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Week 45, 46: The Ones with Blackout and Beach Camping

Beautiful 2 weeks, these! I visited Philly and Texas. I (c)licked the Liberty Bell and did other touristy stuff in Philly. And Texas was for beach camping.

Here’s sweet Philly

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AmazeMax socks

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Old City Coffee Cafe

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Liberty Bell

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Delicious philly cheese steak

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Original philly cheese steak

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Some cop’s vehicle

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Narrow alleys

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Wall painting in South city

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Winter Fountain

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Busy Street

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@ Magic Garden

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@ Magic Garden

 

I slept on a friend’s friend’s couch and partied with friend’s friend’s friends. It was mad fun! Needless to say I had a “I am never drinking again, ever!” kind of a day the next day. I had not been so drunk in a long time. Total blackout. Also, if you are visiting Philly – try Pat’s Philly cheese steak. And definitely visit Chapterhouse cafe. I spent half a day there – reading and writing and sipping chai and coffee. Overall, Philly is fun!

Next was Texas. I visited and stayed at a friend’s place who I have (as far as I remember, she disagrees though) met only once in my life, in 2014. Never spoken even once on phone. Just chatted. But I know she is damn cool and one of my close friends now. You and your capital G, both are beautiful, Int!

We (she) drove for 3 hours from Houston to Corpus Christi. Padre is a barrier island along the southern coast of the southern state. We camped there. Reaching there just before sunset, we set up our tent by the dusk, fired our grill by night, lit a campfire by late night and sat there talking till 3 in the morning. Sky was lit by stars. So many stars. So beautiful! Slept by the waves’ sound, and woke up by seagulls’ chirps. Exactly like this.

These are a few pictures from Texas trip –

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Tent at Corpus Christi

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Sunset at Corpus Christi

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Campfire

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Loner seagull

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Tex-Mex

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For the love of eggs

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@ Chick-fil-A

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Evening at Herman Park

Houston, Texas is very active on oil and gas front. You’ll see a lot of engineering companies supporting the oil and gas industry in this area.

My flight was delayed by 4 hours and I couldn’t have been happier.

Bought this fridge-magnet from Texas –

Texas

While I was on these trips, I put my apartment on Airbnb and earned the amount equivalent to my flight tickets. What an idea, sirji! But thanks to one of my best friends and my fake girlfriend for holding the fort in my absence. You know who you are!

Oh and I won the Most Interesting Mentor award today. So my Firm’s Latino group has a tie-up with Baruch’s business school. I am a mentor to one of the kids from that school and it is a 6 month mentor-ship program. I remember the time when I used to attend these programs at my school and how much I benefited from those. Feels good to be a part of such initiatives which directly help in driving someone’s career growth.

Apart from this, other aspects of life are in shape – my body is not. And things on work front are bearable.

PS: I need a coffee mug. I am going to buy one soon! I have been saying this since a long time now and have been lazy to actually get one, but soon!

PPS: Who’s hosting me for the 30th March long weekend?

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Posted by on March 20, 2018 in Zindagy Weekly

 

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Week 44: The One with Change of Weather

I think this once in two weeks frequency suits better, no?

These last two weeks were ‘a change of weather’. I saw myself doing things that I have stopped myself from, in the last few years. And I don’t know if I want to talk more on this. Been almost 2 hours since I wrote these last two lines. For some reason, I am not able to talk freely today. So I will randomly tell you about the things that come to my mind.

I started reading Atonement. Rishi has been asking me to read this book since a long time now. I remember having a conversation with him one Sunday evening (this was when he used to live in Canada) about this book. He was so amazed by the writing, and the different emotions conveyed in the story, that I felt like reading the book right away. I ordered the book that week, and then I flew to India, leaving that book in my previous apartment. Finally, I got that book back today and have started reading it. Let’s see how this goes.

I usually go on a date almost once a week. I don’t know if we can even call those singular encounters as dates. Online dating or meeting someone via an app is not really a date, or is it? The good old way of meeting someone, thinking about ways to break the ice, somehow striking that first conversation, the first laugh, that first smile – what happened to those? I sort of miss those days. But we digress… So yes, I met someone last week. A change of weather kind of a date. A post-dinner chai followed by midnight whiskey followed by an early morning coffee made me realize this was not one of those singular encounters. Let’s see how the clouds play. 🙂

This is how Central Park looked yesterday –

 

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I got into a pact of going scuba diving and sky diving with someone, at least once.

