Missing The Nectar Of The Gods

It has been a little over 5 months now since I have had any alcohol and it has been over 6 months since I have had any beer. I had stopped going out for a while and hence when my last supply of beer was over, I moved to rum which I had. Then in September I stopped drinking all alcohol since I went on a diet and then 5 weeks later I had the medical issue and since then I haven’t had anything at all.

Now I feel like drinking a beer and have been missing it for a while now but I haven’t been out too much. Hence I haven’t gone to buy any beer. I have wanted to but in October – no way was I gonna buy anything to drink other than juice. You know keeping it all healthy like with fruits and fruit juice. It was only by December that I started craving some alcohol and beer in particular but I still hesitated to get any. I was planning to go the week after the 25th to perhaps go and buy some but then I did hurt my knee and because of the swelling and the pain, I was sure I wouldn’t be able to get into a car.

Now that it is gone, I am thinking of getting some beer again. Realizing how long it has been since I had some is staggering to think off. I am not a daily drinker at all but I do like my weekly 2 beers along with some good food and relax on a Saturday night. I miss that a lot. I hope to go and buy some in a few day.

Hair Too Long At The Back

I am long, long overdue a haircut. I think I last had a haircut in May of last year. We then had that second lockdown for about 4 weeks or so and then it took a little while for the saloons to open. I kept thinking that I will go and get it done but after that last lockdown it kinda felt more and more easier to just stay at home and not go out. I realized by September that I hadn’t gone out at all in a while and the visit to get vaccinated was only trip outside the home. It had just become really lazy for me to stay in and order groceries and meals to my apartment and do nothing on the weekends.

Then in October I got hospitalized and came back home for a recovery period. And I have been scared to go out since then, thinking that I would eventually get better and then go out a bit more. However it’s January 20th and I have only been outside a handful of times to go and see the doctor. Only exceptions was last Saturday when I took my dad to get a tooth of his removed and then yesterday when I walked to the local post office to collect a parcel and then to buy a loaf of bread (missed it from my weekly online grocery haul) at a store on the way back. Sweaty walk by the way as it was very hot at 12:45 pm.

So anyway I haven’t had my hair cut in a long while and my hair is a mess and almost reaching my shoulders. I am balding at the top but I have long hair. And it takes a while to dry my hair after a shower. And in the wind it blows all over my face, especially my eyes. I badly need to go and get it cut. Maybe soon.

The Death Of An Icon & My Memories Of Life With It

It was a news out of the blue that sadden me on seeing it and reminded me of the years gone by. What news? The announcement that the smartphone company BlackBerry, had announced that it would be ending support for major BlackBerry OS from January 4, 2022. With this, the company will discontinue offering significant services for its existing devices. Blackberry, one of the most popular smartphone brands of the time before the high-end phone segment became a rage, will be ending support for BlackBerry 7.1 OS and earlier, BlackBerry 10 software, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 along with previous versions.

The smartphone, which ruled the tech industry years ago, offered a smooth keyboard-centric designs and was a major hit among business executives and working professionals who relied on BlackBerry services that provide a high degree of confidentiality and anonymity. However as high end full touch screen devices became the rage, BlackBerry fell behind and concentrated on their top class QWERTY keyboard. At one point in time I was a BlackBerry fanboy. I was so much in awe of the devices when I first saw/heard of them on an Oprah Winfrey show where, on the launch of a new device, 7105t, she gave everyone in her audience a brand new one of the same model as part of her pre-Christmas giveaway show. Since then I have checked out news of the BlackBerry models and tried to get one for myself.

I got my first BlackBerry back in 2010, a grey BlackBerry Curve 8320 and then in 2012 I got a BlackBerry 9780 which I loved a lot and in March of 2015 I switched to a white Q10. But by 2016 I was feeling the lack of a full touch screen and felt that it was time to make the switch to Android. So in February of that year I switched to a Samsung and then I have bought a few Android devices (currently I have an Oppo and a RealMe) and have never gone back. But it fills me with sadness as I had brand loyalty for a while and it just died out as they weren’t the in thing anymore and also were left far behind the race.

