Posted in Random, Thoughts, Weather

A Charging Port

Do you have one? A charging port for the soul? Something that lifts your spirit and mood and everything else and makes you feel better in general? It could be some place, something, it could be someone.

I have multiple. People, places, objects and some activities.

Among these, I’d probably rank my ancestral town-village among the top three. It is, hands down, the best place ever to exist. It’s Santiniketan, some 200-odd kilometers to the north of Kolkata. I like it because of what it is, I think. There’s greenery there, but then so is my campus. I could wax poetic about avenues shaded by massive trees arching across them, but Kolkata is full of them. I could say it’s because I have a home there, but I have a room of my own in college, and a home in Kolkata. I wish I could nail it down to a particular factor, to one thing that I could point at and say, “This thing. This is what makes this place special.” On second thoughts, I don’t. Maybe if I distill it down to exactly what is the allure of the place, I wouldn’t find it as captivating anymore.

There, I made sketches of trees, and took pictures of a river. I went to an ethnic village market that I really disliked,because that was an exposition of stuff you could get from any roadside hawkers in Kolkata, being sold at ridiculous prices to rip off unsuspecting visitors. I took long walks, read a bit and played with my younger cousin brother. I relaxed, and had fun. It was a good experience.

fd8eb709-991c-4b5d-ad5b-d3e6b429fbde.png

Indeed, this entire vacation was good.

You see, I am supposedly an electrical engineer, by vocation, or so the college would have you believe. And I, not to put too fine a point on it, suck at it. My grades aren’t too good, in fact they are on the verge of bad, and my interest in the discipline leaves a lot to be desired. Let’s just say I don’t really like it. Needless to say, academics-wise, my semesters are pretty glum, though the people and activities more than make up for it. This summer, we had PS (a sort of internship program that counts towards my grades) which let me work in my fields of interest, and helped me cheer up considerably, at least as far as work and academia goes.

Anyhow, we were talking of places. So I went for a walk in Santiniketan, one night after dinner. It was silent, in the way nighttime is silent, chirping crickets and rustling trees, and a very delicate whoosh, as the wind blew by me. It had rained, not long ago. The unpaved roads were still muddy, fresh bicycle tracks imprinted in them. There was an unsteady drip-drip-drip accompanying me all the way around, as the trees shook off their leaves in the slow breeze. I didn’t see a single person out there other than a couple of security guards, engrossed in some chitchat of their own.

Non-urban air has a kind of clarity to it that’s difficult to describe. But it is dusty, especially in the evening and night. Just after rains, it acquires a kind of… well, it’s hard to describe. You just don’t notice it anymore, except when the breeze rises. The trees were just dark shadows, the branches spreading silhouettes against a clear sky. It was a moonless night. I was alone, on the road, with my thoughts, and it felt so glorious. And it nagged me a little too, the fact that I had to be alone with my thoughts. But it felt good, which is what matters, I guess.

Santiniketan, literally translated, means abode of peace. It lives up to its name. And I haven’t yet found out what makes it so peaceful. Maybe that’s the frame of mind I’ve conditioned myself to be in, that I’ll be zen-like once I’m there. I guess the point here is that for inner peace, outer peace is necessary too.

Fairly obvious, I’ll agree.

In other news, go watch Dunkirk. It is a really good movie. It’s unmistakably Nolan, though it’s different from everything he’s done so far. I won’t talk any more about it, other that it’s probably one of the best expositions I’ve seen, till date, of the filmmaker’s craft.

And in the end…

This probably deserves to be more than a footnote, but Chester Bennington killed himself. That man meant a lot, I think, to my entire generation. He was my gateway to a lot of music, and it’s sad to see him go like this. It might have been the way out he needed, but not what he deserved. I have followed Linkin Park’s music for seven years now. I heard them shift to electronica, and the try to make a pretty unsuccessful transition to their original sound. I liked their last album, though it was no Hybrid Theory. Few bands had so definitively carved their place in the pantheon of music, laying claim to an entire genre.

