Coffee Update #6

COFFEE UPDATE5

Hey-ho, welcome to another coffee update! For those of you new to this, it’s the place on my blog where I periodically update you guys with what’s up in my life. I’ve got a lot to tell you this time, so let’s get right into it.

Grab a cuppa and settle in.


If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I got back from my holiday away from the city a few days back. We’d gone to Lonavala, which is about two and a half hours away from Mumbai. We stayed in a really wooded area, with bungalows sprinkled over the place. It was peaceful as hell. The food was really good as well. It was just generally a really, really refreshing experience. I needed that. Pune is another really old and historic Maratha city that’s about another two hours from Lonavala so while we were at Lonavala, we decided to check out Pune as well. So we went and did that for a day. I’ve been to Pune a couple of times but haven’t really seen it, extensively. We checked out temples and museums and a zoo. The zoo was particularly noteworthy because there were times in there, when I was really genuinely scared. I mean, they had truck-sized tigers and even bigger white tigers in these enclosures that had no sort of wires on them. Just good ol’ cement walls surrounding it all. I later noticed they’d dug deep trenches in the inside of the enclosures, between the wall and the animals’ ‘territories’ which were apparently supposed to be enough to deter them from trying to jump over, but I’m still not convinced. Either way it was the first time I saw tigers so close up. Just one word: majestic. Oh, and I got stung by a huge-ass honeybee, so that’s one thing struck off the bucket list I never wanted to have.

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If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I have recently enrolled in a two year-long teachers’ training course at The Yoga Institute at Santacruz, here in Mumbai. It is a comprehensive course that teaches the student all about Yoga and its way of life, including the asanas and Pranayamas which are the physical aspect of Yoga, but also the teachings of Yoga, its philosophy and its views on Psychology, et cetera. Since I want to pursue Psychology as a profession, I feel doing this course would grant me a great deal of knowledge about the Indian view on the human mind, and would be a helpful to my career in general. At the end of the two years, I will be bestowed with a certificate saying I am a certified Yoga teacher, and will be regarded valid all over the world. I will have completed this course a year before I complete my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. On the physical exercise front, I have also renewed my membership at the gym (it expired in January), and I just started going yesterday. Three months out of the gym and I feel the soreness again. Isn’t as bad as when I started going to the gym for the first time in my life, about a year ago but it’s there nonetheless.

theshawshankredemption

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I have a confession to make. The confession is, that I haven’t seen The Shawshank Redemption. Yet. It needed to be said. It’s the highest rated movie on IMDB for a reason, I guess. I’ll find out what that is, exactly, soon.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d want to ask you a couple of things.

  1. Firstly, I feel the blog is in need of a change of theme. Would you agree? Its not that I’m getting tired of having the same theme for quite some time now (because that happens), but that I feel there’s certain drawbacks of this theme. For example, there’s the matter of the sidebar. This theme doesn’t have an open sidebar, you have to click in the top-left corner for it to reveal itself. Whenever I try to picture myself as a reader of the blog, I always feel I wouldn’t always want to pull out the sidebar and scroll all the way down to it, because it is quite long. I may be wrong, which is why I need you, the readers, to let me know if the sidebar can sometimes get tedious. Themes with open sidebars are good that way, while you’re scrolling down the blog, the sidebar scrolls down along with you, so its in your vision, and you can always check out something that gets your attention. At the same time, though, one may feel the sidebar gets in the way of the subject matter, the post, that really matters. It takes away the minimal look a blog may have. I like minimal. Its why I went for this theme in the first place. I don’t know, I’m in two minds about this. You guys let me know what you think, though. It will surely clarify things for me.
  2. And, second, I recently tried my hand at a really different kind of post. Its been said many times that I am REALLY into movies and TV shows and stuff. I watch a lot of those. So this new kind of post, which I’m calling Rewind Reel, is based on movies. The premise is that I pick a random movie and I flip it on its head. That is, I reimagine it as it would have been if one is to watch it backwards, from the end to the beginning. Of course, 99.99% movies aren’t supposed to be watched like that so I use some creativity and humour I have been endowed with, to make sense out of reverse movies, and basically, entertain. Now, I haven’t really got a great response on that post. It could be because the movie I chose to inaugurate this new feature was a movie that I don’t think many have seen. I myself didn’t hear of it much after it had been released. Either way, please check it out whenever you guys can and lemme know what you think of it. I’d like to do more of that, and I probably will even if not many like it, but it’d sure feel better if people do like it.

Finally, if we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that that’s all I’ve got for this coffee update and that I hoped you had fun chilling out with a virtual cup of coffee. Before, going, I’d ask you how you are doing. I’d ask you what’s going on in your life and how it’s working out. I’d also invite you for another coffee update, sometime soon.

