Each year leaves an impression, a change in you that cannot be felt at once. You shall not notice it even if you look back and ponder for hours at end. But it does. Each year brings with it new experiences, new emotions and most importantly, new people into your lives. These people, and the experiences you share with them are what define and refine your personality.

I started my blog around a year back, and haven't looked back ever since. Over time, I've read so many wonderful blogs of some of the most talented writers I've seen. Writers may not even be the right word...rather expressionists in the literary sense. They paint pictures with words and let loose emotions that are only felt but not shared, but these artists of words make that possible, with beautifully woven words and intensely expressed emotions that I fail to comprehend at times. To all these wonderful bloggers, I bow.

I love each and every blogger that I follow, and it isn't humanely possible to feature every single one of them, but I shall try my best in more than one post.

So, here's the first ever feature on my blog for my friends and fellow bloggers. I love all you guys!

P.S. I am a dick when it comes to featuring people, since I don't know what to write about them.

mysterg - Meditations in an Emergency
Mysterg is one with a charming personality. I've only recently started following him. He writes often and writes great. His meditations, when not cracking you up with his wit, will take you soul searching through his eyes and leaves you knowing yourself better. One awesome person whom I simply cannot stop reading.

Some of my favourite posts from him:
To whom it may concern
Sexy Time with Mysterg (simply coz it got more hits on his blog than anything else :P )
Talkin' bout my Generation - 2

Cheryl - Confessions of a Twenty Something Year Old
Another blogger I started following recently, Cheryl is funny to the core. A proud canadian, she'll talk about all the shit on earth, and some really cool stuff too, from Dating Wednesdays to the recently added Rant It Saturdays. One awesome blogger!

Stuff worth checking out:
Talking to your parents about sex
After a week of freedom, I am back to slaved labor and censorship, which is cool, I guess.
Taking baths with another person is weird

A sHiT-fOr-TaT
A crazy collaboration between a smart-ass, a gujju south-Indian, a romantic dreamer and a
sarcastic hero, S4T is one of the first blogs I started following. The shittiest to the wittiest takes on current affairs, their own affairs, digging up B-grade movies for their own benefit(s). These guys know their shit. Quite literally.

Check out these bloggers independently too. Each is a crazy person in their own right. So be careful.


Some Shit for your benefit:
Hey, what's your name Basanti?
The Tring-tones!
Downside UP! (For the sheer effort in reading it and the time wasted in the process.)

Esther - Wearing an Invisible Crown
Her posts are sweet, funny, random, but they never fail to leave a smile on my face. Esther has one of the biggest hearts I've ever known, online or offline. She writes from personal experiences and memories and she's awesome.

Check out some of hers!
Random friend requests
A Situation I hate to be in (one I totally identify with)
On my Birthday (the one that made me fall in love with her BIG heart.)

There's a lot more to come. This new year's day, I've made a promise to myself that in the coming three hundred odd days (Sundays are holidays. Come on!) I shall achieve whatever I set my mind to. No procrastination. No excuses.

Happy 2010 everyone!
Hope the Mayans are wrong and we live another hundred years!!

Doesn't it have a tangy, spicy feel to it? I love salsa, especially with spaghetti. I'm forever ready for some, whatever the dish may be. But this. I definitely wasn't prepared for this kind of salsa.

After dinner, I went over to Anu's for some dessert and lessons. I've always been a good student. Things come to me quickly and I learn fast. Tell me to shake a leg though, and the world would come crashing down. Hence my pudgy(no, cuddly!) appearance. Salsa was no less, I can tell you that. Moreover, being that geeky-good-boy-who-respects-girls, I was even more embarrassed with it. Add to that two left feet and what you get is a recipe for disaster waiting to happen. But Anu, she's a smooth sailor. She knew I'd get cold feet or cold something.
So, as we stood in her living room, she put on some latino music.
"Nice." I said. "So when do we start?"
"Right now!" and she caught hold of my hands and pulled me close before I could even react. I didn't know what to do! I panicked and started swaying my hips all over the living room.
"Easy tiger! There's no rush. Relax and feel the music. Move to it, not against it." she said, but all I heard was my heart thumping in my head. She put her hands to my hips and started gyrating it to the rhythm.
(I swear, I've never been so nervous! And excited. In more ways than one.)
"This is how you move it. Now, one foot to the front, one to the back. Good! You're getting there.." She kept encouraging me.

A good half hour of stamping on her feet and apologizing a thousand times found me getting the hang of it, and easing up a bit. Although, I was still so afraid I'd get too aroused for my own good during the really close bits of it that I dropped her a few times flat on her butt.

