Coffee Update #9

Ah, it’s been a long time since I’ve been here! Yes, I know I’ve been gone a long time, but welcome back to another Coffee Update; allow me to catch you up on all that’s been going on in my life.

So, pick from our assorted collection of coffees and teas, and sit back into the chair.


If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I wear a hat now. Yeah, I just made it sound like I went permanently blonde or I did laser surgery for body hair or something. No, it’s something less drastic than that, but still something that quite dramatically stands out when I walk past you. I’ve realised a hat gets so much attention when you’re walking in the street, although the fact that that attention quickly fades when people look down at my face is a different story altogether.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that you should try out something new. I’ve been going to the same hairdresser for much more than a year now, and recently I tried out this new place that opened up close to my house. I was extremely impressed by their work. Its pretty much an elite salon for the price of a mid-range one. I just hope it stays like that.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that my first year in degree college is over. I gave my finals about a month back. I feel good about these exams. Very good, in fact. There was a lot riding on them, and I put in a buttload of effort and time and I think I did well. We’ll soon find out!

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that on my birthday over a month back, I received this beautiful diary. Its elegant and robust at the same time. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. And I got this amazing shiny golden pen along with it! I’m rationing my usage of that pen since those things are expensive and I don’t want to run out of ink on that one within two months! But the diary, oh, the diary! I’ve been using it a lot. I’ve always been the guy who writes more easily on the computer, or phone, but this diary changed it completely. I’ve been writing a lot on physical paper now, when about two months back I found it uncomfortable. To the person who gifted that diary to me, I thank you 17 times over!

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I’ve been writing on my other accounts as well. I’ve been writing there a lot lately, and I’m surprised by the response I’ve been getting! I’ve been posting a lot on my Instagram account, which you can check out by scrolling to the bottom of this page. I’ve also been active on Facebook lately. You’ll find a Facebook icon in the top right section, right at the top of the blog page. Go check me out! Let me know what you think of that slightly different brand of writing I’ve got up on those two places!

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I’ve completed more than a year at the two year Yoga course I’ve talked about a lot here before as well. In retrospect, almost everything goes by faster than we thought it would, that’s just our flawed perception of time I guess, but again, this went by faster than I thought it would! I’m enjoying every bit of it, learning something new every day there. By far one of the best things I’ve spent my time doing.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that as a psychology student, I feel very good about the mental health awareness going around right now, if not a little impressed by the scale of efforts being taken by people. There’s been a lot of things that have coincided and have contributed to the overall cause of increasing awareness about this issue. There have been a lot of public incidents such as student suicides and whatnot, along with internet campaigns and outreach campaigns and even media has sparked off debates, such as with the recent TV show, “13 Reasons Why”. World Health Day also came smack dab in the middle of all this. While not all approaches to raising awareness may be considered ideal, just being able to spark off a dialogue about this issue is a good enough start. I also wrote something about the issue and published it on my Instagram on World Health Day. You guys can go check it out there, although I will also be publishing it here as a separate post.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you to put down that coffee and first go check out the YouTube channel called ‘Nerdwriter1’. It is absolutely fucking mindblowing. The guy who runs the channel, Evan Puschak, is a goddamn genius to, first of all, come up with the concepts he makes videos about, and second of all, actually make such fantastic videos about it. He earns a lot of extra respect from me because he is an editing god, so yeah. Go check him out. You know what, I’m going to just put one video of his down here. One that I found really good. That’ll get you to check him out.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I think life is an enigma. You keep scratching your head about which of the 1,00,000 will actually make the whole thing go, “Ting!” and then confetti pops out of nowhere and you get a chocolate cake handed to you by a guy in the best suit you’ve ever seen. That doesn’t happen. What does happen is that you get all that you need and the circumstances that shout out to you to notice it. Its up to you to look around and see that you have something great here, and if you step on the right tiles, you’ll make something greater from it, with time. I think I’m slowly learning to notice what I have and I know it’s all I need.


Aaaand that’s it on this edition of the Coffee Update! You are officially all caught up with my life.

Hope you enjoyed the coffee!

I’ll see you guys next time!

Adios muchachos!

