Whattodo or whatnottodo

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Well, writing well may be the best kind of revenge, but I relate with this for more than that. First of all, I don’t write very well, though I have an ambition to write a proper book. Second of all, I am not a vengeful person. For me it’s more like travelling or loving. I don’t give a flying fuck when I am doing these things. When I am writing, I don’t care.

Segue 1: I don’t like people telling me what to do. Or what not to do. Basically, because I never ask anyone what I should do or not do. Basically, because if I do not know what to do or what not to do with/about myself or my problems, I don’t think anyone else would. Basically, because I can see, hear, think, feel, etc. As well as others can, if not better.

Also, I do not tell anyone what to do or what not to do with their affairs, unless they ask me and I have something sincere to offer. The problem is, people don’t need solutions most of the time. Under the pretext of finding a solution, they just want to vent.

Segue 2. I don’t like people telling me what to do and what not to do. I could be wrong. I could be right. Nonetheless, certain facts remain:

1. My mind is as much in its place as it ever was

2. My mind is quirky and it likes being so

3. I have very good observational skill. Very very good. I can read between the lines. So well, that it can be scary.

4. It’s not surprising for someone in love to read what’s not between the lines

5. Been in love once. Been in love twice. With the intensity doubled, tripled, etc.

6. Not really loved back in either of the cases

7. I am a lucky bastard

8. I am as unlucky as shit

9. I will live. They will live.

10. I will die. They will die.

11. No one tells me what to do

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I have heard a lot of people raving about Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. I have not heard what they had to say about the thoughts, I just had heard them say – the book is out of the world. I was always skeptical about it. The kind of skepticism I had for The Fountainhead, and how, though after I read the whole book, I went on to read Ayn Rand’s other books, I never really appreciated her thoughts much.

My skepticism for The God Delusion increased a little more, when my friend sent a photograph of few lines. It talks about the genetic advantage of falling in love. It goes on to say how over-the-top it is, how we are susceptible to fall into monogamous devotion, etc. These are very intelligent people talking about love falling fit into Darwinian theory (another “chosen because best” theory). I feel sorry for them because they have not felt true love, and they are smart enough to make those analogies.

Here are my non-emotional reasons to support my opinions:

If propagation is a necessary event in nature that drives your behaviour, which needs you to copulate with your partner, and thereby leads you to choose someone/anyone highly attractive:

1. Why should one deny that a baby is not theirs, when it is borne out of recklessness? Can you relate that to Darwinism? Or do you want to call Freud to talk about his ID, ego, and superego?

2. Gays should, by that theory, have surpassed human evolution, to not feel the need to copulate for propagation. Why should they need to cheat in gay relationships, then? Either that, or they are outliers of the nature. But I thought they were a part of the nature.

3. If hermaphrodites have existed for so long, what has it taken so long for all the organisms to turn into hermaphrodites? Should that not be the ultimate sign of evolution?

4. There are animals, other than humans, that cheat in relationships, that leave their partner after fucking them, that stay with their partners forever, that sometimes have 2-3 partners in one life, that have gay partners. May be there are different criteria of evolution for different fauna. Animals cannot feel love! Pff! Are you kidding me?

5. Everything that helps you evolve need not be selfish. It can be selfless too. That is evolution in the truest sense. The ability to take a logical decision, where you sacrifice something with full knowledge of consequences, for the good of someone you love. A life is borne every moment. With love, is borne a soul. Love is the beginning of evolution.

PS: Your taste in music can be more evolved than you

In Remembrance of Bill Watterson, And Some Other Things

When he said that one of the remarkable things about life is that it’s never so bad that it cannot get worse, he knew what he was talking about.

A series of events had been happening that made me feel that this has got to be the tipping point. But every time my mind told me – come on, you can take more shit. Actually not because you can, but you have to. Because of your own stupidity.

1. I failed a test miserably. In fact I was the lowest scorer in class. The professor had laid out the score groups on board. He pointed at the lowest score and said that even that person still had a chance to pass the course with a full gpa. When saying that he looked at me. I gulped. It brought back memories, where I failed almost every subject for two years just because I hated to study and did not study at all. At all. Goosebumps.

2. I have been trying to look for jobs but not been successful. Because I have been “trying” rather lazily. Proof: I have given just one interview. I hate following up with irresponsible HRs.

