Saturday, June 1, 2013


The first time I met Smiley was in a dream. I know, I know, that's not the most interesting thing in the world. But it was where we first met. So far, I can remember the dream, so I figured I should note it down.

I was tied to a table, slowly being dismembered. First my fingers were clipped off, then my toes. Smiley was enjoying it - at least, I assume he was. If you've seen Slenderman, then you'll have an idea of what Smiley looks like. No extra-long limbs, but a similar black suit. He had no eyes, nor any sockets where they would go. Same for his nose. All he had was a mouth, stretched ear-to-ear in a sadistic grin. The corners of his mouth were held up by hooks. Blood dripped down into his teeth.

He wasn't a surgeon. He hacked away at me, piece by piece, and no matter how much I begged or threatened or cried, he kept going. My screams echoed in the room, and they seemed to fuel him. A gravelly voice echoed in the room, whispering over and over to me, "Feed the masses! Feed the masses!" I don't know what I was to do. Was my flesh food for others? I never found out.

I didn't die. Despite me losing organ after organ, no matter how much I bled, I didn't die. Even when I was just a head, I was screaming. And when that cleaver slammed down between my eyes... I woke up. Sweating, shaking, freaked out of my skin, and wishing I never fell asleep again in my life. I tottled over to my sink to wash my face.

Smiley was there in the mirror. Only for a split second, but he was there.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Questions and Evaluations.

I make no mistake, I am semi-drunk as I write this. I have recently been informed that I'm not the best friend I could be. While this, in it's own, is not bad news - I mean, really, not every friend is the best they can be, or we'd all be best friends - it has brought into question a lot of things, especially regarding certain incidents.

I won't name names or give details, as I want to protect the parties involved. I don't expect to get feedback from this - no one really reads what I write anyway - so, this is just me and my thoughts.

I always had an image of myself that I held myself to. I never did think I was the best person I could be, nor did I believe I was the worst. This train of thought I'm currently on is brought about by a certain individual who brought to my attention several pieces of information that have caused me to look at myself and see who I am.

I've been known to ridicule those who say, "I'd give my life for you." My reason is that dying for someone else is easy, as there are no consequences to deal with. But giving up everything BUT your life for a person... That is when you see who is who. And I always thought I was at least semi-reliable, that my friends could count on me when it mattered. I now question that line of thought. I see myself now as being a selfish person, unwilling to give up the smallest comfort for people, even my friends. Is that who I really am? I've been informed by a friend that I'm a hypocrite. While I don't doubt this in the slightest, the reason for the statement is what eats at me. I was told that, without intent, I've offended quite a number of people. I've also offended many on purpose, but not these. I can only think that I am childly selfish. As long as I get what I want, I am content to let the world and all it generates pass by unnoticed. I don't like to trouble myself with other's problems. I always assumed they would think the same.

Perhaps I was mistaken.

Either way, this goes up on the blog, It doesn't matter who reads it, comments on it, likes it or not. I have no one else to turn now. I need to think this through with a clear head. But one thing I do know, and cowardly or not, it does scare me. And that is the burning question in my mind. Several, actually. The first is one of culling. I'm quite fond of culling my friends - both online and in real life. I go through the lists, see who still merits my friendship, and let the rest know that they are no longer required. Brutal, rude, insensitive, yes. I won't make excuses as to why I do it. But one thought has never really crossed my mind until now: I may talk of who is worth my time. Have I ever thought of who's time I'm worth? The answer is, no I haven't. I'm selfish, so I wouldn't bother.

The other question is one that really scares me. As I've stated before, I thought I had an image of myself. I thought I knew who I was. What scares me is the fact that I am undeniably wrong about who I am.

This isn't something suicidal. I have no intentions of ending my life anymore. I've been through that phase (which, incidentally, taught me that I'm a coward. If I wasn't, I wouldn't be here typing.)

