No Blogging Schedule As Such

What does your blogging schedule look like?

I don’t have a schedule when it comes to blogging. Usually I set aside 30 minutes to an hour for writing blog posts. I usually like doing that and selecting a prompt at times when I don’t have anything ready made to post around 11am to 12pm. This time is usually right after I have had my first cup of coffee and gone through various sports and other related news and am checking videos on Youtube.

By this time normally I am in the mood to write although on weekends it can usually be in the evening hours. I prefer to write two posts a day, no matter how small and sometimes it’s videos that I share, some of which I shot and photos that I have taken or just sharing some videos and images I find on the net. But writing wise, I really try and make myself post something atleast once a day.

Again, coffee helps. Music in the background or a podcast also helps as I can listen to it and still concentrate on writing.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF JULY WRITING PROMPTS at The SitsGirls

The Easy Life Gone By

What was the hardest part of being a kid?

None. What was so hard about me being a kid? Nothing much. I know I had some issues growing up but childhood uptil the age of 15 was actually very good. Great almost. I had a rough patch at the age of 13 when I was a rebel without a cause but I guess most 13 year olds are like that.

The hardest decision was which movie to watch while on vacation with my cousins. That was how difficult life was. Things were easy. We had less choices in places to go, things to do and where we could go to eat but we still had a lot of fun and it was peaceful, minor squabbles aside.

So yeah, except for a few small issues I had the good life. After 16 things got a lot more complicated, as they say.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF JULY WRITING PROMPTS at The SitsGirls

Random FaceBook Posts From This Week

I wonder if far, far into the future down the evolution path or perhaps in an alternate universe, fish catch humans for sport, bring them into water and then throw them back out to land!

Things that didn’t exist the last time England played a World Cup semi final: Social Media, Mobile phones, Various internet technologies & Croatia!

It’s been raining almost non-stop and raining heavily that people in Kerala are planning of building a large ark. Not one like’s Noah’s arc from mythology but a real large boat or ship. And in it – since we are talking of Malayalees – they plan on storing lots of alcohol, beef, coconuts and kappa!

I really wish they would start more large supermarkets in Kochi. It would be nice to shop without half the population beside me.

Weekend Plans?

What plans for the weekend? Well I hope to go and do a couple of the things that I had planned a couple of weekends ago. I hope I get them done. I want to go get a haircut and chop these longish and curling locks so I can feel much better. My hair is slightly too long for my age and it’s balding as well. Greys showing up too much on my sideburns.

I also need to buy some pant cloth so I can get some pants stitched. I only get black since I only like black pants. I should also get a couple of shirts as well at the same place. Fingers crossed. I will pay for that off my credit card and the pants on my debit card. After that I guess I could go for a nice lunch outside. That is easier to do I know.

So here’s hoping that either Saturday or Sunday this takes place. Usually I end up being very tired on Saturday and Sunday I feel like staying in and watching movies in bed. Let’s wait and see.

Secluded Island

Where would you fly right now if you could hop in a plane?

The way I feel like right now, I would like to go somewhere far away and in a quiet and secluded place. So give me that plane ride, a private small plane that will take me from here and fly me off to a small island in the middle of the oceans where no one else lives.

Ofcourse it can’t be just land/forest or greenery. I need a small house there. A little house with a living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Ofcourse, I can’t just shit in the ground and sleep in the trees. I am not a barbarian! I mean secluded but not back to nature. So some comforts and electricity (run by a DG if necessary) and a proper roof over my head and a proper bed to sleep in.

I think I would enjoy some solitude and seclusion for a while. Just me and my thoughts with myself. What would I do there? Read, think, sleep and ponder. Just for a few days. Until I am ready to come back to society, recharged and ready for life.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF JULY WRITING PROMPTS at The SitsGirls

Miffed At BevCo

It’s fast becoming a pain in the ass. My outlet for buying liquor is the Self-service BevCo outlet (Kerala State Beverages Corporation BevCo for short) in Gandhinagar. This is the closest Bevco outlet that is self-service to me. The reason I like the self-service ones is because I hate standing in a queue at the smaller outlets which are more in number and I have one closer to me. But the snake like queue outside them are a blight on society and it’s ridiculous to stand like that for 30-40 minutes, sometimes longer and then ask them what they have.