I almost forgot – I bought three pairs of shoes. I love shoes! Look –

Shoes

And this week I bought myself a wrist watch too. I haven’t worn a wrist watch since almost 4 years now. And also a few t-shirts. All that when I actually went to the store to buy a winter jacket. Sigh! And I am planning to buy a sofa.
That reminds me I need to tally my February expenses.

I did not order from Seamless for the whole month of February (barring 20th February, when I rewarded myself for being good for the first 19 days). And I did not have a single slice of pizza the whole month. Not bad, eh!

pizza

PS: I am visiting Philadelphia, Texas and North Carolina in March. So excited!

PPS: There are no good heavy-duty winter jackets left in New York. I tried Burlington, Old Navy, Uniqlo and GAP. I NEED A JACKET! TAKE ME SHOPPING!

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2018 in Zindagy Weekly

 

Week 43: The One with I’m Interested.

A rather quiet week, this.

Weekly update:

Went to the gym 4 days this week – not bad, but not good with the current goals. I am on a 5 day weekend right now. Regular weekend, President’s day on Monday, and had to use 2 carry-overs from last year so took Tuesday and Wednesday off. More of a staycation, this. Not travelling anywhere, not doing anything special. Went for a quiet, peaceful walk to the Central Park this afternoon. Came back home, watched some Netflix and slept off.

Something I was thinking about yesterday –

Do you remember a time of your life when you were actively doing productive things? Or doing things with a set goal in mind?
For me, that was 10 years back. I was an above average child in school when it came to studies. I always scored well in Math, Geography, English and History, but in the other subjects I was pretty average. This got my percentage in the high 70s, almost every time (sometimes even early 80s – but very rarely). In my 10th grade, I had decided I wanted to cross the 90% mark. Call it the FOMO (fear of missing out) or an actual desire to prove that I also can score. Or maybe it stemmed out of a conversation with a friend I shared my desk with, in classes. He always scored in higher 80s range, and was a top ranker of the batch. Those classes we went to had rules:

  1. We’ll be seated based on our heights (short kids took the first bench and the tall ones took the last)
  2. The seating arrangement will be fixed for the year.

On the very first day of class, in 10th grade, he told me – “Kunj, I know you are not that serious about studies, but I am. And now that we are going to be sharing the desk for the rest of the year, I don’t want you to ruin my year by disturbing me during the class. I just wanted to tell you this so that we are clear.”

Ouch.

I just nodded, and did not say a word. But that hit me. It hit me hard. How could someone tell me something like that. I studied hard. I crossed that 90% mark in my boards exam  (for the first time in my life, and the time when it mattered) and was one of the 5 kids to do that from my school. Guess what – he didn’t.

Today, those marks don’t even matter (Well, actually they do because I wouldn’t have gone to the junior college I went to had I not scored that much and then I wouldn’t have gone to the engineering school I went to had I not been in that junior college and then the master’s school and so on). What I am trying to say is – no one is bothered about my marks from that exam, but I still remember those words that hurt me. It has been 10 years. So, don’t do that to people. Words have an immense power to hurt relationships. Use them wisely. 🙂

Back to the topic – I don’t remember doing anything with a set goal since then. I am not saying I am unhappy with the work I do, but am I happy? I don’t know. I am definitely not beaming with joy at work. I am neither unhappy, nor happy. Yes that is possible. It does not have to be binary. I am curious about things happening around me. I am interested. Read this, it is a very interesting read. So that’s the state I am in right now.

unhappy

I want to help and make some money while I do that. Money is not so much the objective as helping is. It can be anything… So I put this Ad on a Free and For Sale group on Facebook. I’m interested, I’ll help.

free and for sale

In case you know someone who needs help, let me know.

PS: I haven’t used Seamless in 19 days! That’s an achievement. And I might order something tonight just as a reward for being good for last 19 days.

PPS: Yaar bade dino se pyaar nahi hua kisise!

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2018 in Zindagy Weekly

 

Week 42: The One with So Long, Seamless!

So much to talk about! I’ve missed you all for 2 weeks. Was a bit low the last weekend and hence did not feel like writing. BUT, I’M BACK!

