Dec 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

I can't believe that it's been over 6 months since I last posted a note on this blog. I sincerely apologize. Just so you know, I had my last major bout of depression in early April 2012. Life has almost come around a whole circle in the succeeding 8 months or so. I'm at a very happy place in my life at the moment. Knock on wood!

So what happened in that period? The lack of motivation to share thoughts, which comes bundled with the package of depression in the brains of people like me, was the reason in the first three months. I cheated. I mean I lied, or, maybe I should say, I didn't come clean with the truth, in the last few posts. This was when I was really struggling to comprehend what was happening to me.

Supposedly, I was happy. I was in a promising relationship, had ongoing projects with three bands, one one of which looked like it would fulfill my dream of cutting an album, and my work-life was going smoothly. From out of nowhere, it hit me. I fell flat on my face and the people closest to me chose to give up on me. Within no time, I was dumped my my lover, rejected by one band, kicked out of another, and stranded by the third.

I was dazed and confused but I managed to not crack down under adversity, thanks to some excellent friends, who stood by me and saw me through, and of course, to my new shrink. Thank you, Billiards, for spending so much time with me on Skype virtually every night for many months. Thank you, Sujit, for helping me find a new shrink, which made me turn the corner. Thank you, my work colleagues, for providing me with the wonderful environment where I spend most of my awake hours. Finally, thank you Mr. Psychiatrist, without whom, wouldn't have known what it is like to be really happy.

The new shrink, almost magically, brought in a radical transition by switching me to a new medication and guiding me to cognitive therapy. He suggested that I should be weaned off of the previous psychoactive cocktail (low-dose combination therapy with escitalopram, clonazepam, and haloperidol) and started me on bupropion. Along with that, he guided me to http://depressioncenter.net, which gave me the insight about cognitive therapy - I meticulously maintained a mood diary for about a month, which enabled me to find out what were the real triggers, and thereby find the root cause of my negative thought cycles.

Sometime in late July or early August, I started enjoying life like I have never before. I guess I had more time for myself with most of my responsibilities as a musician, apart from my that as a solo performer, having vacated my life, and I started watching, following, and reading stuff that interested me and I started looking forward to spending time by myself. I restarted socializing - dating, drinking out, going for movies, etc. I also was able to get rid of my guilt to spend money for myself for entertainment and leisure. By September, I was dead sure - the period comprising the last three months or so was the happiest that I had ever been.

Then, in October, out of nowhere, I met three interesting men - all three attractive, single (well, technically, at least), and interested in me. All three are so different and yet seemed to offer me something that I had never experienced in Mumbai - dating. Although I'm good friends with all of them, I have spent most of the last two months with one of them - Jay - and it has just been a wonderful experience.

Thus, on the eve of Christmas, I sit by myself, content and happy, albeit missing Jay, hoping to spend the New Year's eve with him.

Merry Christmas.

Stay calm and hug a bear. Trust me, that works.

Jun 28, 2012

Withdrawal

The new shrink started tapering my medication off starting last week. This week, I’m slowly starting to experience the side effects. Apart from fluctuations in mood and vulnerability, I am experiencing tremulousness and anxiety. I’m having trouble falling asleep and I have headaches. Last night, I had to have a cognac before I could fall asleep.

Tonight, I have a slight headache and I feel like eating something meaty. But I won’t. I will instead, drink a glass of milk and hope to fall asleep watching the first Euro 2012 semi-final between Portugal and Spain. Wish me luck!

Jun 25, 2012

Brave

Yesterday, I saw Brave, the latest animated movie from Pixar. Mostly, it lived up to what Pixar promises. The opening short animation was incredibly beautiful. It’s call La Lune, if I remember correctly. Else, great animation, good story, and engaging characters – the usual Pixar stuff.
The only gripe I have is that the Scottish accent has been overdone in movies. It was so in this case too. Of course, it was set in Scotland. But haven’t we had enough of movies based in Scotland?
I give it a 3.5* out of 5. Go watch it!

Jun 24, 2012

A Middle-Eastern evening

My social life is more active these days. I get more time, thanks to no rehearsals, and I’m feeling better. Last night, I went out on a date with an exotic guy – a gay Israeli man. Very accomplished. Very well rounded. Very complex.

