They call me a Hippie..

So they call me a Hippie. They say that in a very obvious way, I somehow represent today’s popular understanding of the term. Is it a term or is it someone’s reality somewhere? The fact that a Hippie originally was someone who rejected the America of the 60s and became this counterculture spewing manifestation of the simplicity of life and complexity of the mind, begins to make me wonder of the most real question every Hippie must ask himself; Does he belong? To anything, anyone or anywhere..
The established definition of a hippie circulates in the realm of being unsettled, unhappy, alternate and possibly at war with oneself. There is the subset which is the unrefined figurative of being pretentious and wanting to ape a hippie existence but let’s keep the pretenders aside and focus on the mind and not the material of a hippie. We are keeping aside the big black artist glasses or the eco-friendly ride or even the food from the earth diatribe that some of us ramble on. Let’s just focus on the mind; the counter-balanced, the lack of comprehension of the normal, the disbelief in his current circumstances and a constancy of being unsettled. On these trains of thought, as I depart, if they call me a hippie, maybe I must accept. Many years of consistent change either leaves you fed up or possibly craving for it all the time. And that hippie mind starts asking you those questions about the people that surround you, the ideas that engulf you and the stability that threatens you. Maybe there isn’t a way forward but that only sideways and along the grid without ever completely falling off it is your path. That maybe your love for very few things, like true obsessive love, is symbolic of a greater need to find permanence in something that can be equated to a feeling and not necessarily a person or a tangible reality. Like they say I love coffee. There is also a suggestion that the feeling for it borders on true love. But maybe it’s more about the need to find something that is permanent irrespective of where I am. My obsession to find and brew the perfect cup is that little part craving for some sense of belonging, even if it is restricted to a cup of coffee. Strange thought? Let’s break it down. We all have attachments. Some of them are people we refuse to let go, some are cities they refuse to leave, some are jobs they refuse to quit and some are habits that refuse to change. In its entirety, we are just clinging on to a sense of belonging desperately at times. Maybe the hippie looks for the bottom of the pyramid amongst all of that, if there is a pyramid. Maybe the hippie choose the option easiest to hold on to and least capable of upsetting his equilibrium. Because in his equilibrium lies this freedom from all the attachments further up that pyramid. And in that lies his peace with the world he has to live in until he finds a departure more suitable to his mind.

So when they call me a hippie, I say, yes maybe I am. Maybe I will be one in Soho or Koramangala or a suburb in Buenos Aires and maybe my choices in life will seem nearly as random as the places I chose there but there is a hippie only in some of us. There is a part in some of us bursting to be let out or fighting to stay within. Within a line that we drew ourselves while we walk along the grid until, we are ready to fall off it. For good. Until then, the hippie sustains on his imagination, his hopeful material longings, the relationships he cherishes and the few bonds he fights to stay relevant in. He continues to question, he irrevocably loves and fights, he is all out there with his emotions, he is also careful in his submissions and most importantly, he is irretrievably on the verge of constant disillusionment. That is his reality and his only hope. So let the hippie live, let him love, let him enquire and let him run wild. In return he will allow the jokes and all the questions.

He will also let you continue to call him a hippie..

They call me a Hippie..

Thank you 2016!

To sometimes think that 2016 was all of 366 days is sometimes tough to comprehend. With so much packed into it and so much of life changing, possibly forever, it seems a tad bit unjust that it went by so fast.
So 2016 saw me finally travel. Beyond borders and sometimes beyond my own imagination. There were macarons in Paris, Coldplay in Barcelona, street partying in Hong Kong, the best restaurant in Asia in Bangkok and the blindingly charming Hoi An. There wasn’t a moment this year when I wasn’t looking forward to or in the afterglow of an amazing journey. I travelled with people who have come to define my year and with them I covered miles of memories that could only have been created with them. In a way it takes me back to the first stamp on my passport and looking at it last year and wondering where I was going wrong. Twenty seven years alive and I had only that one stamp to show and while for many it is about the vanity or the pride or the sense of adventure, travel for me was always a need. A specific need to break out of the monotony of myself. All these years, I have always known that every 2-3 years, my life will change, there will be a move and an upheaval after which I will bask in that swooning glory for some time and the moment it begins to sting again, I know another move was ready to be made. But somehow, in this city, against all my great and insufficient wisdom, I feel that next move may not come for a while and therefore spending nearly all of 2015 without moving more than a two-hour flight away, things had begun to slip and along with it so had my mind.

