Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hostel Lessons

Living in a hostel can teach you many important lessons in life. That's something we all know.
However, what I have recently deduced is that living in a hostel can reinforce a lot of the lessons you learnt in school and this time, you will actually remember the lessons.


Do you remember how you learnt about all those free electrons that travel in the empty spaces in metals? How they gain kinetic energy from the fast atoms and how they give energy to the slower ones? No? Neither do I. Turns out, this is the reasons why metals are such good conductors of heat.

I figured this out when I was heating a glass of water to make tea. My hostel-mate, who was handling some hot noodles, said she needed the vessel I was using because her's was too small. I used a pair of tongs to transfer the water onto a cup, rinse the vessel under tap water and place it on the stove. 
My roommate screeched, "Quuuuick. This thing is going to overflow. Put on the damn stove" In my enthusiasm to help, I pulled the vessel aside with my hand, dropped it on my toe, shrieked like a 12 year old and figured, vessels get too hot, too quick. I didn't have to go to school to learn this.


I had 100 bucks in my wallet which was supposed to last me for the following four days, till I got home. That might seem like a lot of money but it isn't. I live in a city where a 10 minute bus ride to college costs me 7 rupees. So that's 14 rupees a day gone just on travel and I still had to figure out a way to get my three meals for the day. Resources need to be planned and used judiciously.

Day 1 - It's your friend's birthday, which means...BRUNCH TREAAAT! So that just leaves dinner. The remains of the previous day shall come to your rescue. Ha! 14 rupees shall be incurred for travel.

Day 2 - Get up late and don't go to college, thereby saving up on bus fare and breakfast fare. Eat the maggie for lunch and the top ramen for dinner which have been lying around in your shelf for the past month. Easy and economical, no expenses.

Day 3 - Eat 12 rupees idlis for breakfast from college canteen. Another friend's birthday... LUNCH TREAAAAT! ( How it pays to have friends!) Visit a friend late in the evening and smile politely when her mother asks you to stay for dinner. Air punches can be performed later. Inclued with the 14 rupees spent for travel, the day's expenses shall amount to 26 rupees.

Day 4 - Eat 6 rupees Vada Pav for breakfast. Take a 20 rupees cab ride to the train station, a 8 rupees train ride, followed by a 20 rupees rick ride to the airport where you can catch a flight home and make evil plans to spend your parents' life saving all the way there. 

Total expenses amount to 88 rupees, leaving enough money for 2 vada pavs if need be. And that, my friends, is how I learnt to allocate resources. 


If your roommate likes to be a bitch and keep the light on till 2 in the morning, thereby making it very difficult for you to sleep and show up for your 8 am lectures the following day, deal with it. If you fight with her, stand up for yourself or do something to MAKE SURE that the light is switched off when you go to bed, she will pee on your bed. Like literally.

Monday, October 18, 2010

She was gone!

There was something unusually serene about the room that morning. The white curtains swayed in the wind and I could see a glimpse of the green outside as I lay there on our bed, touching the part of her pillow where her head should have been beneath a mass of curling hair. I walked upto the window, pushed the curtains aside and looked at the view outside as the sun hit my eyes.  

She always looked lovely standing by the window each morning, sipping a cup of tea that she clasped with both her petite little hands and looking at the lush green outside. But she won’t be able to do that today or tomorrow or… I did not want to think about it, it would be too difficult to think about the days that would follow. 

I thought of the day I had ahead of me and all at once, I felt an inexplicable feeling in the pit of my stomach that began to envelope my entire being; I sat down on the bed and let the feeling pass.

Her absence was overwhelming; I got up and went into the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee. I had never had to step into the kitchen in all these years that I had been married and now that she was gone, I had a feeling that I was in enemy territory. I slowly found my way around the alien atmosphere and ruffled through the cupboards with that unfathomable feeling twisting me more and more inside. 

I hadn’t had a cup of home-made coffee since the day I had been married. She drank tea in the morning and that became our morning drink. It’s one of those things you do when you are married for that long, you like everything the other person likes, you care about everything the other person cares about, you share everything with that significant other… None of that mattered at that moment. 

I didn’t have anything to care about or share; and I didn’t have to drink tea because she wasn’t there. The feeling squeezed me more and more from within and I felt myself shouting, shouting to no one in particular for I was alone now.

I walked into the dining room, coffee in hand and saw the remains of the consequence of her absence from the previous night. I stared at the half empty bottle of alcohol that was left on the table and it suddenly hit me stronger than ever; she wasn’t there. She wasn’t in the room, she wasn’t in our home, and she wasn’t breathing the same air I was breathing. And again, that inscrutable feeling that seemed to drive my actions consumed me as I reached for the bottle on the table and surrendered myself to the spirit.

