Part two of a vanity post to end all vanity posts. Part one here.
52. It’s very, very, very hard for me to stand still. I constantly shift from one foot to the other, if I am made to stand in one place. It’s worst when I am on a phone call and saunter around from one room to another, like an unstoppable clockwork soldier.
53. I suffer from ophiophobia. It began sometime in my early teens, got so bad that I could not open a book with pictures of snakes in it without feeling completely petrified. It’s come down in recent times, ( I would think it lessened because of the ridiculous Anaconda movies, which I watched without much effect) but I hate to think how I would react if I was on a flight and there were snakes on the plane.
54. I am also terrified when I am driving/riding behind a truck carrying iron bars that’re jutting out. Pretty common on Indian roads.
55. My weight fluctuated between 55-60 kilos until two years ago. I weigh about 80-85 kilos now.
56. For a long time, if I managed to obtain a book that I wanted to read really badly, I would think up ways to postpone reading it. Because if I finished it, there would be nothing else to read. It’s an irritating habit that persists even now, and it’s a constant struggle to convince myself that it’s ok – I can go ahead and indulge becaause there’s a shitload of stuff waiting to be read.
57. I am both a cat-person and a dog-person, with slightly more sympathy for cats because they are so misunderstood. We had two cats named Lobo and Simba, the first out of necessity, because our house was being overrun by mice, and the second one because we had no choice, Lobo just brought a kitten home one day and none of us had the heart to let it go.
58. The only time I’ve been vegetarian was for a whole year, when a rabid dog bit me and various herbal experts ( quack quack) advised my parents that I should not eat meat. It was a tough year, made a little better when three months later, the neighbour’s dog bit my sister and everyone in the family stopped eating meat.
59. When learning geography in high school, my brain refused to understand the concept of latitudes and longitudes until a friend made things clearer using a roundish potato and a knife.
60. I whistle somewhat differently from the normal way most of you do. Most of the time, you wouldn’t realize I was whistling because I don’t pucker my lips. Also, my whistle-pitch is somewhat different, which makes it impossible for me to whistle along with someone else.
61. In order to make myself look cooler, I started to memorize weird acronyms and abbreviations – KGB for Komitet Gozudarstevenonny Bezopasnosti, PT Usha’s full name, all the latin acronyms like NB and i.e. While this did come in handy in quizzes later on, I don’t think it fulfilled its original intent.
62. I created my first comic character when I was 9, a flying man named The Eagle.
63. I don’t like circuses. It’s all because of Target magazine, which did in-depth coverage of the cruel treatment meted out to animals in travelling circuses around India, and appealed to kids to boycott them.
64. I can’t dance, saala. Though lord knows I tried, especially at the height of Muqabla fever in the nineties. I could pelvis thrust continents into oblivion, but my hands and feet refused to move the way my brain told them to.
65. A rickshaw-puller bears witness to the first time I kissed someone. And that’s all I will say about that, other than clarifying that I was not kissing the rickshaw puller.
66. One thing I genuinely envy in some of my friends is their ability to quote verbatim from prose/poetry pieces. I can not, under any circumstances, repeat sentences word-for-word. This is partly the reason why I suck at cracking jokes – more often than not, I flub the punchline.
67. The Matrix and Kill Bill are two films that changed my movie and music tastes radically. A lot of interests – Japanese culture, anime, Ennio Morricone, noise-rock, Italian spaghetti westerns, Kung-fu/jidai-geki/wuxia films, electronic music – was sparked in some way or the other by these films.
68. The first film I remember seeing was ‘Andha Kanoon’ – I believe I was asleep in my mother’s lap in the theatre and I woke up when some lady was running around dressed in a police uniform. ( It was Hema Malini, and I like to believe the image resonated with me because I’d seen my father wearing the familiar khaki outfit. )
69. The one thing I shoplifted was an Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan novel that the bookstore was selling for 50 Rs, even though the official price at that time was 10 Rs, the difference arising because the former was an imported edition and the latter was an Indian reprint. I spent one summer blackmailed by a classmate at school with whom I had shared my secret, and who threatened to tell the teachers if I did not do his homework for him. ( Happy ending: he flunked that year, and changed schools. )
70. I have library-lifted once, and I am terribly ashamed about it, so let’s not bring it up again, yeah?
71. I don’t like rain. I am ambivalent towards summer. Winter is my favourite season. You get oranges in winter, that’s why.
72. When I am in pain, like if I stub my toe or run into a door, I say “aaargh” in my head. Not “aaa”, not “ooooooo” but “aaargh”. The only thing that differs is the number of a’s.
73. When my voice broke, I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to sing along to Michael Jackson and Bryan Adams songs.
74. I tend to lose my temper far more often than I should, and at very frivolous things. Yes, I am unacquainted with what you earthlings call a “chill pill”.
75. One person I would like to meet before I die: Alan Moore. Another person I would like to meet before I die: Hayao Miyazaki. The first is vaguely possible, the second is unlikely.