Anyway, In The End was the first song that I had memorised. I loved it. I still do. I’m running though the words in my head. My favourite song was The Catalyst. It’s sad, the way he passed. I won’t quote any lyrics, I will not present you with that kind of a cliché. I hope he is in peace now.

Posted in Random, Thoughts, Weather

Things that I think

It is hot. Even worse, it is humid.

It’s humid, and here I am, trying to pour out what’s on my mind. I’m thinking about old cars, old music, new cars, good books, happy people and new covers of old music and machine guns.

Machine guns because of the drums on this (https://youtu.be/fkP3urtYCkc) cover of Immigrant Song by Karen O and Trent Reznor. I think it’s because of the overall grungy feel of the song. The drums feel relentless, pounding on without flourishes, and then get lost in the murky grungy sounds as the song progresses, but you can hear them in the background, forming the backbone of the song. They feel so powerful, but inhuman. The sound is more of a sampled beat than a drummer. Probably is so.

This is a cover of a song by Led Zeppelin, and both versions are great. The cover does retain the spirit of the original, but some of the hugeness that the original has is lost. And if you pay attention to the drums, you’ll find that the beat is similar, but there is a man rocking his heart out behind that immensely powerful sound, and it shows. There are very few sounds more definitionally rocky, more celebratable, than Led Zeppelin at their archetypal best. https://youtu.be/hC-T0rC6m7I. Check for yourself. And I’m going on about the drums, but there’s Jimmy Page on the guitar. He is, if you don’t know, a God. And the lyrics, too. Very deep, and accurate too, historically. Well mostly.

And I enjoy cars a lot. Personal favourite is a ‘69 Ford Mustang. Very beautiful car, and the well maintained ones are a treat to look at. And the engines sound great too. I am guessing that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea anyway.

The fan is on at full blast, but it blows down hot air onto me. The worst part of humidity is the sweatiness. As much as I love Kolkata, one thing I’d like to change is this sweaty, sticky climate. I’m playing Crazy by Aerosmith on my earphones. I pause the music for a bit, and pull out the earphones. I can hear the occasional whoosh of a car go by, a beep or two from faraway horns. The TV next door is blaring some serialised inanity, with dramatic music all over the place, and their dog is barking. Someone barks a command at the dog and it quiets down, only to start in a couple of minutes. It is a crime to keep a dog in an apartment. Poor creature gets no exercise, and barks its lungs out all day.

I look back up at the fan and down at my keyboard again. Apparently I haven’t stopped the music, I can still hear Steven Tyler howling his heart out in the chorus. I pause it. It’s a good song, I’ll replay it.

Incidentally, y’all should listen to https://youtu.be/QCVGpvzcHko?t=39. This guy is a modern-ish stand up comic, and his brand of comedy is this self aware, self deprecating, ironic jabs at the state of modern society. A sort of “What have we become?”, regretful, but fully aware that he’s a product of the same society, and he’s been contributing to the same. It’s like one of those evolution memes, where the penultimate character turns around, saying “We messed up”.

Anyway, I will stop now. The thoughts have stopped flowing. This is a weird kind of writer’s block, where I want to write, but I can’t write stuff. Not stuff that I’m satisfied with. This is okay, I guess. Feels natural and coherent. I think the necessity is a creative recharge, and also effort. I guess.

Posted in Random

Ramblings #2

PS: Thank you Karthik Nagaraj, we owe you this one. ❤


6th April, 2017

 

So, I’m going for a nap. 🙂 Gimme half an hour.

 


31st May, 2017

 

SK: Some nap. Anyway, I forgot who this was, but as you can see, the journey of a thousand words begins with postponement.

 

AS: Was deffi you.

 

SK: Probably was.

AS: How do we begin. xD
Nah, I’ll keep it a surprise.

 

SK: Keep what a surprise?

 

AS: Then it won’t be a surprise no. -.- Smarty.

 

SK: Correctamundo. Okay. Can’t we begin just like this?

 

AS: Yeah you’re right. Lezz just dive in.

