The Love Of Reading

When did you start to love reading?

I would have to say that it was from the time I started reading. As a little kid I have been fascinated by books and stories. I don’t remember the name of the series but I was addicted to these storybooks about this family and the things that they did – go for a picnic, library, car trip etc etc. As I got older comic books were my thing. I also liked Hardy boys, Nancy Drew, Fantastic 5 etc. Tintin & Astrix were my favourite for a very long time (they still are and good for all ages).

By the time I turned 12 I started reading more novels. They took me to a different world. While I have enjoyed the odd non-fiction book I prefer fiction any day of the month. While reading my mind conjures up what the place looks like, the colours, the way the people look, their clothes and hairstyles etc etc. It was at times even better than watching tv. Ofcourse over the years I have now become too lazy to actually sit and read books and prefer Youtube and tv shows and movies to reading. So much so that I don’t think I have read a full book in over 3 years.

3 years! In previous years I would have finished 3 books in 10 days or a fortnight at the most. Not these days though.

Prompt from MARCH BLOG PROMPTS {12 MONTHS OF WRITING IDEAS} #BLOGPROMPTS at Food Fun Family

What I Can’t Do Without

What is one thing that you could never live without? Why?

I am gonna give the answer as music. I love many things – drinking, watching movies & tv shows, science fiction, football, Youtube. But music is what keeps me from going insane most of the time. I need some good ole hard rock, blues and heavy metal to get me through the day.

Even if I don’t listen to much music on a day or two I will make up for it the next few days. I need it otherwise I end up singing to myself and playing air guitar and people are going to wonder what is wrong with me. When I am happy I want to hear songs, when I am upset I want to hear songs. Also when I am angry, horny, emotional, nostalgic etc etc.

Youtube is a great source for live clips and rare songs. I play the songs a lot.

Prompt from FEBRUARY BLOG PROMPTS {12 MONTHS OF WRITING IDEAS} at Food Fun Family

11 Months W@H

We have now completed 11 months of work from home due to Covid. And a few days ago I just got word that officially my employers have extended the work at home initiative for everyone who are currently working from their homes till June 21. I have accepted that news with a happy heart and applaud them for doing so. Also, they have stated that they are looking at having us continue to work from home as long as we get a say so from our clients (each process & client have their own rules and regulations).

Continue to work at home is my option for the rest of my career. I do not want to work in an office ever again as mentioned in previous posts. I prefer working from home after an initial reluctance and I have gotten used to it. Just not having to commute itself is a big deal. Going straight to bed or being able to relax immediately after my shift is the best feeling. Not having to dress up or dress at all is another. I usually am in my undershirt and a lungi, going commando beneath that as well. There are some negative points as well but they are dwarfed by the plus points.

Saturday Night Is Awesome

The week cannot go fast enough and I always crave to shut down the work system at the end of my Friday shift so I can officially start my weekend. While I love all of it, Saturday night is the best kind and I always want to stretch it out as much as I can as I cannot get enough of it.

I usually watch a movie (or two depending on the length of the movie and when I start watching) in the afternoon while chilling on my bed. At 5pm I take a shower and a shave if I am in the mood for it and make coffee and get a snack. I will be back at my laptop looking through Youtube videos from my subscriptions and relaxing, wondering and deciding what to order for dinner. By 7pm I would have decided, after checking to see what my folks want to eat, unless I am ordering common food which I know all of us will like.

Then I will switch to rock music on Youtube and play some of my fav clips or discover new ones. I will crack open a beer (or two) and drink until the food arrives. I make sure my parents plates are filled and ready to serve and then I retire with my plate back to my bedroom and place it on the table. If there is a football match on that I want to watch, I will do switch on the tv. If not, more music and eating my dinner and drinking my beer. Some nights it’s rum & Coke or vodka & Sprite.