76. On one particular occasion, I have sneezed 41 times non-stop.
77. The worst thing you can ask me to do is list out my favourites in any field. My answers will probably different depending on when you ask me.
78. I rarely contradict myself.
79. Actually I contradict myself all the time. Most of the time. Sometimes.
80. My favourite quizzing achievement was winning the Lone Wolf Quiz at IIT Madras, way back in 2001. It was my third time at Saarang and I made it to the finals almost by fluke, in a tightly-fought semi-final round.
81. There was a time I considered buying clothes an unnecessary evil, and relied exclusively on gifts from distant relatives, parents and the occasional gift coupon won at quizzes to buy my clothes. I like to believe I’ve evolved a bit since then.
82. I spent years trying to design the perfect cardboard boomerang. One that would actually return to my hands once I threw it, instead of falling into a sewer or getting lodged in a tree or landing on the roof of the house.
83. Personally, I think panipuri is the greatest thing Indian civilization has offered to the world.
84. For a long time, I was confused between a protractor and a divider in my geometry box.
85. I have broken a door and a shelf ( which is referred to in my part of the country as a “show-case” ) trying to skateboard inside the house. The skateboard, of course, was self-built, using a piece of wood and three ball-bearings. It made an ungodly sound if I tried it on the road and I thought it more prudent to hone my expertise away from curious eyes.
86. I can play complicated rhythms on wooden surfaces, using my fingers. Many of you might scoff and say there’s nothing to it, but I am really good at it, honest. I try out the acoustics of any new wooden surface I encounter by tapping out a beat.
87. Among the things I’ve written and will never share with anyone else – a prequel to Sholay, an epic retelling of a failed love story in my college days, and a porno version of a part of the Mahabharata. In fact, I think two of them might be irretrievable – I burnt one of them in a folder in a game collection, and there was a virus on one of the games and I threw the disc away, and the other is in a protected zip file, and I’ve forgotten the password.
88. The first website I visited in my life was www.spawn.com. Ah, the follies of youth.
89. I used to be really terrified of chronic insomnia. Yes, because of the Stephen King book. So I made it a point to get my share of daily sleep regardless of where I was and what I was doing. I made it through my college life without a night-out – I would inevitably fall asleep around three thirty in the morning. Then I worked in a project where the rest of the team members worked from the USA and I found it more convenient working throughout the night. For six months, I would work from five in the evening to six in the morning, and then have breakfast at seven and sleep till three. It was an amazing experience, and needless to say, I no longer have my fear of insomnia.
90. Because I’ve never bought a house or a car, I have never had to pay EMIs. But I have made monthly payments for comic art, though; the longest period of time has been 2 years of straight instalments. It gets over this month.
91. I can sing in languages that I do not know. Tamil, for example. Also, Spanish, Finnish and Japanese. I can also sing Mile Sur Mera Tumhara by heart, and it has 14 languages in it.
92. I have a very very irritating laugh. It has provoked people to violence more than once, and over the years, I’ve learnt to modulate it enough, I think.
93. I cannot bring myself to watch television for more than a few minutes at a time. Ad breaks kill my interest in anything that I am trying to watch. The TV shows I like, I would rather watch on DVD, one seasonful at a time.
94. One near-death experience I’ve had – a narrow hilly road, a downhill slope, a truck hurtling down the road, and I decide to run across to be with my father, who was getting some tea and biscuits for us in a small shop on the other side. It was when we were moving from Karimganj to Tezpur, I was 6, and I still remember my mother screaming at me not to run, and my father slapping me really hard after I survived the dash.
95. My general attitude towards new technology – any new technology – is analogous to that of a kid about to dip into a swimming pool at five AM on a winter morning.
96. I have this earnest, I-am-listening-to-you look on my face during meetings, lectures and presentations, which I punctuate with occasional nods and smiles. Maybe it is because I feel very nervous while speaking in public, and become very gratified when someone is paying attention. The downside of this habit is that the presenter tends to look at me very pointedly throughout the bulk of the talk/lecture, which means I need to pay attention throughout. I am still not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing.
97. The first time I boarded a plane in my life was with my own hard-earned money. In 2002, when I made my first trip back home after getting a job.
98. One of the things I would like to do is organize India’s first comic-book convention. But I think I am too lazy to do anything about it, and someone else will probably beat me to it.
99. I am very, very, very hesitant to catch up with old friends who I haven’t met in a long time. It could be because I have a golden-haloed view of the past, and that makes me whitewash my memories of friends and acquaintances. It could also be because, after having met a few folks from my past, I realized that ‘real life’ had made them very different from what I envisaged them to be ( they thought the same thing about me, probably), resulting in banal conversations and a half-hearted attempt to exchange phone numbers.
100. Meta Fact: I loved making this list, even though it took me a very very long time to write it. This shows that like nearly everyone else, I love talking about myself. It also tells me how much of myself I am willing to talk about on a public page – obviously, I deleted and redid a lot of stuff just because I thought it would be giving too much of me away. Yep, I guess I like the illusion of being a private person. Whatever.