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    Resolution Rejuvination

    At the start of this year I made some resolutions. They were mostly a list of things I want to do more of because they make me happy. We’re a good way into November now and these resolutions all lie disappointingly incomplete. This is what they look like:-

    1. Read 12 books (7/12) – Sybil (I’m kinda cheating on this one since I started it last year and only read the last 20% or so this year but it’s too late to worry about this), Ready Player One, The Lover’s Dictionary, Wonder, Snow Crash, The Rosie Project, The Rosie Effect
    2. Write 12 blog posts (2/12) – Yes, counting this one.
    3. Make an international trip (1/1) – I took a 20 day long trip this year where I went to London, The Netherlands and Belgium (and a bit of Dubai) and met a lot of old friends. I also attended my first ever international music festival.
    4. Make a road trip (1/1) – As a part of that 20 day trip, I rented a car and drove around The Netherlands. It’s a really small country when you have a car.
    5. Write 4 songs (0/4) – It might be safe to assume that this isn’t going to happen.
    6. Perform at an open mic night somewhere (0/1) – This is kinda dependent on the previous one. I also bought an electronic drum kit a couple of months ago. It’s great to practice and a lot of fun to play but I already feel guilty of how little I’ve used it so far. Making the time to pick up a guitar and write a song on top of that seems very unlikely.
    7. Wear a new accessory for a week for 8 weeks of the year. I barely have 8 weeks left so I need to get started on this ASAP!
    8. Hook up with 4 girls unless I end up in a serious relationship (0/4) – Don’t judge me on this one. These resolutions are supposed to be things that make me happy and I don’t do enough of. Besides, the reason this is hard is that these have to be people I like at least at the moment. Hooking up with absolutely random people really isn’t that much fun.

    It looks bleak, but wait! There’s a reason this blog post is called Resolution Rejuvenation and not Resolution Relinquishment, and that’s because I’ve decided to throw in one last whole-hearted attempt at getting these things done. As with any good attempt at getting things done, it must start with a plan. While I was drinking with Radhika last Friday and telling her about the depressing state of my resolutions, she gave me her Ring. The ring was big, metallic and not anything I would normally wear. I wore it for a whole week which is how Resolution #7 a.k.a The Accessory Resolution was narrowly rescued from certain failure. It’s clear that I need to wear a new accessory every week for the rest of the year without skipping any weeks to save Resolution #7. Since this is straight forward, I decided to tie in all the other resolutions with this one. Here’s what I need to do:-

    • Read 1.25 books per 2 accessories.
    • Write a blog post per accessory.
    • Write a song per 2 accessories.
    • Perform at an open mic night.
    • Hook up with 1 girl per 2 accessories.

    Yes, I know I might as well have said per week instead of per accessory but it sounds so much more doable this way. I have committed so hard to Resolution #7 that it’s considered as a certainty and that makes the action plan one point shorter. I also know that I’m probably not going to end up doing all of these things but I know I can do at least 3. Wish me luck!

    P.S. I started writing this post a week ago and things have changed now. Here’s an update:-

    • Books – 7.16/12 (I’ve read 16% of A Brave New World)
    • Blog – 2/12
    • Song – 0/4
    • Girls – 0/4
    • Open Mic – 0/1
    • [Accessories – 1.85/8]

    Hopefully things will look a little better by the end of my second accessory.


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    Weezer and the Mandela Effect

    It’s 2005. I’m having breakfast and watching VH1 before I head off to college when Perfect Situation by Weezer plays. This song has been stuck in my head for a few days so I’m mentally singing along until the chorus comes. There’s something wrong. He’s not singing “woah-oh, woah-oh, woah-oh-oh” the way I remember him singing. Instead he’s singing “woah-oh, woah-oh, woah-ohwo-uhwoh!” I’m probably not entirely awake so I forget about this incident until I hear the song again. Again, the chorus is not how I remember it. Maybe VH1 is playing a different version. I go online and download the video but it’s the same new chorus. Keep in mind that this is before YouTube. This is 2005, when 64kbps internet connections were called “broadband.” I open up Kazaa or Limewire or whatever was in at the time and download every radio edit and demo of the song. They all have the new chorus. I eventually download every file with a different size for the song that I can find and play them all until the first chorus while they download (because I’d have to wait twenty minutes until they finish) but they all have the same bloody new chorus. At this point, I don’t know for certain if I had heard a different version of the song to begin with. Maybe I remembered it wrong. Maybe I dreamt it up. I can’t be sure.

