GETTING INTO FIRST GEAR

If someone asks me what I was looking forward to the most about being an adult, my answer would be driving. (Well, it would be A-rated movies. But what do I look forward to the most besides that? Driving. Definitely driving.)

You see, in my head, driving has always been the coolest part of being an adult. (I was kidding about the A-movies by the way :p) As a child, I have cribbed to be allowed to sit in the front seat: a privilege my mom would always enjoy when my father was driving. Later my dad began to allow me into the front seat when he was parking. Calling himself pilot and me co-pilot, he would ask me to help out with little things like if we were parallel to the wall or if there was a vehicle approaching. (This was before reverse assist.) My childhood fascination with driving diminished with time, yet vestiges of it remain. Hence learning to drive was something I had been looking forward to for a long time.

IMG_20171213_153857-01
This is a snap taken on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. We always drive down to my Grandmother’s house in Pune in our car, typically several times a year. This was the route of some of my earliest road trips and hence I have many happy memories of driving down this very road. This year, I wanna be the one to drive us down, a desire I have been eagerly waiting to fulfil for quite some time now…

I was 14 years old when people around me like some of my seniors, classmates and slightly elder friends started learning how to drive. Some of them were underage, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t find it cool and that I didn’t wish to learn to drive too. Driving had always been the first order of business as soon as my 18th year’s summer started. Due to a couple of trips (and general sloth-like behaviour on my part,) there were a few delays but I finally got my hands on a steering wheel and began driving lessons 2 weeks back.

My first lesson was a novel experience for me. (My first struggle was the seat belt: I am so used to doing it left to right when I ride shotgun, I was struggling to buckle in. ) I had expected it to be sitting in the co-pilot’s seat, simply being introduced to the controls and maybe being told how and when to use each one so I was extremely surprised when I was instead told to sit in the driver’s seat, turn the keys in the ignition and get into first gear. I would be driving from get-go! I was flooded with sensations from the vehicle under me. Every bump and jerk was magnified in my excitement.  The monsoon breeze against my face, soft music on the stereo and the low rumbling of the engine behind it all felt wonderful! I could barely contain the wide grin spreading across my face. (This was a cause for concern for my instructor as during all this I had consistently been accelerating in my excitement. Well past the set limit of 20kmph he had given me while grinning like a maniac, no wonder he has now labelled me as a speeding risk. Ugh) Yet, nothing could have prepared me for the sensation of acceleration as I pressed down the pedal for the first time. I had been anticipating the kick, yet I was surprised when it came. Usually, it just happens to me but this time I realised I was the cause of it; realising, in the process,  how very different the two were.

When I am being accelerated, there is no control in my hands. Now yes, the more anxious amongst us worry about whether the person driving is capable or whether he SELRES_12b7e7cc-e97c-4e81-8f68-4cd6d34de33bwill get you killed, yet for me this is easier to handle as either way, responsibility rests in his/her hands. That means even if an untoward incident occurs, I am in the clear. (How optimistic!) But when I am the one with my hands on the steering wheel, the responsibility rests on my shoulders. To hell with power, its great freedom that brings great responsibility. Now that I have had a few lessons, I am more accustomed to the SELRES_12b7e7cc-e97c-4e81-8f68-4cd6d34de33bsensation; but the first time? I remember the startling sensation as the car leapt forward and I suddenly came face to face with the sheer horsepower I was sitting on. (Okay maybe a little power. Fine with great freedom AND power comes great responsibility.) To be honest, that was all I took away from my first lesson as I was almost completely focussed on just that the entire time. Surprisingly, I barely noticed it from the second lesson onwards; it has never bothered me again.

Driving is LIBERATING. I feel like there are a million options in front of me: I am free to explore the world around me. The nearest you get to this kind of freedom is with cycling. (OOH flying must be better… Got to get my hands on an airplane!) But there again you are limited by lower speeds and your own stamina, and that is not the case with driving. Driving isn’t taxing, it requires focus and alertness, but at the same time it doesn’t take up too much RAM leaving your mind free to wonder and pick its teeth, metaphorically speaking.