Salsa's a latin dance that's supposed to excite and arouse while being sexy and smooth. And as Anu kept picking up the pace bit by bit, it got faster and crazier. She'd swing her legs left, right, center, sometimes around my leg, sometimes between them, twisting, swinging, my arms just following her lead, holding her in ways I'd never imagined. My mind was a flurry and my body was a blur. My heart was in my head and my ears filled with music. Time flew and so did we. From the in-your-face kick-ass girl next door, I saw the hot, sexy part of my neighbour and closest female friend. And she was one hell of a teacher too. She'd shout at times, encourage at other times, bearing with my inexperience as I tried to cope as fast as I could, trying to learn a dance form in just three days.

Well past midnight, her mom finally shooed me away with threats of locking me out for making too much noise. But I'd made progress. Good progress.


The days flew by and it went on. School hours spent talking to Neha, evenings at Anu's.

The Christmas ball was on a Saturday. Come Friday, after school, Neha asked me meet her at the mall. I was quite surprised. She'd never called me for something like that.
"Probably everyone's coming, just to hang out or something.." I told myself. Oh how wrong I was.

She met me at the entrance to the mall. She wore a black shirt and a white skirt with a pattern of lilies on it, and the wind blew her hair across her face so she had to brush it across. She's always had this little tuft of hair that would fall cutely over her eyes every now and then.

Me: "Hey Neha! What was the rush?"

Neha: "No rush. Just wanted to beat the evening crowd. Plus, this way, we get the whole mall to ourselves." and she gave a small grin.

As she said those words, I almost heard violins playing in the background and a quartet playing a love ballad....
"Also, there's so many..."
...with us dancing in open space at the mall, turning round and round, twisting, twirling...
"...Have you been listening to me? Hello? Earth calling!"
I was brought back to reality by Neha pulling me into the mall.
"Come on, we've got shopping to do, and you're helping me buy my gown."

Women's shopping and me? What if there's those two piece suits? And lingerie? I'd be so embarrassed! How can I even pick out dresses for her? Is she serious?

Oh My God!

Next time:
A dress and a dance!

Chapter I
Chapter II

IIT - Powai, and IIT per-se has the reputation for holding the big motherload of all college fests, Mood I, one that went international recently. Today evening saw more than two thousand rockheads gather at the amphitheatre to rock in unison to the beats of the Big Daddies of Modern Indian Rock, and personally one of my favourite bands, Parikrama:

These guys are freaking insane! And not just in the heavy rock/metal influences, but they have this brilliant blend of violins, synthesizers and guitars. It was rock bliss! Five hundred heads at the frontlines, hands raised in tribute and heads banging to the rhythm of the heart-thumping drums savoured every chord and every note that emerged from the vocals and guitars.

And then the band, THE band, took over. Porcupine Tree.

Now, I've never been this HUGE rock/metalhead. Sure, I love rock and love music. All genres. But there's something to rock that draws me to it. Still, I won't call myself an afficianado. However today was a different experience altogether. First Parikrama, then Porcupine Tree. For the entire duration of the concert, around four hours, I was pushing, shoving my way in the crowd up front, with the lead vocals screeching into the microphone and the crowd going wilder and wilder with each successive scream. As you wade through the sea of bodies, all you can see are raised hands, swinging heads and the distinct smell of burning weed, the three most distinctive features of any rock concert worth it's rep.

On my way back, I took an autorickshaw. The rickshaw driver was a really intersting fellow. Now allow me to just divert from all this for just a moment. We all feel that there's poverty all round. Beggars at traffic signals, slums all over the city and I've heard so many people complain that either the government is not doing anything, or the slum dwellers themselves are so used to begging that they do not want to improve their own lifestyle by working hard.

But what about the ones that do want to work?

This chap, my autorickshaw driver, has a Diploma in Computer Science. His father has a rickshaw business and whenever one of their rickshaw drivers are not available, he drives that rickshaw. He's been doing this since he finished his high school when he saw that his father's financial condition was not that good. Today, he has a stable job at a company in Panvel, which, for you non-Mumbaikars, is around an hour and half's travel from anywhere in Mumbai. One that pays him Rs. 16,000 a month. Kind of like what my first salary was too. What he does is he gives 15,000 to his parents and keeps 1,000 to himself. Imagine the dedication.

How many of you even think of sharing the spoils of your labour with others, let alone give it to them, be it your parents or siblings? Very few. I'm sure of it. It's in our nature.

But it doesn't end there. This guy works a regular 9-5 job, comes back home in a packed train. Then takes the autorickshaw for night duty and finally returns home at around 11 p.m. and that too only after he's earned a minimum of Rs.200. And trust me, travelling in trains is a mess, especially to Panvel.

