Jul 30, 2010

Four friends - Two states

Oh, I've been wanting this for so long, for someone to function as a physical link between my Keralaite medical past and the Mumbakar gay/musical-editing present/future. It seems my prayers have come true. May is coming to Mumbai! She's coming to join a two-year course in pediatric hemato-oncology at the Tata Memorial Hospital, which is next door to my alma mater, the King Edward Memorial hospital.

This will be so cool! I can finally speak to someone regularly in Malayalam in Mumbai. And of course, the various possibilities of hanging out at Mumbai with her. Well, her husband (Did I ever update you guys that she married recently? This was right around the time I broke up with Vinokur and I was in disarray, and hence I might have forgotten) will join her soon. So, I don't know if I'll get to enjoy a lot of 'alone' time with her. But I do hope!

I still remember how eagerly I had expected the arrival of Ray to Mumbai. That would have been at an altogether different level, of course. But that didn't happen. And our relationship has withered down to the occasional SMS about a movie or something like that. Relationships -- how they never cease to amaze you with their unpredictable highs and lows.

The one relationship that has not only stood the test of time, but passed it in flying colors recently, is with my third good friend from back in Kerala -- Chuck. The humor between us still remains the same -- the same self-deprecatory sarcastic humor that Kerala is known for -- and we connected to each other just like the good old days, over alcohol, cigarettes, and food, and took care of each other like how each other should. Yes, we had grown into two separate beings -- he being a succesful orthopedician, with a wife and a kid, enjoying life with its responsibilities whereas I had grown old and frail post-Vinokur and was rather stagnant in my career with music.

My three best friends from Kerala are at three different places in my life right now. They might have swapped places between each other and I might have changed as a person, but the love remains strong.

On the following day...

Well, I chatted with the 'romantic' guy again yesterday night. Surprisingly enough, the chat was pretty normal. I even mentioned to him that I had blogged about our 'romantic' conversation. He seemed to be pretty cool about it.

From what I know about him, I think he's someone who had a recent painful experience in love, and this painful break up is manifesting in the quasi-neurotic 'romantic' tendencies, which is something that is actually wants in a relationship. That's my pseudo-shrink diagnosis anyway.

We managed to get over all this and go cam to cam on Yahoo, and I was floored my his 'thick-as-a-brick' moustache. Also, I was able to maked him smile and laugh with my silly jokes. So, all this is going well, I guess. Touch-plywood!

Jul 29, 2010

The 'romantic' Yahoo chat

The other day, on a personals site, I stumbled on a filter, which when disabled, gave you a bounty of 'suitable' profiles (read men) that I could check out. (Gosh, there are too many commas in that sentence). So, instead of a 20-odd men to check out, I got 100s of men any of who could turn out into a possible date. I clicked through about 150 of them and found some interesting profiles. Out of them, the standout one that read 'A writer. Would love to hear new stories'. I sent a message to this guy hoping for a lot.

The reply came yesterday and within a few exchanges, we were on Yahoo chat. I, as usual, was trying to work my humor in. And this guy looked like he at least 'got' my jokes. We threw in some references at each other. I was able to decipher most of his. In contrast, my references were dealt with nonspecifc, sometime 'funny' romantic lines.

Soon he popped in the most unexpected -- and in retrospect, what turned out to be a trap -- question:

'What would you do if we were in a cool, dark room and I said to you ''I have been waiting for you all my life''?'
I was perplexed. Seemed hilarious and I said
'I would laugh hysterically!'
That didn't go well with him. He said I had spoiled the mood and the romance that was apparently building up. I tried to recover by saying
'Of course, after realizing my folly, I would come up to you (rather 'gropingly' in the dark room, I should have added) and kiss you gently on your lips.'
He didn't like this response either. The conversation went wilder with him including rose water and popping grapes into my mouth in the scenario. Of course I couldn't keep up with the mush, and I ended up being told that I was the most unromantic person that he had met and stuff. I thought that was pretty mean. Within half a hour, we ended the chat conversation without really being sure if we would chat with each other again.

Funny. And weird. I don't know what is more appropriate to describe this chat encounter.

