Welcome to another layer of sharing my personhood: a writing exercise for every day in October because the internet says so.
It’s very informal, personal, diary-style and I’m going to keep updating this space every day till November as a writing exercise to keep you more entertained (hopefully).
Here goes nothing!
THE RIGHT WAY TO SPELL RASGULLA/ Inktober 16
Today I noticed the way rasgullas are spelled is always wrong. And it matters because it’s a frequent topic in my chats- I clearly devote a lot of time to discussing food- and there’s no right spelling! As a person with no cultural rights to push for one right true spelling, I choose the mainstream (north Indian) spelling because it’s on all the packaging but that’s clearly sacrilege. But there’s got to be common ground because I can’t keep getting corrected. It’s beyond annoying because I’m the grammar and spelling watch-woman (only a substitute for a phrase that would imply I’m anti-semitic).
Going beyond spelling peeves, the thought that I want to expound is whether there needs to be an equivalent of every word in every language and thus, their corresponding spellings- we’ve taken to culturally appropriating mannerisms to show our woke-ness but we wouldn’t need to fake/learn new cultural references correctly if we didn’t get them wrong in the first place! Like rendezvous, a word I can’t spell to potentially stop a nuke from launching, but I never knew the wrong pronunciation so it wasn’t a pain in the A to self-correct. Like it is with me and rasgulla. I spell it like the misappropriations because it’s just the marketing and roshogolla doesn’t sound like a cute dessert either. Sorry, not sorry.
The question still remains unanswered 100 words later and that’s what schooling taught me- how not to answer questions without a lengthy preamble. Should we have words for everything/experience in a language that cultures have never experienced? Does adding to a language dilute it because it has no significance?
LIke the Marathi word for a buggy is buggy in Devanagari and that makes sense to me- no translation required but at least the word exists, right? Also given that people have a broader experience of the world these days, there should be words for autumn in Hindi and rasgulla in my vocabulary even though Tamil people don’t have anything beyond fermented rice dishes in their cultural background, right?
I vote exist because then my spelling of rasgulla isn’t self righteously corrected.
SECOND GUESSING EVERYTHING/ INKTOBER 15
Today I noticed, I don’t like this diary style of writing period because it makes me ramble like I’m not prone to it anyway.
Also I really, really don’t think things through before taking major decisions, really- it’s all in a second’s impulse response. Speaking of which, I just majorly ruined my grades because who knew impulse signals were even important? Hint- they aren’t, but our teacher can’t live without it.
So backtracking a little, why do I spend such little time to think through the important things? Sharayu says it’s because I’m an INTP whatever that is.
I like that test, sure but that wasn’t anything but a silly internet quiz, right?
Also, I’m a Slytherin, surprise, surprise. It actually isn’t a diversion here because I was happy to be a Slytherin till I thought I could be embarrassing given how I’d deeply like being a Ravenclaw or even a Gryffindor and I’d told my friends that. Also, it is a bad time for the Slytherers with all the negative media portrayal. So I retook the test. Just so I could get Gryffindor. I didn’t even screenshot it to prove my Gryffindor-ian qualities. See how I overthink everything not remotely the point? Also how much I like internet quizzes?
Like questioning decisions like Inktober, like MindSpark- because I just can’t be satisfied with what I got? I hate that inkling of doubt that plagues me when I do anything- it’s a partial paralysis because I don’t want to regret stuff in the future. Gah, this is such a deterrent when I think I want to have fun, do new things, learn things, get better and I eventually end up doing nothing?
That’d be an accurate representation of my life.
PS: I’m feeling gloomy about Christina Grimmie all over again because I went on a KHS binge- hear and I just wonder if I leave, will people think I mattered?
Did I have anything more concrete to offer than the weight I acquired on my journey? Was I loved? Was my life bigger than the sum of its parts?
Will I have had any lasting changes in anybody’s life?
Christina’s life was all in the affirmative. And I respect that.
GIRLS CHASE BOYS/ INKTOBER 14
Today I noticed how pretty girls can be, in the most facile of ways and I was pleasantly surprised. I get they tend to be fairer and more glamorous than the guys, but sometimes they don’t even try to look nice. I don’t ever and that observation tends to fail and that is why it took me this long to observe this fact of the universe, I suppose. I wonder why girls take so much of their time to look especially good, though.
Is it just conditioning or do they really think they got to try so much contouring and brush their curly hair till it’s straight and powder their noses as a pleasant way to choke everyone in their surroundings? One it’s expensive. Two it’s time-consuming, hence expensive. (Can you escape my middle class-ness here?) Three, it’s not even a competition, is it? And for what? Those boys that judge your faces and asses while sitting in college in their cringey PJs and unruly hair because that’s cool, sure. Even if you take out hours of your day to look especially cool because natural selection, ugh, why?