    I hummed the version I remembered for days so that I wouldn’t forget it. I wanted the old chorus to be etched in my memory until I could find out where it came from. I eventually stopped searching and over the years I forgot about this old version. I let it go because this wasn’t the first time this had happened to me.

    There’s a version of I’m A Believer that plays in one of the Shrek movies. When I first heard it, the tune after each line in the chorus was five evenly spaced chords on a guitar. “Then I saw her face-ta-ta-da-da-duh. I’m a believer-ta-ta-da-da-duh.” Every version of this song that I downloaded, however, was different. It had a keyboard or a trumpet or something that went “Then I saw her face – ta-na-na ta-na.” I did mostly all the same things I did for Perfect Situation to find the right version of this song but it was years earlier and the internet was dial-up and I didn’t know how it worked well enough.

    Things like these haunt you forever. You can forget about them but you can never truly forget them. Sometime last year, a whole ten years after the Perfect Situation incident, I learnt about the Mandela Effect. Our minds are complex things and so I’m not surprised that other people have had similar experiences to mine. There is a Reddit community for people to share these experiences. They define the Mandela Effect as “The phenomenon where a group of people discover that a global fact – one they feel they know to be true and have specific personal memories for – has apparently changed in the world around them.” This pretty accurately described my experience. I felt like I woke up one day to a world where something that I remembered distinctly has changed and nobody else seems to remember it. The Mandela Effect doesn’t end there. People who believe in it usually believe that shared false memories are either reminiscent from or glimpses into parallel worlds with different timelines. Now I’m not that crazy yet, but it’s comforting to know that maybe somewhere out there is a world where Perfect Situation is sung the way I remember it.

    Flash forward to today. I’m listening to a mix of Weezer’s top tracks on Apple Music in an attempt to teach it what music I like. Maybe someday it’ll get as good as Spotify. Perfect Situation plays, but with the old fucking chorus that I remember! I know, this probably isn’t a big deal for you but I have at the back of my mind been looking for this version of this song for ten years. So here, finally, is proof that I am neither crazy nor from a parallel dimension:-

    And here is the other version:-

    Rivers Cuomo has since said that he had written two versions of the song. One time when they played it on a tour after recording it, he got the crowd to sing along and they all sang it the other way than the recording. Cuomo then decided that since the fans think it should be this way, they should go and record the song again. What a fucking idiot.

    Edit: Pretty soon after writing this blog post, I found the version of I’m A Believer that I thought may have come from another dimension. Turns out it was also a cover by Weezer. Fucking Weezer. Thank you for fucking with my head for over ten years.

    P.S. The Mandela Effect got it’s name because it started with a group of people who are convinced that Nelson Mandela died in prison in the 1980s.


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    The one that got away

    A long time ago, there was a girl who was pursuing a bachelors in physics. When I first heard about her I thought It’d be awesome if she’s cute. She was cute. She was also super friendly and witty and kind. I don’t need to tell you that she was intelligent because the bachelors in physics says that already. She was just about five feet tall and loved Bob Dylan.

    I was sitting at the AIESEC office one day trying to study a bunch of heavily condensed notes on automata theory. I had an exam on the subject in a few days and I didn’t yet know what ‘automata’ meant. I was waiting for a meeting and she had just got done with one. She asked me what I was reading. I explained and we spent all of the next ten minutes or so until my meeting figuring out what an automaton is. I know now that if a girl is ever curious enough about automata or machine learning or cryptocurrencies to help me figure them out then I should kiss her right then and there.

    I know what you’re thinking and to answer your question, nothing ever happened with her. There was another girl I really liked back then with whom I thought I had a better chance. I was a naive fool and thought that showing even the slightest hint of romantic interest in more than one girl at a time wasn’t a good idea. We left AIESEC and I (am 97% sure that I) never saw her again.

    Long after I broke up with the other girl I thought about her again. I tried to look her up but all I had was a name. She didn’t seem to have any trace on the internet. No Facebook account, no helpful search results. None of her AIESEC friends knew where she was. (Okay I’ll admit, I only tried asking one).

