Families/Space

One drumming to her own tune,
One humming Clair de Lune,
Pairs never clashed as did the
The Sun,
and The Moon.

One liked red,
One, blue.

One preferred rain,
The other, a clear sky with a golden view.

While one gorged on Chips,
The other focused on his hips.

Society thought there would be:
Conflict, Chaos.
But forgot that Communication and Conversation,
A knack of picking battles, and
Never going to war,
Would lead to three bodies in harmony,

Inexplicably, sometimes,
Opposites attract,
But if you search hard enough,
Maybe there’s a whole world holding the Sun and the Moon together.

Beach, Baby

Some of my fondest childhood memories come from the association I have had with the beach. As a kid, my parents used to take me to Mamzar and I’d slowly waddle to the edge of the water, letting out high-pitched screams each time the sand slipped away from below my feet. When the water touched my skin, I remember freaking out at how cold it was, but also, I can recall, that as I grew older, the same cold water brought a massive smile to my face.

I always imagine the worst outcome possible – before having to adjust my brain and the frame in which I’m thinking to what realities actually are. The problem with that, was that every single time my father asked me to turn my back to the water – so he could click a photograph, I’d panic and imagine myself falling because my feet weren’t sturdy enough. To prevent that, I’d use my small toes to dig up holes in the sand in which I’d bury my feet, so I could stand, rooted to the spot.

Other incredible fun times were school trips to the beach. My Grade 1 Class got to go party at the beach one day, and all I wanted was one of those buckets with a sandcastle shape already made for me. Instead, I got a Green Shovel and a Yellow Rake, which I used to create a race-track in the sand for the Hot Wheels cars my friends & I had carried along.

Since we’ve relocated to India, I’ve barely had any exposure to beaches. The last beach I remember seeing with my parents was Bentota, in Sri Lanka. But the last beach I actually saw, was Pondicherry, with my friends. That was 2 and a 1/2 years ago.

I didn’t realize what I had missed out on till I stood on the beach again today. We reached just as the sun set, and in the fading light, managed to capture a few photos. I dropped my sandals and waded in toward the water. And each time water rose to the shore, I couldn’t help but appreciate how the gravitational forces of the moon were increasing the force with which the water approached my legs. But more importantly, I kept seeing this one still photograph of me as a baby, playing back in my head.

Damn right I’m cool.

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Thoughts at the Middle

I’m halfway through Law school.

That calls for The Middle, by Jimmy Eat World.

It’s precisely what the journey has been so far. A lot of enjoyable moments, a couple of instances of self-doubt, and having fun through them both.

Last semester was a semester more personal than previous ones. I spent a lot of time on myself, on my reading and my writing, and other goals I had at the start of the year. It’s something I had to push myself to do, and I did feel guilt at the work I missed out on, but, I’m getting to a position where I’m comfortable with balancing personal goals with things I really want to do and opportunities I want to take.

Here’s to 2.5 years more.

Also, I think I’m going to try writing fiction soon. Let’s see how that pans out. I hope you like the music.

Curd rice out.

 

Art and I

Never got around to typing this completely, and I’ve got about 2 hours to spare before I leave campus for my flight, so, why not?

Also, there should be a series of posts going up today (in the next few hours, I think). Hopefully I’ve written this one, and then one on a general examinations thing, and then one on my thoughts on being halfway done with Law school. It feels like it’s been forever since I last typed.

Art and I share a complicated relationship. Everyone in my family appears to be talented with the arts and crafts, but I inherited none of it. Asking me to use scissors or participate in gluing things was usually a massive mistake. I couldn’t cut a straight line, because left-handers cannot use regular scissors (a convenient excuse I found I could use), and often, I ended up gluing my hands and leaving a grey mark that merely absorbed water as I ran my hand under the tap.

I wasn’t good with drawing either. As I told you, my grandmother had to teach me how to draw a fish in Grade 2/3, and subsequently, my mother took up most drawing duties for projects. I did the writing bits and the entire planning – even ended up sketching ideas on a whiteboard. But the final diagram was a group effort: my mother and I against my art demons.

The only thing that helped me comfort myself was the cards that I made. I used to use minimal art skill, but maximum love, to make fun cards for birthdays and anniversaries. Slowly, once my grandpa taught me how to navigate the internet, the thing I discovered was that I had a flair for copying things I saw on my computer – so sketching card covers became extremely easy. There’s a pile lying around at home.

In Grades 10 and 11, when I ran for Student Council, I came up with a bunch of puns to complement my campaign symbol: which was a pair of spectacles. I plastered boards with memes. But the thing that caught most people’s eyes (and this is in a video too), were the posters I had on blue chart paper. My mother traced round spectacles and wrote out my jokes on most of them. Together, we won House Captaincy, and School Captaincy, and those were definitive experiences in my life.

