All posts by RohiniDG

figuring it out just like everyone else

Dear Electronics

I think all my electronic devices have been having secret meetings behind my back to figure out just how they can best annoy me.

My earphone’s mic will no longer work so people at the other end of the line feel like they’re hearing me through water. They also disconnect themselves whenever they want to. I was under the happy delusion that at least I can hear my music and podcasts clear enough but when I tried to use them while travelling today, I could not hear one damn thing. I guess I’ve just got used to the deteriorating quality.

My mobile phone feels like a landline because it needs to be connected to it’s charger so often. It’s a miracle to see it at a 100%. But we have a deal, it needs to last me another 2 years and it works well otherwise so for now this is the one I have least complaints with.

My dear beloved state of the art laptop (5 years old) does not even remember that it is a laptop anymore. Can’t even use it for more than 15 minutes without its charger. And don’t even get me started on the number of warning my anti-virus program throws up.

My powerbank looks and feels like a brick. Once upon a time it felt impressive that it had a 10000 mAh capacity but now it takes so long to charge that it almost feels like it’s not worth it.

My precious Bluetooth speakers have devised the most annoying trick. When multiple paired devices are in range it decides which one it wants to connect to instead of connecting to the one it was last connected to (which is what it’s supposed to do and has always done). It also switches itself off whenever it wants to.

My MiFi hotspot takes afternoon naps (or so I suspect). While seemingly switched on and no possible reason for network issues, it just refused to let me connect to the internet every afternoon.

I just needed to get all of this out of my system. My dear electronics, please please stand by me. I love you all. And if you have to fail, then please not all at once!

Day 41 – Fast Forward

I want to fast forward ahead to the time when we can wake up in the morning next to each other every day. We’ll plan completely insane and impromptu trips to random places for no good reason. We’ll have a favorite pub where we can be found every now and then, walking back tipsily at the end of the night. We’ll make lots of garlic bread with cheese. Maybe I’ll finally learn how to listen to audio books without pulling out my hair. We could do anything in the world that we want. Even though I know that I shouldn’t be trying to skip ahead, that the journey is the best part, I just want to skip this uncertain part of the road, take a shortcut and arrive at the point where the scenery is better and the bad parts are firmly in the rearview. But I also know that this is exactly what I should not be doing. There is a reason that things happen in the way that they do. There is a time and a place for them and the obstacles are meant to help us grow. Also, let’s face it, skipping ahead has never worked out for me. So we’re going to take this slow, deal with things that need to be dealt with. And we’ll reach where we’re meant to be.

I used to have a different kind of wish before. To be a time traveler, and jump to different points in time just to see what my life looks like and whether I am happy. That’s all I wanted to be able to do. Just reassure myself that things worked out. Of course at the time I didn’t realise that this is quite a universal yearning. Most people would want the gift of foresight instead of hindsight. This is why we’re so obsessed with time travel in popular culture. I have devoured books such as ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ and endlessly watched time travel episodes in the Star Trek franchise. I love the idea of fate; the idea that no matter what happens, it was always meant to be. So you can move through the fabric of space and time but things will happen exactly the way they were meant to. At the same time, I agonize over my smallest decisions sometimes, wondering if there was something different I could have said or done in a particular situation which would have led to a different outcome. I guess I’m just a contrarian and I am probably proud to be one. Can’t be sure, it’ll all be clear in hindsight.

Day 40 – There is no sense in anything

Sometimes I wonder whether there is any sense in trying to make sense of this world. Maybe it would just be better to find the delusion that suits me best and live in that cocoon. I guess I already do that in a way. But there is this constant underlying nagging anxiety that this isn’t right. I should be a better person; live a more fulfilling life; be healthier; work more for a better cause or work less and do what I really want with my life. It’s an endless buffet of choices with which to self flagellate. Every once in a while I read some impassioned piece about being true to yourself and to hell with the rest of the world. It sounds good but just slightly divorced from reality. Only in the last couple of months, I have taken a few decisions which are solely for the purpose of making myself happy. For example, I decided that this year I would only read fiction. I am done with all the endless non-fiction of which I have found only a handful to be truly engaging. Most of the rest have been the equivalent of swallowing very bitter medicine. But even having made this decision, I have imposed on myself a target number of books to read in the year and I have been increasingly paranoid about not reading my daily quota. I know for a fact that I feel better after spending my evening reading rather than binge watching TV shows but I still wish I didn’t have this voice in my head telling me to make better choices.

