How Hard can it be? (Ice Skating Edition)


If you are going to try something you have never tried before, a person is bound to tell you ‘How hard can it be?’. That person might think that they are encouraging. It is either that or they want to watch you fail so bad that they can send your fail video to FailArmy.  My advice to you: punch that person in the face.

How hard can it be? Extremely hard.

Now my advice backfires on me. I am usually the one who says ‘How hard can it be?’, mostly to encourage myself. Maybe I am overconfident too. Afterwards I regret it because my body hurts and if I could glare at myself, I would glare myself to smoldering bits.

Today, I decided that I wanted to go ice skating. I have never even roller skated so I should have been aware of my imminent regret. Instead, I thought how hard can it be. Plus, there was a free event for beginners and who isn’t ready for free stuff.

Boy, oh boy I was wrong.

Firstly, it feels different just standing in balancing with the entire sole of the feet and balancing on a metal skate. How was I standing? I wasn’t standing, my legs were dancing and my body’s momentum pulled me forwards. It was like I had new feet and I had skipped the tutorial on using them (I think I did that). My left ankle decided to shake disturbing my balance and I would flail my arms in the air trying to catch balance (it didn’t work). I would fall to the ground and then began the embarrassing process of standing up.

I fell four times throughout. First time I fell, I was trying to skate at the outer edge. A beginner behind me patiently waited as I tried to stand up again. Second time I fell was about half hour later, by then I was getting confident again because I wasn’t using the boundary for support.

‘I will never learn how to do this if I keep taking support of the wall’ were the exact words in my mind before I fell on my ass. I fell again a few minutes later and after the last time I was done.

Every time I fell, I told myself I can do it. The problem was I didn’t know what I was doing. After the last time, my legs were sore and I had no energy left in me to try again.I was miserable, cold and my ankles hurt. I slipped a lot of time and every time I did, I noticed a pain in my left knee. I think I was bending my knee along the wrong axis and at last I realized that if I kept doing this I might hurt myself.

And I wanna continue doing stupid things so I don’t wanna hurt myself. Nope!

Others around me kept giving me advice. ‘Bend your knees’, ‘right leg forward, angle it and then left leg forward’, ‘1-2-1-2-1’ and so on. I just couldn’t do it properly. I never went beyond the first 1-2 sequence because I would loose my balance there.

There is a positive side to this though. Firstly, and this should be obvious to the dumb, I wouldn’t have tried if I had thought this is going to be really hard. I would probably prepared myself a little if I had thought that way, but the technology isn’t advanced enough for me to Google skating simulation.

Next,  do you know the sensation you get after swimming? You are walking on land but still feel like you floating in the water. Nothing has ever come close to that feeling. Today after I was done and walked to my bus stop I felt like I was on ice again. I felt I was gonna slip and fall on my ass again. I loved that sensation.

Third, I thought back and realized how many things have I tried by thinking ‘How hard can it be?’ and I failed miserably. I am not ashamed of the fact that I failed, I find it funny though. I am going tramping next weekend I told my roommate, ‘how hard can it be’ today. Yay!

Lastly, I got an idea to write this post. I know ~4 people read this blog, one of whom is my mother (Hi Mom!!!) so yeah! I think I am back.

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Daily Post: Slur (Fantasy Fiction)


(My plan was not to write stream of continued stories  but now with the help of daily prompt, I am going to try writing them. First story in the series: Glitter)

‘Firde!!!’ the Slurred Cat screamed.

‘Wait what did he scream? Did he say fire?’ Maddy asked.

Before One Eyed Solomon could reply, they heard the gush of fire. If you have never heard fire being sprayed like water from a water hose; it sounds exactly like water. No one can actually make a differentiation between the two unless they see the spray is either fire or water.

Maddy looked and found that from the base of the cave, a stream of fire was being poured out. Only…

‘Is it just me or that fire is too small?’

‘How can fire be small Maddy?’

Solomon looked as well. None of the two were in any immediate danger of being fired upon as they were on the opposite direction and quite far from the cave.

‘Yes you are write. It is almost like that fire is coming from a small mouth.’

‘Small jaw sir. It is a reptile.’

‘Shut up Maddy. Think about what we are going to do next?’

The spray of fire stopped abruptly as it had appeared. Screams from the burned victims could be heard now. The two men had their eyes glued to the entrance of the cave and they were waiting to see what would happen.

‘Is ith gone?’ Slurred Cat asked standing directly behind them.

‘I don’th know.’ Maddy said and immediately received a glower from Solomon.

They got their answer soon as the dragon came out of the cave. The dragon was green scaled and small almost the size of a human when crawling. It was definitely a infant still.

‘So the dragon inside gave birth to a small dragon. Are you sure you want the gold inside which is slick with dragon fluids?’ Maddy asked.

‘Shut up. You have not heard the story have you? Three dragons together captured the cave. They killed almost every man and woman inside.No dragon was birthed inside.’

The dragon was still outside the cave when an arrow was fired on it. The arrow hit the skull of dragon and bounced off as if it was a pebble. The dragon was looking towards the direction where the arrow was fired from.

Another arrow. The result was the same, it bounced off the scales as if a pebble. It did irritate the dragon though.

‘What are they doing?’

‘A mistake.’

Everyone who had bow and arrow was firing arrows now and little good it did to the dragon until one unfortunate shot hit the dragon on the eye. The dragon howled in agony and …. it’s scream was not terrifying.

The scream was a child’s inarticulate scream: full of agony. It breathed fire in all directions burning arrows and heating stones before bolting back in. There was a silence in the night as if time was scared to move. It had to broken by Maddy

‘Now what sir?’

‘These guys run. We wait for the dragon’s revenge. Maddy they are coming out soon.’

 


 

Thank you for reading

 

Daily Post: Glittter (Fantasy Fiction)


‘I wanna go out Dad!’

‘Out? Did you say OUT?’ Dad screamed back at his son.

‘Yes dad. I am bored here, there is nothing to do. We are living on heaps of gold which is really uncomfortable to sleep over. I have not seen the sun or the moon in over 3 years.’

‘What are you talking about? We have been here only for 3 months.’ Dad said and then looked elsewhere. He turned back to face his son ‘Anyway you know there are people waiting outside so that they can kill us.’

‘Humans are small. We can kill them.Killing most of them is how we got inside right?’

Dad looked thoughtful, contemplating his son’s logic as that is how he got the bed of gold. He arrived like summer’s heatwave, scorching the fields outside the mountain. He would have had a difficult time to kill everyone if he had come alone but he didn’t. He brought his family with him.

Humans might be able to withstand and rally together to fight one of his kind, but against three they would have to run like babies. He looked towards where his mate slept. She looked so peaceful sleeping there that he had urge to go to her. She wouldn’t like that though, after all between the two of them: she was more ferocious.

His son though, he was the perfect mixture between his reptilian methods and his mate’s hot anger. However, his temperament was marred by the lack of patience and for the last couple of days he kept bothering for different things to do.

‘Alright, what do you plan on doing once you go outside?’

‘Fly! I don’t even know if I can fly anymore. I think I am just too fat to fly now. I also want to scare the sheep. I want to set lands and trees on fire. I want to make new friends.’

‘You know right that your friends will the first one to try and kill you?’

‘Yes I know that.’

He waited for his son to say something more but clearly his son had nothing more to add. He looked carefully at his son then: the glitter of the gold lying all around them shined on his jaw. His son looked…sad.

He got up, and shook off the gold coins off his scales. He can always find another cave filled with gold. But first he needed to entertain his son around and that is what he was gonna do.

‘I am taking our son outside. Do you wanna come with us?’ He asked his mate and braced himself for her attack. She did not like being awakened from her somber.

