So long, and thanks for all the beans

Gotcha.

No, it's not goodbye yet. The Loony Bean has been inactive for so long I'm sure a lot of you have forgotten what it even is. You guys deserve better.

And better is exactly what you're going to get! Ladies and gentlemen, introducing my new blog, The Loonicon!

A brand new blog. And yes, hopefully, I'll be able to update it every day.

The Loony Bean will return, I just don't have a concrete timeframe in mind :P

Halos for sale!

THE PEARLY GATES: Heavenly Enterprises (Stock symbol: GAWD), the only known business concern headed by a superhuman entity, has unveiled a new line of celestial fashion accessories aimed at recruiting new believers. The highlight of the release is the halo, a floating disc of radiant light designed to be worn over the head, previously available only to shareholders, posthumously.



Tentatively priced at $99.95, this marvel of divine engineering is surprisingly inexpensive. The halo uses a novel suspension technique to hold it in place over a customer's head. A microchip embedded in the device constantly recalculates the co-ordinates of the wearer's skull and uses a motor to adjust the exact position of the halo accordingly.

Heavenly Enterprises has, however, refused to reveal the source of the light within the halo, labelling it a trade secret. It did admit that the device requires neither external power nor batteries and would remain luminous for 'all eternity'. The halo also comes with an intelligent illumination adjustor that automatically adapts to the surroundings, turning the brightness down to minimum if it senses people trying to sleep.

St. Peter, the Managing Director of H.E. stated that the company hoped to attract new followers with its latest release. He spoke to the Loony Bean:

"People don't swallow that turn-the-other-cheek nonsense any more. What they really want is something they can touch, feel and show off. They need something that makes them feel important. Sure, teaching folk about love and flavourless salt worked - like a thousand years ago. People have access to the internet now, and they're up to their eyebrows in philosophy.

"We used to be the intellectuals a millennium ago. These days, [if you] try to tell people about Creation, they'll throw string theory and quantum mechanics at you. No, our unofficial company policy is now 'give 'em goodies to shut 'em up' "



The halo is available in five glorious colours: Original Orange, Celestial Cyan, Graceful Green, Valorous Violet and of course, Popular Pink. Heavenly Enterprises is also planning to offer downloadable designer themes once the market really explodes. Other products in the accessory line expected to be popular include attachable angel wings and gold-plated harps. H.E. has not revealed whether the wings will actually grant the wearer the power of flight or whether they're merely decorational.



Heavenly Enterprises has come under fire from the All Saints' Union for offering what the latter called 'symbols of morality and divinity' for sale. The union staged an almost ridiculously non-violent protest outside the Pearly Gates earlier today.

"We had to sacrifice our lives and everything we held dear for the privilege of wearing one of these", said a spokesperson for the group, pointing at his own beaming halo. "Anyone can get one for a measly hundred dollars now. Have you ever gone hungry for a week so that the pigeons outside your home might have food? I didn't think so. That's the kind of selfless deed that Simon 'The Rock' Peter wouldn't understand."



With over one billion customers, Heavenly Enterprises is the world's largest distributor of wisdom and philiosophy. Founded over two thousand years ago, it had origins as humble as most of the world's leading corporations today - unable to afford an office, its ambitious entrepreneurs first set up headquarters in a carpenter's workshop. Though H.E. enjoyed a noteworthy customer base in its first thirty years, the breakthrough that elevated it to the big league came after a hostile takeover by a rival company based in Jerusalem. Its meteoric rise in popularity since then has often been compared to that of Google (which had an equally unimpressive beginning) in more recent years.

H.E. also seems to have run into legal trouble with the name of their product. Microsoft Corporation, makers of the immensely popular first-person shooter, Halo, has threatened to sue if H.E. launches its device under the same name. Several alternate labels have been suggested, 'Orbi-Glow' the most popular so far. Heavenly Enterprises cannot afford a lawsuit of this scale due to a complete non-availability of lawyers to defend their case.