IMG_20170925_182252-01
This snap from atop a foot over bridge right opposite the main gate of my college embodies the frustration Mumbai’s traffic causes to me. Somehow, I always seem to find myself on the right side of the divider, as I watch gloating vehicles zip past on the empty lanes of the left side.

Now, it isn’t all rosy, I do have complaints. Mumbai in the rains means two very big nuisances for every driver: Potholes and Traffic. Roads are choked all the time, you can barely move your foot off the breaks. I have never driven in 5th gear and 40% of my time is spent in traffic. But then again, I must admit: the monsoon does has its own charms.

IMG_20170827_152947-01
Driving in the rain doesn’t just bring out the pluviophile in me, but also satiates my wanderlust. This is one of the few times I am glad I was being lazy because had I been more industrious, I would have had to learn to drive under the harsh afternoon sun of peak summer: a thought I do not relish.

The rainy season arrived a month back in Bombay. Ever since the weather has been a TREAT. It fluctuates between torrential downpours and weak sunlight, with deliciously refreshing breezes carrying in the petrichor and a few droplets of rain through lowered windows; merely describing it is making me smile with joy. Give me a muted radio playing melodies older than me over the sound of raindrops hitting the windshield, a cool breeze playing across my face, wide, empty roads and a good companion and I could drive on and on forever.

College will be starting soon, so I will have to leave my lessons incomplete. But I do live in the same city, so I guess I shall be completing them when I come home for the weekends. Its a pity that I won’t be able to continue driving everyday but now I have one more thing to look forward to on the weekends! I think I have found something that I won’t ever stop enjoying. Ever.

How was your experience learning how to drive? Any cool stories? Tips for a beginner driver or even a playlist to recommend for when I am in the driver’s seat? Do reach out! I look forward to hearing from you.

Until next time.


 

Advertisements

PLAYING CATCH-UP

Sorry to have been away for so long. It’s been more than a month since I have last posted, the reason for this being partially due to a case of writer’s block, and mostly due to a LOOOOOOT of lethargy and laziness on my part.

So, quick updates on what I have been up to: It started off with me finishing my first year of college (Kind of sad about this one, wish it lasted longer, it was FUN); me moving back home to NOT my home (Coz there are TOO many changes: me, the house itself, the neighbourhood, everything!); a couple changes on the personal front; Avengers 3 with the “Mr. Stark I don’t feel so good.” happening; Dragon Ball Super being paused; FOX cancelling Lucifer; getting addicted to The Office (US); a cycling trek to Ooty (A hill station in India, this trip was MINDBLOWING and deserves a post, later.) among many many more things.

On second thought, that’s it; not “many many more things”. Feels like a lot less all of a sudden. ;-;

Huh.

Anyway (Anyway? Anyways? I am still not clear on the difference between the two, if they are different?) recently, I have had chances to catch up with a lot of friends. Some old, some new, most were comfortable and awkward, a few. (Hey! That rhymes!)Literally, last month has been the month of reunions. Schoolmates, college friends, childhood buddies and some family as well. I must admit, my apprehension and nervousness about each reunion were fundamentally the same in character, if a little varied in extent. There is always that uncertainty: is the person the same as the last time you saw them? Has time changed them too? If so, for the better? Or are they the worse for the wear? Can you resume your friendship from right where it was? Or do you have to start over as complete strangers, building your relationship from scratch?

reunion

The last couple of years though academically hectic, were socially virtually inactive for me. I didn’t have a phone nor access to most social media and so lost contact with a lot of my earlier friends, especially those from school, with whom I had consistently been meeting almost daily, face to face. After such a long period of time has passed, for me there was a certain level of inertia that sets in: to avoid the awkwardness and uncertainty (which was generally merely a figment of my imagination) and in some cases: a very real fear of the last impression I had left and whether, after that impression I will be allowed back into someone’s life.

