Left Behind

You find a group. You try to fit in. You are welcomed in. You become acquainted with everyone. Suddenly, the rest are friends. You are just an acquaintance. You don’t know the inside jokes. You aren’t part of the plans. You are an after thought. You are left behind. You start over again.

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Awareness and Temptation

I was listening to a podcast from the Tolkien Professor about the portrayal of knowledge in the works of Tolkien. While my thought process may have been on an entirely different tangent to what the discussion was about, I arrived at some realizations about my own life.

Many years ago, 12 to be exact, I was perfectly happy even though ignorant. The teenager had very little to complain about life. I could be easily satisfied with a good cheap meal at a tiny restaurant, fresh mangoes off a tree and the water melon season in summer. I was also perfectly happy with the 1 GB of music I had, which I felt enough to last a lifetime.

Internet came into my life and so did travel and moving away form home in search of knowledge and an engineering degree. There was a whole new perspective of the world and a lot of new things to learn about and experience for the taking and each of them coloured my life differently.

The move abroad and the interactions with multi-talented individuals from entirely different upbringings have meant that I’m feeling much inferior and unfortunate than I really should. The lack of meaningful hobbies, a clear lack of in-depth understanding/expertize on anything I have an interest in all show up and take me down instantly, and give me anxiety attacks and a sense of worthlessness, all of which were irrelevant in that tiny world where I grew up. What’s more, the experiencing of all these in small measures also means that there’s a constant desire to experience more of all of these and more in a short span of time which has led to a lot of unhappiness.

The infinite sources of knowledge at my disposal has also let to decision paralysis wherein I’m unsure what I really want to do at this instant and attain mastery over. If only I could hard code into my head that life is a marathon and not a sprint and take it slowly, one thing at a time!

The Harry Potter Experience

So 10 years after entering adulthood, I decided to take the plunge and read the series. While reading it, I ignored the teenage, angsty side of Harry and his friends, and instead focussed on the plot, their characters in the face of adversity etc. The world building from Rowling is top notch. The marriage of the real world with the magical works perfectly. The invention of new food, sports, means of communication are all approachable and believable, and not queer enough to be deemed ridiculous.

The relationships between the kids, friendships and romance, aren’t overbearing to the movement of the plot, which is rapid through each of the books, while not missing out on crucial details and being descriptive enough to let the readers form imagery in their heads.

The Boy Who Lived is a metaphor for the one who fights on, despite knowing the end is near. The hope he clings on to is the same hope that provides the shining light and sends signals to his head to plot the overthrow of darkness amidst the ill omen that happen around him.

Snape is such an outstanding character that words fail me while trying to describe him. Though driven by his love for Lily, he does everything in his power to folly the plans of the Dark Lord, while pretending to do his bidding.

Dumbledore is a benevolent one, but he has enough shades of grey to not be the perfect being.

This is a fantasy series I wish I’d read 10 years ago, as the story happened, as the rest of the world experienced it. To take part in the ride of joy and despair together, to laugh and cry together. I already know what one of the things I’ll be doing with my unborn kid is going to be!

Old man and the Sea

Boy of 3. Walking on the beach. Sand in his tiny shoes. Barefoot. Running around till it’s time to catch breath. Peanuts. Sun swallowed by the water. Mystery.

Boy of 5. Walking on the beach. Filling his shoes with sand knowingly. Barefoot. Watching catch ball on the shore. Peanuts. Sunset. West. Love.

Boy of 7. Walking on the beach. Floaters. No more sand. Barefoot. Walking across the road. Cutlets and ketchup. Peanuts. Sunset. Darkness. Daring.

Boy of 10. Meadow near the beach. Refusal to take off footwear. Peanuts. Sunset. Hates the crowd. Complains. Uninterested.

Boy of 14. No more beach. Weekends full of homework. Video games. TV. Monotony.

Boy of 17-25. Landlocked.

Boy Man of 29. Yearning for the beach. Peanuts. Crowds. Sunsets. Bright lights. Yearning.

Et tu, brewtus!

I have a new addiction. It’s the second most traded commodity in the world. Most of it is grown in a belt within 1000 miles either side of the Equator. It’s liquid silver, if I may, called coffee. It started almost a year ago, when my colleague introduced me to a non generic coffee shop in the city. The options on beans was fascinating to know about. Previously, I knew instant coffee, filter coffee, cappuccino, macchiato, espresso, latte etc. Now, I knew there were different flavours depending on where they originate from, what other plants grow in the vicinity, how the beans are processed, how much they’re roasted etc. It was eye opening.

This Christmas, the same colleague gifted me a French Press, an apparatus that makes coffee taste better instantly when you start using it instead of a regular drip. This put me on a path to watch videos and learn more about brewing techniques. Apparently, the hotter the water, the more bitter the taste. Each method and measurement alters the taste and effect significantly. I’ve already tried lattes, cold press, and regular coffee with the device and they all taste good in different ways.

The next adventure in this journey is going to be finding out more about Indian coffees, and trying the different single origins from roasters like Blue Tokai, Flying Squirrel, Indian Bean etc. It’d be interesting to know what my country has to offer in terms of this zero calorie energy drink. I also learnt that the reason the culture for non generic coffee is only evolving now due to the economic regulations in the last century which meant the government had control over the coffee through its boards.