The Perks of Clearing UPSC

1.You get implicit permission to be a total D-bag to the family for a while – The routine at my house goes something like this:

Mother – Why haven’t you made your bed today?

Me – Because I cleared UPSC.

It’s fun. You should try it.

2.You can set up a Google alert for your name – If you’re of the narcissistic d-bag disposition that is. This is the easiest way I can think of to get multiple news agencies to pick up your name and display it on the Internet. It’s either this, or you write a book called From Bihar to Tihar. You pick.

3.People take appointments to talk to you – Until quite recently you were one of the inglorious unemployed youth of India. After you clear UPSC, you must continue to be one temporarily because this is the government and the machinery that churns out your appointment letter moves slowly. But laypeople are not aware of this small glitch. In their minds you are already sanctioning rations for the poor in flood stricken Assam or carrying out some similarly grave responsibility with your proportionately great powers. The net result being that people your age and a little more permanently unemployed than you send you Whatsapp messages to the effect of, “Hello Ma’am I’m sorry to disturb you but could you please give me a time when it is convenient to call you regarding tips for UPSC exam?”

It’s delicious.

4.Your sibings have newfound respect for you – This lasts until they realize only too quickly that you have totally ruined their life now because nothing they could ever do would be as awesome for the parents as what you just achieved, and so they are doomed to either walk in your footsteps or be saddled with the epithet of “black sheep of the family” forever. Not pretty for your sibling, your success sadly.

5.Everyone wants you to marry their children – Of course you are not going to be marrying their children just yet, because that would totally defeat the purpose of the swayamvar disguised as training that is arranged especially for you in the romantic hills of Mussoorie, but it’s still nice to be wanted.

6.Parents get recognition through your good name – My father was at the RTO office recently to get his car’s number plate changed. The officer behind the desk looked at my father’s details and said, “Oh, it was your daughter who cleared UPSC exam this time?” I wasn’t there but I’ve heard my father tell this story three times now with great pride. That was nice.

7.You can finally sleep in till late guilt free – Same goes for being able to watch movies guilt free. Although you quickly discover that watching The Notebook for the 34th time on TV was much more fun when you had the Mains exam looming over your head in less than a month. In that situation you really felt like you were living life on the edge.

8.Old ladies want to hug you all the time – Clear this exam and people just arbitrarily decide you are the most simple, sincere, sober child they have ever come across; an asset to your parents and to society at large. You could be the most ridiculous pot smoking, alcohol guzzling, shoplifting selfish bastard around, but once you clear this exam, old ladies congregate around you and confidently vouch for your character by pressing your head fondly to their bosom and suffocating you in their awkward embrace.

9. Parents think you are a good influence on their children – The naivete is touching.

10.You benefit from indulgent misnomers – The beauty of clearing the Civil Services exam is that you don’t even have to obtain an IAS rank to be called an IAS. You can be the 945th person on a list of 990 selected candidates, and you will be accorded the same respect as the ones ranked above you. Of course, this holds true only for the sweet few months after your name appears in the merit list. Once you actually join your service and start working within the hierarchy…ah, then life’s a little less rosy. And so you sit for the exam again, and go through the laborious motions of the exam again, because you nurse a tender ego and know deep within your heart that nothing can possibly sooth the middle class Indian ego except the glorious and glamorous entrapment of colonial-era babudom.

Bendiciones.

 

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July Diaries ~ 1

July 1

I feel this is the laziest way to update my blog, but I come home so tired from work that this is all I can manage for a while. Today was a Sunday and my branch manager still made us all come to work for the most useless job imaginable. I brought my sister along with me to office, and she was so impressed with how important and respected I am. At home she thinks I am an unnecessary burden on the planet. At lunchtime, my parents came over and we went to a mall near my branch to the food court and had chicago pizza.

July 2

The branch manager was absent today! I asked the assistant BM if I could leave at 4, and she laughed and said of course I could. My uncle came to my branch again for aadhar, and this time, his trip was successful so I feel redeemed. I ate a Magnum Brownie ice cream today which I had been craving for a long time. I received an email from my penpal from England, which made me very happy. Today was all right.