Despite that, my curiosity got the better of me and I ended up attending quite a few of these reunions. Below, I pen down some of my thoughts on these, coz I felt like all of these came under one of these four kinds:

  1. The Ascenders: Most people change for the better. Time works its magic bringing maturity, knowledge and experience. Most of my friends (myself included) are at a point where we are pursuing our chosen career paths, seeking the qualifications and expertise to emerge as professionals. In this context, I found myself admiring these “Ascenders” expertise and awareness about their fields of interest and how driven they seemed. It is fun interacting with such people because I am simultaneously impressed by the smart and mature individuals that everyone (except me ;-; ) transforms into and anxious too about whether this confident and intelligent persona is also the impression I am conveying or whether my shortcomings are visible for all to see.
  2. The X-Factors: Some people, you realise you may have misjudged. These people were full of surprises. Suddenly hearing their narrations of the same events felt like eye openers and I was pleasantly surprised about how I had never known the real depths of their awesomeness. Most of them left me wishing that I had the good sense to know them better back then. What really surprised me was the display of creativity, perceptiveness and sensitivity that almost always left me pleasantly surprised. I always took away a feeling of having a lot left to be learnt from them. I take these people as reminders: that all isn’t as it seems and that I should not dismiss people out of hand; a lesson that I definitely needed reminding of, especially now.
  3. The Descenders: Some people, take a turn for the worse. This is the saddest kind of reunion for me, to meet someone and see only faint glimmers of the wonderful person you remember them to be. Although this might be selfish of me, such meetings leave me feeling worried, not about how or why the other person has changed like this, but rather worried about an error of judgement on my part, whether I could have helped them at a key moment or worse: if they had ever been the person I had believed them to be. Whether it is complacence with what they have or a lack of sensitivity to the changing world around them, lacking creativity or a drive to be better, these people reminded me of what I should NOT become.  This was the impression they left on me. I do not say they are wrong or right in their actions and beliefs, I might be completely wrong about them for all I know. I hope I am.
  4. The Constants: This last kind of meeting is, for me, the best kind. It’s the one where everything remains the same between you. Time may pass, you may be close or far apart. Yet even after everything, if you can easily slip into the same comfort zone with the person? No matter how your personalities may have grown or changed, if the person can make your insecurities go away and make you forget the anticipated awkwardness? If you are instantly sure of your footing with that person? When you’re not reliving the past but instead pick up where you left off and carry on without skipping a beat? That is the best kind of meeting of them ALL.

Now that all is said and done, I feel silly and even a little foolish about how worried I had been about meeting people again. Not only did I end up taking trips down memory lane and having the large associated doses of nostalgia, I had a lot of fun reconnecting with people and turning old acquaintances into new friends. Anyway, that is all from me for now, although I have a suspicion that we shall touch upon this topic again sometime in the future.

reunion2

Do you share my earlier anxiety about meeting old acquaintances after a long time? Why or why not? Had any “Re-unions” recently? Did they fit one of the four kinds I described above or was it something new?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Until we meet again!

GOING PLACES

Biologically, man was meant to be on the move. Our bodies are designed to streamline running; we are the best, most efficient and economic runners in the animal kingdom.(We actually are, in terms of energy spent to distance and speed. Did you know, that if nature had designed us a bit worse, half an hour on a treadmill would have been enough to work out last nights pizza instead of a full hour!)  Even historically, man has always been an explorer. We, as a species, have plumbed the depths of the ocean and the highest peaks on our planet. Beyond the planet, man has been to the moon ( Yeah, right. Says the flag waving in the breeze on an airless moon. Its a CONSPIRACY.) and man made objects have penetrated the darkness of the cosmos! Tales of explorers such as Marco Polo, Hiuen Tsang, Magellan (Who never actually completed the journey he set out for, as a matter of fact!), Neil Armstrong and Amelia Earhart are proof that mankind always was and is fascinated by the unknown. Journeys, whether physical or symbolic are of a special significance to us as a species.

