2005: Year in review/a fear of belonging and a hiatus

I have a phobia of addictions, and like I did exactly a year ago when I was in Bombay, I'm taking a fortnight off from blogging. A review of the year gone by, before I leave.

Academics/College

Probably the most satisfying year of my life, academically. Ended with a 4.0 GPA, and straight A's; it's a record that can only be emulated, not beaten. And will not be emulated for at least the next three years ion my college. My degree says 'Summa Cum Laude' (I had to google for what it means). Not sure if it helps.

Found out that teachers kept telling other students in other classes to be like me, which they found irritating. It felt rather strange when I switched batches for a class and everyone wanted to be in my group for group-work, and my academic prowess reached mythical proportions (no, seriously). Someone floated a rumour that teachers were coming to help. The dean spoke to me when some people had anonymously sent a suggestion that I should teach instead of the teacher. On the flip side, I was branded a bookish-nerd, which was unfair because I rarely read the text.

Had lots of run-ins with the college management because I spoke my mind. They couldn't argue because I was right, and enjoyed a lot of student support. Also formed a core group with three MBA students to help develop a student driven community in college, and work as a bridge between the college management and the students. Not much came out of it, but we set the ball rolling and it's helping other students now.

Learnt a lot about group dynamics and myself, and somehow feel that the authoritarian way of working suits me best. I'm authoritative but fair, but that was only because most of the people working with me weren't as committed. I enjoyed a certain degree of expert power that became positional in nature, which allowed me to exercise control. Also learnt that I learn best by asking questions that slowly lead to the right answers.

Favourite academic/college moments of the year:
- The best teacher in college, who had until then been grilling students, said "I have no more questions, this is just too good" a few moments into our group presentation on Reliance. She then started telling everyone about how wonderful it was. I usually don't tell about this, but the entire thing was my analysis. Got an ovation after the presentation.
- Being felicitated by the college for excellence in academics. Not bad for an engineering dropout.
- Marketing teachers (all three) applauding my unconventional marketing suggestions - Popular Fiction exam for English Hons. I wrote my own opinion on everything, and quoted mostly from out of the text. Was great fun doing that paper.

Books:

Given that three quarters of the year was spent slogging like a madman, I hardly read anything this year. The only books I remember reading are The Simoqin Prophecies and The Manticore's Secret by Samit Basu; Foundation, Foundation and the Empire, and The Second Foundation by Isaav Asimov; Chronicle of a Death Foretold by GG Marquez; To have and have not by Ernest Hemingway; Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Read Shakespeare, Chaucer, Marlowe and other stuff for English Hons. Only liked Faustus of that.

Visited Darya Ganj five times and have added quite a few books to my collection. Notable additions are two books by Woody Allen and a nice hardbound H2G2. Also a few short story collections, my favoured genre. Most attempts to read have helped me sleep, even during the day.

I think I'm on the lookout for something drastically different.

Writing

Lots of suggestions and eggings-on by Rhymebawd have been futile. The year began terribly with three useless ideas that I rejected in the middle, though while in Bombay, Astleviz taught me a few things like plot-points. When extremely tired, wrote Release, which has been immensely satisfying, albeit obscure. Also liked my little piece on Performing Prose. Ram was very filmy, but based on a true story. The Haircut was my first attempt at placing someone I know in a situation and setting that I didn't know anything about. So far it's been unsuccessful. Also tried to write Dark Room, which is also incomplete.

Attended a few Caferati meets, where Anita, Dan and Annie were most helpful; also Arjun Bali at the meet at Jaipur. I like criticism. Have vowed to not attend any Caferati Read Meets until I finish writing something I like. In any case, I don't finish writing what I don't like. Need to majorly rethink writing. Maybe stopping would help - it takes too much time and earns me no money. There was something planned for Motif, but I lack support and don't see it viable over the long term.

And if I do write, I think I want to write something drastically different from the norm.

