Missing Boston Video Library

Boston Video Library is one of the biggest nostalgia places for me from my mid teens to my mid 20s. The business no longer exists and while that is a sign of the times, it still remains to this day a reminder of simpler and good times. They had two branches – the first and original one was in Mattancherry, very close to my grandmother’s house. This was the place we got introduced to them. My cousins and I would go there during the summer vacations and select a couple of movies ever 2 days and watch them together during the evenings.

The second one is more special for one of my cousins and me. This branch was in a small business enclave in Convent Junction, Ernakulam meaning I didn’t have to go as far to rent movies. This branch was run by the youngest son of the business family that owned Boston Video Library but their main business was import of coir. Now, why the name Boston if they are from India, you say? Well I asked them that once and they told me that the very first international order they got was from a company in Boston and hence they named their next venture, the video libraries, after that city.

My cousin and I would spend many hours at the Ernakulam branch as we were pally with the younger son, Paresh, who was just a few years older than us. I remember when I was ill once and restricted to my bed, I would call in advance for selecting a few movies and Paresh would get them ready for me. A driver who chauffeured my dad would pick them up for me. Same after my operation in 1997. I watched so many movies from these guys. It’s part of my childhood and my early 20s. I will always miss the stores.

The Longest Wait

What is the hardest thing you had to wait for?

In 2011 I had trouble with money and hence I was mostly broke. One of the options I had was to go to my previous place of employment and claim my Provident Fund money. I knew that for the 4 years and 2 months that I had worked there, I could withdraw my entire PF money, which has my monthly contribution and is matched by the company, from the CTC of my salary.

So I went to the office, met some ex-colleagues and say hi and then went to the HR who files these claims for you. He told me that it would take a while to get the claim money to my bank account. My heart fell as I was broke at the time but still filled in the form and signed on the dotted line. I filed the claim with them and they sent it to Mumbai. I have never waited so much for something that I was desperate for. I counted the hours and the days until I heard a “ding” on my phone messages and picked it up to read that the money, which came upto almost Rs. 75,000 had been deposited in my bank account in two installments on the same day.

It was a huge relief and that lasted me for more than 3 months during which time I could relax. I had needed to pay off some pending bills and that was good. The wait was so worthy.

Prompt from 31 Days of January Writing Prompts at The SitsGirls

Biggest Guilty Pleasure?

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

Chocolate. Oh so sinful and delicious chocolate. I can’t stop loving it. It also is like a reward at the end of a long week at work. A little thank you for the struggles and the long hours and less sleep and the shitty stuff that happens on a daily basis. I need that something at the weekend.

It is a guilty pleasure and yes I know that. A nice big chocolate bar that I can put in the freezer for an hour or so and then watch a movie and slowly eat that bar. Hmmmm. But my favourite is now M&M chocolate peanuts which are the best snack ever. Buy a couple of those bags – which are not cheap – once or twice a month and at the end of a long week, pop in a movie, lie down in bed and enjoy those treats.

What to do! I enjoy them a lot and yes I can stop if I wanted to but I don’t have much else to look forward to.

Prompt from 31 Days of January Writing Prompts from The SitsGirls

What’s In Your Bag?

What’s in your bag?

I carry a bag – a laptop back that is – for work. I don’t have a laptop in it as I am not allowed to carry a personal laptop to work and they don’t give you a laptop at work anyways. Well not for me. But yeah it’s a laptop bag that I sling over my shoulder and take it with me to work and back home.

I have an umbrella in it, cause I live in a tropical climate and we have heavy monsoons and sometimes it rains even in November and early December. A foldable one. I also have a 750ml bottle for water and I keep it next to my work computer at work. I have a couple of notepads and a diary and some pens and markers.

Sometimes I have biscuits or a sandwich or a candy bar or some snack as well. Working odd hours and sometimes stretching for 10-13 hours a day you get hungry. My bag is a little bit dirty and ripped in a couple of places and I will have to replace it someday soon.

Prompt from 365 Blog Post Ideas and Writing Prompts

Talk Show Host

If You Had Your Own Talk Show, Whom Would You Want to Interview?

