Welcome to Darkside Daily

When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Year Bites The Dust

As is often the case, the month of December has gone screaming by in a blur of lights, singing and panic shopping. Even though Christmas is now over, the new year is hurtling towards us at a frightening pace, and once again we are pressed into making arrangements for our new year's bash, buying firecrackers and hurriedly indulging in our secrets sins which we tell ourselves will magically disappear from our lives come January 1st.

The new year resolution has over time become synonymous with failure, as year after year we promise to diet, stop stealing the stationary at work, start working out, give up smoking, stop swearing, stop shoplifting, stop swearing while shoplifting, stop getting caught for shoplifting - the usual. I like this quote by Kenny "The Jet" Smith from one of his articles - 'How many times have you said, 'This year is going to be different! This is the year I stop drinking, cursing and smoking." Then before you know it, you’re muttering, “Damn, I left my cigarettes in the bar."'

I've decided against making a new year's resolution. Well, not exactly - I figure if everyone is going to try make some form of dramatic change in their lives, I might as well resolve to be better. Yes, be better. I think that pretty much sums up everyone's resolutions anyway.

While most of us are looking back at the year 2008 and reminiscing the peaks and pitfalls it brought us, few choose to look forward with the same enthusiasm. Too often the ghosts of the previous years follow us into the new one, and pretty soon the new year is an all too familiar reflection of the old year. How boring.

The Whackster wrote an interesting post about how we're all just living in pockets of time. Or something. Whatever the case may be, we could all use an opportunity to make a brand new start. While I'm sure the majority of the blogosphere will have no issues with wanting to start over, seeing as almost everyone is miserable and depressed out there, the remaining few who aren't on the verge of suicide can still use the occassion to turn over a new leaf because let's face it - no one's life is without room for improvement.

As for me, 2008 has some very fond memories. Rarely have I had a year that had such good memories that the bad ones seemed to fade into insignificance, and for that I am grateful.

Here's hoping 2009 turns into a great year for all of you.

And let's keep spreading the darkness >:D



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Birthday, My g-Pod, My... Singing?!

And so it is finally Christmas Eve! I was planning on writing a few posts before this, but with all the hustle and bustle of last minute Christmas shopping, I completely forgot.

So this is just a quick one, to recap the last few days.

First of all, it was my birthday yesterday. Don't worry, I know you all remembered but were unable to convey your wishes due to a host of seemingly important yet highly suspicious excuses. No matter, I have now moved past the age where the thrill of getting presents keeps me awake the night before. I suppose the endless barrage of socks and 'useful presents' had something to do with that.

But then I got THIS!

So I really shouldn't complain. I love it! I love it so much that I dubbed it the 'g-Pod'; I spent almost all day fiddling with it, setting up iTunes, sorting my 11GB of music and just generally being thoroughly satisfied. Who said men are complicated?!

All in all, it was a muted birthday, which is expected considering I know no one here. Due to the convenient timing of my birthday, I have never had to bring cake to school or any other such birthday tradition. When I was in college, I never got to celebrate my birthday with them as we were always on vacation during that time. However, there was one semester when our exams were postponed and so I was in India for my birthday. It was my first semester, and I didn't know my friends that well. Imagine my surprise when, while hanging out at a friend's house, a couple of the girls came from the kitchen with a cupcake and a solitary candle, and started singing happy birthday. Someone has a picture of me holding my pint-sized birthday cake in my hand with a very confused look on my face; I'd have put it up if I had it. It is one of my favourite birthday memories, not because of anything spectacular that happened, but for the simple reason that I was remembered when I thought I wouldn't be.

But I'm rambling. It's almost Christmas! I wish you all the very best of the season, and here's hoping that no matter what presents we get tomorrow, we manage to spread the real gifts of this season - Peace, Joy and Love.

(I really must stop!)

In closing, here's my terribly amateurish rendition of "Away in a manger". Forgive the terrible video quality, my camera is slowly but surely decaying. As for the singing, well, that unfortunately is solely my fault.


Click here if you want to download the song instead.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

So This Is Christmas.. (Like You Didn't Already Know)

Apparently I have been tagged again by our very own mistress of spices.

Yes indeedy, it is the Christmas season alright! And though I was saving the retrospective post for New Year's eve, let's have a look at the past year for the darkside.

