The blog is dead, long live the blog

This blog is dead.

It’s passed on. This blog is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker. It’s a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. If it wasn’t an abstract personal journal on the World Wide Web and hence incapable of physical form, it’d be pushing up the daisies. Its creative processes are now history. It’s off the twig. It’s kicked the bucket; it’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible.

THIS IS AN EX-BLOG!

Go here instead.

 

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Older and, hopefully, wiser

I’m not going to use any gimmicks in this post. No protracted sentences. No loquaciousness. No references only understandable to certain people. It will just be my attempt at simple, straight, hard facts.

I have often complained of how life throws shit in my face. Whined in wangst at fate and the tortures it puts me through. And I did nothing about it.

A mining analogy:

We are all digging for gold, diamonds and other gems (ideological and literal) to enrich our lives. And some of us happen to hit a drainage pipe and end up with a pile of shit in our beloved gold mines. I am one of these people. People try to assist you out of this (in this analogy, literal, but otherwise metaphorical) shithole. And I was no different. Except that I didn’t use them to get out. Rather, I almost pulled them in.

Now, I’m through.

If I whine again, shoot me.

It is time for action.

But first… A few words which I have to make known public.

The people I knew while I wrote this blog over the past 4 years have defined this era of my life. An era that is reaching its end. And they deserve my thanks. I will not hide any details, by the way. If anyone here would like me to; say so and I will give you my id and password for WordPress. Knock yourselves out.

First, and most important:

Monisha Vemavarapu: Venom, SuperMon and a million sobriquets. No one has influenced me as much as she. Currently in London on an exchange program, she is dating a large, oafish, somewhat paranoid, whiny, self-obsessed and neurotic nutbag. I feel that she perhaps deserves better; but she’s a wiser judge of such things than I am. No one I have ever known has ever evolved so much so quickly. When I first was re-acquainted with her, she was a wild, kranti-kari, ultra-modernist pseudo-hippie. She is now one of the most level-headed determined and pragmatically intelligent people I know. I will be frank: When I first met her, both online and in person, I felt I was the superior individual. But I must now concede this title to her. She has proven herself to be a most fascinating person and one who accepts a random destiny with an élan that I wish I possessed. Monisha is one of those people who you just know will not fade quietly into the night, and will leave a mark on the world. I find my vocabulary failing me in my attempts to describe how happy I am to have known, and know, this singularly unique individual. I sincerely hope that we will never become strangers through providence or (more likely) some ridiculous action of mine.

Nimish Batra: After working at Infosys Technologies in Bangalore, Nimish is now pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Florida. Nimish’s jesting misanthropy was what really resulted in our ever becoming friends. We shared in our fandom for Douglas Adams, I introduced him to Radiohead, and he introduced me to Monty Python. But in our protracted one-downmanship contests, (held periodically over the internet, the telephone and in person) I believe I learnt a lot. And perhaps too much. I appreciate and respect him for a lot of things, but I must say that what applies to me in a large measure applies to you too… Stop whining. Shut up and live. The thing about Nimish that few people get is that he is a genuinely warm-hearted person. Try visiting his home in South Ex, and be amazed at the hospitality shown by him and his family. One part of his brain has the capacity to make him do what’s necessary and drag him across the finish line while the other part is kicking and screaming. As long as that former part dominates the latter, he has nothing to worry about. Genuinely.

Dinesh Kapur: Decay is currently working in Gurgaon for a sustainable ventures firm whose name I can never remember, but it starts with a W. (edit: WinRock! It’s WinRock!) His George Best old-school footballing skills are no longer useful to him in the modern game much like my Karl Marx old-school thinking skills are of no use to me in the modern world. As I’ve often said; this man is a kindred spirit. We’re almost alter-egos of each other. Decay is someone who I can trust to understand my point of view on a matter, usually because he’s been there before. Like Monisha, Dinesh is someone who I feel is destined for far bigger things in life than he can possibly see now. And like Monisha, is an individual in possession of far too many talents, such that it looks unfair to the rest of us.