Revisiting My First Few Blog Posts From 2002

Revisit your very first blog post and reflect on how you’ve grown

Well, I have to go back all the way to 2002 and check my first few blogs posts to look back at them. So yeah, back in the latter half of 2002 I had moved temporarily to the city of Calicut and being away from my family and staying in the lodge and joining my first proper company – I thought the best thing would be to have some sort of record on that. Having spent a few months before that reading a few blogs that I enjoyed, I decided to start one of my own.

Even though I moved to Calicut by the end of July, it took me till October to actually start the blog on Blogspot. And initially it was more like updates of what I did, if I bought some shirts or cds or anything like that or if I watched a movie. It was sporadic at best and so it was like “hey guys, this is what I did during the last few days, I am back in Cochin or I was in Cochin and now headed back to Calicut”. The rare party with friends – yeah, I’d mentioned that and what we ate/drank.

If there was a function that I attended I would write about that. You get the picture. It was like a note taking thing, which I sort of enjoy. When I have a lot of free time I do go back and read some of those old posts just to see what I was thinking back then, what did I watch on tv or movie theatre and what was I listening to at the time. I read about old friends and it makes me smile and wish for the old days to be back. It is fun to reminisce.

Prompt from 31 JANUARY BLOG POST IDEAS at Bloggingherway.com

Current Work Routine & Upcoming Personal Days Time Off

I seem to have settled into a new routine once again. January has been busy, unusually, for some silly reasons and I have not had much easy time which we usually have. We have been told that we will be a bit busy and have a bunch of training to do the week starting from the 24th. In the meantime I am doing a lot of id maintenance work for the client tool – yesterday being one of the worst busiest day in recent memory. And I am doing a 4:30 pm to a 1:30 am shift. I am still under medication and am taking it easy at home and not going out.

This week I will be taking 2 days off from work – this coming Thursday is my dad’s 83rd birthday and we have this system at work where we can claim 5 days as special leave and they have to give it to us. So I picked my dad’s birthday and mom’s birthday plus my own birthday. I then picked a day in October in between my niece & younger nephew’s birthdays (2 days apart) so we could celebrate it all on one day. My sister’s birthday falls on a Sunday so there is no problem there. The 5th is a random date that I picked because I couldn’t think of any other special day. I can change it if I want.

The very next day I have taken off for hospital visits and checkups and blood tests in needed. I do not know how many more times I may have to do the follow up but I want this problem gone as much as possible and not have to walk on eggshells wondering if I will get those cramps again. It already has been too long that I have pushed this aside and I need to take care of it.

A Rub Dub, Just Relaxing In The Tub, Thinking Everything Was Alright

Do you like soaking in a bathtub? I do not have a bathtub in my bathroom or the other bathroom in my current apartment.  But back in Kuwait, even our tiny apartment had a bathtub/shower combo and when we moved back to India, there was a bathtub in my parents bathroom. Now initially my parents slept in that bedroom from 1987 till the late 1990s. Then they switched to the bedroom downstairs since for some reason the bedroom upstairs seemed to be warmed especially during the summer months.

But even before that I would sometimes use their bathroom for taking an occasional bath in the tub, since they never used it. When my cousins would be over, even some of them liked to soak in it for a while. The best part of having that bathtub was after a long day of being out in the sun and being all sweaty and grimy, filling that tub with cool water and sinking in was a good feeling. Add the soap and stuff and I would play some music on a portable player and would even sneak in a freshly blended fruit juice or a soft drink up with me. Then I would just relax and let the water clean me up as I sat in the tub and chilled – in more ways than one.

