I’ll be back.

You always wish you had more time. More time with a loved one or more time at a certain place. You always want the good times to last forever. Maybe not even forever, just one more day. But by the end of that day, you’re still not satisfied. I mean how could you? The new place does not guarantee as much fun, love and affection as the current place. We think that it can’t possibly be as much fun as this place because everything you want is here.

We as humans resist change. We hate it. We are creatures of habit and while we accommodate change in small doses, such as a vacation, we loathe long term changes. We just aren’t designed to like it. Some people deal with it better than others of course and obviously if you’re in a bad place, change could be a great thing.

As always, all good times must come to an end. It’s time for me to return to the seas. The timing couldn’t be worse because I had just started to kick some ass at the tennis court and I had just met this amazing person (yes, the same girl mentioned in the previous post). Life tends to take with one hand while it gives with the other.

I’ve been home since August and dare I say, it’s been an incredible time. I did pretty much everything I wanted to and I am leaving with a sense of accomplishment. I mean barring my exams which aren’t humanly possible to crack. Everything in my control was dealt with. Took up cycling, created a podcast, took up tennis, managed my house by myself. Met some old friends, made some new friends. Went on dates, most didn’t work out but the one that did work out was the best one. I had a great time overall.

It would be inhuman to not want these times to last forever. Things were great. But reluctantly, I do admit that these great times were possible only because of my profession. It allows me to have so much free time to take up these pursuits. It allows me to be me.

And now it is time to go back and earn some more free time. A big change lies ahead, but I leave behind a world waiting for me. And I’ll be back.

A single guy in a big city…

A single guy out prowling the streets of Gurugram city. Things have been far from ideal but every now and then you meet someone who makes you stop and take notice. Most people pass by like a blur, barely leaving a mark or turning my head but some leave you up at night thinking about them while you’re lying in bed, sleepless, adrift in a sea of thoughts, barely moving, just existing.

The possibilities are endless and they can turn any which way. These uncharted waters can either lead you to riches or through treacherous storms that leave you battered, bruised and broken. And it is unknown where one might take you or where you might take them.

I’m writing this from a cab heading towards my next date with this cute girl I matched with a few months ago. Yeah, these are the times we live in. I know everything about her before I’ve even met her. I have to say that works in my favour. While I’m good on dates, I’m really shy when it comes to speaking to a stranger at a bar. I’ve honestly never done that.

A ton of thoughts flooding my mind at the moment. How will this one turn out? Will this translate into a second date? Maybe more? How will the night progress? Will there be a flowing conversation or dead air through the night?

Being a single guy in this city, the possibilities are endless. While it may not be easy, it sure is interesting. The next adventure is always right around the corner. How will tonight end up? Only time will tell…

The Chain Reaction

I was watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother and in this episode a series of events triggered by one single innocuous event snowballed into an undesirable outcome for everyone involved. Ted found a nickel on the subway from 1939. He thought it was worth something so he went to a collector but got something like 20 bucks for it. He and Robin went for hotdogs with that money and walked past a wedding dress camp out. They told Lily about it and since she needed a wedding dress on a budget, they camped out. But some guy’s car alarm kept going off all night and they couldn’t sleep. So Robin went to crash at Ted’s place next morning where Marshall, who was training for the New York City Marathon, was in the bathroom applying lotion on his chaffed nipples. He slipped, broke his toe and couldn’t run the next day but bet Barney 50 bucks to run instead since he claimed you don’t need to train for a marathon, you just run it. Barney finished the race and was in the subway to head back but his legs stopped working because that’s what happens when you run without training. He ended up riding the subway end to end and called Ted to come and physically pick him up. But Ted reached a bit late and had to jump the turnstile to get to Barney. However he was tackled to the ground by a cop. He had a court date in the morning and hence he reached the airport late and missed his flight.

Is there a way to control this influence that pours into other people’s lives? it got me thinking if it can be done.