#Shorts: Illusions

The empty garden was made more beautiful with the presence of his friends. Separation had made them fonder in his eyes, and not that they were here, they couldn’t stop talking. Back and forth; it was like a dance.

A minute later, he was reminded he was alone in the room, hoping for what had already been lost. He stopped staring at the wall and switched on the television.

Continue reading “#Shorts: Illusions”

Not a Lot of Words

CHAOS

“Chaos. When you can’t wake up before 9 but college starts at 7. When you want Coke but get Pepsi. When there’s no Maggi. When you run out of [characters]”

BLISS

“The wife’s skull cracked open. Brains everywhere. He felt bliss.”


Continue reading “Not a Lot of Words”

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! 🙂

The Future

Today is the 2nd of October. Its celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti, here in India, and I hope, in the rest of the world as well. The ‘father of our nation’ as he’s called, Mahatma Gandhi, was born on this day 146 years ago.

Its a day usually involving looking back at his life, how he voyaged, along with the rest of India, through the troughs and peaks of the freedom struggle. Its a day usually involving a fair bit of reminiscing.

But let’s not do that. Let’s instead look forward. Let’s look to the future. I’d like to look to the future instead.

What does the future hold for me? What would I be like, what would my life be like 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now?

I honestly don’t have a damn clue.

IMG_20150320_195649You know how they say that its not good living in the past? Well, I believe its not good to look too far into the future as well. Just as there is no point in thinking too much about what has been, there is no point in dwelling too much on what, possibly, probably, is still to come. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and promise yourself you’ll get where you want to be, no matter what. No. Matter. What.

I am in one of those phases right now when I don’t know whether I should be enthusiastic about my future or not. I know what I want to be, and I have a very rough idea of how I can go about it, but I am honestly not sure about it all at the moment.

For me, the next three to four months are the most crucial months of my junior college life so far. I have my terminals towards the end of this month (for which I’m obviously not yet prepared completely), prelims (preliminary is the full form; they’re basically like mock tests before our final 12th Board Exams), and then the 12th Boards in late February, and will stretch up to late March. After that I have a couple of months off, not to figure out what I want to do next, that is kinda a little late, but just to take a breather before I plunge back into the fray.

After the next decade or so, I aim to see myself having a profession, of some kind, in the field of Psychology. Of course, writing will be my side-business, so don’t you people worry about me ever stopping writing 😀 I have been doing some research regarding careers in Psychology and Sports Psychology has interested me a lot. Other branches of Psychology that interest me are Criminal Psychology and Couneselling/Therapy. Are any of my readers here Psychologists, or do you have knowledge about that field? I’d love some advice or anything you have that could help in any way.


That was me contemplating about the past, present and future. What do you look forward to?

Sunshine Bloggers Award

That is an amazingly geometric sun. Sorry, I have a thing for amazingly geometric stuff.
That is an amazingly geometric sun. Sorry, I have a thing for amazingly geometric stuff.

Shout-out and thanks to Anushka over at A Dark World Inside for nominating me for my first ever Sunshine Bloggers Award!

RULES OF THE AWARD
  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Answer the questions from your nominators
  • Nominate eleven other bloggers and give them eleven new questions to answer
STUFF I GOTTA ANSWER
What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is not achieving the things I want to achieve and the feeling of failure. I don’t say this in terms of short-term goals, but more like the ‘what I want to be when I grow up’ kind of goals.

Which one thing are you addicted to?

Writing! My phone! Music! I can’t stay away from either for too long, but I wouldn’t really call it an addiction.

Have any bookish pet peeves? What are they?

None.

What is your perfect idea of a 'relaxation day'?

Everyday can be ‘relaxation day’ if you want it to be.

How do you deal with stress?

I recently spoke about this exact same thing in a post a few days back. Exactly the same. Coincidence? I think not.

Which is one habit of yours you wish to improve/change?

Excessive. Procrastination.

Your favourite 'hanging out' spot?

I’m okay with most places to hang out as long as it is with somebody worth being with. It could be a mall, the beach, the sea-face, a movie theatre, a restaurant, college, or even at home.

How do you spend your weekends?

I usually watch a few episodes of some TV show I’ve been catching up on, play a couple of games on the computer for a little while, read that book I’ve been meaning to read, study a little, write a little, go out with the family if they’re all free, and I’ll make sure I hit the gym among all of this as well.