Update:

A bean-lover has just ordered his very own Orbi-GlowTM. Observe how it has transformed the Village Idiot into a sanctified version of his misguided self, giving him a saintly and benign appearance.

Incidentally, you should also check out his other posts - they're insanely insightful, intensely intellectual and entirely entertaining :)




(Après-post: It's 2:19 am, and I'm absolutely exhausted. I'm afraid I'll only have time to blog once a week from now on. I can only hope you guys understand.

I'd like to thank Anamika from iThoughts for throwing me a 21st birthday bash despite having no more than a vague notion about when my birthday actually is :P

Oh, and Happy Independence Day, Indians! )

Death of an idea

Cracked orbs of purest white
    A makeshift mountain, their tomb
Stare up, lamenting their plight
    In a soundless wail of gloom.

Lost in a forgotten cave,
    A plotline burns in neglect.
Yet the embers from its grave
    Inspire the poet's respect.

"The authorities agree -
    The fittest merit survival.
Thus Darwinian decree
    Forbids your revival."

Regret is brushed aside,
    Misgivings turned to vapour.
With passion as my guide,
    I put my pen to paper.

A cynic's narrative
    Imposes reinvention,
Rendering imperative
    A break from convention.

Shall villainy be rewarded?
    To a credulous simpleton,
A painful fate awarded,
    That may not be undone?

A momentary flicker
    Of fresh fabrication
Evaporates quicker
    Than a poet's dedication.

Another sphere of defeat,
    A ball of potential curled,
Is tossed to its hilly retreat
    Remains of a godless world.


(Après-post: I know I haven't been very regular with posts or comments lately. I'm sorry, but deadlines have tightened their sinister grip on my throat to a level that makes it impossible to deny their existence like I usually do. But I have seen the error of my ways. Reform is imminent.)

Elections: Free, fair and fun.

NEW DELHI: In an effort to promote free and fair elections, the Supreme Court has just discarded the secret ballot system in favour of a much more intuitive process: the game of rock-paper-scissors. All future contests for a seat in Parliament shall now enjoy the transparency of the popular diversion.


The court's decision was made public on Sunday, when the Chief Justice spoke to a select group of reporters, the Loony Bean's political correspondent among them. When questioned about the rationale behind the move, he said:

"Elections in this country are rarely free and never fair. It's not the country's fault - it's the system. People can't be trusted to vote. Period. Most people vote at random anyway. Half of 'em don't even know who they're voting for.

"The average voter arrives at the polling booth, and thinks 'Well, I've got the ink on my finger anyway, let's have some fun now. What kind of a name is Jedediah Fariskiller? I'd rather have Prakash Goldsmith in office. At least he doesn't sound like a homicidal maniac. And I like his election symbol - the chainsaw.'

"So you see, all we're really doing is making their decision for them. The net impact cancels out and we get the exact same results anyway. It's much cheaper and it saves a hell of a lot of trouble. If we're looking for equality, then randomness is the way to go - and what simpler way to decide than rock-paper-scissors?"



For readers unfamiliar with the concept, rock-paper-scissors is a game of chance (and arguably, reflexes) played using hand-gestures. The Chief Justice claimed to have heard of the game from his grandson (who learnt it in pre-school) and was immediately enamoured by it. Speaking to the Loony Bean, he claimed that on losing seven games in a row, he had been struck by the unbiased nature of the contest. Authorities from the pre-school refrained from comment, though the judge's grandson was far from reticent on the rules of the game.

"Rocky beat scissors! If you get scissors, Rocky punches. And paper beat rocky! But don't mess with scissors! See? No? You're stoopid."

When quizzed about how the system would actually be implemented, another judge from the panel said, "We haven't worked out all the details yet, but the elections are likely to proceed in a knock-out fashion, so that anyone who loses a match can wait for another five years to compete. The individual matches may be best-of-three, though."