But I have to ask myself if I am who I really think I am. A lie, told often enough, becomes the truth. Even if it is just someone lying to themself. In that case, have I deluded even myself into thinking that I am a better man that who I really am? Am I simply covering up my shortcomings and falsehoods with bravado, with piss and vinegar? Because I look at myself right now and see nothing of who I thought I was.

The scariest question has yet to come, though. I was informed that I should let go of my obsessions - anime, games, the like - and attend to real life and the trappings it holds. That I can always play later, and when friends show up it's not enough to just say "Sup!" and leave it at that. I need to work harder to maintain my friendships.

The question that bothers me is simple: If I was put into a position to choose between my creature comforts, or my friends, what would I pick? The easiest answer - the expected one - is that I pick my friends over my social bubble.

What scares me is that I don't know if that's true.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

An American's view on Kolkata - Day 2

Woke up around 9:00 AM. Came down to tea and biscuits, courtesy the Awesome Mrs. Biswas. Sneha dropped by in the morning, then left, then came back again. After tea, I got down to typing up the events of the last two days. Sneha eventually woke Gourav up, and we had breakfast while I talked smack about Atique to Sneha (with input from Gourav now and then). So far, nothing eventful. Will update as the day goes by.

Later on we popped down to KCD - Kaka's Chai Dukan. At least, that's one of the interpretations of the acronym. It's one of the places Gourav used to frequent, and he had told me about it at length, so I had to see it for myself. The chai was good, the company was great, and it was definitely an awesome time.

We (Sneha, Gourav and I) had lunch at home. I gotta say, the food is amazing, but the quantity is a little too high for me. Another IHOP full. Chicken, beetroot, cauliflower, and staple rice and dal. We chilled after lunch, and Sneha got to see Gabriel Iglesias' "Hot and Fluffy" comedy special. I think she liked it, she was laughing as much as Gourav and I. Also, I should introduce the concept of "laed", for those who don't know what it is. It's basically the ultimate laziness, and Gourav was eating a lot of it. I should clarify: the Bengali verb "to eat" is used for many different types of consumption, like food, drink, and in this case, "laed". In this case, it means that Gourav was being a lazy bum. Sneha had a fun time getting Gourav out of bed.

After Gabriel, we went out to St. Xavier's College for a Christmas program. First was the choir. Good stuff, but they got nothing on the Spicer choir. They sang a few carols I knew, and a few I didn't. Was fun to listen to, even though I was starting to nod off. After that was a sort of performance poetry in Bengali. I didn't get anything, but it sounded pretty good to me. I'm sure if Javits is reading this, he'll have plenty of comments to make. We bailed out after that. We walked around Park Street, which is like Pune's Koregaon Park and MG Road combined. Lots of shops and stuff. It was an interesting walk, and the conversation was good. We split up at the metro station, Sneha went her way and Gourav and I went ours.

We took the metro down to Tollygunj. I can't really find a relative location from my experiences to compare Tollygunj to. The best I can say is that it's the center for roadside stalls. Kind of reminded me of the stalls you'd see during a matsuri in Japan. We took a walk and Gourav took me to a chai stall he'd been telling me about for ages. The tea... Ah, the tea. Even with my knowledge of English, I can't find the words to describe just how awesome that stuff was. Lemon tea, with a hint of salt, sugar and special masala. Absolutely divine. We travelled on after that, catching a rickshaw to Sakher Bazar.

Now, the rickshaws in Kolkata are different from the ones in Pune. While rickshaws in Pune charge you by distance (and charge you double by default), the rickshaws in Kolkata are kinda like buses. They travel only certain routes, and they charge a flat rate for the journey. So, catching a rickshaw means you need to know where to go to catch the rickshaw you want. Kind of refreshing, after all the bickering and arguing that comes with rickshaws in Pune. Also, a rickshaw with a switchboard. Interesting.