(*Since I started typing out this post, he has initiated chat with me. Still don't know what would happen on Yahoo messenger tonight!*)

Jul 28, 2010

The disequilibrium(s)

My life can be described as a collage of various things in a state of imbalance. I would like to list them here -- in no particular order. After all, making lists is always the first step to achieve your goals. The bolder ones are winning the battle.
  • Work vs. Music vs. Life
  • Emotional future vs. Professional future
  • Diet vs. Exercise
  • Cardio vs. Weight training
  • Books vs. Movies
  • Economy vs. Splurging
  • Blogging vs. Reading other blogs
  • Online news vs. Newspaper
  • Twitter vs. Blog
  • Twitter vs. FaceBook
  • Sedation (side effect) vs. Antipsychotics/antidepressants/antianxiety drugs
  • Songwriting vs. Performing
  • Performing originals vs. Performing covers
  • Sleeping vs. Wakefulness
  • Medicine vs. Music
  • Online personals vs. Real dating
  • Rice vs. Roti
  • Tea vs. Coffee
  • Bus vs. Train vs. Ricks vs. Cabs
  • Photography vs. Phobia for it
  • Social drinking vs. Teetotalling
  • Scheduled vs. Haphazard lifestyle
  • Sex vs. Celibacy
  • Romance vs. Sex
  • Family vs. Friends
  • Sister vs. Parents
  • Gay friends vs. Straight friends
  • Time with friends vs. Time spend alone
  • Computer upgrade vs. New phone
  • Indoors vs. Outdoors
  • Movie theaters vs. TV movies
  • Eating out vs. Home-cooked food
  • Happiness vs. Depression
  • Luck vs. Misfortune
  • Good friends vs. Bad friends
  • Success vs. Failure
  • Youth vs. Aging
  • Wisdom vs. Carelessness
  • Rehearsing vs. Performing
  • Vocals vs. Bass vs. Guitar vs. Drums
  • Cam sex v. Real sex
  • Masturbation vs. Real sex
  • Classic movies vs. Modern movies
  • Classic books vs. Modern books

Jul 21, 2010

Inceptional!

Finally, I did it. After the gym yesterday, I made it across the road to the movie hall and watched it. Inception, that is! It was one helluva movie! I'd probably give it 4.25 stars out of 5. It was probably over-rated and over-hyped just a little bit -- but it still remains the movie of the year. It'll probably remain that way I guess.

As everyone else, now my mind is full of wild fantasies, and I'm searching for my totems. I have read many good articles and reviews about the movie, its interpretations, and its plotholes. One among them reigns over the other. You can read in in these links: Link 1 and Link 2. This link gives also an interesting view from the perspective of gamers.

Coming back to totems -- would your smartphone serve as one? If it can, you make calls across dreams? Maybe poke the character that's left behind in the last level of dreams from your present level? Also, would your wristwatches run slower (if they are used as a totem)? Haha! Interesting thoughts! I hope there is a sequel to Inception which bamboozles the shit out of everyone once more!

Sunday that turned on its head

When I saw Inception's trailer during my visit to the theaters to watch Knight and Day, I never realized what I was getting into. The hype was simply unbelievable. Everyone was talking about Inception on Twitter even a few days before its release -- I follow people from the media and movie industry; people like Rajeev Masand -- and some folks (lucky brats) had managed to catch it during its press preview etc. People were using all kinds of superlatives to describe the movie. I knew there was something crazy about this one.

Friday and Saturday passed by and I was stuck with my job and newfound responsibilities in life -- these include taking care of my insatiable appetite to sleep -- and I read more reviews. Almost all of them 5-star ones. RottenTomatoes.com gave it a friggin' 97% fresh rating. I was dying of anticipation.

Come Sunday, I woke up like a fuckin' pig at 1 pm, just in time to get ready to pick May up from the airport. She had come to give an exam to get into the Tata hospital. After a wonderful 'catching up' session with her where she told about how she was enjoying her post-marital life and was trying in vain to conceal how happy she was now that every piece in her life had fallen into place, I set out to Sterling -- the theater that used to be my 'adda' during my residency, which holds an uncanny mix of cheapness of old-fashioned single-screen theaters and the flexibility of multiplex schedules -- only to find out that Inception was sold out.

Disappointed, to say the least -- I had wanted to catch a minimum of two movies (out of four: Inception, Tere Bin Laden, Udaan, and Lamhaa) on Sunday -- I set across to meet Bablu, my favorite pirated bookseller at CST. I was insanely happy to hear from him that he had with him MY copy of 'Satanic Verses', which I have been hunting for a couple of years now, along with a good copies of 'Midnight's Children' and 'The Sea of Poppies'.