 

 

Hello, everybody. Let’s begin with some announcements, shall we? It brings us immense pleasure to inform you that we have 18 amazing people reading the random things we spew out on an irregular basis. But, more importantly…

*drumroll*

SUCHIT IS ELAS SECY!!!!11!!!!!!

Okay. Nobody cares. What you should care about, is that Aditi is Jt. Secy of Music Club!

 

That’s absolutely irrelevant, Suchit. For those of you who don’t know, ELAS stands for English Language Activities Society, and our prolific writer here is the Secretary of said Society. So you better scroll down and read all his blog posts.

 

Completely irrelevant. That wasn’t the start I had in mind. But anyway. Here we are again, having completed nearly a year of our blog. And what we have to show for it is, well, this blog. As you can see, we have covered all kinds of stuff, like things and stuff and other things too.

Very verbose.

And we have a whole lot more lined up for you.

As you see, Aditi is an excellent editor, and offers me absolutely brilliant feedback on my pieces. And a very nice proofreader too.

 

God knows that’s probably what I’m going to end up doing for the rest of my life, because if there’s anything I’ve learnt from my first week at PS, it’s that coding is probably not my thing at all. And what beats me most of all is how and when I’m supposed to break that to the rest of the world.

 

Oh, so these vacations, we have a sort of industrial training thing going on, called Practice School (PS), and Aditi is interning at this very cool place which does all kinds of cool sciency things. And Aditi, being the super pro person she is, is already bored of the place.

 

No, seriously. Here I am, with minimal knowledge of C and C++ and Java and whatnot- in a room full of people who have scored a perfect 10 in all three semesters and/or excelled in competitions held by Microsoft, to such an extent that they’re being sent to Seattle. And boy, is it intimidating. I spent my first week coming back home with a heavy heart. And when I finally found the courage to talk to my legit super pro dad about this, the first thing I asked him was, “Do you wish I was smarter, Dad?”

 

I think the fact that she belongs in a room with all these super smart programmers will tell you how smart this little person is. And that she’s just being morbid and pessimistic  for no reason. In case I haven’t said this enough, Aditi is one of the smartest little people I know.

A factor she is forgetting is that she spent the whole of last year doing Math, while these other people did all kinds of computer sciency stuff. I have very strong doubts about the ability of any of those to go toe to toe with her at math.

 

Bah, Suchit’s just being Suchit (read: ultra nice). It’s true though. Just like there’s always going to be someone who’s thinner, or in my case, taller, than you, there’s also always going to be someone smarter. Or more knowledgeable. And either you slog your ass off and try and get to their level, or you accept it and stop letting it get to you. I still have to figure out how, though.

But isn’t that giving up? “Oh. I’ll never be good enough”, and so you stay complacent where you are and never strive for more? Sure, you might not want to raise your skill level. You simply might not be invested enough in whatever it is. Or, there are other things you might want to do. Depends on what your priorities are, and what you want to make out of your life.

Or you could just feel like kicking back and chilling out, with a lemonade in hand.

 

Funnily enough, I just made myself a lemonade an hour ago.

 

Lemonades are the best. Especially in this beastly hot weather. More than hot, it’s humid, and sticky and sweaty. Very bad.

 

Yes, I can’t wait for the rains to begin. Though that will make commuting to and from work much more irritating, but anything for good weather.

 

Bwahahahaha. My workplace is a 10 minute walk from home. So, I work with statisticians and economists, compiling and processing data and trying to make sense out of the trends and all that sort of thing. It seems interesting enough, but it actually is pretty cumbersome. They are still teaching us to do stuff like  procedures, formulae and algorithms.

 

That is very cool man, I envy you. I don’t even understand half of the jargon they throw at us, but it’s Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education and that’ll look pretty on my resume, so I roll my eyes and shut my trap and make the most of the AC and internet. And daydream about going back home and pretending to be a rockstar on my brand new guitar that I barely know how to play.