So we took a rick down to Sakher Bazar, and from there to Diamond Park. Walked around for a bit, met up with Ronojoy and chatted. Then, back home for dinner. Chicken and rice. IHOP full again. I swear I'm gonna put on a thousand pounds with all this food...

So far, this city is familiarly unfamiliar. A lot of things: Rickshaw, Metro, etc... They are concepts I'm familiar with from my life. But the implementation, the usage of these things, the little details that differ from how I know them to be... These are what make them unique to this city, this trip. I might never get to experience all this the way I have. It's an amazing thing, when you think about it. I never guessed I'd wind up here, doing what I'm doing, going where I'm going, meeting who I'm meeting. It's an amazing chain of events. This city has its own beat, and I'm not quite catching it yet. But it's new, and I gotta admit, a change of pace is always nice. I came here with the expectations of seeing new things, and I have. And it's only been two days... I'm sure there's a lot more in store.

Bonus Points: 3x multiplier for knocking out three modes of travel in one outing: taxi, metro, and bus.

High Score: Fresh grape juice in Tollygunj.

An American's view on Kolkata - Day 1

Woke up around 6:30. Damn scheduling, so used to waking up for college. Wasn't up to much in the morning except for my normal good morning texts. Atique showed up not too late after I got up, but he didn't stick around. Breakfast was yummy (Yes, yummy. Yummy train food. No sarcasm.) Everyone started waking up and getting about the business of getting up and ready for the day.

The day was uneventful, since most of the new things I had experienced were yesterday. Played more Uno with the lovely ladies across from us, now joined by two more cousins: Alisha, and Rohit (Not the same one Gourav knows). I didn't join in, though. I had finally gotten my laptop out and was finishing up Howl's Moving Castle. They later switched to a card game called "Not At Home." I got the basic gist of the rules, but it was most certainly the longest game I've seen in quite a while. One game of that and it was quits for then.

Lunch was good. After that, though, Gourav decided a nap was in order. On my bunk. And I was still sitting there. Granted, he did ask me if it was cool. But still... The dude almost pushed me off of my seat O_O;;. Afternoon saw a fully-charged laptop and more Uno, while I charged my 3DS. And, as for something new: My baby finally has her first major aesthetic damage - the palm rest is cracked. My voltage converter for my 3DS charger (sold separately) fell and hit my lappy. And that thing is a heavy little mother. No worries, though. It's a pretty thin crack and it's hardly noticeable unless you look for it. All in all, I'm strangely comfortable with it.

Evening, more Uno. And I'm still not tired of the game. By this time, however, I was getting tired of the jokes on me. Both Gourav and Atique have come up with several "nicknames" for me over the course of our staying together. And, thanks to Atique, they wore out rather quickly and now, they just annoy me. I don't mind people making jokes about me: I mind it when they pull those jokes way too far. Gourav is cool, but Atique's the one who gets on my nerves, and I don't wanna snap at G just because he didn't know how pissed I was. Gotta keep it together, Kade.

Train got to the station later than planned, but we expected that. Didn't have much to pack, as I had already arranged my backpack. My luggage was quite light - all I really had were clothes. I think my backpack was heavier than my luggage >.> Not sure, though. We got to Howrah station around 8 PM, and Sneha was there waiting for us. She's Gourav's girl. We said goodbye to Divya and crew (I didn't get their numbers. Gourav and Atique think it's because I forgot. But I've already got someone I'm interested in.)

Howrah station is the biggest train station I've seen in India. 23 platforms is no joke, especially when Pune Junction has, like what, 8? Yeah... Massive. Outside, the wait for the taxi was annoying. Had to get the 3DS up and running for musical accompaniment. We finally got one, though, and threw our luggage in and took the ride to Gourav's house. He showed up some of the city while we drove, some of the more famous shops and restaurants (And a place for Atique called "Gaylord". Don't know, don't wanna know). The city is half-new, and half-familiar. I don't mean to put Kolkata down, but living in the States has got me used to places like D.C. and Boston, with all the crowds and the skyscrapers and the roads and stuff. I know what cities are like back home, so half of Kolkata wasn't new to me: It's just like any other city. It's like a customized laptop: The basic model is the same. What makes it fun it the little details that are different from all the other models. Like the pot-bellied cops. Never see many of those in Pune. Arms, legs, neck, torso, face: all in proper shape. And a big-ass pot belly. Couldn't help but laugh.

