Presenting The Everyday Recluse series

I am excited to start this new series of posts. Here, I will be posting completely random shit. Shit that I, as a successful full-on recluse, do to keep myself going. Now, some of the stuff I say here might not be, you know(how do I make this less disgusting?), ‘socially acceptable’. So(as a great scientist once said) hold on to your butts.

I was walking back from work today when I overheard a random dude speaking to (what looked like) his colleagues on the sidewalk. He was making a speech and the only part I heard was,”…It makes perfect sense. Especially because we have the majority market share…”. For some reason I felt a sudden urge to go upto him and yell, “are you sure about that?”.

Now, this is corporate India we’re talking about. If some random guy approaches you in the middle of the road and questions your accountability, you don’t just question back, you roll with it. So he started laying down statistics and company policies while the colleagues had a good laugh. Made my day.

In other random news, (this is for the Indian folk) did you know Bajaj sells auto rickshaws in Egypt? Bet you didn’t know that. Bet you didn’t want to know that. Bet you’re a little pissed off right now. But is this post the only reason for your discomfort? Or did something bad happen to you today? Maybe at work? Think about it.

Now, I don’t have an issue with people commenting on this post(trust me, none does), but if your comment mentions anything remotely similar to ‘erectile dysfunction’ or ‘hair donation’ or some shit like that, I swear to god man. I will find you. The next time you walk up to your car and drop your keys, guess who will be standing right behind you when you get back up?

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How real is real?

I was talking to my grandma the other day when I got an email saying my booking for a one-on-one ‘intimate’ experience has been confirmed. So I took a moment and thought to myself, “it doesn’t get much worse than this. On second thought, at least its not a mail from work”. So my natural reaction was to hit the spam button before reading it just like how I deal with all the other problems in my life. But it also had an attachment with a name that I usually use as my username. This creeped me out a little. So I opened the mail. It said, with my ticket, I would be able to watch a concert on my phone, live, in VR. I confirmed it was spam but it got me thinking. How real is real? How much ‘immersiveness’ do we really need to be able to say, “wow! that really felt like real life”? I mean, TV is getting real, movies are getting real, reality TV is…wait that piece of shit is still garbage. People like it when actors show a little humour even during the sad scenes. This, I think is a step closer to reality. Same goes with virtual reality. A ‘true’ virtual reality experience however, would take a few more years of development. There is however, a problem with this whole thing. This tech is tailored to satisfy the average customer and will keep on adapting with that motive. I am not saying that all immersive tech is evolving this way. I am only talking about those used in the entertainment industry. Let me explain.

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There was a study done in the field of psycho-acoustics where people were made to listen to recorded sounds of a forest they hadn’t been to. The test was conducted in a controlled environment using high quality speakers. The aim of the experiment was to identify the type of surround-sound tech that people liked the most. So the sounds were played back a number of times, each time using different surround sound technologies. They were also made to listen to a version where the played back audio was perceived to be closest to the actual environment (with minimum special effects). It was found that people preferred the slightly exaggerated version over the close-to-original version. This is what I am slightly concerned about. Despite having the tech capable of replicating the actual experience, we still prefer to go for the artificially modified versions of it. Does this imply that you need to make the reality ‘realer’ to make it feel real? Or do people prefer distorted realities over actual ones? I can imagine a future(not that far from now) where people would be exposed to these ‘fake’ realities even before experiencing the real thing. For example, an AR experience of a jungle where you can go on a trek, run around, scare birds, eat a snake, you know, all that good stuff.  I am interested to know how the future generation would react when they experience the real thing for the first time in real life. Pretty sure there will be quite a lot of disappointment because they couldn’t do it while sitting on their couch, eating leftover pizza(like me).

 

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Not quite, but almost there

 

People at the cinema

I cannot explain in words my excitement at finding out that form now on, I would be getting paid to watch movies and review cinemas (dream didn’t last long). But nonetheless, it was a glorious few weeks. I saw everything. I mean everything. From tiny, luxurious, 40-seater, rich-people-type cinemas to gigantic, ‘where the fuck is the exit?’-type 600-seaters. I had specific reasons to go visit so many cinemas but that’s all technical stuff. What interested me was the type of people who came to the theatre. Here are the types: 