Anupam Guha: After a successful stint at the Georgia Institute of Technology (where he completed a 2-year Master’s course in a year with a perfect 4.0 CGPA), Guha is currently in Ahmadabad, working for a company that pays him to essentially be their poster-boy. His relationship with Anupama (who I’ve never met properly) was much joked about (my contribution was the idea for “Anupam (1+a)” wedding cards) in college. Oddly enough, it appears to be highly likely that theirs’ will be the first marriage of a friend that I will be a guest of. The conversations on every topic under and beyond the sun were, and still remain, much appreciated. Even the ones where we vehemently disagree. And his conviction to “save” me and show me that humanity is worth saving might just pay off. The path of the wannabe Bushido-ist is fraught with many perils, I joked of him. Well it appears that he intends on making these words an eerie prophecy. Much like a Katana, he has forged his tamahagane worldviews by repeatedly putting it through fire, folding it and beating the shit of it. And that’s why Guha will probably end up as that rarest species of all: A happy, intelligent man who is satisfied with his life and the world he is living in. Or we’ll embark on our plan for revolution. He’ll be Trotsky, I’ll be Stalin… Minus the backstabbing, of course.

Ashwin Murali: After half a year of working 80-90 hour weeks at Citibank, he’s now at his palatial penthouse in Nasik preparing for a second MBA. Ashwin’s greatest trait as a friend has been his ability to listen to me constantly abuse, demote, shout at, vilify and generally insult him for over 3 years with a patient nod and that irritatingly reassuring stupid smile. He set me off on a tangential path in my worldview, for which I still hate him by the way, but it might perhaps lead to a better future. You better hope it does bro.

Akhil Garg: Working at Accenture in Hyderabad, his tryst with the Alagappa family continues as my sister was his HR rep as a trainee. We have both learnt, very late, that we weren’t as bad roommates to have as we thought. Perhaps immaturity came between what could’ve been a far more rewarding friendship for us.

Swati, Priya and Ankur: Swati is working with Wipro in Bangalore while Priya is doing her Master’s at the University of Sussex, I believe. Ankur is doing his Master’s at IIT Kharagpur. I drove you guys away from me in a fit of madness and have regretted that decision since. My yet unfinished college life would have been far better if I had not done that.

Nitesh Bhasin: The entrepreneur and fellow backlogger. We really dump on you more than you deserve. The fact remains that if you hadn’t taken the effort of befriending me in IP University that day, I wouldn’t have gotten to know a lot of the people mentioned here. You’ll either end up in jail or in Forbes. Have fun in Vegas.

M.V. Harish: Another man at Georgia Tech, here’s to perpetuating the “crazy Telugu mofo” image with me. Keep it real with the brothas in the hood in Atlanta. We’ll meet up in a gun shop or seedy beer bar someday.

Many others ought to feature in this list, but I feel it has become so sappy, your monitors might have started leaking already; so wait for another epiphany and moment of emo-ness.

Seriously, I have so many epiphanies; it’s hard to tell which ones are genuine.

Oh, and I almost to mention… This post formally ends this blog. There will be no more posting on Chaosverse any longer. Frankly, I would like some order. Unpredictability and randomness are, as always, welcome; but I’ve had it with the chaos.

I would like to delete this blog, but perhaps will save it. Someday, the people mentioned in this post will look back and this and other posts and laugh at the naivety, stupidity, folly, and immaturity on display.

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Three Quarks for Muster Mark!

An idea that occurred to me during a meeting. (Yes, I am with job. Long story, I’ll tell you later). Anyhoo, in these Inception-ally charged times, I’m contemplating whether I should barter the Haldirams™ Salted Peanuts I’m paid for a copy of “The Picador Book of Cricket” by Ramachandra Guha or “Finnegans Wake” by James Joyce. Guha’s book is a mere Rs. 280, whereas Joyce is pricier at Rs. 500.

On a completely unrelated note, received no birthday gifts this year.

Enjoy the comic (if similar jokes are found elsewhere, I won’t be surprised. The theory’s been around for nearly 50 years now, but mine was truly inspirational unless Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page are doing much cheaper-paying jobs now) and be sure to check out Decay’s Blog for some MS Paintery of his own.

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Beautiful Friend

Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt?

