90/181

Will happen, happening, happened.

I’m struck by how lyrically emotional this is. I think you might be too. Let me know if you are.

Today, in conversation, someone used the word fascinating to describe one of their batchmates. I hadn’t heard the word fascinating in so long that I chuckled to myself.

When was the last time someone called another person fascinating?

Or something that had taken place fascinating?

To me, fascinating seems to have that air of superiority about it. If I was to create a GIF or a YouTube clip for it, it would be an old English man wearing a tweed jacket puffing out from his cigar looking at the first ever train or something and sighing, “fascinating”.

But my friend, he made it sound so endearing.

That’s when I realized I had forgotten about the word in it’s entirety. I use “interesting” a lot, to describe events and things and people. But not “fascinating”.

This took my brain somewhere else, and I’ve spent the last half an hour thinking about the other words in the dictionary I’ve forgotten because of how much I have ended up repeating words (such that they’ve gotten stuck in my head), and because of how infrequently others use these words.

And now I want to eat a dictionary.

 

89/181

Right now, there’s only one thought on my mind.

Will I ever be called to eat food items that are fully paid for and rate them?

In essence, will someone ever ask me to become a food critic and write critical pieces about the quality of food.

Literally, this has taken up so much thinking time. I feel like I could’ve used that time better. In that period, however, I have eaten:

  1. Half a box of Fruit Biscuits from Karachi Bakery, in Hyderabad
  2. Half a packet of Laung Sev from Lalit Namkeen, in Indore.

I am truly an Indian boy, which is a nice sentiment to feel as I type this message out.

My thoughts stem from the binge-watching I have done of the new Chef’s Table volume, and by how much I watch the Pizza Show. I think these are two ends of the spectrum when it comes to food reviewing. One, high-end with philosophy behind fine-dining, and one, affordable, with philosophy behind some of the most well-recognizable food to mankind.

I would like to be able to insert such philosophical thought into comprehending where food is from, which is why I’m likely to read a lot more books around food in the coming weeks.

But also, I would really like for people to pay for my food and to tell them what is good and what could be more accessible.

Mmmm.

88/181

This year I really wanted to write about books a lot more, and I thought if I stopped blogging daily, that I’d somehow manage to spend more time on reading and writing about the things I read.

You know where this is going.

Apart from the initial enthusiasm I had while setting up the website I would chart my reads on, especially because it rhymed (pageswithtejas.wordpress.com), I’ve put out 6 posts in 9 months. They aren’t even that long, nor are they particularly critical.

To say the least, while I am satisfied that it’s something I was able to embark on, it’s not something I read and am impressed by. Which is my goal.

Not too sure how to feel about it all, but I’m sure I want to correct it, so correct it I will. I feel like I dropped the ball on this a little because of my need to “chill” without realising how this was effectively the way I liked to chill.

 

86/181

I wish I could eat McDonalds for the first time once more,
And suffer the same terrible throatache I suffered because I drank Coke too quickly with my Happy Meal,
because the Coke had ice in it.

I wish I could eat my first Pizza Hut pizza again,
And marvel at the cheese stretch on their garlic bread,
And the fluffiness of the Pan crust.

Sometimes I wish I was 5,
And capitalism was a foreign concept,
As was obesity,
And fast food was a treat for doing something positive,
Not something I eat regularly to keep my taste buds alive.

 

85/181

Sometimes I look at how easily news is forgotten, and I think: if I do something spectacular, how relevant will that be in the society I was born in?

Just think about the news cycle in this year. Think about the kind of coverage the Indian media has done. Think about the multiple times the media as an institution has been attacked, and the kind of reason it’s been attacked for.

And then think about the kind of news that’s been missed out that people perhaps feel agitated about because of how it affected their community. Think about disproportionate coverage.

Think about tragedies that have taken place that haven’t been followed up on, and how quickly these tragedies, which stunned the social conscious, have been blown out the mind by fresh news about sporting achievements largely cricket oriented.

Think about all this, and there’s potentially an issue in the way our media covers things – atleast the way our mass media does.

To that end, a compliment to Reuters, who seem to be following the Myanmar issue and providing updates daily.

 

Caesar’s Last Breath | Sam Kean

Caesar’s Last Breath
by Sam Kean
Published by Little, Brown Group (2017)
Rating: ****

At it’s very core, this book is decidedly boring. There’s no reason for it to be interesting. It’s a book about the history of atmospheric gases. That basically means its stuff that’s literally, around us. Caesar’s Last Breath, may, in Shakespeare’s work, have produced some of the best lines of plays that we remember, but in reality, it probably was boring as well.