You can get influenced from anyone and anywhere but those who are around you probably influence you the most. If you e got roommates or flatmates or if you live with your parents, their actions, their words and their demands from you influence what you end up doing, saying and even thinking. And these days it has transcended over to social media as well. People you’ve never met in real life try to tell you how to live your life better. They influence your decisions and you end up doing things you wouldn’t normally do. It can be for the better or for worse but that’s not the point. We’re familiar with the butterfly effect and who knows which single event in life would trigger a chain reaction that will transform into a storm. For instance, I met a guy in late 2005 and he told me about merchant navy. I hadn’t even thought about this as a career but here were are 15 years later and I’m studying to become a Chief Engineer of cargo ships. I don’t even know where that guy is now.

So how do we control these influences and stop them from turning into chain reactions? I wouldn’t say they’re all bad. I mean I started running since my brother got me into it and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I guess we get influenced by people. Not just anyone, someone we look up to or envy or love. We wouldn’t normally get talked into doing something or being somewhere for someone if they didn’t mean something to us. So if you remove that attachment, that might be key. If you distance yourself from social interactions and keep people at a distance from where it’s fine to communicate but none of their words or actions end up influencing your life in any way. The chain reaction stands broken and you end up doing exactly what you want to do. Not what someone else expects you to do or wants you to do.

There’s this cute girl and I find ways to talk to her making up excuses. But if she wasn’t in my life, I would’ve been doing something else entirely rather than wasting my time going through her Instagram stories and coming up with lame excuses to talk to her. Clearly she’s not interested. And it’s my fault that I waste my time. I end up doing things I wouldn’t ordinarily do. And that’s on me. I’ve let this chain reaction go on. But if I distance myself from her and others who add nothing to my life, I take back control of my life.

Something to think about.

Invisible

In my mind we are already there. Walking on the same side, facing the world hand in hand. I see the complete picture. A face I would travel a thousand miles for. A face that you stop and stare without uttering a single word. I see everything. But you aren’t here. You don’t even see me.

And so I wait. I feel that all I’ve done is wait. I know we’ve met just once but that can change. I can change everything. Only if you let me.

But, you don’t even see me.

I’m off social media

After a series of events, a bunch of research, a plethora of podcasts and some personal struggles, I am off social media. It’s something I was always leaning towards doing in the future but I figured no time like the present. Life is a lot simpler and I feel mr anxiety levels have dropped significantly. Funny how a few years ago, I would’ve never used the word anxiety for myself.

I spend more time outdoors and my schedule has freed up. I was averaging almost 20 hours a week on social media. Not only have i deleted the apps, I have deleted my accounts as well.

I had recorded a podcast episode recently where I covered all this so I won’t go into a lot of detail.

Went out for a walk this evening and caught some pictures and I’ve decided I’ll start sharing my work here on my terms rather than have some algorithm on Instagram sway my decision.

Give it a try. Freedom is priceless.

The same me

I sat at the corner of the bed. I looked below at my hands and feet. A familiar sight. But everything around me was different. The carpeted floor had given way to a hardwood floor. The loud rumbling of the engine had given way to the loud DJ playing at a distance at a wedding party. The gentle roll and swing had given way to rigid grounded stability. Years have gone past. These same hands. These same feet. Yet everything around me changes constantly. The same me. The same me returning to a bed alone. The same me at a different time. The same me at a different place. The same me everyday.

Cycling > Running

I fixed up my old flatmate’s bicycle and set out pedalling hoping to get back to some semblance of fitness. Eventual goal was to get back to running without getting injured. I’ve been cycling for a while now and I’m slowly expanding my range. I’m a bit nervous about setting out on the main roads because they’re a bit unsafe. People in India just don’t give a damn. You’ll find people driving on the wrong side on a high beam. You’ll find people taking sharp turns without using the indicators. The weather is a bit nicer these days so I push myself further and faster.

I took a route today that I know is scenic because I’ve been there a bunch of times while driving. What I really wanted was speed. It has become an obsession. I drive a cheap ₹6,000 city bicycle which has no gears. I’ve been pushing it to see how fast it would go. My previous best was 24.0 kmph on a flat track. Today I went up this road knowing it has some fantastic declines. I hit 29.1 kmph today. It felt fantastic. I’ve been contemplating an upgrade since technically I didn’t spend anything on this cycle.

