Home away from home

Many a times in the past, I have talked/written about how living abroad, away from family and familiarity, has been a point of difficulty personally. One has to deal with the culture shock, strange food, strange people and strange languages (among many other things) without relying on any immediate support. Quite daunting, I think you’d agree.

Now, a year later,  I still have strong feelings of attachment to home (after all, home is where the heart is). But something in me has changed. Something in me has realised that, to make it in today’s world, I need to stand on my own two feet and really make good of what I’ve got. It was a slow realisation, mind, but it has brought me to the position where I have somewhat learnt to enjoy living alone, abroad.

While it sounds as if I have resigned to my fate, that is not the case. I still wish to build a life in my home city. But for now, I am here, in Stockholm. So let’s count the good things in this life.

  1. Fabulous university. I love going to school for the first time in my life. The students and teachers are all from different backgrounds, countries and cultures, making every interaction filled with rich conversations.
  2.  Freedom. I can rest when I want to, I can run when I want to. There is nobody here questioning my actions. This is a two-sided coin- I am free yet I’m responsible for myself. Win-win, in my book.
  3.  Peace and quiet. Living here is expensive, but easy. It’s easy to make a routine and follow through with it without the annoyances and interruptions I’m used to. I love how the busy shopping and commercial centres of the city are interspersed with parks, green spaces and forests, like oases of calm in an otherwise heaving and bustling beehive.
  4.  The anticipation of vacations. I very much enjoy counting down the days to my next vacation- my next opportunity to go home. I book tickets well I advance and just lie in anxious anticipatory wait. The last few days till the trip, I’m practically giddy. Of course, it is sad to come back at the end, but this routine keeps me rooted to my culture and country like nothing else.

I can count many more, less significant things, but I presume one can get the gist from the above. All in all, I think this is an experience worth having. 2-4 years of my life away from home isn’t going to harm anyone.


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Source: power2improve.com

I have recently realised that I am terrible at taking compliments. I feel like I always need to be modest about whatever I have done; while that is a good thing, too much of something is still bad. I noticed myself trying to come up with ways to say “No I’m not that good” or “No that’s not the case” every time someone so much as compliments my handwriting. It is kind of a double edged sword- while one is wont to crave some recognition and acknowledgement, one cannot elegantly accept it either; not without questioning one’s self esteem levels, at least.

Don’t get me wrong, this by no means indicates that I don’t like giving compliments, no. I love doing that. I like thanking people and complimenting them even for the smallest things, and not because I want them to like me. It just makes me happy seeing others be happy about something that they are or did. And I sincerely believe it to be an excellent tool for lifting someone’s mood. In today’s day and age, a lot of us are ill-prepared to deal with our lives. So why not just say some kind words to even a total stranger, knowing that they now have a small thing to be thankful for that day?

But ironically, while I do like to be complimented (like any other human), the momentary reactions are hardly coherent/controllable. I wondered why this was. Then it struck me that our society rarely participates in complimenting. They’re never fulfilled or happy with anything. Nothing is good enough for a positive remark. Try to make yourself look good, they’ll call you vain. Stop trying, they’ll call you a tramp. Write neatly, and they’ll say that’s why you get good scores. Get good scores, and they’ll ask why you didn’t get more. Get into a good school, and they’ll ask why you didn’t get a scholarship. Every step of the way, every little thing you try to be enthusiastic about, you’re beaten down. More. More. More.

I believe this is a social evil. I believe this is a factor in people being led astray- into corruption, adultery, thievery. And I believe that’s why a lot of us are never happy. Because we are not trained and conditioned to be so. I can count on one hand the number of people who have asked me to be happy the way I am. One hand. And I suspect this is the case with more than most. Let’s be the last ones in this chain. Let’s try to compliment people. When you compliment someone, chances are they do it to someone else. Like how it is when you insult someone. Tell someone they look good. Tell your friends that they have a lot to be proud of. Tell a stranger to have a nice day. Thank someone for opening the door.

Do that, and at the very least, you’ll be able to take a compliment next time.