See you guys on the other side.

What a Wonderful Year

(This post is not strictly a yearly review, but that is the first part of it. Its basically a post where I’m summing up a lot of stuff I’ve wanted to say since I last wrote.)

People don’t usually do a yearly review 11 days into the New Year. Unless I’m the person in question, of course, since that’s what I’m doing right now. ‘sigh’

Last year was wonderful. In totality, of course. There were times when I puked my stomach out cause #foodpoisoning. So yeah, that wasn’t particularly great. But I did get 3,741 views on my blog last year, more than 4 times what I got in 2014, so yay for that. I won’t go into the details of the views as I did for 2014 since that tends to get boring, so all I’m going to say is that I aim to better that tally in 2016. 177 views in these 11 days isn’t a bad start, I reckon. We’ll see how it goes.

I can now say I haven’t posted on my blog since last year. I’ll tell you why.

My preliminary examinations for Standard XII are going on right now. I took the Hindi examination about two hours ago. For those of you that aren’t aware of it, basically the prelims are like a drill for the real thing, the Board Exams, which begin on the 18th of February for me and run till the 21st of March. The paper pattern and portion for both is identical so if you are completely prepared for the Prelims you get a rough idea of how you’ll do in the Boards. Of course, nobody is ever completely prepared, but man is nothing if not hopeful, right?

For now, I’ve got Psychology up next in the prelims on Wednesday the 13th, so wish me luck.

I’m working on a couple of fiction pieces as well on the side. I wrote a preview to one here, and I came up with the other one just a couple of days back. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to get any of that published before my Boards conclude (on the 21st of March, 2016) because that’s realistically the earliest I’ll get to properly work on it. I may draw up a rough plot or something of that sort before that so you could expect a preview or a prologue to be up before my Boards conclude, but I wouldn’t be too sure of that.

I intend to not go anonymous for the next two months buried under textbooks the way I was for the past month. I’ll keep posting something.

In other news, my gym membership ended so I now have nothing much to do between 3 and 5 every afternoon so I now have to use that time to study. Depressing, I know. And there’s no point renewing right now because I have prelims during that time and I will hardly have time to go there for one month during my Boards. It was good the membership ended before my prelims began though.

Star Wars came out and I still haven’t watched it. Yay. Bloody exams. I’m definitely going when my prelims, end. I’ve been trying to avoid spoilers for that for too damn long. Some idiot gave away what I believe to be the mother of all spoilers, don’t worry I won’t say it, in case any of you guys haven’t watched it yet either, but if that was a true spoiler then I now hate that person for the rest of my life. Not even kidding right now. There’s also ones like Creed and Bridge of Spies which I haven’t watched yet.

On that front though, 2016 is going to be arguably the best year yet. Okay, not arguably, unequivocally the best yet. All these come out/have come out this year:

And there’s a shitload more. Guess I’m going to the cinema a lot this year. Suits, The Flash and Arrow all resume their seasons in the last week of January as well so its definitely a packed year on the entertainment front.


 

BONUS! BONUS! BONUS!

So, after I’d already published this, I got a suggestion that I should have made this post a little longer and maybe written something along the lines of a list of noteworthy stuff I did in 2015. So I came back to edit the post, and therefore, here’s,

THE HIGHS AND THE LOWS OF 2015
(in no particular order)

