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.



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.

An Empty Room

This post is coming to you from an empty room which has no furniture in it except for this computer table. This room also has the most beautiful sounding reverb that makes almost any music sound nicer. And so I’m going to do something I’ve never done here before, I’m going to post a recording of a song. It’s not my own song, it’s by a band called Blind Pilot. And it’s recorded on a terrible inbuilt laptop mic. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Three rounds and a sound

Day 114: The cold

edit: I wrote this post about a week ago but I never made it public it because I didn’t like it and it seemed incomplete. I’m posting it now because I have to either make it public or delete it otherwise it’ll just get forgotten about and lose its relevance and be as good as deleted.

Dear Bombay,

It’s been a while since I wrote anything, but since I’m way over my annual average of four posts this year this is nothing to worry about. I decided in advance that I won’t use the word “bored” in the blog post at all. If you’ve been listening to me for long enough you’ll know that I use this word too much and it’s too mild a word for what I feel at the moment. To begin with, I will tell you about the cold. It snowed yesterday and New York City looks very pretty when it snows. Snow is quite awesome. The only problem with snow is that it requires the temperature to be below zero. The cold isn’t anything more than inconvenient and I guess after spending a winter or two here you’d get used to it, but it’s pretty damn inconvenient. When I first step outside with my sweatshirt and jacket and gloves and skull cap on, it doesn’t seem so bad. Then in the next 5-15 seconds, depending on how windy it is, my clothes lose most of the heat they’re holding and I realise it’s cold. Then for the next minute or two my body tries to maintain it’s temperature even on non-vital parts and I realise that it’s fucking cold. About half way through this my eyes will water a little, again if it’s windy enough. After that, my body gives up on heating non vital parts, which are mostly on my face because every other part of me is covered up. After about 5 minutes more I won’t really feel cold anymore but my nose might run a little. After that, I’ll start slurring in my speech just like as if I was drunk because most of my face is numb. After that, it’s all the same as long as I’m on my feet. I can’t imagine what would happen if I sat down for long enough outside. It’s not really considered an option.

So you see, the cold’s an inconvenience. It makes going outside uninviting. And staying indoors for too long, I’ve already told you how that’s not good for me at all. You know how if you don’t do any physical activity for long enough you feel fat and lazy? Well, my mind feels fat and lazy right now. New York gets only around 9 hours of daylight this time of the year and I pretty much spend all of those 9 hours rotting in office. As a consequence, my mind feels fat, lazy and rotten. So much so that it might just burst out of my head.

Update: I’m kinda used to the cold now but the thing about New York is that right from the end of September it gets 5 degrees Celsius colder every two weeks or so, which is just about as long as it takes me to get used to how cold it is. But it’s 0 degrees today and I just went down for a smoke and I felt like I was wearing too much clothing. My mind doesn’t feel as rotten anymore because I spent all day playing around with the major, minor pentatonic and blues scales on the guitar. I’ve had a guitar lying around for 6 years now but I didn’t know any scale other than the minor pentatonic before this week.

Day 70: Pre-Muse (Five-sixth)

This is it. Every moment up until now, every event, every action, every reaction, every thought and even every thing-that-never-happened has lead up to this. It has all brought me here now. After this, nothing may matter anymore. In about 4 hours from now, over a period of 3 hours, the world will change in a way you may never understand. Nothing will ever be the same. And you may never have known if i hadn’t told you. Are you ready? I don’t think I am.



*sips coffee*

This is it, if I haven’t told you already. The gates for my Muse concert open less than 2 hours from now. Muse will be preceded by a band named Metric. I feel bad for them. I would feel bad for anyone opening for Muse. Because everything they do will be forgotten once Muse takes the stage.

I pray for all of you. I pray that you get to see a band whose every song you know the lyrics of. I hope you do. But today, this is not about you, this is about Muse.

*gulps down remaining coffee*

Absolution is coming.

Declare this an emergency
Come on and spread a sense of urgency
And pull us through
And pull us through

And this is the end, the end
This is the end
Of the World

And it’s time we saw a miracle
Come on it’s time for something biblical
To pull us through
And pull us through

And this is the end, the end
This is the end
Of the World

Proclaim eternal victory
Come on and change the course of history
And pull us through
And pull us through

And this is the end, the end
This is the end
Of the world

-Apocalypse Please, Muse


I must go now. You see, I’m too anxious to sit at home. I’ve also had too much coffee. This shall be the last official communication before it all changed. This shall be the last you’ll read about my world pre-Muse.