 

I suppose we seem more grown up. Slightly tired, this time around. I think I do, at least. I guess that’s one more year of college speaking. I think you’ll notice a progression in our posts on the blog, too. We’ve become more aware, I guess. And more brave, in a way, penning down our thoughts and encounters with more honesty.

 

I do too. Feel more tired, or at least sound more tired, I suppose. It is liberating though, to write openly about what we feel, like we’ve been trying to do of late. On these lines, keep an eye out for another more serious-sounding article that we’ll be putting out soon. Keep reading, and we shall, hopefully, keep writing.

 

Yeah. Keep writing we shall. Cannot assure anyone of the regularity, though. Work, I realised in barely two weeks, is pretty draining.

Word.

But we will definitely try.

Amen.

Posted in Random, Thoughts

Necessary. Not Evil.

I am angry.

Rather, I was angry. I’ve sort of calmed down since then, and decided to be less angry and more calm and composed, and do something about what was making me angry. And so, I decided to take up what was bothering me on the massive platform that is this blog, with all of its twenty three followers. And twenty visitors on a good day.

Here’s my problem:

People have an issue with women menstruating in India. At least, it’s very visible and open in India. It happens outside India too, this stigma, but especially here, among Hindus, it’s a kind of bordering on stupidity. It makes me angry. Very angry. I had heard and read about this. That women are not allowed entry into temples when they are on their period. That they are not allowed to enter the kitchen on their period, and they have to eat separately and not directly touch any other people because that may defile them.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

According to this stupid rule, a woman, whose domain, according to the scriptures, is the kitchen and household in general, is not allowed to go into the kitchen, or into the thakur-ghor (a room for the gods, a mini temple room. Most Hindu households have at least a cabinet or shelf of images and idols, if not a room). She is to be ostracised and treated like a pariah for the simple reason that she is a woman and can bear children.

Fun fact:

Recently, a Goods and Services Tax was introduced by the Hindu leaning BJP led government across all of India. What this tax aims to do is replace all the various taxes and cesses levied by the central and state level governments by one single tax, making the general functioning of markets easier and so on. This tax levies a 12% tax on all menstrual sanitary products and makes sindoor and bangles tax exempt. Sindoor is a red pigment that married women wear on their forehead. Both sindoor and bangles are considered symbols of a happy and auspicious marriage. The irony isn’t lost, I hope.

Feminism, circa the stone age.

And before you shake your head, remember that this is the same government that, to further the Hindu devotion for cows, illegalised the purchase of cows for slaughter a few days ago. That’s another thing I am angry about, I do love a good steak. And they just made it harder to get one.

https://goo.gl/mOE1xc This is what triggered me, and made me angry enough to write about this. A couple of these stories are heartbreaking.

And a lot of you all can immediately go, “Well, this doesn’t happen in my family” (I hope to god you can). Neither does it in mine, as far as I know. At least, I was never told to not touch someone, not for these reasons anyway. But there are people I know, who have to face this. And it is really sad, that in educated households, women are treated like this. Even in the educated and urban parts. Chew on that for a moment.

And to the guys reading, it may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Think about it this way, you’re being punished for something perfectly normal and natural. Let’s say people treat you like you’ve got some deadly disease cause you breathe. Makes no sense? I know. You need to breathe to stay alive. It’s a bodily function. Right? Everyone does it. Right? Yeah, right. Same here. Every woman has periods. YOU EXIST BECAUSE YOUR MUM HAD PERIODS. And yet, we treat women like this.

There is no way this kind of behaviour is acceptable, but it’s a special kind of wrongdoing when children are brought into this. Poor girl, she is hurting, she is confused and scared, she isn’t used to this.The pain and discomfort isn’t enough, humiliation needs to be added to the mix. And so, on top of that, she’s isolated from everyone else, because she might pollute the others. She might induce menstruation in the girls who haven’t yet started. Science at its finest. She is not at all comfortable with the fact that she is bleeding, and the teacher announces it to the entire classroom, that the girl is to be avoided. That she is impure. Imagine, if you can, what that girl is thinking. And if she is unlucky, she has to go home to the same treatment. Her siblings cannot play with her. She’s made to sleep separately, and her food is put out on separate plates, in one corner of the room. Anyone who touches her must wash themselves. From childhood up, girls are indoctrinated with the idea that they are impure and foul when they have their period. If that isn’t pathetic, I don’t know what is.

