*holds up spork*

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Sometimes I wonder whether I should release my unreleased work, and then I take a look at them, and it strikes me like the blow of a late February pollen induced sneeze, that the reason it’s unreleased is because it’s tripe. Most of what I write never sees another pair of eyes, which is a good way to do things because it means that only your best work is critiqued, and that gives you practice.

It’s easy to be a writer because you can always choose what you portray. You can build your own characters from your own chosen inventory of words and shape them into whatever you wish; be it an arsenal of sharp cutting insults, an autumn flowerbed of seeping despair or the blooming smile on the lip of a West African girl. You don’t find that luxury in most professions, or even in everyday life, which can be spontaneous and thrilling.

I’m not entirely fond of interactions with people, but I get through it with the hope that I encounter something new; a physical sensation, a new way to rhyme two words or even some insight into my own life through their shared experiences. But most of the time it’s not like a one on one interview with Stephen Fry. Most of the time life is dull and monotonous, like a Chemistry lecture rather than a Radiohead song. Most people are boring, and the few that aren’t boring aren’t always willing to share their interesting experiences with you. That sudden burst of laughter from a group of two girls and three boys in the corridor which suddenly captures the attention of its inmates for a fleeting moment, where you can feel that one of them isn’t entirely comfortable with the joke, and one of them didn’t understand it but laughed anyway. That’s what you notice as an observer, which I am not, because I can barely see and barely hear, and even when I can my mind is usually elsewhere, which is my main reason for concern when having to make conversation.

It’s not a lack of topics to talk about that hinders me when I have to talk with people, no. I have many things to talk about. I once bought a bottle of water from Cardiff Central for 80p and the lady offered me a free copy of the Telegraph with it. I declined, saying “No thanks, I think we have that.” We didn’t have that day’s Telegraph, but I am not entirely fond of it and even if I was, I’d be wary of carrying around a newspaper all day when travelling through Wales. Another time my then six year old sister got lost in Singapore Zoo, and I found her standing exactly where we left her, under a sort of canopy where there were chairs for old people to sit and rest. Once, I was in a taxi late at night, about 11PM somewhere in Bandra, by myself. When the taxi stopped at a red light a man with a bandage covering half his face came up to the car and tried to ask me for money, with what I thought was a very well rehearsed speech about how he needed money for medicines to buy from Sion Hospital. Immediately, a few things ran through my mind to assess this situation. First, if a man were to be ill and not have any money, he’d look towards his relative for help, and then his friends, and then perhaps his employer, and lastly, if his luck had totally run out and he happened to have none of those contexts of aid, he could consult one of the myriad medical aid foundations in the city. We as humans have an innate critical attitude towards begging – it’s one of the last things we’d want to do. Even if we did give this man the benefit of doubt, he’s still on the streets at eleven o’ clock at night in the middle of a busy intersection in Bandra. Oh, and his hospital is supposedly in Sion, seven kilometres away. That was an interesting experience.

But they’re all worthless to me as conversation fodder. I don’t go to parties and I don’t keep up with who is dating whom. I don’t watch the latest popular shows on TV, and I don’t keep up with the latest “musical talent” that visits this city once every three months for a “world tour” playing from their laptop. Except Steve Aoki, because come on, he invented Japan. I can’t go up to a girl I want to spend the next five minutes talking with and tell her to watch the Mighty Boosh and listen to Tame Impala, or ask her if she’s been to Trinidad. I can’t go up and talk about Paul McCartney’s jokes or transparent jellyfish or whatever – and I hate to use this word – ‘random’ things that I find interesting.

Except I totally can. I made a conscious decision to stop caring a while back and it’s fared me well. I still find myself quiet and *shudder* introverted, but atleast I’ve found a niche that I can easily define myself with. So if you find me going on about something that most people normally wouldn’t use as banter food, like how great the Pentium 4 processors were, or the time an elephant was hanged, or how dolphins are really narwhals in disguise, then I urge you to bear with me, before we all grow old.

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Upamanyu Acharya is a writer who doesn't write. Sometimes he's an artist, musician, photographer, physicist or lazy student. His hobbies include being vague, bending rules, time-travel, and embellishment of words. This is his personal blog where he writes on topics ranging from leadership skills to the consistency of jam.

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