Installing Linux Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS alongside existing Windows 7

So, I already had Ubuntu installed through VMware on my laptop, but I was required to install it alongside my Windows 7 so as to use the RAM and Hard disk more efficiently. I have contemplated doing this on earlier occasions, but the fear of losing my existing data and OS never let me. This time I decided to pull through with it. Keep in mind that I have done the installation using an 8GB USB pen-drive and not a CD. I’ve encountered some problems on my 8-hour journey of failed installations, and am writing this article in hope of helping anyone who might encounter them. I am writing this article in steps to make it easy. With each step I will describe the problems I have faced (if any).

DISCLAIMER: You might not encounter any problems, encounter the same ones that I mention here, or entirely new ones that I have no idea about. I have taken the time to write this out so that I might be able to help anyone running into trouble. I highly advise that you don’t entirely depend on this article since I don’t know what else could go wrong during installation. Take the time to go through the methods described by other people on the internet.

Here we go:

STEP 1

You need to download Ubuntu from their website. I have installed Ubuntu 14.04.1, so I don’t know how similar the process is for other versions, though I’m guessing there wont be much of a difference.
Download the version you want from here.

STEP 2

I’ve installed using a USB device, so that’s what I’ll explain here. Get a pen-drive with at least 4GB capacity. Now, you need to integrate the .iso file downloaded above into this drive. You can’t just copy it though, so I used a software called “LiLi USB Creator” and it wasn’t exactly a good experience. After some failed attempts, I shifted to “Rufus”. Its straight forward and easy to use, but I think it takes a little more time than the former software. Here are the links you can use for download:
Rufus
LiLi

If you don’t want to use these, there are so many other such softwares that get do the job done. I’m not providing links here, but they are quite easily available on the internet. I don’t recommend LiLi because the resulting pen-drive was full of errors, kept getting stuck and installation took too much time (more than an hour) on the whole each time. Ubuntu just kept hanging for apparently no reason.

STEP 3

Remove any valuable data from your pen-drive and format it to FAT32 format. formatting can be done using inbuilt Windows tools.

Once you have the .iso file and the software from step2 ready, you can go ahead and modify the pen-drive. Run said software and provide the location of the .iso file where required. Choose suitable options, and click on start. This step took about five to ten minutes for me.

STEP 4

Once your pen-drive is ready, you will want to make sure you have enough space on your computer’s hard disk to even install Ubuntu. To do so, search for “create and format hard disk partitions” in the start menu of Windows 7, and press enter. The corresponding window will open, showing you how your disk is partitioned, and how much space is available in each partition. Around 50GB of space is recommended when installing Linux, so check whether you have at least that much free space in any one partition.

Once you find a suitable partition, you can go ahead and use the windows provided tool to separate out that much free space from it. Important: make sure that you don’t use the Recovery Partition for this.

If you don’t have enough space and still try to separate space from a partition, it will result in loss of data. So you need to be sure of what you are doing.

You could choose to skip this step and create a partition while installing Ubuntu itself, but I felt this is an easier way to go, since I had a bit of a struggle with that method.

STEP 5

Now that you have a partition and the pen-drive ready, we can start the installation process. Shut down your computer, plug in the pen-drive and then turn it on, while pressing the ESC button as quickly as you can. This takes you to a screen containing options to boot from. Apart from the regular Windows and DVD boot options etc, you will see two NEW options because of the drive.

I have a hp v220w, 8GB pen-drive, so the two options that showed up for me were:
–>        UEFI: hp-v220w-8GB
–>        hp-v220w-8GB

Your laptop will show your pen-drive’s name depending on which one you’re using.Now, this part is really important. I tried using the second option for installation several times. Each time, Ubuntu’s grub didn’t work and I could only boot my Windows 7. During my last attempt, I used the first option, and it worked. I don’t really know what the difference is between the two. Maybe UEFI provides a safer installation environment.So what you need to do is pick the UEFI option there.

STEP 6

Once you’ve selected the option, Ubuntu will start booting from the pen-drive and two symbols (one of a little man) will appear on the bottom of the screen. Once the boot is complete, a window appears on Ubuntu, asking you whether you want to Try or Install it. If you are just installing Ubuntu because someone told you to, I recommend you Try It first, and see whether it suits you. If not, there are many other distributions available.

