I’ve just had one of the worst fortnights I’ve ever had and all things considered, I’m proud of myself for not flipping out. Aside from the usual complaints about work etc, life’s taken a dark turn lately. However, I am handling it and I know that this much stress would have chewed me up a few years ago so I suppose I’m growing up. Yay.
It started when I paid a visit to see my favorite stand up comedian Greg Giraldo. I’ve been a fan of his for a year or two. I saw he was doing a gig near me and so I thought it was my good fortune to be able to see his act in person. I drove to the show after work. I get there and watch the warm up acts. I’m just hankering for Giraldo to come onstage and rant. He is one of the most hilarious men on the planet. His act is funny because he is pointing out all these things that are f*cked up about the world today. Which could get depressing. He seemed a strung out and my friend and I both noticed that. It’s a fact that a huge number of comedians are depressed. Either way, although his show wasn’t a tour de force, it was damn good and I was really happy I went. After he was done, he walked over to the bar and I walked up to him and talked to him for two minutes about one of his jokes, which I have watched time and again and it makes me laugh every time. So that’s what I told him and he appreciated it. He was really a sincere and nice guy. It’s always nice to meet someone you admire and have them be cool. It gives me more faith in people. A good night.
The next day, I heard Greg Giraldo overdosed at a hotel room party down the street from where I saw him. He died a few days later. What are the odds of this sh*t happening? I called my friend who saw Giraldo too and we sat in stunned silence. Sadly, some people I know have recently ruined their lives with drug use and so it’s already a sore subject round our way. Greg Giraldo ODing in the same area had me thinking that Central Jersey is the f*ckin Bermuda Triangle of drugs. I’m just happy that I got out without being effected by any of that bullsh*t.
It had been raining for days. Pouring. I was driving when it finally came to a stop. I was relieved to be able to roll my windows down. I reached home and I was on the phone and so lost in conversation, I walked away without rolling up the passenger side window. I awoke the next day for work, got in the driver’s side. The cup holder was full of water. I looked to my right and the seat was SOAKED. SOAKED. Puddles. Now, I keep my camera in a hidden drawer underneath that seat. I opened it and to my horror the water had soaked through the seat and collected in the drawer thus drowning my DSLR Nikon camera in black car seat water. It’s not working anymore. I feel like I’ve lost a pet. Add to that, I had just purchased my first Ipod. Ever. And I had used it once. And that was in there too. It’s not working anymore. A bad morning. I know it’s materialistic but what can you do? Taking photos and listening to music are what relieve my stresses and losing those products left me stressed as hell without my usual stress-relievers…a goddamn catch-22 of a catastrophe.
Why was the universe conspiring against me? I felt like maybe I had f*cked someone over so I was getting some kind of cosmic justice instant karma thing. I couldn’t think of anything I had done. Actually, I had been a bit of a rude jerk the previous weekend. Maybe that was it.
I was in the city and I was buying a brownie. This dark brown brownie had a pathetic little miniature sign on it that said WalnutBrownie. It looked good, so I asked for a WalnutBrownie. I paid and she handed me a bag. I walk away and then open the bag to find some random-less-delicious looking brownie.
Lady, you don’t f*ck with my brownies.
I walked back, handed her the bag and told her that she gave me the wrong brownie. She said:
“You asked for a WalnutBrownie.”
‘Yes, I did.’
“This is it.”
‘No, this is.’ (pointing at dark brown brownie with tiny little sign on it obviously reading ‘WalnutBrownie’)
“Oh yeah, no, that sign’s wrong.”
‘ Oh I’m sorry, I wasn’t assuming your signs are wrong. THAT’s the one I want.’
(Looked at me like she wanted to curse me out. Didn’t have the cojones. Exchanged brownies.) I’m normally not a jerk but these aren’t normal times. Still, I didn’t do anything to deserve all this. Could it be that life was…unfair?
I asked my friend if perhaps I was doing something wrong and he replied “Yo, better start praying or something.” I really liked that answer.
I think I will. I wish I could remember to pray when things are going well but I only wind up praying when I have money on a game or I’m really sick or I’ve just been pulled over by a cop.
Now, the torrential rains and Greg Giraldo were bad but nothing compared to what happened next.
I don’t have a lot of family. I don’t have too many relatives that I know. 99% of my family lives in India. I get to see my folks and Sis and Granny and Niri Uncle quite a bit when I visit home but I haven’t met a new relative in decades. Then, two years ago, I met my maussa and maussi (uncle and aunt from my mom’s side)when they visited the states. I had not met them since I was two years old. They were the most awesome couple I’ve met in my life. I took a trip to DC with them and it was so much fun. They lived to travel the world together and they saw an awful lot of it. They were both doctors in Delhi and had done well for themselves while making a concerted effort to not work too hard, thus enjoying a great family life. I loved them instantly. They were the only relatives I had from India who completely encouraged me to go to Korea. When I was in Korea, I visited Delhi and they took me to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. It was one of the best days of my life. My maussa (Rakesh Uncle) was amazing. He was a Delhi-ite through and through and a complete gentleman, a wonderful host, a man who spoke his mind on everything. No filter. He was one of those rare men that just seemed to do everything right. At the Taj, they tried charging me the foreigner fee to enter and he objected and started yelling even before I could! It was the best. He and Anshu Auntie treated everyone they met like long-lost friends. I thought hard about cancelling going home to Bangalore and continuing on to Jaipur with them even though I knew that was impossible.
Last week, he was at home and he felt a little sick. A few days later he suddenly fainted and went into a coma. (I feel like these words on a computer are simply incapable of capturing how huge a tragedy this was) On Monday, he passed away. Meningitis. It’s one of the biggest tragedies I’ve ever seen. He was healthy. He was wise. He was content. He was the salt of the earth. He lived life as it’s meant to be lived. He devoted his life to his family and to being the best he could be.
Sad as I am to lose him, sad as I am for his family, I’m inspired by his memory and so so happy I met him. I pray I’ll be half the man he was.