1. I was born in San Francisco. It almost feels predestined that I've ended up back in the Bay Area.
2. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a garbage truck driver. Because, come on, that truck was awesome.
3. In elementary school, I wrote and illustrated two books: The Disastrous Dino War and K.E.E.T. and the Invasion of the Insectoids. K.E.E.T. stood for Kids with the Entomology Expertise of Tomorrow. The night before the first book was due, I discovered that I had misspelled the key adjective "disasterous." I had to redo the cover and title page.
4. In sixth grade, I lost the school spelling bee to fifth grader Brianna LeGrand. The word I choked on was "translate." T-R-A-N-S-A-L-A... Later, I realized that if I had caught myself before the second A, I could have started over and swapped the letters to continue spelling the word correctly.
5. In eighth grade, I wrote a paper on the Battle of Britain. It had a lot of footnotes. I left out the period after each footnote citation. The teacher took off two points PER FOOTNOTE. My grammar score for the paper was something like a 27. My grade that six weeks was my first B.
6. My bedroom was filled with trophies and medals. Not for any sports but for math-science competitions, UIL Spelling/Vocabulary and Science, Academic Decathlon, and Indian folk dances.
7. My first time in New York was for FOGANA, a national Indian folk dance competition. I was in a raas (the one where you hit with two little sticks). I don't remember what place we came in. Let me check my records, a Word file called "Lotsa Immodest Stuff." (All it says is that I had participated since 1993. And there are about two pages' worth of awards and scholarships I had won.)
8. I did not go to my prom. Instead, I went to see my friend Anushka in Hello, Dolly! I think it was the first musical I ever saw.
9. I was salutatorian of my graduating class. The valedictorian's GPA was ahead of mine by the same amount that I was ahead of the girl who was #3. I got to make a speech at graduation in which I mostly just quoted Jack Handey's "Deep Thoughts." It was televised on a local access channel.
10. After we all graduated, Sue Alice, an acquaintance, came up to me. "Sunil," she said, "I loved your speech. A lot of people probably didn't get it, but it was so you." It remains one of my favorite things someone has said to me.
11. I find it strange to look back at high school. I envy the time when I was actually better at things than people, but I don't really envy who I was. I didn't really have any friends, just a lot of acquaintances. I like watching TV shows and movies about high school because they're so much more interesting than my high school experience.
12. I cannot even begin to conceive what my life would be like or who I would be if I hadn't gone to Rice. I still miss it.
13. My first semester at Rice, I got bitten by the theatre bug when I ran sound for Burn This. I made my acting debut the next semester in Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet). The school paper said I was "purposefully flat (I hope)." The next year, I was in a ten-minute play. The school paper called my acting "weak." My senior year, I played Dr. Jason Posner in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Wit. The school paper didn't even mention me.
14. Meanwhile, I was having the time of my life in the Gilbert and Sullivan shows The Butter Battle, The Mikado, and The Iolanthe. Okay, the first one is Gilbert, Sullivan, and barilosopher.
15. I am the Lord High Second Tenor.
16. My goatee is a result of a whim in response to laziness the summer after freshman year. I hadn't bothered to shave for a week, so I decided to try out a goatee. Now, I feel like it's a part of me I can't bear to part with.
17. I got three C+'s in a row at Rice: Evolution, Biochemistry, and Cell Biology. One of my majors was Biochemistry and Cell Biology. (The other was English.) It was awesome.
18. As part of Students Organized Against Rape, unless I'm misremembering, I helped inspire what has become an annual T-shirt campaign in which 60 or 70 students wear T-shirts to represent the number of men and women who would be sexually assaulted each year on a campus the size of Rice. I wore #57.
19. The first time I met Internet friends was in Canada.
20. In the vein of #12, I don't know what my life would be like if I hadn't gone to the University of Michigan for grad school. I know I'd be short one (1) best friend.
21. I have a shirt that reads, "I'm famous on the Internet." It's kind of true. But only kind of. And not really so much anymore.
22. My default favorite book is The Remains of the Day, and my default favorite movie is Groundhog Day. This has been true since high school, and I see no reason for anything to ever unseat them. I find that stability comforting.
23. Isn't that the kind of stuff you were expecting to learn from this meme? I'm sorry it unexpectedly turned into a life history. That's not #23, though. #23 is: I am almost pathologically change-averse. Habit and routine make my life possible.
24. I carry all my library cards in my wallet: Arlington Public Library, Ann Arbor District Library, Peninsula Library System, and Oakland Public Library. I've been meaning to get cards from San Francisco and Berkeley. I regret not getting a Houston library card when I was down there, but I never considered going off-campus for a library when there was a library on campus I could fall asleep in.
25. Some time ago, I discovered a piece of paper in my wallet that reads, "120 Down 1BaS." I have no idea how it got there or what it means. I keep it in my wallet in hopes that one day, its secret message will become clear to me.