Click on the Install option. On the next screen, you will be asked to enter the language. After this, a requirements page come up. At the time I installed Ubuntu, it needed 6.6GB of space, a WiFi connection, and plugged-in power source. Though the WiFi is not necessary, you might want to plug in your laptop just in case the installation takes more time than anticipated. On clicking continue, you will be prompted to choose how you wish to install Ubuntu. Do not choose the second option which will erase your Windows 7 and replace it with Ubuntu.

The first option says that it installs Ubuntu alongside Windows. I have not chosen it, so I will not write about it here. I chose the last option – Something Else. This one lets you custom modify your installation. Now, you will use the new partition that you had created. To find that partition, multiply its capacity in GB by 1024. That’s how many MB of space it has. It might not be the exact number, but you can make a good guess from approximation to find out which partition it is. Select that partition, and click change. Choose the following options:

1.Reduce its size by about 14MB if you have 8GB ram in your laptop, and 10MB if its 4GB. (usually its [RAM x 2] plus 2MB for the boot space, but this calculation works fine too)
2.Make it primary
3.Choose “at beginning of the partition”
4.Choose Use as “Ext4 journaling file system”
5. Select mount point as “/”

Click OK. The formatting should last a couple minutes. Next, format the rest of the space as:

1.Reduce size by 1MB or 2MB
2.Make it logical
3. Choose “at beginning of the partition”
4.Choose “swap area”

Now, take the remaining space and format it as follows:

1.Don’t change the size
2.Make it logical or primary
3.Doesn’t matter where, since you’re using the whole thing
4.Choose Use as “Ext4 journaling file system”
5.Select “/boot”

Now, select the first partition that you formatted, and click continue. Installation starts on doing so. this installation can last anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes depending on your computer’s speed. If your computer was spacing out or hanging a lot until this point, there might be something wrong with you pen-drive or how Ubuntu was put inside it, which means that you are going to have to start from the beginning. Trust me, I know how irritating it is.

STEP 7

Once the installation is done, you will need to set some details like location, username, password, etc. On finishing, you will be prompted to restart your computer. Choose the restart option.

As soon as the Shut Down process is complete and the power up process is starting, the screen should switch to a purple background with options asking you whether you wish to boot Windows or Ubuntu. If you see this screen, then congratulations, because you have gone through the installation successfully!

On the other hand, if you do not see this screen and Windows 7 boots directly, then you need to Shut Down and Power Up your laptop while pressing the boot menu key rapidly. The boot menu key can be F2,F8, F12, ESC or DEL, depending on your computer. After doing so, if only the same options as before installation of Ubuntu show up, then the installation was unsuccessful, and you will have to try again. This happened to me several times before I got the installation correct.

If Ubuntu loads directly and there is no sign of Windows, then you could use the same keys as above to check if Windows could still boot. If you do not see any option to boot Windows, then something went wrong during the installation – maybe Windows’ boot loader was overwritten or Windows was erased completely, or is corrupted.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

I have written a step-wise process for installing Ubuntu 14.04.1 parallel to Windows 7 after having failed multiple times in doing so. Some of the instructions might seem unnecessary to the experienced user, but I felt like they were important. If you think there should be a modification in any step, please do let me know, this was my first time installing.

I recommend that you go through various other sources, not depend on just one as a guideline for installation. I haven’t found a complete guide that takes you from start to finish without any problem, and I could have done it sooner if I’d spent the time researching a bit.

If you happen to know why certain problems occur while installing dual boot systems, please do comment below so that people are more aware of them and can learn how to avoid them.

Information Overload

In the quest to improve business with the help of new, innovative ideas, man has often put the essentials of life on the sidelines. Sometimes what’s new effectively replaces the neglected, but leaves behind an impression of said change. Is it always wise to give in to change? Is it always wise to abandon something robust and strong for something untested, radical? There is no good answer to this question. It cannot be answered unless both the possible choices are examined closely.

What did the early man do for heat before discovering fire? Maybe his body simply produced more heat. Did it? But he wouldn’t care about what he did before there was fire. Fire fulfilled his need – or needs. What happened before fire held no importance. This makes sense too. Why care about something not at all efficient when you have something that fits the job.