(And should I try especially? The dead idgaf look that chose me, mind you, does nobody no favours but isn’t that ideal? I get to write this and not gafs that I look like death rn.)
Don’t get me wrong, dressing up is fun but it really should be a choice. And boys- esp. these ones giving you attention on the regular cannot be a nearly sufficient reason because you better than that. Way more. And your time can be controlled by better activities than popping the zits and perming your hair so some boys like you more.
This is such a feminist+ antifeminist message I’m crying. But I don’t got to worry because I have no eyeliner to roll with the teardrops leaving their tracks because tear drop trajectories are so important.
Can’t be bothered to capitalize/ Inktober 13
Who needs punctuation anyway
Today i noticed i’m a bloody dumbass for committing to inktober one day before my tests- 5 over 3 days (no i don’t want no sympathy, just some sleep would be good) and i’m impulsive like that
Moreover i noticed that i submitted a successful group project today, didn’t screw it up and had fun while doing it and omg i can function in a group i guess- my life isn’t a trainwreck maybe
Now i can die happy
On another note omg why do people hate rap and expletives in general
They just don’t like lyricism i guess although that’s not the only thing going for rap, in most case the lyrics are terrible
Bodak yellow is such a bop- it’s empowering and provocative and aggressive and fun and i like that in my songs omg
I guess it’s an acquired taste and you gotta keep at it to actually find it fun like i hated blunt blowing and she will when i first heard those in ‘12 and detested no lie because it was so graphic but they keep you hooked because of the general swag they posses i guess- money, fame, drugs and sex being the elements of the ‘swag’ which i don’t agree to but well i live in my life
On expletives i know i should have kept it from wriggling into my every sentence but it’s just so much fun to swear at everything and many people i liek do it and it makes me feel like the cool kids so gtfo prudes- it made even pygmalion more readable, as a weak defense
With nothing more relevant to say, dftba people
FANGIRLING / INKTOBER 12
Quick side note because I distract easy: Inktober is the only reason I even keep tabs on the date anymore and that’s weird because who even goes to an academic institution anymore to write notes continuously, right?
Today I noticed I’ve forgotten how to love telly altogether. I fangirl a little each time a really hard-hitting and well-written episode of, say, Brooklyn or R&M graces the interwebs but it’s seriously not in the least bit as hardcore as the love I harboured for Castle, PLL, Glee and that golden age of TV (for me). I guess the options became overwhelming and I got busy but OMG there is so much more fangirling potential now!
There’s literally a good show for everyone and I love and religiously binge watch Veep, erstwhile PLL and series like Atypical, Please Like Me but not with the same vigour anymore! (Crying heart emoji repeated 16 times because I’m super overdramatic.) I wish I had that infinite capacity to consume and be consumed television- I remember the days when I had an actual television at home and my family would sit together watching Arnab Banerjee on prime time TV then fight over when the screeching got too screechy, switch to Masterchef Australia and watch them dramatize food for our portly selves’ often vicarious amusement. The three of us would then make fun of how much fuss they made over food, though my mom probably felt the same way all the time. Out of sheer laziness, we’d also end up watching Burn Notice because we thought Fiona was hot and Michael Weston was a cheap ass James Bond replacement. Ah, the nostalgia.
I severely underestimated the effect TV would have on my social life- my best friends and I mainly talk about TV shows as a cheap conversation starter to the day and they still have lots of capacity to fangirl. I swear I’d block them on social media because of how much they keep tabs and hype every little event in a TV show’s timeline except I love them kinda.
Gah, I wonder if I can still spend a day when my biggest concern is who A is and when the next episode shows up online to the exact minute- but LOL that’s a sad life. Right?
LOVE TO HATE AND GREEN NOVELS/ INKTOBER 11
Quick sidebar: Turtles is out and I want it purely because I like John and Hank (Green) and the fact that they made me smarter but I can’t be bothered to go out and spend money to purchase a copy because it’s a middle-class thing and I love Katherines and Alaska SO much but my parents forbade me from getting a copy of both. Old wounds man. Plus what is money to me anyway? I’m the middle-class type that looks at money as a fleeting experience and something to be aiming for- could I be spending it on a YA book (that my cousin will end up buying anyway because she’s actually a YA)?
Today I noticed an important fact about myself- I like to hate things in general.