For some reason I stopped using the tub around my early to mid 20s. I am not sure why and can’t remember any reason – probably there was a problem with the plumbing or something. But by the time I was 29 we were looking at selling the house and we did in September of 2006, which was a month after I turned 30. One of the things I miss about the house is how much of a retreat and relaxing place it was. So many memories.

I Will Pick The Red & The White

Someone comes into your house, puts a gun to your head and tells you that you must move to another country. You can go anywhere, it’ll last for five years and all of your living costs will be taken care of. Where do you move? Why?
Even before that someone could ask the question I would say Canada and I would demand that they take me there. Pack my bags, include my essentials and medicines and let’s go. I make no secrets about it; I am Canadian in spirit and I wish I were born & raised there or could have atleast moved there. I want to live with the Canadians and if you are gonna take me there and all my living costs are taken care of – why not!

I can break it down to a few main reasons as to why I want to go to Canada and they are, in no particular order:

  • Canadian bands & music : several of my fav solo sings, musicians and bands are Canadian. I could name Rush, Barenaked Ladies, Nickleback, Our Lady Peace, Bryan Adams, Corb Lund, The Tea Party, Finger 11, Big Sugar, Sarah McLachlan, Terri Clar, Shania Twain, Alanis Morrisette, Neil Young, Jesse Cook, Crash Test Dummies etc among them.
  • NHL Hockey : I know that most teams are in the US but hockey is a Canadian sport. There are more Canadians playing in the league than other nationalities combined. It is a cultural thing and I want to experience it.
  • Canadian food : not known for being a culinary destination yet Canada has their own thing going with various poutine, Nanaimo bars, beaver tails and a lot more. Plus their fast food chains seem more wholesome than most American ones : Tim Hortons, Second Cup, Pizza Pizza, Pizza Nova, Boston Pizza, Panago, A&W Canada, Harveys etc
  • The 4 seasons : even if Canada is a very cold country and gets a lot of snow their summers, spring & particularly autumns is very beautiful. I love to see the colours and beauty of their cities, countryside and nature parks.
  • The cities : With Ontario leading in population and many big, medium and small cities you have varied choices, while Quebec has Montreal & Quebec City plus a few smaller cities to pick from. Although Nova Scotia may only have Halifax, New Brunswick has 3 small cities in Saint John, Moncton & Fredericton. Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta have 1 to 3 cities each & BC has 2 big ones plus a few smaller ones to choose from. And you have the Irish cousin in St. Johns – the most colourful of them all. And don’t forget Niagara Falls. I want to see them all.
  • Other places of interest : too many to quote here but off the top of my head, Churchill, Banff, Jasper, Whistler, Muskoka county are just some of the places that I want to visit and spend time in. I even want to see the main parts of the Territories.
  • Canadians themselves : the people seem friendly, goofy, wholesome and funny and the women are pretty. What more can you ask for!

Prompt from 31 Writing Prompts for January 2021 | For Medium, Blogs and More at Lyucyu.medium.com

What Have You Learned From The Past Year

2021 was one of the weirdest years. This is the first year we have spent throughout with the pandemic – 2020 started out ok for most of us and then late March we went into quarantine – so the world has had to learn to adjust to Covid-19, the variations and then ofcourse Omicron lifted it’s ugly head up and out to the world. We learned that this is not over and we are not out of the woods and that this pandemic is not going away anytime soon. We have to learn to work around it.