Now think about this. If man hadn’t ever discovered fire, he wouldn’t have made it. Imagine a world with only wild, natural fires. Environmentalists of today might have favored that. Man wouldn’t be contributing to ‘Global Warming’. Its needless to write that after the discovery, the use of fire only grew exponentially as years passed. Its been modified is ways that we recognize it in entirely different places and forms – combustion in engines, gas on the stove, burning coal in a train. Nobody thinks about the repetitive contained explosions happening inside their car while driving. Everything has become abstract and hidden from sight.

Throughout time there have been several major changes, that have revolutionized life in even the minutest way. Spoons and forks, clothes, shoes, doors and locks, clocks. These are essentials for life today. Apart from these, there are things that exist solely for our aesthetics and pleasure. Paint on the walls, fabric on the cushions, curtains. We don’t exactly need them to live, but we feel an internal need to have these things. Then there are recreational things like instruments, books, religion, music, movies, and so many other things. Most of life is filled with these things alone. They constitute such a huge part of human existence, that people can even be defined by what the do for recreation.

Basically, since everything else in life like getting an education, having a job, getting married, having kids is normal for most people, the recreational things we do are much more wide in variety and differ from individual to individual. But in recent times, even these activities have become ore common than not among the crowds. The world is becoming a smaller place each day, especially thanks to the internet. People know about things that they wouldn’t normally know about otherwise.

Remember when in the 90’s, kids would turn on the computer just to play a game of pinball? Around the dot-com boom, businesses went online and millions were spent in expanding the reach of the internet. People looked at it like the early nomads looked at fire. Something they didn’t understand, but used anyway for their own benefit. In contrast though, this wasn’t something as simple as fire, and the bubble finally burst, causing huge recession. Clearly, it wasn’t very beneficial. It wasn’t something that could always serve in a time of need, like fire. People were fooled by the shiny new toy.

I guess it could be said that something that makes a huge impact on human life either successfully makes it much easier to live, or it goes down in flames, taking everything with it. We should be careful about what new thing we allow to change our lives.

Its true that the internet is the reason why you are reading this post of mine right now. Yes, the internet can be miraculously informative. But most people don’t use the internet for  gaining productive information. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have become so riveting to human-kind, that the average human spends hours on social media everyday. This is a change that is still taking place. We don’t know what its result will be.

But what we do know is that social media gives you a ton of nonconstructive information, that cannot be used to better humanity. Apparently, it does however help people start businesses that take advantage of the information you provide to produce services that you didn’t even know you needed. If anything, social media helps the few individuals take advantage of the many. All that information about the pages you like, the causes you support, the cuisine you eat, is being used to create businesses, which is one factor contributing to why there are so many start-ups these days.

We are allowing our thoughts to manifest into digital information through even a single click. We allow the internet to show us products, designs, and items that we were happy without anyway, but suddenly feel like we can’t live without them. We are allowing this change to happen. We are being targeted by those few behind the scenes of it all, without being aware of the fact that we are providing the information they need to make a profit off of us. We are being dumbfounded.

Is this a change humanity is willing to make?

The Quality Of Life

The world is a small place. The first time I really paid attention to such a statement was while watching Pirates of the Caribbean. You can imagine how small the world really is if a pirate says it. Yet, it has managed to get much smaller. For me, the size of the world depends on how much more there is for me to see in it, how many more friendly people I can meet. I wonder how other people think of the world.

We all talk about other people, try to imagine what their lives are like, and how they handle situations. Normally, this kind of information is not something you just know about anyone unless you’ve spent a good amount of time with them. Such people would be parents, siblings, grandparents, other family members. I wouldn’t go as far as including friends in this pool. We don’t really know our friends as well as we think we do – after all, we haven’t spent enough time with them. So really, except this small group of people, we just barely have an idea about how others lead their lives.

And that’s a good thing. It helps us maintain the minimum distance required to live in a functioning social environment. You can indulge yourself in another person’s life, involve yourself in their personal affairs. Of course, I wouldn’t invite such intrusiveness into my life. Yet, this is an age in which people find it harder than ever to keep to themselves. I myself have intentionally let out information about my life which I have later come to regret and felt uncomfortable with. I know some things about other people, which also makes me uncomfortable. I would have been much better off without knowing those details, no matter how insignificant they may be.

