How to Complain about Any and Every Situation

Just be the truest reflection of your overly critical self. But that applies only if you’re a college student struggling to string a nutritious meal together. I personally consider it a good day if I find at least 1 out of 6 essential nutrients. If you’re an adult over the age of 30 (that includes my 26-year-old brother) I will assume that you have your life together and are reasonably equipped to know which side of the credit card to swipe.

If you ARE an adult reading this, chances are that you are in my mother or father’s workplace, since they tell me with unrestrained excitement every time their colleagues read my blog. So to the adults who have it together and know where the taxes go, congratulations, let me know if it truly does take a 100 years to get to where you are today.

If you DON’T know where the taxes go, come, have a seat right here next to me and take a leaf out of my Burn Book. This book of complaints is categorized, indexed, updated regularly, and more rigorously formatted than any of my 1200-word reports for class. Which is what I should be working on right now, instead of complaining about having to do it. But there you go, I’m proving my point with evidence to boot. Here are a few situations that I can complain about on demand and with unbridled passion.

FOOD:

  1. If I eat something mildly/wildly delicious: to start with, if I’m eating something delicious, there’s a 97% chance that it’s complete crap for my health and that it’s 97% cholesterol in solid – and semi-liquid if we’re talking quality cheese – form. Immediately after finishing this delicious item, I will proceed to complain about the fact that I never eat healthy and drown myself in self-pity while also burping contentedly.
  2. If I eat something that makes me scowl: hands down the easiest way to hear me peel your ears off in a series of piteous whines – like a puppy, but less cute and infinitely more assaulting on the senses.

EXERCISE:

Who works out? No, tell me, how do you work out when there are only 24 hours in a day? Take into account factors such as the short-term liberation from homework for four hours in the whole day, and the few blinks that can be considered as a complete REM sleep cycle.

 

FREE TIME:

Here is the weirdest conundrum I’ve been presented with: if there is close to zero free time in a day, there are generous grounds to complain. But if the stars align in such a way that they give me bounties of free time, I will instantly be on my guard. The ears perk up and the nostrils flare. There is definitely something sketchy with that situation. The pages of my calendar will be feverishly flipped, combed through for any signs of timely and notable achievement on my part. By the time I finish feeling paranoid about the situation, boom, it’s Monday and everything is punching me in the throat again.

TIME ITSELF AS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT:

There needs to be more than 24 hours in a day. I need at least 6-12 bonus hours, plus overtime if the situation calls for it.

SLEEP:

  1. If I get more than five hours of sleep in a day: “Wow, I sleep way too much. Look at all the people in the library, straggling out in their half-loose hair and bloodshot eyes at 4 a.m. That’s the kind of hard-working person I can only dream of being. Learn from them. Emulate them. If I don’t have bloodshot eyes by tomorrow, I will disown my whole identity.”
  2. If I get less than five hours of sleep: “Why is nobody filing this as human rights abuse? Why is nobody making me handcrafted coffee for my struggles? Why is my roommate sleeping at an Arctic-level temperature? Is she a polar bear?”

Concluding note: WALKING SPEEDS OF THE PEOPLE IN FRONT OF ME:

If you walk in front of me, and if you walk at 0.0000006 km/hr, I will be gently surprised if you don’t soon hear my inner voice yelling at whichever dense idiot gave you the the gift of two fully functioning feet.

If you walk like you’re about to sprint for the Olympics, please have at it. But if we’re both nearing the door, and you don’t hold it open for me, then I will immediately wonder with a smile on my face and murder in my eyes, “Who raised you? Were you unable to see me hobbling with my non-handcrafted coffee, barely vertical after two hours of sleep with a literal polar bear? Mannerless imbecile.”

(More deplorable situations on the way, will complain again soon)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I am a better hypocrite than you are: Tales of the Tar

Let’s establish one thing right away: customers are always right. When the brains in our heads and the foam in that latte (skim, no-sugar, no-carb, non-taste, porcelain straw) are fiercely competing to see which of them can be the thicker, we have one and only one motto blasting in our obstinate ears: “You’re completely correct here, and nobody can argue otherwise.” That being said, let’s assume that as a patron or passenger, I am a distinguishable human being with nerves of logic, redefining what it means to be staggeringly intelligent with every noseful of breath I take.