Once that is over I try and stay up as much as I can and stretch out my Saturday evening/night cause it’s an awesome feeling knowing that tomorrow is Sunday and you don’t have to work so you can sleep in if you want to. I guess for all of these reasons, Saturday evening is pretty special. Knowing that you have beer and pizza or something of that sort is an awesome feeling.

Eating At My PC

One of the bad habits that I have and one I am sure a lot of you also have is eating meals at the computer. Remember back in the old days when we were younger and older folks sad that it is bad to eat while you watch tv? Ah those were the days! But now due to Covid since a lot of us are working at home on desktops or laptops either given to us by our employers or working on our own, the eating at our computers is what our parents generation will be complaining about us.

I have found that I too fall into this bad habit; depending on what I am having for dinner. If it is rice or chappthi/roti and curry or anything that has like sambhar or chutney with it, I tend to eat at the dinner table. Sandwiches, wraps, pizzas, burgers, ramen or anything else that has drier ingredients and I am with a plate or bowl of it at my desk. Doesn’t matter if I am not working at my work system at that moment, I still do eat at my desk in my bedroom. Usually while I eat my dinner I play some Youtube videos on my laptop.

As I finish this post, I just ate my dinner – instant noodles with some ketchup – party at my work pc as I had to send out a couple of reports and partly at my laptop as I took a break for 15 minutes to listen to a podcast. This is crazy. I realize that while it is my choice, I tend to do this because I don’t want to be away for too long. Which is the wrong way to do things. It has to change.

On this day, Feb 4:

On this day, Feb 4:

The Last Time

When was the last time you said, “I love you.”?

It has been a long, long time since I said those words. To friends, maybe I have said that a few times and meant it. To my family (including cousins, aunts & uncles) I don’t say that except to my baby cousin sister because she is after all the baby of the family. Other than that I don’t say it to anybody.

I remember being in love. I used to have a girlfriend and for 5 years I always heard it from her. I said it almost every time I spoke to her or met her. And it felt good hearing it back. Saying it and meaning it always felt good. Hearing it and knowing that the person means it feels awesome. Sadly that was not meant to be. I wish I could have found true love since those years ended in my early 20s but it has never happened to me.

I have come close to falling in love deeply. I have felt something for a couple of ladies here and there. In fact back in 2007-08 I thought I had. When I look back on it now, I realize that it was just infatuation mixed with sheer loneliness that made me feel that it was. Since then I have kinda been on my lonely self.

Recently someone said it to me because she was feeling elated and happy. And I knew it was adoration, mixed with happiness on what I said to her that she said it to me. I said it to her as well but I only meant it as an older person cheering on a young 23 year old because she is awesome.

But it felt good!

Prompt from 28 Days of Writing Prompts at The SitsGirls

4 Little Things

Name 4 little things that always make you happy i.e. coffee in the morning, hugs, puppies, a good book

  1. Good coffee (from Starbucks, Cafe Coffee Day or Costa Coffee) like a cappuccino, latte, mochaccinoa, frapuccino, or even a thick shake.
  2. Saturday evenings as it is time for ordering my favourite foods and beer or vodka drinking with usually a football game on tv or selecting a good movie
  3. The 3 year old next door who is a joy to talk too, is cuter than cuteness itself and brings out the dad in me.
  4. Listening to a really good guitar solo or keyboard solo or drum solo

Prompt from 105 Writing Prompts for Self-Reflection and Self-Discovery 

January Embers

The month is almost over – has January 2021 gone the way that you thought it would? Even with the vaccine getting spread to some sections of the population, we are still a very, long, long way away from coming out of the pandemic. Some areas still have lockdowns or strict restrictions and that has kind of been the way of life for a few months now.

I think I have settled into the new normal pretty well. But anyway, we are talking about January. For all the talk of people saying that they can’t wait for 2020 to end and see the end of that year and welcome 2021, things haven’t changed. For all the talk of the vaccine, we are still a long ways before the entire world is vaccinated. Remember for things to go back to normal, everyone would have to be protected from the virus. It’s not enough if just a few million get vaccinated. It won’t make the difference that we are looking for.