"This will mark the end of vote-bank politics. No more will the people of India be subject to empty promises. You can't be tricked if you can't vote. It's democracy at its finest."

The court ruling has sent shockwaves around the country. Several prominent politicians responded to the ruling by exhibiting their own personal hand-gestures, not all of them part of the original game specification. The public, however, has largely applauded the move as the time saved by not voting will allow them to speculate about more vital issues such as the connubial lives of their favourite Bollywood icons.

(Disclaimer: You know the drill. No offence, no responsibility... yada, yada, yada)

The Great Ride of China

BEIJING: The Chinese government has constructed the world's longest yet cheapest roller-coaster ride using the Great Wall as the underlying structure. Stretched out over more than 6,500 kilometres (or 4,000 miles), the Great Ride of China is expected to become a major tourist attraction in the near future.

The President of the People's Republic of China officially inaugurated the Ride on Monday in Beijing. In the press conference that followed, he cited the general lack of interest worldwide in China's cultural heritage as the primary reason for the move.


"People simply don't appreciate how much of a big deal the Great Wall really is. They don't get why it's one of the seven wonders of the world. Oh, they can gawk at the Taj Mahal all right and ramble on for hours about how it's a monument to love and so forth, but when they hear of the Great Wall, they're like, 'It's a wall. I have a wall around my house. So it's a really long wall. Pass the ketchup.'

"Well, that's going to change now. We expect tourism to soar once the world discovers the value for money that we offer. We have appointed trained guides on every coaster car to explain China's rich and diverse history in exquisite detail to tourists as they enjoy the ride of their lives. Who says education can't be fun?"

The Great Ride also promises to be an efficient and fast public transportation system. The Wall connects the eastern part of the country with the west, passing near the city of Beijing. The chief engineer in charge of the project said:

"The true genius of this venture lies in its cost-effectiveness. We incurred none of the pointless expenses that laying rails across the country would have involved. We didn't have to acquire land or turn millions of peasants homeless. The infrastructure was just lying there and it's been there for a thousand years. And like all things economical, it will proudly bear the tag 'Made in China'."


The inaugural ride was taken by a group of Buddhist monks who maintained that they had just been liberated from their vows of silence and been given a well-deserved break from the monastery. Unconfirmed reports state that following the ride, the same monks claimed to have attained nirvana and professed their newfound belief that the Buddha was a silver-tongued hypocrite of bovine descent.

The government has also announced plans to construct a themed amusement park to go with the Ride. The venture promises to provide lucrative opportunities to thousands of unemployed Chinese clowns and anyone willing to dress up as a Pokémon character in general.

But the Chinese Ministry of Tourism has even more plans in store for the refurbished Wall. Taking advantage of the fact that the Great Wall of China is the only artificial structure visible from the moon, the ministry wants to attract potential tourists from outer space. A representative of the ministry spoke to the Loony Bean:

"Have you seen the Earth from space? There's an austere, lifeless look about the place. It doesn't look like somewhere I'd want to land and have a beer with the locals if I were an extra-terrestrial on an inter-galactic quest. We need to reveal our fun side to the little green critters. And we have just the thing. Think neon signs, only on a planetary scale."


While the initial views on the Ride have been largely optimistic, only time will tell whether the project shall succeed in attaining its rather lofty goals. For though the Wall has survived more than a millennium of punishment from beyond Chinese borders, it remains to be tested against mortification from within.

(Après-post: I'm sorry if I've hurt Chinese or Buddhist sentiments in this post. You guys need to learn to laugh at yourselves. And yes, I know Pokémon isn't Chinese.

Credits: The inspiration for this post was an insightful discussion I had with my friend Shalini about how you could walk from one mountain to another along the Great Wall. She's planning to go to China later this year. Wish her all the best, folks :)

In case you're wondering about the pretty new badge, I earned it by revealing one of my darkest secrets in the PostSecrets project on this excellent blog. Not for the faint of heart. )

Caveman files patent for the Wheel

STOCKHOLM: A 50,000-year old caveman recently found embedded in ice has filed a patent application for the wheel. He claims that he invented the ubiquitous device fifty millennia ago while chasing a squirrel down a hill. When he was defrosted in early April of 2008, biologists around the world were stunned by the fact that the caveman was still breathing, let alone aware of his rights and willing to pursue legal recourse to defend them.