He’s a divorcee, a father of three, the ex-lover of two men, and is not actively looking. Our date went from a riveting conversation in a café to searching for a pub to down some beer, failing which we ended up in another café.

The conversation was primarily one of discovery. I discovered very strange, very Indian – yes, I said that – norms of behavior with respect to social life. For example, an Israeli’s home is open to all. People walk in and out all the time. This is almost exactly what happens in Kerala, by the way.

I, expecting Western – American/Western European - customs, was surprised that a white man was saying all the things that I don’t practice, quite frankly, am intimidated by. I later confirmed that these are common practices in Israel – yes, I have my sources.

Jun 23, 2012

The roving eyes of a young Muslim man

My second free servicing for the AC was scheduled today. This morning, I got a call from the company saying that they are sending someone over by 11 am. For modesty’s sake, I put on a pair of small shorts and a t-shirt. I greeted the team of two service guys: one, a twenty something Muslim guy (I can tell) and an adolescent side kick. They started working on the AC and I sat at my computer.

Every now and then, I would go up to my living room to check up on them. Every time I would go, the Muslim guy’s eyes would be fixated on my bobbing crotch. Even when he was talking. Well, I did nothing to change things. I wanted to see how far he would go.

Well, he didn’t go any further – neither did I want him to. But this was a different experience. I have never experienced such visual rape. I must say I enjoyed it.

Jun 18, 2012

A fantastic weekend

I have been keeping this from all of you guys. Four weeks back, I met a wonderful guy (guess what, another American!) who lives not too far from Mumbai. Again, it was on SilverDaddies.com chat room #1. Our daily routine since then has been a good conversation on Skype over scotch/beer (for me) and martini/wine (for him) in the evening.

To take it to the next step, Bill and I decided to meet up. Bill came over for the weekend. To celebrate the occasion, and also to learn as much as I can from a liquor aficionado, I replenished my modest liquor cabinet at home – with cognac, gin, vermouth, champagne, and blended scotch. I even bought some martini glasses and champagne flutes.

So, over the two days and nights, we got to know about each other much more intimately than we had been able to. Plus, we were able to enjoy alcohol and Mumbai life just the way they are supposed to be enjoyed. As with Joe, the sleeping arrangement was inadequate, but Bill was able to adjust.

Bill is a compulsory home maker – by that, I mean that he loves interior decoration. It was no surprise when he commented on the fact that my apartment can only be done if we buy everything new from scratch and put some paint on my walls. But again, it’s not MY apartment – I rent it. Plus, I plan to move out next year. Maybe Bill will be able to decorate my new apartment. Who knows?

Jun 13, 2012

Stonewall Uprising

This is going around on FaceBook as I speak.

It’s the screening of the documentary film “Stonewall Uprising” as part of the LGBT Pride Month at The US Consulate, Mumbai. 21 June, 2012 - 6.00 PM

I think I’m going! What about you?

Jun 12, 2012

Crushes: Ian Holm

So, as I mentioned earlier, I watched “Alien” last Sunday. The most attractive and sumptuous character was “Ash,” the android. Played by Ian Holm, it maintains the streak of the Androids in the Alien series of movies (including Prometheus) being the most attractive male specimen on display.

Here’s is more recent picture of Ian Holm from Wikipedia. As you can see, he’s as cute as ever!

Jun 11, 2012

Shor Bazaar is on MTV!

Yes, we are now on MTV as well. I don’t quite know if we are on the regular playlist or some selective indie set. I got this info from my friends who sent me messages on FaceBook and WhatsApp.

Now I can say to my folks – “Hey look, I’m on MTV!” By the way, the video is for the song “Hello, Hello” that we wrote for a FedEx ad. Here is the video if you would like to watch it.

Thank you everyone! Thank you Shor Bazaar!

Jun 10, 2012

The Alien Marathon

I woke up this morning feeling nice and happy and started going through the various threads on the forums that discuss the plot of Prometheus and the associated mythology. After going through a few pages, I realized that my knowledge on the original Alien and it’s sequels is limiting my understanding.

So, I decided to watch Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, and Alien Resurrection. Well, I could only watch the first three – that too, only half of the third. I’m already part scared and part excited about understanding more about Prometheus.

For those who haven’t watched Prometheus – please try and watch the Alien series of movies – at least Alien – before you watch Prometheus. That will give you a much better experience and understanding of the already brilliant movie!