‘You are an idiot. You will not be able to care for him so I will have to come along with you. ‘ his mate grumbled. She wouldn’t have liked if he went to her but for her son she would let go of her sleep and he would let go of his bed of gold.

The three dragons went outside that night, flying and kissing the moon. Then they set the night sky aflame.

Daily Post: Tremble (Science Fiction)


‘How is my baby?’ I ask the doctor. He looks like he is going to say something but then he stops. He looks away from me for a second while I wait for his face to show any sign of trouble. He is old, definitely more than 150 years old as his silicon skin has developed wrinkles. His hair is starting to gray and his irises are dissolving into his eye substrate.

He looks at me again and says ‘Lucy should be fine. Her operation was not without consequences but she made it through. As you may know, consciousness implantation is hardly done on 8 year old kids. The brain is just not strong enough to sustain the imaging.’

He pauses expecting more questions from me. I don’t want to ask questions, I want to stand up and shout at him to tell me how is my daughter. I couldn’t do that though, this man is trying to save my daughter. I grab on to the seat posts and squeeze to control my anger. I hope he does not notice my white knuckles.

‘She is still under medication, so we do not know how will she be when she wakes up. Her medication should wear off in the next two hours.’ he finishes.

I take a deep breath. Lucy is alive and sleeping for now. Nothing has happened to her, and when she wakes up she should be completely okay. A lot of people have done consciousness implantation, they always turn out okay.

I turned out okay and my implantation was 50 years ago! Surely the technology has advanced enough for Lucy to be completely fine. She should be able to live a long life, her new body should be able to take care of her mind.

No more trembling limbs or seizures.

I thank him and go out of his office to call my relatives and friends. Most of them went home during the implantation surgery, even though it was only 6 hours long. Those were the longest 6 hours of my life.

Now I have to wait another two.

I spend the entire time calling people and lastly I call up my parents to inform them. They had been living for nearly 200 years now and yet they still have trouble using holograms. They always know how to make me smile with their simplicity.

Two hours later, Lucy gingerly wakes up. The heart rate and other body signals were being displayed on the wall screen behind her, the sound of her heart beat smooth and healthy cause if it wasn’t then there would be alerts.

She looks at me and smiles. I smile back, hope surging through my heart. I pick up her hand to hold her and say I am here sweety everything is going to be just fine.

I am the first person to notice her hand tremble.


 

Thank you for reading!

 

Internship Monologues


PS: I got an internship recently, and this is how I feel everyday.


Angel-Devil-OnShoulders
Credits: The Mighty

What are you doing?

I am trying to understand this code.

You have to admit it is way beyond your comprehension.

No I got this.

You will screw up. They will know you are a fraud.

Shut up! You worked your ass off for this and damn it I am not going to let you quit now. Come on now, move!

Oh, this is gonna end well.


My mind is constantly working. When I am reading, my mind is concocting the next military fantasy novel, when I am coding my mind is trying to create ideas for the next big application. My mind does not deal with small issues.

Go Big or Go Home.

I sometimes hear my mind speak in a voice not very distant from my own, but it has a certain sense of arrogance that I can never manifest in mine. My mind wants perfection, it craves success and lastly, it wants that high of achievement.

I push myself to get it: constantly for almost everything. I have met people who say that it is tiring and they get burnout at the end of the day. I am lucky enough to not experience that so far. My mind is also smart enough to know when to stop trying.

Alas, it doesn’t know when to stop talking.


Oh shit! I screwed up.

No you did not, relax.

What have I done in my program: it completely crashes everything.

It is okay. Take a deep breath, you got this.

No I don’t. I should never have come here.

You are trying. That is all one can ever do, if it works or not is not in your hand.

Yeah I guess I can try.


It gets weird at times though. It is like I have the devil (he is not evil, mostly) and an angel sitting on my shoulders. One tells me to be the master of everything, to push above and beyond I have ever gone before. He tells me not to take shit from anyone ever, to keep chasing that perfection. It doesn’t give me the option of failure.

The other: it catches me when I fall, which is very often. It supports me, allows me to watch lots of dog videos when I am feeling down and slowly gets me back on track. It tells me it is okay to fail.


My internship has made the two voices extra loud. I am scared. Seriously scared about what will happen if I can’t do this.

You will not fail, you can’t.

I am struggling to understand how to code at the level of 4 year experienced coders. I have no idea how well I am doing.

It is okay, you are trying your best.

I am not afraid of asking for help, in fact that is what an internship is all about. Learning new things, working your way through challenges.Everyone is helpful at work, they never say no to helping out. They are also funny which is a bonus. I am just afraid of asking for too much help which can make them think I am not cut out for working at their level.

No you are!

I am afraid of being proved incapable. I am afraid of finishing my internship and realizing that maybe I wasn’t smart enough for all of this. I am afraid that my brain, which was once the my strongest asset, is no longer any asset.

If this does not work out then something else. You can manage things bro!

 

Daily Prompt: Scent (Poetry attempt)


What is smell but a trap?

Scented flower buds attract

Killing bees and insects

Unscented buds die hungry.

 


 

I have no idea why I tried this, but if you want to give feedback please feel free to do so. I would like to know what you think: even if you say this is crap! Thanks

Guest Blogger: Manan Pandya Interview


Recently, I got a reply from Manan after my Call for Guest Bloggers. He is from India and like me he is also a blogger! He asked me if I am willing to have guest bloggers and I was more than happy to do so.

So, without further delay, let’s hear from Manan!

 

1. Who are you?

I’m Manan, a student of computer science living in India. I’ve been a writer for school magazines for as long as I can remember. I’m also a professional sportsperson having played five different sports at state and national level.

2. Why do you write?

I write because I love it. I believe that through my writings I can connect with people and be that external stimulus they require to do what their heart wants.
 

3. What kind of stories/posts do you enjoy reading most? 

My reading genre varies largely but I do enjoy romantic and thriller novels more.

 

4. Tips for readers/Mayur on how to improve their writing?

Lastly, it would be hard for me to point out tips about improving your blog as I am unfamiliar with the audience. However I would say that the obvious – keep posting regularly.


His Guest Blog post will be published tomorrow night so do come back here to check it out.

Thank You Manan for the support. Feel free to check out his blog here.

PS: I am still open for more guest bloggers and I encourage more to come. If interested then contact me on: itsmayurremember@gmail.com

 

Daily Prompt: Exquisite Art (Fiction)


‘What is stolen?’ the curator exclaimed.

Security guard swallowed, remembering that it was her job to keep The Pandora safe in the museum. After all, it was the only painting in the world which can be spread 360 degree.

Now, someone had stolen it.


 

‘Hey bro!’ the street beggar called out to the passing police officer. The officer never changed his step and ignored the beggar completely.

The ones who are supposed to protect everyone sometimes have a different notion of everyone.

‘Alright, I could have told you about the painting.’ the beggar mumbled.


 

‘How much did this painting cost?’ the officer asked.

‘How much?!’ the curator exclaims. He always hated those who had no clue about art. He hated those more who tried to put a price tag over something so unique as The Pandora.

‘It was priceless! There was never any other painting like this. You ask me the price? It took Vincent Bonjo 15 years to make that painting. He ran out of money, he lost his house and eventually completed the painting while staying on the streets. Where else can anyone find a painting like this?’

‘It still would have been evaluated. Any estimate would do sir, we would like to know how much monetary value was actually stolen.’

‘3 years ago it could have bought a small state in this country. Three years ago? After a while we stopped estimating the price because we would need bigger numbers.’

‘Okay priceless was better.’

‘That is what I said.’

‘Any offers to buy the painting recently?’

‘No offers recently. The painting had been stored away as the wing was under construction for a while and it was going to be unveiled tomorrow.’

‘When did the construction complete?’

‘How would I know? I am in charge of the paintings and not the refurbishment.’