The last time I cycled properly was when I was in school. I’ve been active in the recent past but it’s only been running and some sports like football and squash. Cycling has been amazing for me. In the early days when my legs were still behaving like jelly, I set out exploring the area around my apartment complex and found so many interesting places. Like a drive-in theatre right behind us. I didn’t know those were still a thing. Slowly but surely, I started pushing my boundaries and started setting times. The furthest I’ve gone in a single stretch is 25 kms in an hour and 4 mins.

I remember how I would feel after a long run. Like I’m dying and my lungs are on fire. I don’t get that at all while I’m cycling. I do get my heart rate up and I do feel a burn in my legs but I can still function when I’m done. Like for instance, this track that I took today was brutal. But I came back and I’m still good. I like the outdoors, I like the wind in my hair and I like that fact that it doesn’t feel like I’m dying. It is far more enjoyable. And being in the city, the roads are quite good for an enjoyable ride.

As winter sets in, maybe I’ll cycle less and focus more on running. But let’s see. So far, I’m loving it. Cycling feels way better than running.

Only questions.

What gives a person the right to act superior to another? What gives them the right to act so selfishly that they wouldn’t think twice before stepping on shoulders to get forward? What gives them the right to cause endless hurt just because they’re hurt themselves?

Why do we have laws that protect such people and such behaviour? Why do we allow this superficial behaviour to exist and there’s not one thing anyone can do about it? Why build structures and regimes that empower these people who don’t have the right to be in power? Why have no accountability for actions? Why have no remorse and penance after walking away from destruction? Why do we turn so dead inside, we might as well be plastic? Why is there no just punishment for actions that cause harm and hurt? Why is there no payback without consequences? Why not say something to my face rather than hide behind a cowardly keyboard? Why not face the music? Why hide behind your false illusions of power and security?

Why are there so many questions? Why aren’t there any answers?

Romantic movies

I like watching romantic movies. I don’t know what kind of an impression it makes but it is what it is.

It’s only in a romantic movie that the guy and the girl overcome all odds and find a way to be with each other. Life has different rules there. Careers don’t come into play. They can just abandon everything and drive off into the sunset. The past doesn’t matter. Because by the end of the movie, the guy wins her over after making her realise its time to move on. life doesn’t get in the way. A road is carved out of nothing and all they have to do is walk that path.

People hate such movies. They say it doesn’t show the truth. Who would want the truth? Who wants to watch more lying, cheating, backstabbing and gut wrenching heartbreaks? I’d rather watch these two come together and find a way to be with each other. It’s the only place left where love has a chance to blossom, even if it is scripted. A place where things actually go according to plan and good things happen. A place where true happiness exists.

There’s none of that here in the real world. We won’t let it breathe.

Lowered expectations

I find that people generally tend to disappoint. But if you expect them to disappoint, they do quite well. So what needs to change? People? Or our expectations?

The path to happiness is following an expectation vs time curve where time tends to infinity and expectation tends towards zero. Lower the expectations, the happier you’ll be. And the sooner you reach that lower threshold limit of expectations, the sooner you’ll be happier. However, if you expect to be happier, you aren’t really following the curve are you? So I think we need a third axis which tends towards increasing magnitude of happiness. Now that is a variable and tends to fluctuate based on a wide variety of factors. Some days you just wake up wanting to superman punch someone in the face. No reason for it. No explanations. Sometimes our hormones create an imbalance. But I suppose that’s expected. So if you expect the unexpected you rule out the unpredictability of it all. Like a double negative.

So the curve now marks you on the time vs expectation vs happiness scale. Time doesn’t stop so it keeps on going. And we know from before that lower expectations equals more happiness. But we have also learnt that happiness is a variable and can’t be predicted. Now, how do you tame a variable? By throwing it into situations where the outcome can be predicted. For instance, alcohol makes me happy. However there’s a point of no return with alcohol where happiness suddenly turns the other way and leads to regret and bodily malfunction. people can make you happy too but only if you don’t expect it.

So, in conclusion, you expect the unexpected with yourself and you don’t expect anything from others. I suppose it all boils down to your own expectation of the world and figuring out how to deal with your variables. There’s something here. Needs more research. I might be on the cusp of a breakthrough. Maybe even a Nobel prize.

End of session. Returning brain function to normal.