Mar 30, 2009

You know your life sucks when...

Scenario 1
  • You start planning to shop for new clothes after a couple of years
  • You keep Rs. 1000 for buying three pairs of jeans, a couple of shirts and new underwear making up your mind to do the shopping the coming weekend
  • Then you realize that you don't have money to pay your monthly bills and wonder whom to borrow money from
  • You take your torn jeans to the local tailor who sews them up making them short and ugly
  • You proudly wear these jeans at work only to realize that even the roadside vendors have better jeans than yours
:(

In the last few days

  • I got busier and busier at work. I enjoyed almost all the 'work' that I did excepting the fact that I had to work on more than a single document because of the 'reviewing' process that my documents need to go through.
  • I understood that I thoroughly dislike being close to deadlines.
  • I read up a lot about astronomy and the solar system.
  • Because of my nature to try and finish as much of work that I can, and because I want to reach back and do as many things as I can, I end up NOT taking little breaks at work. This usually makes my brain exhausted, and thereby, my efforts rather unproductive.
  • I postponed essential stuff because of work and poverty.
  • I understood that the my dreams are so far away that they are unacheivable.
  • I realized that my life is in a total mess.
  • I missed being in touch with my friends because of busy schedule. I can't forgive myself for that.
  • I realized that I'm going to be poor for a long, long time.
  • I realized that I tend to worry a lot more as compared to people of my age.

Mar 21, 2009

Working is fun

This is my first entry into this blog using Microsoft’s speech recognition system. I’m really not that tired after a long day at work, yet I feel lazy. I could have attempted to login and write something from my mobile phone when I was traveling back from work. But somehow I didn’t. I cannot explain why. Perhaps I wanted nothing to do with text after working at text all day in the office.

At the office though, it was fun working on an actual assignment. It was the first time that I had ever been given one! It really felt nice working on a scientific document rather than an exercise. I was intimidated by the set of guidelines that I was supposed to follow. It was almost as if the instructions were towering over me with phrases like 'do not forget' hovering like monsters.

But it was fun! I did not feel the hours fly past. I sat almost five hours at a stretch without even taking a break to go to the toilet. At the end of it all, I felt like I was over-editing the document. I guess I will learn from my mistakes. But I hope I don't make a lot of them.

Mar 20, 2009

It's easier this way

I could have blogged from either work or home yesterday using a computer. I didn't choose to do it at work because of ethical and privacy issues - anyone could read what I type. I didn't do it from home because I spent the entire evening worrying about how to pay my bills next month. I was bluesy enough that I didn't 'talk'/'reciprocate' with Vinokur.

Well, at least until we learned some grammar theory from the internet and refreshed the concepts of the obliquity of the ecliptic, equinoxes, solstices, precession of the equinoxes etc. Astronomy is kick-ass and it felt really good to be doing things that I last did in College as a teenager.

Today morning, on my way to work, on the bus that I ride to reach work, I feel more relaxed to talk about the big issues that float in capitals in my vitreous. At least I don't feel wrong about doing something unethical. And unlike my PC at home, the phone doesn't crash!

So the big questions are - What do I do? Borrow? More?

Mar 18, 2009

The intimidating list

My computer crashed yesterday. It was just a 'usual' crash. It sent me into a panic. How am I going to fix it. How expensive and expeditious would the remedy be? Can I find time to fix it?

I managed to re-install windows on another partition and fix the internet and basic hardware issues yesterday night. But I slept at 3.30 am. I have the daunting task of fixing up the rest of the hardware now. Once done, I could hope to carry on for another month at most before another crash.

With the new job and frequent rehearsal and gigs, it's going to be impossible to start doing away with my to-do/to-fix lists!

Fuck!

Mar 15, 2009

Misery

It seems that my life needed to give me a reality check to balance it first and then to counter-balance so that I feel bad. A year of poverty, despair and aimless wandering is not letting me forget its bitterness. I spent the entire afternoon and evening shuttling between traffic police chowkies, municipal garages and police stations trying to find my scooter. But it’s still missing. Nobody knows why it was taken.

The careless security guard at the apartment building says that it was my mistake not to remind him and the rest of the security guards that the scooter was mine. They said that people in the apartment building have been wondering whose vehicle it was because it was in such a shabby condition. Since no one had taken any responsibility for the vehicle, they had presumed that it was junk and had let the towing guys take it away.

I agree that I have not used it for the last 6 months or so. I didn’t have money to buy fuel. I didn’t have money to eat, remember! How could I waste money on expensive petrol? Because I was not using it, it grew dirty and obviously I didn’t bother to clean it and make it look owned. Fuck! I was planning to save some money up from a couple of months at work and then spend it on the scooter to get it back up and running.