Even my maturing from childhood to adulthood is a journey of sorts. But it is not metaphorical journeys we are to discuss today but real, rubber to asphalt journeys. I dont know about you, but for me, travelling and journeys have been a huge part of my childhood. The distance, time and mode of transport may vary, but whenever I step out of my house, I always feel a thrill, an unnamed excitement; no matter how small, its there.

So after some scrutiny, I realised that travelling, for me, can be divided into 3 parts: the Anticipation, the Destination and everything that happens in between.

The anticipation is the longest part. For preplanned and out of town forays, it will start a week before leaving. It feels like a small knot in your stomach that continues to build up until the night before you set off, at which point it miraculously and completely disappears. At this point, try as you might to rekindle that excitement, instead of ending in a glorious crescendo, all you can muster is a tiny squeak instead of a heart stopping roar. I dont know how many of you have ever experienced this, do tell me if I am not the only one. And this sudden drop in enthusiasm culminates innnnnnn……….. Departure! That crazy and frantic moment when everyone is running helter-skelter hunting stuff down till the last minute! Turning switches off, checking the stove, house keys, calling our driver to get the car to the lobby, phone, locking the door, unlocking it to get that one thing we forgot, relocking and then checking that we relocked a thousand times! Arrgh! This is the part of a journey I dislike the most! (And this has nothing to do with the fact that this is also the time I was most likely to be scolded. Nothing at all!  ;-;  )

 

IMG_20180212_174539
A journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step  me being scolded for forgetting to pack my toothbrush. (BUT I thought I did!)

And there is the major part of journeys: the in-between is what I like to call it. Before the end and after the beginning, where you experience motion, look and see the world around you: static and yet ever changing (or sometimes just drift off and sleep like a baby). In many ways it is the most fascinating part of the journey and yet the one we are most likely to ignore.

 

 

IMG_20171223_075023
I have a thing for pretty skies. Nothing ignites my wanderlust like golden sunshine from a rising sun and delicate cirrocumulus clouds against blue skies like this December morning here.

 

And there is the destination: now this is the most variable part. The only common factor is that there is always, ALWAYS a sense of disappointment at the end of one. When a plane hits the tarmac or you pull into the driveway or dismount the broomstick, you always feel that slight tug. Now many a time, the excitement of the destination will overshadow this feeling, however on the RARE occasions that it doesn’t live up to the hype, well yeah, its a bummer (Unless of course it was a horrible journey where I was relieved for it to end.)


I have traveled via many many modes of transport :car (A police van too on one memorable occasion! Nothing major, just the police being helpful and ensuring I reached school in time for an exam. P.S. Take that schoolbus kids!), plane (No helicopters, yet ;-;), train, boat, camel, horse, the list is endless! ( Flying carpet, Broomstick, dragon; you know, the normal stuff.) I have travelled the length and breadth of India, and a few (FEW) other countries too. Driving in a 4 wheel drive up a steep mountain slope in Binsar ( When I say steep, I mean REALLY STEEP), riding a horse up a narrow path twining itself around a cliff in Kashmir, barges of questionable reliance in the Arabian sea, snorkelling in Bali, Elephant rides (And baths too, it was fun!) and carriage rides through the quaint temple town of Nathdwara. Yet I have barely scratched the surface of the plethora and mind boggling journeys that man has ever undertaken or will undertake. The very idea that there is so much I may or may (Hopefully) not get to experience is an exciting yet daunting one.

 

IMG_20180113_182846
Quite the opposite of the beautiful skies in the previous image. The grey skies, greyer seas and overcrowded ferries from this day were one of the numerous examples of where the journey felt interminable and the destination a relief.

 

Journeys have as much meaning as we choose to give them, they may be life-changing or mundane. But, everyone needs to travel: to extend the boundaries of the world he/she/it inhabits and see for himself other places, people or lives, whether better or worse than his own. If not for the exposure, joy or the knowledge, then simply for the right to say “Been there, done that.”

 

IMG_20170823_012502_HHT
British Airways has a nice way of putting it: “The world is waiting.”