July 3

I stood in the rain for an hour and cancelled three Ola cabs before one finally deigned to come pick me up from 20 minutes away. Once inside the cab, the driver got chatting and when he found out that I was an officer with SBI he was quite keen on opening an account there. I said I would open one for him if he wanted, which made him really happy. I have started doing this thing where I tip all taxi drivers 10 rupees over and above the fare, because most of them complain bitterly about really poor income opportunities from driving olas and ubers whenever I get to talking with them, which makes me feel like I am personally responsible for the low fare that the apps are offering me.

July 4

The driver had said he would come today, but he didn’t show up. Yesterday I played hookie and slipped out of work for three hours to watch Sanju with my mother and sister at the mall down the road. I felt guilty about that so I worked extra hours yesterday and today. There are two clerical ladies at work who are weirdly really fond of me. One of them was leaving at 6 and she came to my cubicle and said, “Once you become an IAS (she doesn’t know any better, I’m not going to be an IAS) who knows if we will be able to enter your chamber then.” And then she gave me a tight awkward hug where my face disappeared in the folds of her stomach (I was seated in my chair, she just swooped down at me out of left field). And then she said I was sweet. And I felt like such a fraud, because I am anything but sweet.

July 5

I’ve decided spending 200 bucks on uber and ola everyday is too expensive, so I leave early for work so I can hitch a ride with my mother. At work, I spent a whole two hours shopping online for earrings and rings. My friend at work is from Nagaland, and I asked her to bring me some pork cooked in Naga style (boiled, with minimal use of oil) which I really enjoyed at lunch today. There was torrential rain yesterday so I couldn’t go over to my grandmother’s to read Assamese with her. I’ll go today. My attempts at learning Assamese are really frustrating because when it comes to speaking, I just go mute and rudely shake my head at whoever has attempted to make conversation with me in that moment (usually some poor customer at the bank). I wish so badly that I was better at it.

July 6

I’m in a bad mood right now because my Naga friend put up a picture which included my dumb face as her Whatsapp status. The only thing I hate more than my picture being taken is my picture being shared publicly without my permission. Anyway, today some of my colleagues and I went to the hospital to see a baby. And I did some intense calculations and figured out that there is not a chance in a million that I could get IFS. So IAAS it is. Sigh.

July 7

The office canteen was shut and the boss was on leave, so my naga friend and I sneaked out and ate pork that she’d got for me especially in her tiffin. I love home cooked naga style pork. afterwards we went to the mall and gorged on baskin robins ice cream. in the evening I collected the new laptop from the shop that my sister is getting on account of starting college. My reading in Assamese is improving significantly. If only my speaking skills could keep pace.

July 8

In the morning I attended a book launch function honouring my grandmother. I skipped lunch, and dinner was at my grandfather’s house that basically consisted of one beer and four samosas. I was reading something on the internet which basically said, “what are you taking for granted right now that you would regret if your health suffered?” The answer would definitely be the ability to eat four samosas at one go without feeling sick. I borrowed the book Nudge from him, but he says he does not want it back so I guess I’ll keep it.

July 9

Most loan requests come to our branch via agents. There’s this one cute looking agent who got talking to me a few days ago and congratulated me bashfully on my UPSC result. That bloated my ego like nobody’s business and for the next couple days I walked around with a “I’m the bomb” and “I’m the shizz” kind of vibe. Then today I found out that I made a mistake in data entry on this agent’s client’s loan and he gave me a look which basically said, “You bomb” and “You’re shit” and it wasn’t pretty. I felt quite bad all day, not least because the said client got one lakh less than he was eligible for all because of my stupid bungle-up. I spent most of my remaining time in office composing a letter to my friend.