‘In charge of the painting? Clearly you were not good at your job.’

‘I am not in charge of the security. She was not good at his job. I fired her!’

‘Fired her? So the security in charge is not here? We would like to talk to her.’

The curator at this point called over his security for further information about the on duty guard. The officer exchanged some pleasantries before jumping to the topic of the guard.

There was something nagging him though, how could someone steal a huge 360 degree painting?

‘How big was the painting?’

‘I already told you the painting was the biggest deal!’

‘No you told me that the painting was one of the kind but you did not tell me the size of the painting.’

‘Oh the painting is about 20 m long and 1 m wide.’

‘That is not a large painting. It could have been easily stolen along with the construction equipment. I would like to know about the construction company.’


‘Hey bro!’ the beggar called out to the curator who was walking past. Even he did not look at the beggar, as if the space occupied by the beggar was non existent.

‘Shame! I could have told you about the painting.’ the beggar mumbles.


 

‘We don’t know anything about any painting.’ the suspect avows.

‘Then give us the name of every construction worker in the last couple of days.’ the officer counters.

‘Sure I already gave them. Your partner has them.’

‘He does?’

‘Yeah he does.’

‘Then why did you let me go all Hulk on you?’

‘I tried to tell you that your partner has them but you didn’t let me.’

‘But you should have told me sooner’

‘You did not let me!’

The officer looked around, clearly embarrassed about his mess up. He then slowly sulked away from the suspect as the suspect looked on. Just as the officer was about to leave the line of sight, he turned back at the suspect and says:

‘Don’t leave town.’


 

‘Hey fellows!’ the beggar greets some police officers. They ignore him too but he tries again. This time, one of the police officer answers.

‘What?’

‘You are here about the painting right?’

‘How the hell you know about that?’

‘I live right outside the museum.’

‘And you are high all the time.’

‘It is not my fault that petrol is so easily available’

‘What do you know about the painting?’

‘Just that the construction workers dropped something big on their way out.’

‘How big?’

‘About 20 X 1 m big’

‘You know where it is?’

‘I just have one condition.’


 

One week later after the case has been closed and the museum reopened. The guests were all patiently waiting for the opening of the new wing. They waited for the curtain to be opened so that they can be ushered into the wing and look at the The Pandora.

All except one person who was already standing inside the new wing, turning around to look at the 360 degree painting. The curator entered the wing and met the beggar.

‘It is beautiful isn’t it?’ the curator greets.

‘Yeah making it was very difficult’

‘I should thank you for that’ the curator paused and then added ‘You don’t look the same as you did back then’

‘Yeah, you know I ran out of colors at the end. I had to use some rotten tomatoes and other stuff I found in the garbage to finish this’

‘You wanted it to be called The Garbage

‘You wanted an exquisite name for an exquisite painting?’

Vincent Bonjo winked at the curator as their deal was now done. The painting was world famous, the curator had enough donations into this place and finally, the maker could see his masterpiece as a whole for the first time.


 

Thank you for reading! Keep commenting on the posts.

Daily Prompt: Unseen Hero (Fiction)


‘How could no one seen a thing?!’ Lieutenant Copper exploded.

The two sergeants in front of Copper had never heard their lieutenant speak like this. Copper was a nimble man, full of courtesy and diplomacy. No other man had stayed in charge for as long as Copper has and that is because of how he speaks. The masked surface was under attack now as there was a new kind of trouble on the streets.

According to him at least there is a new trouble.

‘Tell me what do the witnesses tell us?’ Copper asked again, regaining some of his cool demeanor back.

‘Sir, most of the victims or witnesses, as you put it, say that the train was under attack. There was a metal-tentacled man who killed off the driver and then screwed up the controls. They say they don’t know how the vigilante stopped the train but they are glad that he did.’ Sergent Jones iterated.

Copper nodded, his face focused on the statement. He wanted to find a flaw in the witness statement but there was none. Sargent Jones and Sargent Hunter have been over the witness statements a couple of times.

No one said anything out of the ordinary. No one had seen or heard anything to further their investigation about the vigilante. This troubled Copper, this vigilante’s face was one of the most sought after thing currently in the city.

Never mind the metal tentacled man, or his predecessor the green suited-air gliding man or any of the other menace lurking in the city. Copper’s concern was to stop the vigilannte first and then worry about the other menace.

No lone ranger in my city

The entire thing was bizarre enough until a couple of months ago a witness said they had seen this vigilante. The witness hadn’t seen the face properly but he was sure of one thing: this vigilante did not wear a mask.

No mask! The vigilante was saving the city for months now and yet no one had come forward with any information as to what this vigilante looked like? Was he a blonde? A Caucasian guy or an African-American guy?

The answers were out there, amongst the people he had saved but no one ever ventured any information about this vigilante. The train attack was the biggest break the police ever had with the vigilante.

Yet no one has seen his face.

‘Alright, go out again. I want you to canvas the area, find me someone who can tell me if this vigilante is a kid, an adult or a 70 year old veteran. Find me something until I call the Mayor and ask him a favor.’ Copper paused contemplating telling his sargents about the favor. He decided he could trust them both.

‘I would beg him to declare a reward on testimonials about this vigilante. He cannot be unseen after doing so many things.’


 

Thank you for reading, let me know what you think about it.

Daily Prompt: Cling (Fiction)


The smell clung to his self. He could never wash it out, no matter how many times he tried to wash his clothes. He tried to eradicate it out of his self by trying different techniques, by using the ways of his victims.

He traded perfumes from some of the best manufacturers of the world. They asked him just before their end what did he want. He told them. They laughed and then he joined their laughter.

After hearing him laugh, all the blood had drained from their face. They hurried to bring him perfumes, the costliest ones and the strongest ones. He used them and went out, leaving his victims to live another day.

Literally another day.

Cause he would come back the very next day, angry that the perfume did not work. They would beg more but he would not relent, not this time. You can always make one deal and when you break it, there is no going back. He never regretted doing his job.

In fact he loved his job. He got to travel all around the world. He could go to a country of peace, a country of war and a country barricaded against all of the world. He would sneak in, finish his mission and get out before anyone can notice what had happened.

They would notice after his work is done. That surprise on their faces would always amuse him and he would laugh. His laughter would be silent this time, for no one should hear him laugh.

Regardless of how much he loved his work, it was after all just his day job. The demands of the work impacted his physical appearance and it affected his odor. He cannot take it anymore, the bad odor oozing from his own self. He could smell the lifelessness from his victims radiating from him.

He hated that. Not only did he have to deal with other’s demise but also he had to carry their odor with him.

Once, he met a great tailor who bartered for a new dresscode. He agreed hopeful for the smell to cease. It did, for a day and then the fabric could no longer contain.

It was like a dam had broken and the smell just burst forth. He had killed one person by that smell alone. He went back to the tailor again and he finished his mission. It was the last barter he ever made.

Now, whenever the mission calls he gets up. He looks at his own image in the mirror. The face was barely recognizable anymore, his cheekbones looked ghastly. He tried to find his eyes but he couldn’t help but stare into the abyss.

The job had taken too much from him. Now, there was no way to stop.

He grabbed his cowl, put it on and grabbed his scythe. He had missions to complete.

Diwali In Auckland


(PS: that is not my home, it is my neighbors’)

To me, Diwali is the festival of food, particularly sweets. Families all over would create  culinary masterpieces and the very air would be infused with myriad aromas. When Diwali is passes by my house would be filled with lots of food, boxes of sweets. The sweets are delicious. They are perfect eatery when I am wandering or standing near the refrigerator door.

I have many favorite sweets. Over Hindu calendar year, there are many festivals where sweets are obligatory. During Diwali, we would go to our cousin’s place to exchange sweets. The purpose of meeting people is to catch up, spend quality time. For me, that never mattered, I am not much of a people person. I enjoyed Diwali as long there was enough food.

