I wish bad news didn’t come on weekends. It would be great if the world could time bad news, or information that gets you thinking about yourself only when you have several things on your mind already – so that you’re forced not to think about it, or forced not to be over-critical or harsh on yourself.

If I had it my way, it would be excellent if I could become neutral to news that disappointed me. Take it in my stride and say, hey, that’s another thing I have to work on.

Sadly, however, that’s not exactly how the Universe works. You don’t get a break, and emotions can hit you at any time.

My problem is that I’m pretty critical of myself in general, so receiving news that disappoints me puts me into a spiral sometimes that gets me to re-examine and re-evaluate several parts of my life.

That, my friends, is what I would have reacted like a couple of months ago.

Today, receiving bad news makes me grateful for things like Netflix, and television and Sports – things I can do without thinking about myself or aspects of my life. Welcome distractions where I can feel like my brain is switched off and I have nothing to think about.

Moments like those are moments I enjoy the most these days, and it’s a realization that’s hit me three years into University, but I’m glad I’ve finally got there.




Meeting family members who have seen you grow up can sometimes be the spark you need to get your engine going again. When I’m running out of reserves, I often tap into my closest friends and my parents. And they’ll egg you on, sure, but once in a while, you lose sight of how many people have actually been involved in your upbringing.

Today, I had the good fortune of meeting one such person. Aunty was one of the people I was closest to as a young boy who visited Bangalore, and Akka was my first “sister”. Uncle, my father’s cousin, to me, remains the wisest man I know, and even in his silence, he manages to provide a level of comfort. They pampered me every single time I visited them. I was a spoilt NRI brat – if you’ve read this blog enough, you’re well aware of how spoilt I really was.

The three of them ensured I was spoilt beyond compare and shown that Bangalore too, had everything that Dubai had to offer, if not more. I can vividly recount one instance where we went to Amoeba, came home and ate home-made pizza: some of the finest home-made pizza I’ve eaten. I’d sing and dance, providing the entertainment (as most young kids are forced to do), complain to Akka about the travails of being left-handed, and play with all of her toys. My memory is hazy but I remember a rocking horse being a part of one of my adventures as well.

I didn’t meet them as often once I relocated to Bangalore. In fact, that’s true with a lot of my family – I met them more when I used to come for just a month. The sheer travel time to go from Whitefield to Old Bangalore areas (where most of my family is located), was too much of a deterrent.

But family is family. And family forgives very easily. While I’ve taken that for granted, I’ve been blessed that they have. It takes very little to reconnect with family members like people who have pampered you when you were young, and hold nothing but love for you in their hearts and their homes.

I dined with them this time in Bangalore, and it felt like I was young again, with Aunty ensuring there was a huge spread when I visited.

Today, when Aunty came, I got to spend one hour and a bit more with her without my cellphone – which is something I am so grateful for. We spent the time talking about where we were in our own lives. And today, Aunty taught me the art and value of being non-judgmental, and keen to live out your own desires. I won’t go into details, but sitting with her over a meal, walking through a temple/place of worship, and just talking to her – it all made me feel like a 5-year old again.

That spark kids have? A lot of it came back to me today. I felt energized, I felt like I could dream and that, one day, maybe every dream of mine would come true. And I think meeting Aunty was one of the reasons for that.

In addition to the amazing obattu and kodbale she got for me from Bangalore, of course.

Thanks, Aunty.


Of Birthdays, Cake, and Canines

Grief hits me late, I think. It’s difficult for me to put my thoughts into words at instants where I’m feeling emotionally drained, or physically exhausted as a result of the way my emotions work.

I also get really annoyed when people suggest writing prompts to me, but sometimes it takes a kick up the backside to figure out that you need to let your thoughts out.

My paternal grandfather passed away about 2 months ago. It’s not something I was able to address on the blog as quickly as I was able to write about the other losses, because it took me a lot of processing time. To be honest, I think I’m still processing things. I haven’t for example, changed the contact details on my phone. My grandparents residence number still reads “Pune Ajji/Tata”, and it’s difficult for me not to ask about my grandfather when my grandmother calls up. It had become habitual.

