2019: One Hundred and Thirty Eight

I have immense appreciation for people who are able to take out time to help out others who seek to carry out functions in a similar space that they currently occupy. An example of this is seniors helping out juniors at various activities on a campus, but that’s nothing compared to adult, working professionals helping out college students and giving them gyaan that can potentially help them out.

I’m always very grateful to sit and listen to people and discuss ideas with them – especially when I can learn things from those conversations. Lunchtime today provided an opportunity to do just that, with one of my supervisors from a previous internship. I really look up to him, professionally, so getting to spend time with him was obviously something highly fascinating.

And since, I’ve come home and watched YouTube videos, talked to friends, watched Harry Potter, and cooked some food.

Life is swell.

Tomorrow though, I’m hoping to wake up and go for a run & do some exercise. Will I succeed? Time will tell.

 

2019: One Hundred and Thirty Seven

Today has been a very, very fun day.

I woke up super late (by all standards).

So many of my friendships are based on constant text messaging, or keeping in touch via WhatsApp – especially considering I’m currently in a city that isn’t technically my hometown for 8 out of 12 months in a year. The thing though, is that a lot of them have developed very organically after maybe one meeting, just owing to the fact that it’s easy to converse with them. Meeting these people face-to-face always gives me butterflies when I’m on my way to meet them: will our face-to-face meetings be as easy-going as our friendships on WhatsApp are? Will I discover something new? Will they discover something new or find they don’t like my company? Will the dynamic of our WhatsApp relationship change?

More often than not this doesn’t happen. Everything is fun, and I end up enjoying myself and continuing to stay in touch with these people. I find it amusing that these thoughts even swirl around my head. Today I met someone who I’ve just managed to keep in touch with and thoroughly enjoy talking to about everything. That feeling is lovely and warm and happy.

At night though, I unleashed a party animal in me I didn’t know existed also. I think that’s the effect of college. I’ve been to parties before, but it’s been super low-key for me because I’ve lounged around or played music at these parties. Going karaoke-ing on Friday night has to be the greatest suggestion and activity I’ve done or am likely to do this break.

What an exciting, wild time.

2019: One Hundred and Thirty Six

Today, I travelled across Bangalore to attend a family function, and to eat bale elle oota. It was my first trip on the BMTC bus service that runs across the city, which was pretty fun. Especially considering I got to pass by several points on the old route I used to take over the weekends for LST (this isn’t a drug, it’s a Law School Tutorials service – to prepare you for the entrance exam to Law Schools across India). I was introduced to the bus by an Uncle who was desperate to ensure that I was thrown out of my comfort zone as soon as I shed my bratty, NRI-label. I remember he told me that he often played this game where he tried to guess the backgrounds of the people who were getting on or off the bus. I was basically filled with a flood of memories of that game, and a few fights I witnessed as I travelled literally across the city.

Bale elle oota, however, is worth all that travel. And more. If you’re unable to pronounce the phrase I’ve typed out, try saying it like this: Baley elley oootah. That’s a good enough pronunciation guide, I would think. The phrase translates, roughly, to: meal eaten from a banana leaf. For me, though, the phrase translates into an emotion.

BEO’s (it’s far too tough to say the entire thing each time. Although people shorten it to “Oota”, I’d rather not.) are the most happening event of any function. they’re often where cameramen and video crews will apprehend you and take the worst kind of photos imaginable: the mid-bite, unsure of what to do but staring intently into the camera lens photos. You know the one. But they’re so memorable for so many other things.

I remember BEO’s from before 2006. A couple here and there. There used to be a lot of Sathyanarayana Poojas that used to be organized by my parents, or someone in the family, or extended family, and an invite would always result in a BEO. But, the one that stands out is this one in Basaveshwaranagara that I attended with my grandfather.