As a human being who was alive when technological revolutions took over the roads and imbeciles took over the pavements, I’ve had my fair share of interesting vehicular experiences. I’ve very nearly exchanged my life for a forty rupee auto-ride that could do what Rickon Stark could not: run zig-zag. I’ve been a passenger in a car that sailed over a speed-bump at about 120. When I say “sail,” I don’t mean sail as much as “give my parents a hideous shock, convincing them that none other than the father could drive a car with no fatalities.” I’ve been on a bike that finished what should have been a twenty-minute trip in 9 minutes. I’ve been on a bus that bopped so much that it somehow un-bottled my water bottle and wet my pants copiously. Getting off a bus looking like the model for adult diapers was particularly memorable. And most infamously of all, I’ve been a pedestrian: the special brand of assholes that all band together and bring down in massive amounts the quality of collective human talent. And I’m about to tell you the exact thought processes of all these people as they conclude they are unequivocally better than the rest of the world on the road.

In a car:

The last two summers have been telltale victims of my driving skills. As a result, I always sit on the passenger’s side of my family’s car now, in the hopes that I can learn better by observing my dad or brother. And as this passenger, I believe that my brother and father are completely infallible drivers, whose unfortunate fate it is to be tested by a LOT of twits under the impression that they can successfully use their heads. When my dad lightly knocked over a barricade once, my first order of business was to blame the barricade for “being in a really stupid position on the road.” And I’m always tempted to thump with my foot the horn when someone ahead of us is driving at a spectacularly slow speed – UNLESS, of course, I am that person. In that case, a spectacularly slow speed is the need of the hour, and everyone else on the road should really be the bigger person and understand that someone is learning how to drive, and stop thumping with their feet the horn.

In an auto:

I’ve never felt safer in a vehicle than in an auto. The auto could be flirting with the tar at an angle of 45 degrees, and I’ll still be adopting serenity, expecting to get home in no more than one piece with intact hair and shitless pants. There’s just an inane trust that auto-drivers know what they’re doing, and that makes them the timeless kings of the road. UNLESS, of course, I am in a car which has just been rudely cut off by an auto, and that’s when I think, “All autos are the scum of the earth and they should all be un-wheeled and egged.”

As a pedestrian:

Bipeds are very rarely right in any road-related argument. For a pedestrian to be right, they always have to be really old, or armed with a baby or two. Social norms dictate this is excusable. But if they’re in a non-senile and non-pregnant stage of life, there really is no excuse for their incomprehensibly moronic behaviour. UNLESS, of course, they are me, and I’ve just crossed a life-threatening road with no injuries thanks to the many vehicles which had to halt and greet me with contempt in their hands and disgust on their faces to whom I can only say, “put your hands back on the wheel and your eyes back on the road, can’t you see that I am one tiny little person who wants the opportunity to bear children and grow senile at some point in life?”

On a bike:

A bike is my favourite mode of transportation. And the aforementioned states that my brother is an infallible driver. Suffice to say that when I am on a bike, I am not only better than everyone else on the road, I am one of two human beings — and both of them are on that bike — who have touched the next stage of evolution.

To sum up, you’re a twit. And I’m a twit. The difference between the two is just that I am an infinitely better twit than you can ever dream of being.

 

 

 

I Dare You to Make It to the End.

Slow down.

 

Slow down if you pressed ‘Skip Ad’ almost before the option showed up.

Slow down if you stopped a video and began feasting on something that perked up on the sidelines.

Slow down if you scrolled down at a pace fast enough that your phone’s screen could light your fingers on fire.

Slow down if you put away a book to indulge the vibrations on your phone.

If you hurried through the snow to beat the cold, through the heat to beat the sweat.

If you stopped wandering outside, to overanalyze the inside.

There is a beauty and story in everything.

 

Did that become poetic too fast for your liking? Or perhaps there is relief that I got to the point quickly enough. If so, leave right away. But if I induced intrigue, if you want to know where I am possibly going with this, or have a faint idea where I’m headed, well then – slow down and keep going.

 

We listen to stories when they engage us. We engage in stories when they intrigue us. And we get intrigued by stories because we are programmed to connect the dots. Why? Because we are constantly connecting dots everyday, when we decide what to eat for breakfast, how to dress for the weather, what a piece of homework is demanding and how much of it can be left unfinished all at the pace of a fast-forward button. (Ironic, because so much time has passed now, that the fast-forward button has almost become defunct)

 

As someone studying abroad, I consider myself a subject in a whirlwind cultural experiment. I have the luck to experience differently what others around me take for granted, and for them to experience and wonder at what I take for granted. For instance, the surprise from my peers when they learn that I know more than two languages, and the gleeful shock I feel when I hear a Professor with a Ph.D drops F-bombs in class to make a point clearer.