I feel bad. I feel bad for letting this happen, for letting my life drift away, for letting poverty in, for being optimistic and ambitious to let myself do what I did.

Mar 14, 2009

This is fun

People associate work with anything but fun. I know that it is too early in my work-life to start arguing against this fact. But I am enjoying my life even more these days. It just seems like my life got structured. I have a routine to follow and I have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day having finished a certain set of tasks that I am assigned to.

I have not started ‘working’ working at my job yet. The five days so far have been full of lessons and exercises in English grammar and literary styles of academic publishing with the occasional lesson about how to increase the efficacy of your work in Microsoft Word.  There has been an instance of a colleague giving me a scare stating ‘I hope you you have ‘fun’ even when you are doing ‘real’ work!’. But that’s not the point really. I’m talking about my life. Life has become more fun after work has started.

I get up everyday at around 8 am and listen to one of the news channels while sipping coffee. If my newspaper gets delivered - the delivery of newspapers in my building is anything but reliable - I get to read a bit of the Times of India  as well. After a shower, I dress up and go have breakfast at the roadside dosa-shack. The bus ride to the office is the time for me to start reading some Wiki article about a subject (Greek mythology, for example) that is interesting or relevant to what I and Vinokur had discussed the night before. By 10 am, I enter my office smelling nice and fresh and start my duties for the day.

Work starts with lessons, which are boring, and exercises, which are interesting. Whenever there are long lessons, I take a mini-break bychecking my e-mail or reading up an article in the New York Times or magazines like Nature, New Scientist etc. Such mini-breaks take just 2 minutes at a time and really help me feel a little fresher to tackle another block of material. I usually refrain from interacting with my colleagues when I want a break. Most often, they are busy with whatever they are doing. But I prefer things that are solely under my control. Reading an article in the NYT can be started and ended whenever I want. Talking to a colleague cannot be,  as it needs the agreement and co-operation of the other person.

Soon it is lunch time and I have my delicious meal at a vegetarian restaurant in the same building. That’s my big break. I come back in about half an hour refreshed and spend more time with grammar. Around 4 pm, I get a little bored and I need my coffee for rejuvenation. More work afterward and voila, it’s seven! Time to leave from work. On my way back, I usually follow up with more stuff from the Wiki article. Once I reach back home, I enter a clean home with freshly prepared food at the kitchen counter – thanks to my new maid. After my shower, I start finishing up my e-mail and FaceBook stuff and start a night’s discussion with Vinokur about something of common interest.

The result - a feeling of satisfaction at the end of the day. Maybe, I should have started working two months ago!

Mar 13, 2009

Coffee and the office

One of my expectations at the new workplace was the availability of good quality, machine-vended coffee. I don’t know why I thought that a good vending machine would be waiting to be serviced by me everyday. My first experience was at Xander’s office which is a part of the establishment which held the biggest newspaper in Mumbai and shared a common building with the offices of a very popular radio station in Mumbai. Coincidentally, I have had coffee at two other offices, both belonging to other radio stations. The coffee was consistently excellent everywhere and I was expecting the same.

My current workplace doesn’t have a vending machine. In the sub-office that I work from, there is the option of making your own coffee with the elements – boiling water (from an electric kettle), milk powder, sugar and coffee powder. Being the coffee-nossieur that I am, I was skeptical. Hesitantly, I made my first cup of improvisational coffee yesterday. It wasn’t as bad as I had expected. I made two more today and both of them were just as good. Or bad. I really wish I knew how to make the best possible coffee out of the resources that I have. If someone knows I would appreciate a helping hand.

Vinokur advises me to first pour a small amount of water in the cup at first. Then, you are supposed to add all the ‘powdery’ ingredients and make a paste. Finally you add the rest of the water. But I need to make something like a cappuccino. I mean I need the froth on top. You could even sprinkle some coffee powder on top to make it even more attractive. Please comment.

Mar 11, 2009

The Update List v 2.0

More updates!
A few days back, Kris had typed in...

So I have been acting crazy and not updating the blog. To my faithful readers, I apologize for my abstinence. Other people have said sarcastically 'Finally, it's nice that you shut up. I was getting tired of Engayging bull shit!' to stuff like 'Did you grow a brain or something and get back to studying?'

The answers to those comments are this - It's MAH blog and I'd blog as much as I wish to whenever I possibly can. Just that I have been so friggin' busy. Check out the updates to find out why. Oh and my studying is over and done with - I got my Masters!

About a month back, Kris had typed

The last time I had not blogged after a life-changing event, I decided to muster up all my courage and try to re-create the pain and suffering in words. I started out pretty well, but I stumbled and fell hard on my face. Hence the jagged teeth and the weird face. Here I am facing the similar situation. The point is that it is not same.