I hate deadlines and my genes and T2 and some outrageously stuck up people (AK and DG) and stuff like that but I don’t REALLY hate them, do I?
I just think it’s the idea that I have a tangible enemy to work against. It’s insanely childish- I could laugh at myself for holding irrational grudges for people’s infinitely better genetics and hating them for it etc., but where does it get me?
Here, writing an article for a underwhelming blog or in concentration camps in the Third Reich- I have the sub-par genes, right?
Side Note: Don’t bring up the Third Reich ever unless you want to read a listicle on 1500 ways to never mention the Reich.
Another thing I hate: LISTICLES. This warrants more explanations but I hate that form of writing anything more than any other forms of writing badly (conveniently ignores that she herself has done 2 listicles on the blog but hey, gotta be completely hypocritical to maintain character right?) and I detest all the popular websites for reducing human attention span to 15 reasons why and 20 things before 20 and all those crap posts and YouTube videos I invariably watch to procrastinate.
I have barely even scratched the surface of everything I hate- maybe I should do a listicle post on it- since it would convey nothing of what I really intend because it’s a fkn listicle!
Speaking of which my parents expect today from me- 11/10- which puts 0 pressure on me, naturally so I need to study h parameter models of small AC signal BJT amplifiers.
Lo, the darkness descends!
REGULAR LIFE & GOLAS/ INKTOBER 10
Today I noticed normal life isn’t bad at all but it’s still not for me. There’s much to experience in plain conversations and being mundane and gossiping and being a student OMG.
Maybe it’s just a refreshing change where my worries don’t hinge on my so-called professional life and dealings with people that contribute 0% to my personal life and all.
I like pressure and being important and making a difference but I’m always assigned non-leadership roles and I crie.
So studying now gets easier when you have nothing to hide behind but I seriously wish I could keep up a good habit up- but PN just told me it’s easier to study then you’re buried under a mound of work and NO. She’s smart and creative and articulate and cool and verbose- basically GOALS- but that’s not me bruh.
Also, I just wrote GOLAS for GOALS so that’s reminiscent of Mumbae but it’s bittersweet because a. I’m a disappointment at home and my homies are always busy because they have a new, fresh life and now who hangs with me? No one and I still try making plans and shite. Whatevs, I can still Netflix and sleep and redecorate my room sitch and learn to debate and sing and jog- OMG my life’s colourful. (But I really need to make more local friends/reconnect with old friends that live an isolated life like I do- Tan, Nishi and those hostel people I didn’t completely hate. TBQH I hated Nishi on another level then. Okay only Tanya it is then.)
And b. I remember going to Achisa with all the family for golas (when I was maybe 7) it was cool and fun and we all had very set preferences and I wonder if they’d still be the same.
SIMON SINEK IS HOT/ INKTOBER 9
I took active measures to improve my speaking and presentation skills today but I haven’t yet really tried it out so meh.
In other news, today I noticed Simon Sinek is really hot. Like OMG, why did I miss it before? I’m not even kidding- I’ve just objectified him in my head and I couldn’t mind less. It took me less than 2 minutes into his SkillShare course to realize that he’s the perfect combination of manly and cute and articulate and condescending (that is not at all) and also, quite old but what are YOU going to do about that, huh? Other hot human males don’t have anything over him because they didn’t potentially help me make my overall interactions and speeches better in life.
Talking of those very aspects of my life because invariably that’s what everything boils down to- is the Debate Club even a safe space for me? Do I get happiness out of it or is it a pained, excruciating ride along with better peers, less involved seniors and a whole lotta lack of involvement from most parties that I have resigned to due to indifference now? Going by how specific that question was it’s probably the latter. I don’t want to care anymore because it doesn’t make me a better person for having or not having cared. That sort of disengagement pains me though. I wasn’t such an uncaring, unmoved person last year. Is adulthood preparing me for the harsh realities of life and getting me jaded. F#=* yes.
And I’d rather it didn’t but who listens to me anyway? I guess I need some Sinecky sweet practice in speaking and presentation. I just wanted to make a Sinek reference- I can’t even get depressed about DC and A and A and MS (fkn clubs) and all of that because I need to get my life in order before I can help them out. Bad choice, though.
Toodles now. I’m full of peer pressured Maggi and it’s a shame how fast I ate it and now it just feels weird in my tummy.
Also, I’m flunking T2 at this rate, no doubts. I need to fix this into a winning game ASAP or I get cut off? What really happens? My parents’ disappointment is what, maybe. It feels particularly bitter, that particular sense of their having given up on you because you didn’t do your one job AND refuse to listen to their middle-class BS.