The obviously resourceful cave-dweller, christened 'Leslie' by the admiring research team assigned to him, astonished the world further by mastering the intricacies of speech in just over a year. His first words were reportedly 'Me go by Grok. Leslie gay'. However, the oldest living human being had another thunderbolt up his sleeve.


On Monday, the newly reborn troglodyte, in a press conference, demanded intellectual property rights for his supposed invention of the wheel. Grok stated that during his short trips outside the laboratory that had become his temporary lodging, he had noticed countless unauthorised uses of his invention. He professed himself deeply hurt by the experience. However, he declared, he was not hurt enough to forget and forgive. In a move that has left the world flabbergasted, Grok, with the help of a team of lawyers assigned by his lab, filed a patent application for the invention of 'the Whirling Hand-made Equipment for Elliptical Locomotion', or the WHEEL.

Meanwhile, policy-makers and businessmen have called the revelation outrageous and denied the possibility that Grok would ever be granted the patent.

When asked to make a statement, the CEO of General Motors said, "It's a farce worthy of those Area 51 morons. That's the last time I laughed as hard as this". Observers reported that the vein protruding from his left temple as he said this did indicate that he had been laughing rather explosively.

In an exclusive interview with the Loony Bean, our celebrity caveman asserted that he had made the future-altering discovery while in pursuit of a rodent of the genus Sciurus whom he labelled 'exceedingly pesky' down a hill at the age of 32. We quizzed him about the exact circumstances of the find. A transcript of the interview is included here:



Interviewer: Could you introduce yourself for our readers, please?

Grok: Me Grok. Me make wheel.

Interviewer: Mr. Grok, let's get straight to business. Your claim is nothing less than sensational. The wheel, as I'm sure you've been informed, has become an indispensable tool for the survival of mankind. Several would-be celebrities have already made similar attempts to patent the coveted invention. All of their claims have been discredited. What makes you think your application will be accepted?

Grok: Grok come from cave. Wheel come from cave.

Interviewer: A valid point, Mr. Grok, but how do you propose to convince the world of the veracity of your statements?

Grok: Grok speak logic. Grok beg judge. Then Grok get club. Work with mammoth, work with man.

Interviewer: Erm, yes. Could you tell us about your moment of inspiration?

Grok: Grok chase Chippa down big hill. Me not see bad tree-trunk in way. Grok step on trunk and rrroooollll (Draws a circle in the air). Grok no catch Chippa. Grok break bones, but Grok learn.

Interviewer: Remarkable. I'm afraid we're rather pressed for screen space. Mr. Grok, would you care to send our readers a message?

Grok: Keep read Loony-bee. It have good shit.

Interviewer: Thank you, Mr Grok. We at the Loony Bean wish you success in your search for scientific justice.

The potential ramifications of Grok's application, if accepted, may well plunge the world into yet another economic crisis. There is hardly an industry today that does not use the wheel in some form or another, and if the patent is accepted, they'd all owe the caveman royalties. Grok, on the other hand, is all-set to lead a highly comfortable second life.

(Disclaimer: Any actual laws related to this have been happily disregarded in this post. I don't know the first thing about patent law, and I don't intend to learn :P)

Evolution of a post

(Disclaimer: The Loony Bean shall in no way be held responsible for any damage to internal or external organs, regurgitation, bleeding or apoplexy caused by the perusal of this post. Incompetence in poetry is not a punishable offence and as such, may not be used to bring criminal charges against the poet. Please contact my lawyer for further details.)


"He blogs, therefore he is"
    - A philosopher's remark
Posted in ignorant bliss
    Provokes a ponderous spark.