My life has been beautiful but exhausting in the last few days. And despite feelling like an adolsecent chimpanzee checking his thoracic cavities resonance, Momma time (did I confuse the gender again?) has been unkind to me.

Since I have been blessed with rebelliousness since childhood, especially with parents, I have now taken the first steps to putting a few strokes of colour on the portait of my life. In the coming days, you will see updates springing up like blossoms in the spring, like stars in the dusk and like notifications and 'pokes' on your Facebook profiles.

I will add them all under this post as links. Looking forward to insightful comments and suggestions and more to calm the bellowing chimpanzee inside me.

Yours,

Kris Bass, M. D.

‘Holi’day relapse

I don’t know why I hate it so much. Actually it’s not an ‘it’. It’s more like a group of ‘it’s. All have the tags ‘festival’ and ‘religion’ attached to them. On top of of the charts is ‘Holi’ and close contenders are the ‘Diwali’ and ‘Ganesh’ festivals. I’m sure I have forgotten others but I choose not to remember them because I don’t want to have nightmares. I posted about this issue on my FaceBook status message in the morning and I got a prompt, sarcastic remark.

‘Kris, I can’t believe that you are saying this. You are, after all, part of a band which is called ‘NOISE’ market. Happy happy happy Holi!’

I really don’t see the correlation. Why? Is it because I’m part of a Hindi band? Is it because the band’s name consists of the transliterated ‘NOISE’ word? Is it because I’m gay (and so is this friend who commented) and by being what we are, we are predisposed to liking ‘color’ful, festive things? Or is it because my real name, the God that I am named after, used to play pranks on the gopis during this festival? What is it that makes it necessary for a person like me to like festivals naturally? I don’t see any reason.

Of course, most festivals in India are commemorative of the victory of good over evil, or of gods over demons, or right over wrong. That IS such a noble cause. But that’s just about it. They have been shaped into something really more demonic than holy. Yes, in India, a festival means – loudspeakers and blaring music irrespective of the time of the day (or night) or the location (hospitals eg.), traffic jams due to processions, drunken people dancing to the latest blasphemous Bollywood tune being played on trucks carrying deities. Diwali adds to the mess with people getting the 'license' to cause mini-explosions which are harmful to the ears and minds of humans and animals alike.

‘Holi’ takes it to another level – invasion of personal privacy! People throw colors at each other in the form of powder or fluids without permission or provocation. Each and everyone is supposed to LIKE that and be happy at the end of it all. Hello? Have you heard of something called personal rights? Would you go up to someone and tell them ‘Hey, I thought it would be really cool to use your car as a graffiti canvas. Happy ‘Car Graffiti Day!’ So why are people doing this? If they want to celebrate among themselves, why don’t they stop bothering those people who are not interested in this?

For the last four years since I chose Mumbai as my home, I have been scared and intimidated by this holiday. I’m frightened to go out and be splattered with paint-balls. I don’t think that it’s right. I don’t think it is right for people to do whatever they want to with the excuse a ‘religious festival’. I’m sure there are many more people like me who are just shutting up because they think that it’s immoral to admit they don’t like festivals. Don’t do that. Speak up!

Mar 10, 2009

Scooter’s gone

Ever since I moved into my new apartment, I haven't my scooter. That’s like nine months. The reasons for not using the scooter started with me not feeling the need to have a vehicle. Since I had to always use the suburban railway system to get to any interesting place in Mumbai, my scooter’s use was gone. Then came the financial crunch and the non-affordability of fuel.

Since the building that I’m living in did not have a parking space, I had to keep it parked at the side of the road. Since I didn’t use it, it had grown dirty and dusty. Every day when I stepped out of the building, I would make sure that it’s there. A few times, when some other extraneous force had made it go off balance, I would go and put it back in its correct posture on the centre-stand.

Today, as I left for work, I didn’t see it there. I was scared. But since I needed to report to work, I couldn’t do anything then. I worried about it all day – one reason why I wasn’t bothered with the chatter at the workplace (I had taken my mp3 player along to ensure 100% auditory isolation) – and when I returned home, I took a look around to see if it was not moved to another parking space nearby.

I couldn’t find it. It was gone. I talked to the security guards at the building. First they denied having seen someone take it. Later, they confessed that the municipality people had come and asked if they knew whose scooter it was. Apparently nobody knew and they had towed it away.

I’m wondering what to do. I’d need to go over to the police chowky and then claim my vehicle. I think I won’t have a problem doing that. But how on earth do I bring it back home? It’s not in a working condition and to make it run smoothly, I will have to invest a lot of money. I can’t do that. I don’t know what to do.