I’m sorry I’m taking this out on you but fear builds, anxiety builds and I just wanna cry but I don’t even deserve to. Bye.
MIDNIGHT MUSINGS/ INKTOBER 8
Spoiler alert- this episode is going to be BORING beyond your wildest expectations (ones that involve putting you to sleep.)
The stuff you keep telling yourself, the more iterated ones, are what you tend to believe eventually because you have such limited attention that you cannot find time to pay attention to your inner being and all that and you just take at face value what you tell others because you at some point are also listening in, right? If like me, you’re a wildly exaggerating human, it’s on you to make every iteration of something boring or negative or demotivating less frequent. Like when I say I’m fat, it takes away from all the other things I could say about myself even though it might give a brief moment of comic relief. Even more so when I start believing it but still don’t go to the gym and instead silently judge myself for feeling hungry and eating anything close to unhealthy- it’s a miserable narrative I’m building.
I could tell people I want to start a vlog, or I am struggling to find solutions to problems but I’m trying at least and discussing things like how inspiring/ opportunistic Elon Musk is for taking up the contract for the power grid in Puerto Rico, (hopefully) my future employer. This is what I should really be promoting, at least on my end. I do have the skills and the time, god forbid I waste less time on the socials, to do the reading and talk about stuff like this.
I’m reminded all the time that words have power. Why don’t people use it more? Why don’t I use it more to keep alive the connections that really matter?
My teachers- music, German, Kelkar, Arduino and Thatha and everyone else? It just intimidates me so much man but I will strive.
Okay so can we talk about TIL? It’s a cool concept and I’m using it for the rest of Inktober.
TIL what zines are- a underground, individual, small scale, copier based magazine often made of hand drawn and self designed, self published work with a readership in its 100s. It’s such a cool concept OMG.
TIL that I can also do the close friends- messing around with phones thing without making people’s lives and interactions too awkward because I’m cool. This is news to me and it’s a fundamentally nefarious way of communication which I adore. I have a new hobby now.
Meet you tomorrow, I guess with more learnings and words of wisdom when I should be studying- like seriously I’m not even trying be funny anymore.
BADASS WOMEN/ Inkober 7
Yesterday I performed my most rebellious act till date- or second most, I lead such a fantastically happening life it’s hard to keep track- I entered the hostel at 11.30 pm (for an in time of 9) and was scared. But really because I had formed a backup plan to just walk into Shivani’s house uninvited after her having spent a LOT of her money on my insistence. I’m a terrible person, definitely.
There was this mild encounter with the warden, a strict, non-believing human who didn’t quite believe Shravasti and me when we told her we were with juniors till 11.30 having dressed up and carried purses and everything. However as a negligent watchman corroborated out lies and didn’t betray our lies, we made ours was up a lift with shaking hands and a story to tell. Almost.
I was sincerely messed up after the encounter and felt shaky and jittery for long afterwards (courtesy the espresso hot chocolate we all shared) which exhausted me and led to my not taking my daily Lantus dose, a grave mistake and I awoke at 11 this morning (since the day has changed as I type this, it should’ve been the day before but continuity is all that matters here.).
The incident raises a few important questions: 1. Would my go to juniors have backed me up in the face of such a transparent lie? 2.What were we decent girls doing out in the city till 11 in the night? 3. Does this mere act induct into the list of badasses? 3. Does this mere act induct into the list of badasses? 4.Who’s in the list of badass hostelites and what are their most hair-raising stories? 5. Would we even have had a plan if Shivani’s mother had refused even her shelter as she did for a long time yesterday? 6. Can this be retold better? 7. If not badasses, are we characteristic bad girls? I’d think we fit the bill having stayed out in the dark and cold till late. 8. How much of yesterday was through my research and lobbying? A lot, I’d say. 9. Was all the tension worth the trouble? I think we’re all closer because of it. 10.Am I okay with being this rebel without a cause and should I move to increasing the hostel in time in general? It’s a worthy cause to fight for and needs discussion because it does add to my general stress levels.
With that, I conclude my saga for the adventure of a lifetime. Toodles.
I AM WORK: INKTOBER 4
Today I noticed I’m putting too much pressure on myself. That I barely remember that I am an independent entity without whom my Work wouldn’t exist. It probably would, sure, but not in the shape or form it currently holds.
I noticed how I was a prey to my social stresses- how I followed when I was asked to follow and how I hung on to his every word because it came from a person of appreciable authority- both in reality and in my purview. I saw how easily I could be tacked on to a cross if the situation demands it and how I’d end up peeling myself off, without much semblance of dignity purely because I felt responsible to my place in the structure My Work had suffered enough without having me at the helm of it, so bloody hands or not, wounded, weary body aside, I do what I think I’m supposed to.