 

Today, in class, a Professor told us, “No great screenwriters went to screenwriting school. All the great screenwriters read. They read books.”  He was talking about telling stories, stories that draw people in, stories that make people care, stories that are extracted out of emotion and plain old grounded experience. Some of the earliest and oldest stories are the most classic: they were told with the patience and care it took to write and post a letter, to wait for someone to return from war, to gaze at the television punctually everyday, to dial a telephone slowly. And patient, curious stories will never cease to amaze me in this brash time and day that spill over each other in haste – such stories are successfully pushing boundaries of a continuously shrinking attention span, playing around with the limits of those who press ‘Skip Ad’ vehemently.

 

 

I write this because I have been guilty of losing patience and interest in telling a story and letting down the imagination that I momentarily lost ownership of. I sped up, ‘Skip Ad’ed and my ideas ran out of steam and external demands to be creative pulled into the station. In solid facts, I stopped blogging when some of the greatest stories unraveled. I stopped reading when I had the most stories to tell. I stopped listening when I took the risk of missing out on the greatest story of someone’s life. I stopped watching when my attention became a pair of darting eyes getting blinded by variety.

 

But I realized, and picked up a book and began reading. I was gifted a notebook, and I let it collect ideas and plans instead of dust. I watched till the very end of a TED talk, and punched holes through photos to hang them up on a wall. I got out of bed, way past my bedtime and began writing this.

 

So, congratulations if you made it to the end of this story today: you just beat the battle against your own attention span. Tomorrow, if you read, pick up a book. If you drew, pick up a pencil. If you wrote, pick up your pen. Or simply, tell your fingers to wait for your eyes and ears.

 

Slow down and let the sweat drip: you were patient enough to persevere and perspire.

Slow down and let the wind cut into your face: you were patient enough to give nature a few minutes away from your phone.

Slow down and appreciate happy endings: you were curious enough to find out.

Slow down and turn a page and do it once more: you were lucky enough to experience another’s story.

Collect your experiences as slowly as you can, because one day, someone will slow down to listen to you, and you better have a damn good story to tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mail to Santa: His Christmas List

Santa Claus represents all and the highest happiness that can be extracted out of industrial-issue wishful thinking. Red, white, beard, leather belt, a belly that shook like a bowl of jelly, say any of these words to any demographic and you’ll hear a hysterical “Santa!” from the area near the mouth and little snowflakes flying around a faintly formed sleigh around the ear region. Christmastime is automatically associated with a jolly ol’ generous man who fits into most well-sized chimneys and leaves behind a trail of gifts in his wake. What kid wouldn’t be excited? Santa has to be the easiest parenting tool, complete with its formidable annual success rate of keeping children in line.

 

Nestled in a small part somewhere of every kid who is stuck in an adult’s body is the unwavering belief that Santa Claus is real and not just a male family member who got the best costume rental deals. And hey, why shouldn’t we? Life is hard enough what with the state of the economy, the poverty rate and underwear wedgies. So if I want to believe that a fat man decked out in his best red will sneak into my house through a chimney and be generous to me, then I’ll damn well leave some milk, cookies, a stocking that is fitted to accommodate the average Beats and a 1000-word thank-you note. I will willfully believe the most profitable lie ever told. (Where do you think kids learn the phrase “Big fat lie”? I’m just saying.)

 

However, who doesn’t love nostalgia? We were taught to be generous and kind children in order to get presents from Santa every year. Now if you can try all year not to bitch-slap that Brian kid who keeps swallowing your glue or accidentally push Rebecca off that swing she stole from you, you can extend your patience and generosity to thinking altruistically of Santa as well. He travels all that way to hit up your house every year. If we’ve been taught moral values successfully, we should naturally start thinking about the kind of things that Santa may love to have. You never know, he might just like to chill with a Grande Chestnut Praline and fit his sleigh with some Bose speakers.

 

  • A portable microwave: Let’s be real, the milk and cookies are going to be cold by the time he slips down your chimney. He deserves some molten chocolate chips, goddammit. Also leave some towels in case the chocolate gets on his snowy beard. That’s just good manners.

 

  • Fashion advice: I understand that Santa likes minimalism, but hey, it’s 2015. *cue those morons yelling “it’s 2015” in the most nasal voice possible* I’m sure he would lend a ear to what’s new in the fall line for red and white so he could look as sleigh as he can. Yes, sleigh. Maybe some new bling for his beard.