July 10

I suppose the cute agent wasn’t particularly mad at me because he was satisfactorily bashful again today. I left work early to escort my sister to an appointment. I am currently in an epic fight with my parents to let me live my life the way I want. I am nearly 27 years old and I can’t make a single decision about how I should live my life. It’s pathetic is what it is. I am in the middle of reading 12 Rules for Life. It is a rambling, haphazard and not very well thought out prescription on how one should live one’s life, but with little occasional nuggets of wisdom, so I am persevering. It’s raining cats and dogs outside. Spent the rest of the evening listening to and singing along with Backstreet Boys songs with my sister. Time well spent.

 

Bendiciones.

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June Diaries ~ 2

June 11

Had a felicitation function today. Received more interesting texts from people. Khushboo is looking positively radiant in her Spanish vacation. We went for a walk in the evening and bought some tuck and then were too full for dinner but ate anyway. I’m really excited about all the fish I get to eat in Guwahati.

June 12

I am wondering at the wisdom of even maintaining these diaries when all that really happens in the day is that I go to work and then I come back. Finished reading A Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes.

June 13

Today I came back from work and we went for dinner to my grandfather’s. I borrowed a book from him, Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World. I was allowed to have one beer with my parents, but they are concerned I’m turning into an alcoholic. When an astrologer was consulted about my general destiny in life long ago, he had warned that I should stay away from alcohol. Too bad.

June 14

Tried to resign from SBI today but without success. Will try harder tomorrow. I’m enjoying sourcing loans at work. In the afternoon I took my batchmate Sharmistha out for lunch. We had chicken rolls and she left half of hers on the plate. It is weird leaving for work with parents in the morning and then having them pick you up from work in their Uber cab. Back home, I whiled away the time stalking fellow successful UPSC candidates on the Internet.

Me: Oh my god it’s so annoying all these people have cleared one exam and they all fancy themselves brilliant writers and creators and innovators and changing the worlders and I’m just going to be surrounded by them in the future.

Sister: So you’ll basically be surrounded by lots of Yous.

I have begun taking good care of my teeth because I’ve become paranoid about cavities.

June 15

Today my branch manager was calling all officers to work tomorrow, which is supposed to be a holiday for Eid. And I managed to wriggle out of it, of which fact I am immensely proud. I also resigned officially from SBI so starting from today, I am serving the one month notice period required of me for resignation. Came home and watched Padmavaat on TV. It was so-so. I was so mad because my mother was nodding along at the movie, absolutely riveted like it was a totally accurate historical documentary. And then I realized why people fret so much even over the depiction of fiction in movies – the general feeling is always that “there must be a grain of truth in it”. Right now I’m sitting with my sister after dinner, staring into space and she’s like, “you’re trying to remember events from your pathetic, eventless life?” So I guess I’ll end this entry here.

June 16

I spent the morning lounging around watching Youtube videos of 100 year olds sharing the secrets to long and healthy lives. After an hour of binge watching I concluded that they themselves didn’t quite understand how they ended up living so long. Went out for lunch in the afternoon with my friend Ngali and we played scrabble on my tablet while eating momo. Both of us made really pathetic words like “It” and “Hie” (what does that even mean?). Then we hiked along the Brahmaputra for a while which was really beautiful, even though it was quite humid and balmy. I wish Guwahati wasn’t quite so dirty. I got back some momo for my sister which she is refusing to touch because we have a dinner invitation outside at my father’s friend’s house. What a waste.

June 17

There are two identical bottles of Johnson’s baby products lying around our room – one is a shampoo and the other is lotion. For the past three days I have invariably reached out for the shampoo when actually in need of the lotion and pumped a large dollop on my hands only to realize my folly too late. Then I’ve had to spend an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom trying to wash it away which was so frustrating because instead of rinsing out like normal soap it just keeps lathering up more and more. These are the travails of my daily existence these days. When not preparing for UPSC exams, I spend all my time degenerating. Currently, I’m trying to come up with my five favourite songs of all time.