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The 22-year old kid…

Adolescence is a funny time in anyone’s life. It’s the metaphorical bridge between childhood and adulthood. Unfortunately, it’s a rickety old bridge above a deep gorge with a lot of missing bits of wood in between and a strong wind shaking it quite fiercely. Negotiating this bridge is not an easy task. If you’re wondering why I’m talking about puberty (usually experienced between the ages of 12-18) at the age of 22, you probably haven’t heard another one of my pseudo-psychological theories yet. (Actually, can you call something pseudo-psychological? Isn’t most of psychology a pseudoscience anyhow?)

Listen:

Most people start puberty at the ages of 11-14. In guys; their balls drop, their Adam’s apple starts to stick out, their voice becomes deeper, and they are kicked in their newly dropped balls by an unrelenting, all-consuming and frankly, maddening, sexual appetite. Porn replaces cartoons and girls take the place of sports heroes. Physically, it’s a tumultuous time. I was fortunate enough to suffer through this unpleasant process early and quickly. By the time I was 15; I was 6 feet tall and had a voice that boomed over the squeaks of my peers.

Unfortunately, this phase in human development has another, far more diabolical purpose. It is during this time that most people are expected to acquaint themselves with the intricacies of that most inexplicable phenomenon: Social Interaction. The rules of the game are never told to us. We are left fumbling about in the dark trying to figure them out ourselves and most people succeed – though success in this matter depends on your immediate social group, where you are, who you are and the culture you’re living in. People either become followers of mainstream culture or counter-culture or counter-mainstream counter-culture and so on. Some people became leaders in their peer group, while others became followers. But by the time you entered college; you knew the rules quite well.

By the time you were 18, you had made and lost friends many times over. You had made BFFs and Frenemies. You had “a gang,” so to speak. That gang is simply your social circle. The people you hung out with during recess and lunch and after school. Whom you met up with on Saturday mornings to indulge in whatever group activities you indulged in. On whose birthdays you bought gifts and went for parties. You had your first experiences with romantic infatuations. You had crushes. Asked girls/guys out or were asked out. Had fledgling school romances or, if you were in Bethany High, full-fledged sexual relationships with little emotional contact. (This was brought to my attention by people who would go, “You’re from Bethany? Awesome! I’ve heard the girls there are complete sluts!” and I would go, “Really? Wish I knew them!”). Basically, by 18, and definitely by 22; the rules of social interaction are known to you.

Well…

I was never a friendly kid. I was shy. Very shy. If it wasn’t for my height or unusual build or propensity to pick fights with teachers, I would’ve easily passed under most radars. Instead, I was treated with a mixture of infamy and indifference. People knew me. But no-one befriended me. And this isn’t a sad story of the lonely duckling and studly swan. This was my world and I liked it. I didn’t have a social group, but I had a few seniors from school who were my quizzing teammates with whom I’d play football in the evening and discuss politics and music and sport. But I was sort of a guest member. I never went to their homes or their birthday parties. And I didn’t feel bad about it. “You guys aren’t playing football today?” “Nah, we’re going to XYZ’s birthday party” “Right, tomorrow then.” They wouldn’t call me their friend, but they were probably the closest I ever had to friends.

Delhi was no different. 2 years in KV. Heckled, hazed and ridiculed; I didn’t make any friends in school here. I didn’t care. There were things happening at home that occupied most of my mind.

Then I came to college. I was surrounded by people whose emotional quotient far outstripped mine. And here, I finally made a friend or two. It took me time. People started calling me at home when they were bored and would talk to me for an hour or so! I ended up with my own personal team of clowns to entertain and annoy me at home (my roommates). I started talking to girls. Yes, before I was 18, I never spoke to girls. I thought it was evident.

This. These few years here, have been my puberty. I’m a child living in a world of adults. And I’m lost. I need a crash course. I need to learn the rules. Apparently I can’t go with the trial and error method you guys had the luxury of experimenting with when you were 13, because it doesn’t work with 22 year-olds. I don’t know who my friends are and who merely count as acquaintances. I don’t know anything about dealing with people. Or dealing with groups of people. I feel intimidated by them and so I plug in an mp3 player.

In conclusion, I would appreciate someone tutoring me to get my emotional age up to speed with my physical age. I’m told I’m a quick learner.

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Where are you now, when I need you?

