That time I jumped out of a plane…

I turned on 29 on Monday, and like any other normal person, I celebrated this act of “leveling up“; however, unlike normal people, I did so by jumping out of a plane.

The first seconds of the jump.

That’s actually what I told my tandem instructor – Nick – when he asked me why I’m attempting skydiving on that day – “Well, it’s my birthday today, and I thought – what better way to celebrate than to plunge to my death?” And he immediately took a step back and said, “Whoa, girl. That’s not going to happen today.”

To say I was terrified would be an understatement. As Nick and the accompanying photographer spoke to me and asked me questions, I could only offer one word answers and nod, tight-lipped at everything they said. Nothing against them, because they were just the sweetest, but I was SCARED AS HELL. Continue reading

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In Defence of 2016

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard some (or many) people complaining about the trainwreck that was 2016. Many famous people died, Brexit happened, Donald Trump got elected President, we’ve had a number of terrorist attacks and a coup in Turkey, etc. And yeah, sure, these are all bad things, but that doesn’t mean the year was any worse than any other.

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People forget that bad things happened in 2015, 2014 and every other year before that. Why, we’ve had a lot of famous people die before… Leonard Nimoy and Christopher Lee in 2015, and Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2014. Plenty of terrorist attacks occurred… in fact, I feel that 2016 has been calmer on that front than 2015.

On a personal level, I had an uncle pass away in 2016… compared to an aunt and uncle in 2015. I know it’s not a nice comparison to make, but I’ll still take the year with the one less tragedy.

But a lot of good things happened this year too. People simply choose to forget them.

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Level Up

I turned 27 last October, and try as I might to pretend that age is just a number and you’re only as old as you feel (20!), I still can’t deny that my thirties are just around the corner. I don’t like it. The 20 landmark was awesome, but the 30 one… not so much. No offense to any readers older than 30! You’re all wonderful people, but this is just something I’m trying to handle on a personal level.

So recently my friends and I adopted a particular system. As of this year, we are no longer “aging”. We are leveling up.

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Of course this came with a whole new set of rules and variables. In the game of life we’re now playing, things like eating and sleeping have a whole new meaning.  Continue reading

Of Writing Robots & Lazy Humans

Procrastination Station took me to Reddit today (as it often does), where I came across a 2-week old AMA (a Q&A sort of thing where anyone can ask the poster of the thread anything) by R. L. Stine, whose books I’m sure have kept many of you up at night on more than one occasion, and one person was asking him about his writing process.

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24 BOOKS IN ONE YEAR? Holy crap. Okay, so Goosebumps and Fear Street books aren’t that lengthy, but it is still amazing to me that  one can be so productive with their writing and keep up a constant stream of ideas. The last book I finished writing was 2 years ago. Last year I only was able to squeeze out 15 thousand words. I just… wow.  Continue reading

If I wasn’t a writer, what would I be?

I had a weird dream last night… as is typical with all my dreams, but I digress. I dreamt that I was a writer, traditionally published and successful and famous beyond my wildest dreams. Then along came a witch, and for some unknown reason she cursed me, sent me back to my childhood, took away that one moment that turned me into a writer.

My alarm went off then, and I didn’t know what had become of my dream self, but the mere idea of leading a life without books and writing kinda freaked me out. I have been a bibliophile for as long as I remember, and it never occurred to me that I could’ve been thrown into a reality where I wasn’t. I suppose I’ve been fortunate enough to have parents who liked to read, who took me to book fairs and allowed me to buy the books I wanted. If our circumstances had been different, if they were uneducated or poor, then I might have never learned to embrace books. I would have never considered seeing what my own words would look like on paper.

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The best things in life are surprising.

I am someone who has no patience for surprises. I have this urge to find out about things before they actually happen, and get all antsy when I don’t know what’s coming my way, even if I know for a fact that it will be good. When I think about it, it really is an amazing feat on my part that I do not flip to the last chapter with every book I read. But endings are sacred to me – and let’s face it, you can’t really enjoy an ending without knowing the beginning.

Still, I have to admit that sometimes it is better not to know.

I was jolted awake yesterday morning with the insistent ringing of my doorbell. I was greeted – after hobbling around for a couple of minutes frantically looking for pants to go with my short, short night shirt – with purple balloons, cake and streamers and a whole chorus of “Happy Birthday, Zen!” Let it be known that I have never been surprised on my birthday. I always expect or know what’s going on, and I already thought we had a plan for the day… so for them to show up at my door like that, I was actually so speechless I forgot to blow out my candles, and I just stood there with puffy eyes, grinning like an idiot, before I got pulled into hugs and kisses and a little bit of, “Zen, why are you in jeans?”

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It’s my favourite month again.

It’s been a year, but the best month has finally rolled around. Of course I’m a bit biased. Okay, very biased, but my birthday month trumps all. Around this time of year I list down reasons to try and convince you of the glory that is October. I’ll be doing that again this time, only… I have one more reason to celebrate.

You see, on the 18th of October, I will have made it through my first year of living here in Dubai, by myself, completely independently. This is a huge milestone. One of the biggest in my life. Many thought I couldn’t do it, that I’ll cave and go back to the shelter of my parents’ home in a few months, but… here we are. I don’t have everything figured out yet, but I feel genuinely proud that I’ve managed to come this far. Despite all the hardships and the struggles, I’m happy.

Now that we’ve got all the mushy stuff out of the way, let’s get on to the list. I know everybody likes a list.

tumblr_mtjjk0PQAT1qaxstho1_12801. FALL. In Dubai we don’t get to experience all the lovely colours of autumn, but the temperatures have definitely dipped. On my way to work the other day I actually enjoyed the littlest of cool breezes and didn’t arrive to the office in a melting mess. Continue reading