June 25

My sister took the internet hotspot with her to Delhi so I couldn’t update posts this last week so I’m taking up where I left off last. We have shifted into our own house and are in the process of unpacking and setting things up. I am reading From Heaven’s Lake by Vikram Seth and Bookworm by Lucy Mangan. Every evening I go next door to my grandmother’s house and read an assamese story with her for half an hour. This way I get to spend quality time with her without having to resort to patronizing small talk, and also improve my assamese in the process. My father is really proud of the progress I’ve made in the language so far.

June 26

I get so tired after work that it takes all my energy to haul ass to my grandmother’s house to spend the evening with her. The more I work, the better I understand what Marx was all about – capitalism leaves the worker with no energy or time for recreation; just enough to get home, prepare for the next day, and sleep. There is no question of pursuing creative interests, one is left with no energy for them. I desperately hope the civil services will be a far cry from my present condition. Yesterday, I made an RD for ten years, and got laughed at by all my friends for getting my money stuck in a dead investment. Today I went to office and closed that RD and got laughed at by all my colleagues for being such a dunce.

June 27

The most humongous spider you ever laid eyes on we found in our parents’ room but both of them in a commendable display of teamwork managed to kill it and throw it out. The flipside is that we are now in a constant state of paranoia regarding the possibility of more murderous looking hairy spiders lurking in some corner of our house. I am weirdly into this really bad show called 2 Broke Girls for no reason other than that it comes on TV. Today they gave out chicken rolls at work, and while everyone ate theirs, I put mine in my bag and brought it home for my sister. Sometimes I act so unselfishly, I can’t help beaming at myself. My mother had some extra paint left over from all the renovation around the house, so she decided to paint our entire room lime green. We literally live in a green room now.

June 28

I saunter in to work at 12pm and leave sharp at 6pm, sometimes earlier, and I love it. This is all because my resignation from SBI has been accepted. I am worried, my dad has put this unshakeable thought in my head that there is a minuscule chance I won’t be appointed by the government and then I’ll be jobless again. This would be especially bad news considering how I have begun investing my money right and left in capital creation schemes. Today I had no energy to read any books, I just watched repeat episodes of 2Broke Girls. My dad got the sweetest pineapples you could ever imagine, and today I had pineapple pudding. The only good thing about it were the pieces of pineapple floating in it.

June 29

There is a baby lizard in the room as I prepare to go to sleep. My dad’s away on work and my mother and my sister have taken up the entire bed, and I’m sleeping on the spare mattress on the floor. As I lie on my back and stare up, I can see the baby lizard vertically above me, holding on to the ceiling with the most tenuous grip with its tiny legs, threatening to fall on my head any second from its wobbly, precarious position. I pull up the sheet over my head, tuck it around myself on all possible sides, and with a prayer on my lips, try to fall asleep.

June 30

My mother got rid of the baby lizard from the room, don’t ask me how. Today was the most embarrassing day of my life. My dad’s brother came to my office to get an aadhar card made, and I couldn’t get the work done, and had to pack him off empty handed. Both my parents are forgiving of my lack of assertiveness, but they are telling me that when you call someone to your office, you should make sure you send them off with their work done. I’m wondering if I’ll ever live this one down. I’m reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins but I’m too agitated to be able to concentrate. Worse, my phone just broke, so I can’t even use Whatsapp to distract me from my woes. This just isn’t my day today.

 

Bendiciones

 

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Lessons for my Service Allocation from Prajnesh Gunneswaran’s French Open Odds

I don’t suppose anyone is really interested in tennis talk when we’re this deep in football fever what with the World Cup and all but my dad told me a story which has got my hopes up a tiny bit in the matter of my service allocation and now I’m so nervous that it is giving me indigestion.

Here’s how the story goes. Around three weeks ago, there was a relatively unknown Indian tennis player called Prajnesh Gunneswaran who took part in the qualifiers for the French Open. I guess most players get through on the basis of their rankings, but there are a few spots open for qualifiers as well. This unknown tennis player in all likelihood was doomed to unknown status for a while more. He had placed eighth overall, when there was a spot open for only one qualifier in the actual tournament. There was no way in heaven or hell that he would get to play in the French Open. For that to happen, not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, but seven lunatics would have to withdraw from one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments ever. And it wasn’t just prestige or fame that was at stake. For simply walking on to the court in the first round, you earn lakhs of rupees. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose or retire hurt, you are rewarded handsomely.