3. One of my roommates is very scared of insects. I am not. In fact, I love them. Of course not pests, but even in that case killing is the last option for me. I try getting rid of them in different ways. After getting rid of two spiders, I went to cook and saw a dude that kind of scared me too. It was large with large legs. My friend cried. I checked if it had wings. Thankfully it did not. Still, it was quick on legs and sneaky. I could not figure a way out to get rid of it without harming it. By the time I caught it I had done it enough harm to just throw it outside to let it live. I flushed it down the commode. In retrospect it was beautiful. I feel bad, but I guess I tried.

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He was kind of trying to tell us – if I can enter your house, anyone can ( relevance will be found later). Again, solution was pest control right after we moved in.

4. I missed my chance to go to Keene, New Hampshire, over the weekend for pumpkin festival. I also missed a performance by BeatleMania, a band that covers Beatles’ songs. It was at Keene too. I missed it because I had a lot of homework and had to work on the subject that failed in, in point 1. Solution same as that for 1. Had I not failed I might have gone in most probability despite lot of homework.

5. My housemate was depressed yesterday. A lot. She discussed stuff with me and my other roommate and things calmed down for her after talking to us. My other roommate convinced her to go out with her. She convinced me too by telling her that this was a no nonsense bar and there was Scottish band that would be playing live. That was enough for me. I thought I deserved a break after studying the whole day. We came home drunk and I passed out immediately. The band was not all that great and I got more drunk than I expected. Very early in the morning my head was spinning and I was thinking – why the hell did I go. Then a little late in the morning while I was still sleeping I again thought – why the hell did I go. I should be spending my money wisely. I was surprised at myself for thinking so much about it. It was no big deal really.

6. While I was debating whether to get up and get my shit together or keep sleeping I just happened to turn my head and look up to one of the four windows in my room. It was unusually clear, the sky. I squinted. The net was raised. I got pissed off at my roommate for opening it. Was she really feeling that hot? And then she has to call me to get rid of all the insects that she is scared of. Also, it is completely unsafe. I got up and started closing it. I thought that I need to deal with this right now and woke up my hungover friend and scolded her for keeping it open. She said that she did not open it. I got more angry and called her a drunkard. She repeated herself. She was half asleep and half hungover. But I got scared. What if she was not lying? I immediately rushed to check for my laptop. Missing. I asked her to check hers. Missing. I asked my other housemate too. Missing. I rushed to check my passport. Phew! It was not stolen. We found some other things missing too. I had already decided to go around the shops selling second hand computers. We lodged a police complaint.

7. We had to take care of certain other things and my friend who lives nearby called us for lunch. I had only had some tea and noodles since the incident and was very hungry. As I was eating my friend was narrating a story of his friend whose house got burgled too. I asked him what all had she lost, so that I could find the pattern and know if I had lost something that I was not yet aware of. He said – laptop, slr camera. I froze and jumped. Food fell off my mouth. I was calm about the whole thing until then. I broke down. My other friend who had cried a lot and zoned out because she thought she had lost the most stared at me. That camera was me. I had a story with it. I had bought it with my own money, the only money that was with me that point. I had kept it hidden from my parents for a few days. I had bought it because I was done with waiting for things in life and I did not care about buying an entry level camera. I wanted to but a professional one and teach myself photography. It was my most priced possession. I was not ready to go home and check for it. I was ready to go to camera shops and check if it was there but I had no heart to go home and check for it. My friend offered to go home and check. My nostrils were flaring all the time and I thought that I was going to get a heart attack. It was stolen too.

8. My friend who was zoned put was better after my camera incident, because she probably found out that someone had lost more than she had. She had kept saying before that that she was jinxed. Later she started cursing the new house. She said it caused us a lot of financial loss. I lost it and told her that I was not going to entertain her stupidity anymore. If she fails to accept that the problem is with us, because we have been  dumb, she will never find the true problem and keep repeating her mistakes and keep cursing her stars. We were lucky that no one was at home. There was a chance that she or I could have stayed. If the theives would not have confirmed properly in that case, we would have been either injured in a traumatic way or dead meat. We did not lose our passports. Period.

PS: this is typed using my cellular 🙂 I have my friend’s crappy laptop but you got to do what you got to do. 

Busting it with Punjabi Samosas

When you are extremely hungry but it’s late in the night, the options are:

1. Eat food from outside

2. Pray someone cooks for you

3. Scavenge the house for whatever is there

4. Cook

5. Go to sleep

Last night, I cooked. I made Punjabi samosas, one of the extremely difficult things to cook. My housemate asked me what was wrong with me. Well, I like to cook. I like to cook difficult things. Especially when I am so hungry that I feel I am going to black out. No compromises, no shortcuts. In fact add some of your own twists. Take your own sweet time. It’s a test for my patience, for my tenacity. After about the first 15 minutes, I forget that I am hungry. There is no rushing.