Rickshaws aren't that much in use in this city. Taxis and buses. Rickshaws are only used like small buses: Set route, set fare, and you have to share with other people. It seems like if I wanna make this fun, I've gotta see the common Kolkata. Not the tourist places, not the famous sites. I wanna walk the streets and see how much normal Kolkata differs from regular Pune or regular Germantown.

We got to Gourav's place around 9:30. It's a pretty sweet house, although we could definitely use some heating. The place gets cold at night. But his mom and dad are both very cool. I didn't speak with them much, and most of the talking that was going on was in Bengali, so it was over my head. I can't really form an opinion of his dad, since I didn't talk to him enough. As for his mother, though, she seems awesome. We got home, had some tea and rested up, then headed out for a walk around Gourav's old hangouts. We met up with two of his friends, Ronojoy and Devanjan (I think I spelled those right). They seem like cool kids, so we might be hanging out in the future as well.

After hanging out for a bit, we came home to dinner. Amazing, amazing food. I don't even know all the dishes that were cooked, but they all tasted great. And the sweets were delectable. I felt like I just left IHOP after dinner: That kind of full stomach that makes you just want to lie down and sleep it off. I started settling in after that getting my laptop set up, checking out the internet (Server problems do not leave good first impression >.<) Set up his uTorrent to pick up Nikki and the rest of the latest anime I'm missing. Got him set up with Firefox and IDM as well. Server died before we could get any proper downloading, though. Will try again later. Eventually, knocked out around 3:00 AM.

An American's view on Kolkata - Prologue and Day -1

Right, then. As some of you may already know me, let me just introduce myself. My name is Kade, and I'm an American who's been in India for around 10 years, on and off. However, my experiences in India were somewhat limited, as I hardly ventured out of Pune - not for the lack of opportunity, but for the lack of interest. I really don't care about touring placing and seeing all the tourist spots, or visiting a place because it's famous. Which is what everyone suggested. So, when my roommate suggested I come down to Kolkata for Christmas, I was initially apprehensive of the idea. But hey, if you don't try, you'll never know. So, we booked our tickets, and now here I am. And it's been an interesting trip so far.

The point of this blog is not to be a travel guide to this magnificent city. It won't tell you where to go for shopping, or what to look out for. It won't give you tips on saving money. It's just me, throwing my words at you for you to read. So don't expect any life lessons: Just read and laugh. I'll try to update every day, but you can expect it to most likely fall between 2-3 days for posts.

Kolkata - Day -1

Started out train journey from Pune on the Duronto Express. First time I've ever been on a train for so long, and much better than a flight of the same duration. We left Pune around 3:15 PM. Not much interesting happened until the evening. The family sitting opposite us in the compartment had a cute little girl who got along with Gourav fabulously. Atique got stuck in another compartment, and talking to the TT to convince him only got him a scolding. Odd fact that G pointed out to me: Both Atique and the TT were Bengali, and both were trying to speak Hindi XD. Anyways, no luck for Atique, so he got sent back to his own compartment. Sharing the space opposite our bunks (We got Side upper and Side lower, on the side of the compartment) were two sisters from Kolhapur, also rather cute. Divya and Shweta. After watching them play cards with their cousins who came from the other end of the compartment for quite a while, we got the idea that a few rounds of Uno wouldn't go amiss. And they didn't. They loved the game and we had a lot of fun stacking +2s on each other. Gourav got smacked with a +14, as my memory serves.