I prefer this – no rush, no fuss! Go in, pick a basket, browse through the aisles and pick your poison and then go and pay. A few months ago they started the option of accepting payments through debit and credit cards – YES – and that was convenient. Yeah, until mid 2017, a government beverages outlet only accepted cash! And mind you, we also had a demonetization issue in between! Anyways, what my issue with them is that they have such limited selection of beers now. No Budweiser or Magnum, Miller or Tuborg in the last few visits and this weekend when I went no Carlsberg or Heineken either. Foster is available but I hate that.

But they have the Indian brands – Goa, Black Fort, Hunter, British Empire and lots of Kingfisher! Lots of it. And some new brand that I hadn’t seen or heard of before. I am not 100% sure but the other outlets seem to have more stuff and stuff that I want. I might have to check out ConsumerFed’s Liquor store or another self-service BevCo because others have said that they have better stock.

How I Am Viewing The World Cup

I’ve been streaming the live matches of the World Cup from the comfort of my bedroom using the Sony Liv website, which is amazing by the way. I had signed up earlier this year to Hotstar for their really cheap Rs.299 a year for the Sports Package but Star network, their parent company, do not have the rights to broadcast the World Cup.

I was checking out other streaming options before signing up two weeks ago with Sony Liv for their monthly rent of just Rs.99 a month to watch the football games. I am loving this so much that I just might continue using it for a year or so. It’s easy to sign up and pay and then go to the website and select the game you want to watch. My 10mbps unlimited plan with Asianet is coming in really handy for this.

This weekend has been spent indoors, enjoying nice cool weather, with the exception of a quick Uber ride to and fro the self-service Bevco in Gandhinagar for a few beers – six in all, 2 each of Hunter, Black Fort & British Empire – and a 600ml bottle of Smirnoff Apple. I have to try to find another outlet though; this one doesn’t seem to have the brands I want.

Sunday Letdown

When it doesn’t rain it actually gets back to be hot and sweaty again. Yesterday, as it was the second of two days without rain, it was hot and muggy in the evenings and ofcourse with the mosquitoes out in force, it was not how I wanted it to be! Atleast there aren’t as many mosquitoes as there usually is. There are smaller and fewer and for some reason they are only biting me below the ankle.

Yesterday I went out for a while and I had a few things on my agenda – cut my hair, buy some cloth and maybe a couple of shirts, burgers at Burger Junction and buy groceries at Big Bazaar. Well, it didn’t work out. My usual barber shop was closed – they only close on Tuesdays but why on a Sunday? – and it was hot. So I went to TBJ for a burger, a shake and some wings and then I went to get groceries. I was feeling a bit drained and tired that I came home immediately after that.

No cloth shopping or buying shirts, which will have to wait till next week. Oh yeah, back to work after three days off.

Fiction : Dark Wind

Inspired by a very vivid dream that I had two nights ago, I am trying to write down whatever I remember plus a few added things:

It was a dark night. I was on my way home at this late hour just after midnight and the streets were almost devoid of any other vehicles. It was another tough day at my new work, my very first job. As I was the only “rookie” the pressure was double that of any other new employee and I often worked late. Tonight was the night at the end of the work week, just like every other Friday after I worked late, that I would go to my spot.

My spot was a secluded area just outside the city, a little away from my home in the suburbs but it was an area that I liked. There is this long stretch of road near the beach area with a few trees and hardly any buildings in sight for a while. So once a week, I took a detour from my usual route home and took the extra 3 kilometers just sit in peace and quite in my car for about 30-60 minutes and reflect in quite solitude. This area, near the beach was quite windy and even chilly on nights like this after a heavy rainfall, and the chilling breeze was quite welcome. I had a soft drink with me and I just parked my car near a tree and sat with the break lights on and drank my soft drink and played a little music at a very low volume.