 

What is your most unforgettable journey to date? Which journey of a lifetime do you want to undertake? Tell me about them!

Until next time.

FLYING THE NEST

I spent the first 17 years of my life calling one place home. (Well technically 2 neighbouring flats, a 1BHK and a 2BHK, although only  1BHK is habitable the 2BHK was initially a home-office and then a glorified storage where we occasionally entertain guests.) I’ve had friends that have transferred from and to places, but my life has always been rooted, so to say, to one house, one locality, one city.

IMG_20180325_175917
This snapshot from Google Maps represents 80% of my childhood. Almost everything we needed was and still is within this. Younger me yearned to explore and familiarise himself with the “outside”. It is only recently that I have begun to appreciate my parents foresight.

I could go on, but you get the general picture. My childhood was spent sticking to a routine, surrounded by familiarity. There was the odd break when we travelled but a basic rhythm remained. I developed attachments to people. (Not just friends, even friendly shopkeepers, barbers, security guards and the odd doctor.) This did have its benefits, besides the money saved on transport, it freed up a lot of time to spend on my extra-curriculars, but even otherwise, everything we needed was at arm’s length.

As a child, I never understood the value of this localisation of my life. Reading about the Famous Five going to boarding school, or Harry Potter attending Hogwarts filled my head with fantasies of the adventures and chances they had to offer. After the portrayal of boarding school and hostel life in stories and in anecdotes from seniors, I was extremely enthusiastic about leaving home.

A while back, I began college. It is in Mumbai, the city where I was born and raised, so I skipped the part about familiarising oneself to a new locale, yet studying at a residential campus meant moving out and that is what I did. Now, I can’t say I took to it like a fish to water (I fell badly ill in my first week there! I blame mess food, but I know it was because I stayed up till 4am watching Game Of Thrones) but I must confess I am a tad bit ashamed that I didn’t get homesick at all. Other friends of mine who also began college, although elsewhere complained about missing home and family, but I didn’t really make much of a fuss (As my homesick friends constantly remind me, a sample statement being: “You won’t understand the pain we feel. Like a tree being uprooted. Or a giraffe in the arctic. Or a fish out of water. Or a flower amongst thorns.” They overdid it, right? And isn’t the last one just a rose?)  I believe that a part of the reason is because I am still in the same city and that I do meet my parents atleast once every month, but then again I have classmates who rush off home as soon as the last lesson for the week is done, spending the weekend at home and showing up on Monday morning. So why don’t I want to do that? I love my parents and home is infinitely more comfortable than my hostel room.

IMG_20180201_014218.jpg
My poster wall! Yes, its exclusively fandoms and yes that is a lot of Dragon Ball. I have spent quite some time personalizing my room, it is a reflection of who I am. A random snapshot of my room on any given day would most definitely also give you an insight to my frame of mind at that moment.

Is it because all my friends are here? Is it because there is cool stuff happening all around me and I get to take part? Is it that I now have a taste of utter freedom and I’m addicted? Is it because I’m too busy with college work?

Well it is  all of these in part. Yet none of these feel strong enough to counter the reasons I wish to go home: of family, comfort, good food, cleanliness (boy, do I miss that) and a good night’s sleep. I’m still struggling with the why part to be honest. I’ll tell you when I figure it out.

Do I make it sound like there is nothing about my leaving home that nags me? Ha. Ha. No. Nothing could be farther from the truth. But the issue that does trouble me may seem a bit frivolous, even hilarious to you. I shall try my best to explain it.

Since I was born, for the last 17 years, I was the centre of the family. The household revolved about my routine, be it to do with school or with extra curricular activities. My parents, especially my mom spent almost all day with me: my study, my playtime, my meals, random conversations, catnaps in the afternoon or visiting a friend in the evening. I didn’t realise how used I was to their attention till I didn’t have it anymore. Now that I’m in college, my parents have a life of their own! They do all sorts of cool stuff like going to art galleries, watching plays, visiting street art and graffiti hubs, watching movies, meeting family or friends, dining out and taking trips together: all things that we used to do together. Of course I didn’t expect them to stop doing all this, (Yeah, right.) but I do kinda feel left out. It is literally like my two oldest friends hanging out without inviting me. I know how childish, selfish and spoilt I sound, but the hardest part for me is seeing my parents not as “my Parents”, but as individuals, adults with their own battles and victories that I am not always party to. In a way, it wasn’t just me flying the nest, but them too, moving on to a new phase in their lives as I did the same in mine.