For someone who hasn’t faced this, imagine someone made to feel they are unclean, being left out of everything because of something they biological. Now imagine how they would feel about this if they were made to feel so by their own family. They didn’t ask to have periods. No woman likes to put up with this, but they have to. This is probably the time when a woman feels most vulnerable and has all sorts of aches and cramps going on, and instead of offering care and compassion, the custom is make her feel like she’s committed some filthy sin.

I don’t know, what I want out of this. There’s not going to be any sweeping social change among India’s masses thanks to one post in an obscure blog by a college student. Heck, I’m not even angry anymore, just sad. It feels bad to know that I won’t be able to exorcise this devil. The best I can do is rant. And that’s it.

 

Posted in Random, Thoughts

Nice People and Introverts

 

Couple of days ago, Kenneth “Kenny” Sebastian, a stand up comedian came to our college. He is pretty good, and brilliant at what he does, which is make people laugh. He had one set about so called ‘nice people’, the ones who are meek, quiet and good to others, usually too much so for their own good. Basically introverts, ones who are very good to their fellow men.

 

These nice people, I tell you are the gems of humanity. These are the people who the rest of us should love protect and cherish, because while we’ll never admit it, they are the ideal we should strive toward. They are the gems, the hidden treasures, so to speak.

 

The other half is characterised by, in a nutshell, brashness. They will go up and talk to people. Initiate conversations, ask random questions and in general reach out and try to make friends with you. On the flip side, they will speak over you. They will interrupt you and try to finish your points, even when they don’t know for sure what you are talking about. They are trouble seekers and makers, people who will cause problems about things someone can tolerate and/or ignore. At the same time, they might solve your problems too, which is good.

 

So, these nice people, the introverts, they are fundamentally the quiet ones. Not the party types. They would like to socialise, but they are unsure, usually of themselves. Whom should one approach when one is at a party where he knows nobody, and all the people are new to him? Is it okay to express his [even if slightly controversial] opinion just like that? Or should one wait and hold off? What if you disagree with someone? Is saying “I disagree” offensive? These nice people, may they live long and prosper, are too nice for their own good. I know someone who will not take a decision about anything and will leave the choice of everything, from where to eat, to which route to take to college, to others. Though of late she’s gotten slightly better. She at least chooses the time, even if only occasionally, when we meet. Which is better than nothing.

 

The other half has a sort of knack for saying what they want. They will be loud and clear, even if saying something wrong. They will make sure they are heard, which is pretty nice. Only, every time an extrovert speaks, they speak over and interrupt at least two introverts, who enviously wish that they could also just sling words about so effectively. They are, naturally, stealers of the shows.

 

Speaking as an ambivert, I sometimes understand the effort that a nice introvert needs to open up and speak to people, to make decisions and to socialise in general. It is much easier to stay at home and read a book. But I also understand where the people persons come from, what they enjoy about the whole “interacting with people” process. Making friends, it’s way less painful a process than an introvert would think. It is actually fun to go up and talk to people, to know what makes them tick, that they like knitting and Celtic heavy metal, that their dog’s name is Bobo and their phone is shit. But yes, I do need to take time off and recharge, get some alone time and not be social all the time.

 

However, it remains that the extroverts are going to stay as the public faces for all of us. The introverts simply aren’t, well, extroverted enough. So, it is our sacred duty to take care of these nice little introverts the best we can, while they do their thing. They produce so many nice things that give us so much joy, books and paintings and if nothing else, blogs that you check in on for happy little updates on what is going on all around.

