Tag Archives: cool

Your Sunday Morning Trip with Uber Pool

She bit her lip and fiddled with the ring on her finger, looking out the window at nothing in particular. It would have been wonderful if the city had given her an abyss to stare into, but it gave her concrete and windows and the occasional street vendor; really stealing the poetry from the moment.

She turned to me and mouthed something, so I unplugged my earphones and said “Yes?”

“Windows. Can we put the windows down?”

I gave her a nod and rolled down my window, as did she. The driver did too, almost too keenly, as the freshly generated fragrances of the suburbs started to pour into our cab. I could mostly just smell the rain, or whatever it smells like when it rains. I read somewhere that it’s the smell of some metabolic by-product of a kind of bacteria, emitted by wet soil. It’s the sort of trivia that hits you on an idle Wednesday afternoon when you’ve been scrolling down your phone for too long, your thumbs have gone to sleep, and then you realize you probably should get back to work.

Her phone suddenly began buzzing. She looked at it, sighed long and hard and then answered. The voice at the other end was shrill and loud, and started speaking almost immediately.

“Cut the gobi, clean the paalak and boil three eggs,” she responded dispassionately, once again fiddling with her ring. “I’ll be back in ten minutes.”

She had a melancholy look about her face when she caught my eye, and I couldn’t help but offer an understanding smile. Sometimes you just know when someone needs a smile. She sighed out a smile in return and said, “It’s just been a long day”

It was 8.37am, to be exact.

I looked out of the window on my side to see a vegetable vendor wrapping up his cart for the day. Behind him was his wife, who’d completed her cooking for the day in the three houses she worked in. His son would return from his night shift as an auto rickshaw driver soon, and they’d have their one meal of the day together. 8.37am could be a tiring time of day.

The cab took a swift turn off the main road and she reached inside her handbag and put on several red plastic bangles on both her hands. As she did, a piece of paper flew out of her bag and onto the seat. She looked at it, pursed her lips and crushed it and threw it out onto the road. Then she directed the cab to her destination, and almost braced herself a little before she stepped out of the cab.

Another pickup was scheduled just down the road, and a pleasant young boy in very crumpled clothing and worn out chappals got into the front seat of the cab. He leaned out the window to wave excitedly to someone on a higher floor of the building we were outside, then buckled up his seatbelt, turned around to look at me and wished me good morning. I nodded back with a half smile, the way one does to strangers. He whipped out his phone from the back pocket of his jeans and settled into the seat, visibly grinning as he read through an old conversation with the concentration millennials seem to reserve only for social media.

After a couple of minutes, he made a call. As he reclined his seat a little too far back, he said, “Yeah, no gym for me today. I’m exhausted.” He then plugged the hanging aux wire into his phone, put on a song I couldn’t recognize and settled back into the overly reclined seat with a smile on his face and a sigh of contentment.

And soon, I left the cab and walked back home, feeling not so alone in this new city, as half of Mumbai embarked upon their Sunday morning in yesterday’s clothes, without yesterday’s company.

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COME AS YOU ARE

Picture Credits: Hardik Batra

Welcome to my standard night at ISB. It’s 4am and it’s both late night and early morning. I can hear the Gurbani playing in the east as Calvin Harris slowly morphs into Nucleya to the west of my room. Outside in the living room, people are discussing public policy in rural India over a game of Monopoly, and as I look out of my window I see a rabbit hop towards the wood heated from last night’s bonfire. It gets too close and immediately backs away, hopping once again into the darkness. None of us gets a how-to guide, you see? Everybody’s just somewhat winging it.

The wine is over and the temperature is at it’s lowest for the day, so we bring out the rum. The Monopoly has begun to disturb friendships, so we bring out the rum. We’re out of ideas and the paper is due in two hours, so we bring out the rum. A little liquid courage never hurt anyone, so we bring out the rum. Only to wake up the next morning, thirsty, exhausted, drowsy – yet somehow more accomplished, dearer, warmer.