The power went out a little before I had arrived so on this road it was totally dark with only a little light from a mostly hidden moon shining down on us. I couldn’t see more than a couple of feet in front of my car if I had the headlights off, which I did at that time. But I was off the side of the road, on sand and stone and next to a tree. I was sitting there in the quiet darkness, contemplating how I was going to relax and unwind during the next next two days, when from behind me I heard a car coming closer and it’s dim lights broke the darkness. Another car, a more expensive one, went past me and stopped a few hundred yards away.

This car was speeding by and must not have seen me parked on the side until it just passed me as I only had my break lights on, but it didn’t slow down until it was at it’s current spot. From where I was I could barely make out the tail lights but I knew it was there. Probably someone who, like me, likes this area or was stopping for a quick smoke. I was minding my own business sitting there in my car and then I opened my car door to stretch my legs a bit. I yawned and stretched my legs, walking in small circles next to my car when a woman’s shawl blew in the wind from the car in front and flew straight towards me. I grabbed onto it tightly, thinking that the occupant or one of the occupants in the car must have opened a window or a door and decided to walk forward and give the shawl back.

As I took some steps forward and was nearer I called out saying “Hey, I was able to grab the shawl” when the door opened. I couldn’t see the person, if it was a man or a woman, who stepped out as it was quite dark and as I strained my eyes, all I could see were dim red lights from the rear of the car. All of a sudden, I hear a loud gun shot and something hit me on the head and I blacked out!

Pseudo-Fan Comments

It’s been a somewhat good World Cup so far, 4 days in and the upsets and surprises are already in. I’ve been watching a few games, averaging 2 per day from Friday to Sunday and now that the work week is back on, I won’t be able to catch any of the games as I will be working when all the games are played during the weekdays. Come the weekend I will be back again.

It’s kinda fun to follow the reactions and comments on social media lately. Especially from those pseudo-fans who only seem to watch or pretend to watch when the World Cup is on. Suddenly they are “life-long experts and fans” of Brazil, Portugal, Germany or Argentina and so on and so forth. The Vamos and Allez and Ole’s all start ringing around. I can make out who are the real fans and who are the bandwagon jumpers.

And they act surprised when so and so does not score or has a bad game and comment that they are finished and all that shit. Really? After one game? No matter that the past 10+ years of them achieving success and who knows that the success may still come past this one game that you saw! Sheesh! Go and watch cricket!

Blue Rock Resto Bar

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been to a bar. Last year in July infact. Why? The reason is money. After the two year alcohol ban in bars and hotels in the state that are not 5 star (a fucking stupid decision by the stupid old corrupt asshole who formed the government in Kerala bowing down to pressure from equally corrupt and hypocritical asshole organizations) the hotels and bars have jacked up the prices of alcohol and beer once the current government allowed the ban to be curbed.

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As the tax is now higher the bars and hotels have (or rather not have to, they can reduce it quite a bit) chosen to charge you premium money for drinking in their establishments. So why go to bars and pay Rs.200 to Rs.300 for a can or a 650 bottle of Heineken, Carslberg, Touborg or Budweiser when you can go to the Bevco and buy them for Rs.90 to Rs.100 or Rs.130 (for Heineken) and drink it at home in the comfort of wearing you lungi or shorts? That’s what I have been doing for a while.

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I go once every two months with my cousin to a Chinese restaurant called Golden Dragon for beers and good food. But yesterday was the first time I have been to a bar in a while. The Blue Rock Resto Bar inside the Olive Downtown hotel is an awesome place that started in December of last year. This is an awesome bar where you can watch some football on their tvs and enjoy a few. But things are expensive.

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We had 4 Heinekens which were expensive at Rs.380 but we got one of them free as it was Happy Hours at the time. I am disgusted at the prices but it was the stupid old men in power who made this happen. They steal from the people and can afford to go to expensive bars and enjoy while we want to save money. Anyways, the bar gives you free potato sticks in a bowl that they filled after we finished the first one. We ordered a grilled chicken and veggie platter as the appetizer. It was good but I must admit that I enjoyed the grilled veggies and potato wedges more than the chicken. It came with a small bowl of their bbq sauce or gravy which was awesome.