Yesterday's anxiety
    Born of matters mundane,
Is in a moment of clarity,
    Rendered strikingly inane.

"Think", I implore the neurons
    "How might one save the day?
Deliver a swift response.
    Annihilate delay!"

Years they seem, the minutes.
    Another hopeless cause?
Naught crosses the limits...
    A lightbulb ends the pause

"Morality one must banish.
    It guards the path to success.
Knowledge pure must vanish -
    A twisted plan, I profess

"But crucial is the gain.
    Under these lines of rhyme,
Disguise a vacant brain.
    Surely a scheme sublime?"

Words that bear no essence
    Ever the blogger's aid,
Rhyme in joyful pretence,
    Effecting a masquerade

My, it's almost done...
    A task hardly uphill,
I post with sorrows none.
    Now the beans must spill!


Smiley Suicidal


To:

Whoever's in charge
Yahoo! Inc.
Sunnyvale, California

6th July, 2009



Dear Whoever,

I would like to bring to your notice a certain issue (of no minor importance) concerning your Messenger instant messaging application, that has plagued me for several days now.

The smiley on the Yahoo! logo is simply too happy. In fact, as I will demonstrate shortly, it is happy to the point of being suicidal. I first noticed this abnormality a week ago while signing into my account. Something about the Messenger window struck me as odd. On further investigation, I realised that the smiley in question had its mouth too far wide open. It is impossible for a human face to assume the overjoyed expression displayed by this yellow monster.



However, I had to be sure my instincts were right before I reached a conclusion. I conducted a study therefore, regarding how wide a human being may open his/her mouth without lasting damage to his/her jawbones. The results were shocking. My study uses the ratio of the height of the upper portion of the head (from the mouth upwards) to that of the fully open mouth as a measure to compare any two faces.

As the image above shows clearly, the fully open mouth of the Yahoo! smiley is actually wider than its upper head. Out of my human test subjects, not one managed to replicate this feat.



As you can see, the subjects I chose differed in gender, background, ethnicity and even historical era.



Intrigued by the potential consequences of my find, I spoke to Dr. Fonee Skimask of Make Faces, Not War (a non-profit organisation founded with the laudable objective of finding facial expressions that were previously unknown to man). Dr. Skimask confirmed my suspicions. The expression on the Yahoo! smiley's face, if worn by a human, would crack his/her skull, leading to a nearly spontaneous death.

Considering the popularity of Yahoo! Messenger and the average IQ of its users, it is not inconceivable that a user may attempt to copy the murderous smiley's expression, fracturing his/her skull in the process. I would strongly recommend that a warning message be displayed on the Yahoo! sign-in window, as illustrated.



I am confident that Yahoo! Inc. shall rectify the situation as soon as possible, perhaps restricting the smiley's obvious joy to reasonable limits. However, until you do, I shall not be available on Yahoo! - I find that I cannot look at your logo without a sense of foreboding any more...

Sincerely,
A concerned citizen of the Loony Bean

(All right, I admit it - I didn't actually send this letter. But I just might - if I get any more bored :| )

A game of kings and bored undergrads

The tension in the air is palpable. In a show of royal charity, or perhaps a patience alien to us commons, the queen waits, her alert gaze focused on her adversary. Her finely chiselled features appear unperturbed, yet the trained observer might notice a tiny wrinkle on her forehead, the only outward sign that the battle of wits she is now engaged in will decide the fate of a kingdom.

Judging from the strain visible on his normally serene face, her foe is equally absorbed in his thoughts. Years of strategic military experience fail him now as he searches desperately for a way to remain unconquered. His choices are limited, he realises. They boil down to two avenues - both of escape. The possibility of resistance has long since disappeared from his mind. If he can evade capture for long enough, he may yet survive to fight again.

In a higher dimension, two bespectacled youths, considerably less royal in appearance, survey the situation from a different angle. The tension is still perceptible, but it seems to have a different source here - the overpowering tedium of the endgame.