In this era, anything that you do not keep inside your head is bound to spread. Nothing is private anymore. What you say, do, eat – anything that can be seen, heard or understood by others is no longer within the bounds of your control. Literally, anything you say can and will be used against you.

It has become so easy to stay in touch with someone else. So easy that you can do it while cozily snuggling under the warmth of your blanket. It shouldn’t be so convenient. Unless some minimum amount of effort is put into maintaining contact with a person, it shouldn’t be done. Any individual’s attention is something that needs to be valued. It can’t be earned by just sending a friend request or a few lazy messages. Yet, that is what this world has come to.

So many details that would otherwise stay unnoticed are overt, out in the open. In fact, they are emphasized. I’ve tried to limit the information I have put up on social media, but it doesn’t fail to make me feel insecure anyway. Does anyone else feel that way? Even if some people did (once upon a time), I bet they just killed their conscience and gave in to what is now considered the norm. Sometimes its disconcerting to see humanity lose its essence in this way. If the condition of our race continues to deter, we will end up becoming empty, manner-less shells, lacking chivalry, courtesy and respect. For what is the world without gentle, kind, loving people?

Every time something comes up and reminds us that the quality of our existence is taking a nosedive, Captain Jack Sparrow’s voice will ring in my ears, saying

“The world is still the same. There’s just less in it.”

Teenage Life

Why don’t they understand that I’m not seven years old anymore. That I need to be left alone sometimes. That I can make some decisions on my own. They don’t get that I can’t talk to them about everything that happens to me, because they get overly involved and annoy me over the littlest things. Why don’t they let me stay up to finish a book I really want to read – insisting on binding me to a bedtime. Why don’t they understand that I don’t have to stick to my textbooks 24*7 to get a decent grade in a test.

Why don’t they take the hint that my mood swings aren’t because I’m going into depression, or that I am not satisfied with the atmosphere they created for me. Why do they tell me that I’ve been acting strange for the past few weeks, even though I’d been as normal as I could have possibly been. Why do they try to enforce their thinking on me. Why do they get upset if I don’t pick up two calls in a row, ten minutes apart. Why do they tell me that I’m not going to make anything out of my life if I still watch cartoons. Why do they think that watching cartoons is all I do?

Why don’t they understand that I need a break once in a while. Why do they keep nagging me to go study. That I wake up early, even though I couldn’t sleep at all for three nights in a row. Why do they tell me I’m wasting my time on doing something – when that something is really the only thing in the world I want to do at that moment. Why don’t they let me love the things that I love.

Why do they get upset over me not wanting to watch a movie I hate with them, then say I don’t spend time with them anymore. Why don’t they think for a second that I don’t enjoy doing everything they do? That instead, they haven’t really tried doing something I loved with me. That I have my own interests – which they seem to think are a waste of time. Why do they harshly criticize my music choices, when I keep shut even though I could say the same about theirs.

Why don’t they understand that I don’t need to be treated like a baby anymore. That I have developed my own likes and dislikes, and not everything overlaps with their opinion.Why do they think I’m pushing them away, when I really just don’t have anything to say. Why don’t they see that some days I’m just no good to do anything. That I need to sit in a corner and think things over.

That I care about them more than they could imagine. That I can’t bear it when they so much as get a paper-cut. Why don’t they understand that sometimes I don’t want to talk to them when I’m angry because I might take my anger out on them. That I’d seen those movies with them before just to keep them company.

Why don’t they get that I share the most important parts of my life with them. That they are the only real support that I have. That all I really need is their happiness. Why don’t they perceive how much I truly value the effort and patience they put into making me the person I am. That I owe them everything I have. That I would be good for nothing without them. That I can’t always tell them how proud I feel to be their child.

That I love them more than anything.

My Playlist’s Evolution

I’ve loved listening to music since I was a child. Like many of you, I have maintained my own set of songs throughout the years, adding new ones, and deleting few that don’t agree with me anymore. I’ve had smooth and rough patches, through each of which I had music by my side, and I am thankful for that to all the artists, composers, producers for making it possible.