I decided this Diwali would end with sweets. This was not nostalgia or delusion. I can’t eat food and be instantly transported back to home. I don’t need sweets to recall what home is like on Diwali.  The evening would be alive with firecrackers’ noise. Mum would startle hearing a burst of a cracker. My dog Jimmy would run around smelling food. He got quickly immune to the noise of crackers.

Dad would watch a Diwali celebration concert on TV. The concert would be terrible but he would keep switching channels. Navin, my brother, would play on his phone or roam the town with his mates. If he is out, he would come home half hour late at the minimum. He always did that making everyone fret over his ETA.

Eventually, everything would work out fine. The entire house would be lit with oil lamps and decorating LEDs on the windows, dry color floor artworks (rangoli) outside the house. The LEDs lights toggle their brightness. It would continue to dance and emulate the twinkling the stars for the rest of the night. The Pooja (prayer) at home would finish quickly while Navin or I would make sure that Jimmy doesn’t eat any of the sweets.

Funny how easy it is to recall mundane memories at times like this.

Auckland is different. There is no startling noise of crackers, no decorating LEDs. But I decided that tonight at least there has to be a meet and catch up. The main reason was food obviously. I made a plan, invited some friends to a nearby Indian restaurant. As I cycled there, I could see which houses have Indian families. It is easy to spot that one house in a lane with LEDs adorning the porch. The house which has oil lamps lit on the veranda. Someone started fireworks as well.

I was not the only Indian out eating today: meeting everyone and greeting them ‘Happy Diwali’ was familiar to the days in India. Over the entire year, no one would say hi to one another, and on Diwali, everyone would greet each other like we are some long lost cousins.

The food was amazing. The essence of Diwali for someone like me was achieved. It was with a bunch of people who I can count on. The familiarity made food more precious. I didn’t miss home today as I thought I would.

Fiction: At the races


Chris sat at the stall, waiting for Selena to show up. The race was about to start and she was nowhere to be seen, it was her idea to spend the Sunday on a racetrack. They arrived at the scene together but then she said she needed to use the loo. Now, half hour later, the horses were all lined up and it has to be only a couple of minutes before the whistle is blown and the race starts.

The excitement of the race was enough for Chris to forget about Selena, even if he didn’t want to. Selena had warned him that races are addictive and from the moment they are lined up, the adrenaline high he felt was indescribable. Chris could no longer disagree with it, he was skeptical about it at first. All around him he could see people cheering on, screaming for the race to start. Some were already a little tipsy, after all the bar was open for significant time. Now, the bets have all been made and the bookies are all waiting for the results to be out. Many people will leave the race with money enough to party all night long in London and others will go home, get drunk and curse their misfortune.

For Chris, caution and self control was the key. Before the excitement had surged, he had already made modest bets on horse number 7. Because of this, he wasn’t worried about losing a lot of money, neither was he anticipating good profits. The bets were more of ‘When in Rome, do it like the Romans do’ kind of an act. However, now he had to control his impulses to just go and make a few bets.

Where is Selena? he thought. His heart was pumping and he could feel sweat budding on his forehead. He used his napkin to wipe the sweat but there was nothing more he could do for his heart. Except drink more ale.

As he took a sip, the whistle was blown and Selena was nowhere to be seen.


 

Selena threw her knife at the copper’s chest and it him right in the middle. She didn’t stop to check whether or not he was dead, she just rolled over to be away from the other coppers’ line of fire. This was a disaster, she thought as she exhaled a mouthful of air.

Chris would not have ever guessed why she wanted to come for the races. Now, her elaborate plan had been shattered to pieces and all she could think of is his safety. What has happened to her?

A shot was fired and it hit the wooden panel to the left of her head. She whipped her head around to see more coppers coming in the tent, one of them with an automatic weapon.

Damn! she cursed her stupidity. The henchmen now know who she is and also would find out who she came here with. There is no going back to anonymity after what has happened here and they will keep hunting her. Screw it, she thought as she tore away the bulky dress and freed her legs for more agility. Underneath the dress she had an arsenal of weapons: knives, shooting stars and one revolver. The revolver was for desperate measures only as it had only 6 shots and she didn’t bring in a lot of bullets.

She glanced back from the hole in the panel and counted. 10, 11… 12 coppers she could see out there. This was not going to be easy but she has done this kind of thing before too. If all goes well, then she should be able to escape with a couple of broken ribs and maybe one gunshot wound. If all goes well..

No time to waste now, she thought as she grabbed a couple of throwing knives, removed her heels and held them both in different hands. The knives were the main weapons, heels were for close combat.

She brought mayhem to the tent as she threw her knife at the pole holding the structure and the canvas barred her opponents vision.


 

The chorus of men, women screaming as soon as the whistle blew was deafening. Chris was jolted and he added his voice to the crowd, swept along with the flow.

He could see the horses running fast and faster, already covered up a quarter of the track within seconds. His number 7 was not in the lead but he could hear someone screaming ‘Yes’ for the lead horse, number 9.

Chris had an growing urge to just hit the guy whose horse was in the lead. He turned around to see who it was and saw and elderly man with binoculars to his eyes. The elderly man had not noticed Chris yet but Chris noticed the man’s companion.

Clearly 30 years younger than him, the companion was someone Chris had seen a while ago. He remembered going to a party along with Selena and the girl was either the hostess of the party or another guest. He had never seen the elderly man before.

The girl was an anomaly in the crowd. While everyone else was screaming their lungs out over the horses, the girl sat mute and composed. She noticed his attention and he quickly looked away.

Looking at the girl made him realize that Selena was not here yet and she was still missing out on the race. It was her idea damn it!


 

4 dead and 8 more to go. As soon as the canvas had fallen down, Selena moved with the grace that would have made snakes piss. Within seconds she had slashed three coppers’ throats and had stabbed the fourth. However, the time spent on killing the four was enough for the other’s to come within sight of her. One of them opened fire and he felt a stab of pain in her left calf.

From experience, she knew what a gunshot wound felt like. This pain that she felt was nothing close to that pain meaning that the shooter had missed. Well, she will not miss. She turned in a circle and aimed, used her momentum and drove her knife at the copper’s head. She was moving before he dropped to the ground.

Two more in front of her and she had no knives in her hand anymore. She had heels nonetheless and it was time that men knew how much heels hurt. With her right hand she hit the copper’s gun away and her left hand uppercut the other with the heel. There was a spray of blood on her face but she didn’t stop. She brought in her left towards the head of the copper and the right towards the stomach. He dodged her left but her right lodged in his stomach. She left her heel in his stomach and moved on, leaving him to his slow agonizing death.

No more knives but she still had the gun and there were only 6 left. There were also some other guns lying around and now she picked them up. Halfway through with this, she was struggling to believe that there hardly any damage to her when the automatic opened fire.

Something like a truck hit her shoulder and she fell to the ground by the force. She lost the gun from her hand but it was still within reach. She could see she was surrounded and the automatic gunman was still active.

Well, it was a long shot anyway.


 

The race finished and Chris had never been this high. He had not won his bet but he still had an amazing experience. The elderly man was more excited as he had just won the bet.

The girl had finally moved and now was standing just above him. She whispered, ‘We always win’ just as she stabbed him in the back.


Inspiration: Peaky Blinders Season 2 Episode 6

Rejections


Imagine yourself on the penultimate step of the staircase. You are almost at a new level, representing a new world in itself. How you reached that spot is another story, worthy of its tale. However, if you don’t reach the final step, something which often happens in my life, it can be because of two cases.

One case: the last step gave away as soon as you put your weight on it, and you fall through the crack into a dark viscous pool of depression. You don’t have time to take a breath, in less than a second you are choking on something that feels like tar and struggling against a liquid that solidifies as time passes.

