Category Archives: Why Life Sucks

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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Filed under "Fluid Exchange", *cough cough* comedy, Ideas, Life, Random, Rants, Why Life Sucks

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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Groan

Exams concluded yesterday. Ow!
Drinking binge. Gulp!
Eating binge today. Graon!

And I’m not even in a rock band. In other news, 2 mentions in this years’ Shady Awards. Still no award!

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Is it the 3rd of November?

The title may confuse you. By you, I mean the person reading this. Except unless it is me, who is the most likely person to be the one reading this at any given point of time. Thus, it is more likely that the person reading this will not be confused by the title. Yet, I endeavor to throw a little lifeline to anyone drowning in the deluge of meaningless verbosity of the above paragraph and vagueness of the title.

The title may confuse you, but I assure you it is not random. It is a reference to a book written in 1877 by a man who was born on either October 30 or November 11, 1821. 

’tis a strange world we live in. If I could summarize all my thoughts into a single word, it would be quite an achievement or would indicate the lack of depth or complexity in my thinking. But surprisingly; as I sit here, typing, listening to the Badinerie from Bach’s Orchestral Suite No.2 in B-Minor for flute and strings (BWV 1067) – an ideal background theme for a madman, if you ask me – pardon my digression… But surprisingly I CAN compress the clamoring mass of thoughts in my head into a single word. And the word is: Malice. Indeed, all my thoughts are currently malicious in their nature.

Why? Why not. 

I am quite exasperated. Of fighting. Of battling. Of combating. Of fending off. If only I were nice person by nature, I could look at all the gifts nature has given me. But I am not a nice person. I am a vagrant (my father calls me that), a peripatetic thinker (which I shall prove as this rambled post continues), a loser (as many people are oft to refer to me as), a vindictive, pessimistic nitpicker of thoughts. But devoid of any actual mental facilities and more importantly devoid of any inclination to convert reserves of potential energy into work that will effectively put an end to the incessant questioning. And there is a lot of questioning going around, oh yes! I do not throw words like incessant about to exhibit my limited vocabulary. Whose limitations seem to be on an upward spiral. I have said the word “Cool” more times in the year 2008 than I did in the 15 years before that.

I can now hear the William Tell Overture by Rossini. How pleasant!

I am quite thoroughly annoyed. Of people. Individuals. Human beings. The whole lot of them can bugger off and boil their heads in hot oil, if they wish to please me, which of course they don’t. I am annoyed of my roommates. Of the people in my college. How every second I spend with them seems an opportunity lost. Of how intellectually hollow their company seems. I haven’t learned a thing in the time I have known them. I stand there, listening… words flow from their mouths like sewage into a gutter. Meaningless talk devoid of any shred of original thinking. All their “thoughts” have been subconsciously instilled. On occasion I want to start pointing out the sources of each and every statement they make. But if I interrupted them with “parents”, “movies”, “media”, “unfounded claim”, “peer circle”, “public perception”, “remnants of a phase of juvenile delinquency” and “neurons rotting” all the while; I would leave them with no recourse but to retaliate. And I do not take kindly to criticism. It is a flaw, I admit. I am quite arrogant. Extremely full of myself. I enjoy the philosophy of you-leave-me-alone and vice versa. It allows me to live in a little bubble of self-delusion and an exaggerated sense of my own importance. 

But the retaliations do disappoint. The usual attacks made against me concern my physical appearance, my atrocious academic record, my weak mind, my emotional instability, my judgmental attitude and lack of an open mind and a supposed tendency I possess whereby I degrade myself as part of a subtle ploy to garner sympathy. Everywhere I turn I see my attack on any issue, be it subjective or objective, being countered with an ad homenim derision. I am, strangely enough, not very good at attacking people. If anyone notices, I attack issues with greater ease. I call institutions, beliefs, actions and statements a multitude of names. When it comes to an individual, I find it hard to criticize. I cannot just start using what Nimish calls “my cutting wit” on anyone just sitting in one place doing nothing. It is from their actions that I draw inferences and those inferences are where I begin my attack. 