 

PS: Sorry for the long delay. We had a literary fest going on in our college, and both of us, Aditi and I were involved in organising. I will write about that presently. Also, we will try and adhere to a more rigid posting schedule. Let’s see what the future holds. Keep reading 🙂

Posted in Random, Thoughts

The Instant Gratification Monkey

https://youtu.be/arj7oStGLkU

 

From the Keys of a Chronic Procrastinator

 

The YouTube link in the beginning is a TED Talk. Specifically, the one that granted this post it’s title. In case you didn’t guess, the talk is about procrastination. The speaker is a blogger, Tim Urban, writing at http://waitbutwhy.com/wait-but-who. Here’s how he breaks down the mind of a procrastinator: there’s a Rational Decision Maker, which is the same as the mind of a normal, non-procrastinating person, and an Instant Gratification Monkey. There’s also a Panic Monster, who however isn’t a permanent player. So what happens is the Rational Decision Maker does exactly what he sounds like. He thinks a situation through and comes up with the sane thing to do.

 

So, say I have an exam tomorrow (I do have one the day after, but anyhow), the RDM will tell me to stop this right now and get down to study. The Monkey is the one that messes all this up by saying go on, do what you like, finish off the whole post at one go. Then, read up on the different kinds of biriyani in India. And if you’re done somewhat early, reorganise your Music folder.

 

The Monkey wants immediate fun. The here and the now and the this. FUN. NOW! The RDM works more rationally, and thinks of longer term stuff. So giving the test well gets me a good grade which increases my chances of having a better job and so on, but may not be very interesting or fun at the immediate moment. The RDM is a grown up in these ways. It’ll allow you to relax and everything, but only on times that are actually relaxation times, like Sunday afternoons when all the chores are done. The Monkey is more of childish and wants, well, instant gratification.

 

And so, when the deadline is tomorrow and it is crunch time, the Monkey will want… well, anything that might make it happy. And thus, it descends down a spiral of worthless unproductivity (there’s a very nice Lennon quote which goes “Time enjoyed wasting is not wasted”, but try saying that when you find yourself watching all of Taher Shah’s masterpieces on YouTube) until it gets to the point where it’s now or never, and if you miss your chance then, you miss it forever. And that’s where the third guy, the panic monster steps in. What he does is, he scares the hell out of the Monkey and hands the control over to the Decision Maker, who then makes the best of a bad job. And this cycle loops for whatever work a procrastinator does.

 

The life of any procrastinator who wants to get anything done involves setting traps for himself that may somehow force him to get stuff done. Take for example, me. Resolving to wake up early and get lots of work done, thus making the day nice and productive (inner self sniggers), I decided to get one of those puzzle solving alarm clocks (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kog.alarmclock  | I never sleep through alarms, but I do snooze a lot of them, which is just as bad. These apps make you solve puzzles to turn them off, or even snooze them. Sounds perfectly ghastly, is so too). Day one of the new alarm, I go to bed at 12:00 am, confident that the new alarm will do it’s job and wake me at 7. At 7, the alarm wakes me, interrupting a particularly nice dream involving a chocolate sauce fountain. I turn off the alarm, uninstall the app and go on sleeping till 8:30. The Monkey, well rested, ensured my day was a very wholesomely happy one.

 

I could give you a bajillion examples. The countless times I stayed up nights trying to finish homework. The night before exams, crashing through the entire semester’s worth of knowledge in hours. The blog articles written after missing three posting deadlines and multiple stern admonitions from Aditi (who am I kidding? Aditi just nudges me ever so gently as yet another deadline whooshes by). And the cycle repeats. Relaxation and delay, realisation and panic, rush and regret. And so on.

 

So I have decided to stop. It’s sort of simple really, to kick the habit. And it’s not that bad. “Everything in moderation, including moderation”, and so on. That was Oscar Wilde. And he was right. Mild procrastination increases creativity. Letting those ideas marinade at the back of your mind really helps them cook, so to speak. And once in a while maybe it’s good to let go and relax. Emphasis on ‘once in a while’.