After getting off the bus, I got some potatoes. Rest of the recipe is here:

Boil 3-4 potatoes, about a cup of peas. As they are boiling, take about 2 large cups of all-purpose flour, add about four tbs of ghee (Indian butter), some carom seeds (I had to compromise here; used fried cumin seeds instead). Add salt (enough to give it taste; it cannot be salt-less). Mix it well with hands. Keep adding water until desired consistency is reached while kneading. Once done, keep aside.

Small piece of cinnamon stick, 1-2 cardamom (peeled), 1-2 cloves, 2-3 black pepper, a spoon of cumin seeds, a spoon of dried coriander seeds (may very well replace the two with two spoons of cumin-coriander powder, easily available in Indian stores), a small spoon of dried mango powder. Dry roast the these and make sure it’s only slightly roasted. It’s easy to burn it. Grind them well in a mixer. Keep aside. (You may replace this with garam masala if you wish, but make sure you add dried mango powder to it. I wanted freshly ground masala without nutmeg and some other things.) Grind 3-4 green chillies and about half an inch of ginger in the same mixer. You may add more or less chillies, as you wish.

Peel the boiled potatoes and cut into small cubes. In a pan, heat oil, add about a spoon of cumin seeds. After it crackles, add the green chilli-ginger masala. Keep the flame low. In about a minute, add boiled peas, about a spoon of red chilli powder (more or less, as you wish), the dried masala (or garam masala). Saute for about 2 minutes. Masalas should not burn. Add salt, followed by potatoes. Mix well. It’s okay to let the potatoes mash while mixing. The more you mix, the better. Add a little bit of chaat masala. If the tang is not enough for you, squeeze a little bit of lemon. Perfecto! Set aside.

Make small rounds out of the dough, flatten them well. Make sure the center is not very thin. Roll more at the sides. Cut it in two halves with a knife, take one half and fill it with the potato filling, and close it to form triangles. Seal the triangles well using water, so that they don’t break open later while frying. Once done making them, deep-fry them till the samosas are golden brown. Serve with tamarind chutney, coriander-chilli chutney, ketchup. Worth it!

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As usual, half the samosa is eaten. I was hungry. Very hungry.

As I type this, I ask my friend who is in Punjab now to get me phulkari dupatta, kada, jutti, patiyala, when he is back here in the US. Yay!

Fences and Borders

I look out of my window. I see a tall wooden post. Made out of a tree. I see street lights. I see wires. Wires galore. Cars, and buildings. Some sorry trees. Man has advanced a lot, hasn’t he? Way ahead of anything else that is living. Man has competed with man, cheated man, swindled man, brainwashed man, killed man, and sometimes, loved man. Man has done much more.

Man has identified man as his threat, the ghost that is out to take over. To protect himself from himself, he has created fences, borders. The creator never defined anything for anyone. But man did. Sometimes I wonder, what if I were not a human being? Would there be anything to lose, apart from having the understanding, that I wish I were not a human being?

Suddenly I remember a song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw3meld4pPQ

Here is how some of the lyrics go:

Birds, rivers, and the gusts of winds

No borders stop them

Borders are for humans

Think about it – what have you and I gained from being humans?

Chop

My head needed breathing. It imagines too much. Plus, I have been meaning to chop my hair off, so I did it. Light feeling, no dealing with knots and split ends, little shampoo and little conditioner, no spending on clutch and bands that get lost mysteriously.

When you chop off long hair, the kind of comments that come your way, are ridiculously funny. I have experienced this before too. Some of those:

Someone: Did you cut your hair?

Me in head: Isn’t that obvious?

What I say: Yes

Someone: Did you cut your hair?

Me in head: No, the barber did.

What I say: Yes

Someone right after: Did YOU cut it?

Me in head: Nothing

What I say: Oh yeah I wish I could. I would save some money that way.

Someone: Did you cut your hair?

Me in head: Give me a break!

What I say: Yes

Someone: What thought process did you go through?

Me in head: You may ask – what were you thinking? I won’t be offended

What I say: I don’t know. I just cut it.

Someone: What thought process did you go through?

Me in head: Seriously?

What I say: *Looks up like I am thinking* I used to have short hair, so I did not have to go through any thought process.

Someone: Are you a tomboy?

Me in head: How the hell am I supposed to answer that?

What I say: I don’t think so.

Someone: I mean, a little bit?

Me in head: Fuck off.

What I say: Well, I can be really girlie sometimes, you know *smiles naughtily*

It’s not like someone chopped off their limb that’s never going to grow back. Also, there are better things to discuss.