “success-hog”, “fickle-minded” mentality, with the fact that I support Manchester United, Sebastian Vettel, Roger Federer, the Indian Cricket Team, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Bengaluru FC, Vishwanathan Anand, and several others.

But I’m not. The fact that I support the RCB should give you enough indication that I’m not.

Nonetheless.

The problem with figuring out who you support, especially when you’re younger, is that you develop an automatic hatred for your team’s rivals. I began to detest Nadal, and hated him at one stage, when he beat Federer at the Wimbledon Finals in 2008. I hate Liverpool FC. I used to get out of control in 2012 whenever Vettel lost a race to Alonso.

I don’t know what rational basis I had for this hatred. More often than not, it was just fuelled by my desire to see my favourite sportsperson/team win. Part of it was also fuelled by the humiliation of having to listen to the opposition’s supporters making fun of you the next day. No way I was going to put up with that.

I hated them so much that I stopped enjoying the beauty of sports for a while, and of healthy competition and respect. I never realized I could support a sport: call an entire sporting institution more organized and more entertaining than another, rather than focusing on an individual player.

And after all these years, watching Rafael Nadal today in the French Open finals, watching him win the final brought me to my senses a little.

We need to get rid of this binary concept.

 

CurdF

Disclaimer: I don’t mean to hurt any vegan sentiments by writing this post. All of this is humour. I am aware about the horrible conditions that are prevalent across some/most cattle farms, and how dangerous the milking process is to cows and other cattle. I have begun to read up more on veganism, and perhaps will try the vegan lifestyle some day. For now I am content being a vegetarian. I apologize if I invariably rile up some vegan activists, because I glorify curd. Feel free to rebel in the comments. I assure you, I will read what you post and any links you attach. I am trying to educate myself further.

That’s exactly what I typed while trying to find the URL of my own blog. CurdF. And it led me to new concepts in dairy science. Also known as curd firmness. Which means today’s blog, naturally, is about yoghurt, curd, and other variants of this dairy product.

I’ve loved daily products since I was a child who consumed Al Marai Milk by 2 Litre bottles a week, and buckets of Fresh Marmum Yoghurt. I loved how thick and creamy the curd was, how fresh it tasted, and how it never released any water when you cut into it. I enjoyed having the solid portion of the curd. I didn’t care how it came about, or what processes were followed to get me my curd. All I cared about was the consumption bit.

That was till I learnt about Louis Pasteur in History (would you believe it?) in Grade 2. Then I began asking the real questions: why don’t we boil milk? Is it a special NRI quality we possess? Can I just not boil milk and pray to the Gods that I survive an onslaught of bacteria? (the correct answer is no.)

On my trips to India for summer vacation, I discovered the joys of having my grandfather put milk coupons in a jute bag. The milk coupon always had a photo of God on it, and like an answer to my morning prayers, I always found hot milk available for my BournVita in the mornings (though occassionally my grandparents committed fraud by passing me Horlicks instead – despicable). We boiled milk every night, and my grandmother painstakingly “Set” curd.

After a long process of cooling milk down, while attempting to prevent it from curdling & creating “cream” (to please the NRI child, of course), the lactobacilli were in place to do their thing. Only to be rebuked the next day at lunch. The NRI child would scream, kick out, and lash out at the idea of “adding milk to curd” to take away the sour taste. My one month of surviving home-set curd was my biggest achievement as a child.

My Pune grandparents on the other hand always managed perfect curd. I don’t know how they did it, although I’m certain that at some stage, I did walk to RelianceFresh with my grandmother to buy me some Nestle Dahi.

What was the purpose of this history of curd?

To explain to you that I have now become accustomed to poorly set curd. I still complain, but I eat it anyway.

And to tell you about this horrid conundrum that awaits me when I reach University in what, 18 days or something.

Curd. That tastes amazing. Like nectar from the heavens themselves.

Which tastes disgusting when mixed with rice.

More tomorrow.

My Contribution to the Water Bottle Industry

Please get RFID tags. Please also, become unbreakable.

I am absolutely certain that I hold an unverified world record for number of water bottles unconsciously broken or lost. As a kid, I used to hang my water bottle on the hook at the side of my desk in class, which used to be really low.  A result of this was that everyone kicked the bottle on the way to their desk. Eventually, the bottle broke.

I also had a nasty habit of using the neck of the bottle to spin the bottle around my fingers. Without much control, the bottle used to go out of my hand and onto the wall in an instant. K.O. Bottle.

I lost another bottle yesterday. A shiny Green Tupperware.

Locating it would be supremely helpful. Would also aid my camel vibe, with the amount of water I drink.

Apologies for not blogging as often in June. But never fear. Today is a start. Lots of content to come. Pray for entertaining days ahead.

And rains.

Bangalore, you beauty.

Of Medals And Men, Or, How One Man Boosted My Self-Esteem By Doing Very Little

Ah, topical blogging. How I’ve missed you.