An introvert’s rave


As I become an adult, I tend to have many expectations of the world and of myself. It’s exciting for everyone when we turn 18 (or 21 or whatever) and we’re legally allowed to partayy. With booze, that is. I for one thought (being fairly introverted), once I’m older I’ll change. That I’d be more easy-going and chummy with others with no strings and no baggage. Essentially, that I would lose any insecurity I had and just go with the flow and have some fun. This was the impression I had when I first went abroad alone. Went to Germany, had some beers, went to bars, been there done that. But I came away disappointed, as I had made the following observations:

  1. You don’t stop being an introvert. Despite the veil of confidence and security I masked my face with, there was a perennial realisation of that veil being only a veil. I couldn’t restrain myself from overthinking everything I said to everyone. I couldn’t help but conjure up pointless opinions others might have had about me, despite this being irrelevant, considering seeing the same people again is far-fetched, let alone them remembering me.
  2. People are always judgy. Even the most down-to-earth, open-minded person will always pass judgement and have opinions on others. This is quite problematic for people like me, because, good or bad it may be, I seem to have a keen sense of what people are feeling. I may be wrong at times (especially if it involves non-personal conversations, aka texting), but it is mostly true that no matter how well-mannered you think you may be, a lot of times, you end up being silly in one way or another. Especially if you have on said veil.
  3. I don’t see the point of alcohol. Yes, some types of it taste quite good and get really get you high, but the stronger ones people generally take at parties- well if you’re going to trade the memory of the fun you had for an entire morning of migraines and vomit, it is pretty pointless. Maybe because I’ve never been high before, but I don’t know why I would need alcohol to have fun. Which makes the transition into the next point quite nicely.
  4. My idea of a rave is sitting at home, singing along to music and making funny noises as I drive a nice car on Forza Horizon 4, gawking at the gorgeous scenery. You could argue that a rave minus the people minus the alcohol minus the DJ minus the sweat isn’t a rave anymore, but I think I feel quite intoxicated by car noises and digital environments. Plus, the music they have on these games- well it’s bangin. So that’s plus music plus noise and plus intoxication. So a rave is what I (think) have. And there are more pluses. I don’t have to dress up, I can eat, I have a chair, and if I’m tired at any point I can simply go to bed. Imagine trying to leave an actual rave.

I thus had to come to the bitter conclusion that I’m not built for the life I imagined. But the silver lining is something I understood only by experience. I understood that while parties make me feel faint, I enjoy my own company enough that I can have my own rave- an introvert’s rave.

Restaurant Etiquette

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I hate going out with friends. I admit it outright. It’s okay if there is one or maybe two other people. Very specific people. But certain times are such that you’re hard pressed to excuse yourself out of a decidedly dull and pointless getting-together of ‘friends.’ Yes, ‘friends.’ Those people who, by social standards, are classified as such without thought or fair reason. At certain times, you’ve to lunch with these people. And lunching is the worst.

After dilly-dallying with the schedule, you finally get to the restaurant which will inevitably be a crowd-pleaser (read ‘bad choice’). Once sat, you notice that you are flanked by your least favourite people- so conversations are out of the question. The food arrives painfully late, and you start digging right in- stuffing your mouth so you don’t have to participate in the corny millennial talk. But then the rest of your food suddenly disappears. What happened to it? Oh yeah. Sharing. You’ve half a mind to tell these people to sod off and eat their own shite choice of food.

But all this is nothing compared to the small matter of settling the bill. It is commonplace for people to expect the host to pay when it’s a birthday party or the like. But a random meet-up? Shouldn’t one pay for what he ate and be done with it? No. They choose to find excuses as to why you should pay a certain amount because you had done that thing 4 months ago. And because you want the afternoon to end as soon as it can, you end up paying for the buggers. But does it end? Nooo. The turds then take pictures. Oh yes. A dozen pictures each, at least. Selfies with a graceless pout. Food pictures taken in an artsy way (so they think). Nightmarish.

Seriously people, have you ever come across the term ‘restaurant etiquette?’

What does it mean to be human?

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The question might sound trivial but in time, it’ll be the most important question that will decide the next course of action because if we don’t know how to be human, how will anything we create?

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die” – Roy Batty, Blade Runner.