Dinner on Duronto was much better than expected, and way better than anything I've ever had on the three-hour rides from Pune to Mumbai on the Deccan Queen. Although it was a little cramped on the seat (Note: No train in India is fluffy-friendly), we managed quite nicely. Chicken curry for dinner, with dal and rice. Snacks were a cheese sandwich and I don't remember what else. Plenty of food to be had, though. There really was no need to buy snacks, but we did anyways.

Our Uno games were joined by Dhamesh, Divya and Shweta's cousin. Although young, he had an attitude to match MY age. Really fun family, those guys. We played Uno and laughed and pretty much got introduced that night, and we all wrapped up and light's out at 11.

Now, while Gourav and I were having fun in our compartment (B8) with these two lovely ladies, Atique was stuck in B6 with, as he put it, "two uncles." And, as Gourav once told me, "Stick 5 Bengali people in a box, and they conversation with always wind up on politics." I can imagine what Atique had to sit through. And, mean as it may be, I did laugh about it.

Another similarity between Duronto and planes: Bathrooms are way too tiny. At least, I felt so, but then again, I don't think I should be used as the standard for such things. At the end of each carriage of the train are two bathrooms (4 per carriage, therefore). One Indian, one Western. Note to self: measure the chain on the water mug BEFORE doing your business T.T

During the downtimes on the train (I.E. Bored out of my skull), I was lucky enough that both Val and Usagi-san decided to talk to me, so I was always texting them. Gourav was also (I believe) texting his girl, and Atique was... I dunno, doing whatever has was doing while stuck with two uncles.

We met Gourav's friend, Rohit, on the train as well. Sat and chatted with him for a bit, but he didn't hang out in our compartment. Mostly Gourav was going over to his. Cool guy, and it didn't take him long to figure out which one of us was the crazy one (Hint: it wasn't me... I don't know how, but it wasn't me.)

My last complaint about Duronto: The beds. Also not their fault, though. I don't the train was designed to accommodate fluffy people. But I did manage to get a good's night sleep.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Everyone has a classification. Male parent, Father. Female parent, Mother. And from there it continues. Brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, friends, enemies, lovers, strangers… Everyone has a neat little box that they fit in, and somewhat conform to.

And then there’s her.

She’s the exception to the rule. She takes my classification and laughs at it, jumping from box to box fast enough to make even a kangaroo stop and go “What the hell was that?” She’s my best friend, the girl I’m in love with, sometimes she’s almost like my little sister, and sometimes she mothers me. Sometimes I can’t stand the thought of her. Other times, I pine for the sound of her voice, rain on wilted grass.

Sarcasm is what started it all. Or more like my lack of understanding of sarcasm. Something she said that I didn’t pick up on, and thus it began. Before I knew it, we were pouring our hearts out to each other, complaining and consoling and laughing and encouraging… Sometimes I was afraid she’d move to a different world, but she never did it. And whenever I heard back from her, I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding. Other times, I thought all I could see was black, but then her light shone in and brought me back to some level of sanity. Even when I thought everything was lost.

What do I call this person, this woman who walked into my life and proceeded to break all my rules? This crazy lady who keeps me on my toes? This angel who saved me? She’s not my friend, she’s much more. She’s not my lover. She’s neither sister nor mother… I have no label for her. I have no box that can contain her personality. And I’d prefer not to. She just… is. And that is the way it will always be, I think. And despite all I say… I like it that way. We’ll stay this way. We remain, en vife et en mort.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Return to Recurrence

So, it's been a while since I wrote anything >.< RL is kind of busy and fucked up and all that fun stuff... Anyways, new offering. This is another recurring dream, one that has cropped up recently.
Oddly enough, there is no end or beginning to this one. You'd think there would be, but in reality, there isn't. I am just... THERE. I'm not alone, oh no. I can't remember exactly who is there with me. I know that the person is a male, and that I know him very well. But, for the life of me, I don't remember his name or face. And he is leading me, once again. Not trhough the odd, "Traverse-town" wannabe place, but this time it seemed like a house. One, single structure. But it seems burned out, like A massive angry fire had eaten it like a starved man at a buffet, even gnawing at the bones and sucking out the marrow. The place is gutted, black and burned. But still, it is enclosed. I don't know where the light comes from. Again, it is just... THERE.