In 2008, I -

  • was in the prime of my life, and never wasted an opportunity to remind someone of the fact
  • failed many times at things that I should have succeeded at
  • went for my first job interview
  • went for many, MANY job interviews after that
  • was asked to run a floral shop
  • started writing this blog
  • fell in love
  • went to Scandinavia for the first time!
  • went to Maldives for the first time (and decided it was going to be my honeymoon destination - if it's still above water then)
  • learned from my mistakes
  • met many old friends, some whom I hadn't seen in 7 years!
  • finally accepted the fact that I'm not doing my Masters for a long, long time
  • watched old wounds reopen
  • realized the importance of respect - earning it and giving it
  • got a 6 pack (finally!) - and I ain't talking about beer..
  • closed a chapter of my life

All in all, it has been an interesting year, if not the most successful. I had made many plans for the year, however in the end I didn't carry out a single one of them.I'm not that upset about it though; God works in mysterious ways, and I honestly believe that everything I went through this year happened for a purpose. I think about everything I would have missed had this year gone according to my plan, and I can only smile to myself, look to the heavens and say "Thank You...!"

I'm not quite sure who to tag, seeing as everyone I know has already been tagged. Aha! There you go: Pseudorandom, Scrumpy, Toby - I doth tag thee!



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Butt-Billboards: Signs Of The Times?

Do you believe in signs? You know, those little incidents that foretell coming doom; small inconsequential nothings that, when ignored, turn into harbingers of death or divine signals of assent?

I don't. Well, that's not true - I do when it suits me. When I kept failing exams when I stayed up all night to study, I took it as a sign that God wanted me to rest more. When my discman broke, I took it as a sign to lobby for an mp3 player. When my mp3 player - well, nothing happened to it yet, but I still want the new iPod nano!

Anyway, yesterday something definitely was trying to speak to me. However, I feel I can be excused for not taking it seriously, because my sign was on someone else's ass.

What is with women's jogging pants that have words written across the butt area? Women say we have only one thing on our mind and don't respect them for "who they are inside" (or something), and then they go and buy jogging pants with "juicy" written across their ass. Even if the most decent and non-perverted person (me) came across one of those, he would have to stare at her ass just so that he could read what was written! Evil. Then there are those instances when the 'butt-billboard' says something that makes no sense whatsoever. I remember when one of my friends introduced his girlfriend to the boys. She was nice, very attractive, but as they were leaving we noticed she had '1994' written across her ass. This spawned a half hour discussion filled with good and not so good humour on what that date could signify (Date of manufacture? Best before date? Hit counter?)

Yesterday while in Colombo I saw a girl wearing one of those pants. This time, it read "Justice". This was even more bizarre then "1994", and I was forced to repeatedly look back just to make sure it said 'justice' and not 'just ice' or something. Little did I know that this was my 'sign'.

I was looking for a new graphics card for my PC, and I had my mind set on the nvidia 8600GT. After going store hopping, I finally found a place that offered it for a very reasonable price. So I go to the ATM, check if I have the financial stability to survive this onslaught on my accounts, and head back to the store all glowing. A different sales person meets me, and I tell him I'm here to buy the 8600GT. He takes it out and says "Here you go. Oh but this isn't real".

"Excuse me?" I say, "what do you mean?"

"It's fake. Made in China."

"But it says 'Nvidia GeForce 8600GT' on the box!!"

"Yes. It's fake. Wait a minute"

He then calls someone who extracts a large glossy box from some hidden counter and passes it to him.

"This is the real thing. This one is very good, great performance, solid capacitors used."

"And the other one is fake?! Ok, how much is the original?" I ask, though my heart was already sinking with dread.

"Twice the price of this one" he says, deflating my hopes and demolishing my measly budget.

After much deliberation and repeated pleas of "Are you sure?!", I decided to pass on this fake card, simply because even the sales person was not convinced of it's performance and there was no way I was blowing my limited funds on a chance like that. I left the store, but not before thanking the sales person for his honesty.

Then we went to this new Indian restaurant for lunch. I was in the mood for some good Indian biriyani, and so were the rest of the family, so we agreed to get three portions of chicken biriyani.

"Three biriyani's", we tell the waiter, as visions of a nice heavy Indian meal flood my senses.