Quick recap of the things that happened:

  1. Met Prabhleen last week, after having met her once – two years back! She remembered to bring bread and avocado! These are the best kind of people – the ones who bring you avocado.
  2. Visited D.C.! So I’ve always wanted to go to D.C. since 2016. 2016, because, that was the time when NYU had arranged for a weekend trip to D.C., for $34 – which I missed because I was bedridden – and all my friends loved the city. It was fun because I met one of my best friends there, went rock-climbing, played laser tag, made cool friends, stayed at friends’ friend’s place, and ate good food! Obama is no more in D.C. – we share my studio in Hell’s Kitchen now (Though I seriously doubt he’ll pay his share of the rent). People, say Hi to Obby. Obby, say Hi to people. (Obby – that’s what I call him – you can’t call him that) –
    Obama
  3. Received 3 fan-mails! People, you are awesome! It felt so good to read those e-mails! Two of those three people were complete strangers. Thank you, yougaiz! This keeps me going, and I am just glad to know that I’m not shouting in a dark space with these posts. If I ever meet you 3, I am going to give you’ll a tight hug 🙂

About water.
I just got back from a nice sweaty workout. If someone ever tells you that water has no taste, give them a finger! WATER IS FUCKING SWEET! It feels so good to have a glass of water after –

  1. A hot, steamy, long session of sex
  2. A hot, steamy, long workout
  3. Anything that leaves you panting like a dog

Changing gears – I realized I don’t like alcohol. Judge me all you want but it does nothing to me. I mean we drink to feel happy, to lose out inhibitions, to dance like we cannot otherwise? I can’t do any of that under the influence of alcohol. In fact, I can do all of that (minus the losing inhibitions bit) without alcohol. And I have gotten drunk till the degree that I faced a blackout and woke up the next morning with a bad headache, but still remembered everything from the previous night. Why drink then? So I have decided not to drink this year – apart from a monthly glass of Old Fashioned. Old Fashioned is pappi. I haven’t drank more than 2 glasses this year, so we’re good. What are your thoughts on alcohol? What does it do to/for you?

Also, I am going Seamless-less this month. I will not be ordering food from the restaurants for the month of February. This will help in three ways:

  1. I’ll be cooking and eating at home – so mom will be happy. This reminds me, I got to call mom, it’s been 10 days!
  2. I’ll save some money by cooking, and not ordering – so dad will be happy.
  3. Healthier food – so I am happy.

And it is going good so far – we are in the 3rd week of the month and I’m going strong. Cooking is satisfying. Look what I made –

Dosa

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So long, Seamless!

PS: I have a 5 day weekend coming up starting this Friday. Let’s meet!

PPS: I am yet to reply to those three emails, but it is on the list. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2018 in Zindagy Weekly

 

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Week 41: The One where Not Today

Not in the right frame of mind to discuss things today. Let’s just talk next week.

PS: Overall, the week was not bad.

PPS: If you see me around, give ginger tea/hug. And don’t ask anything.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2018 in Zindagy Weekly

 

Week 40: The One with Doing

The title sounds a bit weird, right? But that’s on you – you sleazy mind! All I mean to say is that this week finally saw things happening. Thoughts and plans were converted to action.

Quick updates on the “doing” part –

  1. Ran 21 kms this week (in 4 sessions overall).
  2. Attended two challenging cardio sessions at the gym. We have classes at the gym, for an hour each, where they make your muscles realize that they exist. Painful realization, this!
  3. Wrote, recorded, edited and published one of my poems ‘Chai pe charcha’ on the blog and my YouTube channel. Come on, show some love, subscribe!
  4. Started reading The Last Juror by John Grisham.

Almost a year ago, I remember walking down the garden with a friend as we discussed about Dwight Eisenhower and one of his quotes –

Plans are nothing; planning is everything

One might decide the fact that he/she wants to go from pole A to pole B. But that is just a plan. Plans never help. You make a plan and then what? Nothing! You can reach there by flying or walking or running or trotting (that is, if you are a horse or a dog – but the chances of you being a horse/dog are feeble if you are reading this). The plan is good but what about it? It is helping no one, including you.

Continuous planning as you keep doing things is what counts. Lifting your left foot and placing it ahead and then lifting the right one and placing it ahead, and keeping on doing it repeatedly, is what I mean by planning and doing. There might be a puddle and you might have to take a detour. Or there might be a cow in your way (quite possible if you are in India) and you have to go around it. A lot can change in the process of getting to pole B. But that will be taken care of in the continuous planning bit. That is the only way you might reach pole B. Think about this when you make a plan on doing something; think about the planning it requires too.