You can imagine what happened next. Seven unhinged qualifiers withdrew from the tournament.

The reason you still didn’t hear of Gunneswaran’s historic feat is because it never happened. His odds were so drastically against him that by the time this news reached him, he had already left Paris and committed to another tournament, and professional tennis rules forbid you from forfeiting a smaller tournament to participate in a Grand Slam so that was too bad for him.

But the important takeaway from this story is – for the first time in history, seven tennis players whose lifelong ambition was to win a grand slam, withdrew from a grand slam to give the eighth lucky loser a chance.

This means anything can happen in life.

Maybe the cut off for IFS will go right down till 230 rank this year, who knows.

Now I’m sure you can make better sense of my indigestion.

Bendiciones.

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June Diaries ~ Week 1

June 1

My December Diaries in 2017 were somewhat of a success, so I thought I’d continue that format in the three months in the run up to training in LBSNAA. It’s so hot here in Jaipur that the only thing we can tolerate to have for breakfast these days is a glass of chilled lassi. So that’s what I had today. Mother was unusually jobless at work today so she called on the landline a gazillion times in the space of three hours, such that we were forced to keep the phone off the hook. We had ordered some earrings and hair accessories online a month ago and they finally arrived today. I am really excited about a couple of hair clips in there…small pleasures! Ma had to go for some office dinner party so our father is making us some noodles and soup for dinner at home. Yay!

June 2

Tomorrow is the UPSC prelims exam again and it will be the first time in four years that I will not be appearing for it. It is a surreal feeling. It felt especially surreal as I was wandering the mall with my family today, aware of how stressed out my friends must be and how chilled I was. I called up all my friends to wish them luck for the exam. Khushboo made it expressly known that she did not want me to call her, so I skipped her. I am extremely upset that she will not be in LBSNAA with me. Today’s dinner was diametrically opposite to yesterday’s – khichdi and pappad. I finally finished reading Max Gunther’s book How to Get Lucky.

June 3

Spent the day packing up books and clothes as my parents are getting transferred out of Jaipur soon. Went to Crossword bookstore nearby to browse through books for an hour. It is ironic how I like books, but am not especially fond of other booklovers. I find this whole business of loving books very sanctimonious. At the bookstore, I recognized a boy from school who was two years my senior. He played football and wore too much hair gel and generally acted too cool for school. But today he had a middle aged moustache and he was there with his wife quietly browsing through books and the whole thing was surreal. Mostly I found it surreal because I had never spoken to him, and he must obviously be very close to his wife today, and yet, I being a complete stranger, knew more about her husband’s childhood than she did. Anyway, I saw the 2018 prelims exam paper which was held today and thanked my stars I didn’t appear for it. I would’ve surely failed. Later watched Fukrey Returns on TV with the family and then played some scrabble. Was about to make the word “Shitted” but refrained, and made “Heisted” instead. Father made custard for dessert after dinner, so I had that with some cranberries.

June 4

My favourite part of the day is in the evening, when I sit down to type the day’s diary entry here. I developed an embarrassing medical condition so we went to the doctor today for a follow up check up. He said I was fine as long as I eat a healthy diet. Duh. Washed my hair with amla water and left it in, which was a mistake. Next time, I will rinse it out with tap water. Got my period today and spent the day sleeping away the cramps. I never used to get cramps when I played sports regularly. That’s the one thing I am looking forward to in training – physical activity. Went to Anokhi Cafe to eat carrot cake in the evening. I’ve been eating it regularly for three years and I still haven’t got sick of it. It is the one thing I will miss the most when we move out of Jaipur. Spent a half hour in Crossword bookstore afterwards frantically trying to make progress with Julia Child’s My Life in France. Sorely disappointed that the Serena vs Sharapova French Open match did not take place as Serena gave a walkover. The wuss.

