No group chats

That’s the new rule I’m trying to follow.

People are different. Some like being at the center of the widest possible social circle, others just like to keep up with a big social circle. And some, like me, prefer fewer but deeper social connections.

Group chat, like much of social media, is designed for the first two groups. Not just because they’re the heaviest, most reliable users. But also because number of connections (or followers, friends, or people in groups) is an easy metric to calculate and promote.

Depth of those connections is not such an easy metric to devise. And it is naturally capped. It’s hard to have real deep connections with more than a handful of people.

As I continue to clear the noise in my life, this is one more area where I’m making changes. I want a handful of deep connections, and reduce the noise from the many.  Continue reading No group chats

A day of too many calls

I have to call parents. Didn’t call them this week. That’s about 45 mins gone.

Then I have to call an aunt who’s visiting her injured son in the US. She’s been calling at odd times, I haven’t answered. I guess she’s bored and lonely. 30 mins.

I haven’t spoken to the sister in a long while. May give her a ring. 5 mins, if she picks up.

And it’s been 100+ days since I fell off the wagon – I was on a streak of calling one of my old friends once a week. 10-30 mins, depending on the friend.

It’s gonna be a long day! Glad that R is going back to London, sparing me some ear capacity.

P.S.: It’s still a ‘phone call’ if I’m calling most of them on Duo, right?

Be a pal, not a dick.

I don’t need sympathy or special consideration because, ultimately, who cares? You hate me, and I hate me, too. We are on the same team. I guess what I’m saying is that maybe we could all just mind our own fucking business for once, and that when you can actually see a person’s scars, maybe be a pal and don’t pick at them.

Samantha Irby, in ‘We are never meeting in real life’

Sidin’s 2018 resolutions…

Resolutions:
1. Run a half-marathon
2. Blog
3. Don’t be an asshole
4. Read a lot
5. Podcast
6. Don’t be an asshole despite having read a lot
7. Learn to drive
8. Write better
9. Shave more often
10. Call home more often
11. Walk Hadrian’s Wall
12. Make new real-life friends.

Sidin, on Twitter

As new year resolution lists go, this is a really good one.

I like this even more because it makes me feel good about the number of things on that list I’ve improved on in last few months and years. Here’s some notes:
Continue reading Sidin’s 2018 resolutions…

In other news…

Dawn over Abu Dhabi, on the way back
Dawn over Abu Dhabi, on the way back

I returned from India

It was an unplanned trip, to attend to a family matter. Most of it was very boring. The smog kept me indoors, so couldn’t go for long walks. I’m off TV, so no time to waste there either, and I have no friends left in Karnal to go visit.

Reading was my only escape. I read Anita & Me, and Sapiens, and re-read a bit of Thinking fast and slow. Also read 3 issues of The Economist. Separately, read a 100+ articles in Instapaper.

I even had time to update the AcceleReader for Instapaper Chrome extension with a new feature, despite working on a really slow internet connection.

I met old friends

The visit did end on an exciting note though. On the evening before the flight, I met up with my friends from undergrad for dinner.

I had no clue what to expect. These were the people with whom I spent most, if not all, of my first 3 years of college. And yet I hadn’t seen, or spoken, to most of them in last 5-7 years.

I’ve long believed that friendship is just a bunch of shared experiences. Friendships are kept alive by creating these experiences, or reliving them. What sort of friendship would it be when we haven’t even met or spoken for better part of a decade, and not created shared experiences for even longer?

I’ll just say, I’ll need to revisit (refine?) my understanding of friendship a bit. Continue reading In other news…

Dear Zindagi

I seem to be having a renewed fling with Hindi movies. It could be me – looking for a change from the formula Hollywood movies – or, it could be the movies I saw – light hearted, yet not the outrageous fare the Salman or Akshay produce.

I liked Ae dil hai mushkil (ADHM). And now, 2 weeks later, I really, really liked Dear Zindagi.

ADHM felt more polished, had much better music, and had the usual play between a male and a female lead.

Yet, it was Dear Zindagi that I liked more. A lot more. Some reasons…

  • Alia Bhatt – she brings a truck load of freshness, youth, and energy to the screen. It’s been a week, and I can still close my eyes, and remember the wide variety of her expressions. Brings on a smile every time.
     
  • SRK – I was starting to get tired of him in lead, primary male roles. And he goes an reinvents himself, and how. A small cameo in ADHM was brilliant. A full role, but as a second character to a young, female, primary lead – and he pulled it off effortlessly. He was strong and present, as his own character, while not stealing an iota of focus from the main character – Alia’s. Which brings me to…
     
  • Sole female lead. I didn’t think that Bollywood could produce a movie with a strong, solo female lead. At least not in my lifetime. And here we have one. Not just a solo, strong female lead. But one that’s neither an arch-feminist waging the war on the world, nor a mother-to-the-world leading the charge. She’s just a regular, young girl, living (the complicated & troubled, yet sometimes joyous life) in modern India. Hats off to the producer and director for taking on this challenge, and executing it without heavy melodrama.
     
  • Mental health. It took a long while, but glad to have a bollywood movie bring a focus on mental health into the mainstream. Usually, mental health issues are portrayed either with jail-like mental asylums full of odd characters, or with dark, dangerous, gloomy, brooding characters.
    It was pleasant to see it shown in such a different light. Yes, normal, successful, seemingly happy people, surrounded by friends, can still have mental health problems. And yes, it’s not just normal, but important to see a therapist/consultant to work on those problems, the same way we do with our physical health issues. Thanks again, to the writers, the director, and the producers, for bringing mental health in focus, in such a non-intimidating, yet serious manner.
     
  • Bombay & Goa. My top two favourite places in India. The only two places, I’ve long stated on record, that I can live in if I ever return to India.
    The movie highlighted some of the best bits of both places for me, without focussing on the usual landmarks and tourist spots. More than the sights, it was the people, the culture, of both places that I love. That I’ve missed. Was a warm blessing to see them portrayed on screen. Not perfect, not complete, yet true … to what was shown.
     
  • Friends. I don’t have any. I use to, not anymore. So, it really warmed my heart to see such a close, happy bunch of friends. Fighting, forgiving, fun, friends.
    Friends, you can speak to. Or not. Who give you an embrace, and a shrug. Who care about you, but not just for the gossip. Just, friends.
     
  • Family. Again, the movie didn’t stick to one of the two standard strains of family relations – the god like parents in front of whom everyone bends eventually, or the devils of parents against whom everyone rebels, till parents come to their senses or the kids die.
    Families are complicated. Relationships are complicated. It was good to see them shown as such, and not in one of the two simple baskets. We’re both right and wrong in our relationships. Often at the same time. Some relationships are special, some even more so. The strength of that bond, sometimes, has nothing to do with time spent together, or closeness of the relationship in traditional terms. And sometimes, relationships that should be close, aren’t – me & sis, for example. Often, some friendships get closer than even the closest relationships we were born into.That’s just how we are. Such is life. Such, it was, in the movie. Thank you!
     
  • Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le, Take 2. I liked the music of ADHM more than that of Dear Zindagi. Still, there are a few songs in this movie that’ve quickly made their way to my most played playlist. This one deserves a special mention, considering the original was (is) a long time favourite. (Take 1 is brilliant as well)
     

Love you zindagi…. (and you too, that small corner of Bollywood)