A couple of days ago, I met a friend with whom I went on a very long walk. We walked for over 3 hours, waiting for breakfast, coffee later and some cheesecake by noon. There is something great about walking and talking with a friend for hours. For some reason there is a lot of clarity and elasticity in thought while thinking about things during a walk.
A list of things I am consuming and at times reflecting on through the month of November 2018
Printed Newspapers – Since the end of 2015, I have not really subscribed to the printed newspaper. This month I moved to a new flat and subscribed to the Mumbai editions of The Hindu and The Indian Express. There is just something edifying about reading a newspaper first thing in the morning.
Bad Movies – I saw a few bad movies. But the Marathi film starring Madhuri Dixit called Bucket List was a terrible waste of time. Another bad movie was the Ballad of Buster Scruggs on Netflix. It had some good moments but overall quite terrible.
Outlaw King – This movie on Netflix about Robert the Bruce was good and well made. Captain Kirk (new one) makes a decent Robert the Bruce. The historical is about the rebellion by Robert the Bruce after the death of William Wallace. It has some historical inaccuracies but can be forgiven. Fun fact: The movie Braveheart was about William Wallace but in Scottish history “Brave heart” was almost always referred to Robert the Bruce.
Narcos – Mexico: Well the 4th season on Narcos is not as exciting as the first two. But still good if you are a fan.
Wire ties – I ordered some wire ties. Mainly some velcro based small bands that can be used to tie up and keep in place all those million charger wires. I also bought some twist tie wire spool. I wonder why I never used these before in my life!
New Apps – I settled on using Todoist for tracking what I need to do everyday. It works great across platforms. Also experimented with Headspace for learning how to meditate.
Shivaji the Grand Rebel – A book but David Kincaid written in the 1930s is a interesting book. By no means a great historical book but is a good read for a synopsis on the life and times of the Maratha king.
Visit to a dentist – I had a terrible toothache. I kept putting a trip to the dentist away for almost 5 years now. But this was the month I finally made my first ever trip to the dentists. I found out that its not as horrible as I thought it would be.
I still wake up some nights with a start thinking about that horrible and terrible night. An ambulance siren far away is often almost always a trigger. But I have come to terms with her loss much better than I thought I ever would.
The first year, I missed her a lot! But was thankful at times that she did not have to see a company I had founded closing, basically going broke and in debt. But I have sorely missed her last year while getting married, getting a new job, doing so many fun things as a family with my dad and sister. This year, has been one of the best years of my life and mom has missed it!
I am trying something new – which is to write a list of things I am consuming and at times reflecting on through the month of October 2018
Recomendo – A really nice newsletter. The point is simple – a newletter via email that recommends 6 different things. These could be a movie, television series, book, an online article to read or even a life hack.
Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds or PUBG – A multiplayer shooter game. I find myself addicted to it, that said its not as addictive either – I can easily not play it for a couple of days. It’s available on Steam, Android and iOS
Afternoon Naps – I have started to take short afternoon naps, usually around 20 mins. These are really great in getting some brain rest going, also it is a lot more relaxing physically than just lying down on a bed.
Atul Gawande on The Path to Perpetual Progress – This podcast was really nice one on the Knowledge project. Atul Gawande popular for his Checklist Manifesto and other books, was recently in the news for being selected as the new CEO of a healthcare company started by Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos and others.
Raja Rasoi aur anya kahaniya – A Netflix documentary series on food from around India. While this is a show on history, it explores the history of all the really nice things we eat all around India.
Bluetooth Headphones from Seinheiser – While I always thought spending on a big headphone to listen to music while working was a bit of a waste. But living near a construction site and a train line, I finally gave in and spent a bit of money. Noise cancelling headphones + bluetooth are awesome.
Dil se re – So I usually listen to a playlist. But I started listen to this old classic from 1999 – on repeat to get started with the day usually. I am not sure if this song repeat habit is good, bad or ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ — but I quite liked re-connecting with this old classic from the great AR Rahman.
Sanjay Dutt and Sanju:I was a fan of Sanjay Dutt growing up. A bollywood action star and toxic masculinity, what’s there not to like for a teenaged boy. I saw his biopic and found the entire it’s media fault narrative disappointing. Sanjay Dutt’s life surely is quite incredible for its ups and downs but the movie on it, reduced it to an insipid narrative.
Recently, I watched in bits and pieces, India winning a test match against England on television. I am one of those cricket tragics, who watches only test matches. The rest I feel does not have enough context. I was thinking a bit about why I think of the long form game with such romance. And I remembered a very blurry memory from my childhood.
I remember as a child (and that would be the 80s) getting a haircut from the local barber shop. The cricket match was playing on a grainy television set in the shop. The great West Indies team were hurting the Indian team (sometimes quite literally with their fast bowling attack) but everyone in the barber shop was egging our cricketers along, at the same time praising the opposition’s quality and excellence. My dad having with a general receding hairline had his haircut in a few minutes. Then it would be my turn. Though I love the game of cricket, I preferred the usual soft toned Mohammad Rafi songs that usually saloons played instead of the West Indies bowling at Indian batsman.
Why you might ask?
Well, the guy with scissors would mutter a cautious word to the Indian batsman. Snip, Snip, Snip he would go around my ears and suddenly groan “Play straight, play properly. Don’t throw your wicket away”.