What you just read is considered to be the most moving death soliloquy in cinematic history. Roy Batty is a Replicant, a non human, who spends the entire movie and his lifetime trying to figure out what it means to be human. And in what is perhaps the most beautiful display of his phantom humanity yet, he realizes that all his memories and the feelings it evoked in him would be lost forever. Are a lifetime of memories and the feelings they evoke in us a testament to our humanity? Definitely.

Our memories shape who we are. They are the only immortals in an entirely mortal world. We cling onto them like Roy as long as we can. Memories and the need to constantly saturate ourselves with them in the hopes that they would weave a comforting blanket to wrap ourselves in while we knit each thread in place is half the reason why we get out of bed everyday. Memories are the box that holds our desirable and hence distorted versions of reality. Take away a man’s memories and he is not himself anymore.

In a true sense, humans aren’t the only ones to have memories. Your dog is elated when he sees you. Even a computer could be programmed to classify its “memories” as good or bad. What happens when you feed a person’s memory into a sentient machine and make it believe the memories are it’s own? What happens if someone else gains access to yours? These are questions that complicate matters. So now that we can’t single out memories as the one quality that makes up the entirety of humanity, let’s examine something I feel is a little more unique to us.

Compassion, empathy, the thought inside our heads that urge us to save that child on the railway track. Haven’t we all wished to have superpowers to protect the innocent and make the world a relatively better place? All the above translates to regard for a human life. Compassion is the ultimate selfless sacrifice as it requires us to put someone else and their needs before ours in this narcissistic, self glorifying, validation seeking society. With empathy comes the knowledge about how precious life is and in turn we will fight immensely hard to save one. We think with our heart and this is where we differ from a machine. Black mirror’s “Metalhead” shows a woman fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic future from human hunting robots. We see no difference between them throughout the episode except when her actions are tinged with empathy- like risking her life for a dying child’s toy, getting caught sending a long goodbye message. This contrast against the brutal black and white world of the machines is powerful in showing a few glimpses of how she hadn’t lost everything.

Will a machine give up it’s life for another? Alex Garland’s “Ex Machina” sees an AI being led to believe she has to rescue her new friend, Caleb, the guy she has been programmed to manipulate into falling in love with her. In the end, all she does is use him to get herself out of that house and leaves him to die after having fulfilled his purpose. Movies like “I,Robot”, “2001 a space Odyssey” all contain famous movie tropes- the Sentient AI that wants to kill everyone. Of course, the lack of such qualities throughout our history shows how easy it is to lose what makes us human. It seems humanity has always made efforts to appear as non-human as possible.

“Lord of the flies” and “the Mist” brush upon the aspect of whether the above are just products of a civilized society and if the lack of one would drag us down to our primitive instincts- survival of the fittest. The former sees a group of normal English boys who become savages after getting stranded on an island together. It sees the slow death of reasoning, knowledge and empathy. The latter is the story of a small town being invaded by creatures while its residents take shelter in a supermarket. “We’re a civilized society as long as the machines are working and you can dial 911. But you take those things away, you throw throw people in the dark, you scare them and no more rule”.-David Drayton, The Mist. The residents, on the advice of a religious fanatic, go as far as plotting a human sacrifice in the hopes that it would appease the monsters.

Can true progress be made only by sacrificing what makes us human in order to get to the next perceived evolutionary level? Do emotions and empathy stop us from achieving a state that transcends “human”? Probably. Should we go for it? No. I feel the true challenge is not how to overwrite these qualities because that’s easy, but how to best enhance them and work alongside them, accepting that these are our strengths and not weaknesses. The day a machine sheds a tear because he couldn’t save his counterpart and cherishes their memories together is the day we’ve truly got competition.




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People kill for anything these days. I recently read an article about a man who murdered his friend while arguing whether Nvidia or AMD is a better brand. Political leaders in India are offering bounties for killing/maiming actors for being part of a ‘history distorting’ movie. Note that the movie in question was loosely based on a 16th century poem. So basically fictional representation of a fictional work meant to entertain people for 2 hours. Distorts nothing but the future of civilisation.