I won’t lie, it’s been an especially gruelling year – but that’s what we came here for in the first place, isn’t it? A year that would ideally have taken two. Not just in what we learn and experience but also physically, mentally, emotionally. Some days we surprise ourselves and own it – the classes, the assignments, the study groups and the networking, still somehow managing to spend quality time with the ones who matter. And yet, some days, we leave our spectacles in the refrigerator.

That’s the beauty of life at this pace. Ever so often it reminds you that you’re still human. Allow yourself a breath – a wasted day, a missed deadline, a failed interview. And then get back up, immediately. That’s what we came here for in the first place, isn’t it?
A year that would ideally have taken more time.

And now with graduation day almost in sight, I try to think of all the ways to tell people all the things I wish I’d known when I began my year here, most of which have to do with emotional stability. That even as you start out, you will meet people who see the same stars as you do. They will inspire you, overwhelm you, bring out the best and worst in you and slowly become a part of you.

But people, as people do, change. Sometimes you just outgrow the ones you started out with, for you mature with experiences, not with years. All of a sudden you’ll be looking at the same stars, seeing different constellations. And nobody is better or worse for it, we just make our own momentum as we go from bone crushing hugs to firm handshakes.

And then there’s the ones you find and keep – different momentums, different starting points and all that jazz. But the same escape velocity. They come out of nowhere and as they do, you realise that for this one year, you’re always one decision away from a parallel universe. And for that one reason, this year is the beginning of anything you want.

I wish we could have bottled this year, like a perfume. Breathed in a little every time life got dreary or uninspiring.

But we can’t, so we bring out the rum.

The Peril in Being Cool

He said “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

– The Velveteen Rabbit.

You ever go a string of days feeling a feeling you’re no stranger to, and then wake up one morning to decide you never want to feel like that again?
I think I’m about to. I’m about to never feel like that again. And I’ll tell you exactly how.

I’ve been in this situation before and I’ve been this person before and let’s just say the situation got the better of me. I argued with myself first. This is me. This is me at my rawest and purest and it’s who I am. If something doesn’t fit me, I discard it. As a rule.
I can’t change who I am at the very base.

Oh… but I can.

People can be complicated, yes, but I am people too. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s intoxicating when somebody is so unapologetically who they are. It’s not about changing yourself so much as changing perspective, which is just a pretty way of saying growing up. I could spend my life shutting my windows to every thunderstorm that comes my way in fear, or I could wake up one day and use its roar to comfort myself with the thought that even nature needs to scream sometimes.
Perspective.

I’d say I’d like to stop thinking, for light hinders sight as much as it helps. But the world knows that’s easier said than done.
So I’ll say I’d like to feel more. Just feel, and if it feels like home, follow its path. Trust the vibes that you get. Energy doesn’t lie. Stop the moment the path feels unfamiliar. Explore it from a distance. Turn back the moment the path feels resistive. Of all the things you allow on this path, be it pain or loss or intolerable passion, the one thing you shouldn’t allow is mediocrity.

I enjoy controlled loneliness. I like wandering around the city alone. I’m not afraid of coming back to an empty house and lying down in an empty bed. What I am afraid of is having no one to miss. Nobody who stirs me up inside; the thought of whom puts everything else on hold. And with time and age and experience and heartbreak and all the maturity that comes with these, I’ve realized no one’s ‘the one’ unless you make them the one.

Can I promise to never get upset or show signs of neediness? No, I can’t. I wouldn’t call this love if that was something I could promise. I will melt inside when it’s called for and I will get bat-shit crazy when it’s uncalled for because what I choose to feel is all-consuming or nothing at all. It’s my definition of real. Real emotions and real people. With nothing to hide, only perspectives to change.

I feel younger today. Like time actually gave me time. I feel like I have the time it takes. And even if by the time I am Real, most of my hair has been loved off, and I get loose in the joints and very shabby, it won’t matter because once I’m Real, I can’t be ugly. Except to people who don’t understand.

And that’s precisely the peril in being cool. You won’t understand.