  1. Average movie goer with popcorn and drink in hand. Sole purpose of being there: Enjoy the ‘experience’ as opposed to only the movie. This includes the mall, the air-conditioning, the seats, the sound, the movie. That’s about it.
  2. Perfectionist: Probably has the priciest food in hand. Takes into consideration: Ride to the theatre, reception, easiness to get into the theatre, 3D glasses with sharp edges is a big no no, air-conditioning, quality of projection, door guy’s relationship with his mother, immersiveness of the audio, positioning of the seats (will fight for hand-rest area. looks at you like ‘I own this place’), will carefully ration the drink so that it only finishes at the end of the movie(will make all kinds of annoying straw-related-noises), will give a standing ovation if and only if the movie deserves it, will ask people to shut up without any hesitation, you get the idea.
  3. I’m here with my girlfriend, I am so happy type person: The most annoying kind. Won’t shut the fuck up, wont stop lighting up the whole theatre with their damn phones, within two hours, would have managed to go outside and come back in 10 times. I don’t know how that’s possible but dudes do it. 
  4. The movie enthusiast: Will shut the fuck up, will thoroughly enjoy the movie, slightest distractions(like the type 3 douche above) will throw them off track, will not buy any food from the theatre, will clap the fuck out if the movie is good enough, will tear up, I repeat, will tear up, usually turns up late.
  5. Trouble maker: on the lookout for trouble, will spill drinks and food, will try his best shot at your girl, will lean back as much as his spine goes, will put feet up, will offer support to type 2 people in shutting down talkative folks, will take a few moments to give way to others to pass through, will let out loud sighs, sounds of anger disgust and laughter, usually turns up drunk. Funny thing is, dude will tear up during the sad scenes but will hide it and yell out curse words.
  6. Happy, single old folk: will offer help to anyone in need, will kindly ask you to look after their belongings while they use the restroom, will thoroughly enjoy the movie, will make a phone call as soon as the movie ends. The call may be to the uber driver, maybe a grandchild, maybe a dead husband.
  7. Lovers: Sole purpose: make out, very quiet, in and out like mice. Type 5 usually has an eye on this couple.
  8. The eaters: Its like they rented out a space just to eat. And wow! do they eat like kings! I’m talkin large popcorn, giant Pepsi, nachos, depression, and spring rolls.

 

Sleep deprivation

I had a vision today. I passed out at a KFC only to be woken up by the KFC guy. I mean the man himself. The grey haired dude with the mustache who appears on the logo. He came up to me and said, “son, the key to a successful, stable relationship is stem cell research. I knew I wouldn’t understand it right away. So I went to the toilet to contemplate. I came back refreshed, ready to shoot the right question. I asked, “Oh great chicken-man, I know not what your angle is. I beg you to dum it down for me”. Suddenly he froze. His face went pale. He slowly pointed at the table next to me and said, “it’s too late. There is no hope now”. His fingers were shaking.
It gets really weird after that. I looked over to the table he was pointing at and saw my boss eating a burger. But instead of a patty, the burger had ‘money’ in between the buns? But it was all demonitised notes? Long story short, I finally saw myself standing on top of a table, weilding a machete and on the machete was ‘greed’ written in blood.
Kids, this is what sleep deprivation will do to you. Remember to get your full 8 hours or you’ll end up like me. PS: This whole thing was a joke. Have a sense of humour for God’s sake.

King

I’ve never made friends at a movie theatre. People in the audience always seem like like-minded people but you know…they could be on drugs(kids, this is what happens when your mind is messed up). So I’ve never interacted with them. I wanted to change that today. So I went to watch Black Panther with three main objectives in  mind.

  1. Enjoy the hell outta of the movie
  2. Join a movie-gang
  3. Don’t get killed

Pretty easy right? Well, as soon as the movie started, my head decided to fix itself, looking only in the direction of the screen and my mind decided to leave my brain and immerse itself in Wakanda. From time to time I could hear conflicts in my head:

Voice of reason: You are literally surrounded by people like you. It is the best chance to make friends.

Me: I am here to see the King of Wakanda. Shut the fuck up.

I am a weirdo. I like the strangest things about movies. For example, my favourite scenes from the movie were(spoilers ahead. You deserve it if you still haven’t watched the movie):

  1. The very beginning of the movie explaining the story of Wakanda – Interestingly, the voice of the villain is the focus during the introduction. Large amounts of information explained visually in a short amount of time. I’m a big fan of that!
  2. Kid(villain) playing basketball sees the Wakandan aircraft leave – There are several reasons why I like this scene. First of all, it is the ambiguity of the situation. The kid gets a glimpse of the mysterious unknown. The scene is so beautifully crafted that it creates an impact in your mind.
  3. King’s aircraft fly over the grasslands(Wakanda reveal) – I have two words to express my feelings during this sequence- Holy shit. That’s what I call an ‘immersive’ experience. This is my kind of movie making.
  4. The music. This is what I liked about the movie the most. There is no music but there definitely is! Let me explain. During scenes like the one I mentioned above  there are mainly just sounds. No music. Just sounds of a few instruments and it is amazing. Normally one would expect super-orchestral, heart thumping music during such sequences but the movie maker chose to make it different and wow! did he succeed! I felt the same vibe in Blade Runner 2049.

 

Ray of light

As a social recluse, I am a big fan of peace and quiet. This is one of the main reasons why I like my job. It involves spending quite a lot of time in special noise-free environments known as anechoic chambers. The best thing about working in such environments is that it encourages you to think about life’s most important existential questions like will there ever be a movie as good as Back to the future? or what’s the point of shaving everyday? or why don’t I have any friends? As you can see, my imagination is one of a kind. In order to keep it fresh, I like to visit places that stimulate and relax the brain at the same time.

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One such place is a planetarium. I think everyone needs to visit a planetarium at least once in their lifetime. It has the power to inspire, to awe, and most important of all, to give you an understanding of your place in the universe. I go to my nearby planetarium whenever I feel down and in need of inspiration. When the lights go down and the stars come out my heart starts to race. I am so fascinated  by the unknown that I cannot explain the level of excitement I experience every time I visit the planetarium. It is my escape, my safe place, my one ray of light, my one ray of life.