30.12.13

I'M GOING HOME TOMORROW!
AND IT'S THE END OF THE YEAR!
AND A NEW YEAR IS GOING TO START!
AND A NEW YEAR IS ALWAYS AWESOME BECAUSE THERE HASN'T BEEN TIME FOR BAD STUFF TO HAPPEN YET!
(Unless my plane is engulfed in fiery flames which is just going to suck.)

Oh wait, I'm being positive and happy and jolly these days.

Here is something positive and happy and jolly for you:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/cutest-things-that-happened-this-year?bffb

Happy New Year. Don't fuck it up. But if you must, do it with flair. :)

27.12.13

A long-winded documentation of my first Christmas away from home.

7.30 am. Wake up and realize it's Christmas Day. Think of Bridget Jones' Diary - "Woke up to the usual adult disappointment of having no Christmas presents at the foot of my bed" or some such thing. Empathize heartily - not for the first time - with Bridget. Spend a few precious moments remembering past Christmases and revel in feeling sorry for myself. And then the feeling dawns on me: my first Christmas alone in my own home. It's a Moment and Moments, as opposed to moments, must not be wasted.

7.40 am. Put on some Christmas music and fix myself a cup of coffee. Look at coffee. Look at rum bottle next to coffee. Hey, it's Christmas! Pour a generous helping of rum into coffee. Take a sip. Look at honey. Add some honey. Then more rum to balance it out. Doesn't taste much like coffee anymore.

7.50 am. Stand on balcony with my rum coffee and take obnoxious 'selfie' to send my mother with the immortal caption 'Merry Christmas'. Enjoy the warm sun and feel glad to be alive and all that jazz. On a more serious note, it's a very beautiful day and I decided to walk to my brother's house when I go over for lunch. It'll take me an hour but what the heck. I'm that kind of person now. I spontaneously go on long walks.

8.30 am. Smoke a leftover joint and watch Big Bang Theory. Laugh uproariously.

8.35 am. Push ups to Deck the Halls. Fa la la la la.

8.36 am. Crawl into bed. Push ups have exhausted me. Decide to call my father. There's no way in hell my mother will be awake right now.

8.40 am. Father also asleep. Evidently went through too much vodka last night. Feel smug and self-satisfied because I am not hungover. Followed by a fleeting stab of disappointment. Instead have long conversation with PM. She always cheers me up.

9.00 am. Nap time. It's been a long morning.

9.45 am. Nap interrupted by mother who wishes me Happy Christmas. Comments that I appear to have lost a lot of weight going by the photo I sent her. More smugness and self-satisfaction follow. Not knowing how to cook apparently has its advantages.

10.30 am. Pack presents. This is no mean feat. Presents for SIL, Rita Mom, CK, Lana and Tiny. No wrapping paper left over for my brother which is okay because I haven't picked up his present yet.

10.45 am. Consider doing the dishes and sweeping home before my departure. But it's Christmas. So no. Have shower instead. Examine naked self in mirror. Decide that I would totally sleep with myself and self-esteem for the day is established.

11.30 am. Finally leave house. No time to walk to my brother's. Suspect my subconscious made me delay for this precise reason. Father finally calls. Speak to him, regaling him with the merry tale of my Christmas morning. Damn autowallah takes the opportunity to add an extra kilometer to the journey.

11.45 am. Beautiful day. Morning Has Broken is the first song to play on my shuffle. (I should explain here that I have a game where when I leave the house in the morning, it's going to be a good day if I get a nice line up of songs. If Morning plays, it's going to be a great day. And today, it was the first song to play. Universe on my side.)

11.50 am. Stop at Spencer's. Buy peanut butter and Nutella for my brother. Momentarily consider keeping the Nutella for myself and giving him peanut butter only, but the generous, selfless spirit traditionally associated with Christmas prevails.

12.30 pm. Reach my brother's. Hugs all around. Dogs don't seem to notice that I don't live there anymore. Or they don't really care. As long as they're fed, they're happy. Find a festive sort of spirit prevailing the house, mostly because of the tree, the delicious smell of pork wafting from the kitchen, and because I carry the Christmas spirit with me wherever I go. Feeling cemented when Rita Mom begins pouring wine into the trifle, and SIL mixes some vodka with jelly for jello shots later.

2.00 pm. LUNCH. Most excellent because I'd forgotten to eat breakfast and all the various intoxicants consumed by this point were making me feel a little light headed. The menu for lunch: pork vindaloo, pasta, bread, rounded off by the delicious wine soaked trifle. The four of us - brother, SIL, Rita Mom and myself - gather around the table. Conversation is limited. We all believe in eating first and talking not much. Dogs beg for food. Dogs get food. Rita Mom a little upset that my brother insists on feeding them some pork. Brother retorts that Rita Mom just wants the pork to herself. Rita Mom doesn't deny this. I suggest opening the Christmas presents.

2.30 pm. Christmas presents exchanged. Brother feeling ever so slightly guilty because he hasn't got me anything. He covers this up by saying he gave me a rent-free house to live in for four months. I beatifically agree, pointing out that I haven't reproached him at all. (I know how to handle him so well now, haha.) I know he will make it up to me at some point and he does.