And is it just me or did January take it’s time? It felt like it has been a very long, long month. I can’t believe that it’s only the 31st of January. But at times I also think that the holidays have gone by quickly and it shouldn’t be the end of January as well. It’s been weird that way.

Got A Star Trek Tattoo

I first got a tattoo back in 2015 (August 14 to be exact). While I was in Chennai, sent there from the office, and shopping on a Friday I spotted the store owner had a couple of big tattoos. I casually asked him where he got his, how much they were and if there were any tattoo parlours in the mall or nearby. When he gave me directions to the same one where he got his, very near the next stop I was headed too, which was a pub, I just had to get a tattoo done. Just like that, on the spur of the moment from me asking some guy I just met about his tattoos and asking for recommendations to me getting my first tattoo done at the ripe old age of 39.

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Today, after a bit more planning for the past few days, I decided to contact a few tattoo parlous and check out their Instagram pages. I selected one which is not too far from me. I arranged for my appointment (as they are only doing it this way since Covid) at 12 pm today and I left by 11:30 am. I reached 10 minutes early but it took me 4 minutes to locate the building. I walked the steps to the first floor and rang the bell. I met the two artists who run the place and showed them the design I had finalized on. They took a print out and then a stencil of it which was stuck onto my hand.

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I sat in a nice chair, relaxed (as much as you can when that needle is hitting you) as the artist (on seeing my ACDC inspired mask) and asked me what other bands I listened to. On hearing my tastes, he changed the music from the New Age stuff to more classic rock. I chilled to Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Guns n Roses,Ozzy Osbourne etc and we talked music and tattoos as he did the work on me. It does hurt but I can take it. I wasn’t expecting it to take almost 2 hours to finish. By the time he was done, I was close to wanting a break. I needed a cold drink.

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I didn’t get on at that time though. I went to a grocery store and bought some supplies, then to an ATM to take out some cash and later on also buy some medicines. I then came home and wasn’t in the mood to eat a full lunch as it was almost 3pm, so I ate a meat samosa and am egg puff with a Coke and then logged in to my work computer as they needed me to check on some data. I was checking on it till about 5pm and then messaged the details. I was ready for some coffee and music blasting on my laptop, so I shut down my work pc and chilled till just about now.

I’ve got grilled chicken alfahm coming my way and I am drinking a beer. Things are good.

10 Months W@H!

10 months! It’s been 10 months since the official lockdown here happened and we went into our first full lockdown. Since then we have had a semi-lockdown and since then it’s been the new normal. 10 months of working from home. Some people & companies who don’t have the option have gone back. Some people & companies who have the option have also gone back. Me, I haven’t gone back since. And if I had my way – also as per what I had heard – I don’t ever want to go back.

Working from home wasn’t something that I thought would happen with my current employers or clients but it happened. I wanted to move to a work from home for a while now. But when it started off I was initially not happy. Longer work hours and the heat & humidity of April & May was a big factor. Clunky desktop on my small desk and not enough room to stretch out was a lesser reason. But since August I think I changed my mind. I no longer want to work from an office. I want to continue living from home for the rest of my career.

I prefer this although I wish things were a lot better with the pandemic. Back to the way it was and still work at home and only going out for errands, shopping and fund would be wonderful.

Chain Event

Write about the bleakest thing you’ve done to make money.

In the grand scheme of things I don’t think this was the worst thing that anyone has ever had to do. No way! People have had to far worse and bleaker things but in my case the only thing that I can think of is selling off my gold chain.

This gold chain was a gift from my dad and mom on my 14th birthday if I remember correctly. I used to get lockets that I liked and wear them on my chain. During the rest of my teenage years and my early 20s I would wear it on a daily basis and never take it off. Money became tight by the time I was 22-23 and my family suffered. In 2002 I applied for an interview in a startup company in Calicut and I had very little money for myself. Thinking about the next couple of month’s rent I made a decision to sell my chain.

