Category Archives: Travel and Living

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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The …’s of the Decade

I expect publications will be indulging in their year-end exercise in scatology with greater vigour this year.  It is, after all, the end of the first decade of the second millennium in the rears of our lord. (Anus Domini)

So, be not surprised if Rolling Stone ranks Amy Winehouse as the Artist of the Decade and if Kate Moss tops Vogue’s list of Celebrities For Whom Children Should Give Up Reading Books Or Developing Any Semblance Of Intelligence To Ape Blindly And If They Die Of Forced Starvation, Hallelujah To The Gene Pool!… of the Decade. (The benefit of that last statement is that the only people it could possibly offend wouldn’t be able to read and/or understand it. Except Nimish, perhaps.)

But… Where was I? Ah, yes. Nowhere. Excellent.

So, since every blog and magazine that follows the Christian era calendar will probably have come out with this list or will be coming out with such a list in the very, very immediate (There’s one right behind you. Seriously, take a look) future; I thought I might use this as a good place to get back into the habit of filling up this blog, and thus entertaining my Brain-esque delusions of grandeur. Therefore, I give you:

HARISH’S LIST OF TOP 10 ALBUMS OF THE DECADE!

  1. Kid A ~ Radiohead (2000)
    Yes. The decade’s best album came out in October 2000. Listen to it. 50 times. 100 times. For every day between October 2000 to December 2009. And then hear it again. You’ll still find something new you’d never heard before, you’ll find another possible meaning behind a line you heard a 100 times, or realize that in the second song Thom Yorke doesn’t say “fssshaaaaddddmmaaaaeeee“, but rather: “falling in the shadows at the end of my bed…“. I still don’t know whether he says “Take the money and run” or “Take the money, Enron” in Idioteque. Album of the Decade and perhaps the 2nd or 3rd greatest of all-time.
  2. Get Behind Me Satan ~ The White Stripes (2005)
    I first heard the White Stripes in the year 2003, as almost everybody did, thanks the song ‘Seven Nation Army’. The reason they never became really popular in India after that song can be explained very easily. It’s this album. In 2005, the Delhi Times reported that the White Strobes'(sic.) album Get Behind Satan(sic.) has been nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy. It didn’t win, proving it truly was the Best Album of that Year. The complete abandonment of Jack White’s trademark guitar-work was just the start. The songs were more… complete. I can never explain why I think this album is pure genius. But it just is.
  3. A Rush Of Blood To The Head ~ Coldplay (2002) 
    Before Nimish and I started ripping Viva La Vida a new one, we (and many others) were massive Coldplay fans and had discussions about how Radiohead and Coldplay will be our generation’s equivalent of The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. This album was the reason. Every single song is amazing. Every. Last. One. The surprising thing is that the guy who wrote and sang these songs didn’t get laid till he was 23. Strange.
  4. Amnesiac ~ Radiohead (2001)
    If anyone tells you Kid A sounds sane and soothes them there can only be two reasons. They didn’t hear the album or… they’ve heard this one. A limitless source of twitter posts for your’s truly; Amnesiac takes the controlled Fuck-Rock experiment of Kid A and hands it over to Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote and Dr. Frankenstein. I can talk endlessly about how Pyramid Song is perhaps Radiohead’s finest hour or how You And Whose Army should be the background song to a bloody and brutal anime where Samurai Jack goes beserk, but I’ll quote Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin  Box as a precursor to potential, but unlikely, flame wars in the comments thread… “I’m a reasonable man, get off my case
  5. Elephant ~ The White Stripes (2003)
    The best guitar-driven album since… Physical Graffiti? Easily the best guitar work in the 2000s. Listening to Jack White play the guitar is like what Helena Bonham Carter’s character of Marla must’ve felt like when getting fucked by Tyler Durden. It’s brutal and yet feels amazing. Seven Nation Army, Black Math, I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, Ball and Biscuit, The Air Near My Fingers… The switches, the shifts in tempo, sudden riffs… Man’s a genius. And the album cover is layered and ends in a re-he-heaaally bad joke.
  6. Vampire Weekend ~ Vampire Weekend (2008)
    I feel a weird sense of superiority when I “discover” a band. Vampire Weekend was my most recent one. I first heard them cover ‘Exit Music (For A Film)’ on the OK Computer tribute album that Nimish was giving everyone on his blog. But it took songs like A-Punk, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, One and Walcott for me to realize these Ivy League guys were a find I’ll be bragging about for years.
  7. The Marshall Mathers LP ~ Eminem (2000)
    Again, an album that came out a few months into the decade is in this list because… uh… Fuck You. This is when what Eminem said and did was still THE most controversial stuff in the history of western music. But it was also hilarious and quite cleverly written. The moment you realize a song by Dido (which is used to get girls wearing fluffy pink slippers into a good mood) is sampled only to be followed by the words, “Shut up bitch! I’m trying to talk! Hey Slim, that’s my girlfriend screamin in the trunk but I didn’t slit her throat, I just tied her up, see I ain’t like you cause if she suffocates she’ll suffer more, and then she’ll die too” is when you realize this cracka! has some skill.
  8. Alive 2007 ~ Daft Punk (2007)
    Even I dance when I hear this. Yes, it’s dancing; not a recreation of how someone with ALS looks like when he’s having an epileptic fit. Daft Punk live sounds like such an amazing experience, I wouldn’t mind being surrounded by tens and thousands of people who just think of the duo as people playing music for them to dance to. I’m stronger than that. Or, as these French Robots say, “‘Tronga!” than that.
  9. Toxicity ~ System Of A Down (2001)
    I think the frightening thing about this album is that it released exactly a week before 9/11.  And with lyrics about toxicity in our cities and disorder, disorder, disorder… Damn! But nevertheless, the album is the best metal album of this decade by a light-year. I mean, what’re you going to compare this with? St. Anger?