Jun 9, 2012

A double bill – after three years!

It was totally unexpected. But it happened. After, three years of hiatus, my double-bill movie watching trend has reemerged. I was supposed to watch one of these with a friend of mine that I had gone out on a couple of dates with. But he never sent me an SMS, which he was supposed to, confirming his availability.

So, I decided to go watch movie with a colleague. It wasn’t quite so easy. I was totally unprepared for the movies because she had said that she wouldn’t be able to make it yesterday. So, when she called, I was a little edgy, but I decided to do it. Because she wanted to see Madagascar 3 – Europe’s Most Wanted, we booked tickets for the same.

We saw Madagascar 3. It was nothing spectacular or funny except for the fantastic graphics in some of the circus scenes (that’s all you need to go watch the movies for) – I give it 2.5* out of 5.

During the interval, I asked my friend whether she would be interested in watching Prometheus, which happened to be the next show in the same screen. She said yes. After Madagascar 3 got over, we rushed back to the ticket counter and bought tickets for Prometheus.

Boy, was it worth it! Prometheus is visually spectacular and intellectually stimulating. Although it is nowhere as scary was Alien is, it is scary enough. The suspense is built up throughout the movie and although the ending was a little too fast paced for a Ridley Scott movie, I enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s a must watch. I give it 4* out of 5.

Jun 8, 2012

Work compromising life

I don’t think I’m workaholic. But I simply can’t leave my work unfinished and dissatisfied with what I had put in. This means that there are some days, which are getting uncomfortably frequent lately, when I have spent 11 to 12 hours at work.
Today, it almost cost me something. My friend Billiards felt insecure about coming to visit me because I have been too busy lately. That was really scary. But I was able to patch things up and things are back to normal.
This is the only issue that I have with work. Work is supposed to enhance your quality of life by paying you money to enjoy your life. It, therefore, shouldn’t deprive you of the pleasure by stealing away ‘personal’ time that can’t be replaced.
I have a lost a band, and quite possibly my musical career, because of work, and I don’t want to lose a relationship now.

Jun 7, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Joe said it was fantastic. That made me doubt whether it was – we have never quite liked the same movies. But everyone who was someone was talking about it. It had to be a good movie. So I decided to watch it. There was just the one show in the whole of Mumbai and that was at 8.30 pm at INOX at Nariman Point.

Yesterday and most of today, I asked almost everyone who I could possibly invite if they were interested. Some where, but the distance was too much of an effort. Finally, on my way downtown in the train, my Indian friend, who has been very kind to me during my depression, said yes. I was almost relieved.

We reached just in time and it was really fun to meet him after a long time. He looked simply gorgeous and I so wanted to flirt with him. But the more important thing was the movie. Yes, the movie. It was simply marvelous.

People might complain about Hollywood stereotyping India. But I don’t take that bullshit. The bottom line is that the characters were wonderful, the acting was brilliant, the screenplay was engaging, the casting was near perfect, and the cinematography was excellent. I could relate to each and every character. I could also fall in love with a couple of characters/actors.

People, go watch this movie. You won’t regret it. I give it 4* out of 5.

After the movie, we went out for dinner – roti and dal at the newly refurbished Café Ideal. It was quite an experience!

Jun 5, 2012

The Cabin In The Woods

This was every bit crazy as it could get. A relatively unknown movie. A relatively unfamiliar genre. A relatively unfamiliar theatre. The only thing familiar was my dear friend giving me company.

I watched The Cabin In The Woods at Gem in Bandra. It just has some 30 odd seats. Tacky. No caramel popcorn. So a bit of a let down. But the movie wasn’t. You need to know a lot about the genre to understand how cool the movie is. It’s a smart horror movie. That’s all I am going to say. It’s another must watch. 4* out of 5 if you are horror movie fan. 3.5* out of 5 if you aren’t.

Jun 3, 2012

MIB 3

Finally, I did it. I manage to force myself out of my apartment for some entertainment. I think the behavioral cognitive therapy and the new medications are starting to kick in.

Anyway, I went all by myself for MIB 3 in 3D. I had already caught up with MIB and MIB 2 to ensure that I understand all the nuances. In my opinion, MIB 3 is the best of the three. Just because it connects the link between Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) and Agent Jay (Will Smith).I would rate it as 3.5* out of 5.