  1. I watched The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and was left slightly disappointed.
  2. I obtained 75% in my 11th Grade final exams, which isn’t something to exactly write home about, but it is if you think about it since I’m in the Arts stream, and it is even greater considering the amount of time I spent in the 11th, not studying.
  3. Jai Vyas Writes completed a year of existence.
  4. I turned 17.
  5. I joined the gym
  6. But did not manage to reach the goals I set for myself initially (of gaining 10 kilos in 8 months). Maybe I’m just a hard gainer or maybe my goals were unrealistic or maybe I didn’t go to the gym enough or maybe its all of that and maybe even more. I’ll figure it out.
  7. I got hooked on to House of Cards.
  8. I made some great friends in college.
  9. I learned that I’m not photogenic. At all.
  10. I said goodbye to Maggi and then a few months later, welcomed it back with open arms and clean bowls.
  11. I ate eggs for just the second time in my life and puked for a day. Its all good, though.
  12. I finally opened up relatively publicly about the fact that I’m a cancer survivor.
  13. I took part in some amazing writing courses online that taught me a lot about blogging, writing, and myself.
  14. I made a lot of new friends on WordPress and encountered some mind-blowing coincidences while doing so.
  15. I joined Quora, and within six months, became a most viewed writer in multiple categories. #sorryforbrag
  16. I went to see my first live football match in the Indian Super League.
  17. I got rid of my braces.
  18. I had bad days. Lots.
  19. I started listening to blues music and a lot of old-timey music. RIP David Bowie.
  20. I read Mein Kampf. I may not respect that dude for the shit he did, but some of his ideals were understandable, in the very least.
  21. I attended the Times Litfest (Literary Festival) where I attended several talks, intellectual debates, music shows, etc. of several intellectuals, celebrities, etc.
  22. I saw a play called The Jury, at NCPA, Mumbai’s best place to watch a play. Probably one of India’s best for sure. It was probably only the second time I’ve been there. To be honest, I did get free tickets, so…
  23. I experienced an Equal Streets campaign where for a certain number of weeks in the year, a stretch of street was shut down for vehicles and was opened up to the public to use as they like. We used it to cycle, play football and stuff. It was a nice experience. I look forward to it returning.
  24. I painted tiles with my sister.
  25. I realised my laptop is slowly dying.
  26. I went on a photography spree in South Mumbai one day. We clicked photos of the Gateway of India, the local railways, kids playing cricket in Oval Maidan, and a lot of other stuff. You can check it out here.
  27. I started playing Football Manager.
  28. I feel I’ve become more open as a person. My personality has been moulded by the people I’ve met and the situations I’ve been through. If you would have seen me in mid 2014 you would have seen the quintessential reserved nerd. I’m still that guy, but I’m more.
  29. I failed in Math once in the 11th Grade. It wasn’t as bad as I’d thought. I did drop Math in the 12th and took up Philosophy instead, though.
  30. The same night I saw The Jury, I ate some life-changing kheema pav. My mom and dad may not completely approve initially, but they’ll come around.

There’s obviously a lot more, but I think I’ll save some for my autobiography. It shall be called ‘Tall Tales of a Short Guy’. You can expect it to come out in the spring of probably-never-going-to-happen.


 

I hope all of you had a rip-roaring 2015, and believe that we’ll all have an amazing 2016 as well!

“Listen.

I wish I could tell you it gets better. But, it doesn’t get better.

You get better.

— Joan Rivers

See you guys next time! 🙂

A Rare Breed

During the latter stages of school and for most of college, complaining how bad your teachers are, is pretty commonplace among student circles. At least that’s the way it is here. And its no different with my friends, and friends of friends, and the friends-so-distant-you-don’t-even-know-they’re-the-least-bit-related, and the people I overhear complaining about the teachers. But occasionally, that too if you’re lucky, there comes a teacher who you just cannot nitpick about. And its not just the teaching part that she’s so good at, but also the being-a-likeable-human-being part. Remember how I said ‘if you’re lucky’?

Well, here’s what happened. I switched subjects this year (I’m in the 12th Grade, or the second year of Junior College), from Mathematics to Philosophy. I had taken Math in the 11th owing to some general advice of a school teacher and also an administrative misdirection by a college official, and Math didn’t work out for me. In the meantime I had also decided that I wanted to pursue Psychology as a career (still working out the details, doing some research). Since I didn’t want to continue with Math, the obvious choice was Philosophy as opposed to the third option of History, since not only is Philosophy an immensely interesting subject to me, personally, but it is also a good subject to have a background in if you want to pursue Psychology.

Now, the procedure for switching subjects like this was no doubt a lengthy one. I started inquiring about it towards the end of my 11th and the process dragged on all through my pre-12th vacations and well into the second month of 12th until any official announcement came from the college. So right until it got wrapped up, from my point of view I had a very realistic chance of 50-50 of having Philosophy as a subject to study. When it did get wrapped up, it was a relief like no other I’ve felt in recent times. But that’s not the point of this post.

The teacher I’ve got for Philosophy is, in short, pretty much awesome. There’s different kinds of awesome when it comes to teachers, and it depends on what kind of student you are. If you’re the kind that likes the subject to be stimulating, something that makes you think, genuinely be drawn to the subject in a natural, progressive way, then awesome would mean a teacher that explains the subject very well, makes lectures not seem like lectures, makes them interactive, doesn’t stick to the text, and does not give you everything on a silver platter. That’s the kind of teacher I’ve got. Not only that, but she also takes interest in every student, she knows a lot of our names, and comes off to me as a very pragmatic but passionate person.

About a week or so back I had to go pay a small amount of money to the college as administrative fees for carrying out the whole subject change process. But the time they’d allotted for us to pay the money fell smack in between our Philosophy lecture of the day so I missed about half an hour of it. I thought I’d still go and try to explain why I was late. When I got there, to my surprise, the classroom was completely empty and our teacher was sitting by the table on the podium, reading something. She was still expecting people to turn up, because as soon as I walked in she asked me if I knew where the others were. These kind of things happen sometimes, everybody decides to bunk the lecture on the same day, knowingly or otherwise is something I won’t comment on ;).