My grandmother used to work at a College, so most days of my summer break, my grandfather was responsible both for my well-being and my entertainment. I think this was a wedding close by to home. My maternal grandfather is probably one of the only people who has been able to properly, properly discipline me without me being scared of him at some point in my life. Mostly because he introduced humour, or a story, or some reasoning into everything I questioned, disliked, or decided not to enjoy. In my memory, we walked to this wedding (if it was one). As a kid, I got super restless and cranky about walking – and I remember him telling him I’d get really good food once we got there.

He didn’t lie. He still doesn’t.

That BEO stands out in my memory because it was the first time I did two things: (a) I took a second helping of rasam-rice, something I think is a delicacy and tastes SO different depending on whose hand makes it, and (b) I finished my entire elle. I was so proud that I had managed to accomplish the latter. Here’s why.

You see, BEO’s are notorious for the sheer quantity they end up serving, in addition to see the variety of foodstuff you get to experience. There’s atleast about 3 types of curries, 2 types of salads, 3 things to eat rice with, 1 separate rice preparation, 2 sweet things, papad, and more. If people want to have a BEO with all the works, you’ll end up experiencing things like pineapple gojju, which has, as per my data, always been a 50/50 dish. They’re also supremely notorious for the pacing of the servers. Because BEO’s are mass events where around 100 people eat together, the servers tend to drive the pace at which the food is eaten, rather than the pace of the people eating.

At age 8 I felt like it was the biggest accomplishment in the world. To have secured two helpings of rasam in a big crowd (in a large part thanks to my grandfather), and then eating everything I had taken, I understood, only then, what zero food wastage truly meant.

While my Munji (thread ceremony) re-emphasized those values, atleast off the elle, I think that was really the idea I became one of the people I looked up to. Food-wise.

2019: One Hundred and Thirty Five

Contrary to every notion readers of this blog might have about what I am like in real life, I am an extremely private individual. This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy talking about myself: I do. I just do it rarely, even though I very much enjoy the company of several people, and I love making new friends.

I think the best way to get to know somebody is by visiting where they grew up with them. Today, I had the opportunity to play host to most of my closest friends from University, barring one, who live in Bangalore. Having them at home meant that I was able to share a massive part of how I grew up and the things I did as a child – on the outskirts of Bangalore. And I also got to share how different my experiences were from theirs. It’s so strange: all of us come from the same city, but the diversity in the manner in which we’ve been brought up and the parts of the city we’ve spent time in, means that we’ve each had very, very differing ideas of similar concepts – like cycling. Or playing football on the streets.

Catching up with college friends outside of the college environment also makes you realize the kind of burden the confines of college can put on you: your mood,  the kind of things you talk about. They’re very different outside of campus walls. That’s something I appreciated about having my friends over today.

Aside from that, they bought me red velvet cake. Which was yum. And I got to spend the evening with friends I really enjoy spending time with, which is another victory.

All in all, great day. Can’t wait to see how the rest of this holiday pans out. Can’t believe 3 days are already done.

2019: One Hundred and Thirty Four

Remember all those plans I had yesterday that I wanted to execute? The whole wake up and be active and run errands bit. I managed all of that today, and I don’t think I could have done much else in my power to make this a good day. Which, to me, signifies the greatest possibility of a good day being achieved.

Essentially: I accomplished the bank stuff I had to get done, I cooked myself pasta, played basketball for an hour, and chilled out at home. Managed to also copy-paste most of the blog posts I’ve written through exam season from Microsoft Word onto WordPress. I know that sounds extremely lazy, but trust me, the exercise of copy-pasting gets a lot harder when you have to generate individual posts and justify them, rather than being able to copy-paste directly.

Cooking pasta for myself has always brought a lot of quiet comfort with it, especially when I am alone in the kitchen. There is no part of the process I do not enjoy. Right from the start, where I boil pasta, to the end, where I grate mozzarella cheese onto my plate and make a mess of the black granite in my kitchen, it’s a very, very fun process. It’s even more fun when I’m experimenting with ingredients. Today, I added another element by watching The Avengers while waiting on things to boil and cook. I know for a fact that I will be cooking pasta again before my mother returns to spoil me with her cooking. Then I will cook the pasta for her. While rasam and curd rice is the comfort food of my soul, pasta is the comfort food of my hands. One day I want to stop relying on store-bought pasta. That will be my greatest accomplishment in the short-run.