    I worked in New York for five months in 2010. I did all I could to catch every band and musician I liked that played anywhere near New York city. I caught Bob Dylan at Terminal 5 the night before I left for a road trip to Niagara. I was late because I had to go home after work to pack my bags. A friend who really loved Bob Dylan was waiting outside with my ticket when he would rather be holding his place at the front row. I walked as fast as I could driven by the guilt of making him wait with the knowledge that I could have planned this better. About fifty steps from the entrance I passed a girl who was looking down and walking almost as fast as me in the opposite direction. She wore a sweatshirt with her hood up and carried a backpack. For those couple of seconds in the dark she looked like Her. I turned around as she passed but I didn’t have time to see where she went. Of course, it made sense! If she was anywhere near New York city at the time (given that that’s a long shot) she would definitely be at the Bob Dylan concert. He was her favorite. I walked on knowing that if it was her, I’d run into her again before the night was through. I kept my eyes open both during the gig and after but I saw no sign of that girl again.

    I googled her again today and found out that she’s studying and doing research on particle physics in the US. Something about neutrinos. How cool is that?! Time is strange and it’s made me a T-shirt peddler and I think it’ll take me weeks to understand just the basics of what she does today even if she told me herself. If she didn’t live halfway around the world I’d probably hang out around her university until I bumped into her.

    Maybe I’ll meet her someday still. Maybe she’ll be seeing someone but we’ll still catch up at a cosy coffeehouse that plays Dylan and I’ll make her tell me all about her research and the difference between muon neutrinos and electron neutrinos. I’ll listen to her with a genuine expression of awe as she tells me about how they create a beam of neutrinos which pass through the earth’s crust while being largely unaffected by it and other such sciency-stuff.

    As night sets in our conversation will stray. We’ll talk about how they once thought that neutrinos travel faster than light and what it would mean if they really did. We’ll talk about science fiction and time travel. We’ll talk about philosophy and compare neutrinos to people and how we zip through so much of our lives without really being affected by everything we pass through. After the coffee shop shuts and I walk home I’ll wonder if there’s an alternate universe where I tried my luck with her when I had my chance and if there’s another one where I ended up spending my life trying to understand the smallest building blocks of our world.


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    The importance of habit

    Starting something new is hard. You never know how to go about it and so you need to fumble around and focus and think about what you’re doing. Starting something new is also usually exciting and so you’re willing to put in all that effort. Deciding whether or not to stick with it is usually the problem. Decisions are complex things and they take time and effort. Often enough, most of my free time is spent in deciding what to do with my free time.

    If I write something everyday, somewhere down the line I won’t waste time deciding if I want to write. I’ll open up my laptop and write just as naturally as I turn on the TV. I don’t think it’ll take more than a month. Eventually, I’ll write when I’m tired, I’ll write when I’m drunk, I’ll write when I’m hungover and I’ll write first thing in the morning when I usually have nothing to say. I won’t think that I can sleep and write when I’m well rested tomorrow. I won’t worry that my writing wont be coherent when I’m drunk. It won’t hurt my head to put sentences together when I’m hungover.

    I’m not saying that what I write will be good, but it’ll be different. Think about it, if I only write when I’m enthusiastic and well rested and ready to take on something new then all my writing is going to eventually sound the same. And this isn’t true just for writing, it’s for anything I try to make as a hobby. Work remains an exception because it’s a habit by default. But everything else I make will tend to be so one dimensional unless I do it when I usually wouldn’t be doing it.

    And that’s why you do the things you want to get good at everyday until you don’t need to make a conscious decision to do them anymore. That’s the importance of habit.


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    Adulthood

    There’s many good things about being in my late twenties. One of them is not needing to answer to anybody about life-decisions. I guess this really starts in your early twenties or maybe even earlier for some but it takes a while for it to set in and to get the hang of making good life decisions. Another one is having enough money to do all those things you said you’d do when you’re older. I could afford a month long trip to Europe or Japan or South America. I can buy a new TV and a good speaker system and a Chromecast to go with it. I can buy a tablet and an Xbox. I can buy an electronic drum kit along with a good amp or studio quality monitoring headphones. I can pay rent to have my own place to keep the drum kit. I can have one room air conditioned and soundproofed and have the walls all padded and the whole floor be a bed so that I can literally bounce off the walls. I can put everything I just bought into this room and make it into a jam room and a bedroom and a party room at the same time.

    Imagine it, the drums will be on a movable platform that can be lifted up to the ceiling when they’re not being used and the TV will go into a hidden panel behind the cushion walls. I’ll get perfectly spill-proof glasses to that nobody spills a drink on the 100 square feet of bed. There’ll be a hidden cupboard somewhere to keep all the music equipment and the fold able table if I ever want to bring food into this room. 