Puns come easy to me. Diagrams don’t. Chemistry orbitals were tough to draw out, my Physics Alternative to Practicals scared me more.

The worst though? Figuring out if lines were straight even when I had a ruler.

And using a protractor to draw a circle. Once mastered, that was super fun, but till then? The path is gruelling.

Which is why inktober was super liberating for me. So, thanks a ton for reading or even clicking on the links in my tweets. I had fun doing it this year, so maybe next year I’ll take it more seriously.

Curd rice out.

P.S. – Here’s a fun photo my grandpa sent me (Thanks, Tata!). I did this as a child with his help over summer. Art-wise, no one matches my grandfather – he’s done 500+ reverse glass paintings, and tries out new art styles every now and then, with pencil sketching being another forte of his.

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Long Weekend

I’ve been unwell for 3 days now – waking up consistently with a fever, some sniffles, and then beginning to cough to get the sputum out of my system. Which has led to some classes being missed outside of my quota for committee work, but it’s given me some down-time.

Since the start of September, I’ve pretty much been hopping from event to event in formals. I went through my phone’s Gallery and found 120 photos featuring yours truly, but all of them in the same formal Shirts I possess – which I ended up washing and using for all events. Aside from the realization that I’ve gotten to a point in life where having a multitude formal shirts is now necessary, I figured out that I hadn’t really taken a break this month.

Which is why I’m very glad the long weekend is here. Recently I wrote a small piece on how difficult I found taking time off. But I figured that perhaps this entire illness episode is my body craving down-time and sleep.

I’m also glad I could use the time to get back to my reading, which had taken a bit of a hit with all the work going on.

There’s a lot to look forward to this weekend, not least the extra amount of time I get to spend in my room. And the fact that I don’t need to wear formals this Monday.

If someone could get me Italian food right now, I’d be very grateful. (just putting this out there.) Missing home a fair bit.

Manipal, Money, and Pals

While chatting with a friend this evening, I was not so subtly reminded I was more than 2 weeks without a blogpost. That’s not a feeling I want to delve into too much. Essentially, I got caught up debating and practicing for debates, while working out some stuff for examinations (which I’m in the middle of right now), and losing a whole bunch of sleep to other activities I do. A couple of updates on my personal life shall be left out of the blog for a bit. (not that you would’ve known anyway)

Today’s entire post will be devoted to the experience that was debating in Manipal, a town in Karnataka. Manipal is essentially a town built around a University, the Manipal University, with colleges affiliated to it teaching a range of disciplines. That entire concept is something I’ve never been exposed to earlier, so to get a first-hand insight into what that’s like was something I really loved.

As a direct consequence of being a University town, there are very few adults around the entire city. It’s quite likely that any adults you meet are affiliated to the University in some capacity: be it as alumni, faculty, or even administrative and allied staff. It’s ridiculously cool. Everyone there is there to study. A town full of nerds. The best kind of town.

Atleast that’s what I thought, for a bit. Student culture, however, is a beast of its own. There are enough parties to go around, enough substances, and a beach 15 minutes away from the town. Additionally, there are some mindblowing places to eat. Apart from an INOX where you can watch your favourite movies, Manipal boasts of a Onesta and a Barbeque Nation. This post would also be incomplete without talking about Manipal Fried Chicken, or MFC. Situated right outside the MIT Main Gate, MFC serves up KFC rip-offs, right to the Krushers, which, on the menu, feature original KFC images. Copyrights? Trademarks? Who cares.

So they city, in itself, has a very laid-back vibe to it. Shrek and I were speaking about this throughout. It’s so different from being on a residential campus studying with competitive individuals. The entire atmosphere here, at University, for me, adds an unnecessary layer of pressure to perform. One that I don’t agree with, but one that I’m unable to shrug off too easily. Manipal has enough competent, competitive individuals, I’m sure, but the fact that the entire city is built around the student experience, so to speak, means that everyone’s also very relaxed about how stuff works.

Several people live in hostels – which are insanely good, in comparison to the ones we live in. AC’s and all they have. What luxuries. Apart from that, however, enough individuals go out and stay in apartments of their own. Which means home food and the opportunity to order in (some amazing biryani) whenever you want. Most apartments too, really seem to care about your student experience. They come pre-furnished with most amenities, including a washing machine and geysers – so you’re rarely going to struggle.

Also, turning for a second to darker things. Considering it’s a student town and substance abuse is not something that can be checked in apartments, the builders/plot developers place stringent conditions on entry/exit & the number of guests you can host from outside of Manipal. We ended up leaving our ID cards from wherever we went, almost as collateral of some kind.