“Yes, please follow your advice. Don’t cut off my ear now” – I wish I had the courage to say that.
That particular day, I hated the cricket great Kapil Dev. He was not the cautious kind. If someone bounced a ball at 90 mph at this head, he was going to hook it out for a six. Sometimes he would miss, sometimes he would flamboyantly smack it out of the ground for six. While it was all riveting, I hated him for making this man with deadly sharp scissors, very excited. Kapil Dev was getting him excitedly shouting sometimes in admonishment and sometimes in pure joy.
After that near death experience at the barber shop, my dad would take me to the nearest provision store and we would share a cold drink. It was always a bottle of Thumsup. Getting a Thumsup after a haircut, was our tradition. Apparently it was older than even before I could begin to form proper words.
We would walk back home and as a family watch a slow moving and detailed drama called Test cricket. Kapil Dev, Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall would usually write unusual twists and turns that made watching a whole day’s game worth the time spent.
I like documentaries by Ken Burns and hence started to check this one out now that it’s available on Netflix.
Ambassador Elsworth Bunker during the Vietnam war suggested that they were now looking at the light at the end of the tunnel.
The interviewer replied “Mr. Ambassador, you say light at the end of the tunnel, but how long is the tunnel?”
The political bluster, the terrifying ego of an empire willing to send thousands of their young into war and death and millions of their so called enemy, the sheer resoluteness of a people – who has just won their fight against colonialism are some of the narratives captured very well.
I am only half way through it but really liking it. Also quite disgusted by much of what it reveals.
That said I wonder what people from Vietnam think of such documentaries?
Do they think of this as an indulgent America putting balm on their own wounds from a war, while more or less forgetting the lessons from that war?
About the title:
Ambassador Elsworth Bunker during the Vietnam war suggested that they were now looking at the light at the end of the tunnel.
The interviewer replied “Mr. Ambassador, you say light at the end of the tunnel, but how long is the tunnel?” – episode 6 of the documentary.
I recently picked up a couple of books on Kindle. Starting with the An Era of Darkness by Shashi Tharoor. The book is highly recommended by many friends and relatives who have read it, have been surprised on India’s colonial history. I personally did not find An Era of Darkness as illuminating, but then I have been reading about colonialism for a while now.
People read snippets of Adam Smith, the few phrases they teach in school. Everybody reads the first paragraph of The Wealth of Nations where he talks about how wonderful the division of labor is. But not many people get to the point hundreds of pages later, where he says that division of labor will destroy human beings and turn people into creatures as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human being to be. And therefore in any civilized society the government is going to have to take some measures to prevent division of labor from proceeding to its limits. He did give an argument for markets, but the argument was that under conditions of perfect liberty, markets will lead to perfect equality. That’s the argument for them, because he thought that equality of condition (not just opportunity) is what you should be aiming at. It goes on and on. He gave a devastating critique of what we would call North-South policies. He was talking about England and India. He bitterly condemned the British experiments they were carrying out which were devastating India.
The bold letters are my emphasis. I am actually surprised how I managed to not read this book all this while.
I am looking for recommendations on books that explain our world practically and philosophically rather than spiritually.
Drop in your recommendations, I would love to check them out.
I do not code for a living and that means my interactions on Github are negligible. But I have worked in the open-source world for a while now and I understand the important space Github occupies.
So yesterday, when finally the rumour came true, that Microsoft has acquired Github, there were some fear of what that means to this developer friend resource. What it means to all that code that is shared and published on Github for thousands of projects?
The general mood of a lot of people from my Twitter feed to some co-workers was that it sucked that something as precious to the open-source community like GitHub was not part of Microsoft.
I think some of that angst against Microsoft will eventually settle and people will end up using Github as they did before. Some might discover Gitlab as an alternative
fun fact: Gitlab responded to a Twitter hashtag to migrate from Github to Gitlab with a blog post )
But crucially, Microsoft investing billions in acquiring Github is nothing to be sad about if you are a FOSS enthusiast. Microsoft is not the Microsoft of the old. It now believes in the power of open-source. But more importantly is what the message is when Microsoft spends billions into the open-source world.
“That open source winning!”
Open source is truly democratic, allows collaboration, better bug testing (simply because of the immense level of scrutiny of public code), and it is a more ethical and sustainable choice.
What happens to Atom? Acquisition usually means consolidation of side-projects. For Github the side project one can say was Atom.io – a code editor. For Microsoft it is the immensely popular Visual Studio code. I am not sure which one get’s abandoned first, but bets are on the Atom.io project. That said, Atom.io is a free and open-source project and the community around might be able fork it and keep it relevant and alive, if it does get abandoned at some stage in the future.
Funny how some folks criticize people for arbitrariness of resolutions on #NYE: but ALL measuring is arbitrary! Hours, minutes, birthdays… if you don't hinge life on an 'arbitrary' time delineator you'd go insane.
Just say: "Cool friend. Can I help with your goal?" or shut up.
So I do not care weather they are resolutions or new habits you decided randomly on 1st of January or the 1st of June. That is cool, you are trying to change something in your life. Let me know how I can help you out.
Write at least a 100 odd posts here
Learn to be calm, meditate and find stillness
Take a holiday and travel
Watch a Test match live again (hopefully Wankhede)
If #2 works out, read atleast 50 odd books in the whole year