Mar 9, 2009

First day at work

So I started working today. A totally new environment so alien that it felt really weird. Out of scrubs and lab coats, not standing at an operating table, not talking to the needy and not saving lives. Instead, in my jeans and tee shirt, sitting at a desk, talking to no-one and learning grammar. In came the world filled with deadlines and assignments and out went the world with intravenous lines and surgeries. That’s one helluva change.

I met new people. New colleagues, new trainers, new bosses. Apart from the trainer, I couldn’t really talk to anyone there. It really seemed like an invasion of privacy. They were doing jobs and had to meet deadlines. I can’t talk to them and disturb their work. That’s not civil. Not only that, I was given a computer and some lessons and exercises about English grammar and punctuation. I had to work on that as well.

I tried to concentrate on what I was doing. I found it extremely hard because I could hear everyone talking, gossiping, laughing. I could also hear filtered music leaking out of the earphones of a colleague sitting next to me (so clearly that I could identify the artist!). I have never been diagnosed as ADHD. But I think I’m a subclinical ADHD person. The only resort was to get lost in my own music despite it being an impediment to the functioning of my brain which is trying to solve complicated grammatical problems.

I’m sure things will get better and more ‘relaxed’, but not in a jiffy.

Mar 8, 2009

A new job, a new beginning

I’m starting a new job tomorrow. It is a very weird feeling to be saying that word ‘job’ itself as I am used to the phrase ‘working in a hospital’ ever since I became an adult. A vast majority of my friends and well-wishers think that it’s a bad move that I’m making – giving away my medical career and jumping into something new. I can relate with all of them. How I wish I could carry on what I did. If only it could also allow me some time and space to work at my music!

I am starting work as an Academic Editor in the Medicine and Biosciences department of a Knowledge Processing Outsourcing (KPO) organization. I’m looking forward to starting to work there. Why? Mainly because it will let me do what I love doing – being at the keyboard and working on text documents, editing them and making them readable and attractive. Apart from that aspect, this job would give me the financial stability that I have been looking forward to.

To all my friends who don’t want to see me put to waste my 13 years of medical training, all I have to say is this. I understand the risk that I’m taking. But my aim in life is to achieve what I want and to be happy. And I think you have to make a few sacrifices for achieving that. This is a humongous sacrifice and I might regret it in the future. That’s when I’m going to need all of you – my friends. Please stand by me.

'Straight' out of nowhere


I was one of the few invitees to the screening of 'Straight' yesterday at Fun Republic preview theatre (Parvati Balagopalan, Vinay Pathak, Anuj Chaudhary are just a few names from the attendees of the screening). I was skeptical because of a lot of reasons - a cynic by my side, a 'gay-friendly' movie from Bollywood on the screen and a theatre full of people whose natural instincts are to scream and holler on instinct at the slightest of jokes and faintest of hints of positive gay-vibe. The 'Dostana' nightmare still lingers on, you see. The first few minutes of the movie added to my wariness as some unexpected and cheap animation tricks to 'charter' down a family tree were unfurled on the screen.

Thankfully, that was just about it. The movie had me forget about all the things that could go wrong. It was fast paced, witty, clever and intelligent. The character development was just at the right pace leaving scope for the plot to become really interesting. It's funny how performances simply become good when you get rid of all the 'stars' and get some real actors into the mix. It is not at all surprising that I'm itching to add an 'unlike Dostana' tag to each and every sentence in this little post. But I'm not a movie-critic and I'm not writing because I needed to feel like one. Let's get to the point here.

This movie is so positive with regards to gays and their rights that it pales everything else that has come before it - 'Fashion', 'Dostana' you name it. There is NO gay stereo-typing. There are no banal jokes about homosexuals. Homophobia was dealt with classy treatment which would make even the homophobes enjoy the movie and possibly change their mindset. There are so many instances in the movie which stress about gays being regular people, about gays being not obsessed with sex and only sex, about arranged marriages destroying lives in the gay-context and finally about gay relationships being simply like any other relationship; with all it's virtues and fallacies.

We have campaigned for 'Milk' and we have cheered for 'Dostana'. I think 'Straight' is the movie that we should really promote as the judgment at the court is around the corner. I applaud the efforts of all the people who were part of the movie! Please go watch it!

Mar 1, 2009

Aarohi ‘09 experience – Noise Market blog post

Noise market had a gig at Aarohi ‘09, the annual college function at VNIT, Nagpur. I wrote about the experience at the Noise Market blog. Click here to read that post.  Here are a couple of videos from the same event. Do comment on them! Watch out for the guy wearing the hat on the extreme left of your video window!