Speaking of, I was under the impression that ‘civilisation’ refers to a highly developed society. One where people co-exist peacefully and work together to benefit all. Instead, we have people in positions of power showing themselves as raving idiots on social media (which was built on the premise of bringing people closer). There are people who kill simply because of jealousy. One man’s pride is another’s motive, more like. Gun-toting imbeciles shooting people up. Gun-toting idiots shooting animals up.

I’m sorry, but either the definition of civilisation ought to be changed, or the word must be dropped from usage. It simply doesn’t represent the state we are in right now. Front page news covers everything wrong with the world. All the astounding achievements made by man everyday? Yeah, check page 18. In fact, skip to page 18 if you don’t like the idea of purgatory.

Peace is for suckers, I guess.



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Remember when we were half as tall as we are, when we said what we thought and meant it?

Boy, are those days over. Now, every sentence uttered is riddled with ulterior meanings and innuendo; truth never betrayed to the subject. Never ones are we to serve the churning soups inside our heads. The face isn’t really the index of the mind (at least the mouth isn’t).

No, we care too much about our made-up ‘image’ and ‘prestige’ and ‘integrity’ to share what we think in an honest manner. It’s like clothing, in a way. We want to wear what everyone else is wearing. Whatever is ‘in’. Such is the will to blend in that it masks (if not replaces) our actual desires.

With every interaction, the mind makes some adjustments to the equation and its variables. To speak up (introverts), to shut up (extroverts, or in some cases, introverts trying to be normal), to be more direct, to beat about more.

Ugh. People are so difficult. Communication, one of the basic constructs of life and civilisation, is such a confounding thing, isn’t it?

It goes to justify the burning desire to marry our beds and stay on them for years on end.

Vagaries of the mind

Funny. I started this blog along with a couple of friends (chiefly @lordofthefandoms), thinking that this would be our outlet- the bottomless sink where we poured out our thoughts and emotions. And it has been so.

But how quickly the mind loses interest. I’m writing here after such a long time. Seems I’ve forgotten how powerful it is. I’m remembering again.

We don’t write here for followers or people to like our posts. We write because we like writing and that’s exactly how we wanted it to be.

But as stuff comes and goes, such simple necessities are forgotten. Put in the deepest chasms of the endless gossamer that is the human brain. And that’s a bummer, because the little things are what matter. The little things are the ones we can control. The little things are the constants in our pitiful lives.

I haven’t lost my way in writing this; just wanted to remind myself and anyone who reads this to always remember to

“Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities, forget about your worries and your strife.”

Time’s arrow

unnamed.jpgWe’re fucked up
Which is why we need this show called time
To show us we’re fucked up
That it might turn out alright
It might not
You might work for something and never get it
You might get something, yet you never worked for it
You might stay strong for everyone else
or you might not give a damn
You might stand up when you know you’re going to fall
You might fall and never want to stand up again
You might hate doing something you ought to love
You might want to love something but you don’t know how
You might wait for that knock on your door
while keep knocking on others’ doors
You might break others to heal yourself, to feel better
You might pretend for them to like you
You might need someone, anyone
And you might need no one
You might feel like life’s sorted
only to see it tumble and fall for no fault of your own
You might hate yourself so much that you wonder how someone else can love you
if you don’t love yourself
You might love yourself so much and yet you wonder why nothing is going right
You might regret everything
You might cherish everything
You might be waiting for that one thing in life that you know will fix you up
But when you do get it, it could fix only a corner and not entire universe
You need this show
To tell you that its okay
And that you gotta be ready and strong
to face whatever comes along
because you’re responsible for your choices
And the only important thing is that the show must go on


Down to the last second.

The alarm rang. He turned it off and dozed on. Thinking he’d sleep for another 10 minutes.

An hour later, he opens his eyes, straining to check the time. Eyes wide and now fully awake, he scrambles out of bed and hurriedly gets dressed.

Out the door in 10 minutes or his first day at work won’t be. Breakfast skipped, he jumps into the car and guns it.

First intersection- a red light. Time is running out. It still being fairly early, no other cars are to be seen. Impetuously, he presses on, not noticing the school bus rounding the corner towards the intersection.