But sometimes, my playlist is quite against me. A couple years ago I realized that I had a lot of music that was sad and depressing. I had picked them up from my times of despair, and kept them with me even after progressing to a different phase altogether. After all, the music and instrumentation was brilliant, I couldn’t delete them. So I decided to separate my positive music from the negative, and to my surprise, the positive ones made up a much smaller percentage than I had anticipated, with music about strength, love, magic, imagination, hope. The larger part were songs about break-ups, anger, fear, mockery, confusion, disappointment and so on. I couldn’t understand why I had so much of it. Leaving that aside, I still listened to it when I was upbeat.

Am I the only one who does that? I don’t really know, but I’d guess not. I think not many people put enough effort to change their playlist often enough to match their mood. There may be very few who do it, and honestly, I’ve seen none. So when I was dissatisfied with this discovery about my music, I decided to change it, and filtered out everything that wasn’t constructive – which meant around 70% of what I had. It was really difficult to adjust to such a small list of songs at first, I felt claustrophobic in the limited space, but the result of stripping down my music was fantastic. I didn’t feel low as often as I used to, and when I did, I didn’t really have a reason for it. I was happier about the smaller things that mattered, and life in general. I felt more complete in myself than I did since I was twelve years old. It was a fantastic experience, and anything that got the better of me before, now had to put in a lot more effort.

Eventually, I also realized that I had a certain unique feeling associated with each song I had. I needed to change up my playlist again, because I couldn’t listen to the same set over and over. I had always done this often, maybe once in a couple months, so that I don’t listen to too much of the same thing. This one time though, I felt a different emotion attached to each piece I had, and I didn’t even have to play the song to feel it, just scrolling over the name did it for me. I was in awe of how deeply I had associated myself with all my music, and that I had never noticed it before. By the time I was done deciding what music I wanted to keep for daily play, I was emotionally worn out. I couldn’t bare any kind of emotional stimulus for the rest of the day. But later when I listened to what I had picked out, it was totally worth it – I was closer to detecting what kind of music was on the same wavelength as myself, it was amazing. It was amazing that choosing specific songs from the tons that I had could make such a great combination. I was elated, since music is such a huge part of my life, and even after spending so many years on it, it still had so much more to teach me.

For anyone out there who loves music, I recommend you try filtering your playlist with any variable, it doesn’t have to be the one I used. I’m sure all of us can discover new heights by doing so. Please share your thoughts, I would love to hear about your experiences as well.

And for those who need to be uplifted, here’s a set of songs that might help you out. I hope you enjoy them!

1. Rebel Beat – The Goo Goo Dolls, Magnetic
2. Counting Stars – OneRepublic, Native
3. Firestone (ft. Conrad Sewell) – KYGO
4. Strawberry Swing – Coldplay, Viva La Vida
5. If I Lose Myself – OneRepublic, Native
6. How I Became The Sea – Owl City, All Things Bright And Beautiful
7. A Sky Full Of Stars – Coldplay, Ghost Stories
8. Alligator Sky – Owl City, All Things Bright And Beautiful
9. You Get Wat You Give – New Radicals, Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too
10. Off The Wall – Michael Jackson, Off The Wall
11. Into Yesterday – Sugar Ray, Surf’s Up OST
12. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.
13. The Fighter (ft. Ryan Tedder) – Gym Class Heroes, The Papercut Chronicles II
14. P.Y.T. – Michael Jackson, Thriller
15. Replay – Iyaz, Replay
16. Angel – Shaggy
17. Beautiful Soul – Jesse McCartney, Beautiful Soul

The Apartment

That time we met, I was broken. You know that, don’t you? I needed to hide, to heal. But I didn’t have any shelter or medicine. I wandered day and night in search of them. And then you were there. You didn’t ask me about my scars and wounds. You didn’t avoid me like the rest of them. You smiled at me every time I needed it. I didn’t need to think out my actions around you. You didn’t mind that either. You were happy with my company.

Those little silly things you did made you look like a joker. You were being a joker for me. You didn’t care how they looked at you when you did. It only mattered that you made me laugh. And boy did I laugh, that laughter was my medicine. It was a good regular dose, something I needed. It felt good to be around you. You were my shelter. I’d found my hiding place.