I went to a store that buys gold ornaments and items and sold it to them. The money that I had would feed me for 3 months and pay my rent for 3 months as well. I didn’t regret it at the time but I do regret it now. I wish I could have found another way to get the money instead of selling it off.

Prompt from Cheryl Strayed’s writing prompts

Be Kind To Yourself

When I’m in pain — physical or emotional — the kindest thing I can do for myself is…

Physical pain – since I have have them a few times, I know what is the kindest thing I can do for myself. It would be to get complete rest and relaxation. Not do anything to strenuous or taxing and just relax as much as I can. In 2019 August I had a toe fracture on my right foot and I also strained the ankle of the left foot. I took 10 days off from work on advice of the doctor. I watched movies and tv shows, binged watched a comedy show on Netflix.

I did very little reading and no work at all. I slept long hours and I shaved only once or twice during those 10 days. I took my medicines and listened to some music and even surfed the net everyday but mostly it was off my feet and watching tv from my bed. That did me a world of good. I felt recharged as well once the week was over. It also helped that no one from work troubled me for those 10 days and all I had to do was send screenshots of my x-ray and doctor’s note.

Emotionally speaking the same thing works. I usually will welcome friends and relatives who have well meaning but I usually do like it when I am left alone and can surround myself with things that matter the most. Star Trek & other scifi shows, rock music, watching movies and rest and relaxation.

Prompt from 30 Journaling Prompts for Self-Reflection and Self-Discovery

Happy (Belated) 14th Blogaversary

Happy 14th birthday to my blog Awake & Dreaming & a happy 14th Blogaversary to me! I can’t believe that it’s been 14 years already. This entry is 11 days late as I completely forgot.

It was on the 1st of January that I setup this blog in a day with the help of my cousin (over the phone), who guided me through the process and by night I had the thing setup. Then I installed WordPress and started blogging. I then spent many days trying out various themes; I think this one here is the 30th or so theme that I have tried out.

This isn’t my first blog though; I first started blogging in 2002, through blogger.com, when I lived in Calicut and continued with it when I moved back to Cochin. I was an inconsistent blogger, nothing having an internet connection at home & from 2003 till 2006, not having a computer at home. By 2005 I started getting more & more into blogging and I created a new one in blogger.com and called it Count Roshculla : Awake & Dreaming. I started spending more time in internet cafes and hence could blog a lot more consistently. But I always wanted my very own website & domain and I wanted to install WordPress. That was achieved on January 1st, 2007.

I have made quite a bit of money with this blog. Especially since November of 2018. I’ve since been able to get myself off to a little holiday in a nice hotel, bought a heck ton of dvds and boxsets that I have craved for so long and even been able to take a date to nice meals. I am so proud of what I have done, especially in the last couple of years. This blog is a big part of me and I want to continue through for several more years to come.

The Artist In Me

When I was a kid I used to draw quite a lot. Now, I am not saying that I was very good at it but good enough that several people in my family wanted me to pursue it by enrolling in art classes and see if I could find a career in it. I remember drawing most figures like super hero comic characters and even a few deities from what I saw in Amar Chitra Katha. Good times!

As I turned 10-11 years old I kinda stopped drawing as I just read a lot instead. Also music became a big part of my life and I devoted a lot of my time listening to rock bands. However from time to time I would doodle a bit or try and draw a person’s pose from a photo or another drawing. One of my favourite drawings which I did safe for a few years was when I was about 15 years old. That would be 1991 and I had my first relationship with a girl. Her name was Michelle and I drew her portrait….with one single tear falling down her cheek.

Why, because I was influenced by a talk we had on the phone and I put on some music and just drew. I tore the paper outta the large book I had and put the drawing in a photo frame and it sat on my desk at home for a few years. The relationship only lasted a little while but I still have fond memories of that time and the drawing. I can’t find it and think I tossed it back in 2006 when we moved homes.