June 5

Had the weirdest dream yesterday of me and the actor Anne Hathaway lashing out against Meghan Markle. My sister and I are obsessed with Ted and Barney harmonizing “For the Longest Time” by Billy Joel and we spent the morning watching that video on repeat on Youtube. Afterwards I spent two hours trying to sing along to Spanish songs on Youtube without much success. I really don’t know what to do with myself now that I am not preparing for UPSC. Finished reading the book Bounce by Matthew Syed. Made a bingo word in scrabble with “Creating”. Conversation with my sister today:

Me: Why do I have to follow everything parents say?

Sister: Because you live under their roof.

Me: I don’t live under their roof per se. I am just visiting.

Sister: You visited four years ago after college and have refused to leave ever since.

You can imagine how grateful I am for clearing this UPSC exam.

June 6

Oiled my hair and pretended to pack but not really. In the evening my parents took me to a restaurant that I hadn’t been to before, because this is possibly the last time we’ll be in Jaipur and there’s still so much left to explore. I was in a bad mood all day for some reason, but at night this one random person texted me and decided to make my life interesting so that was entertaining and put me in a slightly better mood.

June 7

The packers arrived and our packing began in earnest. Our landlords have a fully furnished apartment kept empty on the fourth floor for guests so they graciously allowed my sister and me to spend the day there in the cool A/C. I spent my time there playing scrabble and sleeping and generally degenerating. We contended with first world problems like the A/c was too cold when we switched it on but the room would get unbearably hot when we switched it off, so we were complaining the whole time like spoiled brats. We had lunch on the floor of our nearly empty apartment which felt like a good bonding opportunity for the family. Dinner was out again at my parents’ friends’ house, where the dessert featuring mangoes was the best dish.

June 8

Was woken up rudely by mother at 7:30 am to pick up the laundry before the packers came for the day. Spent the rest of the day sitting in the sweltering heat pretending to supervise the packers while parents ran chores outside. Whiled away the time texting with my friend Ari. Afterwards my sister and I went to Crossword to finish our books. The view from there was spectacular as it started raining, which made all the dust and pollution settle down. I have only 100 pages left in my Julia Child book, which I’m ambitiously hoping to finish tomorrow. Dinner was a delicious affair at our landlords’. I didn’t talk to anyone at all, I was so busy stuffing my mouth. I will sorely miss Rajasthani cuisine once I leave Jaipur. Now it’s 10 pm and after a hard day in the heat, my sister and I are cozily tucked into the bed listening to Spanish songs and enjoying the cool blast of A/c on our faces.

June 9

I am itching to make this a long entry but that would be out of sync with the theme which is “mini diaries”. Anyway, woke up lazily today and sauntered out for breakfast at our neighbour’s house, where we had delicious aloo paranthas. Went back to sleep for four hours to digest said breakfast. For lunch we went to Anokhi cafe and I had the worst Thai Green Bean Salad, but then I had the usual carrot cake for dessert and that put me in a better mood. My dad and sister went back home while I stayed back in Crossword bookstore to finish my book, which I’m happy to report I was able to do in three hours of speed reading. A couple of friends wanted to meet me but I lied that I was busy packing, just so I could have the time to finish my book. We went for dinner with another set of father’s friends, whose children were highly obnoxious. With all our stuff packed we don’t even have water to drink, so we are having to beg the neighbours. Ma asked for water today and I was like, “Would you like hot water or boiling water?” And we all laughed at my witticism.

June 10

Flew to Guwahati in the morning, and reached our usual haunt called Baruah Bhawan where we stay every time we’re in the city. Slept the afternoon away and in the evening went to visit my grandmother who had had a nasty fall last week and now has a hideous face injury. Evening was spent at my father’s friend’s house where I was so bored I downed a couple of beers and my sister warned me I was turning into an alcoholic. Finished another book called The Wandering Falcon. It was so-so. Am wondering what to read next.