I spent a fortune on these three books. But I'm sure they are worth it. And I'm sure Inception will happen this week.

Jul 14, 2010

Obesity pledge

Yesterday night, after a delightful evening (home - whiskey/dinner) with a wonderful guy that I met recently, I reached home very late. I had to stay up a couple of hours longer to make a presentation for work -- I was working on the effect that music had on work.

Things were okay until I got up today morning, showered, and tried to get into my formal trousers. I barely managed to! I was aghast -- it must have been all the careless overeating coupled with my love for whiskey nights. My waist is around 34 now -- 4 inches more than when I arrived in Mumbai.

This is unacceptable. I can already picture myself pot-bellied and balding in a couple of years if I did not step in to stem the rot. And so I decided -- a pledge -- to avoid alcohol, fatty foods, sweets, sugars, rice (I was already off of fatty stuff and sweet). This should save me from capitulation into the abyss of truncal obesity! Of course, along with this, I plan to increase my cardio routine at gym as well.

Everyone, please support me. Hoping for the best...

Jul 13, 2010

Curly days are not forever

Three years of nurturing, care, and products. Yes I had curls and some wonderful texture to my hair, and my hair was as long as my shouler plus a couple of twirls. But my hairline's receding and my hair's thinning as the months pass me by. It was time to accept the reality -- the reality of aging.

When I went to the hair salon near my office (Kapil's, for all you curious ones, I was in two minds -- to cut it short as my surgeon days OR to cut it till just my shoulder. I really couldn't decide. Then, with the help of a senior stylist, I went through a brochure of styles.

As I flicked through the pages, I realized that what I was subjecting for sacrifice was a product of a lot of hard work. The price to pay to grow hair that long is tremendous considering the time. Ergo, a decision to cut my locks till the shoulder was made -- at least for now.

There were just three styles for long hair, and out of that only one looked fitting of a man past 30. And I opted for that one. As I sat on the chair with baited breath, I was trembling with excitement and sadness. And of course I tweeted for my hair (of course, I got spontaneous responses on FB).

After 20 minutes or so, I emerged happy -- well, happy that I hadn't lost all my tricho-glory, that is. Somewhere inside I felt the desire to go further and ask the stylist to cut it short -- a haircut befitting my age and hairline. But I resisted thinking that, in all probability, the coming few months will be the last with long hair.

So here I am, with shoulder length, almost-straight hair with just a tinge of curls at the end. There are some 'steps' if you take a close look from behind. And the ponytail is just an inch long. It looks okay. Not too gross. However, I wonder how long these strands are going to enjoy their remaining length.

Jul 11, 2010

The brand new Engayging LIfe

I have been procrastinating far too long. For close to two years, I hadn’t doodled with the design layout on my blog. But I knew that my blog needed a facelift. Things have changed and we all know it, and it’s time to accept the reality—Twitter has invaded my life as much as as that any intelligent adult’s.

Presenting to you (drum roll) the new Engayging Life look. Nothing big really! The single right column look has given way to a more modern two-column look (one on each column). This was done primarily to facilitate the seamless integration of my Twitter life to my blog.

I have two Twitter accounts—one for Peter Parker and another for Spidey. You can read my tweets and keep up with me and what I have been upto on the left-hand column now. You can also follow me by clicking on the links below. The rest of the stuff remains pretty much the same.

Love it or hate it, please let me know it.

Jul 5, 2010

The date that smelled like a veterinary hospital

I started dating a veterinary surgeon. Mr. Lion was his nickname in the personal site that I met him, and he friggin’ was in charge of the veterinary hospital at the zoo. Also, remember that I am a pet addict and I have had a encounters with animals. Yet, I was not prepared for this. I wouldn’t want to call it an ordeal—just an unfortunate mixture of circumstances that made me feel icky.

So, I meet this guy at a personals site. His profile reads interesting and we exchange messages. Soon we exchange numbers and he calls me this Friday noon. The first thing that I hear after a “Hello” from his end is a “meow!” Now, I am not really “turned on” by animals per se. But in this case, my curiosity was aroused.

It turned out that he had two apartments and seven cats in total, with two in his study/work apartment. He sounded really nice on the phone and we decided on meeting up on Sunday evening. I wanted the date to extend to dinner but he had to keep his usual Sunday dinner commitment with his family.