Crash. Slam. Grind. Blood pouring out of his head. The very last seconds of his life, ticked away. A world of pain, left behind.

Little green

Oh little green

What it took to make you stand up

Hours in toiling,

Getting dirty to the knees

Out in the blazing yellow.

Drink some water, little green.

Get greener, stronger.

Point yourself up

Up towards the sky

Where you shall reach soon.

In years after me

You shall stand, little green.

Stand up for me

Stand up for after me

Stand up for you, little green.

The Man Of Steel

 He was

A forgotten planet’s forbidden born

A brave mother’s trust of faith

A defeated General’s war horn

A scientist’s doomsday wraith

He was

The vessel of repressed anthems
The herald of infinite strength, wisdom

Of nightmares and approaching phantoms
Of horrors birthed nay from god’s kingdom


He was
As strong as overflowing midday suns
As kind as the old man’s gratitude

As fierce as the ghosts of long lived ones

As sharp as the horizon nude


He was

The trooper that circled the universe

The ship that carried the ocean’s weight

The gaze that subdued the drunk’s curse

The love that balanced the cosmic hate


And yet, he was

Under appreciated, like the eager youth,

Underrated, like the father’s love

Misunderstood, like the exhaustive truth

His deeds ephemeral, like the clouds above


He was
Blamed, outcast, a framed cannon ball

Ridiculed, punished, a grand revile

And yet, he endured it all

With yet another smile

Gazing through his ruby eyes,
He never stopped to see

The minuscule love

Albeit nestled in his fantasy

So when he saw the chance, to win

This was his world, he knew it then
The world that bore him from the begin
Till the end, for he knew that was near, again


And that was okay, a sacrifice

This was his world, he knew it now

He would love them, no matter the price

He would pay, to let them live above


All the hate, the avarice forgotten

The man of steel ricocheted toward,

A star zooming to death un-cautioned

Holding the emerald death trap sword


He was

The epitome of love, in time of malice

Truth in times of deceit

The boy scout who sauntered to the gallows

The hope filling and flooding the back streets


“You will give them an ideal to strive toward

They will race behind you

They will stumble, they will fall

But in time, they will join you in the sun Kal.

You will help them accomplish wonders”


He had.
He had made them come together.







A great big world

It’s a great big world out there. 7 billion people. 510 million square kilometres. 8.7 million species of flora and fauna.

Natural wonders, like the Angel Falls, the Norwegian fjords, the Northern Lights and the Amazon rainforest.

Feats of engineering, like the Burj Khalifa, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramids and the Taj Mahal.

Yet here we are. Living and breathing the dust and pollution in a metro of the South. The daily grind having made us robots with flesh and bone. Where is the adventurer? Why is he buried so deep within?

Unleash him. For he be a wandering spirit. A soul seeker. A life giver. He shall take us to places we ought to lay our eyes on. He shall carry us to utopia and back. He shall change our very cores.

Unleash him. Just for a short span. Unleash him, and be rewarded. With such an elixir, that life will not be about the grind anymore. It will be passion. Goodwill. Strength. Hope. Happiness. Peace.

Let the forests bewitch you. Let the rivers enchant you. Let the vast rolling fields calm you.

It’s a great big world out there. Let it see you as an untamed spirit. As a colourful soul. As a human being. Let it see you be alive.


Ever wanted a break from yourself?
Be someone else but still be you, but devoid of the baggage you bear?


The baggage you carry is part of who you are and it made you to be who you are.

So if you’re without your baggage, you can’t be you.

Wear your cuts and bruises with the bravery of a soldier, the grace of an athlete and the beauty of a ballet dancer.

For, without them, the word ‘you’ denotes but mere space. Where your identity used to be. 


They say God is almighty. They say God is all powerful. They say he runs the universe. 

I say God is a figment of belief. As are several other things. 

These things exist for you simply because you believe in them. 

If you believe in God, there is God. If you believe in karma, there is Karma. If you believe in love, there is love. 

You are the giver. The enabler. It is your belief that lets entities arise. 

In essence, you are God. And that’s why things go wrong sometimes.