3.00 pm. I have pork, pasta, trifle, wine and weed spilling out of my ears. Time for a nap.

3.30 pm. Difficult to nap with the damn dogs playing Leap Frog over me. Yes, I am the Frog.

5.00 pm. Skype various family members. They all look happy. I don't grudge them their happiness because - I realize with a start - I am happy too.

6.00 pm. Two of my brother's friends drop in. So does a doctor because my brother has a congested chest and Rita Mom is paranoid. While my brother talks to the doctor, I entertain the friends. One friend is forced to go out with SIL to pick up medicine. I'm not sure what to do with the other one so I get him stoned. Delightful.

8.00 pm. Everyone has gone home. I should too but there are those damn dishes waiting for me. I decide to stay the night. Also, my brother does - as I knew he would - something nice for me in the spirit of Christmas. He orders me a Corner House sundae. It is delightful and decadent. It has brownies and ice cream and whipped cream and hot fudge and peanuts. I begin to eat.

8.05 pm. I stop eating because I notice I've finished half the sundae in five minutes. I put the rest away in the fridge. I'll eat it tomorrow, I tell myself. I don't want to give myself a stomachache. I feel proud of this sign of mature adulthood.

8.15 pm. Damn mature adulthood. I finish the rest of the sundae.

8.45 pm. Agony. I'm dying. I stagger into my brother's room. He warns me that he will not be taking me to hospital at 3 in the morning. SIL gives me some disgusting tablets to chew. Death begins to look just slightly further away. Although I always carry it with me as we all do.

9.15 pm. SIL tells me delightful story about how my brother's friend - Hitesh - didn't realize we weren't 'full' siblings. Hitesh apparently thought I was Rita Mom's daughter. Upon SIL informing him that my brother and I share one parent - as opposed to most people sharing two - he was rather taken aback. We all have a good laugh about this.

9.30 pm. I round off a delightful day with a couple more joints and some more Christmas music. And then I stagger to my bed and prepare to fall asleep. Christmas Day has come to an end. Before I drift off, I feel  grateful to my brother and SIL and Rita Mom and the dogs for bringing so much love into my life.

9.40 pm. Stumble to the bathroom. The pills are doing their job. And how.

9.50 pm. Emerge, feeling five kilos lighter. Okay, now the day is done. And it has been unexpectedly wonderful. Because, in a way, I am home for Christmas.

Alright, not really. But whatever. At least I didn't fall out of a car this time.

Merry Christmas, folks. :)





With my rum on Christmas morning. Please take special note of the wording on my mug. 
A self-explanatory photo.


Rita Mom making the delicious trifle.

Family.




23.12.13

The Annual Re-cap.


1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?

SO MANY THINGS.

- Moved cities because of work.
- Lived in two different cities (not bad).
- Got my first real, official, contract-signed, business card provided job.
- A 'boy' cut. I thought my nose would look bigger. It doesn't. Ha.
- Got myself a sister-in-law. And a brother-in-law. Well, my brother got them for me, but whatever.
- Figured out what I want to do with my life. (For now.)
- Got my own flat and began living alone. And this includes an entire subset of things-I've-never-done-before: cleaned bathrooms and rooms on a daily basis, cooked (I use the term loosely) for myself on a daily basis, haggled over pieces of fruit, etc.
- Learned how to cook. Sort of. It's still a work-in-progress.
- Stopped wearing men's clothing. Mostly.
- Learned to appreciate sushi, sashimi and prawns. Sort of.
- Many, many more things that I can't even begin to remember so ha.


2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

If I remember correctly, I vowed to never be as drunkenly stupid as I was last Christmas. And to be graceful under pressure. I have been drunkenly stupid, but not that drunk and stupid. And I think I've managed being graceful under pressure. Sort of. If snapping and snarling and being volatile count. 


3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope.


4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thank goodness.


5. What countries did you visit?

None :( But there have been so many new things happening throughout the year, it hasn't bothered me as much as it usually would have. 


6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

Money, money, money. 
Pill. 
And a little more self-familiarity. 


7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory and why?

I will always remember this year, different parts of this year, because it brought so many changes. My stint with Aleph was a big experience. So was moving to Bangalore. And my brother's wedding which changed the course of my life, sort of. And for love. The good, the bad and the ugly of it. 


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Pretty much achieving whatever I wanted to achieve.


9. What was your biggest failure?

There is something, but my blog is not the place for it. 


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nope.
NO INJURIES. A WHOLE YEAR WITHOUT INJURIES.
This has to be some kind of record. 

11. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

I can think of lots of people - including yours truly.


12. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Mine. But only sometimes. 


13. Where did most of your money go?

Cigarettes. Alcohol. Autos. 
I wonder if this will ever change. 


14. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Working in Delhi. And then moving to Bangalore. And whenever I got to see Pill. 


15. What song will always remind you of 2013?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWRsgZuwf_8 

Er, in a more positive way.
It's complicated.


16. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Happier. 


17. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Nothing comes to mind. (That's a good sign, right?)



18. What do you wish you'd done less of?

It would have been nice if I'd been less of a selfish brat. I'm working on it. 