I loved every minute of being there. It’s such a princely life.

The people make it better. What a city. In 3 days I spent there, I didn’t meet a single individual who wasn’t willing to help us out. From helping out when my accommodation went to the dogs (by allowing Shrek & I to crash at their apartment), to excitedly asking about rounds at the end of each round, and to chilling with us when we could have gotten bored (and then coming for dinner with us), both Shrek and I got to meet friends of ours whom we grew up with. A massive thank you to everyone who helped us out man. Manipal isn’t the same without you guys. And I’m sure we’ll be back soon. Shrek may even take to festing just to return there.

But, more importantly, the weekend taught me so much about who friends I could rely upon were. I’m an individual who opens up slowly, but when I do open up, I place a lot of trust on people. To see people I grew up with let me down so massively sucked. I thought about this a lot, and then I wondered why I expected anything at all. When you’re friends with people, I think it’s also very important to get out of the mentality that they’ll reciprocate your exact feelings for them. Maybe this is true for all relationships. The entire let-down made me realize that I’d lose an essential part of me if I stopped trusting friends, and I’m likely to get shut down a bunch as a result. But it isn’t worth compromising on an integral part of who I am.

Damn this post got profound.

Time for some chilling. It’s exam season, which means cravings have hit their peak. Right now, I’m devouring Yellow Pure Magic sleeves, and am desirous of Cup Noodles. The multipurpose provision store that was on campus shut down, so it’s no longer a hop & a stone’s throw away.

I’m likely to use BigBasket soon. Exams aren’t the same without the smell of MSG (by which I mean Messenger of God, of course). Really need all the prayers & luck to do well on the exams.

More writing tomorrow. Genuinely. I’m going to nerd out and write about books, I think.

Mosarannaout

Distance

Half the world away,
Yet your presence feels near because of the,
‘Good morning’, and the,
‘Have a great day’.
The,
5-minute conversations,
A general reminder to have meals on time,
A question about the weather,
A ‘Bye’,
That leaves me, amidst grey corridors,
Wondering when I’ll be home next,
To sit on the blue beanbag on my room,
Look at that red and gold wall in our hall,
A feeling that leaves me momentarily when,
I return to my room and scroll through 19 years of
Photographs,
A book,
Resting on my bed,
Fully aware that the sun will rise tomorrow,
And you will each independently message me a
‘Good morning’, and a
‘Have a great day’,
Though you are next to each other,
And I’m half the world away.

 

 

Consider

Always stop and consider the effect of the words you use on other individuals. I can’t give you a large narrative about this takeaway from life. But it’s important for everyone to understand. Sometimes we forget about looking at things from other people’s lenses, and often that leads to us saying things that may hurt other people, or make them feel negative about themselves. While slip-ups in conversation do take place, and you can recognize and correct these slip-ups, sometimes people let you off the hook. They let you off the hook because they think it’s a one-time thing. It’s quite possible that that part of your life gets normalized, and its a situation you’d best try avoiding.

Often because, in the most extreme cases, I think a large part of not being considerate leads to uninformed public opinions you feel strongly about, some form of discrimination – whether casual/unintentional, or intentional. Or using words you don’t fully understand the connotations of. Words that remain in people’s memories long after they’ve left the confines of your tongue.

I guess it’s important to be considerate also because of the distance words can create, or the distance words have the ability to bridge. Over the course of the year, I’ve become more comfortable writing on this blog – even though I know my family members read it, because sometimes, it’s like the distance between Bengaluru and Gandhinagar doesn’t exist, or even that the distance between Dubai and Gandhinagar doesn’t exist. My parents are able to look at pieces I write and somehow, know what to say to me. If this is the effect of the written word, think about the effect of spoken words on individuals who you see face-to-face.

Use your words wisely. As humans, we’ve been smart enough to create languages. Use your words well. Use them not to hate, but to convince. Use them not to polarize, but to create dialogue. Incentivize people to not just listen to your bellowing voice, but to actually hear what you have to say. I think that’s important.

Also, in other news. I think a portion of this blog, or another blog may be in the works soon. A blog that charts my reading progress & offers literary opinion on things I read. Whether poetry or prose. Writing has been this great source of comfort in 2017. Reading is just something I love. Seeing if it’s something I can reasonably commit to. Also, an advantage of this is that I’ll be able to see the originality of thought and interpretation – and also get more discussion in on people’s ideas about what I’m presently reading. All of this is inspired by one of my newfound friends, one who’s presence I’m deeply grateful for. Long may our exchange of Literature continue, friend.