"Ok. Chicken?", he asks.


"Ok. Err. By the way, it is fried chicken ok?"


"In the biriyani. Fried chicken."

Apparently, this so-called 'authentic' Indian restaurant served a very un-Indian chicken biriyani, one where the chicken was not cooked in the biriyani but was just deep fried and added to the rice later. Now, let me just mention here that my mom is Indian and my dad has studied in India, so they both know quite a deal about Indian food, and so they proceeded to destroy the waiter. The poor guy apologised, and suggested other dishes we could try instead.

After taking our new order, I couldn't help but wonder what was wrong with universe. I'm so used to people trying to cheat me at every corner that it was unnerving and confusing to come across not just one but two incidents where someone actually was honest with me!

Justice indeed. I'm paying more attention to them butt's from now on!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Animal Love

She tries not to wake me, yet somehow I hear her as she enters the room. Trying not to move, I glance at the clock to see the time. “Dammit,” I think to myself, “She’s coming to bed at 6am?!?” She pauses at the foot of my bed, checking to see if I’m awake. I lay completely still, and after a few moments of silence, she slowly crawls into bed, treading carefully and making no sound at all. Again, she pauses, probably to decide the most comfortable position to sleep. She settles for snuggling under my arm and placing her head gently on my shoulder. She breathes softly, and part of me knows that if I stay silent any longer she’ll be fast asleep within seconds. However, the other part of me was much too annoyed at being woken up so early, so I turn and face her.

As soon as she senses my movement, she jerks her head up and looks at me, guiltily. I look straight at her, my face a mask of disapproval as I channel all the annoyance of being woken up by her into my expression. She looks right back, impassive, yawns a little, and says –


“Dammit Speedy, it’s six am! Go sleep in ma’s bed!”

I can see her black tail whisk in the semi-darkness; she’s glad I’m awake. I make a bit of space for her and offer a bit of the sheet, and she curls up in it within seconds, purring all the while. Mom hates when I let her sleep up near the top of the bed – something about cat fur causing asthma. But what can I do if we have a cat that’s so pampered she sleeps with her head on the pillow?!

We’ve had Speedy for 8 years now. We got her with her mother, Erica, who was a pure bred Persian. Sadly, Erica passed away a few months ago at the young age of nine, leaving Speedy a somewhat muted and lonely cat.

I was never much of a person for pets. It always seemed like something that only looked good on TV but not in real life, a bit like every exercise machine in the market. The idea of a person bonding and forming a human-like relationship with an animal seemed too Disney to be true. I know it sounds terribly irrational, but then again, growing up I didn’t have any friends that had pets, so I suppose it was an understandable misconception.

What exactly qualifies an animal to be a pet? Sure we have cats and dogs, and the odd Chihuahua, but is that it? Apparently when I was 6 years old, my parents gifted me a parrot. I ignored that bird so much, that out of sheer desperation it took to daily working on the bars of its cage with its beak, until finally, in true “Great Escape” style, it literally flew the coop one evening when no one was watching. I didn’t miss it at all – it was a bird that kept squawking, how could I miss it?! I also know a person that kept snakes as pets. And I don’t mean in cages, I mean me-casa-es-su-casa-slither-all-over-the-place pets.

When I was in India this time, someone I knew was planning on gifting a golden retriever puppy to his girlfriend for her birthday. Till the big day though, he was going to keep the pup at our place. She was only 6 weeks old, and she was the most hyper-active thing I’ve ever seen! She’d run around like mad for about 45 minutes, then suddenly stop dead in her tracks, pause for a second, and collapse in sleep. However, the poop that was appearing everywhere prevented me from really considering her more than an over-done birthday present (seriously, gifting a puppy to a girlfriend is the equivalent of giving her the keys to your apartment - and that can lead to this!). Either way, that all changed one night when she woke me up at around 3am. She was crying and yelping and as much as I tried to ignore it I couldn’t go back to sleep. So I trudged to the hall blindly, and I soon as she saw me she came running, barked a bit, ran around me, and promptly flopped on my feet. Before my sleep-numbed brain could process anything, she had passed out.

So there I stood, for about ten to fifteen minutes while this ball of fur slept peacefully on my feet, and – believe it or not – my heart melted.