IMG-20180109-WA0004
An image from one of my parents’ most recent trips. This is so confusing for me. I am partly thrilled and partly exasperated at the fact that their lives are so much cooler than mine. (Not to mention the fact that I’m stuck here eating mess slop while you’ll gallivant about eating Filo Parcels! (No fair!)) (Did I just use a bracket within a bracket? Yes I did ;))

Why do you think I don’t get as homesick as some of my friends? Did you ever also have a realisation about your parents similar to mine? Is my attitude as selfish as it sounds in my head? Or maybe is it more common than I think? Comment below! I’m up for a chat about this.

Until next time.

CROSS, SQUARE, CIRCLE AND TRIANGLE

What am I talking about? The lost language of an ancient civilization? Am I heralding an alien invasion? A secret message from the illuminati to the League of Assassins?
Nope. Wrong on all counts.
These shapes are something every self respecting gamer is aware of. These are the all-too-familiar buttons on the typical PlayStation controller. Hundreds of kids I know (and thousands of adults I don’t), have whiled away many an hour playing PlayStation: at home, at their friends’ houses or at gaming cafes everywhere. Around the time I was 10 or 11, it was impossible not to find a boy between the ages of 7 and 17 without a PlayStation 2 (Also many many girls. However I never met as many girls who were enthusiastic about video gaming). Adding the number of people playing X Boxes, laptops, Nintendo gaming devices, smartphones and all the other options there are available in the market today, there must be an entire generation of children who have spent a large chunk of their childhood in front of a screen.

pexels-photo-687811.jpeg
I confess I never was a good gamer. In games like FIFA, I would be the kid always coming last in the tournament despite having the best team. (Unless you play me in a Dragon Ball Z Tenkaichi series game. I would knock your socks off in that, easy-peasy.) This wasn’t due to a lack of interest, for I greatly enjoyed gaming but rather due to a lack of familiarity for most games. Although I had a PS2, my mother had a strict rule of no gaming longer than an hour, so the only games I did play well tended to be single player RPGs, not multiplayers.
Despite this, I feel video-games were a very big part of my childhood. I always had a friend with the latest gaming console, who allowed me as well as a few others to take turns to play on them. On second thought, I might have spent more time waiting for my turn than actually playing a game. (Wow, now I feel cheated; I WANT MY MONEY BACK!)
But anyway, I really did enjoy myself. Watching someone gaming better than me was every bit as exciting as playing myself. Huddling around the controller, yelling encouragement and advice at the player during boss battles was always fun. Patience ( I would ask for a turn every 5 minutes), sportsmanship (Yanking the controller out of its socket on losing my 7th consecutive match), punctuality (Well I did always show up early to get some extra time with the game: a warm-up if you please) and hard work ( I did work hard at improving my gaming, that’s why no one can beat me at Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi series.) were all lifelong valuable lessons and values I learned from my video gaming ( or rather video gaming watching ) time

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I am not going to argue about whether or not gaming is good for children. The whole desensitization to violence and addiction to gaming (BTW Addiction to gaming? Very. Very. Real.) issues have been gone over several times by people more qualified than me. But I do strongly feel that those hours spent gaming were rather fun and I am certainly no less of a person for them.

But, I confess, addiction to gaming is a dangerous and valid possibility. I myself hate being interrupted in the middle of a level or match and have known people to get violent especially in difficult and highly frustrating games. I know friends that can not function without their daily fix and entire sleepovers have been spent in utter silence as we played our way through the night till dawn.