"Would you move the damn piece already?", grumbles one of them, his fingers clutching the ever-present guitar, seeming as though they'd like to strangle the opponent.

"I'm thinking. There's a way out of this. I can feel it", I answer, staring at the chess-board without enthusiasm.

"You've got all of two possible moves. It's checkmate either way, dude. Just give it up and we can all go do something fun"

I sigh. Logic has emerged victorious.

"I resign", I announce, causing a minor tremor as the chessmen are swept off the board unceremoniously and into the bag that serves as their temporary home.

It is at this moment that inspiration strikes - a way to make the game of chess accessible to those with active social lives. My idea brings scepticism at first, but after a few rapid-fire matches, we know that it's a winner - and thus, the game of 'Chooker' is born.


Chooker is a variant of chess that can be played with any normal chess-set (good luck if it's magnetic, though). If you're wondering about the name, 'Chooker' is 'Chess + Snooker', and I suppose that's it in a nutshell. It's played by flicking chess-pieces against each other using only your index finger and thumb. It's turn-based, just like chess and promises to use a minimum of your brain's capacity. We haven't codified the rules of the game yet, but here's the basic gist:

  1. You can choose any of your own pieces as a 'cue-piece' to flick or strike against your opponent's pieces.

  2. Any of the pieces that have fallen due to the impact of a player's strike (even the player's own pieces) must be removed from the board. These pieces are considered to have been captured. The only exception to this rule is the cue-piece, which need be removed only if the impact has thrown it outside the board. If the cue-piece has fallen inside the board, it may be placed upright again, on one of the squares that it has fallen in.

  3. White plays first.

  4. The game ends when all of a player's pieces (not just the king) have been struck off the board, and the other player is declared the winner.

  5. The points gained by the winner correspond to which of his pieces are still on the board at the end of the game. A pawn gets you 1 point, a bishop or knight gets you 3, a rook gets you 5, a queen is 7 and the king is worth 10 points. So if you have a pawn and a queen left at the end of the game, you get a total of 8 points.

  6. In the case of a tie (that is, if the last strike removes all of the pieces from the board), then a 'chook-out', similar to a penalty shoot-out, is used to decide the winner. The chook-out works like this: Each player places a pawn on his side of the board, and the other player tries to strike the other pawn off using his. The best of five tries is taken, after which the game goes to 'sudden death' mode.


Chooker turned out to be a grand success in the weeks that followed. We organised an all-hostel tournament complete with league matches and a knockout round - the entire tourney lasted around an hour. Well, I won the inaugural Chooker Hostel Cup, but I put it down to luck - not to mention an abundance of free time on my hands :P

(Credits: Incidentally, the 'other' player is Ashwin Aryan, my friend at college - a bad-ass guitarist and vocalist, and co-inventor of Chooker)

A song for the songmaker - My tribute to Michael Jackson

(This song is to be sung to the tune of Thriller, a 1982 album by Michael Jackson that remains the world's best selling record of all time.)

See the original lyrics | Watch a video of Thriller on YouTube



It's close to lunchtime and there's an eerie feelin' in my heart
Over the music, I hear a beep that almost makes me dart
Outside to gain insight into the news report that made it
I stop to stare, as the photo looks me right between the eyes
I'm paralysed...

'Cause he's a thriller, that ain't just praise
But no one could relieve him from the pain that filled his days
That entertainer, a true delight
I'm fighting for my breath watching his killer Thriller tonight!

The King of Pop
I see the moonwalk and realise those feet will never move
I feel a cold touch: reality that whispers Adieu
I close my eyes and wish that this was just another nightmare
But all the while I know that there's so little I can do
He's gone too far...


Weep for his music, fascinating moves
There ain't another artist who can bring back all we lose
That show-stealer, the ghost who danced
You're rising through the ashes to that shining haven above!