    Okay, I’m feeling quite hungry and am almost out of time at the cyber place. So I might put up some more comments for 10. Or not.

  10. Gorillaz ~ Gorillaz (2001)

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Look who’s writing again!

Now, now honey! Don’t be mad! I know you’re angry that I haven’t been paying as much attention to you as I used to before, but that does not necessarily mean I don’t care about you anymore! It’s just that all this work! The fear of the future, the utter and complete decimation of all my hopes and every single human being I know climbing onto my case as if it was Mount fucking Everest!

And I know. 2-2 at home. At least he didn’t dance. But, hey! At least we’re better off than the Scouse brigade! Decay must be ecstatic, and keeping in mind his recent penchant for “inserting” a sexual innuendo in every second sentence of his speech, I believe he will describe his mood with one of the following words: Euphoric, Orgasmic, Elevation, Ejaculation or more.

As for n00b42, n00b42, n00b42… HIKE! He’s probably singing YNWA even now.

In any case, my parents were missing me for some strange reason. It had been around six months since I saw them last.  So, I am now in Mumbai. My writing has deteriorated more than umm… something; so I’ll not write much but rather inundate your web browsers with tiny packets of information that will be converted into pictures taken from a 1MP phone camera.

But the good news is that I have finally bought myself a copy of ‘The Black Swan’ by Nissim Nicholas Taleb. Yay!

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Chutiya aur bewakoof…

Bewakoof aur chutiya mein dhaage barabar ka farak hota hai. Dhage ke henge bewakoof aur hunge, chutiya. Dhaga khench lo to kaun hai bewakoof kaun hai chutiya, carore rupiye ka prashan hai bhaiya.

I don’t usually do the human interest beat. Reasons range from me not giving a hoot about such incidents to the fact that it’s done far too often by far too many other blah-gers. (Natansh, Venom and even Decay have dabbled in such stuff. These posts are usually ignored by me or I leave pointless, vague and marginally demeaning comments that go largely unappreciated by the authors or make Decay turn green and rip his clothes out!)

But I guess I can make an exception. Just this once.

His name, he said, was Raju. He told me this after I asked him, which was strange as most cab drivers tend to introduce themselves to me. I provide some respite from the boring and arduous task of ferrying people from AIIMS to Rajnigandha (sec-19), Noidaa nd it is rare for them to get more than, say, 2 or 3 passengers at the afore-unmentioned time (which happens to be around midnight, if not later). I’ve met a cab driver who asked to guess his age. I thought he looked 34, but I wanted to go easy on the chap (may end up dropping me off for free!). The conversation went as follows:

Me: “Bhaiya, pachees” (25)

Rakesh: “Nahi” (Nope)

Me: “Chabbees, Athayees? Tees se toh kum honge!” (26, 28? Less than 30, for sure!)

Rakesh: “Saale, mein bayees ka hoon” (I’m 22)

Rakesh has a 5-month-old kid. He named him Abhishek, after this guy. And ended up dropping me off very close to my place for free.

There was the inimitable Jayant. Swearing at everyone on the street and trying to pick up chicks. (“Jaanu, horn aise daba rahi ho ki jee karte hai main teri horno ko daba doon!” Translate that yourself.)