The first time I flirted with co-curricular success, I was given a merit card and a bright yellow badge to pin onto my Uniform, in addition to my House badge (Bronte all the way!), which I treasured so dearly. It was one of my greatest moments, having beaten my classmates in spelling the most complex words, such as, but not limited to, c-a-t, b-a-t, and s-c-h-o-o-l. What, five letter spellings? At three years old? Yes. And Yes. Yours truly had announced himself to the world. I could see it in my little brown eyes, in the distance. People queuing up for my autograph, people waiting for photos, while I wore my sunglasses and smiled.

In my world, I was a rockstar. The parental love affirmed this.

This trend continued. I brought home merit cards for things like poetry recitation, show &tell, singing, drama, and, my favourite, “Student of the Month”. Merit Cards were all I cared for outside of my studies, and the little cardsheet squares are treasured possessions till date. I was the talk of the town in Kindergarten, with the Gold stars my friends & I had collectively accumulated for our row. We won the “Best Row” award for two years in succession.

And that’s when first grade happened.

You see, children don’t understand “success”, and schools capitalize on sporting participation by incentivizing it to levels that are unimaginable. Can we get everyone to do a drill? Of course. Then by all means, let’s make all the parents sit on steps and cheer for their kid who is one beat out of sync with everybody else (that was me). I wore floats while swimming, tripped repeatedly while running, ran out of breath within 10 minutes of starting any sport.

The rules of sport were pretty well-defined, however. You were chubby? Goalkeeper. You were good at Math? Scorekeeper.  You had a bat or football, you got to pick who you wanted on your team. You had a bat or football? You decided how long people played. You had izzat and aukaat. A rare combination.

I was knock-kneed and had flat feet, which meant I tripped everywhere I went. I was also extremely, extremely chubby, and I couldn’t tie my shoelaces. Add all that with the schedule of studying and reading set up for me at home, and I was your quintessential nerd. Not for a lack of trying though. My parents enrolled me for classes or coaching in every single sport that is known to man. I think the only thing I haven’t tried till date is horse-riding, and anything related to it.

Nobody handed out medals for academic/co-curricular success. And thereby begins my tale.

I got certificates and merit cards, and was overjoyed, only to discover the adulation and celebration was reserved for those who were presented with medals and got to stand atop a podium, biting their medals for a photograph.

Those medals. How I longed for them. I wailed after Sports Days, merely because the only thing I got out of it was a ribbon. Or some other piece of memorabilia. As a child, I couldn’t cope with the horror of being bad at sports. And I was severely disillusioned by the fact that nerds didn’t get medals. So much so, that my parents recently informed me that they considered buying me a medal and a trophy. Just so I could feel like a part of the crowd.

That was until I got a Cricket Trophy. Just for participation. But still. A Trophy to keep at home, one that was all mine. My father was there for the entire duration of that match, and watched me wicket-keep, miss a stumping, but go on to play 20 balls of pace bowling and remain not out. He was proud. I was just happy and excited. There’s a photograph of this moment somewhere – I need to dig it out.

I still had 0 medals though. And it ached, and ached, because I kept trying to get my hands on one, but it never came.

Till I met Prem sir. Prem sir is my Basketball coach. He took me inn when I was in the 6th Grade, when my friends made fun of me for missing baskets from underneath the board, and over the course of 4 years, nurtured me into exploiting one side of the Court, enough to ensure that my friends didn’t make fun of me anymore.

I’m not an excellent basketball player, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it took a lot of work from him, every weekend, to ensure I had the confidence in my ability, and trusted my body enough – to coordinate with my brain, to run without thinking, and ensure I didn’t fall.

It worked wonders. I was happier, finally found a sport I was reasonably good at, and I began to enjoy playing – something I had only experienced with Hockey and Cricket before.

But I still didn’t have a medal.

It took me 14 years to get a medal of my own. Prem sir did this amazing thing where he brought together every community he coached at and hosted a tournament for every age group. Nobody went home feeling sad – it was mostly a celebration of how much we had learnt under him.

He didn’t have favourites, we were all his kids. And he took care of us on that day. Everyone went home with a medal of some kind, and a trophy to boot.

Nobody cares about the nerds in school. Nobody gives them medals.

Except Prem sir.

That small piece of metal changed the way I looked at myself for years to come. And I’m immensely grateful for him. All it took was the desire to recognize sportsmanship, and reward a bit of mediocrity. In times where meritocracy is failing, I think it’s alright to do that. Help people believe in themselves a little more.

On that note, I think #MedalsforNerds should trend soon. Maybe on Twitter or something. #NerdPride

The Disillusionment of Wearing Contact Lenses: A Personal History

“This whole glasses/spectacles shebang is a conspiracy”: An ageing Donald Trump not knowing where to place his signature for a renegotiated Paris Agreement (everyone should use his poor vision to make him re-sign the same instrument, whatay fun.)