Admirers, they're calling out as they hear of his gloomy fate
There's no escaping the truth of his passing this time
(It's all over now)
It's the end of the line

They tried to burn you, but you took those demons in your stride
You tried to save it, the world you healed of conflict and divide
Now is the time for all of us to etch your voice in stone, yeah
All through your life, you stunned us with your power on the screen
You made us see

That you're immortal, you will live on
'Cause you enchanted us like not a soul could ever dare try
'Nother dream, I'm inspired to write
So let me get a pen and post my
Willing, chilling, feeling tribute here tonight.

'Cause he's a thriller, that ain't no lie
His music thrilled us more than any soul will ever dare try
Exhilarator, the King of Pop
He'll never sing again but his voice will never die, no

(He'll still thrill ya tonight)
Darkness falls across the land
The last service is close at hand
Hankies unfolded in the rain
To wipe the tears that flow in vain

Would one ever care to deny
A final chance to say goodbye?
Unite then, people, one last time
As, farewell, bids the mournful chime

The saddest wails are in the air
Remnant of fifty glorious years
And silent souls from every room
Are watching as they seal your tomb

And though they strive to seem untouched
Their bodies start to quiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The magic of the Thriller.

(I'd like to dedicate this to one of the greatest entertainers the world has known, the legend that was Michael Jackson)

Castles in the air

I glance furtively at the wild blue yonder, mercifully visible outside. Thoughtful voices surround me... voices in a tongue I cannot comprehend. I realise that they speak about matters of grave complexity, problems outside my span of interest or understanding. My mind shifts gradually - there are affairs of greater import to concentrate on.
Dominic. Well, without the fairy-wings. And he was a wee bit taller.

For instance, there's no reason - I note idly - that a ten-inch high penguin with little fairy-wings, oddly reminiscent of Tinker Bell (odd because it's a penguin, dammit) should be hovering just over my window-sill.

"I am Dominic - your conscience", it says.

"My what?"

"Your conscience. I keep you from being evil."

"Why would I want a conscience? That's so nineties!"

"You do not choose to have a conscience. All persons have one."

"Look, if I have a conscience, I want her to look like Keira Knightley. Why are you here anyway? I'm not doing anything evil."

"Ah... but you are, my young ward. The path you are on can only lead to destruction - of you as a person."

"Care to explain? And don't call me your 'young ward' - it makes me feel like I have terminal cancer."

"Look within yourself... when was the last time you did something because you wanted to do it?"

"I don't know. I usually go by 'act now, contemplate the deep questions later'. Works for me."

"Why do you resist? You have lost the urge to live, the yearning to prove yourself... regret fills your days."

I fail to answer, uncomfortable with the realisation that Dominic is right. Every day is a struggle to remain sane - to prove to myself that there's a point in it all.

"You constantly debate with yourself about the meaning of your life. Your mind is a battlefield of emotions."

A mental image forms - it is a valley that seems like it was once a place of prosperity and celebration. Now, it is as dank and gloomy as a graveyard. Indeed, the audible noises of battle a short distance away suggest that death has visited this place recently. The scene shifts to the battle and I observe that the participants are no more passionate than their inanimate weapons. They swing their swords in disinterest, as though fighting to evade boredom rather than to survive. In a jolt of sudden insight, it dawns on me that I'm looking at the landscape of my mind.

The sounds of clashing blades are transformed back into the clicks of a dozen clutch-pencils, as the illusion fades and I find myself staring at the face of our lecturer in Algorithm Analysis. The steely scowl on it indicates that she's upset about something, possibly my complete lack of awareness about anything related to her subject. The class goes about its regular business.

I turn to glance at Dominic, but he's gone.

As I'm exiled to the library, I wistfully imagine how my days would have been spent had I not plunged head-first into engineering. I'd probably have built my castles in the air out of something more substantial. I might even have posted my tales where people could read them and comment. Oh wait.

About this nutcase

My photo
A thoroughly confused blogger with imagined Multiple Personality Disorder and delusions of usefulness. Yeah, he has issues.