It was much more comfortable than I expected, that apartment. The wooden floor was smooth, the leather couch was cushy, and the light brown curtains let in just the right amount of light. And i did heal – slowly but surely. My scars lost their color little by little, becoming my old skin again. My wounds turned into scabs. I was doing better.

I started to feel a little claustrophobic. As much as I loved this place, I couldn’t just sit inside all day anymore. I needed a walk. Maybe a drive. But you were there too, and you didn’t see my restlessness. Or did you? I couldn’t tell. But I let it slip and stayed a bit longer, even though I couldn’t understand how you could not see. Maybe it wasn’t visible enough?

You still hadn’t asked me about me wounds. It seemed a little eerie that you hadn’t, it’s not something you can ignore when you’ve given someone your apartment. So I told you the gist of it and you were fine with that. Just like you were fine with everything else. I felt relieved that you knew, but it was strange that you didn’t ask me anything more. I would have asked if I were you. I would have asked a long time ago too. But now you know and that’s that.

The apartment was comfortable. You were still being a joker for me. And i still laughed at your jokes, though you kept telling me the same ones over and over. I guess you noticed that much, so you started telling me my own jokes, which was worse. But that’s alright, I was almost completely healed. You were still being the joker for me, and that was what mattered.

A little time passed as I got to know you. And in that whole time I didn’t leave the apartment. I needed fresh air now. So I told you I’d step out for a minute. You asked me “why?” like it was an abomination. And I couldn’t understand why you asked me that way. I couldn’t stay for so long. But you let me go without me answering, and so I did. And you followed me out, not knowing the reason, which was eerie too. The air – why is it so different outside? I was astonished. You were still being a joker for me though. So I put it at the back of my mind. Hey, this person on the street. I knew her, and you knew her. You were being friendly as usual, and I admired that about you. I can’t always be nice to people. You treat everyone the same – except me of course? Ah more people, and you’re being just as warm, even though I’m already tired of meeting them. I could sense the shift in attention, it didn’t bother me much. But that’s how you are.

I had to go to the other side of town. I told you I did, and I knew you had business to take care of. But you came with me instead, and left your work for another time. We walked the whole way there. I though that was so sweet of you. And we walked back. Halfway to the apartment, I was tired. I couldn’t talk anymore, I needed silence, but you wouldn’t stop despite my expression. You didn’t see it. Then I had to say “lets not talk” to make you stop. You looked at me like I overdid it, even though I hadn’t, it was only because you didn’t catch it yourself that I had to say it, but that can happen to anyone, so I apologized and we walked in silence. Maybe I need to think about my actions.

We met more people now. This time, people I didn’t know. And you met them the same way you did before, while i now stood there awkwardly. Each person, even though you knew i was tired, was talked to for just as long. And you gave them more attention than before, maybe because I didn’t know them? But that was you, and I didn’t mind it. In silence we made it back to the apartment, and I noticed the difference in the air. I couldn’t describe it, maybe it was the perfume you used? But I had never noticed it before, and that bothered me, I couldn’t place my finger on it. But then I looked in, and there were some others there as well! On your wooden floor and cushy sofa, other people. And I couldn’t ask you who they were, I was afraid you’d give me the look again. You didn’t tell me about their coming. Their being there didn’t feel right. My face questioned you though my words couldn’t, and you smiled at me with the same old smile of yours, ignoring it like you did before. What did that mean, why did you smile? I was puzzled and followed you in anyway. You gave your couch, your floor, your curtains to them? Why? Who are they? I live here too. And none of them care about your apartment as much as I do. “Look at the stains on the floor and food on the couch, look at the curtains, ripped from the windows” I said, stunned. I had always kept it exactly the way you gave it to me. “That’s okay” you smiled again, leaving me in a daze. I watched them as they watched you. They watched you be the joker. You didn’t mind me being there. You didn’t mind me watching. I watched as I tried to understand what it was you were trying to accomplish. Before I could, the party was over. They left, and they left your apartment in horrible condition. You just smiled at me, and I didn’t respond. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.