I could have described all this in better language, detail bla bla...but I'm too tired, and my brain fell asleep ten minutes back.

It was an awesome concert, a thought provoking conversation with an interesting chap. And I also splurged in two thousand rupees worth of novels.(Yea yea...before you say hypocrite, I had gift vouchers. I don't splurge.)

I'd say it wasn't a half bad day at all.

So, with my body aching in places I never thought possible from all that headbanging and jumping, and droopy eyes just waiting to hit the pillow, I bid all you farewell and goodnight. I shall get back to dreams of "Neha" and our salsa dance, which I've been putting off writing for God knows what reason. Guess I want to keep it as a beautiful thought in my mind for just a bit longer.

Cheerio guys!

These are the books I bought:

First chapter - here

It's a date.

Those words were on my mind all night, and the next morning as I waited and waited outside my class for her so that we could walk to our seats together. She didn't come. The school bell rang and my teacher came bustling in and urged me to my seat. But she didn't come. I spent the rest of the school day imagining all sorts of horrible things that my adolescent mind could dread have happened to her.

"And if x equals four point five.." droned on Ms. Lata, our Algebra teacher.
Maybe she was hurt...a broken ankle. Poor thing.
"then the square root of this equation is?" Or malaria? There have been a lot of cases around lately.
"Second bench..? What is the answer?" Maybe she'd fallen off a cliff! I shuddered.
It's a wonder how your mind jumps from the sublime to the ridiculous in a matter of seconds. But at the worst possible times.
"Young man? Are you even there?" My bench partner Raj nudged me. I nudged back, lost in thought.
"Young man! This is class! You can sleep all you want at home. Now give me the answer!" And with a sharp rap on my desk, I was pulled back into reality with a stern looking teacher breathing like a bull in front of my nose. I swear I could see her breath billowing from her nose.
After a few prods and nods and fifty different hand gestures from Raj , I finally got the answer and was allowed to sit back and resume my dream.


That evening as I dropped by her house to check up, I was greeted by her mother at the door and the smell of fresh pancakes in the kitchen. Her mom made the best pancakes and chicken sandwiches in the world. Armed with a plateful of pancakes, I entered her room. She was fast asleep. Have you ever seen a baby sleep? It's the most wonderful sight in the world, as if there's not a thing in the world that can worry it's little soul. She sleeps like that. I stood there, watching her chest move up and down steadily, sound asleep. I wish I could have stood there all day. As I placed the plate beside her bed, she woke up with a start.

Neha: Hey, how did you get here?

Me: Your mom let me in, obvious na? You're on the fourth floor. I can't just jump in through the
(Lame joke, but she smiled.)

Neha: Yeah. Well, what are you doing here anyway?

Me: You were missing in action at school. And I brought you homework, courtesy Miss Lata. She went ballistic on me today.
(yeah..and tell her about my daydream..)

Neha: Lata, and angry at you? I don't believe you. You're the teacher's pet.

Me: Daydreaming isn't one of her favourite things you know.
(Just don't ask what I was dreaming about!)

Neha: What were you dreaming about? Wait..forget that. Are we still on for this weekend? I'll be up and about in a day or two. It's just mild food poisoning I think. No biggie.
(Phew! I was about to die out here!)

Me: Definitely. Wear shoes though. My fat feet can really hurt.
(Yes. More lame jokes. That should impress her alright. Idiot!)

Neha: Haha...get lost! You're not that fat anyway. Cuddly, but not fat.
(Ego boost times ten! I could have sworn I was growing wings!)

Me: Well, I'd better get going. You get some rest and I'll see you at the ball.

Neha: Bye!


I don't think I've ever been that excited ever! And scared. What if I really do tread on her toes? What if I fall down? What if I fall down ON her? What if she never shows up? No, she could never do that to me. Could she? What if, what if, WHAT IF! Aah...I was driving myself nuts with so many useless questions in my head. What I really needed to do was learn to dance. In four days. Fat, pudgy me(but also cuddly), had to learn ballroom dancing in four days!
Four days!! I didn't have time!!
I rushed back home and called up Anu, my neighbour. She'd been learning the salsa for quite sometime now, so I hoped to goodness she'd teach me.


"ANU!" I shouted over the phone. "Emergency! Need. Dance. Quick!" I ate half the words my mind wanted to say. But she understood anyway.
"Sure! Easy. When?"
she replied.
That was the thing with Anu. She never needed explanations or reasons. If she felt it was worth doing, she'd do it.
"Start tonight if possible?"
"Come over for dinner. We can start in the living room. I'll tell mom you're coming."
"Awesome! You're a lifesaver, you know that?"
"Yes I do." I could almost see her lopsided grin as she said those words.


