My Coming of Age

Fourth Grade Summer Maybe it’s this game, Super Mario 3. Yes, that must be it. That impossible desert level where the angry sun chases me relentlessly throughout. Maybe that’s why I never— “You never go outside,” my mom interrupted and turned off the bedroom TV. “What does he need to go outside for? Over.” rang…

My New Meta

Historians say every generation has its great battle. A battle that sends ripples through history and affects how an era of people grow, love and ultimately find their place in the world.  The Greatest Generation withstood the Depression and went on to fight in World War II.  They lived frugally, worked hard and made no…

My Total Recall, Live

It’s simple sandwich, really. First you start with your bread—Wonder bread. That is the end of step one. Then it’s a layer of sour cream.  Back in the 90s, my parents used to keep a massive gallon tub of it in the fridge. Kirti and Dilip had discovered Costco but not yet restraint. So I…

My Left Han

He was a star athlete in basketball and football. I thought table tennis was a sport. Ladies would buy him shots at the bar.  I once worked up the courage to ask the prettiest girl in my class—if she wanted to borrow my notes. He had a magnetic personality that would draw in our peers…

My Clarification

So, growing up, like many of you, there were the names we had for things while we were at home and then, at school, there were the new “outside” names we would learn for those same things.  The first time I began to appreciate this difference I was eight.  I had recently fallen in love…

My Space Race

When I was a child, I wanted to go to space. My ceiling had thousands of the tiniest glow in the dark stickers. Once laboriously applied, they represented all the stars and named constellations. The northern hemisphere laid above my pillow and the southern hemisphere was splayed out above the foot of my bed. But…

My, Here Comes a New Challenger

The 90s There he stands, the 5 foot 9” ascetic, staring back at me with dead eyes. A terrifying string of yellow skulls adorn his neck, a not-so-subtle reminder that mercy would not be shown nor expected. I clench my fists, remember my training, and take a deep breath. 3…2…1…Fight. “If you spent half as…

My Dream Ghai

It seems almost common knowledge that, for a first date, getting drinks or a coffee is infinitely preferable to dinner. But I had a gut feeling that this date was going to be different. Special. It was, unfortunately, that same gut that chose Cheesecake Factory as our restaurant for the evening, a decision that continues…

My Nick and Scratches

On the playground of Woodrow Wilson Middle School, Edison, NJ, 7am, 1997: To be the biggest nerd in middle school sucks. To be the second biggest one is better. But only mildly.   Trust me. I know. Your only true friend is the biggest nerd, but your greatest fear is being supplanted by him, of becoming…

My Chi Chi

As a kid, I loved cheese.  As an adult, I still love cheese.  Obsessed.  Nowadays, it’s a socially acceptable addiction as long as you can say a thing or two about cheeses with silent Ts. Roquefort, camembert, brie…the frenchier the better. Brie doesn’t have a silent T but just making sure you’re paying attention. And,…

My Shoes

Our shoes decide what kind of person we are going to be.  There I stood directly in front of this phrase contemplating its meaning. It was printed in a flourishing script worthy of a constitution or declaration of rights. It’s the kind of quote that makes you think. It’s the kind of quote that might…

My, There Aren’t Plenty of Fish

The first time (only time) I’ve been fishing I was eight. My dad and I went out to a lake near our place—Roosevelt Park for those of you who know it.  Mom read a trashy novel by the water and let us have our fantasy where we would bring home meat like impressive providers, catching something…