Anyway, you see how I said I went and played basketball? That wasn’t originally a part of today’s plan at all. I wanted to swim. Honestly, because the weather is well-suited for the activity, but also because, what’s the point of having access to a facility if you aren’t going to use it? I had suited up and everything and confidently strutted to the Club House, only to be met with prohibitive pricing and politics that is far too intricate to be detailed on this blog. I’ll put it simply: adult egos make children suffer every time where community interests are at play. This is because of a few reasons: (a) the betterment of future residents of the community is given a lower priority than an immediate, short-term fix, (b) future residents of the community are not considered stakeholders in any decision-making processes involving the community, (c) funds are spent on mechanisms that are not necessarily likely to succeed in securing community interests, but rather on mechanisms that are backed by a larger proportion of the politically active members of the community.

There’s a lot more to that rant, and I can express it to several individuals who I believe are responsible for my inability to access the Club House. However, I have 3 weeks here, my mother lands next week. It is a topic that is worth discussion after more information is received.

(I am strongly opinionated because I was prohibited from accessing the Childrens’ Park 10 years ago, when I was a 10 year old, amongst other decisions that I have fully, vehemently disagreed with – in their intent, framing, and execution.)

2019: One Hundred and Thirty Three

Man, I had massive plans for today. I thought I’d wake up, go run, and then run some bank errands that I had pending in the morning. Then I had plans of cooking myself some good lunch, and then heading out again for a swim, or some basketball. Coming home, working, and then cooking dinner and sleeping.

I did maybe 10% of that.

See, whenever I come home, I come home to teething problems of a house resurging from being shut to becoming fully operable. So we’ve got a standard run of checks we run as a family: electricity everywhere, water everywhere, WiFi, the stove, the fridge, and a couple of other things. If everything’s green, we’re good to go. If one thing goes kaput, we deal with it and figure out how to get it up and running.

I woke up this morning and the electricity was what chose to go kaput. Thus started a day of waiting on people and hurrying people to fix a problem – mostly because I wanted access to the comfort of my air conditioner again. It isn’t even that hot in Bangalore, but having access to an electronic gadget is a privilege that I have been afforded, so ensuring I am able to have the option of whether or not to exercise that privilege (choosing the negative response more often than not) is not an option I will easily let go of. Atleast not without some attempt to ensure I can get things functioning.

I’m pleased to say that everything’s up and running now. About 5 hours of waiting later.

I did my waiting on the couch, because the only room with the electricity working was the hall – so I was able to use my fan, which rocked.

Anyway, speaking of electronics, I must tell you what I purchased for my birthday. Using some money I had earned as a result of my internship at WIMWI, I purchased a Novation Launchkey Mini. This is a MIDI Keyboard, a keyboard that you connect to your computer, and use a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) to trigger sounds on the keyboard and record and make music. It’s a device that I’ve longed for since Grade 9/10, when I first started recording piano covers – and then when I went into using FL Studio to make orchestral music. I’m looking forward to learning how to use Ableton Live over the next 3-4 months and then starting to upload music again on my Soundcloud without being called out for copyright violations by the community owing to sampling.

2019: One Hundred and Thirty Two

Ah, I’m home.

I flew Air India into Bangalore this morning – taking a very early flight to reach home in Whitefield just before 7AM. What an experience that was. Ahmedabad airport has to be one of the strangest airports I’ve ever flown through – especially the international terminal. The last time I was there, and I flew to Dubai, the immigration counter was just for a few hours. As a result, even though I had finished checking-in and I had my boarding pass, I couldn’t go through security checks, nor could I access my boarding gate. Additionally, my friend and I noticed how much better the domestic terminal was in comparison to the international terminal in terms of the food options and vibe generally – you felt more like a traveler in the domestic airport than in the international one, which was something I found odd.