Second case: the final step is there, but it is beyond your reach. It has grown into a wall, and you have to climb it. You can’t do it alone, and you want someone to haul you up. Only there is no one to haul you up to the new level. You can see people up there, but no one can see you. Slowly your legs feel stuck, then your torso and eventually you have a stiff neck. It is the depression tar again, only, this time, it is creeping up slowly.

I would prefer the first case over the second one every single time. I would rather be a victim of circumstance than be rejected by people who can’t see me. I would rather have the power to save myself than to rely on others to it. While one case I can be free even by any firm ground, the second requires a huge recovery period filled with comfort food, lack of motivation and lots of stupid TV shows. Because rejection hurts, more so when no one can see you.

Why so….happy?


Recently, partly because of my newfound ‘Yes’ attitude and my friend’s insistence, I ended up at a meditation workshop arranged by people from Hare Krishna Temple, Auckland in University of Auckland.

The person conducting the workshop did a good job, outlining the various religious reasons as to why a certain meditation is performed. I know this as my parents have told me about it before. But I couldn’t focus much on what he said because I wanted to ask him:

Why are you smiling? How are you so happy?!


 

I have been going to a church here regularly for a while, now my weekly visits have reduced. The reason I decided to take a step back was because I felt like I don’t fit in there. I always felt it but I tried to swim against the current nonetheless. I go to church and I look around at people. I see happy faces, people with no sorrow.

It puzzles me, how could these people be happy?

Everyone has problems and everyone is going to be tensed about it. But then how could they look so relaxed!


 

After the meditation finished, I told my friend the same thing. I feel weird about a person look so at peace while I am in torturous turmoil. He has found solace in a deity beyond us. But as I look at the people in my church, at the meditation people, all I see are people who are trying to make a happy exterior. An exterior that I cannot relate to, cannot fathom & so I want to break to see what’s inside.

It is really hard to trust someone when I don’t feel as if they are not real. I can’t relate to people when I don’t see the scars. That in itself is scarier than all the pretentious happiness.

No offense intended to any religious practice

Who is this guy?


7 months. Without family, with only an hour long conversations with people who I utterly love. And now, this morning I realized I no longer can recognize myself.

Mumbai would be a place of comfort. Where I would say ‘no’ more than I draw breath. No to cooking, no to cleaning, no to socializing, you get the gist.

Why am I writing about it?

Because it is one of those days where there is too much to do. It is this day that I have to go for a job fair, have a date, try my hand at a coding competition and all of this on top of my usual university project and thesis writing. Others, my mom including say that I am chewing more than I can swallow.

I don’t agree with them. I just say ‘Yes’ more now.

Practically everyday I come home, I make sure that I cook my own dinner. I never did that when I was with family, I would always bring something from a restaurant. Now, I love cooking so much that whenever I try something new and it works, I tell mom with excitement. I make sure that my stuff is clean, at university and home.

However not everything is roses. In college, I would have to walk for five minutes before I would run into a friend. I remember a friend complaining to me I know a lot of people. Now, most of my days are spent bent in front of my laptop, learning codes or watching some important tutorial. Friends? I have already given up. I have spent so much of my time in a church where everyone seems friendly and I would rather stand outside than talk to anyone.

I always thought that making friends in a new country would be the easiest thing I would ever have to do and house chores would suck. In the last 7 min, I enjoy chores more than meeting a new face.

I have always ran on ‘Indian time’, a special scale in which it is practically normal to be half hour late. Now, after a colossal mistake, I am always early. I don’t even have an alarm in my phone anymore, I know I will be up exactly 8 hours from when I sleep.

There are not enough words to articulate the discord between me from 7 months ago and me a minute ago. One is full of naivety and other is practical. One is disorganized, other is organized to the minute. One feels lonely, other is lonely.

I never lived in denial back there, now on the end of bad days I sit in my bed watching a comfort show which does nothing more than numb and dumb my brain down. And I am aware of what I am doing. I know this though, regardless of the rejections, bad days and good minutes: I would never regret this life changing move.

So someday, I look at myself in the mirror and ask ‘Who is that guy?’

Fiction: Waiting for a Train


‘He will be here, his letter said so.’ Maduram said. Sindhu, the station master observed Maduram sceptically. Madhuram was old, looked frail, he should not be out on a cold night without any warm clothes. His threadbare kurti and lungi could scarcely provide warmth, his shawl looked older than Madhuram. Regardless Maduram was here waiting for an rich American traveler. Sindhu was afraid that this was a case of delirium, old people do have a tendency to go a little nuts.

Sindhu knew Madhuram, they have spoken before and he was also aware of why everyone in the village were so found of Madhuram. Sindhu, a born cynic and skeptic trusted Madhuram! Sindhu had been the station master for 15 long and hot years. He had seen travelers coming to the village to visit the iconic Kali Mandir, he had witnessed teary goodbyes from mothers to their sons as they left for Mumbai, the city of dreams. In 15 years multitude things changed, a few didn’t. The tea stall outside the station still made disgusting tea, it had more water than milk. The wages Sindhu received still hadn’t changed much, while the town grew his salary crawled. Lastly, Madhuram was always outside the station greeting customers as if a mother greets her sons. No wonder people who returned always asked for Madhuram.

Madhuram was older than 70, he looked 80 years old. His teeth have started to fall off and whenever he smiled now, Sindhu was terrified a little. But as Madhuram spoke, the apprehension vanished and a familiar sense of comfort replaced it. Over the years, Madhuram never stopped driving around his rickshaw. There were better rickshaws available in the market but Madhuram never sold his old vehicle. Sindhu never asked why, he still had his first bicycle.

It hurt Sindhu, for he was looking at someone who was as close as a friend, start slowly loose his mind. Sindhu knew nothing about Madhuram’s family and he couldn’t leave Madhuram alone on the station like this. So he just sat there and listened to Madhuram talk about his English friend. Other rickshaw drivers conned travelers but Sindhu opened his heart to them. Maduram had the heart & wealth of a saint. He would never con, he would never bicker with anyone. He has been like that, as far as Sindhu can tell, he would die with a heart that doesn’t belong in this world. The least Sindhu could do was to listen as one of the best people he knew prattle.

 


 

25 years ago, Maduram saw a firangi (foreigner) depart the train. Every rickshaw driver knew that this meant dollars. Luckily for him that day, he was the only rickshaw driver. Pankaj had gone off for lunch and so Maduram approached the firangi. Madhuram knew that the firangi was lost, frustrated and a little angry just by looking at him. Madhuram did something that he hardly ever did: he smiled and greeted the firangi. The tension evaporated from firangi’s stature and he said “Maandir?”

Firangi trying to speak hindi was hilarious incident for Madhuram.  He drove the firangi, who said his name was Peter, to the temple of Kali. One the way they both spoke, Madhuram slowly reminiscing his time in Mumbai. He had learned some English when he was in Mumbai, when he was young and stupid. So they spoke in broken languages of one another and somehow the two wrongs made right and a bond was born, stronger than anything Madhuram had ever known before. The entire day Madhuram drove Peter around, first to the temple, then to the river where all the village wives washed clothes and then to the old film set where Amitabh Bachan had shot his first movie. All of the places had no tourists, they were all places where Madhuram had spent his youth in; where he had decided that it was time he became something like Amitabh himself.

As night fell, Madhuram invited Peter to their home. Peter accepted and as they reached home, Peter was shocked and Madhuram abashed. The ‘home’ of Madhuram’s family was nothing more than a small shed where he lived with his wife and son. But Madhuram didn’t relent and treated Peter more like a brother than a guest. Peter was an Englishman visiting India as he wanted to experience what his ancestors did. Peter wanted to know what made his grandfather love this country so much. Peter also said that his experience so far had contradicted everything his grandfather had told him.

