112723at the palo alto hills country club, I eat pâté with a sour moue. wearing a ₹49000 dress from ritu kumar with baby bangs I cut in my dimly lit bathroom, I squint at the voluptuous, white-linen spread. im inclined to not enjoy this kind of thing, but also I must admit that I am there. or perhaps I am inclined to enjoy it, but disinclined to admit it. i glance outside the floor-to-ceiling windows at the lapping pool, sanguine. I daydream about how it would be more my speed to sneak off and fuck the pool boy, or something. then I cringe at how trite it is to be self-hatingly rich. I should renounce this, I think, and run off to fight somewhere like the DRC. every conversation I strike up ends in failure: a boy I grew up with tells me in the line for the bar that he writes push notifications for uber, someone's boyfriend has mild qualms about working for Facebook but at least he just makes little animations that congratulate you when you cross-post a reel and that's not so bad is it. the most interesting conversations are with a man who works in IT at Unity and a former product designer who hasn't worked in 6 months. I practically exclaim, wide-eyed, when an aunty tells me she has been practicing Madhubani folk art after saying her son builds DAW plug-ins. the conversation ends quickly because I am involved in a reluctant group photo. sometimes I feel like I am in a skit, or everyone is making fun of me. they all congratulate my choppy baby bangs, and I scowl with a misplaced appreciation, and a little bit of shame.
112423It’s lonely in this empty house, and my tummy is full of thanksgiving salad. Thanksgave salad? I sleep next to my mom in her king bed, where my dad used to sleep alone. I sleep next to my mom because since my grandma died, my room feels like a remote island, the furthest room in the house. I used to sleep listening to her breathe in the next room. I used to fall asleep to her Hindi sitcoms playing loudly in the night. She would be sitting, round and dark, a glowing silhouette backlit by the massive TV. I would watch her from the door.
Later, I listened to her oxygen machine hum. It kept me warm at night knowing she was there, although I worried that she might need me and I wouldn’t hear.
Now, when I go to my old room, the walls are painted white. All my decorations, like cut-out pop punk song lyrics and One Direction posters, have been thrown hastily into a box. The bedsheets are white, and it feels sterile, like the hospital room that Shinji always wakes up in after his Eva breaks.
I sleep in my dad’s mom’s bed because this house is too large and lonely, and everything has changed. Digital picture frames around the house show photos of my dad and grandma. I linger on them not because I like to reminisce but to force myself to consider the conditions of my life, like a pill I must swallow for my health.
I started referring, like Jason says, to this place as “my mom’s house.” When my grandma died, something shifted. I no longer feel so attached to this place. There are too many rooms and not enough people. Dadi used to say that she didn’t like it when I said this wasn’t my house, and that my home was in SF. She said: “why can’t that be your house, and this also be your house?” And I said OK. Now I realize that this felt like my house when she was here, sewing with glasses on when she felt happy during a bright morning, or feeding me canteloupe while I laid on her bed. Now there is a hole in my heart, and a hole in this house.
at Friendsgiving, half of the table is Stanford graduates. they have an empty, smug look to them, like their skin has been smoothed into a paste by industrial microdermabrasion. I anticipate not liking them, but when I begin talking to one after exhausting other opportunities, he tells me he grew up off the grid four hours north in humboldt county to hippie, activist parents who met fighting forest fires. now he is an environmental engineer and urbanist with a reasoned take on electric vehicles and their limited ability to fight climate change. he is extremely attractive and good-natured, and i enjoy speaking to him, resentfully.
my cousins are visiting from Dallas. one of them is 11, she says while we stand on a point Reyes bluff: "when I'm at home, I get lost in what im saying and I start walking around the kitchen island. I'm scared im going to get lost in what im saying here and walk backwards off the cliff."
yesterday, everyone bothered me. I think I slept too much (10 hours). i spent 15 minutes looking for parking at arsicault, because I felt too much cowardice to double park. once I walked there from my parking spot, I vied for the 10th spot in line with a skinny white boy in tight cycling shorts. he rode his bike up to the line and narrowly beat me, cheating. his parents joined him soon after, and his mom insisted on asking if there was anything with 'lemon cream' and kept misreading 'morning bun' as 'morning fun.' while i dissociated in line for the following 20 minutes, a skinny, mousy preteen with big teeth ran around with her little brother, loudly coughing for seemingly no reason. her mom or aunt or guardian yelled at her to stop being annoying as fuck.
I got in a weird convo about Gaza with members of my extended family on thanksgiving. it felt very classic. they annoyed me and I decided to do something about it. I'm going to get back into organizing.
111623I've been supplicated to worm more. what to write when my head is empty, when little four-pronged insectile molecules (as visioned by Loren King, scan forthcoming) rattle around my skull.
these days, I feel fried like an egg on the sidewalk in the hot sun. I can't come up with a metaphor less trite. fried like a potato, on the sidewalk in the sun. fried like a sidewalk in the sun.
I'm hustling, these days. I work in a small office in an old garage in Menlo Park converted into a start(ed-)up office. I sip a $8 pumpkin spice latte from bougietown coffee roasters next door. on the corner there is a Californian cuisine restaurant called Pine + Fort, Fir + Barrel, or something like that. this is where Jason works.
in my Lyft here from Stanford hospital, we passed a number of dhaba style taquerias with jovial Mexican folk chatting and snacking on tacos in the parking lot. me and my Lyft driver, Tarun, exchanged not more than two words. "does he not like me," I wondered, as we passed an old railroad littered with trash.
what's the thesis of these few weeks, these couple months? change, and hustling. change is in the air. Hardik is moving to india. Ryan and Jason are no longer living together. now, I have a dog.
110623when im not posting cringe on public, I am starting a new job at the alliance for California traditional arts. I suspect I will learn a lot about diverse folk traditions and California history, and also be paid for it. I am looking forward to it.
I haven't ground in a long time, and I am excited to participate in hustle culture again. I worked on monday today for the first time in a year and a half. for now my schedule is 45 hours a week, plus DJing. perhaps hustling keeps your mind active, your senses piqued.
inspired by chris's scrawlings,
I intend to include some of the many things I am learning here. pls read if you find interesting!
Jason has basically moved in. I laugh at how unprepared I was for this. a lesson that you can never predict the future, or be prepared for it, no matter how hard you try or what you think you want...best to just go with the flow? and do what feels right in the moment. charese says to not be so outcome-driven, and focus on living by my values: creativity, curiosity, community, and change.