I believe it was Richard Dawkins who first succinctly explained my world view. He said, and this is one of my favorite quotes from now on: “By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.

Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Opus 23 Allegro ~ Tchaikovsky

(to be continued…)

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Prufung

(No reference to the DCE Quiz. And I’m sorry I missed Panache, had far more urgent appointments that day. Sounds like ’twas this major quizzing party replete with all the geekery one would expect at these events.)

Yeah, it’s those things again! Don’t… bother… asking…

Thought quite a bit yesterday. About having opinions. About being a “fundamentalist intellectual” or “an asshole with half a brian cell”. I said a lot. Remember it, but won’t repeat it here. Let’s just put it this way:

There is truth. By its very definition, it is absolute. But the “right” thing or the “cool” thing to do is acknowledge that there can be various truths for various people. This funda can only be applied in certain areas. (I may say that the statement: “Pete Sampras is a better Tennis player than Roger Federer” is true. Some might disagree and say it is false.) These are areas where there is no actual truth. There’s a word for such areas, but as it’s quite late and Ich Haben Einen Deutsch Prufung tomorrow; I guess my mind is being vague rather than precise. So it goes. But for someone to tell me that, “So? He believes 2+2=5! What’s the big deal! Who are you to say that 2+2=4?” is… so fucked up that I can’t say it any other way except that is UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY FUCKED!

And yet, this exactly what is happening everywhere. 

It doesn’t matter. Nothing does. 

I may be paranoid, but not an android. 

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FUBBAR!

FUBAR – Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.

FUBBAR – The way this guy pronounced it at IIFT last weekend. Which makes this version worse.

Things are FUBBAR. I shall list them out and continue wasting my life.

  • My Computer is fucked. Again. I think the Motherboard is screwed. Again. And the RAM. Again. And the Hard Drive. This is new. My Hard Drive had approximately 200GB of hard-earned movies, music, games, e-books, pdfs and the like.
  • My attendance is fucked in new ways. It’s 85% in two subjects. And 56% in the rest. Go figure.
  • I have two extremely painful ulcers in my mouth. Which means I haven’t eaten in 24 hours. And I can’t speak unless it’s through my teeth, which makes me sound perennially angry. Which I am. But not with anyone in particular.
  • And the worst part of all of this is… Wait. That’s yet to happen. Shit!

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All that any conscious entity can ever hope to do

I’ve been told I live life as if it’s a movie or a book or a play or a porno. Or, and this is the interpretation I’d tend to agree with, something which is perceived as high-art by the artist and a select group of loons and is perceived as trash by almost everyone else. Whatever be the case, I can claim that my life is usually quite extraordinary. Even now, it is extraordinarily frustrating. I was in my trademarked Russian authors phase yesterday, which is basically a dangerous concoction of me behaving like a attention-deprived puppy dog (or mangy mutt) and a character from Tolstoy or Dostoevsky. In the words of a namesake… “That’s Sad!”

Life was good till sometime ago. *cough* Who am I kidding?

In any case, my Internet connection is finally on it’s way. Any day now and I will have anywhere between 300 to 512 kbps of unlimited broadband joy at my fingertips. But…

I call my dekstaap by a very specific and very apt name. HAL. Not only because it’s Harish ALagappa’s PC, but because it has a mind of it’s own and it is the 3rd most erratic and random mind I know of. I’ve spent all day trying to switch the damn thing on and watching with steadily increasing despair as it refuses to proceed beyond the BIOS setup screen. One might even say that the entire evening has spent thus:

Hello, HAL do you read me, HAL? 

Affirmative, Dave, I read you.

Open the pod bay doors, HAL.

I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.

What’s the problem?

I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do. 

So, around the time I can expect the Internet shall arrive at my doorstep, I shall be at Nehru Place trying to get my personal Judas that tries to pass itself off as a PC repaired for the fifth time in the seven months that I’ve owned it. Damn. The only thing that’s been more unpredictable in these last six months has been… Nah! Obvious joke!

Anyway, back to the PC…

Dave? Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave?

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