No, I am not high on weed. This actually makes sense!

One of my managers also told me about this sometime back. If you are reading this, you know I’m talking about you.

Also, this week I got #MaaKaPyaar delivered at my door. Well not at my door really, FedEx took it back to their courier facility, because I wasn’t home when they came to deliver. But whatever, I went to their facility and got my parcel the same night. Mom and dad sent me dry-fruits, chikkis, khakras (YES I’M GUJJU), mom-made chivda (YOU’RE THE BEST, MOM!) and bhakarwadi :’) I know they don’t read my blog (because, they’re not too well versed with English) so I left a WhatsApp message conveying my feelings. I can’t don’t say “I love you” to them, but they read it in my “Got the parcel, chivda is so so good!”

MaaKaPyaar

I don’t call them often or say it out loud. But, I love my parents and I miss them. There is a small, teeny tiny guilt that comes with living so far from them. Not because they need me, but because I need them. Before my eyes well up, let’s move on…

On a completely different note, I started reading Mirza Ghalib, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Jaun Elia and Ahmad Faraz this week. If love is a piece of cloth, then Mirza Ghalib has pulled each and every thread out and painted it with his feelings. Such powerful writing. And such command over the language. His couplets have two to three completely different meanings associated with them; you interpret it based on your thoughts about it. The same two lines might be talking about the lover or God or someone else, based on how you take it. I am in half a mind to translate one ghazal a week in English and publish it on this blog. Tell me your thoughts about it via a note/comment/message.

Exactly a year back – I was in Udaipur. Having a sumptuous meal at Ambrai on the south west corner of lake Pichola, overhearing a few guys singing and playing (guitar and conga) Hindi medley of my favorite songs!  I have recorded a video of 12 minutes of their roadside performance. Probably 1/4th of their overall performance. And it was not even a performance – just 4 guys sitting on the roadside footpath, playing these songs and enjoying themselves. What a night!

Udaipur

One of the best cities in the world – Udaipur.

PS: Adrak (ginger) is over. Which means no good chai till I lift my ass from this bed and get it from the store downstairs. 😦

PPS: I have 5 days off in February. Suggest places to go to/things to do? It is fucking freezing here, so keep that factor in mind while you suggest. If you’re hosting me, I’M COMING TO YOUR CITAAAAY!

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2018 in Zindagy Weekly

 

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Chai pe charcha

Chai ka bhala ab lafzon se kya kahoon
jab dil se yun baat nikalti hai,
subah ki ek, dopahar ki do
aur shaam ki teen toh banti hai.

Chaahe aashiq kaho chaahe kaho nashedi,
mai’n pyaar ke pyaale mein bhi, thodi si to chai bharta hoon,
mehboob to aate jaate rahenge,
main cutting se mohabbat karta hoon.

Hai’n dost mere aise bhi
jo coffee chaav se peete hai,
samaj nahi paata par sochta hoon aksar
ye saale aise kaise jeete hain?

Starbucks waali cappuchino pee le
ya vo 200 waali pheeki espresso wahi,
tu laut ke phir aayega tapri par shaamko
aur lagegy tujhe udhaar waali cutting hi sahi.

Fir nakhre kyun karta hai tu,
sophistication ke aad mein kyu marta hai tu,
chal ek kaam karte hai
shaamko nukkad pe milte hai,
tujhe adrak waali special pilaata hoon
teri hone waali bhabhi – jo ye bhi nahi jaanti ki tera bhai kon hai –
uske baare mein batata hoon.

Mohabbat waali koi baat nahi
mohabbato’n ke chochle nahi hote aasaan,
par mohabbat shayad mujhe kabhi hui hi nahi,
phir manaa leta hoon apne dil ko ye kehkar
ki shayad, ye zaroori bhi toh nahi.
Ye crush hai,
hafte mein ikkis baaees toh hote hai
bed par 2 logon ke liye jagah nahi boss,
apan toh taang failaa kar sote hai

Chalti rahi hai ab tak zindagy
chalegy aage bhi aise hi sahi,
thodisi tulsi, thoda adrak phudina,
chini chai mein apne utni hi,
crushes se one-sided pyaar hota hai apna jitna.

~KK

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2018 in Poems

 

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