  • Health is very important. With two major issues that I have had to deal with this year, including my first ever non-voluntary hospital stay for 5 days in October. December 2020 I started getting my issues with vertigo and that treatment and a few follow ups with the doctor went up to almost February. Then in October I was hospitalized since I started suffering those major cramps and in late December I banged my knee. I want to be free from these kinds of pain and take care of my health.
  • Work at home is more than possible and companies are lying to you. Most of the work that we have done at home is actually very profitable for your employers and clients. We tend to be freer from distractions and idle chats and can get more done. If your IT enable employers disagree, they are lying to your face. There is no reason why those of us who have worked remotely cannot continue to do so. No reason whatsoever. And companies need to get their act together and make it happen. We have already seen mass resignations in many countries because of various reasons – one was forcing employees to come back to working in the office for a job they can easily work from home.
  • I want to stop making excuses for not going out. Especially since May of last year, when we went into the second lockdown, I have found it comfortable to sit in my room and not venture out. I have only been to a handful of hospital/doctor’s visits and then nothing else. I cannot continue to do that and I need to start going out a bit more.
  • It might be time to look out for a new job with a bigger pay package and better hours. I’m sure of this last one. I cannot continue working this profile for much longer and I am getting tired of it.

Prompt from 31 Blog Post Ideas for January at The Frangipani Creative

What Did We Do Before The Internet?

Well I am old enough to know what it was like. I am 45 now and I only got broadband at home when I was 30. The Internet came to Cochin and Kerala by the year 1997 I think. My first visits to the online websites were CNN.com and ESPN.com. I think Wimbledon’s official website was next. Ever since then I have wanted to be online for as long as I can and would spend a bunch of money at various internet cafes and spend a few hours each weekend and sometimes 3-4 during the work week browsing the sites of my various interests.

Now what did I do before that. Well as a kid I usually played games with my friends and watched cartoons as well as those kid friendly shows on tv that the whole family can get together and watch like The A-Team, Starsky & Hutch, Knight Rider, Remington Steele etc etc. We would also get hamburgers for dinner. I also read a lot of comics and stories and books like The Fantastic Five, Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys. My sister and I also listened to a lot of music, which continued when we moved back to India. Weekends were spent watching maybe a movie or two and I would read a lot and listen to a lot of music. We also spent a lot of time during the vacation with our cousins and playing games with them or just hanging out.

And that would be how I spent my free time during my teens and early 20s. Reading a lot of books, watching cable tv shows and movies, listening to hours & hours of music on cassettes and cds in my room, playing with my dog. When I joined NIIT I did the same – when I was not at the institute, I read books, watched movies and played a lot of music and spent time with Shawny. At times I would spend a few hours with my friends at a movie theatre or at someone’s house and we would drink beer or rum. Back then we also called our friends and spoke with them for anything between 30 minutes to an hour or more.

Prompt from 31 Blog Post Ideas for January at A Grande Life

Busted Left Knee & A Crappy New Year

Officially this is the worst New Year’s Eve I have ever had. That I can remember. There have been New Years when I had little money and yet managed to have fun. Those New Years eves were so much better than what I am going through right now. A couple of days ago I busted my left knee by slipping in the bathroom and banging it against the tiled wall. I didn’t think much of it and went about my day and work. However when I work up the next morning my knee hurt like hell. It was swollen and pain everytime I sat down or got up or tried to lie down.

For two days I tried to work through the pain but last night it was very painful so I quit working two hours before my shift ended. Today I took the day off as I wanted to rest my leg. I did that, watching a bunch of CSI and taking naps, like I have been the past couple of days. Tonight my parents came back from my sister’s place. We had a light vegetarian dinner of masala dosa with some chilli Gobi dry. I have been trying to watch some YouTube but my mind keeps wandering. I hope within the next two days I get better and the pain goes away.

What a crappy New Year!

The Presents Of The Past

Since we do not give or receive gifts for the holiday season, unlike in some countries, I was thinking about the other gifts that I have received over the years and the ones that stood out. I was thinking about this bike I got from my parents when I was 14 or 15. Back then, 1990 I think, which was something I really wanted. Street Cat, which was an Indian brand, was very popular at the time and their commercials were all over tv. I asked for it and I think for my birthday or maybe for New Year’s or something, I came back home from classes and saw the bicycle waiting for me.