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Later we ordered a fried pizza, which is more like a calzone and though it was not what we were expecting, it was tasty. We were there for almost 3.5 hours after which we were both sleepy and hence left. We also stopped for some donuts at the cafe beneath the bar and then went to our respective homes.

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Goodbye Baby Pigeon

Well, I hadn’t posted about this for a day or two because I was a bit heartbroken and sad about the news. Two mornings ago, just after I woke up I went to check on the mamma pigeon and the baby pigeon that were nesting on a plant pot on my balcony. Just as I picked up my coffee, mom & dad informed me that the baby pigeon had died.

That was so sad. I guess it was too cold in the night especially, since it had been raining way too much and it was very windy. The mamma pigeon’s body warmth must not enough to keep the baby alive. It look so depressing to see him/her like that.

Here is a pic of the little guy or girl taken just a couple of days before that. Damn, I know it’s silly to fret so much about a little baby pigeon but I am sad.

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Previous World Cups Revisited – Part 2

I remember quite a few things about the 2002 World Cup, the first to be held on Asian soil. And fittingly Japan was one of the nations that co-hosted the tournament along with South Korea. Shock of the tournament was defending champions France losing in the opening match to Senegal. Yes….to Senegal! Even more shocking they were eliminated at the group stage itself as they drew their next game against Uruguay and then lost to Denmark with the dubious dishonour of being chucked out of the world cup without even scoring a single goal!

The final saw Brazil win 2-0 over Germany – a match I watched in Trivandrum with a cousin who had traveled with me while we were staying at another cousin’s house along with some of the latter’s friends. We had whiskey, porottas and lamb curry with goat brains and fried eggs! But what I most remember of this particular World cup was the going to Calicut early in the morning with another cousin and our uncle to attend yet another uncle’s housewarming. On the way we pass through Malappuram as well and the entire district had football & world cup decorations, hoardings & posters all over the streets as well as effigies of famous players! Flags of Brazil, Argentina, Italy and Spain were all over the place as well. The same thing could be seen in the city of Calicut as well. After lunch at my uncle’s house a huge gathering of older folks – men & women in their 60s & 70s watched the Brazil vs England quarterfinal match and they were very knowledgeable about the game & players as well. That was a huge & pleasant surprise for me and my cousin as we don’t get to see that in the rest of the state.

Also that same world cup, I was watching a lot of games at my uncle’s house – just 2 houses next to where I lived back then – and my grandmother would join us in the afternoon and evenings to sit with us as we watched some of the matches. She was on medication (as well as being unwell she had also just lost a son less than a year ago) and liked sitting with us. It was fun and we would joke with her just to keep  her in high spirits. That is a cherished memory that I am unlikely to ever forget.

2006 World cup held in Germany. The 18th World Cup was the least I had seen of a World Cup tournament since I was old enough to star watching the matches live. The reason is simple enough, work stood in the way and especially when I had a mix of day and night shifts. Still I did manage to watch quite a  few games.

2010 was also a blur, mainly because I would be working most of the time that the games were on tv. I caught a few moments of the games at the office and some matches I would watch at home. I mostly remember not enjoying them too much as there was pressure at the office and I was concentrating mostly on that. I remember feeling mostly bored at some of the games and I cannot remember wanting a final to just end. It was terrible, the worst I can remember.

2014 – I was out of work for most of the year and hence I got to watch most of the games that I wanted to watch. Favourite moment of the tournament – and favourite of all time – is Germany thrashing Brazil (those eternal crybabies) 7-1. I so enjoyed that. In the final I didn’t mind who won for the first time ever. But – although the channel showing us the games did a great job in creating a long and entertaining tournament filled with experts of the games giving us their opinions and analysis, they did goof up by using typical Bollywood celebs and hosts.

Previous World Cups Revisited – Part 1

1982 – there’s not much that I remember about those years because I was a very young lad of not yet 6 when that world cup was played. I don’t think I watched more than the final between Italy & West Germany and do not remember anything of it. I do remember my sister saying that after Kuwait’s (which is where I was born and where my family & I were living at the time) national side qualified for the World Cup in Spain (their first and only appearance in a wold cup tournament) there was a huge celebration all over the streets of the tiny nation.