Day 25: Summer’s end

Dear Bombay,

Summer in New York is over. This means that the highs rarely go above 25°C and the lows have hit 14°C so far. And it’s only going to get colder. Summer’s end here means that the days get significantly shorter. The sun which used to set at 7:30 will probably set by 5 before I leave here. It means that all the short skirts and really short shorts don’t show up on the streets anymore. It means the trees actually lose their leaves. It means that winds blow hard enough to make your ears freeze. It means that waking up in the morning gets harder and getting out of a centrally heated building uninviting. It also means that alcohol will go well with the weather, it’s about time I bought a bottle of whiskey home. I haven’t done this before because I have two roommates who don’t drink.

Just today I discovered that I can search for all the concerts happening in the New York tri-state area on ticketmaster and I drove myself crazy. Flyleaf and Story Of The Year are playing on Tuesday in a town named Sayreville while Linkin Park is playing at Times Square. I still don’t know which of these I’m going for, if any. Then there’s also Nickelback, The Gorillaz, Porcupine Tree, Belle and sebastian, Disturbed, and countless more that I can’t remember off the top of my head right now. I have 2 months more here Bombay, and one month is almost done. I would like to chose this moment to tell you that I miss you. Not too much, just a little bit. I don’t miss your food, there’s plenty of good food here. I just get nostalgic when I think of the little details, like what the rain there smells like, or what it feels like to drive to Bandra on a Saturday afternoon. I don’t miss your people as a whole, I can get along with people here. I miss my people though. There’s always the internet, and there’s always cheap enough telephone calls but the difference in timezones gets in the way more that I thought it would. What I really miss is having someone’s house to go over to and do nothing when I’m bored. I don’t know anyone well enough here to do that. As I already told you, making friends is a long process.

I bought a Fender 140SCE from the Guitar Center, and it sounds really nice. I haven’t been able to make any real music with it yet. I can’t wait to get back and plug it into an amp and play it with the rest of The Cheeselings though. Tomorrow’s a Friday and what I really want to do after work is go to a coffee shop or a park or even sit in a subway train here and get some serious writing done. Lets see how it goes. Goodnight old friend.


Music is all I’ve been doing with my free time  for about a week and a half now. The awesome picture below was taken last night on my terrace. Me, a guitar, a laptop, two plectrums, a camera, a tripod, a bottle of water, and a friend who joined me after a while. A very productive evening, this was. Since I don’t feel articulate enough to write anything at the moment and I don’t have any good recordings of any of these songs, I will leave you with just this photograph.


I haven’t been here for a while. The main reason is that I’ve been trying to make songs. And I don’t feel like writing blog entries after writing songs. It’s all about expressing creativity, if you ask me. My primary motivation for ever posting anything here is to express creativity. When this creativity has other outlets I no longer need to post here anymore. But I’m here now, just to let this blog know that it’s not forgotten about.

About the songs that I’ve written, I could post the lyrics here but I’d rather post the songs themselves once I have a good recording of them along with the lyrics so you’ll just have to wait. About the rest of my life of late, I’m tired. I have hardly ever slept over 8 hours a night and this is a good thing. It’s just that I’m tired. It isn’t easy to try to do everything you want to do along with a full time job. But its torture to not do everything I want. The story of my life is desperately lacking some romance at the moment, but that it has been for a very long time. At least there’s enough of everything else going around. There are times when I feel that if my life was a book, the reader would definitely have stopped reading by this point. This is not one of those. What I really want to do is write something. A short story, a fictional blog, anything more that a song and a blog post like this one. Unfortunately, the only thing my mind is willing to do at the moment is sleep

But I will write something soon, and you’ll be the first to know. Until then, good night.

New year’s day

Somebody tell me why I’m happy.
Let me try.
I haven’t slept enough to get anything in perspective.
I’ve had enough coffee to not feel sleepy.
VH1 is playing big rockers in 05, and everything in my head is singing along.
I had fun, more than I have in a while, and I did nothing special.
I did things my way, and it worked out perfect.
I saw everything I’ve done and everything I’ve become, and it’s just the way it should be.
Did I mention that vh1 still hasnt played a single song I dont love?
and every song takes me back to somewhere in the past year.
Everyone else is happy, or pretending to be, at least.

But this isn’t a new beginning.
This isn’t the end of anything.
This is just a moment to look at things, again. … as if they were the way they were meant to be.
and the world still looks different.
When one hour of sleep and two cups of coffee makes me as happy as I’ve ever been.
With a little contribution from the fact that they’re now playing Green Day – Holiday.