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Showing posts from 2017

Bedtime Blues

I haven't been home for the past ten days. I've been off at an NCC camp, sleeping on a piece of wood propped up on four steel legs with no mattress and ridden with bedbugs. On top of that, I've been having to remedy my poor general knowledge, and the only time I get to do that is after 10pm. Needless to say, none of this contributes to a comfortable night's respite.


The fact of the matter is, for the past week or so, I've only been getting about four hours of sleep - on average - per night. Now, I'll be honest, for most of my life, the only thing interrupting my sleep cycle has been my mobile phone usage before bedtime. I'm accustomed to a good, solid 8 hours of sleep, and consider it essential to my day-to-day functioning.

Recently, though, I've had to work harder than ever during the day with less sleep than I've ever had. The weird thing is, I've been doing just fine! I still wake up every morning, I'm only marginally grumpier than usual,…

Weighing In

Today, I'm writing about something I'm actually rather proud of. Today, I'm writing about my weight loss. Over the past ten months, I've lost 12 kilos.

My parents have been begging me to start exercising since eighth grade. When I was 13, they'd boot me out of the house every day at 5:00PM and make me go running. I hated it. I barely even bothered to run, let alone push myself or stick to a diet. I ate like a trash can, sat in front of the computer all day and did nothing at all about my rapidly swelling pot belly. By the time I'd turned 15, even Dad had given up any dreams of seeing me with a flat stomach. I'd trained myself to stop looking in the mirror, and I stayed out of pictures as much as possible.

Fast-forward to the present day: I weigh 69 kilos. My stomach has all but vanished. Looking in the mirror is a satisfying experience, and I even have some muscle on my arms. I can now fit in medium-size t-shirts, and whenever I wear my old jeans, I look li…

A Master Without a Masters

A couple of years ago, I was interning with a startup called Cookifi. Three mornings a week, I'd board a bus bound for HSR Layout to go to the office. One day, the bus simply failed to turn up, and I ended up sharing a cab with one of my stranded co-passengers. His name was Ravitej, and he worked in a software company. He didn't have a Ph.D. in anything, but he taught me more during a one-hour cab ride than some of my computer science teachers have taught me during entire semesters.

A few years before that, I played video games online with a guy named Luke. Luke was 20 years old at the time, and he worked in a hardware store. He didn't have an MIT education or even, come to that, a masters degree. What he did have, however, was an incredible understanding of vector calculus - incredible enough that his explanations even made sense to me at the age of 14. My "highly qualified" 10th-grade math teacher, on the other hand, couldn't suitably teach me basic trigono…

5K:) - Done!

We're done! Nearly 5000 kids, 5 lakh rupees and 143 donors later, I figured I ought to give you guys an update about what actually happened on the big day.

My day began at 6:50 a.m, considerably earlier than my usual waking time on a holiday. My phone's ringtone cut into my slumber. One of the volunteers was calling me to ask for details about their orphanage. Seeing as it was nearly seven, I figured I might as well get dressed and prepare for the day ahead of me.

The deliveries really began around 8:30. I was standing in a spirit-sapping drizzle at our neighbourhood Independence Day celebration, trying, like all the other attendees, to look like I wouldn't prefer to be inside with a hot cup of tea and something satisfyingly deep-fried. As the flag was being hoisted, my phone vibrated in my pocket, and I picked it up. Farooq from McDonald's was calling to let me know that the first delivery was on time. One short, hushed conversation later, I got back to looking suitab…

5K:) - The Process

Well, here we are. The eve of the delivery. We've raised over ₹5, 00, 000 from people around the world, and by the end of this week, we'll have delivered meals to 5,264 kids. We've placed phone calls to nearly 80 orphanages and racked up positively astounding cell phone bills. Before the delivery, though, I wanted to talk about the actual process behind the initiative.
Like last year, we decided to do this altogether too close to D-day: we wanted to do the deliveries on the 15th of August, and we began work on the 1st of August, only 15 days before. The first thing we had to do was get in touch with McDonald's. We called their head office in Mumbai, where we navigated an electronic answering system that was, apparently, designed to make life as difficult for callers as possible. Several minutes and an angry outburst and later, I was speaking to the operator at McDonald's, who connected me with someone else, who connected me, via a third intermediary, with their ope…