One of my cousins who had come back from Singapore, where she was and still is staying, for a visit brought me some nice men’s cologne and shaving cream that she has selected just for me. A girlfriend of mine gave me a locket, which was made of ivory and something else which I can’t remember, that I absolutely loved and I wore it on my gold chain for a few years. Many years later, from one of my previous offices I was gifted a brass peacock, a large 3d image that you can use as a wall display of 2 parrots, a notebook/calendar and a teddy bear. I still have the first 2 and the 4th ite,.

Ofcourse over the years I have received many comic books and novels as gifts, many toys ofcourse from my uncles, aunts and parents for my birthdays. All were great to receive and were treasure.

Christmas During Covid 2021

This is just another day, just another Saturday in a long line of Saturdays. Since Christmas day this year falls on a Saturday, I don’t even get an extra day off. Which sucks because most places will close down for a few days during the end of the year but when you work for a BPO, which is 24 hrs a day, 365 days a week, you do not get a proper holiday season. That’s what you get for working in the customer care industry.

Anyways, I worked yesterday till 12:15 am and then watched some tv as I got into bed. I am enjoying this show called Law & Order : Organized Crime which is amazing by the way. by around 2:30 am I shut down the tv and switched the lights off and went to sleep. This morning I woke up around 10 am and then made two cups of coffee – one with milk and one black. I skipped breakfast and instead listened to some music and watched vlogs on travel and football.

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Then it was time for lunch which I had planned on getting a large pizza. P60 was the choice for the day and I also ordered 6 bbq chicken wings. I had 4 slices of the pizza and the wings for lunch and then watched Free Guy before taking an hour’s nap. By evening I was listening to more music, drank more coffee, had a chat with a couple of colleagues and then took a hot shower by 7pm. By 8: 30 I heated up my remaining 4 slices and ate my dinner. Now I am listening to podcasts and I will soon shoot a couple of movie reviews.

I also have some ice cream waiting for me so I better get to that quickly. The last two days have been tough due to the amount of mosquitoes that we’ve been getting in my area. I hate mosquitoes and the way they buzz in your ear and nose and bite you on your feet and ankles. Ugh! Anyway it has been a quiet and peaceful day. Tomorrow, may it be the same.

Online Shopper That I Am

Though I do buy a lot of things online, most of the time it’s smaller things. I also do buy some groceries online from Amazon Pantry or Grocery/Fresh like juice, coffee and chips at times but it has been a while since I have ordered anything other than coffee and things like shampoo, deodorant and shaving cream. I regularly order these last few things as I always seem to get a little offer on these items. Also, I started doing this long before it became easy to get most items on grocery delivery apps.

I also buy my underclothes, a few books, some stationary, sometimes scented candles (like these awesome vanilla latte scented candles I just bought along with a Harley Davidson style lighter) or small little things. I have this thing about coffee mugs and I usually look at getting some different ones here and there. I have recently got a Rs.1000 gift card from the office and I will be getting another Rs.2500 is coming in a few more days. I am looking at a few things, a shirt and maybe an electric body shaver to replace the old one that got defective.

I also want to look at that small table/display case for books which I really like. I think I will get either the shirt plus the razor or get the microphone for my computer that I was looking at. If I have some money left over then I might get another coffee mug, LOL!

What Are Some Of Your Favorite Holiday Season Traditions?

What are some of your favorite traditions during the holiday season?
I have absolutely no traditions during the December holiday season. I work though the entire month, unless I am unwell and have to take a couple of days leave.  I think last year it was pretty great as both the 25th of December & the 1st of Jan were on Fridays and hence we got 2 three day weekends which was awesome to have. This month no such luck.

I do like to have some good meals during this time of the year, instead of just the usual burgers and pizzas or fried chicken. Like some Chinese noodles with pork and chicken or prawns. Or perhaps some tandoori chicken, butter chicken and naan. I will also want to want a bunch of movies and if possible some movies set in the snow of not the holiday season. I dunno why but since I do not get snow here in Kerala and I associate the holiday season with snow and firewood and hot chocolate with marshmallows, I atleast want to see that in my movies. And again, if possible, I also want to watch a few holiday themed episodes from Frasier & Friends.