Every memory of my grandfather is linked very strongly with my understanding of my father and the relationship I share with him. The paternal side of my family, we’re all very similar beings. Tough people, strict, disciplined, but sharp, humorous, and hard-working.

All my mental images of my grandfather feature a bomber jacket with lots of pockets. The kind you could stuff several things into: sunglasses, an inhaler, a pen, a notebook, even some mints for the kids.  He was organized. Everything had a place, and a time. Nothing could be out of place, not even reprogramming the order of the channels on their cable television.

I think a lot of that came into my grandfather’s personality as a result of his time at the National Defence Academy, where he was the Head of the Physics Department.

Ah, was he in love with that place. Each time I visited Pune, I got the sense that he would do anything to live through those years again. I could see it in his eyes, each time I sat and marveled at the photo albums, and asked him to tell me what my dad was like when he was younger, or I asked him who the people in the photographs were. I could see it when he once forced me to watch the Independence Day parade on television, even though I really did not want to. When I saw it the most was when we celebrated one of his birthdays by visiting the National Defence Academy. It’s the happiest image I have of my dad, his brother, and my grandfather spending time together. We cut cake in the morning and departed for Khadakwasala, where we spent the day doing fun things like walking around and hearing my grandfather narrate stories about the place – with my uncle and Appa chiming in with their own stories. My grandmother used to tell me the funnier side of the serious versions they portrayed – which always bought a smile to my face.

He would never tell you when his birthday was, would you believe? Till today, I’m fazed by the fact that we celebrated his birthday 3 times in the July/August period – yet, it’s one of the most marvelous memories from childhood because I got to eat cake three times in quick succession.

Today’s one of those birthdays. I’ll probably get cake tomorrow to celebrate.

Pune Tata named me, so we’ve been pretty connected in that sense. Considering how attached you become to what people call you, I think he was the first one to ascribe upon me a unique sense of identity – to give me a purpose. Come to think of it, he’s also the first person I remember calling when I felt absolutely lost. In Grade 5, I learnt Newton’s Laws of Motion. I cared very little for Physics for a very long time, so I absolutely didn’t understand why these laws mattered. I remember calling him on the phone – our regular weekend call and telling him I didn’t understand the example my teacher had given me in class. He explained the laws using Cricket. That’s when I realized he got me, despite the fact I only spent three weeks under his wing each year.

Over the years, I understood more facets of his personality. I understood how much routine began to govern his life, and while I was critical of it, it’s only in his death that I understand how routine was a way for him of living life on his own terms and spending time the way he wanted to. Not how others wanted him to spend it.

I think that’s what a lot of us took from his passing.  That’s actually how he spent his final few days – asking to be discharged and taken home, taken to live, independently, on his own terms.

Thinking about things, I can recall him watching NDTV, and me getting super frustrated as a kid because I did not care for stocks – I wanted to watch some Pokemon thing. He yelled at me that day, I still remember, because 1) I accidentally shot a paper pellet past him with a rubber band, and 2) I was being irrationally stubborn about who had control over the television. That night, he gave me ice-cream.

All of that reminds me of my dad. He doesn’t like scolding people or yelling at people either. I find it hilarious. We’ll fight, and then sit in silence for a bit, talk things out, and then go eat something we love, or I’ll be afforded some privilege to do something I like – because I was yelled at.

My dad gets a lot of things I love about him from Pune Tata.

And my grandmother, who I think is the most independent woman in the world? She’s been able to carve out an identity for herself in a lot of ways because of Pune Tata and her exposure to the world through their relationship.

My grandpa gave me not just my name. He also gave me the canines I loathed while growing up, and began to accept as I matured. Just as mine grew, he began to have issues with his teeth – needing to get them pulled out and such.

That didn’t really stop him from eating things he liked.

Like I said earlier, the man lives on his own terms. And that’s what I’m going to miss about him the most. If there’s something I’ve learnt, it’s that you’re responsible for how you spend your time here, and you’ve got to take time out for yourself – no matter how hard it is.

I’ll miss you when I go to Pune, Tata. But I’ll see you around. I know I will.