Jun 2, 2012

Crushes: Tommy Lee Jones

I need say nothing more than request you to watch the scene from MIB 2 where Agent Kay was being led into the MIB headquarters by Agent Jay. Agent Kay is wearing postman’s shorts and we get a shot of him walking from his back. *Slurp*

Why are older Americans so handsome?

Jun 1, 2012

MIB 1 and 2

My friend wants to watch MIB 3 with me and I wasn’t sure if I had watched MIB 1 and 2 or whether I remembered the plot etc. I decided to watch them. I must say, I like the concept and the premise. But the comedy is a little too much. The most annoying thing is that most aliens speak English with accents. That’s simply a big plot hole. And the action is a little too predictable. The only thing that remains great in these movies is Tommy Lee Jones and the neuralyzer. I hope MIB 3 is better.

May 30, 2012

Getting better all the time

The last week has been really good me. Well, except for the fact that I got kicked out of my main band. Otherwise, with the help of the new medication (I suspect whether it could have such an early effect – maybe placebo effect) and early lessons of cognitive therapy, I am feeling all round better. I have a homework – to track my mood throughout the day and find out what triggers my negative moods. This is helping a lot. The people that trigger my bad moods are those who are close to me who have hurt me previously (e.g., parents, Vinokur, and Joe). I should avoid contacting them when I’m feeling vulnerable, I think.

May 22, 2012

A career nadir

Despite the good news about my meeting with the shrink, I have a sad news to break to. I have been laid off from my active band Overhung. It was rather unceremonious. The two band members who are in Mumbai called me up for a rehearsal. Instead of rehearsing, they let me know, in the best way they could, that they are looking for a new bass player.

I took it well. I have been expecting something like this for some time now. I wished them well (really, I do wish them well) and went back to work. This practically means that my active musical career is slowly coming to an end. Shor Bazaar is not active. Cirkles is barely so. My dream is slowly fading. I won’t have a record with my name on it.

(PS: Coincidentally, the Shor Bazaar’s song “Hello, Hello!”  video for the FedEx ad is now being played on VH1. Although I haven’t seen it myself, I have heard about it from a few friends of mine. Oh, well!)

May 21, 2012

The new shrink

I finally managed to come out of my depression closet and write something on my blog a few days back. Now, I took it another step forward. I met a new shrink.

The first sitting was rather remarkable. He must have asked me maybe eight or ten questions. I would just go on and about my past. The most that I talked about was my relationship with Vinokur and how it came to an end.

It felt telling a stranger about everything that affected me negatively from the past – from parental physical abuse, incestual sexual abuse, being looked down by my family almost throughout my childhood and adolescence, the hospital changing my perspective of life, why I came to Mumbai, to how I fell in and out of love and was broken into pieces – everything.

My shrink listened to me carefully. At the end of of our session, he offered me a comprehensive plan. New antidepressant (bupropion), slow tapering off of the cocktail, introduction to cognitive therapy, and regular physical exercise.

Although, I have been feeling much better in the last few days and I was even more content with myself that I finally took a measure toward getting out of the rut. Let’s see where this leads me.

May 16, 2012

Battling depression

The past few months, I have been relatively quiet – everywhere, not just on the blog. The depression is at it again. Forcing me to feel bad about myself and incompetent, and making me think of suicide. It makes me want to avoid meeting and talking to people or engage in group activities. The only thing that I have been wanting to do is to go home when I’m at work and to go to work when I’m at home.

Work keeps me engaged and the wonderful family of colleagues that I work with keep me relatively upbeat for most of the working day. Occasionally, one of them would send me an instant message asking me what’s wrong and remind me to start smiling and laughing again. At home, I spent most of the time consuming entertainment – movies, television series, sports, entertainment, social networking, etc. Nothing productive ever happens.

For the few gigs that I had during these months, I managed to work enough to just rehearse enough both by myself and with the bands. The only time I really enjoyed myself is when I was playing live in front of a receptive audience. Some of my friends in my musical circles seem to understand. But I can feel that my band mates are very frustrated with me. I avoid contact with them as much as possible and, on occasions, have postponed/canceled rehearsal sessions at the last minute.

For those who don’t know, I have broken up with Joe. Crazy stuff happened and I was depressed enough to let it happen and not take any measures to prevent the catastrophe. My nadir coincidentally coincided with the breakup.