Music:
Thanks to co-conspirators Harneet, Rhymebawd, HDHD and, more recently, Codey, I rediscovered my love for music. 2004 had been a dry year; I think I've overcompensated for that in 2005 and it's become a rabid obsession. The following is based on what was new to me, rather than what was new in 2005:

1. Albums of the year: American Idiot by Green Day, OST The Beach, Lest We Forget by Marilyn Manson, Hypnotize and Mezmerize by System of a Down, OST Run Lola Run, Without Teeth by Nine Inch Nails
2. Rediscovered Albums of the year: Spawn OST, Blur by Blur, The Presidents of the USA by The Presidents of the USA, Alternative 4 by Anathema, Pet Your Friends by Dishwalla
3. Disappointment of the year: The Real Thing by Bo Bice
4. Most Often Heard Songs (on repeat): This is not a dream by Morphine, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips, Jesus built by hotrod by Ministry, Vicinity of Obscenity and Violent Pornography by System of a Down, Push it by Garbage, Paranoid by Megadeath, Geek Stink Breath and Hitchin a Ride by Green Day, We're in this together by Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Vegas by INXS, Lunchbox by Marilyn Manson, Guerilla Radio and Killing in the Name Of by Rage Against the Machine, Dream On by Depeche Mode, Novocaine for the Soul by The Eels, Sometimes by Helga's Fun Castle, December by Collective Soul (I think I'll stop now)
5. Concert (days) attended in the year: 34 (approximately)
6. Most memorable gigs: The entire Jazz Utsav that lasted three days. Also the Remember Shakti concert on the 26th of Jan and Skinny Alley at Rocktoberfest.
7. Favourite Indian Bands: Superfuzz Bigmuff, Helga's Fun Castle, Them Clones, Zero, Joint Family
8. Most disappointing gigs of the Year: Pentagram and Sting

This is hardly comprehensive. I also finally developed a liking for Death Metal and hardcore Industrial. HDHD had recommended Ministry to me two years ago and it's taken me this long to realise that it's not just noise. I think listening to Joint Family, a Delhi band, has something to do with it. Death metal has subtle variations is bass that I've begun to like, alongwith the changes in tempo. Anyway, there's a nice discussion in the comments section at The Cavern, here.

Also learnt that RSJ is looking for someone to help edit the magazine and also co-ordinate with MSM reporters who usually fuck up. (Ravi doesn't, but then he's the best this country has, imho. Go professional, man. Seriously.)You may compare yesterday's Delhi times (29th Dec, page 6) with my review of the gig at SRCC (It's linked to on the column on the right). For example, Prithwish's photograph has the tagline: Helga band rocked the students. He is the lead singer of Them Clones. U2 have been called V2, Coldplay = Cold Prayer. Helga's Fun Castle has been referred to as "band called Helga, which rocked the campus with their number Funk Castle." Tragi-comic, I tell you. This makes Malvika Nanda of HT City look good. She was just pushing her music preferences, and assumed that bands like Bhayanak Maut want to achieve something called 'pure noise', which is ludicrious. I'm tempted, but not enough money to begin with, for me.

Blogging

Shifted from the brinkster blog to this one. Spoke out against what I see as the slow corruption of a medium for free speech, as well as how one of the Delhi Bloggers groups had been allowed to become insanely stupid because of one or two people. To no avail, but I've said what I had to say. If disagreeing with the herd makes me disagreeable, so be it. I went through the almost-three-years of blog posts, and it seems maximum posts have been on Writing. Music is a close second. Most of the rest is madness. This blog has been a lot less personal than the last one, and as structured in its presentation as it has been unstructured in its content. Blogging about gigs was great fun, as was remembering old friends in the Lest We Forget series. The Crazitivity exercises still make me laugh. Oh, also met Jabberwock, Serendiputs, Jebbit and Aishwarya, and quite a few other bloggers.

Films
Attended the Cinefan Film Fest at Siri Fort. Met Saurav there, and also managed to tear a muscle in my arm, after which I drove 25 back with just my right arm. But I digress - House of Sands and Fog and Too Far Past were wonderful. Also saw Sin City, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I-Robot, and loads of other films. Closer and Sin City were immensely enjoyable. Also liked Black, but on hindsight, the cinematography was probably the reason. Sin City was sublime.

A fear of belonging, and a hiatus.

'Tis been a year of more ups than downs, even though it began disappointingly in Bombay. If I took control of situations until October 2005, the last three months of the year have been without any control, and perhaps an increased emphasis on blogging. It's become more than a just past-time and that is disconcerting.