This time, however, the sheer number of flights taking off within the same time-slot caught me off guard. There was a massive, massive rush to get through a baggage X-Ray (a procedure which is inconsistent across airports in India, and probably needs to get relooked at by some authority or the other) because there were 10 international flights operating larger aircraft models, all scheduled to depart within the same 2 hour slot. Most of them were connecting flights with through check-ins, but were distinct codes nonetheless, so the crowd was ridiculous. Coupled with the understaffing at the airport, the experience wasn’t all that great.

However, flying Air India was the best decision I made, flight-wise. The Indian aviation sector has been hit pretty badly after Jet Airways tanked, operations wise (and I spotted a SpiceJet flight running the Jet Airways colourway). As a result, flight prices have skyrocketed, and direct flights connecting popular ports have been affected, with airlines scrambling to target markets and routes on which Jet was popular by introducing stopovers. For example, where Jet operated an Ahmedabad-Hyderabad service, Indigo added a Hyderabad stopover to their Bangalore route – incurring a lower overhead to operate a distinct route.

I can’t do that stopover life, and I’m not willing to pay exorbitant fares to fly. Air India gave me a 50% discount (because I’m a student), flew direct, and allowed 25kg checked baggage. And, it departed on time, gave me some food, and got me safely to my destination. There’s not much else I would have asked for when I chose to fly the airline. I don’t even remember the last time I flew it – I’m guessing somewhere in 2005/06. So coming back, to me, means I’m here to stay.

Landing at home is a beautiful feeling. Every single time.

Meeting people you haven’t met for 4-5 months, but wanted to meet every single day is also indescribable.

Celebrating your birthday one day late with pizza, banoffee pie, great company, and with my semester done?

Priceless.

2019: One Hundred and Thirty One

Guess who is Twenty-One years old now? That’s right, yours truly.

The day’s started off with some black forest ice-cream cake at midnight, followed by an intense study-sleep-wake up dazed cycle, a good exam, and then some lying around on my bed, followed by some pizza, and packing to wrap up the semester.

Which is a pretty great day to me. Finishing the semester on my birthday wasn’t ideal, because I was hoping to be in Bangalore or Dubai to celebrate, but it turned out pretty well.

I don’t really feel any different being twenty-one to be honest. The only thing I’ve now attained is the ability to purchase liquor if I wish to, by giving my own identity card, and second, the ability to legally be married under Indian Law. It’s a strange set of rights for the State to recognize, and I’m sure there are more, but turning 21 doesn’t feel any different from any of my earlier birthdays. I’m sure the effects of being this old will hit me at some point later on, but that’s for another day.

For now, I’m happy to be at the airport on my way back to Bangalore.

2019: One Hundred and Thirty

Second last day on campus, even semester 2019. Waah.

So the last exam I have is Air and Space Law, which is a super fun subject that deals with the laws pertaining to aviation and outer space. It essentially lays down several tenets, including the fact that civil aviation aircraft must not be shot down by countries, and also that no country should attempt to claim some part of the moon as their own. It’s a subject I’ve been fascinated by since I did my first moot court competition in my first year of Law School, and something I’m hoping to get to apply in the future – so studying it is very easy for me, as a result of the natural interest I have in the subject, and the kind of legal regime countries have been able to agree on for (literally) a world we do not entirely know of as yet.

I’m enjoying reading through everything. What I like (and dislike) about the course is the kind of context that’s been built into our classes. It’s really enjoyable because it makes the Law feel accessible, and practical. At times, however, the amount of context we’ve learnt outweights the amount of Law we’ve read or been taught, as a result of which a lot of my understanding of this Law is in the abstract. That’s not something I’m particularly fond of. However, I must say, if there was one class I was always awake in, it was this one. That, for my fourth year, is quite the achievement, and thus deserves high praise.

Today a few seniors I am close to are leaving campus. With this batch, the leaving doesn’t feel as dramatic as past years’, mostly because I know that several of the friendships I have with these seniors are ones that can seamlessly transit to a friendship outside of the confines of our campus life.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll be turning 21! Quite excited. Let’s see how the day pans out, for it’s definitely going to involve an exam.