And the chaps who question why am I out there in the first place. (“Ladki se milke aa rahe ho? Sahi hai, yaar! Sahi hai!“)

But Raju was different, because I didn’t see him as a representation of how, despite the injustices of the bourgeios, the oppressed worker can manage to smile and bring some humour into the life of others, even if it just for a 16-km ride.

Raju was driving a black Chevrolet Tavera. He stopped suddenly at AIIMS, but not so suddenly so as to disrupt anything on his dashboard. It was the perfect sudden halt. He turned his face slowly and looked at us fools, standing there at midnight. I looked the silliest. Dark blue kurta that extended up to my knees, jeans and a bag. Everyone backed up. I went forward and asked him, “Noida?” He nodded his head. “Kahaan?”, I said. “Rajnigandha” he replied. He spat the word out as if the place was his dominion. I got in. He drove like a character out of the Matrix. Average speed: 70 (before the DND Flyway). And this may be the Tavera rather than the driver, but I have rarely had such a comfortable ride. He made his customary near-perfect screeching halts at South Ex, Lajpat Nagar, Maharani Bagh and Ashram. He didn’t stick his head out of the car and yell his destination. He just looked. If no-one approached the car in 3 seconds, he was off.

I noticed that even though I was his only passenger, he did not utter a word. Or even look away from the road. It wasn’t even as if he was looking at the road. He just stared ahead, not even in the manner of contemplating the vagaries of existence. His face was austere. It wasn’t austere from rage or anything. It was pure, emotionless austerity. When we exited the toll booth, I asked his name. He didn’t even look at me. He just asked why I wanted to know. (Actually what he said was, “Kyon?” – “Why?”).

Aap itne chup they. Mujhe laga ki agar is wakt main yahan mar bhi jaon toh aapko koi farak nahi padega. Iske liye angrezi mein ek shabd hota hai, Stoic” (You were so quiet that I thought that even if I died at this very moment, it wouldn’t affect you at all. There’s a word in English for this, Stoic).

He smiled. Actually his lips on the right of face moved just a bit. We had reached Rajnigandha Chowk. As I got down from the batmobile, he turned to me and finally spoke,

Kum bolna ek kala hota hai. Jyaada bologe toh public tereko chutiya samjhegi“. (Keeping queit – speaking very little – is an art. Talk too much and people will take you for a fucker/pussy.)

Thus said, he drove off.

This. This is what I wanted to be, back when I was 13-14 years old. Why did I change? I guess, no-one can be truly apathetic, truly “heartless” (as she put it), truly stoic. Except Raju, perhaps.

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Today is gonna be the day that they’re gonna throw it back to… someone or the other

It must be Saturday.

I can never get the hang of Saturday.

They go well. Or weirdly. Sometimes, like today for instance, it’s both.

Woke up late! This is the first weekend I’ve had in a long, long time. The ones till now were ruined by cleaning up after a drunken night with a huge hangover, going to pointless college fests, internals, the trip et cetera. But today was a blank slate. I have nothing to do. Absolutely nothing! Ah!!!

Played basketball after a long time. Dressed like a fool. I couldn’t care less. Had loads of fun.

Met a random person and bought them dinner. Had a nice evening. But… something felt strange. There’s no way to explain it except for an analogy:

It’s like someone’s trying to understand the Standard Model immediately after reading the Copenhagen Interpretation.

Things got weirder:

I got down from the bus at AIIMS and plugged in the mp3 player. It starts off with the lines:

(…) looks like the real thing
Tastes like the real thing
My fake plastic
But I can’t help the feeling
I could blow through the ceiling
If I just turn and run

I then walked for an hour from “Rajnigandha Chowk” to ‘ma crib/hizze’ in sector-49, listening to The Bends in album repeat. Usually, I skip three songs (this one, this one aaaanddd… this one). This time I skipped this one.

I feel… unusual.

Intelligence is the ability to articulate one’s stupidity.

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“Beauty” and Eddies In The Spacetime Continuum

A Snickers bar awaits ye who can fully comprehend the multi-referential nature of the title.

Is it a boon or a curse? That’s something I’ve been asking myself ever since I’ve suddenly hit a purple patch in girls colleges at DU. Yeah, I get to show off my (*cough*) intellect and gab in front of the “Hot ladkis of Dilli da University”, but what’s the point? That doesn’t impress them as much as a face that resembles Daniel Radcliffe. In fact, that doesn’t impress them AT ALL! The latest victim was Kamala Nehru College, Siri Fort Road, New Delhi.