Lots of people. Some may not be the very famous people who you see all the time on the talk show circuits around the world. Well some would and a lot of them might not but they sure would be interesting. Actors, musicians, singers, directors, producers, writers and authors. Sportsmen and women (but mainly from football and NHL and a few others).

I would like to have a nice looking set with expensive leather chairs, even recliners or sofas. I would want it to be a very casual setting and make sure that my guests are very comfortable. And we’d talk about personal stuff, interesting anecdotes and events and secrets and special things.

All good stuff.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Amazon Purchase : New Wallet

I usually keep my wallets for a long time but these days,  I dunno, it’s like they don’t make wallets built to last anymore. I had a really nice one back in 2010, which was one of the birthday gifts I got for my 34th birthday but which I only used in 2011 as my then wallet was still very good. And that lasted for 2 years.

Since then I have had wallets that lasted about a year or less each time I buy it. The worst was this last one – beautiful brown leather but the thing got ripped on the edges in just a few months. I think it lasted about 6 months or maybe 7! That is ridiculous.

So I have been looking online on Amazon.in for a new wallet and found way too many that I like. I eventually went with an almost plain black one with that wavy white stitch line in the middle and that clasp on the end. I think I like this one. Let’s see how long this one lasts. It should be here in 2 more days.

Ringing In The New Year

Well it’s back to work we go…….high ho, high ho! It’s the 2nd of January and after two and a half days of relaxing at home doing nothing much I have to get back to work. I will be having more of these type of weekends, relaxing at home and watching movies or tv shows rather than going out. Except for next weekend as I need to go shopping for some shirts.

How did I spend the weekend? After working 10:30 am to 4pm on Saturday, I left to get a late lunch – a McSpicy chicken wrap with fries and a coke at McDonald’s. That done I left for home and decided that I would stay in for the rest of the time off. I drank a beer and enjoyed some chicken wings & garlic bread from Pizza Hut that my folks brought home after their shopping at Center Mall. Oh their wings were succulent and juicy! I also watched The Rock.

Dec 31st was watching a couple of movies – Alien 3 & Alien Resurrection and a bunch of Seinfeld episode after midnight. I ordered fried rice, naan, chappathy, chili chicken & tandoori chicken for my mom, sister and niece and I also had two Carlsberg beers. Dad went to the club for New Year’s eve dinner and drinks. New Year’s Day I have a no drink policy. I just watched a lot of Youtube videos, had home made chicken curry for lunch with rice and with chappathy for dinner and watched Spider-man : Homecoming and Alien vs Predator : Requiem. Totally relaxing and no stress whatsoever!

Happy 11th Blogaversary

Happy 11th birthday to my blog Awake & Dreaming & a happy 11th Blogaversary to me! I can’t believe that it’s been 11 years already.

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. But yeah, 30 themes in 11  years ain’t so bad!

This isn’t my first blog; 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.

Unlike a lot of people who used to blog regularly, I have continued. 90% of bloggers I used to follow have moved onto Facebook but I persist. I don’t read much blog posts anymore as Youtube, Twitter and Facebook having taken up much of my time on the internet but I have kept my blog up. And I will continue to do so for as long as I can. I find this quite therapeutic and enjoy blogging. Here’s to another year!

A Look Back At 2017

So, 2017 is almost history. We are going to start a new year, a whole new 365 days to do stuff and try and find happiness, success and love. A new year to revolve around our sun, the star that is essential to all life on our planet. A new year to get things done.

Or will it be a bad year? 2016 was a crappy year for some and 2017 was also crappy for some. For me it’s been a so-so year. I applied for a promotion and change in process at my place of work and went through the interview process and presentation round and I got it. I was informed that I was selected by the end of February and that I would stay in my current process till the end of March. So April 1st I start in a new post with a slightly better pay package and a small promotion.

Work has been fun at times though we have had some really long hours at work and fluctuating work shifts. I turned 41 in the middle of it and I really have started to feel the effects of late work hours on my body. I need more time to get ready and more time to relax as the late hours are beginning to take a toll on me.

I can’t think of personal things to talk about. I don’t think I have much of a personal life, other than going out, either alone or with a cousin, getting some good food and watching a few movies. I now prefer to spend my weekends at home and go out less. I hope I have some excitement coming my way soon. I could use some. Have a great 2018!