5K:) - The Pledge Drive

It's 8:11am on a Saturday morning and like most people my age, I'd much rather be asleep right now, but fortunately, duty calls. I wanted to give you people an update of sorts about the project. So far, we've raised around 2,40,000 (our donation page shows 3,10,000 because of an error). We're nearing the halfway mark, and I figured I ought to let everyone know what this project actually entails.

There's three big components to this project - children, volunteers and funding. So far, we have around 3,200 meals which need to be delivered. I know our goal was 5,000, and we have enough orphanages to reach that number, but the problem is, as of right now, we have neither the funds nor the volunteers to cover that.

In terms of volunteers, we were hoping to have one at each orphanage. According to our estimates, it'll take around 60 orphanages for us to reach 5000 kids, and we have exactly 15 volunteers. The last date for signing up as a volunteer is the 14th of Augus…

5K:) - 2017

If you've been following my blog for a while - since the end of 2015-beginning of 2016 - you'll probably remember a post I did last year about the Thousand Smiling Faces project (I also wrote another post about it immediately after). For those of you who are too lazy to click through those links, the Thousand Smiling Faces project was a bunch of us teenagers getting McDonald's Happy Meals for 1000 kids in orphanages.

I was planning to this again on New Year's Day 2017, but couldn't get it to work out. However, Independence Day is coming up, and we're going to do it again, but this time, we've gone a little crazy - instead of working with 1000 kids, we're aiming to deliver 5000 meals! That's roughly  ₹5,00,000's worth of Happy Meals, a lot of burgers by anyone's standards.

We've also got another twist to the thing this year. Seeing as we're doing it on the 15th of August, which is India's Independence Day, and seeing as how McDon…

The New Socializers

Note: This post was actually my essay for my English exam this morning. All credit for the topic (How my generation socializes differently from my parents') and the title of this post go to my teacher, Mrs. Shobha K.



Millennial introduction: Hello, fellow millennial! How is your suffering?
Baby boomer introduction: Greetings, O almighty reader!
I know, sounds weird, right? Not least because people don't actually greet each other that way. They never have. It does, however, highlight something that I really want to talk about: that millennials and baby boomers socialize in very different ways.

Myself, I'm a millennial. For those of you that don't know, that means that I invest poorly and can't buy property because I spend all my money on avocado toast. At least, that's what the Gen X millionaires would have you believe. A lot of Gen X-ers would also have you believe that Gen Y does not know how to socialize, does not know how to converse. I'd like to respond…

Marketing Tactics

I like to think I've had a moderately non-sheltered upbringing. I may not know how to get to anywhere that's more than, say, 2km from my house, but that's mainly because I rely on Google Maps rather than putting in the effort to figure out my city. I've seen people sleeping at bus stations, I've travailed on second-class non-AC trains, I've dealt firsthand with goat droppings. Until my last NCC camp, though, I had never been to a Bangalorean mandi.

This post is one I've been meaning to write for a while, so needless to say, I haven't even tried until nearly a month after. Needless to say, I now find myself unable to recall the precise details of the outing. What I do remember, though, is being roused from my slumber at 4:00am, a full half-hour before the NCC usually expects cadets to wake up, and being told to go downstairs because we had to go to the market. I got dressed and went downstairs to wait in the chilly darkness with nine other cadets for an …

Straying from the Path

Forgive me if this blog post seems a little disjointed, I didn't get too much sleep last night on account of the stray dogs yelling outside. We've all been there, particularly in Bangalore, haven't we? Bunch of strays fighting and barking, denying us our precious sleep... Not my idea of fun at all. They even take all the fun out of walking, too. Fifteen stray dogs coming at you at a rate of mph with a shared goal of finding out the taste of your tender, tender flesh really ruins the walking experience for me, somehow.