The last time when I was such a low, Vinokur helped me out. He got in touch with my psychiatry resident friend here and asked her to prescribe something for me. She did. She put me on a cocktail. Escitalopram + Clonazepam + Haloperidol. I have been religiously adhering to the prescription for the best part of the last 3 years.

But now, I think I need a change. Maybe a new shrink. Someone who doesn’t  know me. Someone who can arrive at a diagnosis and start treatment afresh.

Mar 13, 2012

The Whitney Houston Tribute

Today, I got to perform at the Blue Frog with a bunch of extremely talented musicians. It was a great experience, although I was playing something that I don’t generally play – Soul/Pop. It was a fantastic experience and I thank each of them (Caralisa Monteiro, Beven Fonsesca, Ravi Iyer, Sishir Malhotra, Mabel Chan, Agnelo Picardo, Samantha Edwards, and Keshia Braganza).

Mar 11, 2012

Government explained

This is the most ironic, truthful, insightful videos about what’s wrong with our world.

(Courtesy: YouTube)

Government explained

This is the most ironic, truthful, insightful videos about what’s wrong with our world.

(Courtesy: YouTube)

Mar 9, 2012

The DOMA project

I came across this on FaceBook. John (left) has apparently sent a plea to President Obama to resolve a familiar situation faced by thousands of couples all over the world. He is being separated from his lover Shaun (right) because of the immigration inequality for LGBT couples that exists in the US. You can read the full letter here.

I went through a similar situation with Vinokur about 3 years back. I can’t tell you how well I relate to the anguish that this wonderful couple is going through.

Mar 6, 2012

iPads for chord charts

Tonight, at a rehearsal for an upcoming Whitney Houston gig at Blue Frog, I witnessed the amazing progress of chord charts. From Real Books, to Fake Books, to Tablature, to iReal Book, and iPads.

Yes, two of my band mates were using iPads to write down chord charts for the songs. I am sure they will use them for their gigs too. If you are a hip musician, an iPad might just be what you need.

(For those who don’t know, iReal Book is a great app available on the Apple store [for iPhones and iPads] and the Android store for our favorite Android phones. It’s worth every rupee that you spend on it.)

Mar 5, 2012

For all my artist friends

Artists perform art for a living. Just like bankers do banking for a living, and florists sell flowers for their living. Don’t ever take them – well, us – for granted. Appreciate our art and remember that we also have to pay bills and mouths to feed.

Photo

(Photo courtesy FaceBook)

Mar 4, 2012

“I want to know what it’s like”

Joe linked me up to this video made by MoveOn.org. It’s about LGBT rights and marriage equality. I was moved by this. Please feel free to share.

(Video courtesy: YouTube, MoveOn.org)

Mar 3, 2012

Crushes: William Shatner

Starting today, I will bring you celebrities who I have a crush on. Don’t be surprised, most will be movie stars from Australia, US, or UK who are really old now. They would most probably have had three or four wives. But they are still red hot in my book.

William Shatner. Or the incredibly sexy James T. Kirk, the captain of USS Enterprise, from Star Trek. Swoon!

(Picture courtesy: Wikipedia, TopNews)

Mar 1, 2012

My first online soft purchase

I have always been skeptical about online transactions. Today demanded one. I just couldn’t stand the fact that I had just 7% of my storage capacity left on my primary Google account. The options were simple. Delete your unimportant stuff. Open another account. Or buy more space.

I chose the last option. I integrated on my debit cards to my Google account. Not only did I spend 5$ for 25 GB of memory, I was able to buy apps on the Android store as well. It might not be a big thing for you tech nerds, but it’s a giant leap for me.

Feb 29, 2012

Photographic marvel

One of my friends from Bangalore, Cop Shiva, a cop by profession and a photographer by passion, is taking part in a contest organized by Nikon. Here’s his entry.

I love it. If you like this photograph, please vote for Cop Shiva at this link.

If you want to get in touch with Cop Shiva, this is his FaceBook page.

Feb 28, 2012

The Shor Bazaar video

Photo: It's a Wrap!!! One of the most exciting tvc's produced in recent times.

About a couple of months back, Shor Bazaar was invited to write a jingle and act in a video for a famous brand. The video shoot was last month, when Joe was here, and it was pretty cool. We were supposed to talk nothing about it or post anything about it. Today, this photo, taken after the video shoot, was posted on FaceBook.