 

12345
I myself am prone to fits of UNYIELDING RAGE if a particular level is too hard for me to cross or boss too hard to beat. On some level, I think we do invest a lot of ourselves into the video game, our emotions and spirits all intertwined in it; just like any other sport.

Does that mean I regret that time lost? Not one bit. Although in all probability my childhood would have been more productive without them, that exposure is certainly necessary simply for the fun I am certain they will bring.(If you’re getting bored though, you can totally kill yourself over and over. Or own goal. )
But I do not believe this should be a solitary past time: hours spent honing skills in the virtual world is not my intention. Rather, I wish for this to be a social activity, like games of squash at the weekend or golf games. People can bond over gaming, it isn’t unheard of, it has happened and will continue to do so. Because the fun of inhabiting an imaginary world together is a unique one in my experience. (also watching someone else make a fool of themselves is fun, I wouldn’t know though, because mostly I was the one making the mistakes.)
What was your favorite game growing up? Any special memories? Did you also spend more time waiting in queue than playing? What is your opinion on the necessity of video games in a well rounded childhood? Reach out! Comment and share your feedback!
Until next time!

 

 

IF MEMORY SERVES ME WELL

What is your first memory?

The earliest thing you remember? Is it a sight? A smell? Texture? Sound? Taste? Or a sensation?

Is it a memory of a loved one? Your parents? Grandparents? Siblings?

IMG-20170907-WA0013
This is me on my first day of Montessori at the age of 3. I don’t remember most of the day, but vague impressions of having this photo clicked feature majorly amongst my first memories.

I posed this question to my friends and family too. And the answers were as interesting as they were varied. For some, it was family. Time spent with their parents and grand parents, on vacations or at home. For a few, it was preschool. Their first days, or maybe some random lesson that for some indecipherable reason stayed with them through the years. As for me, My earliest memory is of riding a Ferris Wheel at a fun fair. I remember the sounds and sights of the fair from the very top of the wheel and the swooping sensation in my stomach as we descend towards the ground. That sensation, the feeling of your stomach dropping out below you, stays with me even today: frozen in my memory.

Our memory is a huge, huge part of us, isn’t it? Our personalities stem from memory, our experiences becoming our defining moments, the past moulding the future. In films and media, we treat memory in a frivolous  manner: amnesia being a common plot device despite the inflicted character showing the same personality traits despite his apparent loss of self. Just take a second to imagine the consequences this might have!

IMG_20180228_032154.jpg
As a child, I learnt how to play the Tabla, something that has now become an integral part of me. If I am nervous or under pressure I subconsciously tap out Tabla patterns on my thighs or on table tops. My memories of the instrument have played a big role in defining my self image. Incidentally, my Tabla turns 10 years old this year!

I am sure there is no doubt in your mind of the importance of your memories ( Was there any to begin with?), but as important as memory is, I feel there is something that  should be of paramount importance: crafting memories. The past can not be altered (unless you get your hands on a time-turner!) but the future is not set in stone. So should I try to cultivate memories? Grow my own custom made memories by editing my life like a photo-album? No, of course not. But then what do I do?

The concept of sculpting memories, though seemingly sound on paper, is not really practical in real life. Memory is not like a file on a computer to be randomly called up at will and edited as you like. Besides, How am I to ensure that the memory will be a “Good” one?  How would I even define such a “Good” memory? Think about it. I bet most of you’re defining moments were unplanned and definitely unexpected. Had they been within your control, had they been synthesized, they would’ve been nothing special. Certainly not as precious as they are.

So, we have no say in our memories. What defines us is out of our control, its blind luck. Right?

Wrong.

Think of your childhood. Think of late night drives with your dad, swapping stories about your day at school with your mom, your grand dad telling you stories, late night conversations with your brother, your grand mom baking a batch of cookies, learning to ride a bike with your elder brother, all these beautiful memories. Now think of sad memories: maybe letting go of your mom on the first day of school, breaking your first toy, all those scoldings, or god forbid: the death of a loved one.

Each and everyone of these has a common thread, a binding factor the right people: people who care, people who are genuinely concerned about your welfare, this is the necessary ingredient.