The phone rang loud and clear and reverberated all around the house. It was late evening by the time I got up from the couch with an awful headache and looked around the living room.

The phone rang again and this time, it seemed to get louder and louder with each ring. I tripped on the empty bottle of alcohol which was now on the floor by the couch as I staggered to pick up the phone. I heard Hari’s voice, magnified a thousand times in my head say, “Dude! Are you Okay? I’ve been calling the whole day and I was really worried when you didn’t answer. Are you alright by yourself? Do you want me to come over? I was thinking I could – “

I hung up. I did not want him there. I did not want anyone there.  Why did no one understand that I just wanted to be alone? I wasn’t a child, I could handle her absence. Her absence, the one single thing that seemed to redefine my reality, took me over with a feeling so intense that I could hardly contain it.

It was all too sudden, no one anticipated it and yet, she was gone, wasn’t she? She was gone and what was left was that feeling inside of me that I was struggling to come to terms with. The thing was, no one could blame me for the way I was feeling. After three years together, after two years of marriage, her absence was a new phenomenon. 

I walked back into the bedroom and lay down on our bed. The room looked different as I lay there by myself, taking in the colors of the room that somehow looked brighter, the song of the birds outside the window that seemed louder and the smell…the smell of alcohol on the sheets, on myself. 

She would never have allowed me to drink during the day if she was around, but she wasn’t there. She would never have allowed me to wake up at noon or drink coffee or fall asleep on the couch in the middle of the day, but she couldn’t do anything about it now because she wasn’t there. 

I got up off the bed and jumped and screamed and punched the air as that enigmatic feeling that was a culmination of happiness, joy, freedom, awe and excitement came over me again.

I sat back down once I had put myself together and reached over to the bedside cabinet to find the note that had brought me such divine bliss. There, written on a yellow piece of scribbling paper in her neat, cursive handwriting were the words that spelled my freedom: “Dev, I have to leave to visit a friend on short notice. I’m just gone for the weekend. Please behave yourself. If I find some skinny blonde in my bedroom when I get back, I swear I’ll divorce you”.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Self Amusement

My brother is eight years older than I am. He went off to college when I was 9 years old. My neighbors, as I had mentioned in an earlier post, were not all that amusing. So I pretty much had to keep myself entertained all throughout a major part of my adolescence. By the time I was in my final years of school, I had mastered the art of self amusement. This video, which was taken on a random afternoon while I lay bored and squirming on my bed in 2007, holds testimony to the same.

I know. I know. I'm awesome. And amusing. And awesome.
You may applaud now.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

My Mother just doesn't Understand Me!

I sent my mom a text message

I’m feeling nostalgia and boredom. Do you think I should drink Tea?"

The first part of it was a mere statement of fact and the second was a question. Now this message would make perfect sense to anyone who knows me.

I have exams starting Monday which means that I should be spending majority of my time studying, which is not what I'm doing. Instead, I stare into blank spaces or lie squirming on my bed thinking about studying and hence, I get bored.

I live away from home and any little thing can set me off and make me nostalgic. Since it’s exam time and I usually spend a lot of time pre-exams engaging in futile activities like cleaning out my inbox, sms and looking through old greeting cards, nostalgia comes as a common illness.

I have a weakness for Tea and coffee. If not for Tea and coffee, I’ll probably die or sleep or do both simultaneously. I ask people if I should drink tea/coffee because it makes me feel better about ingesting so much caffeine.

Now my mother, who calls me only if there’s a commercial inbetween the program she’s watching, called as soon as I sent her the sms to tell me I’m an idiot.

Mom: What does nostalgia and tea have anything to do with eachother?

Me: I just want Tea mummu.

Mom: Idiot!

Me: Whaat? Don’t scold when I’m feeling nostalgia.

Mom: Do you know what ‘nostalgia’ means?  Go check with a dictionary. It’s called nausea, not nostalgia.

Me: Er! :| 

My mother, of all people, expects me to be logical on a hot afternoon before exams.

She just doesn’t understand me. I almost died of emotional trauma but fear not, Tea saved me.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Hazy Conversations

It's been a weekend of excess. Excess of this, that and some other things as well.

Some lines were crossed, barriers broken, bonds formed and confessions made. Most importantly, after over a year in a new city, strong lines of trust and friendship have been forged.

Memories of this weekend shall always be hazy, colorful, with a tint of guilt and a mixture of happiness, loneliness and conversations interrupted by bouts of laughter.

Bombay might be the city of dreams after all.