I watched you cleaned the mess, doing it like it was as easy as breathing. So simple. You were freaking me out, I couldn’t take it anymore. So I left. Without telling you. And it felt so good to be alone, away from you. The suffocation was gone in your absence. Maybe it wasn’t the apartment, and you were the one suffocating me. Not maybe, it was surely you. I though it all out, something was very wrong, but what? I came back the next day, searching for answers, I needed to observe you more closely. The apartment was just the way it was when I first came. But more surprisingly, you didn’t make anything of my absence. I would have been angry if I were you. I would have screamed at me too. But I’m not you. The sofa, the floor, the curtains – all fixed. No one would be able to tell if anything had happened here at all. How many such parties had you had before? I was devastated because I couldn’t tell, I asked you. And you said “Many, darling” like you were piercing my heart with a honey-coated knife. How simply the answer slipped from your mouth. Didn’t you care about anything? My insides were crying out loud, but as expected, they weren’t loud enough for you to hear. Because you didn’t want to hear, and I know that. So I stayed and watched. Watched you, knowing that the apartment was never mine, and you were never what I thought you to be. Now that I didn’t take up your attention, you had more parties. More messes to clean up. I watched you clean them till my eyes burned red, with anger and with exhaustion. And you weren’t bothered at all, but I was. You were there, and you didn’t see my restlessness – I could tell that you didn’t. And I didn’t let it slip anymore.

I had never been to a hotel before, so I never knew what it was like. They are so luxurious, but expensive. But hotels must have their charm, because people choose to spend time there, days, weeks. You can’t stay in a hotel for long though – there is no place like home. Hotels aren’t meant for permanent stay. And you are fine with that. Just like you are fine with everything else. You are friendly with everyone as usual, and are busy being everyone’s joker. You don’t care how anyone looks at you. You are happy with just about anyone’s company. But that’s just how you are. Everyone else knew this about you. That’s why they never stuck around after a party. They didn’t expect anything. Then I said I’m leaving for good. I couldn’t stay anymore. You looked at me like I overdid it, even though I hadn’t. I didn’t apologize. I have new wounds to take care of.

I gathered myself and left. I didn’t know that this is a hotel room. Or that you are it’s butler.

What Sunglasses Go With

As I wrote out the prescription, the child had wandered back to a wall with display pieces. He took off his new glasses and reached up to the full extent that he could to unmount the black soda frame. Having done so without dropping them, he quickly put them on his face and ran to the mirror. He let a muffled giggle slip through in excitement, distracting his mother from her hunt for a pair of sunglasses.

“What are you doing, Raj!” she said. It wasn’t a question. “Don’t you understand? I have already bought a pair for you. You don’t even have a black shirt to wear with it!” she squealed. “Don’t embarrass me!”

“Then let’s buy a black shirt! I want a black shirt for my birthday!” wailed the child.

“Don’t be stupid. Your father has already given you a gift. Stay put now. Go sit on that chair until I pay the eye doctor.”

With disappointment pouring from his gait, the child slumped onto the singular chair next to the billing table. Some minutes passed as I waited for the bill to be printed from the age old machine. The child had taken a liking to the rubber band ball and kept himself occupied in the meantime. “Here’s the bill and prescription” I said to her. The woman walked up to me with the pair of sunglasses she had most recently taken off the shelf. It was a bright-yellow retro style frame complemented with dark brown glass. Then again, she herself was much more flamboyant than the poor pair. “I’ll take these too” she chimed in her high voice.

“You don’t have a yellow shirt, mom!” said the kid. “Yeah, I do, Raj.” “No you don’t, but I guess it doesn’t matter, they’ll match your undies”

What did you say?” she flushed.

“The yellow undies you wore today, mom. Remember?” That left her dazed, the pink visible under the twenty feet of makeup on her face as she stared at mine expressionlessly. A slight grin broke across my face and I quickly regretted it. She attempted recovery, fishing for cash in her purse and then thrusting it in my face. “Just his one pair a’ glasses” she barked, and reached for the door, her legendary undies visible for a moment under her white pants, or I could have just imagined that part. She then scurried out the door, managing to stomp her feet at the same time. The 8-year-old followed, trailing behind her, completely unaware of what he had done. He still had the rubber band ball, but I decided against stopping them for that. Maybe he knew what color underwear I was wearing too.