Anomaly / Imposter Syndrome

I am certain that you liking me on Tinder was an anomaly. It was either a random low probability event or a straight up aberration in the flow of our stories. These things happen sometimes. Fingers twitch. You might have had too much coffee. If the universe is anything like me it will let an anomaly run amok out of curiosity for just a while before it corrects itself.

Your spelling, punctuation and grammar is impeccable. You have a way with words that makes text conversations incredibly fun. You’re fun in person. You’re a model, a theatre actor and you sing well. You’re twenty-five, you enjoy going on dates with people and aren’t looking for an exclusive relationship. You will eventually realise that I’m a little boring and then you’ll correct yourself.

None of this presents a problem. I’m putting on my running shoes so that we can run amok.

Master of None

There have been many things that I thought I could develop into serious career options over the years. When I was around sixteen I considered growing up to be a professional skateboarder or a professional gamer. I only ever learned to do an Ollie, which I think I could still pull off with a few days of practise. I have since given up on these two as career options. Around eighteen I was really good at maths and physics and I thought I’d go study at an IIT and spend a decent amount of my life doing research and other science stuff. This too seems only a remote possibility at the moment. I was gifted Feynman’s Lectures on Physics many years ago and I still haven’t read them.

When I was in college I’d gotten pretty good at algorithms and AI for puzzle games and I thought I could build a career around that. I think I’m still pretty sharp with these skills. I could probably still do this if I was to leave my current job and be underpaid for a couple of years. It’s because this is somewhat similar to what I currently do (which is run an ecommerce website), that I still think of it as an achievable option.

I first started this blog in 2005 on Xanga. I’ve enjoyed writing since then but I’ve never done enough of it. I once made a submission to a science fiction short story writing competition and I won second prize. There was actual prize money and they mailed me a cheque. I thought I could write more things good enough to put out into the world at some point in my life. I never believed I’d make any serious money writing and so I thought that when I’m older and I’ve figured out the making money part of my life I’ll do some serious writing. I guess I still believe this.

In my early twenties I made a couple of simple websites built on WordPress as freelance projects. I then thought  that I could make websites or web applications for a living. I guess I was right about this one. I also worked as a software developer making a web application in Java for almost two years. The work was easy and paid decently well but I always knew that this couldn’t be all that I’ll do for the rest of my life. It was nowhere close to as exciting as any of the other things.

When I was really young my parents sent me for tabla classes. They were once a week and I went for years. I didn’t learn all that much but I developed a good sense of rhythm. I eventually bought a second hand guitar. I thought that if I don’t manage to write prose, I can write songs instead. Maybe they’ll be easier because they’re shorter. The fulfilment lay in telling stories. I wrote a few songs and some of them aren’t too bad but this didn’t go much further either.

When I first played the drums it felt like I could get the hang of it quickly. It could have been all the tabla knowledge I didn’t know I had. The drums don’t help me tell stories but they could help me make more complete songs. They’re also a lot of fun to learn and jam with.

This is not a comprehensive list. This is probably less than half of all the things I thought I could do and spent at least a little time learning, but these are most of the important ones. These are the ones that have stuck with me for long enough to really count. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while then I’ve told you almost all of these things before at some point. I’m sorry about repeating them. I needed to tell you this story to get to the point of this blog post.

I’m the kind of person who wants to do a lot of things. And we live in a culture that glorifies people who do one thing really well. I partly believe that with a rather large dose of discipline and a few difficult choices I could still be one of these things; a socially acknowledged success. But that’s rather difficult and very little fun. I’ve tried making these difficult choices and working on one thing at a time. When I decided that I should make writing a top priority I’d feel guilty every time I started doing something else that was fun, even if it was something equally fulfilling and meaningful. When the guilt would drive me to try to write, I’d be staring at a blank screen. After backspacing a couple of sentences a dozen times I’d be back on Reddit again.

The realisation crept up to me that I’ll never get good enough at any of these things because when I stop and focus on only one thing, it still doesn’t work. I never openly accepted this to myself, but it was always at the back of my head, looming and melancholic. Too big and scary to deal with.

Learning something is also really rewarding at the start, after which it starts to plateau. It takes an increasing amount of time and effort to make what seems like diminishing progress. Add to this the knowledge that I’ll never be good enough to really make something of this skill and I’m at the point when I stop trying to get better. It’s now just another guitar standing in the corner of my room that I’ll pick up once every couple of months.

I want to say that it’s okay to be mediocre at something forever and I’ve tried believing that but it doesn’t work for me. I’d rather just watch TV and go out and drink with friends and spend hours browsing Reddit or Instagram than put in effort to be just a notch above the the level of mediocre that I used to be. So that’s what I did for over a year. I still didn’t want to admit that I’d abandoned most of my ambition, and so I never thought about it and things largely remained the way they were.

It’s honestly not that bad a place to be. The good thing about actually enjoying doing so many things is that even if I do one of them once in a few months it feels great. I just need to have forgotten exactly how good it felt the last time. If I do it more often then I’m hit with the realisation that I haven’t made any progress and I never will.

