Monday, October 24, 2011

Misty Monday Morning!

If you haven't figured out from the title yet and consequently haven't dropped you jaw in shock, yes, this is Mr.EarlyBird Balaji writing. Neither my house is on fire nor I have an appointment with a gorgeous chick early in the morning, yet here I am, writing this silly post when there is no earthly reason for me to be up and about.

Oh, I have a reason now. What with a gush of chilling wind trying to send me back to bed (I must not give in to lure of the beautiful view from my balcony. I should change my writing location to bathroom :) ), I bustled through to kitchen to make some hot drink and out came I, with a cup of Bru(sigh!) coffee and an epiphany. I happened to watch a few TED videos last week and was struck by a speech of I-don't-recall-the-name, who suggested the idea of trying something you have always wanted to do for thirty days. This thought which had been lurking at some unknown corner of my mind thought that the most opportune moment to show up  would be when his master was in the process of making a brown liquid which he proudly calls coffee and in thinking so it hadn't erred.

I have always wanted to become a morning person and the closest I have been to becoming one was this one time when I woke up one early morning with a full bladder.  It didn't take long for my fresh and unused brain to put two and two together. (Is the expression right? Whatever!) And since I woke up early, I will make this day 'Day One' of my try-for-thiry-days experiment. Also, waking up early makes me feel as if I have all the time in the world, as I am saving a lot of time which would otherwise have been spent knocking on the bathroom door, begging my room mate to come out. So I tweaked slightly the agenda to 'Write Every Morning' for thirty days. You can shake off that look of horror from your face as I promise I won't torture you with a blog post every morning. I know I can't churn out publishable post every day. Of late, I write frequently on my journal and that's going to bear the brunt of it. Or most of it, because I shall try to write posts on this blog now and then.:-)


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Random in tandem

1) They say too much of anything is bad, but my player is pouring out nothing but Beatles lately and I feel too much of Beatles is barely enough. I can't seem to get enough of them. "Yesterday" and "Something" have topped my 'most played' list, dethroning 'Mrs.Robinson" from the pole position it(she?) enjoyed for several months. :P I have been listening so much that I have a Beatles song for almost every situation. I better hit the guitar and practice a couple of Beatles numbers so that I'm not found wanting when the moment to woo the special someone arrives (hic hic!) :-P

2) I haven't watched a game of cricket in heaven knows how long. It's incredible how I am able to survive without things that I once considered as critical as air, water or Amala. (Speaking of Amala, I stayed up till small hours yesterday watching videos of Amala. More than a decade and my crush on her hasn't waned one bit. :-P ) The last time I watched a game, I was awake through the night to catch the match from the beginning. Not a wink of sleep and what do I get in return? An interesting match that we should have won ended in a draw, thanks to Mr.Duckworth and Mr.Lewis. They must be long dead I suppose and if ever I happen to visit their graves, I will not return without dancing a few nifty steps to my heart's content on it.

3) With each passing class, my misgiving about signing up for creative writing gains in strength. Not that it's not worth the money, but it's too good for me. Even though the course is extremely entertaining and illuminating, I feel pretty silly in the company of writers who mean business whereas I am there only because I have a lot of time on my hand and a few dollars in my wallet. :P Any little flame of hope of writing I had was extinguished beyond rekindling by the beautiful writings of fellow students. I feel like a fifth grade student with dyslexia, wondering how the hell he wound up in a room full of rocket scientists. :P

4) While the writer in me has taken quite a beating, the reader in me is on a roll. A haggard looking Mr.Writer returns home from the class, feeling like Indian team at the of end of English summer, and Mr.Reader jumps at the chance to mock and sneer him. "A terrible day, what? You look terrible. Tch tch! My life is one grand sweet song. My biggest problem is to decide to which book to read tonight. Herriot's Dog Stories is damn hilarious and Wodehouse's letters are charming and full of wit. And there is Animal Farm. I am at sixes and sevens. And heaven. And I get all that for free from the public library, whereas you pay to get beaten up. Pretty silly, what?"

5) I am on the brink of giving up vegetarianism. It's so hard not to give in to the temptations of  delicious-looking and mouth-watering chicken, when my plate is filled with green salad and - yuck! - tofu and half-baked vegetables. I was living on burger and sandwiches but I had to stop "Project Burger Everyday" when my internal organs protested with loud growls (mostly when some gorgeous chick is around) and turmoil. It's almost impossible to find veg. food that's delicious in the food court. That's not a surprise, as people here are vegetarians not so much for religion as health reasons. As they say, all desirable things are expensive, fattening or committed to someone else. :-|

6) If this cold weather is just an indication of worse things to come, then I am sure I won't live long enough to taste Canadian winter. I can barely survive fall here in Canada, let alone winter. I am roaming about all bundled up looking like 'pulla pudikaravanga'. On the bright side, I am totally in love with my hat. :-D The best thing about this place is you can walk around with an absolutely revolting hat and no one will look askance at you and there will be no dogs to chase you around. :-)

7)Felt so happy when a stoic of a friend dropped in a mail saying he misses me. Hey Jumbo! I miss you too. :-) (I know you read my blog surreptitiously. :-P)


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Socially yours

It must have been more than a year since my last tweet. I reset my long forgotten Twitter password today and logged in. I felt like a man who had ventured on a voyage into the blue and returned home, only to discover that it was a completely different place. Ok, that's an exaggeration but I could see that Twitter has changed a great deal from the last time I logged in. People tweeting away to glory,  giving a minute by minute account of their lives, debating current affairs or just harping on this and that. It must be a lot of fun. Strange it may seem, I find it intimidating.