If you spend half a decade at one place, it’s only natural that you’re going to think about how the changes you witness a place going through. With cities, you often view this in the form of progress – oh, look, there’s a new road being built, or hey, here’s the new rapid transit system the Government’s set up for us. And as you live and as you grow, you see your surroundings evolve as well.

Bangalore was one such phase in my life. Moving from Dubai, I moved into a city I had terrible misconceptions about – yet, by my final year there, I couldn’t tell Dubai and Bangalore apart (in a sense). I saw Bangalore grow. I saw Whitefield become a part of the Bangalore map, and eventually become the overpopulated, congested mess it now is.

I go through the same feelings at a very micro-level at every institution I’ve studied at. My first day at Inventure, the school celebrated having 500 kids. I could recognize all of them within my first term – if not by name, atleast by “Grade”. I knew relative ages of everyone. Soon, we saw an influx. Our school was small, so to speak. By the time I left, and each time I visit now, I get the sense things aren’t the same anymore. There are too many people I don’t recognize. There’s a new floor, there are new rooms. It’s all pretty different. For me, different, with my past, is a little uncomfortable because it takes away a lot of the nostalgia. Unlike “3 Idiots”, my friends and I are never going to have a moment where we go back to school and giggle like the idiots we really are about something dumb we did in the past. Or atleast, it doesn’t look like it. But the school has grown, and that’s something i don’t think you’ll ever stop feeling fiercely proud about.

Cut to University, and 3 years in, I can sense the change in the way the wind blows, in a way. When you study in a 5 year course, you see people born across 9 years – including your own batchmates. If you start your course in 2015, you’d see people born in 1993, and end college with kids born in 2002. It’s pretty insane. The generation gap is huge, and that reflects a fair amount in the way people carry themselves on campus.

With each new batch coming in, it also gives you opportunity to think about how you want to leave this place vis-a-vis how you entered. I, for one, entered this University with a Coca-Cola bottle in my hand and a goofy smile on my face because the architecture amazed me. I don’t think that would be a terrible way to go out, to be honest.

But, speaking more realistically – you end up asking yourself important questions. How happy are you being here? Has your enthusiasm died down? Do you see your image reflected in any of the first years? Can you identify with any of them? Do you feel old? Does that scare you? Do you want to be remembered on campus? Why does all of this bother you so much?

The truth is that it doesn’t.

Frankly, I really don’t think about these things. How I want to be remembered and whatnot is far too vague for me to comprehend. But if anything, I’d like to be, at present, someone who people are able to find a friendly face in. A lot of kids end up leaving their homes to come to University, and unfamiliar territory can be extremely scary.

If I’m able to be someone that helps people be themselves again – instead of what they’re pretending to be – because let’s face it, the first week of University is, in a lot of ways, pretense, I’ll be a happy man.

What a musing, I say.


You’re made of atoms,
You are matter,
You’re not manner,
Not form, to be judged,
You’re not method,
Not structure, or plan, to be assessed,
Re-evaluated, or fulfilled,
You are matter,
And you’d best remember that every time
Every time you feel inertia,
You matter.



It’s almost like your phone is vibrating,
Yet, in your half-asleep state, you recall your phone is on loudspeaker,
And then, it hits you!
A mosquito, for sure.
You’ve been feeling your leg itch for 15 minutes now.
Surely, that bloodsucker got to you.
So you swat in the darkness – swat the air with your might.
To no avail, that sound, it continues, plaguing you.
And as you toss,
So you see, someone sleeping next to you,


I have this weird fixation with institutions I study at. I’m not sure what to label it – but it drives me nuts.

Every time I join a new institution – and this has happened to me since Grade 6, I think of all the criticism I’ve heard about the place and say “okay, that needs to leave by the time I’m out”. Especially where it’s something I don’t necessarily view positively – those are characteristics of institutions I attend that I try eliminating the quickest. I’ve found this to become more of a challenge as I’ve moved up to University, and I’ve learnt one big lesson along the way.

Stop morally judging people or trying to assign your personal morality to your institution.