1000000

What would I do with 1 million USD? That would be Rs. 7,30,92,250 after the currency conversion.  First of all, I would quit. Just call up and say “I quit” and then accept retirement. What wouldn’t I do with that kind of money! Just to give you a perspective, some of the biggest luxury apartments (about the size of 2 large 3 bedroom regular apartments) are half a crore.

So I would buy 3 of those – 1 for my parents, 1 for my sister and her family and 1 for me. With the rest of the money, I’d invest some of it so that it gives me a bunch of savings off the interests. I’d travel a bit, live in luxury 5 star hotels and buy the latest gadgets. I’d enjoy seeing the places that I have always wanted to see but mostly I’d live a quiet life.

I’d want a quiet almost retired life. Stay in and enjoy not having to worry about money or work and all that stuff. I’d live my life and enjoy indulging in my hobbies and just relax for the rest of my life. I’d be a very boring rich guy but I don’t mind.

Prompt from Keeping a Journal in 2020: Journaling Prompts

We’re Almost In 2021

It is now almost midnite and we are about to say goodbye to 2020 and say hello & welcome to 2021. Hope you won’t be such a terrible year as your predecessor was.

I am working today but it has been a very light day at work, again. I had to go to the office today for a couple of hours for something that they wanted us to do. So post lunch I hired a cab and by 1:40 pm I left home and went to the office in Kakkanad. I met some of my team members who I haven’t seen since late March. We then finished what we had to do in about 2 hours and saw that it was pouring cats and dogs! Terrific! Thunder and lightning on 31st of December. 2020 is a real bitch!

Anyways, I came back home slightly wet. I dried myself off and got a hot coffee and a snack. My sister and niece came to visit before my sister’s husband came to pick them up as they were going to go for a night out at a club. My parents were supposed to go with them but they changed their minds at the last minute. I bought dinner – fried chicken and French fries for my parents while I had a pizza with small bbq chicken wings. I had a beer along with that while I did what little work came my way.

I also chatted with my cousin for a while as I ate the pizza. Now I am just waiting for the minutes to trickle on by and it strikes midnight. At 12:30 am I will shut down my work system. I wish everyone a Happy New Year and may 2021 be much kinder to us.

Positives From 2020

Since most people, including me, have been complaining about the year 2020 and calling it the shittiest and worst year ever (not sure but the Black plague & Spanish Flu era might disagree), I thought I’d end the year on a more positive note. Let me recollect all the good things that have happened in the last year, 2020, and/or look at the positive side of things.

1. I finally got the opportunity to work from home. I really like the fact that I don’t have to commute daily and I can work in my lungi and undershirt and not have to shave.

2. I finally was able to get an air-conditioner in my bedroom. Granted it was free as my sister & cousin had closed their physical office due to Covid-19. Since they had a new ac in there – and because my sister and cousin’s homes both were air-conditioned – my sister offered it to me. I was planning to get one and was thinking of saving up some of my earnings from sponsored blogging to do so. I didn’t have to in the end.

3. I finally, finally bought an executive computer chair and my aching ass and lower back is so grateful. Money was from earnings from my website.

4. I also bought a new phone, the RealMe X2 Pro and I love it so much. Money was from earnings from my website.

5. I enhanced the RAM of my laptop from 4GB to a stonking 16 GB and it is the best thing you can do to your laptop. Money was from earnings from my website.

6. Speaking of, the months of April, May, June & July, I made a ton of money off sponsored posts on my website.

7. I was able to buy most of the tv series (box sets or individual dvd sets) that I was looking to buy. Like Stargate SG-1, Battlestar Galactica, Agents of Shield, Sherlock, Automan, Misfits of Science, Friends & The X-Files. There are a few that still elude me and maybe 2021 will see me get them.

8. I’m starting a new hobby – cooking a few recipes that I have wanted to try.

9. I also managed to buy my folks a brand new smart tv.