Thank you 2016 for giving me travel and some temporary peace of mind. Hoping to make a more permanent feature of it.

I also found a new home in the city. In a time when much hope seemed to be waning to find the right place to restart life. Pop. From absolutely no where came this gorgeous place I now call home, with possibly one of the best views in the city and the presence of what is easily Bangalore’s most prized possession, Cubbon Park. Running and walking through the park every day has given me an unparalleled sense of calm that no part of Bangalore manages to bring in me. In finding a great flat mate, a sense of domestication and a belief that life can be lived in a home without constant need for distractions, lay my solace. In that a weekend with great home cooked food, a good book or a movie and a walk in the park can be all one needs. And while I see the fingers pointing at me with accusatory thoughts of me growing old, I can safely declare that it is a tag I’m happy to accept because in the time spent in this house lies some of my strongest resolve to be better and feel so much freer.

Thank you 2016 for giving me this dreamy abode to in many ways extinguish my inexhaustible need to change and run.

I found memorable movies and TV shows. My top picks would be all foreign language shows which caps a rather surprising year of TV shows with just the quantum of shows I got through. There was the Norwegian show ‘Occupied’ and the Israeli show ‘Fauda’. There was also the rather sublime and heartwarming ‘Master of None’, there was a throwback classic in ‘Stranger Things’, the mind numbing ‘The OA’ which left me standing (actually standing) for an entire episode during the finale. There was Bollywood, understated yet classy in ‘Nil Battey Sannata’ and ‘Dear Zindagi’. Hollywood broke through with ‘La La Land’ in what was by far my favorite movie of the year. The brashness of ‘War Dogs’ far outstripped all the many true stories charading for your attention. There was the Argentine film, ‘Wild Tales’ which wasn’t released this year but I watched it on a lazy Sunday evening and left me wondering why, just why, we will never be capable of such a dark celebration of filmmaking.

I saw some of my all-time favorite people ever get married this year. In the two weddings, I saw love and hope triumph over all the shit that makes up our worlds. I saw them truly happy and possibly, victorious, in the face of all the so called common sense that was thrown at them over the years. I felt the strong urge to live those feelings that they felt and was left with the realization that maybe that was in the past and that love, as a force of nature comes only to the lucky few. These friends of mine are those lucky few and I will stand not in envy, but in great pride in knowing them and in believing in them and their incredible stories. Wish you all the love you guys, you know who you are and you must know that many tears were shed looking at you making this journey. And all of it, was for every day that you spend together from today, worth it!

2016 truly was a special year. So much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to. It takes me back to one of the most special days of the year, while sitting on a boat on a river along the gorgeous town of Hoi An in Vietnam where looking around at the trees, the water and the calm that surrounded me, I realized that this life is much larger and much more significant that anyone or anything that makes up my life. It was in the serenity of what surrounded me and the look in her eyes sitting beside me that I felt true comfort again. That warm feeling when after all these years of struggling it finally began to come together and that feeling of before, of many years ago, of knowing that ‘I am ok’ began to return. In its essence, that’s what the year was truly about. It was about knowing that I had returned, from the wilderness and all the insecurity and disdain, I was ready to live again, but only on my own terms.

Thank you 2016 for introducing me to Ranbir Kapoor and getting him to say he liked my writing. Sigh. Thank you for food that surpasses fantasy writing in its purest form. Thank you for family and not just the ones back home but the ones that today make me feel at home. Thank you for a flatmate who chooses to be awesome every day, a workplace that has challenged me like never before, colleagues who truly seem to want only the best for me, the game of Golf and all the joy it brings, thank you for the miles I ran, the crunches I crunched, the mugs of coffee I made myself. Thank you for dissolving doubt and re-igniting purpose. Thank you for finding her even though she was always around to become the friend I needed so desperately. And finally, thank you for leaving me so unbelievably restless and distressed by the time I have reached the end of the year, like you just wanted to undo everything we worked towards. Because now I start again, but start with purpose, and this time knowing exactly how I want this year to pan out. But let the new year know, that I’m up for all the surprises you got for me because this year I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I have never had before.

2017, bring it!

Thank you 2016!