 

 

  • Global citizenship: Santa Claus is a citizen of Canada. That’s right, Canada called shotgun, complete with a zip code: H0H0H0. Canada believes the North Pole is within its jurisdiction. That’s actually a pretty boss move. But Santa seems more of a worldly man, don’t you think? I say we present him with universal citizenship. World 1, Canada 1.

 

  • Travel insurance: A given. He’s got the world’s most sleigh ride, I wouldn’t blame him if his reindeer were really feelin’ it one night and took it past 150 hooves per hour. And on that night, travel insurance, while incomprehensible, will ultimately bring you your Victoria Secrets Scents safe and sound.

 

  • Climate Change Action: Guess what? The polar ice caps are melting. That’s right, old Santy’s home and workshop might melt into oblivion. And here we have a certain Schronald Schrump believing climate change is a Chinese tactic to limit US competition.
    • I believe you should shut yo nonsense and save Santa.

 

  • A Nae-Nae tutorial: Ending on a light note, I feel like this could possibly be the most defining moment of Christmas 2015. Just take a moment out of your day to imagine Santa and his beard whipping the living lights out his nae-nae. It’s more 2015 than your iPhone changing nae nae to bae bae.

 

 

There’s obviously simpler things that Santa would want, like festive socks or some damn snow in Syracuse already, but hey, we like being fancy and extravagant. On that note, Christmas? Bring it, my body is ready for you. In two weeks, I hope your fireplaces are blazing, your stockings are angled right, and that Christmas tree best be LIT because Santa Claus is coming to town.

 

 

 

 

 

A Fresh Feel of Friday Nights

It’s Friday morning, and that means once again you’ve crossed that absolute desert of sleep we like to call the Monday-Thursday stretch. And soon enough, it’s Friday evening, and you’re clearing up all the blemishes that Monday left, washing all the dirt out of Tuesday, hunting for the lip gloss you lost on Wednesday, and desperately shaving all the gross out of Thursday. And so when Friday night finally arrives….

6 P.M: It is time to exit the premises of the library, and leave all your freshman vibes rotting there for the weekend. You’re already humming Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” and jotting down the lyrics on your bucket list for this Friday night as you jog back up the Mount to lose maybe 1/34th of a pound and grab some dinner.

7 P.M: If you think getting ready starts only when you shower, you still don’t know how to get ready. It starts with the careful selection of dinner, and dietary strategies aimed at NOT looking like Mr. Potato Head. That’s right, you can bloat up with a single slice of pizza. We saw it happen when Jerry from “Tom and Jerry” swallowed a whole cube of cheese. That shit happens.

8 P.M: There’s a rave party happening at the bathrooms as everyone turns up the music and turns down for what behind the shower curtains and in front of the mirrors, and everyone turns into a congenial old Good Samaritan as they help fix Brianna’s hair and pass around moisturizer like popcorn.

8.30 PM: WHERE IS THE BLOWDRYER

9 P.M: WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR

9.45 P.M: Time to jam to The Weeknd and soulfully practice your moves as the face mask comes off and the make-up comes out. All the MAT284 classes pay off as you finally reach the correct ratio of eye-shadow: eyeliner: mascara.

10 PM: Sitting pretty at your desk watching Netflix, playing it cool as your phone explodes with text messages from that sophomore who pretended to be a senior last weekend. Spoiler alert: he’s a freshman. Ain’t nobody playing with his lanyard.

 10.30 PM: Pre-game. Pre-game. Pre-game.

11 PM and the night is at its youngest and the crop tops are at their shortest. You gather the squad, send the Snapchats right away (who knows if you’ll still look on fleek at 1 AM), and leave your lanyards behind at your room, which is where they belong on a Friday night.

But. BUT. BUUUTT. This is a freshman feel of things. So the night isn’t going to be finished without running into things that happen only with freshmen. Now, I did my research, and I asked every freshman I felt brave enough to talk to what they think is a serious cockblocker on a Friday night. You can consider me an expert. I definitely talked to at least 7-10 freshmen out of 3000.

  1. Not knowing where to go: And ending up at DJ’s on Marshall.

Solution: Nil.

 

  1. The Walk: If you live in Day/Flint or BBB, you’re almost definitely a freshman and you definitely feel me. It is a solid struggle getting up and down those stairs with your Jimmy Choos or CL boots. The stairs are just asking for too much when you can barely stay vertical.

Solution: Flats.