If we were to surround ourselves with the right people: not just family, but friends, colleagues, lovers too; people who are not superficial but who really care about you, for whom your well-being is a priority, then I am dead certain that we can not go wrong.

IMG-20180221-WA0018
Meet my oldest and best friends. This was taken as we were leaving for a vacation at my Grand mom’s row house in Pune. Clockwise from the top: Kriteyu, me and Bhuwan.

What do you think? Is this a recipe for good memories? Or is this one of several ways? Is there an even more important factor in determining memory importance and impact? Please share your views and feedback in the comments!

Until next time!

THE NEW “DEAR DIARY”

New Beginnings

As a kid, your childhood always feels interminable, right up till the moment it ends. You’re waiting and waiting for the moment when you will finally be free: your own master, no longer bound by homework or bedtimes, eating spinach or baths, gaming non-stop and no longer being forced to go out in the sun to play and “get some vitamin D”. All through adolescence, although the goal posts keep shifting, the desire remains the same: Growing up. At least, it is the goal right until you are at the threshold of adulthood, where (as in most other things) the doubts and insecurities are most likely to surface. This is a common story. It may even be your story. This is everyone’s story. This is my story.

IMG_20180202_205048.jpg

This is me, a few weeks old napping in my moms lap. As children, we resent the constraints imposed on us for our safety. Childhood feels infinite and adulthood a distant dream.

I turn eighteen today. I don’t know about you, but where I am from, that means that I am legally an adult. The gloves have come off, the curtains rise and I finally, eagerly and apprehensively enter the world. For realsies.

So, Why start a blog?

pexels-photo-262508.jpeg

Excited? Nervous? Scared? You bet! But the most important of all: Prepared? Not in the slightest. And that brings me to the purpose of this blog. I invite you to join me on my journey of becoming an adult. A journey that about half of you may have already completed and half of you have yet to begin. ( Just a shout out to you guys, Spoiler alert!) I intend for my audience to primarily be young adults like me, coming of age in these unprecedented times however I hope that my words have a wider appeal across age, gender or boundaries. And this is because of you, Dear Reader. You have had your own experiences too. Your memories, thoughts, ideas, dreams and hopes together represent entire lifetimes: way more than one guy is ever gonna live ( maybe, you never know, for all I know you may be Apollo laughing at this feeble attempt at writing of mine. And yes, before you ask, I love reading Uncle Rick). So, by speaking to you, seeking your help, drawing on your collective experience, and learning from your lessons, I know I will be better equipped in my journey towards being the best adult I can be.

A Beginners Guide to Adulthood is a work in progress. It is neither complete nor definitive in any way. It is my attempt to collect related thoughts and share those that seem to work with you. It is entirely possible that 22 years later a 40 year old hides his face in embarrassment every time someone mentions this, but I sincerely wish to attempt this. I hope to grow as a person while having some fun along the way.

So join me on this journey. For those of you who have already crossed the start line, share the knowledge you’ve gained on the way with those retracing your footsteps. For those yet to begin, come along! Its a roller coaster ride and I will be glad to have the company. And for all of you, veterans and newbies combined, Join me! If for nothing else, then for the entertainment that the fun ( I hope!) and drama ( NOOOOO!) time is going to bring my way. I look forward to my journey with you.

So, How will this work?

With every post, I will talk about some aspect of my life. Not just deep, philosophical stuff or all about responsibility and what it means to be an adult (That hoary chestnut: Webster’s dictionary defines it as being mature and sensible. Wait a second, not childish?! Boy will that be hard for me to pull off…), but about any and everything that plays a role in how we got here and where we are going. It will not just be about me; experiences of those around me like friends, family and of course you, Dear Reader, shall all be discussed. I shall try to keep things interesting and am always open to constructive suggestions from you. To find out how to contact me, check out my bio.

What do you think of my idea? Any advice as I take my first steps down this road? Anything you wanna ask me? Reach out! I await for your correspondence.

Until next time.