    Yes, I’m getting carried away but my point is that i can’t do all of these things but I can do those few things that I really want to.

    Life decisions…


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    The Birthday List

    I made a list of (almost) 28 things to do on my birthday. One of the points on the list was, of course, to put up a blog post. It’s actually quite a nice list. Check it out:-
    1. Spray paint graffiti
    2. Smoke from a Vaporiser
    3. Have special coffee
    4. Put up a blog post
    5. Launch a Chinese lantern
    6. Talk to a new girl
    7. Dance
    8. Make a song. Even if its only 4 lines.
    9. Run a kilometre
    10. Make one person very happy somehow. (This is difficult!)
    11. Give yourself a gift and also your mom. Like Charlie.
    12. Find a new blog worth reading regularly? Too hard?
    13. Give everyone present at your party a compliment. Separate compliment for each person.
    14. If there is an open mic night somewhere, play.
    15. Feel the rain
    16. Watch the sunset
    17. Take a selfie with everyone there.
    18. Touch the sea.
    19. Give 3 strangers a hug.
    20. Write emails to those I’d want to meet but can’t.
    21. Get a new Look for a day.
    22. Wear headgear you have never worn before for the evening.
    23. Hitch hike at least 1km.
    24. Either get a drink or 50 rs.
    25. Find an old album you love and listen to it straight through
    26. Make a new friend

    Most of the things on this list still seem achievable in the little time I have left today. So you will have to wait suspensefully until I finish my birthday and give you an update on this list. Wish me luck!

    Happy Birthday to me!


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    Shifting Time Zones and The Rain Project

    My new ambitious goal is to put up a blog post on every day that it rains. I also plan to wake up at 8am on weekdays. This should be a good thing because then I’ll have time to exercise and have a bath and run errands before work. Which means I’ll have all my after-work time to myself to do things like putting up more blog posts. This new life feels like living in a different time zone because I used to wake up at 10am not too long ago. Let’s see how this goes.


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    The Dark Ages

    Decades from now, when I’m seventy-something and trying to piece together the story of my life one last time, my memory will be worn with age and as hard as I try to recall what I did for these few years when I hardly blogged I’ll draw a blank. With no record of all that happened in this time it’ll be impossible to know. I will call them The Dark Ages.


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    Travel-Time

    I upgraded WordPress and now the alignment of things in my not-so-carefully-crafted theme are messed up. I will fix this, someday.

    I have been working out of an office that is a few seconds away from my house. I don’t exaggerate, it’s definitely less than a minute away. I once sneezed on my way to office from home and sprained my neck for 3 days but that is the only eventful thing that has ever happened in those few seconds. As a consequence of this proximity I’ve had a lot of extra time. Time not spent travelling. Time to have sleep, read the news, exercise, learn new things and ponder about a lot. While I did sleep and read the news and exercise and learn a few things, I also pondered a lot of it away. I spent plenty of time doing these things at the same time, which makes me feel like a lot got done but that usually isn’t the case. The worst is all that time I spent deciding what to do next because everything was available.

    This brings me to my point; the importance of Travel-Time. When travelling, your activities are restricted. You can read a book, small articles on your phone, talk to people, plan things out, and maybe even reply to an email or two. You can listen to music and really listen to it.  There is, of course, such a thing as too much travel-time when you find yourself exhausted at the end of the day with not enough time left to do all the other things you want to. But there’s also such a thing as too little travel-time. Travel-Time is a little like shower-time, but less meditative. There’s more to distract you but there’s also all the city passing by to look at for inspiration.

    I’m going to have a lot more travel-time in the near future and I’m going to make sure I enjoy it. You should make sure you do too. I know most of you have quite a bit of it. Read more, flirt with that person you like on Whatsapp, tell someone you love them, plan your day, plan your life. Smile at a stranger. Listen to the lyrics of that song playing on shuffle for the first time. I promise to do all of the above. I also promise that I’ll try to make a list of all the things I want to come back home and write to you about.


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    Untitled

    It’s been a long time since I was last here. I’ve been busy doing things. I traveled Europe for a little bit, I got some work done and I learnt basic cryptography on Coursera. I’ve been busy finishing the things I started. Finishing things takes effort; blog-neglecting effort.
    now that I’ve finished some of the things that needed finishing, I’m back here for a bit. I’m here with quite a bit to say but I’m wary of putting it down in words. Another day, maybe.