 

  1. Losing the squad: Can I just say that this is one of the most terrifying things that can happen to a freshman? One minute, Fight Night is playing and everyone is all pumped up, and the next, your friends evaporate into the fog. Like, girl, that fake junior’s contact in my phone stayed with me longer than you did.

Solution: Make new friends with a person who isn’t a walking bottle.

  1. DPS: No night is Friday night without the friendly wailing of the patrol cars as the Department of Public Safety sort of tries its best to shut down anything that looks Greek but puts lots of effort into staring at some young ‘uns who were actually just trying to cross the road.

Solution: Make friends with DPS. They drop you back home when you forget what the road looks like and what time-zone you are in. But maybe don’t let them know that.

  1. Finding a person who has ID: All that your functioning brain has to offer your social life has to be geared into finding this shot-caller. As an outgoing freshman, this is a task you must complete within 5-7 days of your arrival.

Solution: Get to know someone who knows someone who knows someone. Basically, save everyone’s numbers, even Creepy Brian’s.

Alternative: Lie like crazy.

  1. The Ratio of Guys and Girls in a given group: So apparently, your squad numbers have to be carefully solved on paper and calculator before you can get to the actual partying. This is to exercise your math skills before you lose them all a couple hours later. Too many guys in the group? “Hey, Ben, can you find another girl to come with us even though we’ve only met her zero times and know nothing about her?” Too many girls? No problem, you’re absolutely freaking fine.

Solution: Ben knows.

Pfft, ‘Murica.

Published on: http://www.jerkmagazine.net/

Unabridged:

Deriving an American: Page 2, Indian Interpretation

   Playing football with the hands and not the feet

Food portions the size of Donald Trump’s ego

+ Netflix (i.e 20 shows divided by episodes per day per unit of unfinished chores)

+ 9/10 unbelievably generous cabdrivers

+Questionable understanding of an Indian accent

 +Bar.Be.Que.Bar.Be.Que. X calories^ribs

= Uninformed Basic Summation of a ‘Murican.

It should be duly noted that my brain works wildly backwards as it gapes horrified at mathematical concepts. Basically, don’t look at me accusingly with narrowed eyes if you find any of the above factually incorrect; I did right by the Asians in attempting to prove the science behind Dinosaur BBQ. I’ll wait for my “A for effort” if you want me to.

28 days have now passed since the USA has welcomed me to live in its stars and stripes. And for 28 days, I have been given selfless helpings of American culture: thanks to this generosity, I had a drug dealer by my fifth day (his name is Netflix, and he was the one who could hook me up with anything. I got it from word on the street)  and by the tenth day, I got used to that girl’s stretch marks waving hello from under her butt-shorts as I walked down the street. With my parents.

Now, if it was your butt, could you maybe not turn around and be all like “Ma life, ma rules”, because that in India would result in sistah getting bitch-slapped. Right across the butt.

In case you haven’t noticed already, this is a (master)piece where I, as an Indian-in-the-US, yes-for-the-first-time, yes-India-is-kinda-far-away throw light on and shade at what I have noticed so far. Be warned, I sound like a judgmental prick perhaps some of the time. That is just me taking out my pent-up frustration with people not understanding my jokes on the first try. Or the fourth. I’m going to blame this on my accent, because I stubbornly believe that I have good jokes up my sleeve. Don’t be disagreeing with me and making me sob.

So on a scale of twerk to Trump, I’m going to evaluate the following:

Cab-drivers: The embodiment of niceness. Like, as nice as your grandma when she knows you’re trying some shit with Atkins and realizes you need some real cookies in you stat. Unbelievably helpful and friendly, these men seemed to take genuine interest in our lives and not just because we had to pay up. Did they know the Indian Rupee wasn’t doing so well?  (Thanks Fed rate). Regardless, they’re interesting people who listened when I said India has more than one language.

Football. Not. : The game is called football. And you play with your hands. Soccer is the real football guys, wake up and smell the logic or the lack thereof. Enough said. I request you not to kill me in my sleep for this though. If it helps, I find Tom Brady good-looking AF.

Salad for brekky, lunch and dinner: I was promised obesity. Why are ya’ll not delivering? Now I have to feel majorly inferior when I reach out for my second slice for New York Cheese and I tearfully notice you raking the lettuce and broccoli on your plate. I notice the sly cheat with the bacon crumbs though. Yeah, you. I saw that.