Other than that, I won’t be doing much and I haven’t done much in years gone by. I guess in the 80s & 90s I used to go shopping with my family and sometimes my cousins. Going to the main commercial areas and seeing the decorations and layouts of the various shops and stalls and people going about looking for the best deals and things to buy for their family. That’s a nice feeling but I haven’t been doing that in ages. And I don’t think that I will be doing that any time soon.

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

Your Personal Holiday Wish List

In in my professional life, other than the first job I had where, mainly due to a technical issue we got 10 days off at the end of the year, during the only year that I was there , I have never worked at a place that gives everyone time off at once. And that is because I have mostly worked in customer care – phone, email & chat – which never closes. 24 hrs a day, 365 days of the year. And Indian corporates make it very difficult for you to take time off at a stretch.

The only two times I have had more than 10 days off (including Saturdays & Sundays) were because of medical conditions – in 2019 I had a fracture on my toe and a sprain as well; my doc advised me to keep my feet up for 10 days. And then year I was hospitalized due to a condition in my blood and I took 10–12 days off, including the weekends.

This year Christmas falls on a Saturday as does the 1st so no days off. Just the regular weekends off. If I did get 7-10 days off all I would want is to book a hotel room, one with a comfortable and large bed, free wifi, room service and a tv. I would sleep, read, internet (the verb) and watch a few movies while drinking a bit and eating whatever they can deliver to me. That would be the best way to unwind and relax and recharge my batteries.

Prompt from 31 DECEMBER BLOG POST IDEAS at BLOGGING HER WAY

Do I Have A WishList For Christmas?

Well we don’t really celebrate Christmas and even if we did, we do not buy gifts for each other. Maybe a husband and wife pair might do that for each other, even if they are not Christians but the art of gift giving is limited in India. There are some exceptions ofcourse but usually nah!

If I had the money though, here are some of the things that I would buy for myself. I do not have the money for all but I will be getting some of these. The book shelf/table is something that I will get soon. I just need to make some space for it. And the juicer too. I have been meaning to get something like it for a while.
The sandwich maker is good, it’s just that our kitchen does not have too much counter space at the moment. But it would be good to get. Now the USB table top microphone is something I have been meaning to get for a while now. My medical bills are taking priority at the moment so I guess it will be a few weeks before I get it. I do want that so I will get it. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra though – unless I win one on one of the online competitions or someone gets it for me, I won’t be getting it.

Learning That We’re Only Immortal For A Limited Time

Take a line from a song you love and turn it into the title of your next blog post. Let the content follow.

Since I have already done a similar blog prompt 7 years ago I am changing the song up and choosing another lyric from another great song by another great band – Rush! This line from the song Dreamline off their 1991 album Roll The Bones was, at the age of almost 16 like a blast to the brain. Ofcourse it rings true every time a relative or friend passes away but especially in your teens or early 20s when someone you know and see regularly passes away. That is when you realize that everything is not going to be the same forever.

You realize as you take a look around that you are not going to see those people again. You will meet with your family ofcourse but there will be those gaps in between where those people used to be. The same with your friends; you will see the rest of them but there is that empty seat at the table that used to be filled. And that hits you for a long time. You are made aware of your own mortality. You will not see your dog or cats again, your loved ones who have passed away again. You will miss that friend who died in an accident for the rest of your life. And then you realize that life goes on without them and that life will go on without you.

Learning that we are only immortal, for a limited time. When you are young and life is good and sweet, you do not think about dying. You do not think that you will die someday and you will not get to experience the things you like anymore. This is a powerful moment, not necessarily all sad and doom/gloom. But it lets you know that your time is limited and we need to enjoy it while we can.

Prompt from 31 December Writing Prompts at Mama Kat’s Losing It