Are you a movie buff? What are your favourite movies?

Movie buff? Most certainly, yes. My taste in movies is very, very varied. I watch Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Historic, Biography, Sci – Fi, Romance (yes, I know) and Animation as well. I watch Superhero movies as well, and since they’re so rampant these days I guess they deserve to have their own category. So I have a lot of favourite movies. Favourite Superhero movie is Man of Steel, Action is probably John Wick or The Usual Suspects, Comedy is Pineapple Express or Chef (if that counts somewhat as Comedy), Drama would be The Grand Budapest Hotel, and the list goes on.

I know this paragraph was really lame.

Which is one book you feel has changed your life?

All of them, in some way or another.

Sea-beach or hills?

Today, I’m feeling like more of the sea-beach kind since its hot as hell right now.

MY NOMINEES

Mayur

A Reading Writer

Senatus Populusque Romanus

STUFF MY NOMINEES GOTTA ANSWER

The same questions that I got asked, ’cause I’m feeling a little lazy today. Sorry 😀

Vignettes = Tough

What are vignettes? All I knew about them is that they’re those faded black borders that Instagram allows you to apply on your uploads. Well, today’s Writing 101 assignment tells us to write using vignettes, which apparently, are also short episodic scenes that together read as variations of the same theme.

Today’s assignment is tough.

***

I was confused at first. I didn’t know exactly what the assignment was asking me to do. I also didn’t understand the utility of this writing style. Yes, it grants repetition and therefore reinforcement, albeit of a dramatic kind, but I like to rely on subtlety in the kind of fiction that I like to write usually.

You know what? Today’s assignment is tough.

***

I’d never heard of this writing style before, nor do I ever remember reading anything written using this style. Maybe its just one of those things that are very rare. Like reasonably priced fast food these days. Sure, you’ll get fast food for ten rupees but then be prepared that that may or may not include diarrhea. I am NOT a fan of those odds. I am not a fan of this assignment either.

Because today’s assignment is tough.

***

So I recently wrote a preview to the new fiction story I’m working on. Its basically a small excerpt from the beginning of the story. I have promised my readers to publish a full chapter of it soon (I know, ‘soon’ is taking too long but I’m about to explain why, exactly). A funny thing happened the other day. I was talking to a friend and he told me he came up with an idea for a story. He thought it was cliche and really stupid. See, me? I don’t think there’s any stupid story ideas. Only stupid ways to present them. Every idea is a little baby in the beginning, it just lays there if you don’t help it around. You gotta feed it, make it bigger and stronger and then show it off to the world. So I told him to just tell me the idea irrespective of how it sounded. And it turned out to be one of the biggest coincidences I’ve ever been a subject to, in recent times. Turns out, that idea fits right into the story I’m working on. It supplements my story really well, and in fact, adds a great deal to the plot. Its an explosive idea, trust me. That’s why the story is taking a little longer than expected, since I am trying to integrate the two plots, make them cohesive while trying to split it up into chapters. You may have to wait a little longer, but I promise I’ll make it worth your while. So I was working on that story for a little bit today and then I remembered that I haven’t checked today’s Writing 101 assignment so I did.

That’s when I realised that today’s assignment is tough.


Well, that’s the best I could do with the vignettes. What do you think?

When You Don’t Write

People sometimes think that writers have extraordinary brains, that their mind is constantly spewing up new characters, settings, plots, and they can write something novel every time they sit down to write. While that may be true for a very selective bunch of writers, I believe the most of us are humans. Like others, yes, writing is our job, and although its one that is also our passion, we do require breaks every now and then. So what do writers do when they don’t write?

They read, for one. I read when I’m not writing. That is probably 10% of what I do, though, when I’m not writing. I enjoy the little things. Like the fact that I just wrote my 101st post on this blog.

I also go to the gym, watch the telly, play a few video games now and then.

Its important to keep all parts of your body exercised. Writing is a way to work the mind, but physical exercise like walking, jogging, workouts at the gym and cycling is a great way to physically exercise the body. Its definitely good for your health and keeps you fit but it does wonders for your mental health as well.