I remember her telling me that there were people all over the streets throwing confetti and shouting happy slogans and that the cars found it hard to get through traffic because of the crowds. Image if they have won! for me, the big thing about the 1982 Espana World Cup is the fact that the nation where I was born & lived in for 11 years qualified, played 3 games (lost 2 and drew 1) and also had a controversial moment!

Mexico 1986. For many football fans this was the most memorable World Cup ever, even for me. I was about to turn 10 when the tournament started and didn’t watch many live games. However us kids would watch some highlights and results every evening and discuss games and goals in school and later in the day with friends as we gathered in our building. The world went crazy for Argentina and a midfield maestro named Diego Armando Maradona, who was all over the news, newspapers and tv – I remember that Toyota in particular had ads with him as a brand ambassador that was shown so often on Kuwaiti tv.

Documented in a popular film, I and my cousins relived Mexico 86 for a couple of summers afterwards. One last thing, back in Kuwait in 1986 a chewing gum company (can’t remember which one) had a project for football fans. You could buy a book from them in which all the competing nations were entered and empty slots kept for each squad member. For each pack of the chewing gum you bought, you would get a small pack of 5 stickers on which you’d have the profile photo of a player in the Wold Cup. So one pack of gum gave you 5 player stickers and you had to fill the entire book with all the players – for which the company would give you a large prize. I managed to finish a little over half by the end of the tournament but still have the book for a long time.

My first World Cup once back home in India was Italia 1990. I had just started my 9th standard (grade) in school and 2 weeks in the World Cup started. We even had to write an essay about the World Cup in English class! At age 14 I was able to get permission from my parents to stay up late and watch the late night matches even on school nights. And yes this was the first world cup that I watched most of till then. My favourites were ofcourse Argentina and I was supporting and cheering for them until the very end. I remember watching the final with a cousin of mine, just a little while after the 1990 Wimbledon men’s final.

1994 was a bad year for me personally and I was literally in tears lying on a bed in the bedroom downstairs at my old home while watching the games every day during the USA World Cup. Held in 9 cities over the country, the World Cup was a huge blur for me, even though I watch almost all the matches, uptill the semifinals when I finally cheered up. But the biggest & saddest shock of this world cup – and I think it is the saddest ever – was the death of Columbian defender Andres Escobar. In the group stage match against the United States, he scored an own goal that eliminated his team. Escobar was shot to death outside a bar in a Medellín suburb only ten days later, apparently in retaliation for the own goal. As the insane idiot shot at him, he yelled “goal”,”goal” with every bullet shot! Such a tragic story.

The 1998 world cup was another really memorable and enjoyable one for me. Perhaps no other world cup was an enjoyable and as exciting for me personally. I was 21, not yet 22, studying at NIIT and despite most of the matches ending late at night, like 1am-2am, I would watch all of them and get up at 5 am 4 days in a week to get to the 7 am class at NIIT. Me and the other guys would be in class, eyes red as hell and guzzling down loads of hot black coffee to stay awake while the ladies looked at us as if we were insane. Once the classroom and lab sessions were over (usually at around 11 am) we would spend the next 2 & a 1/2 hours discussing the matches that we had seen the previous night. At 1:30 pm we would leave for lunch and head back home.

Vacation Must-Haves

What is something you always take with you on vacation?

Well, I don’t really take any vacations but I have been on a couple of trips in the last couple of years for work. I had some fun during those trips so let’s use that. Those were like mini-vacations to me.

The things that I always take with me are the usual stuff – laptop, mp3 player (which is now my smartphone) and ofcourse my inhaler. I need those. I need my laptop and my phone  just as much as I need my inhaler. I get really nervous when I do not have them with me and get restless and fidgety.

Other than those I guess I need the essentials like shaving cream, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant and change of clothes. And beer but I only buy them at the place I go to.

Prompt from 30 DAYS OF WRITING PROMPTS FOR JUNE at The SitsGirls