Netflix: I’m on your side. Netflix is the original bae. Who dresses up HD for all your dates (and speaking of your dates….stop with the mm/dd/yyyy. It’s not cool and the rest of us hate you for it) No more illegal downloads of the latest New Girl episode. That’s right, I was a criminal. Keep that in mind the next time you call me tiny.

Mean Girls-esque scenarios: Okay, nobody has gone as far as to say “You can’t sit with us” yet, but daily life at college seems to play out exactly as we see it on movies.The stereotypes are proved right more often than you’d think: there’s people using the bathrooms in ways that could make the person in the next cubicle extremely uncomfortable, there’s people who look uncannily like the American Eagle on Sunday morning, there’s freshmen getting fresh, and I may have heard one too many snatches of conversation that go “OMG you’re not gonna believe the crap this <insert shithead’s name here> pulled, like OH my God”. It’s freaking hilarious.

In closing, I’d like to say we are not all like Raj from The Big Bang Theory. Or like his moron sister Priya. And everybody who has been awesome enough to say “Can I say Divya as Diva? Cuz that’d be cool”, sure, inform the American flag that its 51st star has arrived and get me some glitter.

Also, can someone inform Siri that she’s racist? She doesn’t listen to me.

Amuma.

Unearthed: A possibly decade-old card, yellowing slightly but splashed with bright sketch-pen, printed just two words, with lots of sad emoticons doodles: “Sorry Amuma.” Once opened, the card shows some more stunning creativity with one word printed repeatedly: “Sorry”. Thrown in are more sad emoticon doodles. Cause for apology: Unknown.

Amuma (Def): My diminutive granny, akin to a pocket edition dictionary, armed with papery wrinkles and a heart of 24 carat gold.

This sudden influx of emotion and the need to pen it down traces its way to the future: My granny, who has been living with my family for as long as my doodling fingers can remember, is relocating to her native town, presumably for good. There’s a confusing mix of feelings involved: there is that gut-wrenching sadness pouring into the place that previously held the instant noodles she reluctantly made just to see the spice hit smoke out of my ears and a smile stretching my face. On the other hand, there is the “Yeah, this is good, she’s going to be happier there” feeling of relief and happiness. Her 86-year old rural mindset and the thriving pace of urban life can’t keep up with each other without difficulty, and returning to a place where she is familiar with the pace will hopefully set her caged confidence free. And then there’s fear: she is unbelievably tiny and frail. Standing ninety degrees to the floor, she’s still shorter than me (I am 150 cms tall and a liar). There are nerves defiantly showing their true colours to her papery skin and there are veins in my temples threatening to have recurrent anxiety attacks as they contemplate just. How. Small. She is. The mishaps caused by her weakness are the prime reason she’s returning to her ancestral home, which lead to a righteous mix of regret and guilt that I had put my own needs before hers several times. That apology card must have been the result of my guilt after throwing a temper tantrum about crayons or bangles or something of the juvenile sort, for sure. Topping all of this is nostalgia : her granny-ing abilities are up there with the best. The noodles are particular highlights of her eager-to-please-grandchild attitude; she hated making those noodles. She liberally donated her money to my other exploits of after-school fast food as well, jealously guards yellowing photos of my brother and me in our regime as chubby babies and persisted stubbornly every single time any of my friends who had come over denied a snack . She looks fearfully small and is ferociously strong in her own way. She is the only grandparent I remember, and she is everything I associate with the grandparent experience, ever since the days she and I sat down on silent sunny afternoons, turned to the last page of her Malayalam Vanitha magazine, and she would try and explain the Malayali comic in earnest. We both knew I didn’t understand diddly-squat, but that didn’t matter; it was a silent sunny afternoon and there were smiles.

To my Amuma

M.I.A. in May and A.W.O.L from a Certain Capsule

Absent Without Official Leave: Words that aptly capture the essence of my blogging life , or lack thereof, for the last few weeks. It has been rife with creative dust here, pock-marked by signs of abandonment and sloth.

Missing In Action: My brain, intent on guilt-tripping me about my lack of presenting the written word in recent times, decided that one acronym wouldn’t suffice, and so decided to vengefully pursue its agenda by shouting another apt acronym at my lethargic ears. Okay, brain, I hear ya. Point well made.

Why haven’t mine dear fingertips danced suavely with the keyboard in times past? Well, in my defence, I know how to use the words “In my defence” to make it sound like I’m presenting a rational argument that you could lend a skeptical ear to, when really what I’m presenting is bottomless rubbish and bits of fluff people flick aside impatiently. That’s right, I’m a dream made for the legal arena.