Madhuram however, was excited and apprehensive at the same time. He had met some firangi when he was a young man, living in Mumbai with wide eyed dreams of making it to the big screen just like Amitabh Bachan or Dharmender. He never could become great, and he was too straight for the crooked lifestyle. Everyone in the village kept asking him about the life in Mumbai and he narrated the story. However his story made more naive youngsters leave the village chasing the same dreams.

Peter enjoyed the tour around the places in the village. He was comfortable in the tiny abode of Madhuram’s. Madhuram’s wife Sita blushed whenever Madhuram complimented her food. His son, Dhanu kept looking at Peter as if he was alien, got a scolding from Madhuram as soon as he noticed. It was astonishing for Peter to see how such a family of three can live in a small house, but nevertheless the hospitality offered was better than the best hotel. The food was another paradise perfectly crafted in a small ceramic plate, which was different from the metal plates the family ate in. Sita didn’t speak at all, she couldn’t speak English. Dhanu knew English than Madhuram and Madhuram was proud.

‘I learnt English Bombay, I learn English Dhanu’ Madhuram proudly stated.

Peter laughed at the statement, a simple statement that had was medley of pride, joy and sorrow rolled in one. He was taken back by the emotions packed. The family was in itself complete regardless of the materialistic lacking. They kept asking Peter to stay in their house even before the dinner was done. Peter never said yes but they insisted and Dhanu ran outside to fetch a better mattress. Madhuram had not yet even taken fare from Peter.

 


 

Postal addresses were exchanged before Peter departed. Sita and Dhanu stayed back home while Madhuram drove Peter to the station. Madhuram refused Peter’s money.

‘Money from bhai?’ Madhuram asked refusing Peters’ insistence.

Peter never knew what bhai meant, but the word stayed with him. A month after Peter left, Dhanu came home gleefully. Turns out there was a letter in Madhuram’s name at the post office near the school. Madhuram couldn’t read the letter but Dhanu could. Somehow, Peter had tracked a person in London who could write in Hindi as well and there was a two paged letter, one in English and other in Hindi. Peter mentioned his family, his grandfather and his girlfriend. Madhuram didn’t know what girlfriend meant but Dhanu grinned embarrassingly.

The letter was signed off with ‘Bhai, Peter’.

Over the months that followed Dhanu kept coming home with similar letters and he kept sending more letters out of the country. Madhuram spent a days’ wages on the letters and eventually he didn’t need Dhanu to read the letters. 3 years passed this way but suddenly the letters stopped. Madhuram got worried as he knew that on 20th of every month a letter would arrive. It was 30th and still no letter. He went to the post office daily to check but still no letter. He sent more letters asking what had happened but no reply. Years passed and Dhanu went to the city for study. Sita got pregnant but she couldn’t survive childbirth and the girl was stillborn. While Dhanu tried to make his studies and a grieving father priorities, Madhuram sent him back to the city to complete his studies. Madhuram grew distant, and he sent another letter to a bhai across the globe. No reply.

He never invited anyone to his home anymore, he had no home other than a shed. He treated everyone the same way he treated Peter and showed them all the temples, the rivers and the film locations. Some were happy, most were annoyed. Most just thought he was cheating them for more fare. His son was gone, making money and name for himself, Madhuram was proud of him, but he hardly got time to visit his village anymore. Madhuram wrote another letter.

One day Dhanu came home unexpectedly and he had a letter with him.

 


 

Sindhu couldn’t believe it. Friends, one English and the other an ordinary rickshaw driver. They didn’t share a language, they didn’t share any cultural background but they shared bond stronger than any he had ever known. Sindhu’s father had mentioned Madhuram, he had said Madhuram is one of the very souls which could imbue loyalty from a thief. Sindhu however was never aware of the hardships Madhuram had suffered. It is one thing to hear about someone’s loss. It is even more devastating to listen to the person narrate his loss.

The train horned distantly and Sindhu looked away from Madhuram, conscious that tears might fall. He knew he would be at the station when the two friends reunited. He hoped he would be strong enough to witness it. Moreover he hoped that Peter actually shows up.

When the train finally stopped, Madhuram bolted upright, his moderately strong vision scanning the crowd in light of a few bulbs. Sindhu scanned the crowd as well, how hard can it be to spot one white among so many colors. He spotted an old white man soon enough and directed Madhuram towards him.

Peter looked worse than Madhuram, there was some problem with him. Sindhu almost flinched when he saw Peter, he resembled a leper. But Madhuram, he was overjoyed. Tears rushing from his eyes as waterfalls and ran to embrace his friend. It was out worldly to witness this, an ordinary old man hugging a diseased white man.

Sindhu, for the first time in years cried seeing them. The onlookers were damned, he knew he was changed forever. Madhuram tried to speak but his throat was rocked with sobs, his old body shivering. Peter, he never knew he could ever know peace like this ever again, especially when he knew he had only weeks to live.

 


 

The story was inspired by Pico Iyer’s personal essay I had read in ‘Burn This Book’. Short story plucked all the heartstrings.

Poem: Trying too Hard (NZ National Poetry Day 2016)


Inspired by a recent Meetup I just went to & today’s Daily Prompt challenge: Obvious. I decided to try poetry for the day.


 

Trying too hard you say,
Mockery spurns away.
Why is this such a bad thing?
Everyone wants to fit in.

It is easy for many to find their places,
others struggle to find spaces.
Trying too hard you say,
with disgust and others hearsay.

Stop with your pretentiousness,
Embrace the awkwardness.
Be kind in with your words,
they are sharper than swords.

Many grew in times,
when one had to earn their wines.
Nothing was a mouseclick distant,
Nothing was a publicity stunt.

Trying too hard you say,
Mockery spurns away.
Fitting in is what makes us,
can’t you what’s Obvious?


 

Other entries in Daily Post Challenge:

Privilege


In recent times, privilege has been branded as a word to describe to Whites. The use of the word is many a times justified, but I am not the judge of that. I am not perceptive enough to pick out subtle race differences, to spot the minorities. I am not writing a post about racism, nothing has warranted it. But now, I have  a taste of privilege.

 


 

Last night, after a hilarious evening with some friends I took the midnight bus home. I didn’t want to read a book. I sat with music reverberating in my ears and looked around. For the midnight bus, there were still a lot of people riding home. Auckland doesn’t sleep either. I saw faces mirroring mine: tired, sleepy and listening to music than talk to each other. The only sound was the roar of the engine (which was not much) and chatter of a couple. I raced my brain to draw some inspiration in the scene, to get inspired and write a fictional story from the dark passage home but I couldn’t. How could I?

 


 

We all are going somewhere. One station at a time #train #blacknwhite #auckland

A photo posted by Mayur Wadhwani (@mayurdw) on Feb 29, 2016 at 10:26pm PST

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On my way to work in train, I was reading a collection of personal essays. I was mundane, another commuter more engrossed in his phone or his book than to observe people or talk to people. This changed until the person next to me took out a novel. Her interests and mine were different, I read novels for fun and she read because of curiosity, which was now focused on understanding New Zealand’s aboriginals Maoris. I could see her interests in tracing Maori philosophical & cultural roots

In my time in Auckland, Maoris look physically big, scary. It is difficult to comprehend their accent their sense of humor is eclectic, only to be understood by them. After I actually got to know a few of them, I can say now they are simple-minded and enthusiastic about everything. (Exclude a gregarious roommate I had in my previous home)

We spoke first about Maori culture, I already knew a little about their mythologies as I have read some novels. I don’t know everything about them after reading a couple of novels. On the other hand, she is trying to understand the customs, their drive. She said she could draw many parallels between her Buddhist practices and Maori practices. One peculiar custom we spoke of related to their ‘Mana'(or in how I could understand the term: respect) is when a person wronged and their Mana been damaged, the same person must restore their Mana by damaging the perpetrator’s Mana. From my sessions in my University’s debate society, I know there is a property law founded on the same principle.