Our house is in an absolutely awful position because we have some neighbours, a delightful elderly couple who leave food out for the dogs at night. They dump the food on street corners and leave the dogs to tear into each other to actually get at it. The dogs come out to eat, and the two packs that rule our area get into a fight. By 12am, the fight reaches its cacophonous peak, and everyone wakes up and wishes they could load up a shotgun and blow the dogs a…

Burn The House Down

So I've been alone at home for the past few weeks. Well, not alone, my grandmother's still here.
Leaving me alone in a house for longer than a few hours essentially means that you'll come home to a smoldering pile of rubble and the majority of your city's fire department. But alone in the sense that there's really no one walking in at 7:30 in the evening and demanding that I do my chores. I don't have to fetch a glass of juice for anyone but myself, I don't have to worry about keeping the living room tidy, nothing. I just have to turn on the alarm at night and supervise the occasional repair man, and in return, I get to do exactly what I want to during the day.

Since my parents left, there have been some modifications to my daily routine. It used to be that I'd get home, go out and get some exercise, get some studying done and then, once my parents got home, be at their constant beck and call. It's not that they gave me much to do, of course - carr…

Talking Trouble

I want to begin this post by saying that I don't volunteer to speak. I'm not one of those guys who's always MCing this or giving a speech about that. I speak in public only if I have no other choice, and those situations come by rarely enough that I've had very little experience actually being on stage and talking.

Last week, though, I was at an NCC camp, and the PI (Permanent Instructor, for you non-NCC folk) staff decided that I should host an event on account of I spoke decent English. Normally, I would refuse, but in the NCC, if they ask you to jump over a cliff, you need to have been over that cliff five minutes ago. You don't get to ask why you're jumping off of a cliff, you just jump. So it was that three days into the camp, I found myself on stage with a co-MC I didn't really know, in a uniform that I had lost the knack of wearing and holding a mic that caught, oh, about 50% of the words you spoke into it.

At first, I was incredibly nervous. The pr…

Divine Guidance

As you may have noticed if you've been a follower of my blog for any considerable amount of time, I'm not much of a believer in God. Not that I have anything against religion, or God, I'm just far, far too lazy to believe. I don't have the sheer dedication required to go to a temple every week and sit through a pooja, or go to a church and sit through a sermon, or say my prayers five times a day, or any of that. Forget the dedication, I'd probably do it one week and forget it the following week if I tried!

However, that doesn't mean I'm atheist - at least, not necessarily. My policy is more, "I don't know if there's a God and frankly, I don't care." I've not believed in God for over half my life now and I've been quite alright, so it's really just easier to carry on as I am than to suddenly invest in large quantities of jaggery or wine to satisfy the divine. However, if, upon my death, I find myself standing in front of a …

Run This Town

A couple of weeks ago, I took up running as a hobby. For an hour every day, I go outside and run, praying that I don't keel over in a dead faint and am able to make it home. When I began, I was barely able to do one and a half kilometers. Now I run 10km.

I've been trying to get into running for a long time - years, really. My parents pushed me to run back when I was only 12 or 13 - when I first began getting fat. Back then, I hated it. I never pushed myself, and I tried to run as little as I possibly could, walking for large parts of the track. Now, I have this odd, love-hate relationship with running. I hate it right before I head out - "I don't want to go running today, it's tiring and I'll get blisters on my feet," I think to myself. Then I go out and run because honestly, what's life if your soles remain un-blistered? After an hour of doing the bare minimum that can be considered running, I come home soaked in sweat and giving off an odour that w…

Aiming To Be The Best

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a Civilian Rifle Training Course at the SAI (Sports Authority of India) Shooting Range in Bangalore. Assuming you're under 18, for 2600 rupees and 8 classes, you can learn to shoot a pistol and a rifle and, if you happen to be good enough, get a membership to the Karanataka State Rifle Association. With one of those, you can walk into the range any time you want, pick up a 9mm from the armourer and pepper a target with holes.