My life has taken a joyous turn for the eventful since the last time I put brain to keyboard and keyboard to words. My apologetic nature for not keeping the capsule apprised of all major events and news shares a quality with the rubbish I present as excuses: bottomless. Now that we’ve got the apologies and formalities done and away with, let’s move to the stuff beneath the fluff: My life for the last few weeks, like a persistent germ has been infecting several localities forcefully, sometimes even crossing country borders. No worries, germs are eligible for visa issue.

1. España, Summer’15:

This summer, I was lucky enough to touch ground in Spain, much to the chagrin -“chagrin” is the most polite and appropriate word I can find to capture their intense emotions – of several of my friends who bleed tears and offer organs in exchange for a trip to club football’s revered temples of worship: Spanish stadiums. And they were not all Spain had to offer; this country brought some amazing architecture to the table, finishing the meal with a delicious helping of its vibrant culture.

2. Topping my last school exams:

Can I just take a moment here to flick my hair glamourously with a touch of mild pride and a playful smirk? On May 25th, my pizza box and I sat apprehensively in front of my laptop, waiting for the verdict, which delivered and more when it finally showed up. Being a little jumpy about  my usual second-best position in the class and sliding over to the first, is something a lot of my peers would actually be highly irritated about, seeing it as a problem that is baseless: “You study well, you get marks, so what if you’re second?”. But this year’s study struggle was my fight just as much the next person’s target was their fight. Accepting blame for one’s losses is glorified and appreciated; so is taking credit for one’s wins. Don’t be a pain.

For the most part, though, people, with their support and well-wishes, made me feel like a superstar, and my genuine thanks go to all of them. Think of this a thank-you note.

3. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York it is!

Yes, this fall, Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York will be subjected to the arrival of a smallish face, biggish nose, bespectacled contraption, complete with bedraggled travel face coloured with wonder and ooh-aahs, one Indian parental unit, comprising mummy-daddy, and high-flying dreams coated with the aroma of not having taken a shower for slightly more than 24 hours. Paint quite a picture, don’t I?

However, painting graphic and aromatic pictures is not my calling, having been seduced by the noble art of writing for the nonce. Majoring in Magazine Journalism, and studying a bunch of other courses, is the current dream the standard-issue brain behind the biggish nose is furiously driving at. All systems go!

Well, the aforementioned points would splash the headlines if there were a newspaper that would take my summer life as its sole muse. Page 3 would tell you all about my escapades with my fellow college-going companions, involving train rides across the metrop. and pretending to be lavish with lunches, among other events. The Sports section would predict how the upcoming visa processes and general leaving-the-homeground-behind-to-go-to-college spectre will playing professional basketball with my life.

And at the bottom of the last page, you will find one promise, fervently signed by one muse:

“I, Muse. Divya Murthy, hereby declare that I will keep this blog supplied with words that people might want to read and laugh at, omit fluff and dust, and in the absence of creative ideas, will provide information about meaningless events of my life in as professional a manner as possible.”

That’s Cute.

SInedV7

Somewhere in the womb, babies study and revise this one lesson stupendously well, and never let anyone forget it at the meet-and-greet with the non-foetus humans nine months later. If babies had a for-profit organization, these words would comprise the tagline on the bag of recyclable baby tears that they market with a cuteness warranty. These are the lyrics to the cries of every baby that you’ve “gootchi-goo”ed only to find out that the baby is responding to your gootchi-goo’s with GTFO’s and is now steadily finding ways to make your eardrums shatter into an injury that even baby oil cannot cure.

Having been on vacation for the last few weeks and having generously exploited most of the free time available, I have found time to patch up with my double standards concerning babies. Babies are mind-numbingly adorable; when they smile or laugh, it’s like guns and rifles start pouring out honey and candy instead of bullets and the sound is so beautiful that your facial muscles start spasming with happy tears. But somewhere along the way, babies start disrespecting the acoustics of any given room and populate it with dribbling squeals.

Now, crying is a reflex and is part of an essential learning pattern for babies, an agreed-upon fact. A less agreed-upon activity is bringing the deluxe version of this learning pattern to places where there are a large number of people who didn’t expect this ultrasonic addition to the general environment. There are no winners; a squealing baby is an uncomfortable baby, and people around squealing babies are no less uncomfortable.

1. On a flight:

All you want to do is curl into a comfortable angle, successfully digest flight food, and perhaps play that game where you try and pop open your blocked ears using military tactics, after which you can take a quick nap. But then life throws you an “lol, nope”, and plunges you into a high-pitched horror of snot and diapers, making all the flight food fly around your insides, breaking your blocked ears open, and destroying all hopes of a mile-high nap.