I distinctly remember when I was first informed by my friendly UniCare eye doctor (saying ophthalmologist hurts my tongue) that I would require these spectacle things. Innocent boys of 5 years of age used to run around the sandpit in our apartment complex playing “catch & cook”, a glorified, NRI version of “cops & robbers”, when someone decided it was a good idea to make the chubby kid the denner, and then throw sand around when he came to close.

I was the denner.

The sand went into my eyes.

Egads, tears! Egads, loss of all social reputation with lassies!

So I ran up home, and the parents’ conclusion was that it would be useful to ensure no permanent damage had resulted from the fast one my fast friends played on their very, very slow and non-athletic friend.

Verdict: Glasses. -0.25 power on both eyes.

First pair of spectacles: Round, plastic, Harry Potter frames. With those horrible neck slings.

First nickname: Nerd

Current nickname: Nerd

When I was informed by the ophthalmologist (see, what is this word), my memory is of my mother breaking down into tears. She feared her young one would be excluded and called names by his friends (he was), and also feared he’d look ugly (he doesn’t).

But society attaches a peculiar stereotype to those who are accompanied by these magical glasses. Aside from the names: “Four eyes”, “Bug”, “Nerd”, “Loser” – all, common occurrences, everyone now believes you read a lot. Or, that you used the computer for too long and therefore got glasses.

Or that carrot will help you get rid of your glasses and cure your genes. What logic, I say.

To minimise the effect of this stereotype, picking out the set of spectacles suited to your face shape and size is crucial. Especially with your first pair. Think of it like a wizard’s wand.

“The glasses choose the nerd, Mr. Rao”, said NRI Master Sridharan

“I didn’t choose the nerd life, the nerd life chose me”, replied 6-year old Tejas, instantly making it into meme folklore and the thesis submission “Meme-History: Thug Life”, by SocialMediaAsocialRecluse at LensesUniversity

That first pair of spectacles will define your identity for the rest of your life. Merely because you will grow so comfortable with that particular shape on your face, that picking your next set of spectacles is an exercise your mother dreads – you’ll shoo away anything that looks remotely “stylish” or “cool”, because you had these beautiful round glasses first up.

I’m still teased for my first pair.

Nonetheless. My power increased rapidly, which meant that we kept paying to change the lenses on my frames. Eventually, after browsing through racks and racks of spectacle frames, and looking at how responsible their young one was behaving, my parents rewarded me with the luxury of buying rimless, light spectacles.

I hated those. Worst decision I made in my life. These rimless things were usually made of metal, so the nose-pads and the nose-bridge had limited cushioning/no protection of any kind. When a ball hit me in my face in 7th, I came home with a massive scar across my nose, right where the cartilage begins.

Tough times.

What sucked more was the effect it had on the swarms of girls who were chasing after this ladies magnet. The number went from 1902348045698432082 to 0 in an instant. While a lot of individuals have a thing for guys who looked older (and yes, rimless frames do, apparently give off that effect), 7th Grade girls really aren’t the crowd for that.

The name-calling goes from “Nerd” to “Bigger Nerd” i.e., “Academician”

As I grew older, I begged that my parents provide me an opportunity to wear contact lenses. My mother used to wear them prior to her LASIK operation, and urged them to allow me to experience the same feeling. Of not being frightened and doing permutations of “how to explain new spectacles to mom” when the basketball is flying toward your face.

They obliged in the 9th Grade. I’ll never forget it.

I went from Tejas Rao, serial nerd, to Tejas Rao, resident rockstar.

I kid, I kid.

But what social status these lenses gave me. I could experience vision without wearing glasses. And people could see my full face. Finally, an opportunity to flaunt the eyelashes I’ve inherited from mom instead of dad.

The only downside to this was that I couldn’t take naps on the bus. I was always scared the lenses would dry up supremely quickly and lead to some disaster. I eventually came to my sense, prioritized appropriately, and diligently slept on the bus daily.

As I relocated to University, I decided to return to wearing glasses, mostly because I was worried with how unhygienic and dusty hostels are. Didn’t want more foreign substances on my eyes. As such I would have been wearing silicon because of Bausch&Lomb.

Soon, my glasses became a huge portion of my identity. People stopped recognizing me for the swagger of my walk, but began to recognize me because of the bright blue colour of the temples on my spectacles (don’t be ignorant, learn the parts of your eyeglasses here).

So, this month, when my mother placed an ultimatum and forced me back to my lenses (by informing me I look better in lenses), I found it tough to let go of the spectacles.

Then I was on the basketball court early in the morning one day, and my glasses slid down my nose and fell onto the court. I had to bend to pick them up. I thought about how many times I would have to repeat this exercise over the course of my life.

Lenses it was.

Although I subsequently bought amazing spectacles on Lenskart. But more on that sometime else.