It isn't just the two of us, either. There is some... thing... else there with us. Not part of our group, no. But it is there, in the building. I'm not sure if it was us that follows it, or it that follows us. Or maybe neither? I don't know. We go round and round the house. This... creature, this aberration, abomination... It scares the living hell out of me. It isn't scary-looking. Well, perhaps not extremely. You see, I only see it from the back... And it has a face looking at me. On the back of it's head. A face with a nose, constantly sniffing, and a mouth, permanently twisted into a sadistic grin. Somewhere between pain and pleasure, it strikes me as. And the eyes... are missing. Yes, missing. This is the back of the creature's head. And what really creeps me out, is that it's a mask. This moving, living face is tied onto the back of the creature's head. Maybe I watch too many horror/thriller movies, but I can swear that it's barbed wire that holds the mask to this creature's head. The body is pale grey, as if to blend in with the ashen environment, like a proper hunter. But the charred black of everything only makes it stand out even more. It walks like a monster from Silent Hill, staggering in erratic, jerking steps, twitching and tweaking. It never looks back, only sniffs the air and staggers onward. And my unknown-yet-known companion and I, we follow after it.

There seems to be some sort of game going on. There is a key. A little, flat, silver key. With a red tag. In all the bleakness, the dark and burnt hell of the building, the flashy color seems to stand out with a cocky flare, as if daring the darkness to mess with it. And it seems that my companion is tasked to pick up the key, put it somewhere else, and leave. And then, ahead of us, it appears again, as if the creature doubled back, picked it up, and put it ahead of us. Except it doesn't. Somehow, the key makes it's own way there. And we keep moving it, as if trying to keep it away from the monster. Which makes no sense, since it's ahead of us. Our lives depend on not being caught, though. This much I know. If we are caught, we are dead. Simple as that. And to not be caught, silence is paramount. As long as it doesn't hear us, we're fine. That is what I know, so I repeat to myself, "Don't make a sound, Don't make a sound..."

I don't know how many rounds we make of the building. Each circuit seems different. No room looks the same as one I've been through before, yet somehow, I know when we've started our "lap" again. Round and round, chasing each other. Until finally, it seems the game is at it's end. We finally put the key down in the last place, and I think, "Damn, took long enough." And then, my companion does the unthinkable.

He flicks the key with his finger.

The sound is louder than I ever expected. The monster immediately turns and bounds toward us, on all fours, like some demonic beast. My "companion" disappears rather well. I, however, do not have that much luck. A scramble towards the closest hiding place: The underside of a rather rickety bed. I don't even get a chance to crawl under, though, before I spin around, my back against the bed, sitting in the dirt and charred remains on the floor. It's in here. I try to hold my breath and not move at all. Silence and stillness, I think to myself. That will save me.

The thing walks around the edge of the bed, still on all fours, and looks me right in the face. Well, "looks" might be the wrong word, as it has no eyes even in the front. No features at all, except the band of barbed wire across the area a nose would be. The wire bites into the creatures flesh, red dripping down it's face in a sick version of running mascara. But it's head is pointed right in my direction. It twitches it's way over to me, crawling right up until it's face is mere centimeters from mine. I can smell it, this putrid, rotten stench of the beast that makes me gag. I do my best to not make a sound, and for a moment, it works. The thing backs away from me and I'm left alone, a shivering wreck, thoroughly scared out of my wits.

And then it bounds right on top of me with a screech that would shame a banshee. That impact is what wakes me. No weird after-effects this time, no odd Inception-like "dream within a dream". I wake up to the darkness.