2. At the movies:

Dear people with uncontrollable babies,

Not the surround-sound we paid for.

Sincerely,

What the hell were you thinking?

P.S. Your presence is requested at the funeral of 350 eardrums and the will to live.

3. At a restaurant:

Keeping in mind that “At a restaurant” indicates not-McDonalds and other such dining establishments, restaurants are where people go to satiate hunger that the home refrigerator cannot fully cater to, and to have a fun night out. But alas! The family at the table next to yours brought a Disneyland of crappy diapers, and Cerelac (…..what was the point of dining out?) .Further they ordered all the forks and spoons in the hotel so that the baby can play with them as it cries and yells for more forks and spoons and creates that nails-on-a-blackboard sound on the plates with the aforementioned forks and spoons.

Damned if you have a fine evening huh?

Understandably, some unfortunate discomforts cannot be prevented or helped. But unless these unfortunate discomforts are wildly necessary for the family’s functioning, there is really no point in placing infants and toddlers in situations where both sides lose- one side is making its argument with high-pitched sound, and the other side is left contemplating the jackassery of caregivers.

Think you can handle babies at their diddliest in such surroundings?

That’s cute.

To B.E or to B.A or to B.Sc

“…..And I’ll tell you, baby, it was easy coming back into you once I figured it out, you were right here all along..”

Is it just me, or is a full-blown concert, complete with backstage passes, scheduled to deafen everybody’s brain when their exam-writing fingers are trying to define in the most accelerated manner what the concept of balance and a P-O-X Triangle in the context of attitude change is? Because as Justin Timberlake puts it, it was right there all along, I was just rocking out elsewhere, and now all I have to show for myself are ink-stained fingers and a desk-flattened butt, arising out of 3 hours of jail-time.

Nevertheless, the ink has gone now and my butt has given me its hearty thanks for exiting the exam-addled premises, for the last time as a school student. Yeah, there’s going to be no more alarms, half-ironed uniforms, timed bathroom visits and searches for that one shit of a white sock every morning, and all before 8 AM, like the mornings from the last 10 years. Now, because I’m going to be sobbing about this loss plenty in the months to come, this article will go in a slightly different direction to entail all the numerous tasks to do before I enter the next troubling universe, college.

1. Clear out school books:

Mining operations and dynamite cannot begin to comprehend the 435-ft of textbooks, papers, Xerox copies, notes, doodles, book-covers, files that my mother will get on my case for in the next 48 hours. To keep: Papers that have professionally-drawn Batman symbols, artwork, and craftsmanship. To not keep: All others.

2. Go shopping:

Or to put it another way, your uniform is going to have to evacuate, and along with it the homeless clothes you wore when you weren’t wearing uniform because duh, college will never be good enough for the excellent amount of comfort an oversize faded T-shirt and jams awarded you.

3. Hit up all the stops with the squad:

Now this is important. If life is throwing you out of school and onto the curb, into college, you’ve got to show life who the boss is. If life is taking away the walking-talking hip attachments, alternatively known as “friends”, “frenemies”, and in multiple cases “bae”, you need to take life aside and say, “Bruh, please”, and show it some classy scorn. After this step, you must schedule 12635×53907 get-togethers, meets, parties, re-unions, “I’ll see you at the beach”s, and “I’m outside, open your door idiot”s and get back on all the social networking sites to mark the end the exam-hibernation and Insta-ntly overpopulate them with all the selfies- the reason you brush your teeth everyday.

There are several more tasks to check on this rather ominous To-Do List, but for fear of evaporating interest in reading, this one aims at being a little more holistic as well as concise, as my Psychology teacher would like her answers to be written, which basically translates to “Everything..but not everything”. It’s been an absolute delight, trying to make an answer perfection when your pen runs out of ink, the pencil takes a swan-dive off the desk, all the whilst sitting on a barbecue of a bench. Good times.

But now is the time to be stuck in an alarming limbo between school and college. It’s like that awkward phase in a young teenager’s life, where he has no idea what the hell his skin is doing and why the hell his voice has volcanic cracks in it and she has no idea why her face is unleashing pimples on her pristine skin. Hopefully this time, the limbo game is a little kinder to us and gives us music rather than noise and “there’s still time left”s rather than “time’s up”s. After all, now we are armed with deep baritones and acne cream.

Not to mention the ability to score backstage passes.