I love to trek. Living in the city makes it difficult to do that half as often as I’d like. The family usually goes to hill stations like Lonavala during the holidays and there’s a lot of opportunities to trek up there so I make the most of those. I’d gone there earlier this year and I even made a post about it, and the admittedly crappy photos I took while there.

I like to cook as well. I don’t always get the proportions right, and that challenge is half the fun by the way, and I don’t cook a lot of different things but its a fun experience. Come over someday if you want to try my watery pasta, or overly cheesy cheese pizzas or puddle shaped rotis! “My mother and I tried making brownies once,” is what I’d say if you asked me “Do you bake?” The operative word being ‘tried’.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Coffee Update

Today’s Writing 101 assignment is to update my readers (that’s you) over a virtual cup of coffee (replace ‘coffee‘ with ‘tea‘ if that’s what you prefer) so as to let them know what the goings-on in my life are. I think its a good way to create that personal connect with your readers, one that not many other writing forms can create successfully, and, since I like to be casual in my writing, I feel quite up for this.

if we were having coffee right now...

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I got drenched in the rain last evening. My 9 year-old sister and I had gone out to rent a movie from the store nearby. The rains have been on the down low these past many days so we weren’t expecting anything beyond the light drizzle but what we got was a full-blown thunderstorm complete with bellowing winds, raging thunder and streaky lightning.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I have been going to the gym for about four months now (I think I spoke about this in one of my earlier posts as well) to gain some mass. I am genetically slim, my dad was that way too when he was young, and I gain weight very slow, no matter how much I eat. Its weird, but it has its upside: you have no restrictions on eating, whatsoever. I have also been taking protein shakes that, just BTW, taste like you mixed the world’s darkest chocolate with with the world’s most bitter medicine and added the smell of burning rubber to it. Absolutely awful. I don’t know how I’m going to finish the whole 5kg pack.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I have been taking another writing course on Blogging U (for all those of you that don’t know already). Its Writing 101 again, but with a revamped look and new set of assignments, and might I say, I’m having a blast at it.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I have been thinking about writing for some sort of website or magazine where I would actually get paid. I’m having a bit of a break from college since we’re through with almost everything in most of our subjects, there have been a lot of holidays what with the Ganpati festival and whatnot, and our terminal exams are nearing. So I have a lot of time on my hands right now, and my mom has been telling me to invest it in something beyond the blog, occasional studies, movies and TV shows. Something that makes me grow as a personal, and if it gives me some monetary benefit then that’s an added bonus. I would love to know if any of you guys know about any such websites/other media where I can contribute by writing.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that Manchester United play Southampton tonight and I’m looking forward to watching the match. Anybody else out here who’s going to watch it as well?

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I am pretty active on Quora as well. Those of you who haven’t checked out that little place of wisdom, must do so immediately. Its basically a Q&A platform where anybody can ask and answer questions about absolutely everything. I was introduced to it by a friend and initially I used to answer questions related to topics like life problems, everyday psychology, English grammar and football. I guess my football answers were really liked by people and I started getting asked to answer football-related questions only, so now I am a most viewed writer in multiple football categories. I guess we had an assignment in Blogging 101 once to create identities on different parts of the internet along with our blogs, and I have something of an identity on Quora now, which you can check out by clicking here.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee right now?

Appreciation

“A thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts.”

VisionAvengers: Age of Ultron

The weird-looking dude in the image above is ‘Vision’ from the second installment of the Avengers franchise, Age of Ultron. He is basically a God, armed with the yellow ‘Mind Gem’, the one you see sitting pretty on his forehead. This movie didn’t fare as well with the critics and audience than its predecessor, but there still were some amazing moments and dialogues scattered here and there throughout it, and the moment Vision let out this piece of wisdom was definitely one of those.

Nothing lasts forever. As hard as that may be to accept, it is true. It is a heart-breaking revelation sometimes. To be honest, we all know it, and there’s no meaning in thinking or worrying about it because nothing’s going to change that. Instead, enjoy it while it lasts. That’s the least you can do. Its the least you owe yourself: making the most of what you have. Don’t make yourself regret it after it’s gone.

Make that phone call, drive across town to meet that one person, do what you should be doing before you realise you can’t do it anymore. Seriously, I’m not even being opportunistic or over-the-top here. Just do it, quite literally.