I found it disconcerting when, at Samit's book launch, Jabberwock introduced me to Nilanjana as a blogger. Not that think of that as an insult, and that I don't realise that he couldn't have introduced me as anything else at the time, but I dislike tags. The last paragraph of this post made me realise that I really don't want to belong. I don't want to be tagged as a rocker, a Delhi-ite, a management student, a (wannabe) writer. Maybe that is why I didn't want to join a company (which was 35km one way from home, anyway), because 'PR Analyst' is so restrictive. Which is why the other job was good, until I smelt something fishy. Which is why I'm no longer in touch with any of my school friends, in touch with only two of hundreds of Pune friends and with just about fifteen of half the college in Delhi. I seem to dislike the isolation, yet find it comforting. But as the year draws to a close, albeit slowly, I need to prepare for the next. It's time to get to work; enough mucking around.

This blog is thus declared closed for the next fifteen days because I need to get rid of my blogging and blog-reading addiction. Will be available on mail, though.

This blog is thus declared closed for the next fifteen days because I need to get rid of my blogging and blog-reading addiction. Will be available on mail, though.

Addendum: Happy New Year
14 Comments:
Blogger Hum do Harami do said...

'Summa Cum Laude' sounds like a trilingual exhortaion to a climax. Or a very informal invite. Summa = Just like that (Tamil), Cum warrants no explanation and i'm sure just about everyone who knows you has had opportunity to use the last word to describe you at least once *-)
Happy New Year nixxin. Get back soon.

December 30, 2005 1:41 AM  
Blogger Nikhil Pahwa said...

Happy New Year to you too, my friend. Let's hope you're less predictable in 2006: I was expecting that comment from you. ;)

TC,
NIkhil

December 30, 2005 3:37 AM  
Blogger Jabberwock said...

Happy new year etc. I'm not sure anyone likes tags. Btw, are you coming for the meet on the 2nd or are you off those things as well?

December 30, 2005 9:09 AM  
Blogger Nikhil Pahwa said...

Happy New Year, J. :) Well, I've set myself some targets for each day. Hopefully, I'll be able to make it.

December 30, 2005 6:59 PM  
Blogger Straight Curves said...

Oh, also met Jabberwock, Serendiputs, Jebbit and Aishwarya, and quite a few other bloggers.

ok, smitten kitten was one thing...but serendiPUTS?!

HMMMMPPPPPH

January 02, 2006 12:32 AM  
Blogger Nikhil Pahwa said...

A thousand apologies for ze typo. At least I didn't say Smutton Kitten. O-)

January 02, 2006 10:20 AM  
Blogger Jabberwock said...

You should've said Smutty Kitten.

January 03, 2006 8:51 PM  
Blogger mungojerrie said...

so get ONNN w it already! the first week of the year is over! and im terribly bored seeing the hiatus post.

January 08, 2006 6:03 AM  
Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

"one of the Delhi Bloggers groups had been allowed to become insanely stupid because of one or two people"..

allowed to? so why did you allow that to happen? :)

January 09, 2006 2:08 AM  
Blogger Nikhil Pahwa said...

Shreya: Not until I stop forming blog posts on everything that I see/think about. :P

(15th)

Twilight Fairy: I apologise. Can you ever forgive for this?

I'm sure that now that you're in charge, and calling up people and asking them why they didn't come for the bloggers meet, I'm sure things will improve. My turn to smile: :)

January 09, 2006 7:35 AM  
Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

nah, I never called up ppl to ask them why they didnt turn up.. just to ask them whether they are coming or not in the first place.. after all they are busy ppl.. :p

and sure, things have improved.. now that all the "heated up" members are out.. at least we arent having nuclear fights every day!!! :P :)..

January 15, 2006 11:32 PM  
Blogger Negative Creep said...

Dude, are you on RSJ forums by any chance??

January 16, 2006 4:07 PM  
Blogger Nikhil Pahwa said...

Negative Creep: Yep. I find out about all the gigs on RSJ Forums.

January 16, 2006 8:04 PM  
Blogger Negative Creep said...

So, what's ur id?? I'm Nirvanaholic

January 17, 2006 4:07 AM  

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