3 Different Shifts In 3 Days

Oh boy! I am so tired once again. I have worked three different work shifts in three days. And I have sacrificed one of my off days to get some stuff done because ofcourse everything in this process is at the last moment and not really organized at all so I end up doing stuff like this.

Thursday I worked a 9pm to 6:30 am shift and came home by 7 am and slept. Then I went back to work at 5:30 pm yesterday and I worked till 1am. Then I came home and watched tv for a bit and then went to sleep. I woke up today at 8:15 am as I have to be at work by 10:30am or 11am. So tired and weary and just wanting to finish the work and come back home quickly. But you’d think that if I am coming to work on my day off for conducting sessions, they would make sure that they arrange those folks for me.

But no, it was so haphazard and disorganized that for the 10:30 am session I only got people by 11:55 am and for the 1:30 pm session I only got people by 2:45pm. That is ridiculous! What a waste of time. Anyway, I am back home and drinking a beer. Cheers!

Boxing Day Bore

Well back to work I go. It’s only been three days but I feel lazy. Also, I have not enjoyed them as much because a)Saturday I slept most of the day away having woken up up only by 1:45 pm (whoa!) and then feeling so tired that after brushing my teeth and having lunch I went straight back to bed, though instead of sleeping I watched a movie and some tv before getting up at around 5pm.

Saturday I slept late, by 4 am, watching movies all night and Sunday I went out. Monday I was in for Yule and after a nice big lunch of fried chicken, fries and beer I slept for 90 minutes. And we have had mosquitoes, buzzing around all late evening and night making it hard for me to sleep and enjoy myself. Sheesh! And it’s been warm. Well altleast the day time is fine, the mornings are actually breezy.

I watched 6 movies this 3 day weekend – Jeepers Creepers 3, James Bond : A View To a Kill, Demolition Man, Gremlins, Indian Jones & The Raiders of The Lost Ark & Alien. That’s a good variety of films don’t you think? Now it’s back to work and I don’t want to go!

Relaxation Man

After a few weeks I finally went out for a while. Nothing special planned but just for some good food and a bit of shopping. I woke up very late as I had slept so late in the night or early morning. I finally fell asleep by 4 am after tossing and turning and only woke up by around 10 am. I had just a coffee and then showered and shaved and waited till almost 12:30 pm before heading out.

I hired an Uber and went to The Burger Junction in Panampilly Nagar. On an empty stomach a nice, juicy burger with bacon and fries and a sweet Nutella shake is awesome. I spent some time there before leaving for Center Mall. I shopped for some secret Santa gifts and ended up selecting a customized coffee mug and a men’s wallet. After that I went to Big Bazaar two floors up and bought a few things like shampoo, deodrant, talcum powder, apples, snacks and chocolates.

Then I went to Subway as I was still a bit hungry and had a Mountain Dew and a club sub before hailing another Uber and going to the self service BevCo in Gandhinagar and bought six beers. Hmm it’s been a while since I had any. Then I made my way back home for some relaxation. In the late evening while watching YouTube I downed a couple of those beers and then had dinner by 9pm. Now watching movies.

Your Ultimate Christmas Movie?

I am not religious and neither do I celebrate Christmas for family reasons because a) I am an atheist and b) my family is Hindu and not Christian so even the cultural thing doesn’t come into the picture. I am grateful for any holidays I can get (just the 25th & the 1st for this year) to relax and drink some beer and eat some good food. Repeat that for the next weekend as well since New Year’s falls on a Monday. Yipee!

Part of the fun of this time of the year is to watch Christmas movies. For me and some others it’s not the traditional kind of Christmas movie or involving a Santa atleast. My movies are usually Gremlins, Die Hard or Home Alone. It’s always these three for me and I alternate between the three each 25th.

Off the top of my head I can only think of these three but I guess the Dutch horror film Sinter Klaus is another option. What are your Christmas movies?

My Personal Mascot

What Would Your Personal Mascot Be?

A Golden Retriever. Just like my beloved Shawny who was my best friend from 1994 till 2005. And who set the standards for love, loyalty and devotion. That’s what I want to be known for and my personal mascot should also have those characteristics.