It was a strange coincidence that DK (known variously as Drift King, DicKhead, Donkey Kong, Debate King and on rare occasions as Dinesh Kapur) and I made a clean sweep of the KNC Debate on the 14th of November (14th November = Jawaharlal Nehru’s Birthday… Kamala Nehru is J’Lal’s awfully wedded wife). To be honest, it was a no-contest. The topic, “Canon-formation is irrelevant in a globalized market”, was brilliant (once I understood it!) and I felt kind of sad that it was wasted on such a miserable congregation. What did make the victory sweet was that I turned up there not even knowing what “Canon-formation” meant. Still, we spoke and walked away with the following prizes:

· Best Team

· Best Individual Speaker: Dinesh Kapur (Damn it! His cute looks did me in, I tells you!!!)

· IInd Best Individual Speaker: Me. (I’m in this 2nd place rut. Victory somehow always eludes me!!!)

· Best Interjector: Me, again. (This is a prize I have almost reserved for myself at the few dumbass debates I attend) Note: MS Word doesn’t recognize the word lameass, but recognizes dumbass!

I also did the winships in Creative Writing Contest.
Whilst walking away from KNC, we passed by the Siri Fort auditorium; which brought back memories from 2 years ago (copious amounts of water, glucose, antacid gels, tablets, a high fever and the Rodin’s Thinker Trophy in my shaking hands as we argued with an auto driver to get us back to Gole Market for less than seventy rupees while the “BIG” schools we beat made their exits in air-conditioned buses and cabs).

It was at this time that I extolled my views on “beautiful people” to DK. He refuses to believe that he has a fan club (genuine modesty or him being an asshole? No clue. I’m not good at hints and perceiving things, as opposed to him), but I guess he falls in this category.

Now, the multiple visits to supposedly “HOT” DU girl’s colleges and the experience of watching Fashion Tech students parading around near the Aerospace Engineering lab and the cafeteria has numbed me to physical, human beauty. I still joke about it, alright, but I guess I have a genuine feeling of revulsion w.r.t. ““beautiful people””. It’s simple, really.

A few basic tenets of a “beautiful person”:

1. He/she is born “beautiful” (We are all born beautiful, but they “maintain” themselves such. Hence the direct correlation between money and “beauty”)

2. Since they are born and brought up looking cute, sweet, hot etc… They get pampered and are perennially in the limelight.

3. Hence, a “beautiful person” is used to getting things for no reason apart from their natural looks. Getting as opposed to earning.

4. Hence, the “beautiful person” never felt the need of acquiring a skill set on the basis of which they can build their lives, as they assume that their looks are enough.

5. Which is also why these people get F’d in the A. once they’re 40.

6. The rest of us, however, have had to earn everything we have. Our place in society (by virtue of achievements, rather than looks), our friends (by virtue of personality) etc.

7. So, most (the exceptions are so few in my experience that I in fact say ALL) the “beautiful people” I’ve met are generally quite dumb, self-obsessed, arrogant and highly delusional. And believe me, for a fool like me, a hot face/body/particular anatomical section cannot cover up such major defects. (It works supremely for others, though. Yes, #49, I’m looking at you again! :p)

It also explains why I never was a part of The Gang. This was due to my appearance (yeah, yeah…), my malapropistic tendencies, my refusal to simply accept things without question etc. Basically, I have what people call “an attitude”. Now exactly why that is something wrong is a question I haven’t been able to answer, yet!

Not being a “beautiful person” has been a bummer only in terms of “not getting a chick (or is it chic?)”, but since that’s #5111918 on my priority list (Which is way below “Rob Rupert Murdoch”, just below “Learn the ‘Beat It’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’ dance moves” but above “Kill Bill… O’Reilly”) I guess it really doesn’t bother me.

The upshot, of course, is the moral of the story: I’m building my life on skills that will not desert me naturally one day. Yes, yes. A healthy lifestyle and advances in medicine can take a running jump. Looks go. Deal with it.

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Le Femmes…

Guess my Himalayan soujourn has been cancelled. The reasons are currently unclear, but there is the soft, shapely hand of a woman behind it.

Goddam it!

So, now I have four days to lord over the two empty floors of my PG with no cash, no laptop (hence no late-night internet or music! 😦 ) and no DVD player.

I DO have Ashwin’s Apache RTR 160, though! 😀 ? But no petrol and hardly enough money to get more than a 100 kms in the tank (@ 65 km per litre).

So… what do I do? Read, I guess.

But the pleasure of taking a bike out on an empty Noida road is too much of a thrill to resist.

Move over lysergic acid diethylamide, I’ve found a new drug!

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