So, this is the snippet. Wait for the full video soon!

Feb 27, 2012

The Variable Man by Philip K. Dick

I don’t know how many of you love sci-fi as a genre in fiction. I also don’t know how many of you are into reading short-stories in this genre. For those who haven’t tried either, a sci-fi short story is a best story to start with. The best one in my opinion is undeniably “Nightfall” by the legend Isaac Asimov.

Asimov has always been my favorite sci-fi author – the Foundation series and other classics such as I, Robot. Arthur C. Clarke comes in as a close second with the 2001: Space Odyssey and the Rama series. But that was about it for me. I had never explored anything beyond these two.

Today, I did. Thanks to my new phone. Thanks to e-books. I read “The Variable Man” by Philip K. Dick. It’s a marvelous short story, almost at the level of Nightfall. I don’t want to give anything away, and so I’m going to just ask you to download it and read it. Free.

I hope you are pleasantly surprised!

Feb 26, 2012

Outrageous law

I’m from Kerala and I’m ashamed of the laws there. Yesterday, the authorities imposed a new law: nobody can  be on a railway station or travel in a train after having consumed alcohol. Yes, you don’t have to be drunk. Even if they detect traces, it’s going to cost you.

Alcohol is a lifestyle. A certain section of the population use it as a food/beverage and a vast majority of them never indulge in any antisocial activities. Individuals like me know how to behave, even if it is with alcohol or without. Those who misbehave will do so even without being under the influence of alcohol.

It’s discrimination against a minority of the population. Kerala government, not every body who enjoys alcohol molests women. Not every teetotaler would molest women either. Just get rid of this stupid law.

Feb 25, 2012

A visit

A couple of years back, I was seeing someone. He helped me through my painful breakup with Vinokur. We dated for nearly 6 months, after which he had to leave to pursue his job elsewhere. Well, he was visiting Mumbai as part of a vacation and he was able to find some time to meet up with me.

We met at the airport and the memories started flooding my mind. I brought him home and he took a shower. He dried right in front of me – we were comfortable with each other. After he put on his shorts, I went up to him, we looked into each others eyes, and kissed for a brief second. That was simply beautiful.

Then, we settled in the living room over scotch and beer. We talked about what about our lives – past, present, and future. I even got out my dormant doctor mode to try and help him with some issues that he was facing with his back.

We went out for dinner and then we came back home, talked for some more time. At the stroke of midnight, he left on a Meru Cab to the airport, from where he was flying back to Europe, where he worked.

What an experience! With a former, umm, perhaps a lover! Beautiful.

Feb 24, 2012

Apple’s FoxConn folly

I have read many things about this story – more bad than good. Die-hard Apple fan boys like Vinokur say that the negative reports aren’t quite authentic. Either way, I enjoy satire and here are the two gems that present the story in a negative, hilarious way.

Also, check this wonderful story from The Onion here.

After you finish laughing, go read the more serious stories and make up your own minds.

Feb 22, 2012

Simpsons’ iPhone couch gag

So, Simpson’s just crossed the 500 episode mark. I was reading up about that when I came across this marvel of a couch gag. Respect!

Feb 21, 2012

The universal truth

For those who don’t understand – Mallus = Malayalees = Inhabitants of Kerala. I’m one. So.

(Courtesy Facebook)

Feb 20, 2012

Aldiko, the marvel

I know that I’m still finding my way around my new Android phone. Although almost everything is exciting, the most exciting among them is Aldiko, the book reader. I read my first book on it two days back – “Youth” by Isaac Asimov – and I’m thrilled. All I need now is a way to find out more books. I won’t complain of traffic anymore!

Feb 18, 2012

FourSquare

You know, social networking sites are supposed to be fun. Most of them that I have gotten on to make me feel like I want to be there often. Well, except Google+ and Orkut.

FourSquare is the latest one. FourSquare just tries to make things more difficult for the average user. I don’t find good places to log in to – well, I can’t seem to create a check-in for my own apartment.

It’s a bit of a downer. I don’t think I’m going to be using FourSquare too much.

Feb 17, 2012

Dry day–alright, but why not open restaurants?

I don’t quite understand this whole concept of dry days. I mean, why should responsible adults not enjoy hanging out at their favorite bar/pub and have some fun just because it is a day of national/political significance?