Perhaps that’s why we have pets. Many of us can attest to the fact that the world forces us to numb ourselves to almost all emotion, because today’s generation has been taught that the only way to get ahead and be successful is to be cold blooded and ruthless. And in such a world as this, perhaps it’s heartening for us to come back home to a ‘person’ that is unbiased, fair and honest. Perhaps, just once in a while, it’s alright for our hearts to ‘melt’.

HOWEVER – fish are by far the most ludicrous and bizarre ‘pets’ a person can have. By far. Fish are for fish fry, nothing else.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Of Hair, Retards And Random Things

'Tis the season to be jolly, and how can you not when you bump into the kind of people that I do?

Today we went for a carol service conducted by - well, let's say it was a prominent girls school in Kandy. Two of the girls from our youth group were performing, so we thought we would go and check it out. As we walked up to the hall, I suddenly realised that I was probably going to be one of a very small amount of twenty-something men at the service; sure enough, my first look at the audience confirmed my hunch as the seats were filled with parents and teachers. Normally I have no issues being the sole male in a hall full of girls, but in a few days I am going to turn 24 - drawing the attention of 16year old girls is no longer a good thing.

While I was cursing myself for coming, my mom was collecting the programme sheet from the girls at the entrance. "Excuse me ma'am", one of them said, "would you be interested in purchasing these christmas cards? They're only Rs.25 and they've been designed by retards."

It took every ounce of self-control to prevent myself from bursting out in laughter. The fact that these girls were actually supporting said 'retards' by selling these cards while at the same time using the politically incorrect term was just too hilarious! I can imagine the girls turning up at the organisation's office with the proceeds from the card sales and saying "Here you go, we raised all this money for your retard kids! Oh, you're speechless with gratitude.. No need to thank us, we adore those little dumbasses...!"

The other day we had gone to Colombo for the day. As we did the rounds of our usual joints, i.e., Majestic City, Crescat e.t.c., I soon realised that I was going out of style. Well, let me rephrase - I was definitely not standing out in the crowd. And what a crowd! Every other guy seemed to be sporting some form of mohawk, ear-rings, coloured contacts and some killer kicks. I was especially taken with the hair cuts - the long straightened hair thing has been around for a while, and the weird half-pony tail thing is nothing new either, but a mohawk?! Seriously?? The amount of work that must go into just getting the thing into some semblance of order is just beyond me.

As for me, well, it's a well known fact that my hair is useless. It more or less does whatever it wants, yet is always centered around a single style that I've had since I was 14 years old. I've tried growing it, combing it down, spiking it, parting it, talking to it - nothing works. For example, the other day I realised the hair in front had suddenly decided to point left instead of point right like it's been doing all this while. Sometimes it decides to lie flat, sometimes it makes me look like Tintin; and no matter how much gel I apply on it, it won't budge.

So yes, I am a bit envious of these ultra-cool haircuts, because let's face it; we all like to be noticed once in a while at least. I could of course attempt to colour my hair, but I have a hunch that won't help my job hunt too much. I tell myself that I could never carry off a stud, but the truth is more along the lines of my deep rooted fear of sticking sharp objects into my body (so tattoo's are out - rats!).

Yes, the 'dark one' is going to be lurking in the shadows if/when he moves to Colombo, and that suits him just fine. The view is so much more fun from there anyway......

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Weight Issues

And so I'm back. It feels good to sit in the familiar surroundings of my room, with my computer and my music playing, as opposed to the annoyance of sitting in dingy cyber cafes with their cramped cubicles, horrendous machines and nerve-frying Hindi music, which is what I've had to endure the last three weeks.

Of course, the last three weeks have been far from unpleasant. I had a total blast, right from day 1 of landing in Bangalore. Even though I had managed to keep the date of my arrival in India somewhat of a secret, I was pleasantly surprised to be bombarded with texts within an hour of landing at the airport. Good news travels fast. So does bad news though. Let's move on.

I'm not going to attempt to give a detailed report of my trip, instead let me just summarise by saying that it involved lots of quality time with my bro's, my sistah's, and a certain someone. As my time in India drew to a close, I looked back and couldn't believe that I had managed to squeeze in so much in such a short time; I felt as if I'd spent three months there and not three weeks. I have to disagree with Elton John here because 'goodbye' (and not 'sorry') is, in my opinion, one of the hardest words to say and one of the hardest acts to actually carry out.