Next time:
I find out how easy(or tough) salsa really is!
(And spicy too. In the naughty way as well.)

Chapter I
Chapter III

She was the one. I didn't know it at first. Who does, right? It's not everyday that you meet someone and think, "Man, she's awesome!" Well, it wasn't for me either. In fact, I barely even remember how we first met.

Back in school, I was pretty much the good-studious-decent kid in class, at least as far as the teachers thought. Also the students. But at least I wasn't a geek. Fat, but not geeky fat. Just a bit pudgy. She was in my class in the eighth grade. Sat right behind me in fact. Sharing lunch boxes, chemistry notes and gossip was all we did. Back then, hooking up was the last thing on my mind, more so, hers. For then, we were friends. Just friends.


Days went by, Neha and I became really close friends. She remained in my class through the ninth and tenth grade. We'd share so much during school hours. But after school, we barely met. Twice a week actually. My tuition classes were very close to her house, and on my way back, I'd often call her down just to have a chat. One day I shouted out her name, and her mom came to the window and said, "She's not at home beta, out with her friends."
I remember taking the long way home, just so I could think of her. My evenings weren't the same without her. We'd sit on a cement block near the nice man selling chaat outside her house, talking about all the nonsense in the world till one of us got called away by our parents. It was fun, easy, carefree. I'd drift away with the magic of her voice. Now here's something about Neha. (Neha...what a name. I can say it all day long..) She wasn't what you call hot. Neither was she extraordinarily beautiful. But she was charming. Everything about her was. The way she spoke, the way her eyebrows wiggled slightly when she got excited, the way the small dimple formed on her left cheek when she smiled. Everything. And her smile...Oh her smile. Her entire face would light up whenever she broke into a smile just like a thousand diyas had suddenly been lit in front of her. Each time she smiled, the room glowed with her presence. But one thing that I'd stare at were her eyes. I never realized what ""eyes are the gateway to the soul" meant till I looked into them.


One day she called.

Me: Hey Neha.

Neha: Hi. Are you free?

Me: Yeah, sure. What's up?

Neha: Listen, the christmas ball is coming up, and there's a dance.
(My heart skipped a beat. No, two. Actually three.)

Me: Yeah....so?
(Stupid stupid me! Was that the best I could come up with?)

Neha: Well...umm...
(Oh come on! Ask already! I can't ask you now, can I?)

Me: Hey, what's it? Say na.

Neha(going all high and squeaky): Please be my partner!...not like, y'know...just as...erm....y'know....right?
(Oh man! The best thing that could happen to me! I almost stopped breathing.)

Me: Yea, sure. I'd love to. But you know I can't dance right?
(If ever there was an award for worst things to say at wrong times....)

Neha: Neither can I. So we're even then. It's a date.

Me: It's a date.


A date. That was the best word I'd heard all day. I ran all over my room, played the loudest music, did the ball dance with my pillow, tried kissing it goodnight. (tastes awful by the way) My mum was very amused and pulled my leg all night long. But I didn't care. Something I had dreamed about for the past four months was finally coming true. And it would, in a week.
That night, as my head touched the pillow, the only thought in my head was of Neha in a gown, her arms around me and soft music engulfing us...

Next time:
I prepare for the dance of my life!

Chapter 2

(Left to right: Abhishek, Jahnvi, Yours truly, Karen, Zubair, Neeraj, Alisha)

Gosh! It's been almost a month, and what a month it's been. Pressure, studies, CAT...crazy stuff. But all that comes later. Coz today was my birthday.

People say you find your true friends in the direst and most trying of situations. Situations that test your bond. That test your trust. That's of course true. But in no way is that the only way to know who your true friends are. Because, today, I realized what friendship is all about. It's not about all that mushy stuff, being there all the while, doing things for you....that's all valid, yes, but it rarely happens in day to day life doesn't it? A friend is someone whom you care about, someone you can be yourself and more with, and they won't judge you either way, because they know you in and out.

I used to think a 21st birthday is all about spending time partying, drinking, celebrating your step into the "adult" world. Bullshit. In the end it all means nothing, because what you do doesn't really matter. What matters most is whom you do it with.