But even worse is the fact that the restaurants that have a bar are closed during these dry days – for three consecutive days during the BMC election this week.

That’s really stupid. I want my good food. And all the good food comes from bar/restaurants.

Will someone sit up and take notice and change the rules?

Feb 15, 2012

Android, finally

After almost two years of pondering and procrastinating, I bought myself a new phone, thereby replacing my 4-year-old lovely Sony Ericsson P1i. I bought myself a Sony Xperia Pro (Red) which looks and feels super-fabulous.

I’m slowly getting used to the physical keyboard and all the various apps that you can download. To celebrate it, I upgraded myself to 3G on Vodafone and now I can watch videos, Skype, and what not on the Go.

This also means that I might die sooner. I walk around in the night on Mumbai roads with my iPod blaring and reading on my phone. So…

Here are some pictures of the phone if you feel like looking at what I own.

Feb 12, 2012

Cousin’s wedding in Kerala

I don’t quite remember why I agreed to it, but I did. Oh yeah, my uncle was threatening (in a friendly manner, of course) that if I don’t make it, there would be drastic consequences. Anyway, I had agreed to attend my cousin’s wedding in Kozhikkode, and had dirt-cheap JetLite tickets purchased three months back.

The to flight was eventless. But then onward, everything was chaotic. Nobody knew how far the wedding hall was from the airport. I finally hired a cab and set out on my own and found the hall. There, I was greeted by all sorts of faces from my past – which I have been trying to hide from, I must admit.

The reception of my relatives, in general was really, good. All of them were happy (or pretended to be) and did not ask too much. A couple of questions about marriage popped up here and there, but I was able to tackle them with humor. After all, I had to keep my word to my parents – they didn’t want me coming out to my extended family.

The only memorable, rather scary, instance was when an uncle took me to the side and started asking me questions like “Are you the old Kris?” “Are you hiding behind a veil” “Are these questions causing you discomfort?” “When will you come back to us?” Then it dawned on me that he was on FaceBook and had seen most of my pictures with Joe.

I guess he knew that I was gay but was shocked and was not very well read about homosexuality.

Of course I met with my Mom and Dad, sister and BIL, and my BIL’s Mom and Dad. I also met all the uncles and aunts that I like and those I don’t like too much. So it was a mixed bag. Some of the cousins that I knew as very small had grown into adolescents and shit. That’s like scary.

Well, apart from that, I spiked up my wedding gift to my cousin (a relatively expensive Bvlgari grooming kit + condoms + lube), and hung out with Ray over beer and beef fry. That was nostalgic. We even rang up some of our old ‘fuckbuddies’.

Feb 10, 2012

Knee replacements all around

My mom has been wanting to get both her knees replaced for some time now. And now my boyfriend has been advised to undergo knee replacement too. This makes my life a little more complicated, primarily because Joe will only arrive by August 2012.

I need a new 2 BHK to have both my folks and my boyfriend stay together with me at the same time. I don’t know when to get it though. Maybe I should just stay in my studio apartment until Joe gets here.

Decisions, decisions!

Feb 9, 2012

“Porngate, my foot”

That’s an excerpt of what Pritish Nandy wrote about the two Karnataka cabinet ministers who were caught watching a pornographic clip on a mobile phone inside the assembly.

@PritishNandy: Porngate, my foot. its Yawngate. ND Tewari did better. At least the women were real.”

All I have to say is this. India, watching pornography is okay. Ministers watching pornography is okay. Watching pornography at the workplace is probably wrong, but shouldn’t amount up to resignation if someone is caught. They are human beings too and can get distracted and hence they should be warned.

However, carrying mobile phones in the assembly – which is what the ministers did - is against the rules, and should be condemned. You voted for people who are just like you, who are vulnerable to the physiological demands of relaxation and entertainment, and of course sexual urges.

Here are two read-worthy articles on this issue that I came across this morning. The first one is an article written by my friend and journalist Vikram Doctor from Economic Times. The other one is a blog post that I was referred to on Twitter.

Feb 8, 2012

OK Go’s latest video - Needing/Getting

So, the boys from Chicago are at it again. This time playing over 1000 instruments while driving around in a car. Here’s the YouTube official video and the description.