However, we quickly moved on from books and spoke about the city life, which is lonely as compared to rural life, rife with communities and mutual care. She said that she is trying to help out in her own way to take care of the surroundings, to give back to the country she is staying in and trying to understand the wealth gap existing particularly in Auckland. She mentioned that she feels privileged to have enough food, shelter and livelihood.

 


 

If you ever ask any foreign national to describe India, or Mumbai specifically, they will say it is very poor. She said the same thing while reminiscing her last trip to Mumbai. She was torn at the sight of so many poor people living without basic amenities. I wanted to tell her that she was a magnet for all the beggars as she had dollars. The heartlessness of my own words shamed me. Our conversation had quickly moved on from Maori culture to the poverty prevalent in my home city, the intensity of our conversation didn’t. As for the homeless in Auckland, I could say I have seen worse. Became immunized to worse conditions.

Probably why I never complain about buses running late in the city, as I have traveled buses which were running with a joke of timetable in my hometown. Why I never complain about the traffic or for that matter the standard of living here as I know it is four times what I was used to. And I am still scrapping the end of the barrel here.

When we spoke, for me it was very easy to fire up, and be outraged by her pity to call India poor. After all we are improving. However, the truth is we have to fight for basic amenities in India. The biggest of which is, and forever will be, water supply. There is too much in rainy season, too little in summer. I tried to defend my country by quoting Rang De Basanti ‘No country is perfect’ but at the end, I knew she was right. The ceaseless struggle, my city which never sleeps, city I left behind. I moved to a place with better living, with hopes of making a better life.

I have no conclusions to draw from yesterday. Because we never reached a conclusion. Maybe there will never be a conclusion.

Weekend Coffee Share: Househunting again


If we are having coffee, I would tell you that coffee shares are surprisingly simple and difficult at the same time. How much am I supposed to share? Am I just supposed to gloss over stuff, or dive into my feelings as I do in many of my posts.

I would tell you that I hate my housemate. She is subletting the apartment to us and is no longer willing to adjust all the while binding us to her house rules. I don’t mind the rules as long as I get what I want, which I have to argue over. This past week, things boiled over and there was no conclusion other than it is worthless. Time to move again.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I never realized what my parents meant by ‘having a stable home’ till now. After everyone argued, me and my roommate started by taking out our frustration and then each shared stories. I shared the story of the best people I met here, who would call me to dinner every Thursday when I lived in my previous home. He told me his overnight stay in his friends family place, and how he now knows what family is.

I looked in a couple of places this week, one of which I loved but was too expensive. After messaging, the houseowner said that nothing can be done. However, as I visited that place, I cycled by Mission Bay and it was so worth it. Auckland sure does have a lot of coastal ways and that is something I love.

If we are having coffee, it is at this point I would let you speak. To hear some others said, check them out.

 

 

Fiction: Characters in Bookworld?


Credits: Buzzfeed Books, FB

 

(I saw this on Facebook and I had to write on this!)

John could see the train coming in the tunnel, the beacon becoming brighter. Newmarket train Station in Auckland was extremely crowded. Considering the station had every line passing through it, it meant it was as important as Britomart Transport Centre. However, John had this stinking feeling that he had been here before even though he had never.

He had seen the train on different stations before too, he could guess he had seen the train driver before. The station masters in their yellow high visibility jacket were standing at the yellow line of the platform to ensure that no one crosses it as the train was almost at the station, a few seconds away. The girl next to him was playing Candy Crush on her iPhone, and his feeling intensified. He had seen that girl before, he just couldn’t recall when. He frowned, trying to remember when had he seen a scene which was so similar, the train light shining down the tunnel, the girl and the people. The loudspeakers boomed saying “Train for Swanson is arriving on platform 1, please stand behind the yellow line”

The wind blew across the station and someone lose their purple scarf. That purple scarf, he thought as it kept flowing and slammed into his face. He knew now, all of this had happened before. He had been here on the station before, seen the Candy Crush playing girl before right here and that scarf had hit him in his face before. Everything had happened before, only it really hadn’t. How? Why?

The train whoozed past him, slowing down and stopped, the door right in front of him. People pressed the green button to open the doors. He just stood there, the purple scarf had tied itself to his neck now and there was someone in his periphery. Another girl, no not a girl this time but an old woman. He realised that the scarf belonged to the woman and he apologised. Untying the scarf he handed it to her and smiled, the old woman smiled back. This was new. He could recollect some of the things which had happened last time. But last time? It was his first time here on the station wasn’t it?

He was no longer sure. He was sure that the previously he entered the train. After that what happened he was not sure. He had an interview to get to but he was too lost in his thoughts. The Candy Crush girl stood near the now opened door, the old woman was making her way to the reserved seats. He knew he had got in the train the last time.

This time, he didn’t want to. So he didn’t and slowly the train doors closed with a beeping sound signalling closing doors. He had just wasted his ticket but he didn’t care. He had a strange feeling that this was bigger than any other job waiting for him.

He knew that his story was written differently. Now it has started fresh.

Weekend Coffee Share: Eventful to say the least


If we are having coffee, I would say that this week has been exciting and tiring at the same time. I did a lot of things this week and the main thing is I loved the past week, which climaxed with a beautiful trip down to Taupo Lake.

 

If we are having coffee I would tell you that my manager helped me by providing me with a lot of utensils and cutlery because I asked for a thing or two. Aside from the fact that she gives me enough freedom, which I realized after I tried working for someone else this week, I am really happy that I am working with her. What is even better was this week there was another Jazz Session by University of Auckland students. Who doesn’t love Jazz?!

 

Last night. Jazz session by #ua #musicschool. Amazing!! #jazz #auckland #orleans bad camera shot though! 😞

A photo posted by Mayur Wadhwani (@mayurdw) on Jun 21, 2016 at 5:32pm PDT

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Wednesday my university had a career fair, and I have not figured out if it was useful in making contacts or not. I volunteered as the Student Ambassador that day and while I made contacts in my university I can’t say the same thing for the companies. Was it worth it? YUP!

If I was having coffee with you, I would tell you that I tried to get another job. I didn’t get it though, even though I knew exactly how I was doing. I do know how to tutor kids! Anyway, I am kind of glad that I didn’t. When that manager mailed me by telling me that I didn’t get the job, it almost ruined my trip. Almost. That very same night I had agreed on attending a friends’ 21st and I had fun. I met a recently married couple there and they were by far one of the most funniest couples I met. On the down side, I had to look for a gift for birthday girl. Damn shopping!

Lastly, if we do have coffee I would tell you I love New Zealand. It is so beautiful as soon as you get out of the city. Taupo Lake is as immense as the marina here, twice as cold but so much peaceful. We even found a ghost town there (Kinloch) as when we drove by we didn’t see on soul. We ate barbecue chicken, had excellent music and finished it off with chocolate. Best night ever! I am really happy that my friend invited me. The picture down is of the Orakei, we were lucky to be there just as the sky cleared up.

Now it is your turn! I know I spent too much of your time here but yeah sure go ahead. 🙂

Cycling: A Paradox


In the recent months, cycling in Auckland has become one of my favorite activities. At the same time, I have come to loath this activity too. I love cycling down-slope, even though my nerves fire up whenever I ride in such high speed, I am glad I bought a cycle. When I cycle up-slope, if I ever do, I curse my decision to buy a cycle in this sinuous city. I love the fact that I can ride really slowly around the places, the coastal areas and enjoy the view. But I hate it when some other cyclist overtakes me in their absolutely amazing cycle. I love the wind on my face as I cycle. I just hate it when I have to cycle against strong winds.