Bloody hell, it’s begun to rain again. Sometimes the unproductivity really gets to me.

Curdrice out.

Cancelled Classes

Ah, classes were cancelled today. The euphoria of that knowledge was far more than I anticipated. And the nostalgia trip I went on was also something that I didn’t expect. In my first year, classes were cancelled for 3 days because of the rains, and 2 days because of other unfortunate circumstances.

The rains finally provided a day off, the only thing I was genuinely looking forward to. I woke up to the news that classes were starting at 11, and then awoke at 10.15 to get ready, thankfully checking WhatsApp again & finding out this brilliant piece of news. Subsequently, I took a bath and went back to sleep, accomplishing nothing productive till after 2 pm. It was a truly great day.

Today, I read a book 3000 recommended to me, and honestly, it was one of the best decisions I made. I really enjoy the way people suggest books to you based on their interaction with you and their understanding of your preferences. First, it shows how much people care, but, second, I think people are brilliant judges of preferences – and that means you’re going to find books you love. Also, you get to understand the sort of things another person is interested in. Books and music, for me, are two examples of things that convey parts of a personality like very few other things can.

The book I read today was thankfully also coupled with a marvellous playlist I found on YouTube, one that provided brilliant accompaniment to a book I kept scrolling through on my laptop. For me, reading away is not a feeling I can compare to anything else. Each time I read a book, I’m blown away by how little I know. I’m also simultaneously blown away by all the creativity and the stories that exist in this world, stories that remain unspoken and creativity that isn’t tapped into because of societal pressures, amongst other things.

It’s rather sad.

The other wonderful thing about today was the time I spent with Shrek. Shrek is a rare breed. To the outside world, he’s this tough beast. Inside, he is a softie. Conversations with him are always wonderful ways to reflect upon decisions I’m taking and things I’m doing. In a competitive environment like Law school, having him around is a blessing. One day I will find a way to pay him back for all this comfort he’s able to provide just by listening to things I have to say and being receptive to new ideas I put across to him. The camaraderie of an Indian hostel is one that I don’t think you’ll find anywhere else. Maybe it’s the fact that we share toilets.

So here’s to you, Shrek. And to you, 3000.

Beds or Benches

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, I fell asleep in class today. In just one class, but the first class of the year I have fallen asleep in. Which brings back several memories of countless posts which exist on this blog about the “falling asleep” syndrome, and my attempts to combat the feeling.

It’s been a month since I left Bengaluru for Gandhinagar, from when I swapped out my beanbag for my black chair, and the comfort of being the only one in my room for the comfort of having someone to return to the room to. It helps massively having a roommate, especially one who is outside the friends circle I usually hang out with, and one who always has stories to share. Looking back, it’s been an insane month – I’ve discovered feelings I had previously only read about, managed to read a whole lot (but not enough; never enough), and managed to get myself to the Gujarat High Court. These are particular highlights.

The month has also helped create opinions about each class I sit in. I’m very aware of the classes I will wake up for, and the classes I need someone to tell me to get to. One of my closest friends has had to head home for surgery (hope you don’t get fat, bro), which acts as extra motivation to get myself to class – he’ll need the notes as well. But with Professors who act like schoolteachers, it gets increasingly tough to pay attention.

It’s also been raining for 4 days continuously. I detest the rain – but what this weather has given me, for the first time, is an opportunity to unwind, and an excuse to cuddle up into my blanket and lie down – without regret. It’s excellent. I’m sleeping a lot more than I have before, a very healthy way to live, but I’m also very relaxed about things I’m doing in life. A far cry from the stress I took upon myself last semester.

Today marks 2 years since my first day in classes. It’s quite beautiful that it’s raining like this. My first day on the GNLU campus as a GNLU student was marred with rains – my mother left me as it began to pour, and as I felt a few tears form on my cheek & the song “Maa” from Taare Zameen Par play. As it rained, I asked my roommate if he’d accompany me to the MPS to help me buy a mattress. And together, we sprinted in the rain & got a mattress for me to sleep on.

It was also in this sort of torrential rain that I had my first college debate, the activity that has introduced me to my closest set of friends. Friends, I am the most comfortable with, because I know arguing with them is a daily exercise, and disagreeing is a passion they share as much as I do. It’s also the only activity at University where I have seen individuals change – from being reserved, to being outspoken, from having reservations, to being open-minded: because what debating does, is allow for creative, impromptu dialogue. And no other form of dialogue reveals the layers of experiences individuals hold to them.

Which reminds me, I should go prep. The blog is returning – I’ve finally managed to pen a piece about my daily thoughts & ramblings! Quite excited.

Thanks, as always, for reading.