Anyhoo, since I was there, she asked me whether my subject change process had come to a close so I could finally concentrate on Philosophy, and I told her that it was done now that I had paid the money. She looked genuinely relieved, and for a second, almost as much as I was. I’m usually a talkative person if I feel comfortable in the company I am and such teachers usually are that way, so we talked about this and that for a few minutes. Naturally, as a teacher she asked me what my plans were, academically, after I passed the 12th Grade. I told her I was pretty dead set on Psychology but was still considering the exact options I had in that field and had it narrowed down to Counselling, Sports and Criminal Psychology. She expressed surprise at the fact that I was so sure ‘so early’. The fact that I have a blog also came up. She was even more surprised, in a good way. During her lecture a couple of days back she had told us she was quite into fiction, especially the Agatha Christie kind, so there was more surprise for store in her when I told her I had started the blog primarily for the purpose of fiction, the Agatha Christie kind. She told me she was very impressed, and that made me feel really good. Like I was on the right track, more or less. The fact that I was from a reputed school and a reputed education Board, and had done well there, made her even more impressed. Then I realised I may have set the bar too high for my own sake because she told me she expected me to score at least a 95% in my 12th Board exam. sigh

Guess I’ll just have to get down to the books now.

See on the other side, folks!

This Kinda Qualifies as Bragging

Back when I took Blogging U’s many courses, one assignment was about setting up a page on the blog, about a few of the blog’s best posts so far. I named mine as ‘Upturned Archives’.

So head over to it right away, because I’ve refurbished it with a newer set of posts in the list and also a featured image (of which I’ve got the size terribly wrong, but making it right is just a reallllyyyy loooonnnggg process so I’m just going to leave it up instead).

  • slithers back into the shadows *

Very Inspiring Blogger Award II

A big thanks to Quizzically Challenged for nominating me for my second Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Feels good to know I qualify as inspiring. Of course, the rules to start off with:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you.
  2. Add the logo to your post.
  3. Nominate 10 other bloggers you think are inspiring.
  4. Answer the questions given to you.
  5. Give 5 new questions for your nominees to answer.

The Stuff I Gotta Answer

Have you ever read any book which made you wish that you wrote it? If so, then why?

A] Oh yeah, I feel that way after practically every good book I read. Why do we read books? Because they give us some sort of information, something that may help us in our lives, something we didn’t know? Sure, all that. But above all, its because the written word is the only thing (apart from the spoken word) which can truly move us, inspire us. So if you’re an aspiring writer like me, if you read a book that moves you in one way or another, odds are you’d wish you’d written it instead, not because of the recognition it would get you, not the money, but what all writers crave above everything else, to move and inspire the reader.

What is your weirdest characteristic?

A] Tough one. Not because I’m not weird, but because there’s too much to choose from. So in school, I used to play cricket and I was on the school team. There was this series of three matches that we had to play with the junior squad of one of the biggest clubs in Mumbai. They were juniors but pretty competitive nonetheless. It was a big one for me since our coach chose me as the team captain. When I went out to bat in the first series, we were not doing well at all. That day I put on my left socks and shoes before the right ones, and we won that match. I did the same for the second match and we won it too. Same for the third. Now, I know that’s baseless superstition at its finest, but I don’t care XD.

Cursive or print?

A] Print.

Any annoying song stuck in your head at the moment? Or which was the most recent one?

A] There is a song stuck in my head at the moment but it isn’t annoying. The most recent one would be some idiotic song from some idiotic TV commercial, which I don’t even remember right now.

If you had a choice between reading your favourite lesson in your schoolbooks or the worst book you’ve read so far, which would you choose? (and which are they?)

A] I would read the lesson from the schoolbook. It would probably be a tossup between a chapter in my Philosophy textbook or one from the Psychology one, since I like both subjects a lot.


Nominees

  1. NAMASTE
  2. Always Opinionated Girl
  3. James Patrick Casey
  4. Blog Number Ek
  5. Girl Next Blog
  6. Mumbai Maska
  7. Pan – American Perros

Stuff The Nominees Gotta Answer

  1. What is your favourite book or book series? If it were made into a feature film, who would you want as its director and why? (If it has already been made into a feature film, then were you satisfied with it?)
  2. What does inspiration mean to you?
  3. How has blogging changed your life?
  4. What is one thing that you think the world shouldn’t have and one thing that it should instead?
  5. How do you deal with writer’s block?

That wraps this up, thanks again to Quizzically Challenged and thank you people for reading through. I’ve got another award acceptance post pending, but after that its back down to business, so stick around for that!

Cheerio