 

 


 

“He is still so short”

Everyone would talk about me “make him ride a cycle, that will give his growth an impetus.” I never was a fan of cycling, especially because learning to cycle meant falling down a lot and I didn’t want to get hurt. But whenever anyone would talk like that about me, I wanted to learn cycling. In my family, everyone is at least 6 feet tall. I was not tall at that time and I was slightly afraid that I wouldn’t be able to catch up to my cousins and siblings. So one fine day when one of my aunts said that line, I decided that I will learn cycling.

I learned cycling when I was in grade 9, and my learning curve did not include lots of falling. The few bruises and cuts I got were eclipsed by the joy of learning something I never thought I would do.

And to this day, I have not found any scientific correlation between cycling and getting taller. However, I don’t care anymore as I am taller than everyone in my family. Not really that tall in Auckland though, the people here are gigantic.

 

 


 

When I went to Hamilton, I was mesmerized by the green pastures that stretched for miles and miles. However we were driving at more than 100 kmph so there was hardly any time to actually absorb the views. I knew that if I was cycling or walking, I would have more time.

My first home in Pakuranga (East Auckland) had a great coastal cycleway. Almost every chance I got, I would be there cycling as slowly as I can, but not walking as I had a cycle, to soak in. The sounds of waves crashing into the rocks, the chirping seagulls(do seagulls chirp? I don’t know) and gushing wind. It was bliss.

Then when I would be heading to a friends’ place or the church I would again ride, this time fast as I was on the road. Every car that whooshed by me would be terrifying, especially on the bridge that I always had to cross. I never got used to that.

New house (West Auckland) and luckily I no longer have to cross any bridges. Only here, I saw other cyclist and damn they are fast. They would out pace me as if I am standing still and every single one who did made me want to go faster. It took me a while to grasp the truth: they are better cyclist on better cycles (their tyres offer less friction). I hate that and I want to go faster.

 


 

My first cycle was whatever leftover from my brother. He brought it and then after sometime hardly used it. We didn’t maintain it much I realize now. He had also custom painted it, if I could call it that. So when I started learning, I had to fix it up first and then ride around.

I rode it to my school, but for some reason I no longer remember, I stopped using it. We sold it off as scrap metal. Years later, we brought a scooter and at that time I was applying to many universities. Then, I wanted something for myself as well but I wanted a cycle again. Only for some reason, I never bought it. Money was not an issue, I had started earning and a cycle is cheaper than a scooter. With months passing, I got my visa and I left for Auckland never really buying a cycle. However I knew there are great pathways for cycling here.

Brought my first cycle here with money saved, and immediately did something stupid: tried to ride up-slope. Never have I ever been so tired. It took me a while to remember how cycle gears worked but I still never did try up-slope again. I always dragged my cycle to the summit and had a breathtaking panorama of the entire city now trough of the valley below.

Maybe there is a metaphor in there somewhere but I would just leave it as that.


 

With a couple of issues in my cycle recently, I vowed to ensure that my cycle is always properly maintained. I have put too much efforts in cycling to just drop it off now. I Google for every small thing, YouTube for tutorials on how to adjust the dérailleur. Maybe I am being excessive but I do love cycling. And sometimes I hate cycling. Maybe it is not a paradox but just me being lazy.

PS: Excuse my bad photographic skills

 

Street Art while cycling #nz #cycle #maori #streetart #auckland

A photo posted by Mayur Wadhwani (@mayurdw) on Jul 14, 2016 at 6:32pm PDT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiction: What is Success?


(The following piece is inspired by a conversation I had with a couple of friends)

The restaurant is pretty busy. There is long queue of people who are waiting to dine in here but those who are having their dinners here do not want to vacate their tables even after they are done. The tiny restaurant is hardly 5 years old but is already more popular than most others along the Mount Eden Road stretch in Auckland. In one of the tables sat two families with children of the similar ages. The fathers are talking about the latest business deal they had closed while the mothers are chatting about the latest gossips. The kids are however busy with something else.

“Oo I caught a Charmandar!” Rick exclaimed.

“Wow” exclaims Jeremiah agog. Their fathers shake their heads at the early addiction signs of the game and resume their conversation. While Pokemon is a game based on a TV show from the time when the fathers were young, now they do not have the time to relive the young memories, the nostalgia. They are busy chasing one benchmark after another. Just like the owner of the restaurant who is trying every trick in the book to be a perfect gourmet.

“So you have a Charmandar, what do we do now?” asks Jeremiah more interested in the game than the conversation his parents are having. His mother looks towards him, thinking about how materialistic her son is becoming. She remembers her own childhood when she would be happy if she had just a Barbie or a teddy. But Jeremiah wants more so her husband works more hours. What is happening to her perfect life she wonders.

“I don’t know. But  I think I am going to battle the gym leader, beat him.” Rick explains. “If I am successful, then I will be in control of the gym for my team.”

Jeremiah picks up a word from the conversation his father is having, something about the youth not knowing what success is. Jeremiah shouts suddenly.

“Dad I know what success is!”

(image credits: Mind Protein)

Weekend Coffee Share: Week’s helper


I missed last weekend’s coffee share as I was doing something. I don’t remember what. The week started early, some 5 am when one of my friend called me to talk to me. Something was wrong I knew immediately and we Skyped so early in the morning. Something had came up and she was scared. I did what I do best: make the lamest jokes possible to alleviate her worries. I wish that was the only time it happened in the entire week but another friend also had some issues and messaged me. Did the same thing but I was only thinking: only last entire week I was in a bad place and now are some of my friends. What is happening?

If we do have coffee, I would break the news: my application for continuing my master’s is approved. I can now work on my Masters project which is exactly what I wanted to do. I am so happy and finally a little relaxed. I knew who all helped me, kept touch with me when I needed it. Thank you.

In other news, I love Pokemon Go. The weekend me and my friends walked around the harbour catching pokemon rather than go out to a pub to relax and kill them. I kept thinking: this has got to be the only time I enjoyed my phone more than my friends company. If we do have coffee and you have the game then we will probably stop talking and go catch them all. It is not just me who is addicted but the entire Auckland is catching only pokemon these days. Can’t really blame anyone for it is amazing.

One of the best things I now realize I did was encourage one of my friends to apply for his Masters. His grades were similar to mine and he had given up before applying.

I guess that is all for the week. It is your turn to speak up and say how was your week?

Weekend Coffee Share: New House


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I moved to a new house past Sunday. It’s not as luxurious as my previous house but then again I knew it was coming. I spent the week here, making friends with the roommates and slowly our bond seems to be getting stronger, unlike my previous roommates.

Also, while sipping coffee, I would complain about my cycle. Start of the week it had a puncture and now there is another problem with the rear gear derailleur. No wonder people give advises to buy a good cycle and not a cheap one. Well, I still have to get a quote on the derailleur problem.

However I love cycling around here. There is a direct separate cycling way to my university, an easy way to the church and both sides it is fun to cycle. Yeah it is also tiring but then again I am having fun. I would have more fun if my cycle stops breaking down so much.

I would tell you that I started working on my Master’s project even before my grades were out. This is especially risky as I didn’t know at that time what is going to happen with my degree anymore. Regardless, even though I worked for a couple of days, I was happy. Finally!

Speaking of grades: they are also out. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I clear them to qualify for my Master’s or not yet. As my grades are bordering between B and C, I don’t know what to infer. When I read the grades all I could do was laugh: even now I feel like Life’s playing with me.

If we do have coffee, I would tell you the highlight of the entire week has been the spoken word event that I attended and wrote about it. I would tell you that I’m desperately waiting for the next such event as I loved it. Considering the response that they got, I hope that they don’t charge it from the next time.

Lastly, I would turn the mike over to you and await to hear from you: how has your week been?