 

So I have to make detailed timetables and timelines, dividing upcoming tasks into bite sized chunks and arranging them in such a way that I don’t get bored. I’ve got most of it planned out in my head. I’ve even allowed little breaks for relaxation. So all I need to do is make an actual timetable or feed it into my calendar. Heck, I’ll start on it tomorrow. Till then, remember people, consistency, punctuality and a serious approach to work is key.

 

Posted in Random, Weather

Musings on Mausam

Silence pervades the hostel. Well, not silence, but pretty near. Crickets chirp outside, I am busily clicking away at my keyboard, and the raindrops keep steadily doing their drip-drip outside the window against the fuzzy static of the rain in the distance. So it’s not really silent, but all these sounds can be taken for granted. A nice little excursion into the phrase ambient noise. You won’t notice it unless you want to.

I focus on the rain sounds, on how the rain is affecting me. My typing has somehow synced with the steady dripping. Out of the blue, someone starts playing Maroon5’s Payphone very loudly. Jarring. I am unsettled. Shaken out of the rut of my mind, I go back into the rain, picking up the threads of my consciousness where I lost them.

It’s uncanny, how much influence the weather has on us. Almost as much as say food, or people. Maybe even more. We are but slaves to the elements and the atmosphere. Think about it.

Imagine it’s summer, outside it’s a bright sunny day, so you’re bouncing and full of energy. Until you go outside, and then you lose it all. The sun is up there, sapping away all your energy and your enthusiasm (this is from an Indian point of view, so summers are extremely hot and horrible) and you turn into this limp, wilting vegetable and decide a nice cool drink and a nap is probably the order of the day. The evening brings with it coolness, productivity and/or the desire to chill around with friends. The day promises productivity, but doesn’t deliver. Might, if spent indoors, with access to air-conditioning.

Now imagine it’s mid monsoon, and you wake up to the sound of steady rain, a continuous dull hiss outside, dark grey skies and a confusion as to whether it’s evening or morning. The bed seems too comfortable and inviting, and all your senses tell you to stay in bed. You give in. When you do wake up, it’s midday and the rain has lightened up a bit. So you go out and about your business, packing an umbrella, using it whenever you go out, and then cursing as to what to do with the wet floppy thing indoors. The day passes, well enough if indoors and exceedingly wet and irritating if outside. But there’s this sense of general dissatisfaction and a feel of a day wasted. Wasted? No, not wasted. But not what it could have been. Not what it would have been on a drier day, maybe.

There’s honestly few things that solicit mixed feelings more than rain and rainy days. The ‘cry in the rain, the droplets hide your tears’ and ‘splash around in the puddles and make paper boats’ crowds are out in equal force. The rains put some in romantic states of mind, and some in various moods of productivity. If you have the time and will to venture outside, you’ll find in equal number, people joyously soaking in the rain, having fun, and solitary figures moving around pretty dejectedly.

And constant rain gets on your nerves too. Mine at least. For starters, it restricts and hampers movement. Today, I was about to go out, and just at the gate, I left the group I was going with to get my umbrella. Well, my umbrella wasn’t in my room, someone had already taken it. And just then it came pouring down. Kind of sad and ironic that you go to get your umbrella and come back soaking wet. You don’t see that happening too often. Never, in fact. Incessant torrential rain also tends to come creeping into every aspect of your life, through windows, seeping into bags, ruining notebooks and making little puddles on the windowsills and creating little pockets of irritation on your mind.

Tell you what, the best weather is probably the light drizzling and/or sunny sky when it clears up after a spell of heavy rain. Especially if you stay in a place with a lot of greenery. All of nature looks scrubbed clean, there is this beautiful clarity to everything. Then, as the sky starts to clear you get glimpses of the most beautiful clear lapis peeking through (Usage of lapis was intentional there, so that you’d look it up and know exactly I’m talking about. goo.gl/images/j4jnVY, for your convenience). You end up feeling like you are striding a brand new earth. It feels glorious. A fresh start, new life, and then you step straight into a puddle and that’s about it for that.