 

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My Life in Emails ~ 17

From: Mr. Terry Eagleton

To: Frank, penpal of four years

Subject: In re the requested update on my life

Hello Frank,

So I suppose I will just start from the beginning of the year. I joined State Bank of India as a probationary officer and the first three weeks were spent at the training institute, where I basically enjoyed a paid vacation. We had to attend classes during the day but in the evenings I spent all my time playing table tennis and got to be quite good at it, so much so, that I would beat most of the boys easily as well, which was an immensely satisfying experience. I also won the gold medal in the tournament held there, of which fact I am again very proud. 
If you open a map of India, you will see that my home is Jaipur, which is in the western corner of the country, but I was working in Guwahati, which is in the eastern corner of the country. Although Guwahati is my ancestral town, I am not accustomed to the culture or the weather, nor do I speak the language (Assamese) very well. I was quite homesick and the next few months were miserable without my family.
The bright spot amidst all this gloom was my interview for the civil services exam. You have known ever since we became friends that all I have wanted in life was to clear the civil services exam and become a diplomat. It so happens that I did clear the exam but I could not secure a rank good enough to become a diplomat, so I will be allotted some other service instead, most likely Indian Audit & Accounts service. I am excited because it entails an almost year long training in Shimla, which is a hill station that I highly recommend you Google to make sense of my excitement about it. 
What else…I watched a lot of American TV and read a lot of motivational self help literature as well this year. The latest show I watched was Big Little Lies. It’s about a murder in a rich Californian town and housewives are involved, so it’s as American as it can get. It was good entertainment though. The latest books I read were Peak by Anders Ericsson (I keep thinking of him as Eric Anderson, so confusing) and I reread the Fault in Our Stars because I’m lowbrow like that. Most of my time though, I spend surfing Youtube. The one thing I studiously avoid are any videos of Meghan Markle, because in my mind, Harry has realized he’s made a mistake marrying her, and he feels trapped, but he’s like, I’m already so old, might as well go ahead with it. Someone gifted me Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman which I’m really excited about reading next (have I used the word ‘excited’ enough already?)
Do you like pumpkin seeds? We get this packet of roasted, salted pumpkin seeds in the local grocery store that are divine so I am just binge snacking on those constantly. You should try them out, they are insanely healthy too. 
I have resumed playing scrabble, and have found new friends to play with who faithfully see the games through to the end, not like you leaving me stranded midway with all sorts of excuses. Recently, I made a bingo word that I was almost not going to make. The word was “Panties” but I was too embarrassed to put it down on the board, so I spent quite some time rearranging the letters on my rack till the word “Sapient” popped out at me, and I gratefully made that instead. 
Are you happy with this update that I have given you? I can’t think of much else to write. Nothing ever happens to me, which is a state of affairs I have to remind myself to be grateful for. Give me a nice eloquent update on your life now. Thanks. 
Bendiciones.
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Mujhe Tum Mil Gaye Humdum…

Long time readers of this blog will know that sometimes I like to anthropomorphize old Hindi songs and somehow relate them to my depressingly never ending UPSC journey. You can find the other songs in the Categories section on the right hand side of this blog, under the heading “Songs of UPSC”. I originally had a different song in mind for when I cleared the exam, but I am not going to use that here because that is reserved for when (or if) I get Indian Foreign Service. Right now, with my rank of 230 in CSE-2017 I am likely going to be stuck with the Audit and Account Service so I will use another song instead.

This particular song fits my current sentiments perfectly because Asha Parekh is all like, “jidhar dekhun, udhar tum ho, nazara ho toh aisa ho”. Which is kind of how I feel about the ubiquity of this exam in my life.

Still later she sings “Udhar dil hai, idhar jaan hai, ajab mushkil ka saaman hai”

This is again how I feel about being torn between being content with my current service or trying again for the IFS.

I am just going to stop talking now so you can finally get to the song. Prelims is in 15 days and I am woefully under-prepared for it. Anyway, enjoy.

 

Bendiciones.

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