My Work couldn’t suffer for myself because it’s the only thing I have to keep me connected (to you), quite ironically.
Work has become my motto for escaping anything I owe myself.
I Work when I can’t find the right words to fit into a sentence and complete an Inktober post.
I Work when I find myself doubting every road I’ve taken so far.
I Work to avoid real work.
I Work like my body is a mere slave to my mental volition and when my body tries to retaliate- my Work doesn’t stop. My body has tested my limits far enough for me to be well aware of the games it plays on me.
It’s just jealous of the Work, I’m sure.
When it’s time to work and not Work, I’m sure I could find some time to tame my body, to bring it into my ambit of concern and learn to live in synchronicity- but work never takes precedence over the Work I glorify to every extent.
In fact, I notice that my Work wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for my uncontrolled desire to escape the physicality of my narrow life, a series of jagged edges on a soft object prone to scratches. If you ask me if I enjoy my Work, it baffles me that there should be any emotion attached to it insofar as the work in it is concerned.
The limitations of the question strike me as laughable because it is but one of the many questions to be answered with regards to Work. The question merely holds water out of the practical give and take nature of my relationship with Work- I give an output for a fraction of the time you take to inspect it or acknowledge it. And the fraction, it feels like a lifetime, because it reminds me of the person that hides behind the stacks of Work, the scared, lonely, unquestioning human with no time for you. Only the Work and if there aren’t any of the cyclical, parasitical chains of Work coming to me, I might actually do something closely resembling work, an entity that dissolves me unquestioningly, completely and comfortingly, unlike Work.
MASOCHISM: INKTOBER 3
I noticed yesterday: I spent all my time thinking of a particular boy. It’s weird how my life is shaped in liking a particular boy very secretly. It has become a regular part of my primary concerns- and I usually let t throb in the back of my mind to give some colour to an otherwise grey existence but yesterday something was different. He hadn’t shaved and wasn’t looking extra striking but I think it was just some amount of stimulus externally that got me thinking. About the external stimulus- it was a combination of jobless wayfarers that I’d told about my affinity for this boy in past tense and actual proximity to said boy, too. It’s as Charles Dickens wrote (when I didn’t bother to read past chapter 2) and I remember, it was the best of times and the worst of times- yesterday certainly was. It was mixed with the cold realization that I still bloody moon over said boy more than I expected I would and now that I know he likes someone else, else being operative here, I just can’t reconcile. Both bits were the worst of times part there, really, in hindsight. The best of times was then- where I mentioned proximity. And that I spent the whole day thinking of him and how we would never be us. Gawd that sounds so masochistic- it really is, frankly. The whole process of falling for someone and making sure it doesn’t show is a waste of my mental strength, I suppose but I truly lack the guts it takes to just blurt it to him because he’s such a serious fellow and I at least want to be friends? Truly, it is an exercise in excruciating mental pain, especially when you know there’s nothing to look forward to, I guess. But it’s just infinitely worse to go around feeling like you don’t care about people and your relationship with them. Again, I shouldn’t comment. My life just feels a lot less lonely when I get to harbour this small, innocent secret in my head, something to build up when I’m bored af and to give me some hope, that real life wouldn’t be as gratingly exciting as the daydreams. Yesterday, I spent my time recalculating how much I’d changed for the boy. Not directly, but with motives that weren’t completely clear of thoughts of said boy. In some way hoping he’d notice me more/ like me more. Full disclosure, I feel pretty immature writing this at age 19. It sounds like a 12-year-old’s spiel and I detest that I’m such a simple creature without ambitions beyond a year-long secret ship of the boy and me. I detest completely that we aren’t even friends given the life-altering decisions I probably made, not FOR him but clearly not only for me. So well. Should I tell him, break my “lucky” streak of the things I got out of keeping him in mind? He is, after all, a good, morally straightforward guy- maybe. And he’s an achiever, something I could truly well emulate. And he’s found his niche and friends and I should maybe move on and live for myself as well. Maybe actually look out for me and kiss the empty dream farewell? Because as interesting and excruciating that period was,- and I do see it as past tense right now- I cannot imagine kicking down my self-esteem and mental health for him. Unfortunately enough, the only reason, truthfully, I was listless in my reveries of him yesterday was that I had no real work pressing upon me and that I hoped the girl he liked was me and not someone cuter, smarter, more melodious, wittier and all those things. Because over him or not, it would still actively hurt me to see something hit off in front of my eyeballs.