2019: One Hundred and Twenty Nine

Well, that didn’t go poorly at all. In fact, I think it was probably the best paper I’ve written this semester. Hopefully my marks reflect that. Even if they don’t, the happiness I derived from that paper means a lot to me. But wow, did I walk out with a bruised hand at the end of it. See, as a left-hander, I write really weirdly. My hand bends at the wrist to form a ninety degree angle with my arm. So where paper is not printed well, or is cut poorly, my little finger bears the brunt of the paper cuts. That’s pretty much what happened today.

A long nap later, what dawned on me was that I was three days from going home. Hearing that news has made me immensely happy.

2019: One Hundred and Twenty Eight

Yeah, the sentiment from yesterday has carried on to today. I definitely feel like my exams are over, albeit with the full knowledge that I have two more papers to give. This, as I stated yesterday is solely owing to the fact that the toughest exam in my repertoire of six subjects this semester has finished up. This is not to take away from the difficulty of other subjects I have remaining: they’re equally difficult in terms of how the papers could end up being. But none of them have been as poorly taught or structured. Moreover, none of the subjects I have remaining is as far removed from what I am interested in, that Tax was.

Which is the core of my argument for why the toughest paper ought to be either the first paper or the last paper that students give. If it’s the first paper, students will get the most amount of time to prepare for the exam. Moreover, being done with the paper will be more relief than anything else, and won’t really affect how they view the rest of the papers. Atleast nobody will feel like exams are over, because there are far too many left for you to feel like the entire exercise is done with. However, the downside to this is having a bad first paper may make everyone feel like trash, and the likelihood of having a bad paper when the subject is difficult is higher than it is with a relatively easy subject.

So I’d advocate for the toughest paper to be last. Probably an unpopular opinion, but my procrastination today has taught me atleast this much.

Also, what is up with modules being deceptively long. How does one subject have 6 modules but have the same amount of course as a subject with 3 modules? Why is the world like this? Prima facie it looks like the course is easy. Then you start studying and there’s layers to what you are expected to know. Then you find out it’s an application-based paper.

I really should have started earlier, but I regret nothing. My Tax break was well-earned, and I cooked some amazing pasta today.

2019: One Hundred and Twenty Seven

I am done with Taxation Laws forever.

I didn’t need too many marks on the end-semester exam to pass, as a consequence of which I know I’ll definitely pass, considering that I attempted every question on the exam. However, my goal at Law School hasn’t been to just pass. Whether I’ll meet up to my expectations is something on which I’ll leave the jury out, but I think that I genuinely prepared for this exam as best as I could. What I mean by this is that for a poorly taught, terribly unstructured course, I did my best to structure everything in a form that I could understand. I learnt all the sections and their applicability to the best of my ability. I tried remembering as much as I could. And I slept a little. Which caps off the best preparation I think I could have done.

The only thing I slipped up on my judgment prior to the exam is that I chose to study and glance through the pre mid-semester portions. This, although the professor teaching the course had indicated that “questions once asked would not be repeated”. But she continued to include those portions in the end-sem portions too, and I don’t really trust her, so I thought it was worth spending some time on.

In either case, the course is over forever, and this is a truly joyous moment. The work I had done at my internships had introduced me to the subject in a completely different light, and I genuinely looked forward to learning how Taxation systems worked and the principles on which they were based. Unfortunately, that was only one module, after which the intricacies of tax calculation and other allied subjects took over our studying aside from how the Law worked.

So I celebrated post-exam, by rewarding myself with a 5-hour long nap, and 2 hours worth of binge watching on YouTube. My mother chuckled again because she was no longer sure whether I was in exam season. To me, to be honest, I think I’m done. I have 2 more papers, but finding motivation is going to be pretty difficult. I know it’ll come, it’s just that finishing the toughest paper in your entire course gives you relief like much else does in life.