Fear isn’t funny. Sadness can be, but fear never is. I’m just saying that because fear has been the predominant emotion in my life for a considerable amount of time. I had a nice day today and yet all I could do after coming home was sit in a corner in my room as if I expected a monster to break open the door and pillage all that I have. Kids ask me questions about my “college” on social networking sites. Everyone complains about their college. Yet, they walk away with a wealth of experiences they’ll cherish and make friends that’ll last a lifetime. What am I supposed to tell those prospective Amitians? Oh, you’ll fit right in with your obsessive need to be seen, incompetent communication and millions of rupees in daddy’s bank account. Yep, YOU’LL love it! And me? Oh, Amity has been like gang-sodomy… only worse.

And yet, the fear grows. It mutates and is mobile. I’m patient zero. The first zombie paralyzed by fear and mental degradation. I’m destroying all that’s beautiful in my life. I’m a prophet: I predict doom and then go ahead and ruin my life and go, “See? Toldya I was right!”.

I’m going insane. I walked out of my house today and briefly toyed with the idea of never going back. I thought, “Why not just walk out of this house… Sell my cellphone and catch the first bus headed anywhere. No goodbye note, nothing. Just fucking disappear.” And perhaps one day I will do that. True happiness cannot be the purveyance of the dead or the ignorant alone.

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New Decade. Old Problems.

I guess it’s fascinating, looking at this blog. Apart from the obvious exercise in narcissism, it provides a unique insight into how much things have changed or have remained static over a considerable period of time. I started this blog in August 2005. It’s almost been 5 years now. I have gone from being a guy stuck in a KV, both fearful of his future and yet wildly optimistic at the same time to someone in a college he morbidly despises who seems to have ruined almost any chance he had of making a name for himself.

I cleared the written exam for the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai (hereafter referred to as TIFR). I shall abandon humility and say that I feel it’s a bloody noteworthy achievement. A guy who’s had as horrid a B.Tech experience as me isn’t expected to be the in 1 in 500 to clear a grueling entrance exam for India’s premier graduate school for Physics. TIFR offers the best Ph.D faculty, research options, library and stipend in India. That’s right, Ph.D. I beat people with Master’s degrees from the various IITs to get in here. Natansh might wonder why I’m blowing my own horn so much, but he’s already cleared a way more difficult national-level entrance exam. But it’ll probably amount to nothing. No way I can clear the interview. Not with all my baggage.

I qualified for the final round of the Young Sociologist of the Year Competition in Bangalore. In fact, I got my TIFR result barely a week after returning from Bangalore where I presented a Sociology paper. Met many interesting people. Virgil, who eventually won. Michael, who’s quip about how even the worst neighborhoods of San Diego are nowhere nearly as filthy as Koramangala (one of Bangalore’s more posh areas) and even the girls from Miranda House and Ferguson College who kept throwing wary glances at me as if they expected my to pounce on them at any moment. (Seriously, do I look like a rapist?)

I didn’t attend college for nearly 3 semesters in a row and in my last 2 years have missed more exams than I have given. Hence TIFR remains a dream that will not be realized. Not this year, at least.

2010 promises to be a defining year. It will be unforgettable, I can guarantee that. Whether I will want to relive these memories or erase them forever, they will haunt me.

This blog has really been an integral part of my identity throughout college. Be it my hormonally challenged posts that were evidently about Monisha (there! I said it!) or attempts at pseudo-intellectual candor, I always picked the worst time to write them. Which, I guess has been the defining trait of my life c.2005-2010. It has been a period of terrible decisions and bad timing. Thoughts that struggle to find meaning and ideas that come and go quicker than I can say, “Get me a pen and some paper!” The humor, the edge is gone because the confidence that is so necessary to drive it is n ruins. The arrogance you see is over-compensation for a feeling of inadequacy and it’s a vicious cycle. Confidence shatters, arrogant shell built. Arrogance causes problems, causes greater loss of confidence that breeds more arrogance. You get the rest.

Well, the decisions are no longer mine to take, are they? Perhaps my life follows a Seldon Plan. Or it’s just seldom planned. I wait and do nothing until I reach a crisis that affects my very existence and there exists only one course of action to take. So if my childhood was the Encyclopedia stage, perhaps the Salvor Hardin within me will soon find his services necessary. (To those who don’t get what I’m talking about here, I’m heavily referencing Isaac Asimov’s classic ‘Foundation’ saga).

And always remember, Don’t Panic.

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