I tried doing this at school, I think, when I was School Captain. Decisions regarding student welfare were often taken based on my individual judgment about how I would perceive a change. I believe the student populace at that time had placed that trust in me to carry out that task – to make the decision based on collective interest, but I do think oftentimes when I was stuck, I thought about how decisions would impact me if I was the student affected by it – and then ended up choosing course of action (a) or (b).

But that’s not fair, I don’t think. Making these individual moral judgments can often assign personal morality to what is a unique place only because of the unique nature of people who study there.

My failure to understand this has led to a huge disconnect from my alma mater, and almost a loss of pride – something I try hard to fix each time I go back. I’m not able to identify myself with the school I studied at any longer – and that scares me. But maybe it shouldn’t.

Maybe it shouldn’t bother me that the school has done a 360 from my time there.


The return of the cold water bath has meant a lot of shower thinking time.

Nothing can compare to the feeling of cold water hitting your skin at 8AM when you’re groggy and it’s humid/cold outside. You would’ve sweat through the night, and you really need 8 more hours of sleep, yet, here you are, awake and pretending to be in your senses while you mindlessly brush your teeth.

Someone’s playing a song in the stall and you’re trying to understand how on Earth someone can be so bubbly so early in the morning.

On your way in, people are walking out – which is amazing considering you did attendance calculations to figure out whether to wake up at all.

And then you turn on the hot water tap. With what hope, what prayer, nobody knows. Yet, you turn it on, hoping for a clear stream with some steam. You turn it around more when no water arrives, hoping a water pressure issue means that the tap only functions when it’s fully on. No luck.

So you sigh, and yell at the void: “Garam paani hai kya?”

And because you’re a senior now, people reply “Nahi”. One junior will say “Nahi sir” and you’ll tell him never to call you sir again.

He will call you sir that evening.

You will sigh.

And you’ll turn on the low-pressure, cold water tap. You’ll run your fingers through it at ten second intervals so it feels warmer each time. You’ll check your phone because the pressure’s so low, the bucket’s still filling up.

Then some hopeful will come searching for stalls. You’ll smile, knowing fully well that you’ve earned this stall – and that you aren’t exiting for another 10 minutes.

That’s when you’ll shut the door and begin bathing.

The real demon is your back, man. Everyone talks about how cold water can freeze your extremities, but it’s really just your back that’s tough to get through. Once your back adjusts, you’re fine and you almost start feeling warmth in the cold water.

Someone swears.

Clearly they’re new here.

You return to your room and change and head to classes.

The feeling of cold water remains etched in your memory, ready to revisit tomorrow.

The worst part is that you can experience the same cold daily, yet every day feels colder than the last. I’m looking for a Spotify playlist to help me get through this.


I’ve fallen in love with food shows again, just as I’ve started trying to exercise a little more in life. That should make things interesting, to say the least.

My mum and I have always shared an appreciation for food, and my dad’s enabled this love so much by being willing to try out new cuisines – so long as they are vegetarian. Literally, growing up, the only restriction I’ve had, diet wise, is “let it be vegetarian”. That naturally meant mum and I watched Masterchef thinking about whether we could use potato the same way they used different cuts of meat, but really, really looking forward to every single dessert challenge – because that’s really where we found recipes we could execute. Although, the only recipe I think we’ve ever tried is making tzatziki.

However my mother never enjoyed competitive eating challenges and shows that featured competitive eating, so Man v. Food was an absolute no-no.

How this ties back to everything I’ve typed out so far is that I’m binge-watching the latest Man v. Food season and seeing all this food makes me so happy.



Nothing will ever compare to the feeling of talking to your best friends.

A couple of things I’ve actively been working on over the past few months – especially since April is devoting time to the people I love, whether that’s my family, my friends, or even people I’ve met once that I’ve had a great time with. That means replying to things more frequently than I usually do, and trying to learn more from them.

Over the last two years, however, my best friends have been the ones who’ve been this pillar of support and understanding for the priorities I had set in my life at the time. They were people whom (as a result of time zones), I could call at 4AM in the morning and not get yelled at. People who’d give up sleep to talk to me.

I don’t know if I can ever show appreciation for the amount they’ve done to keep our friendship intact. Because that’s what relationships are based on – a lot of effort from both parties to one.

It’s pretty nice thinking about that.