Posted in Book Reviews, Random

Intermittent Moonshine of a Spotty Mind

It has come down to this. I have a set of examinations in four days. Three, if you’re picky about it being the next day once it’s past midnight. Personally, tomorrow comes when I wake up, or the sun rises, whichever happens later. Also, there is an assignment I need to start on, about World War II from the Russian perspective. And there is more to do. Miles to go before I sleep. And promises to keep. You get the gist.

This post is more or less what the title says. Also, I recently watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and this had been stuck in my mind for sometime. Random background music YouTube is playing from my recommendations. Seven Nation Army by White Stripes when I decided I should start (https://youtu.be/0J2QdDbelmY). Good song, it is. The Arctic Monkeys’ Do I Wanna Know is on now (https://youtu.be/bpOSxM0rNPM). A friend actually recommended it way back. About two years ago or so. Intriguing song. Sparse but oddly impactful.

I’m basically writing whatever is flitting through my head. Which, suddenly subjected to close inspection decides to think smart stuff, gives up, and settles back down on my to-do list. Like I am trying to prepare a sort of analysis of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That’s one book that fits the title rather perfectly. I wish I could say I thought of that beforehand and all this chit-chat was just an artful lead up to the book review, but no. It just struck me. And before anyone who knows tells me Douglas Adams was far from spotty (for the uninitiated, he wrote the book. Books, to be exact, the full trilogy of five [I do not count the sixth][Also, yes, trilogy of five, I made no mistake there]). That was a very messy parenthesis. Do bear with me. Anyway, Douglas Adams was far from spotty, but anyone who knows that will know he thought of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for the first time while he was drunk out of his mind in a field in Germany, and then forgot about it for quite a few years until he started writing for BBC. Which classifies as somewhat spotty.

Plini’s Cascade on now (https://youtu.be/7m5XvO0Y2-Y). I don’t like it now. Not at the moment. Not in the mood for music this involved and energetic at 3:52 AM. I’ll change to Clapton performing While My Guitar Gently Weeps at George Harrison’s memorial concert. (https://youtu.be/rj4J6i_vw0w?list=WL)

Beautiful music. This is probably Harrison’s most famous song from his time with the Beatles. Impassioned lyrics about apathy, and probably some of the most heartfelt guitar work ever. But, one thing that remains unknown is that Clapton played the lead guitar for the album version too (https://youtu.be/mgIbPzGNhIM). Not that it matters all that much.

Anyway, going back along the rails of the train of thought, I encounter Hitchhiker’s. Brilliant book. No plot, some half-boiled characters and yet, what a read. Anyhow. Mind goes back to Clapton and Harrison. It is a very interesting relationship they had. Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd, the subject of several of his songs, was one of the most admired women of her era. Later, when Clapton and Harrison grew closer, Clapton fell in love with her, and eventually won her over. However, Harrison and Clapton remained close friends, appearing with each other on stage and working on each others’ albums, which is pretty cool.

Current song is Hey Jude, by Paul McCartney, Elton John, Sting, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, among a lot of other people. This is a very, very beautiful version of the song. Please do listen, even if you’re skipping the others (https://youtu.be/PgJQ6LQ8x1E?list=WL).

Following was a period where I stared off into the distance because you cannot write “Nothing”, or “Mind is blank”, and so one whiles the time away, revelling in the music. And then https://youtu.be/r8C2Tm-r0V8 comes up. No spoilers, but it forced me to change tabs and watch the whole thing. Very fun, it is. And brilliant actor, that guy.

Well, I will start reading up on my Russia and WWII assignment. Very thought provoking, since they suffered the greatest and harshest losses in the war. www.fallen.io. This pushed me to pick the topic. Please do watch, it is a very well made, informative and educating site. I will not end by saying that “War is a horror”, that we must not repeat those past mistakes. We all know that. It is not something that needs explaining. I will end with nothing. Just a silence, to let your thoughts fill the void.

PS: I know the change in tone is very abrupt. I said I’d follow my mind where it goes, as it goes. I did. I take your leave now.