I'd imagined my 21st birthday to be a HUGEass house party, with all my friends invited, lots of booze, food, music...the works. That had been my stereotypical "dream" party. Today, I spent half the day giving the CAT examination for my MBA entrances. Surprisingly, it was easier than I thought. Then I had a nice long peaceful lunch with the woman I treasure the most in my life, my mom. She's the best thing that can happen to a son. Evening found me roaming my childhood streets with the closest of my school friends. Dinner at a Kiva lounge brought good food, a nice light round of drinks and some awesome conversation all through. That's when I realized what friendship is all about. With friends you can talk shit. With friends you can do nonsense. With friends you can fuck around all you want. They don't judge you. I use these terms because I'm at a loss of appropriate words that lay such emphasis to the feelings or emotions attached to them. You've known each other for so long, you've known each other so well, it's immaterial how you are around them, coz you are yourself. So, after this freaking amazing party, that involved no dancing, no drunk episodes, but still remains a memorable night, and sitting at my computer, half-drunk, typing away what comes to my mind as my heart overflows with gratefulness for all the wonderful persons I call my friends, this is dedicated to each of them who were present today:

Abhishek Sharma:

Crazy-ass die-hard romantic emotional awesome friend of mine and first part to the Dil Chahta Hai trio :D I've known him for the longest time possible. Donno what I'd do without him. Donno what I can do with him either. Go figure :P He's the most sensitive guy I know, yet he can take the hardest of decisions. Gets the most shit from me, gives little back in return. He's one of the most awesomest guys I know, and one of my best of best friends.

Siddharth Khanna:

Another one of my super-childhood friends.(Super-childhood means long long back, when the birds and bees were singing :P ) He's damn sweet, not too crazy, but is best known for his lameass jokes. We've started rating him on his lameness and he's supposedly very very proud of him as he feels it'll be his oscar calling. Our main cash man and one we lean on for all our transport needs(since he was nice enough to drop my drunk soul halfway home :D ), my friend Sid is the perfect second part to the Dil Chahta Hai trio.

Zubair Syed Kadri:

Third part to the trio. Self proclaimed bachelor yet heartthrob of many, he makes heads turn with his boyish charm at college, and stays aloof from the girls. Yet after a good round of ice-breakers, he complains of not getting laid. Typical Twilight material. (bad analogy, yet goes with the times :D ) My third and actually oldest friend, lives right behind my house, been with me for I donno how long and makes the best disaster-managed Veg Jalfrezi I know.(check out my Facebook album on Ali Baba and a Few Misc Chors for more details hehehe)

Alisha Iyer:

Super cool south Indian babe who never bats and eyelid before coming up with a lame comment, or the sweetest one. She's one fatang friend whom I can hang out all day long yet never get bored of. Junk and ragamuffin is her style, and her thoughts never wander far away from mine. We've shared the craziest of stories and had the softest of moments. It's a crazy mixed up world after all. Ali rocks!

Karen Aranha:

Aranha means spider? Did you know? Better known as PJ Doll, this chick is mad, bad, and in every way bindass. She's the reigning queen on lame jokes(Yes, they run in the group, but she takes the crown any day), and also the Sada Gajar(read rotten carrot)(no Archie reference, sadly) One gal who is always bubbly in person, semi-dead over the phone, but never really dull.

Ashmita Pol:

Better known as Ass(Although she won't let me smack it :P) She's easily the lightest halka phulka member of the group, but she's damn sweet. Also the one who Abhishek was secretly afraid of. She has a reckless mouth when she gets pissed and can give back more than her share of shit, which is awesome! We share the dream of travelling to the beaches of India and eating more and more to make her gain weight.

Jahnvi Vichare:

Got introduced to her recently. She's Abhishek's girlfriend. We've shared an immediate connection from the first time we spent time together. Our thoughts match to a crazy level, and personalities are similar to the core. It was an attraction that was a bit weird at first, but became really nice later. Poor Abhishek doesn't seem to mind when I flirt with her, but then, I flirt with everyone, so I guess it doesn't matter :P Still, Jahnvi was an immediate attraction, but being friends is a lot more cooler than getting stuff complicated where it doesn't belong. Either way, it's the bond that matters. As I said, friends are whom you're yourself with. With her, as with everyone else, I am.

Neeraj Gawde, another really close friend of mine was missing in action for his exams. Also, Anusha Joshi since she's away at Jhansi being the non-violent version of it's Rani for a friend's wedding. They were missed a lot.
(Gosh, that sounded like an obituary LOL)

Brings us to the end of this long dedication. I love you all! I've had probably the best birthday ever! I'm too drunk/tired/happy/high to post pictures of what we did, or the wonderful gifts that they gave me, but I shall tell you this, if gifts were a way of showing someone how much you know them, they know me the best!

You guys rock!

God bless you all.