It took me a couple of years to fully understand that just because I’m not going to be as good at anything as I’d once hoped is not enough reason to stop trying entirely. I will never be enough of a musician or writer or skateboarder for that alone to be satisfactory. I am a part-entrepreneur, part-programmer, aspiring writer and musician, amateur drummer who can strum chords on a guitar and can probably do an Ollie. There may be a few things to add to that description but it’s largely pretty rigid. I’ve tried to change it and failed. What I really need to do is be the best part-entrepreneur, part-programmer, aspiring writer and musician, amateur drummer who can strum chords on a guitar and can probably do an Ollie you’ll ever meet. This is the only way to keep a distant-future-me from suddenly being struck with the crushing guilt of not having done enough in my life at a point when it’s to late to do anything about it.

In the course of my whole life, I can probably make twenty to thirty songs that a few hundred people will love and be really moved by. I can also manage to be a good enough drummer and guitarist to jam with for most part of it. I can also write a dozen short stories and maybe even a book or two out of which three will ever be liked by over a thousand people. I can also contribute in a very small way towards making software that significantly makes the world a better place. I can also be a forty-something who can have fun at a skate park and briefly explain the latest developments in particle physics. I can hopefully also use one or more of these skills to make enough money to live a decent life.

Any one of these things isn’t much but if I can do all of them, that’s really something. That’s also something that twenty-nine year old me feels is certainly achievable.


Wishing you luck with whatever you chose to do with the rest of your life,

The best part-entrepreneur, part-programmer, aspiring writer and musician, amateur drummer who can strum chords on a guitar and can probably do an Ollie you’ll ever meet.

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.

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.


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…

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!

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.


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.



I found this little keyboard in my office many months ago. The previous tenants left it there. The AC adapter that it came with was broken and I kept it thinking that I’d get it fixed someday. In a spurt of enthusiasm, I set out to do it a few days ago. I was disappointed to find that everything in the cabinet where it was kept had been moved around and there was no trace of the adapter anywhere. With enough enthusiasm still left, I inspected the instrument to look for specifications that I could probably tell an electronics or hardware shop to find me an adapter by. What I found was better.

I found that it works on 7.5 volts at 2.3 watts, which can also be supplied by 5 AA batteries. I’d never noticed the tiny battery compartment before. I searched my house and found exactly 5 new AA cells in a drawer. Luckily, no remotes or clocks had to be sacrificed. I put them in, held my breath, and turned it on. The tiny power LED glowed red. I pressed a key and I was so stoked to hear the ugly synthesized tone that it sounded good.

There are two things that I’ve always believed I’d be able to do well without needing to try. One of them is playing the piano and the other is snowboarding. I believe that once I start playing the piano I’ll be able to play songs with twelve-chord progressions and sing at the same time. I believe that one of the first times I try snowboarding I’ll be able to gracefully slide down slopes of powdery white snow and jump high enough to spin 540 degrees before I land. I may be exaggerating a little but I can’t think of anything else that I believe so firmly I’ll be able to do well without ever having done before.

So I’m going to take this keyboard and play it until the batteries die and then replace them with new ones until I’ve changed them so many times that I’ll go find it an AC adapter. And then if I can play you a twelve-chord song while singing it, I’ll find myself a snowboard and I’ll head north. One immediate obstacle is that I’ll have to learn to read sheet music but how hard can that be?

I don’t know if there’s a thing that you believe you were meant to do but if there is, what is it? Did you ever try doing it? How did that work out for you? I’m going to find out soon but some wisdom from a fellow slightly-delusional person wouldn’t hurt.

Ramu Uncle

A friend of my dad used to come home often on Sundays. I must have been less than eight years old when I first met him. He would come around 10am and have beer and chakna and talk loudly with my dad till lunchtime. On Sundays that he came early I’d wake up to his booming voice filling the house. My mom works so there’s always the best food on Sundays. He would stay for lunch and most of the afternoon. He used to smoke but my sister was adamant that he should not be allowed to smoke in the house. I was of that age where I agreed with everything my older sister said. One morning I walked out into the living room and told him that he isn’t allowed to smoke in the house. He never smoked in the house again. I remember this only because it’s a story my parents loved to tell.

I knew him as Ramu Uncle. I’ve never asked what his real name was. It wasn’t long until he became our favourite dad’s-friend. He was the fifth member of our family for half of most Sundays. I asked once, how his family doesn’t mind him spending every Sunday with us. I was told he’s a bachelor. I figured that meant that he didn’t have any immediate family and it made sense. Years went by and not much changed. The Sunday morning TV programming, the lunch and the beer (which I was only offered sips of and found not to my liking) stayed the same and Ramu Uncle hardly missed a Sunday with us.

I don’t remember when he stopped coming. It was long enough ago that my memory is foggy. I’m quite sure I attended his funeral. I remember wondering what they do with the bones after the body burns. I remember being told that the incinerator is so hot that there are no bones left. I only knew him on Sundays but Ramu Uncle was one of the happiest people I’ve known. He’s probably a part of the reason that till today I expect Sunday afternoons to be soaked in the bright yellow tint of laughter and beer with friends that I can almost call family.

I, like many of us, don’t know how I’m going to end up. There are many things that can keep me happy, many things that I want to do, chase, and be. So when my youthful energy turns to an ache in my bones and when my sense of adventure starts to make way for a want of the comfort of the familiar, if I don’t have a family of my own then all I ask is that you let me be somebody’s Ramu Uncle. I promise that if the tables are turned then I’ll do the same.