On Sunday, we meet up at the railway station close to his apartment—on a platform, and not outside the station. Weird. The first thing that he explains to me is that he’s in an unfortunate situation where one of his “bois” might also arrive later to join us that evening. He explained to me carefully that it’s not going to be a ménage et trois. Creepy.

It was drizzling that evening. We walk on this dirt path parallel to the railway station, through a market, and finally take a minimum fare ride on a rick to his apartment building. It was an old building that seemed destined to undergo renovation into a high-rise or something. We walk up the staircase and reach his door.

The moment we walked in the door, this amazing veterinary hospital-esque stench pierces my nostrils. I saw one his two cats that was meowing. The room was ill lit to start with and to distract myself, I went after the cats. The walls were lined with bookshelves with all kinds of books. I find the two cats up on the couch behind the partition wall that separated the big room into two.

I hear him closing the curtains, thus filtering out the bare amount of light in the room. I could barely make out the cat feed which was lying in a bowl on the floor. I could see a bathroom (where the cats go and do their bowel/urinary evacuations) with an incandescent bulb which was streaming some light to the room.

Then the turns on this crazy blue 0-watt bulb. He invites me to sit on another couch on the other side of the partition. He pours two glasses of wine and we finally start a conversation. The cats join us in a bit—one chooses to snuggle up with us and the other curls up on top of the television.

In this under-lit scenario, we can hardly see each other faces. But the cats can do much better. The friendlier cat starts playing with me. He constantly licked, bit, and chewed on my feet, hands, and forearms. Trust me, it was painful at times. He wanted to really make a move on my face, but my hair was too scary for him, I guess.

The conversation was smooth more or less, but weird, primarily because of the atmospheric hindrances from my side. There were a couple of times where there was just the weird silence filled with growls and meows of the cat. After an hour or so of this intense creepiness, we finally stumble upon an interesting “I know your ex lover” situation and bitch about it for a while.

I was more than eager to offer him time to make a move to meet his family when a couple of hours drew to a close. During the entire evening, we barely touched each others hands for a couple of time. On the way out, I was thinking how a date could be disastrous just because of the weirdness associated with the location.

The lesson to be learnt from is this guys: please choose your date and location wisely!

Jul 4, 2010

It's official, and it's over

In 2007, on this very day, I met Vinokur. The rest, as it's often said (perhaps inaccurately), is history. We had a wonderful time with each other and carried each other in our arms during crises. Most things which would have broken to mortals apart didn't affect us. Two oceans and three and half decades of separation, mental ailments and physical ailments, and other complications related to long-distance relationships -- yes, I'm proud to say that we stuck it out together well.


Well, until three months or so back, that is. Sometime in March, Vinokur met this wonderful new man who has brought love, hope, and happiness in Vinokur's life. The progression from like to love seemed effortless. Unfortunately, I began slowly slipping away from Vinokur's life and heart until I figured out that the situation was affecting both Vinokur and I negatively.

We decided to call it a relationship. That happened on May 4th -- exactly 2 years and 10 months, of love, joy, ecstasy, of pain, disappointment, and fantasy. It is extremely hard for me to move on because in all honesty, I still love him as much as ever. But I will have to move on, and I am making my best effort for the same. My friends, thanks for being by my side through this traumatic period!

Now, on the 4th of July 2010, on what would have been our third anniversary, I wish Vinokur the best in his life with his new love. I'm sure he wishes the same for me! Now, perhaps more precisely so, we can say -- the rest is history!

Jul 2, 2010

I have been promoted!

Yay! I’m so excited to announce this to the world! It’s been a year and half since I started working as an academic editor in the wonderful company called Crimson Interactive. I have been given an ‘out-of-line’ promotion to become a Senior Research Editor. This brings me a lot of pleasure to announce this on my blog.

My bosses—at least one of whom reads this blog at least occasionally—wer extremely happy to see me successful manage and balance my two (or is it three now?) lives and emerge successful in at least one of them—in editing, that is.

Noise Market might not be turning heads as much as expected, and Shoonyas never took off from being a good band which plays within town to something else—of course, how could I forget not to mention my recent break up with Vinokur and the pain that it brought me—at least, my editing career is going places!

This promotion has given me a lot of hope and inspiration to achieve even more in my life. I so feel like saying the clichéd line of “with power comes responsibility” and killing it and myself in the process. But I’m not going to. This makes me feel a stronger person and helps me believe in my abilities.