In other news, this weekend I finally finished reading the audio book of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and it was some ride. It has taken me almost a month to finish this book but it is so engaging that I really don’t understand why. In any case, I am very happy to be done with that. I will think long and hard before I start another audiobook in future. Stephen Fry is an excellent narrator. I first encountered his work when I heard the Harry Potter series narrated by him. I have heard the entire series end to end atleast 5 times just because of his narration and it will always be my comfort listen. I am starting on my next book today: Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder and I am sincerely hoping to make up for lost time this month. Wish me luck. Cheers!

Day 39 – A Lazy Weekend

I am obsessed with rounding up time. If I am about to start a task and I happen to check the time and it is 12:28 PM, I will in all probability wait for it to be 12:30 PM before I begin. When I am in the flow state, I rarely notice this but at other times especially if I am feeling restless or lazy, I have this incredibly irrational tendency to wait for the time to be just right. There is no consistent definition of this just right time. If I had told myself that I’d put down my book and start my chores at 4 PM and I pass that time, I will automatically reset that time to 5 PM. If I have finished watching an episode at 8:45 PM, I convince myself that I can watch just one more episode of 20 minutes length and then stop. But of course once that episode finishes and it’s 9:05 PM, I then want to watch another episode till 9:25 PM. I know that most of this is more to do with procrastination and the time obsession is just a symptom. But unfortunately this self awareness does not help me overcome the problem. I have learnt to manage around it most of the time. If I am supposed to finish work by 7 PM and head out for a walk, it doesn’t bother me anymore if I am off by 5 or 10 minutes. I just head out for a walk anyway. But when I am watching something on TV while eating my dinner, I can sometimes be found on the sofa 4 hours later, still watching TV, having let my entire evening get away from me. Sometimes I wonder whether I will someday look back in regret and I think not. If I think back to the time when I obsessively watched ‘Greys Anatomy’ instead of studying for competitive exams, I don’t even have a twinge of regret. So what does this have to do with my weekend? Well I spent most of it, rounding up time and not getting anything done.

Also, this blogpost has been in the works all week and it is finally getting posted today. So a bit of procrastination there as well. My biggest point of regret however is that I am just not an audio book person. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly enjoy books that way. I am reading one of the most interesting books ever written (narrated by Stephen Fry no less) and I just don’t seem to be making headway. I am finally going to let myself off the hook and start an e-book parallelly while I continue to struggle to finish the audiobook of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. I can only guess that my mind needs visual aids to really focus; which explains all the day dreaming I guess.

On that pointless note, I bid adieu. Cheers!

Day 38 – A Feast to Remember

On Sunday, I decided to cook up a birthday feast for my mom. I love cooking for big occasions and breakfast. For brief stretches I have cooked all my meals and somewhat enjoyed myself but somehow it’s hard to keep things fresh and interesting all the time and so you fall into a routine and then it’s hard to break out of the rut. I thank my lucky stars that I have the option to cook only when it pleases me and so that brings me back to Sunday. It was my mom’s birthday last week and since she was away at the time, we were gonna have a delayed celebration on her return. I decided that I would try my hand at shawarmas, well my version of shawarmas anyway. Last year I had mastered the art of making the perfect stovetop naans and hummus so I just had to figure out how to cook the chicken in my microwave oven and I would be sorted. It involved watching a lot of videos on YouTube to figure out the settings to use and the time to bake and grill the chicken. Having marinated my chicken overnight, I put it in to the oven at 3 PM and kept my fingers tightly crossed. If this didn’t work, then I still had time to put a backup plan into action. Thankfully it worked out and I proceeded with the rest of my menu. For starters we had chilly chicken and prawn cocktail (with some hummus on the side if you couldn’t handle the spice) and then we had the shawarma as the main event. I ended the day watching the new episode of Star Trek Discovery, feeling completely drained out and utterly drained out at the same time.

That’s the chilly chicken, the prawn cocktail and the hummus just hanging out on the dining table (the prawn cocktail was previously chilling in the refrigerator)
That’s a close up of my plate with the cutlery trying to be artsy
This was the hero of the day. The microwave oven cooked chicken thigh pieces. They turned out just right: juicy on the inside and charred on the outside
The shawarma does not photograph well but you’ll have to take my word for it that it was excellent. Naan slathered generously with hummus, stuffed with shredded grilled chicken and rolled up

In other news, the audio book experience is really not going well. I keep falling asleep while listening to it. And it is an extremely hilarious book. I think after my Audible free subscription ends, I am not going to renew it. For now, I am going to try my best to finish the book and then get back to my kindle which feels severely neglected at the moment.

I’ve been mildly stressed about not making it to my daily blogging goal. But I think I’m going to keep reminding myself of my motto this year to just live in the moment and let things be. So I will be back here as much as I can but not going to beat myself up if I don’t. All I need to remember is that I have to keep coming back. Until then, Cheers!