Why would a peace-loving 16-year-old want to be trained in the use of firearms, you ask? Well, I've begun to read news again lately and I've decided that I no longer want to be involved with our nation's administration, so I need some way to deal with tax collectors and census men without having to make the effort of going out to stab them. I'm joking, of course (I can hear the Modi government's sighs of relief all the way in Bangalore). I signed up for the CRTC because I'm in the NCC and I need to be g…

The Scientologists

I've been making jokes about Scientology for a long time now. I make jokes about all religions, but I think my personal favourite religion to joke about is Scientology. Either that or Mormonism. I think they're both pretty much identical in terms of how attractive they are to kooks of all sorts, anyway.

Recently, though, I was thinking about Scientology (don't ask why) and I realised that, aside from the fact that it's somewhere between a joke and a cult of celebrities, I don't know the first thing about it. I didn't know when it was founded, by whom, or why it was able to convert the likes of Tom Cruise and John Travolta (to name but two) from being moderately intelligent actors to being, well, idiots, really. So I asked my all-knowing friend Google about it. Having read through a Wikipedia article and a couple of other sites about Scientology, I can now claim to know more than most practicing Scientologists today, so I figured I'd record my findings in a …

Are We There Yet?

I've always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with travel. I love the idea of going to new places, meeting new people, seeing new cultures and all that fun stuff. What I don't like about travelling is the actual getting-from-place-to-place part of it. The countless hours spent sitting in trains and buses and planes and cars, the mindless tedium of endless highway zipping by, that's the part of travelling I don't like.

I had this driven home to me last week when we were coming back from Chennai. We had spent a couple of days there and Mom had booked us on a train at half past five in the evening. The ride from Chennai to Bangalore takes around five hours by train. Let me repeat that: five long, boring hours of sitting on a train.

Normally, I'd be completely OK with this - I'd have my phone and my headphones with me. I'd plug my ears as soon as we were on board the train and ignore the existence of everyone else for most of the trip. This time, though, I …

The Forces of Life

I was rewatching the second Matrix movie a while ago and got to that really pumped-up car chase - you know, the one with the truck that smashes into all the cars and all the Michael Bay-esque explosions? I remember watching and wondering why the car looked like it had recently been attacked by chainsaw-wielding lunatics while the truck barely had a scratched-up paintjob. A couple of years later - because I'm really not that big of a fan of the Matrix series, the last time I watched it, I was around 12 - I learned about the forces that occur in a car crash.
It turns out that both the car and the truck experience the same amount of force, but the car is lighter, so it moves further. The force exerted by a vehicle in a car crash is influenced by two things - the mass of the vehicle and its speed at the time of the crash. The car weighs around 1300 kg while the truck weighs nearer 13,000 kg, but they both experience the same amount of force - doesn't make much sense, does it? Well…

What's In The News

I have a confession to make: I don't read the newspapers. I know you are all silently - or, if you know me personally, not so silently - judging me, but here's the thing: I find reading through 30 pages of 3-by-one-half-foot pages boring, cumbersome and ecologically damaging. On those grounds, I no longer rely on newspapers to find out what's going on in the world around me. I can say now, with great pride, that I get the entirety of my news from Twitter.

I'm kidding, of course - I don't think the 140 characters allowed on a microblogging site are anywhere near enough to provide a clear picture of any event of moment - though, if the Times of India editors haven't changed since I last read it, there are many who could do with aid in the clarity department when writing even a thousand words. There are, of course, many who disagree with that notion - an app called Inshorts claims that it delivers the news in a mere sixty words.

However, while I may not derive my …