The Birthday Series – Part I (or Rahul’s list of things to do)

Dear Zonk,

For the duration of this post, you are not Zonk. Zonk is Rahul, BFF in the Male Category, who found this blog on Vox a long time ago and christened himself Zonk and left a message on this post. That was 6 years ago, and we’re best friends now, on account of Rahul is one of the most spontaneous, interesting people I know. And also probably the most Alive. Which only goes to show that the Internet is a wonderful place where strangers turn into real people, and people become friends sometimes.

I started writing this post because Rahul made a List Of Things To Do On His Birthday and I think it’s an excellent list that you should maybe read. (Ps. I helped make it.) But then I figured that it would be nice to do a series of posts dedicated to the people closest to me over the next one year. The Birthday Series. This post is the first of them.

Rahul’s List of Things To Do Today

  1. Spray paint graffiti
  2. Smoke from a Vaporiser
  3. Have special coffee
  4. Put up a blog post
  5. Launch a Chinese Lantern
  6. Talk to a new girl
  7. Dance
  8. Make a song. Even if it’s only 4 lines.
  9. Run a kilometre.
  10. Make one person very happy somehow.
  11. Give yourself a gift, and also your mom. (Like Charlie, from Perks)
  12. Find a new blog worth reading regularly.
  13. Give everyone present at your party a compliment. Separate compliment for each person.
  14. If there’s an open mic night somewhere, play. If not, perform at the party anyway.
  15. Feel the rain.
  16. Watch the sunset.
  17. Take a selfie with everyone there.
  18. Touch the sea.
  19. Give 3 strangers a hug.
  20. Write emails to those you’d want to meet but can’t.
  21. Get a new Look for a day and also do something cool with facial hair (if it currently exists.)
  22. Wear headgear you’ve never worn before for the evening.
  23. Hitch hike at least 1km.
  24. Either get a drink or 50rs.
  25. Find an old album you love and listen to it straight through.
  26. Make a new friend.
  27. Go to Thane!

Happy Birthday, Zonk :) I hope you kill this list today. (But honestly, how?!)

Love always,

Ps. I might make a list of things to do for my birthday this year, too. I think it’s a nice idea. A whole other sort of wishlist.


Dear Zonk,
I’m lying here and it’s dark and the window’s open and I’m looking out and wishing I could see something other than this ugly blue building.

Oh well. Goodnight.

Love always,

Joy Of Missing Out

Dear Zonk,

Something major happened today and I’m not there to celebrate it. I would’ve gone, too, but things happened. And so, somehow, I’m in bed instead. With my laptop, and with you.

I swear I’d planned to tell you more. I really, truly did. But it’s almost 12 and I’ve slept only 6 hours a night all week and I’ve gone out a lot lately and walking around in Hamley’s makes my feet hurt at the end of the day and my back hurts a little bit too. So long story short – I reached Thane today and then discovered that things were happening in Andheri and I would have gone back to party but didn’t. Because of everything I told you just one sentence ago and also because I had things to do that didn’t get done until 11.30pm. And really, 11.30 is too late to go to Andheri.

And so, here I am.

I feel a bad about missing a big day. But I also feel a relieved about being in my own bed with my own pillows and my own sheets and the prospect of going to sleep 15 minutes from now for a full eight hours. Because I’m tired today and especially because I have a long, long day tomorrow.

Maybe I’m just old on the inside. But it exists, this phenomenon. And it’s called The Joy Of Missing Out.

Love always,

Things I learned in Pondicherry

  • It feels good to walk barefoot on warm, dry brick. It feels amazing to go barefoot on grass. Damp grass is better than dry. Dry sand is fun, and wet sand is nice but not worth the mess it makes.
    My feet have strong opinions about these things. i just couldn’t hear them before.
  • Banyan trees are unbelievable.
    In the center of Auroville is a Banyan tree that’s about a hundred years old. Its branches are massive and run fully parallel to the ground and the roots that grow out of them have burrowed back into the earth and thickened into trunks.

    In the center of Auroville is a Banyan tree and I swear it is a forest all its own.

  • Silence can be both ominous and divine. It all depends on whether you’re indoors or out, and whether it’s day or night.
  • Vacations are nice because I’m allowed to sleep at any hour of day without fear of feeling wasteful or depressed.
    Time Without Consequence is good in small doses, I think.
  • Vacations are nice because you’re forced to step away from my bubble.
    I almost never step away. But I did now, and I found that if you go far away enough in time and space, most things aren’t as crucial as they seem.
  • My nephews can go days without playing Angry Birds. They just need real things to do.
  • We don’t appreciate wind chimes nearly as much as we should.

Why be happy when you could be normal?

“Auntie Nellie cannot have had much money. Twice a week, she had all the neighbourhood children she could squeeze into her one room and she made onion soup or potato soup and all the children brought their own cuo and she ladled it out off the stove.

She taught them songs and she told then Bible stories and thirty or forty skinny hungry kids queued outside and sometimes brought things from their mothers – buns or toffees – and everybody shared. They all had nits. They all loved her and she loved them. She called her dank dark little house with its one window and black walls ‘Sunshine Corner’.

It was my first lesson in love.

I needed lessons in love. I still do because nothing could be simpler, nothing could be harder, than love.”

– Jeanette Winterson

Study: Dreaming

Edit: I found out today that I’d posted this on the wrong blog. The post dates back to sometime last week. Just pretend you went back in time a little while you’re reading.


Dear Zonk,

I stayed home yesterday because I was sort of sick. Probably the exhausted kind of sick. Or probably the old deficiencies again. Anyway, I painted some.

Please ignore the weirdness of the photos. I’m too lazy to really edit anything and also I suck at taking good pictures.



Note: this artwork is more about emotion than accuracy. Just saying.

I love paint, Zonk. I love how forgiving it is. And on some days (not all) I love that there is no Ctrl+Z.
So many mistakes get made. And so many of those end up being beautiful anyway.

I plan to make more studies in three like this one. Same subject, same pose, three angles. This one is a study of Dreaming. Not sleeping dreaming. More a contented, lost in thought sort of daydreaming.

But I need to get better at drawing figures first. Because my figures only emote properly the side.

Also, please note how not unhappy/angsty this artwork is. I realised recently that my art stopped burying its head in the ground a while ago. That’s a very good thing.

Ps. I wrote this post on my phone at 6.30am and I’m not about to edit it. Ignore any typo you may find.