The new music video from OK Go, made in partnership with Chevrolet. OK Go set up over 1000 instruments over two miles of desert outside Los Angeles. A Chevy Sonic was outfitted with retractable pneumatic arms designed to play the instruments, and the band recorded this version of Needing/Getting, singing as they played the instrument array with the car. The video took 4 months of preparation and 4 days of shooting and recording. There are no ringers or stand-ins; Damian took stunt driving lessons. Each piano had the lowest octaves tuned to the same note so that they'd play the right note no matter where they were struck. For more information and to download the studio version of the song for free, visit http://www.LetsDoThis.com/stunts andhttp://www.okgo.net. Many thanks to Chevy for believing in and supporting such an insane and ambitious project, and to Gretsch for providing the guitars and amps.

I’m not too thrilled by the song. But the video is a must watch.

Feb 7, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI – the ads

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time wondering what the deal was about the ads during the Super Bowl broadcast. One of my friends @eupraxsophic tweeted ‘it has the highest viewership and ad slots are expensive. Companies make their best ads to justify their spent money

Well, when I came back in the evening, there was still a lot of activity about the Super Bowl on Twitter. One link caught my attention. It was Mashable’s video collage of all the ads during Super Bowl XLVI. Another is CNET’s Most liked 2012 Super Bowl ads (photos).

Lastly, I came to realize that I was part of a Twitter record. Twitter released the records for two Super Bowl moment which are #2 and #3 in the list of Twitter‘s most-tweets-per-second list. I was part of #2 – right after the NY Giants won. Here’s the full story!

Out of all the ad, I personally liked ‘The Dog Strikes Back: 2012 Volkswagen Game Day Commercial’ the best. Here’s the video.

Feb 6, 2012

Superbowl and commercials

I woke up this morning perfectly well aware that I had to watch the Superbowl NE Patriots v NY Giants game somehow. I switched through all the sports channels but couldn’t find the telecast. I switched to Twitter but didn’t get any answers about why it’s not being shown on Indian television.

Twitter was abuzz about the half-time show and commercials. Yes, commercials! Everyone was talking about them. A particular Samsung commercial got the most mentions. I don’t quite understand why. Then I did a Google search and came up with this. Now I understand why.

Now I want to ‘really’ watch a Superbowl.

(PS. Congratulations to NY Giants!)

Feb 4, 2012

You are a hypocrite!

I work in an office environment where silence, if not paramount, is very important for the quality of work. Academic editing requires a lot of concentration and can be taxing. So, editors need a release too. In such an environment, the time and method of release chosen by a particular person might conflict with the work of others working nearby. It can be annoying if a person a group constantly creates a lot of noise, especially laughter and/or giggling.

My office unfortunately has such a group of people who, despite repeated warnings, carry on laughing loud and giggling. During these episodes, they fail to control the decibel levels of their conversations too. To avoid getting distracted, you could possibly listen to music. But when you are trying to read sentences aloud in your mind to try and understand and edit them, music is also a hindrance sometimes. There is no other way but hope that these people would stop and realize others are getting affected by it.

I tried to talk to a member of this group and let that person know what exactly the issue is. One day, in the evening, the person appeared to be apologetic and promised to be careful in the future. The very next day, after repetition of the same unruly behavior, and after it was pointed out, the same person was aggressive and rude. The ego was offended and exploded like a volcano. The person started pointing out other groups of people having small conversations in the office and went on to insist that I was being biased against him/her.

I tried to tell the person that I have features of adult ADD and I am particularly sensitive to noise and get distracted very easily. Even that backfired. I was told that I am trying to hide behind the façade of ‘mental conditions’ and I wanted everyone to work in a way that I wanted them to. Eventually, I ended up being called a ‘hypocrite’ for being only sensitive to the noise created by a particular group. I decided that it was best to end the conversation at that.

What would you have done in the same situation?

Feb 2, 2012

Another lesson about friendships

If a person that you love constantly tells you the following – “You will never understand me!” “You never listen to me!” “You never remember anything about me!” - and if that same person gets repeatedly offended by things you say or do, it’s probably better to back off and leave that person alone. At least for quite some time.

The problem, if you can use that word, probably lies with both of you. You may not have the time or patience for taking care of the other person. And/or the other person is not in a position or is incapable of understanding your limitations. Don’t take the brunt of the burden to correct things all by yourself. Efforts have to be bilateral.