As I boarded my flight for home in Bangalore, I was in a foul mood. First of all I was leaving behind some amazing people, some of them probably never to be seen again (well, for a long time anyway). Secondly I had slept only 4 hours after somehow managing to drag myself out of bed at 530am to make it to the airport in time. Thirdly, I had some drama before checking in my luggage. Yes, the airport never fails to provide some entertainment for me. Yay.

Usually when I return from India, I always end up carrying loads of food stuff, sweets and other Indian delicacies back home for the family. Hence even though I had gone with just the bare minimum amount of clothing (DeeCee, control yourself) my bags were loaded!

So I toss my bag onto the weighing thingy at the check-in counter and hand over my passport and ticket. The man looks at the scales, frowns, and looks back at me. "You have excess luggage" he says. I look at the scales myself. Sure enough, there it was in bright red on the display - 26kgs. "You are only allowed 20kgs on this flight, sir. I will have to charge you for 6 kgs excess weight". Now I've been travelling for years, and I know the drill. Sure, 20kgs is the limit but usually they're flexible and let me through as long as it's below 30kgs. Just my luck to run into Mr. By-The-Books.

So he asks me to put some of my luggage into the hand luggage bag to reduce the weight, and I say I doubt I can manage that because there's food items in that bag. Suddenly his eyebrows shot up, and he says "Sir! You cannot carry food items on the plane!" I explained that it was just chips and nothing bottled e.t.c., but he was adamant. "Sir, NO FOOD!". Now, my mom loves me. She does. But if I turned up at my doorstep with only myself and my clothes, she would have burned me alive. No, correction; she would have set me on fire, and just before I passed into the light she would have put the fire out and then sent me on a plane back to India to get her stuff. And THEN she would have burned me alive.

So I take my bags back to the seating area and start repacking my bags. I tried stuffing the food items in the check-in luggage bag but most of it would have got destroyed, so it was hard to manage. In the end, after close to 20 minutes of packing and repacking, I took my bags back to the counter. Before I went to the man though, I asked two airport officials about this 'no food in the hand luggage' nonsense and both said that there was absolutely no problem taking the stuff on the plane. Needless to say, I was simmering inside as I dropped my bag onto the scales again. We both look at the numbers - 23kgs.

"I'm going to have to charge you for 3kgs sir"

I looked back at him. I thought about beating him to death on top of his precious scales with the 5kg aata flour bag I had in my luggage.

"You have GOT to be kidding me", I said. "You're going to charge me for 3kgs?!?"

He then gave this long defensive speech about how it wasn't his fault, and that he personally WANTED me to get on the plane, but 'rules are rules' and yada yada yada...

"Look, are you going to let me through or not??" I started flexing my right hand and prepared myself to rip through my bag for the flour bag. Somehow he must have sensed this and he agreed to allow me through this time, as long as 'next time' I was more 'careful' because I won't be this lucky again. I wanted to tell him the same thing.

But that wasn't all. Just to make things worse, after emigration stamped my passport the security went through my hand luggage and called me to a side. "What's this?" the man asked me. I looked inside.

Rats. I had forgotten about that. My friends had gifted me an expensive Ferrari Black perfume for my upcoming birthday just before I left, and in my haste I had forgotten to pack it into my other bag.

"Perfume, sir" I said. (Weak smile)

"Is it more than 100ml?", he asks.

I turn it over and say a silent prayer. It hits the ceiling and comes right back.

"125ml, sir" I say (weaker smile).

"Sorry, can't allow".

So long story short, I had to run all the way back to the check-in counter, plead with the guys there, and then allow them to check in my precious hand luggage with the perfume inside. I watched the bag go on the conveyor belt and just prayed that by some miracle the chips and biscuits inside survived the trip.

So finally, I got on the plane. I sent messages to my friends, and sat back in my seat to sulk. But that wasn't the end of it. I glanced up and looked into the business class section of the plane. There, squeezed into a seat, was one of the largest and most obese men I have ever seen. The fact that he managed to fit in just one seat was a testament to the luxurious comfort that business class seats could provide to the more average sized individual.

And to think they were going to charge me for 3kgs of excess weight! Who's paying for his excess weight?!?!?!

Life is so unfair.

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