Day 37 – A Topsy Turvy Week

Sometimes I like to imagine my life differently. I think everyone does it but I get so engrossed that I can completely lose track of time when I am off on a boat trip to the deep blue seas of the Mediterranean or lounging on a beach in the Maldives. A lot of my alternate life imaginings are in or around an ocean. I recently finished reading Something in Disguise and I kept imagining myself in the shoes of those characters and I could easily see myself in the story. But just like fiction always has that tiny little bit of unreality about it, so too do my many imaginings. If I ever look back on any of them it becomes immediately clear how out of touch with reality they are. But I guess fantasy is supposed to be outlandish.

It has been a strange week and I haven’t much felt like writing and I struggled quite a bit with the feeling of despair that I broke my streak. But I decided to trust myself to get back to it when I could and so here we are. After I finished reading ‘Something in Disguise’, I started on an audio book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Even though it is hilarious and excellently narrated by Stephen Fry, I am finding the experience quite strange. Before this, I have only read one audio book in my life and I probably forgot just how hard it is for me to focus when I’m listening instead of reading. I have been hooked to a podcast for the last year or so and I thought that an audio book would be no different but I did not account for the fact that (a) I usually take a walk while I’m listening to an audio book and (b) I never listen for more than 45 minutes at a stretch. So when I tried to sit down and listen to audio book expecting to get engrossed for a couple of hours at least (which is my usual when reading a book), I was in for a rude surprise. I got fidgety within 20 minutes. My mind started wandering, I had to stop myself from reaching for my phone and to top it all, I had to keep rewinding because I felt sure I was missing something even when I was not. This is a relatively short audio book, about five and a half hours so I think I will get through this and then go back to ebooks for the rest of my reading challenge books for 2022. I tried listening to the book at night and invariably dozed off in 15 minutes so last night I tricked myself by keeping my glasses on and somehow it worked and I was able to listen to a complete chapter atleast before I succumbed to sleep.

In addition to fantasizing an alternate life for myself, from time to time, I also start wildly researching possible things to study. It usually wears off in a day or two but while it lasts, I really go down the rabbit hole. Today I was researching Public Policy courses which spilled over into online courses in Arts and Humanities. Don’t ask me what is the connection, I just kept following links and whatever stray thoughts jumped into my head.

I watched a movie today, and I have to remind myself that it is much safer than going down the binge watching hell (which describes most of my week by the way). The movie was called ‘Carrie Pilby’ and it has been sitting around in my Netflix list for half a year at least. It is a lot more heartwarming than the trailer had seemed to suggest. I had expected something more stark and so I was very happy with the afternoon well spent.

I’ll signoff with a couple of food pictures. Actually it’s more about the new plate that I bought that I am absolutely in love with and it doesn’t hurt that it makes all food look amazing 🙂

Pasta and grilled cheese sandwich
My everyday lunch looking glammed up

Until next time, Cheers!

Day 36 – Get Together

I love that phrase ‘get together’. So much better than ‘catching up’. I had some friends over for a get together today. I decided to cook and miraculously put it together in 2 hours so I’m quite proud of myself for that. Typically for me, I forgot to click any pictures of all the amazing stuff. I made hummus and chilly chicken for starters. I was informed by my friend that the chilly chicken was not chilly at all but we have agreed to disagree. The main course was my signature butter chicken with a bit of cheat in the process because I used a makhani gravy packet. But I realise I need to add a few more dishes to my signature repertoire because I feel like I this has become my default. No one has complained yet but time to stretch my wings :). It was an excellent evening with food and drinks and conversation and it helped me stock up on happy memories.

In minor news, I finally deleted my Facebook account which I have long stopped using but it was just floating around in cyber space. I can’t feel certain that it actually got deleted but there’s not much more that I can do.

I continued reading ‘Something in Disguise’ and I am amusing myself trying to figure out what the ending will be like. But until I reach the end, I will keep enjoying the story.

Cheers!

Day 35 – Reading Always Helps

I had this realisation on the weekend but it still took me three more days to start on my next book. I started it yesterday and I’m enjoying it thoroughly so far. The book is called ‘Something in Disguise’ by Elizabeth Jane Howard. I found it on one those best books of the year lists. In fact that’s part of the problem. I have bulging overflowing list of books that I’ve collected and every time I finish one I am paralysed trying to pick the next one. I’ve decided that the next one I pick will be at random with my eyes closed. Because ultimately I’ve already shortlisted all these books (only fiction made it to my list) so I know I’ll enjoy them. So it absolutely shouldn’t matter what order I read them in. I will let you know how this goes once I finish my current book.

In other news, my motto for the month is officially:

Read More

Write More

Watch Less

I have already failed quite spectacularly in the first 2 days of the month when I binge watched my brains out. I have done much better today and I hope to continue to get better. Cheers!