19. How will you be spending Christmas?

For the first time in my life, away from my mother. No trees this year, no presents. So I'm not sure yet. I'll probably blog about it eventually.


20. Did you fall in love in 2013?

No. I've loved someone a lot longer than that. *Obligatory cringe* 


21. How many one night stands?

...


22. What was your favourite TV programme?

Mad Men, probably. 


23. What was the best book you read?

The Art of War. Hahahahahaah. 


24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

http://8tracks.com/


25. What did you want and get?

Pretty much everything I asked for.


26. What did you want and not get?

Nothing.


27. What was your favourite film of this year?

Um, um, um. Can't think of one.


28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 22. Had the usual big birthday party and left for a new life the day after, nursing a massive hangover. 


29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Not getting hangovers.


30. What kept you sane?

I don't think anything, or anyone, did this year. But I managed just fine on my own. Progress! 


31. Who was the worst new person you met?

Have I met anyone particularly horrible? No, I don't think so.



32. Who was the best new person you met?

One of the things I treasure most about this year is the people I've met, and known, and grown to love. (Or at least felt strong fondness for.) A list:

1. SIL. By far and away the most important.
2. Mikhil, who has eagerly awaited mention on this blog (because he's the only one apart from my father who reads it) and here it is. But no, Mikhil, you don't get a nickname. E-mail Buddy/ Gmail Friend just don't cut it. And I've forgotten what OGG stands for.
3. Harshita
4. PK
5. BIL
6. The Undoable One
7. Pradipta
8. Jayatri's Boyfriend (Technically I met him last year, once, but we got to know each other this year and now that he's left Bangalore, I've lost my favourite drinking buddy )

...These are the people who became, in some way, important to me. But there are other people whose paths I stumbled across who have also proved to be a delight (as far as I know them, who knows what lurks beneath the surface.)


33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learnt in 2013.

Probably that I'm never ever going to achieve inner peace because I am not the inner peace kind of person so I should just give up and focus on other, more useful things like finding surefire cures for hangovers. 


34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

No. 



17.12.13

15.12.13

I'm moving into my own flat today.

MY OWN FLAT.

I will be living alone for the first time in my life. I think I might actually be a grown up now.

Could there be a better way to end a year than by precipitating a new beginning?

6.12.13

A Rant.

So I was having a conversation with SIL last night and she was telling me about the days when she was young and wild and free. Her life has been far more colourful than mine. But there was one incident she told me about that seriously disturbed me because it's the perfect instance of how fucked up this country is in many ways.

She was at this nightclub. There was a rave going on. Police busted them. Loads of people were arrested. Fair enough.

What wasn't fair is the story behind it.

And no, I'm not even referring to the usual police brutality and pathetic, regressive mentality that accompanies so-called law enforcement although I'm going to come to that soon.

Apparently, the police had originally busted another place. And they caught a guy who is a cousin of the Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan. Because he - the cousin - was scared of the scandal, he told the police that if they turned a blind eye towards this particular bust, he would take them to another place. So he did. Right to the nightclub SIL was at.

Just think about that for a second.

Does it surprise you?

If you're an Indian, it probably doesn't. That, more than anything else, highlights just how disgusting and untrustworthy our law enforcement system is. And how, to us, it's just something we live with.

To get back to SIL. She didn't get arrested because she wasn't even in the club just then, but her brother did, and she accompanied them to the station. It could have ended there. But what happened was that the police called the media in order to focus public attention on this particular bust - further removing the dickhead cousin from any sort of mess. The media shoved their cameras into people's faces as they were getting into police vans, shoving them right through the little windows with the bars on them.

(SIL was caught on camera. She was played on loop on Bombay television for a month. She also went and screamed at the dickhead cousin and told him that he was disgusting, but unfortunately that wasn't taped.)

And at one point, she started glaring at a cop who was speaking extremely rudely to another reveller.

"What are you staring at?" The cop said. "Lower your eyes."

"I don't have to lower my eyes," said SIL. "I'm entitled to stare if I want."

"Who taught you how to do these things. It's bad enough that men are doing it, but you're a woman. Don't you have modesty? Shame?"

I think at this point SIL was dragged away by a friend before she actually attacked the cop.

But it's a scary story. Police are supposed to protect people, but protection does not mean oppression. Of course they were free to bust the place, but it's their motives for doing so that is so disturbing. It is their blatant corruption, their manipulation of the media, their attitude towards women, that is so terrifying.

Recall their attitude towards the protesters in Delhi University when Narendra Modi went to Shri Ram College of Commerce.

http://kafila.org/2013/02/08/bhag-modi-bhag-run-modi-runeyewitness-accounts-from-the-protest-against-narendra-modi-at-delhi-university/

We are supposed to be the world's biggest democracy. Secular. Free speech. All of it. We advertise it, oh so proudly. We stuff it down the throats of our children. We sit, smug, in our own little self-contained world.

Morality is a word we like to throw around a lot. But our interpretation of what is moral, as a nation, is extremely sad. It needs to change.

But as long as we're smug, self-righteous hypocrites, it won't. And let's face it, we've been that way for centuries now. Three cheers for beloved, revered tradition.