I have never known a day that went by when she was with me, that she didn’t cheer me up with her love and affection. When I was sad, she was there with a wagging tail and a loving lick saying “Cheer up human”! When I came home from work post midnight, anytime between 2:30 am to 4:00 am, as I reached the gate in the company cab, Shawny would be waiting there for me. Everytime, without fail, at the gate. With a look on her face that would be either “I am been waiting for you all day, hurray that you are back” and in her later years “Finally, where have you been all this time, young man?”.

I need a dog in my life but for long it has been as if I was replacing her. It’s not, as I have come to realize. And it would nice to have another dog for a few more years.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Staring & Swiping Do Not Mix

Well I’m back to 7:30 pm to 4:30 am shifts again. This seems to be something more of the norm for my department now. And I think I prefer that because of the fact that I seem to get some free time at home and I don’t have to stretch too much at work either.

I made a mistake a lunch a few days ago which I forgot to mention. I had lunch at the office cafeteria and my meal came to Rs.75. When I swiped my card, the guy at the counter had pressed Rs.75 but I tried entering my pincode a little too soon and either I or the guy at the counter must have accidentally entered a 0 at the end so it actually swiped for Rs.750! Gasp! Egads!

I realized the error as I was eating lunch so I went back to the counter and showed it to the guy in charge. He checked my order and the amount and gave me back the change. Ofcourse my friends at work who I were having lunch with said that I made the error because I was ogling some chick at another table! I swear I only stared for like most of the time!

Wannabe Wanderer

Tell us about the top five places you’ve always wanted to visit.

  1. Canada – always Canada. Well ever since 1998 or so, I have wanted to move to Canada and explore her cities, towns and countryside. No other place I’d rather visit and possibly even live in.
  2. The UK – England first, Scotland, Wales & N.Ireland too. The sights, the towns, the pubs, the people, the FOOTBALL!
  3. Parts of the US – I guess it’s safe to say that for someone like me there are some areas of the US that are scary right now. There always seems to be crazy things happening. But the USA has many areas I would love to see and enjoy.
  4. The Netherlands & Belgium – Holland is one of my favourite places to see sights off and I put Belgium along with them as they are similar in some cases. Beautiful cities and towns and football, beer and food!
  5. Scandinavian countries – I have had a life long love affair with Sweden (or atleast since 1987) and I want to see her. Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland too. Some of the cities in these countries look downright amazing.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Year End Traditions

What are your holiday traditions? (Amending that to year end holiday)

Not being Christian or Jewish and not even from a Jewish or Christian family (like a non-religious person) I don’t really have much to do during these days. The end of December is the holiday season as it is know all over – well most of the world. But I usually can expect a few things to happen.

So not really a tradition but I guess I will buy some cake. Usually fruit cake with a bit of icing on it. We end up with 2-3 during the last week of the month or so because dad will get one, I will get one and someone or the other ends up gifting us some. It is shared and eaten during the days from December 23rd till New Year’s Dad. There inevitably will be some win, home made pungent wine, that a Christian family or neighbour will give us. Some of them are terrible but once in a while you get a really good one.

I will only get the 25th and the 1st off from work. We end up eating fried chicken. During this time, we get some chicken legs or something and pan fry them and have them for dinner. I buy some beers and ofcourse there will be vodka. I watch movies a lot. Will usually try to watch a “Christmas movie” – like Gremlins or Home Alone and enjoy some of that cake while I watch it.


Under What Conditions Do You Do Your Best Work?

Under What Conditions Do You Do Your Best Work?

I think I like some peace and quiet and not too many distractions when I am working. I do not like working next to too many people, though I have worked as a call center agent for a long time. I am still in the industry but in a different role so it’s one that I need a bit more space than an agent can get.

I also do not like being rushed or asked to do things at the last moment. I also do not like too much multi-tasking, it’s not good for productivity or efficiency. Let me finish one thing and in between I can do a couple of smaller things as well but it’s better that you do not bother me with too much stuff that takes away from my concentration. And also less nonsensical banter the better.

I do not like too many people dropping by and saying stuff. I do not like to have too much food in between, just coffee and a snack. But I do work best if I can have some candy near me, like hard candy a la Kopiko. That speeds up my work and also keeps me from getting a dry mouth. And ofcourse plenty of water.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times