The reason for this is manifold. Even though I make the most of my life and work as many enjoyable things as I can into my calendar, I always have a sense of flatness that my life is not as interesting as it could be. I might as well keep it under wraps than show it to the world and make an ass of myself. I would rather write a post on my blog (which gives me all the privacy as there is no one really following my blog) than tweet about it. Besides, being out of social networking sites gives me a lot to jaw about when catching up with friends. It's so much more fun to hear it from them than reading about it on internet.

Being an introvert doesn't really help in this matter. This may surprise a few but the fact is beneath the cheerful and friendly exterior I maintain, there is a shy person who feels uneasy in the company of strangers. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook serves largely for people who revel in the company of people, strangers or otherwise. Moreover, one needs to have a reasonable intelligence to not make an ass of oneself on networking sites. There is a quote that says "It's better to be stupid and quiet, then to be stupid and let the whole world know". Believe it or not, an appreciable amount of human beings (myself included) believe that Balaji Srinivasan has a wise head on his shoulders. :-P The best I could do to them is keep my mouth shut and not let them down. :P

Most of all, I positively believe that friends can stay connected without any social networking sites. Friends never go out of touch. Yes, you get to meet your buddy from fifth grade about whom you never gave a moment's thought until Facebook sprang him/her on you, but how does that change your life? (Unless you renew your childhood crush and begin a new innings but it's most likely that he/she will be married or committed. :-) ) Yes, Facebook reminds you of your friend's birthday, but the sentimental fool that I am, I'd rather take blame for forgetting my friend's birthday than be reminded by Facebook.

Gee, what started as post on what I did today turned into introspective and self-defensive. I logged into Twitter to check a photo of my friend. Once done, I wrote a tweet for old time's sake ("Boo! You never belonged there," says an inner voice). And logged off. So long, Twitter!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


It's Johnny's birthday. A legend who lives through his music. Happy birthday, sir!

One of my favorite Beatles Songs:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fall from space

I was so high up that I could get a panoramic view of the city. It looked beautiful in the setting sun. I have been living in Toronto for over three months but I had no idea there were so many trees in Toronto. I wish I had made the most of the chance and taken in more of this beautiful city but when you are so far above the ground with the intention of jumping off, enjoying the vista is the last thing on your mind. I don't remember if there was anything on mind at all. The only emotion I was aware of was extreme nervousness.

I wasn't the only one to be nervous. Shiva and Ashish were nervous too. They were so nervous that neither of them spoke a word for a while. If you know how talkative both these guys are, you will understand what it means. We locked arms. I was in the middle and Shiva to my right. We were ready.

"I am not quite sure whether our decision was right," spoke Shiva at last, breaking the silence.

"Too late to think of it. We can't undo what we have done now," I replied.

Silence fell again. A little while passed before the silence was broken again.

"I wonder why so many people have gathered to watch us die," remarked Ashish, good-humouredly.

That's when I noticed that there were about fifty people, eagerly looking skywards to catch a glimpse of three guys being pulled down by the force of gravity from so high up. Some of them had whipped their cameras out and were recording the moment. Why would anyone want of snap pictures of unknown guys doing something foolish, I wondered.

"Look at those guys taking our snap," said Shiva, reading my mind. "Our photos will be all over Facebook. Thousands of people will "like" the videos and photos of three damn fools doing a foolish act."

"Pity you don't have a Facebook account, " Ashish said to me. "But I don't think that will matter anymore." 

"I don't know how rotten it's going to be, but this might be our last photograph ever. We might as well put a big smile on our faces,"  I said, forcing myself to grin.

Both of them followed suit and we jumped off.

What ensued in the next one minute was the most exhilarating moment of my life.

At the end of it, I opened my mental check-list and ticked off "Do sky-flying".

Monday, October 3, 2011

All I need is Coffee

In the near future, if you read or hear the news about the sudden - and not sad - demise of  an unidentified person owing to excessive consumption of (free) hot chocolate, waste no time in trying to identify the person. That will be me. I have been drinking hot chocolate by the litre everyday that I am surprised I haven't dropped dead yet. That can partly be put down to the fact that I can help myself to an endless supply of hot chocolate at office, and partly because Coffee - without which I thought I couldn't live three months ago -  in this part of the world tastes much worse than my Pepper Rasam. Some like it bitter. A little bit of bitterness adds taste to coffee but not so bitter that it puts 'Kasayam' to shame. No, thank you. I am not a tea person but I'm sure that doesn't taste any better, either.

It beats me why any man in his right mind would want to drink coffee without milk and sugar. That's like making Sambhar without tamarind and onions. Takes the essence out of it. Not that milk and sugar are not available. You can go on adding milk from dawn till dusk but at the end of it your coffee will still taste bitter. It's an acquired taste said a friend of mine who's from Chennai too but after three months all I have acquired is an acute distaste for coffee.

Toronto teems with Indian restaurants that it's impossible to turn around a bend and not come upon an Indian restaurant. However, there are a handful of restaurants that makes me think I am in India, while the rest makes me wish I were. Not a single place that serves coffee that tastes the way it's supposed to taste. I have almost forgotten the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. I wish I could get them all a copy of R.K.Narayan's My Dateless Diary in which he describes to a nicety how Filter Kappi is prepared in South India. 

Three months ago if anyone had advised me so much as to cut down on coffee, I'd have tied a brick to his neck and pushed him off into a lake. I can't believe myself that I have survived for three months without coffee. I tried out instant Bru coffee from an Indian shop and it was a big let down. When it comes to coffee, I don't settle for anything less than the best. Looks like it's going to be so long before I get to taste good coffee again.