Safe to say, I was wrong about wondering why Rohan Joshi was reading this. The only reason I ended up procuring it was because the cover and the title amused me. By the end of the book, however, I was more amused by how shockingly little I know about the world. This book reinstated my belief in non-fiction writing and the importance of learning more by reading.

The argument Kean makes throughout this work is fascinating – that the air we breath today is made from what it was before we breathed it. That may sound confusing, but is perhaps the most apt way I can think of, to describe his argument. More broadly, the air you’re breathing in right now, could be the same air that Caesar breathed out when he last died.

This book ties together some of my favourite things: humour, history, and Science. Kean argues with tenacity and passion, and chronologically (for the most part) ties together an understanding of the air around us.

Caesar’s Last Breath ends not in the past, but in the future, with some dazzling speculation about what might go through the minds, not to mention the bodies, of the first space travelers to inhale the air of a planet beyond our solar system. It was a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading, and will recommend to everyone interested in Earth History in general.

83/181

You know how I recently wrote about being back in my home city? Well, I’m back home today. And my loose use of the word home is because the last 3 days taught me a lot about what “home” is.

I’m super fussy about where I stay when I am in Bangalore, and try to make it a point to visit the house I grew up in every single time I am there. This time, though, I realized, that I had a home where my family was and wherever I was comfortable – and thus, even my aunt and uncle’s house is now, home for me. Over the last few years I’ve been very stubborn and made some terrible logistical calls based on my desire to go “home”. This realization changed that. It also made me  happier to just be in a place with a roof over my head that sheltered people I loved.

And had South Indian food.

I really needed to be off campus. I could repeat this several times and nobody will realize how much I needed to go see Bangalore and smell it’s air and feel the breeze on my face.

I needed to meet some of my friends. Especially those who were leaving, and 3000, who has become an integral part of things I do on the daily. I needed to meet some seniors and catch up with them – only to understand whether this fourth-year phenomenon was common, or something that was affecting me unnaturally.

And I really needed to eat rasam and dosa.

But I’m back home now. I’m back to the comfort of my hostel room – energized and ready to take over Koba from the corner where my bed lies. I’m ready to eat mess food for another month, without complaining, because I know that there is better food around the corner.

 

82/181

I think speaking to people who aren’t your age is the greatest way to get some perspective on your own life. People who are older, people who are younger. It’s amazing how much you can learn from them.

Especially those who have seen you across different ages: they’ll notice the smallest of changes, like the bags under your eyes, or the change in your body posture. The difference between conversations, and the way you talk about particular subjects.

There are a lot of ways your mood and your headspace impacts you, but you’ll never fully realize them till somebody points them out (unless you’re very aware of how you’ve changed).

That’s something I realized when I met my high school teachers the other day.

 

80/181

I’m in my home city.

I’m fussy about this place. I like doing very particular things when I come here, and I like traveling the 35kms+ outside the city centre where my home is, because it reminds me of something I regularly did as a kid. Living life on the edge, quite literally. It also takes me back to rows of greenery, and open spaces, with cats and the sounds of children playing cricket, or football, or whatever sport is in season now. It takes me back to the Court I called my home Court and the tournaments I played with a home Court advantage, when I was younger.

I’m in my home city.

There is an Adiga’s around the corner that I have never eaten at, only taken parcels from. Yet I know their prices and their menu hasn’t changed in a few years. There’s a new hospital that’s opened up – except it’s a very old hospital, just one with new management and some new branding.

There is still trash in the corner of the road, something my aunt, uncle, and grandparents have been trying to eliminate for more than 10 years now. But the trash remains, as do the cows that cross our paths when we walk across the main roads.

There are autos which go by the metre, and autos who want wonandhalf, a concept which is known only in this city, and nowhere else in the world.

There is the smell of rain before rain arrives, and the knowledge of beautiful weather persisting all-year round.

There is family – the people I have spent more time with in the last 4 years than I did for the 16 years of my life before I came to college.

There is my mother tongue – the language I don’t think in, and speak with an accent, but the language that everyone in my family knows. And the language my friend has coded an app for.

I am in my home city.

And it has changed,

But it is still home.