Category: Life rss
My daughter made a bird feeder out of a cut plastic juice bottle. It lies horizontal, placed like one of those ships in a bottle. She cut a cavity in its midsection while leaving the structure intact. Lying on its side, it allows for a couple of birds to feed from it at once, one on each side. She taped the cut edges with soft tape so there’s nothing that could cut a bird.
I’ve been listening to David Goggins' memoir Can’t Hurt Me. Part a retelling of his life from early childhood to his adulthood covering the difficulties he faced at every juncture, and part self-help ooh-rah manual, the book is an intense read, and the audiobook is a very well-done adaptation.
While I’d recommend that you read it if you haven’t, this article focusses on a couple of techniques he lays out that will allow any person to boost their performance across a wide variety of activities.
We’re in the midst of a complete lockdown in Karnataka, and my wife and daughter are at my in-laws, while I’m stuck home. This is the same situation we were in a year ago, and we’d then gotten into a routine where my daughter would call me close to her bedtime, and I’d tell her a story.
When I was young, bedtime stories would mean retelling a famous story from the Panchatantra, or the Ramayana, or the Mahabharata.
A quest for adequacy, or the slow natural death of obsessions.
I saw a Penny Arcade comic recently that spoke to me. This is who I used to be as well. Obsessive about minute details around my phone or my computer, looking to optimize value for money for any new purchase, tuning the device all the time.
These days, I feel most computers and phones are more than adequate for my needs, and the best configuration is one that maintains itself.
When my daughter was a bit over a year old, she’d do something naughty and tell us that one of her stuffed toy dogs did it. ‘Rocky did it.’ ‘Snowy was very naughty.’ At the time, she treated her dogs as companions, having conversations with them, ascribing personalities to them and so on, so we fell in line and scolded the dog in question with appropriate seriousness. Throughout all this, my daughter would have a teeny-tiny smirky smile at having pulled one over her gullible parents' eyes.
I work in IT, and have been doing so now for two decades. For the last few years, my role has become more and more managerial and consequently, less and less technical. This change didn’t play to my strengths. I found myself stressed and unhappy, in charge of a lot and in control of very little. Some people are suited to this sort of a job and do well in it, but over time I felt like I was drowning in my responsibilities.
When we moved homes, my daughter switched from her pre-school to a Montessori setup where she was in M2 - the equivalent of lower kindergarten.
Initially, she did not adjust well to it. Not the routine, not the teaching materials, not the teachers or the other kids. Every morning, she protested the whole purpose of going to school, and after a while, we felt it necessary to step in and discuss her reluctance with her teachers at the first PTM.
I recently heard a TED talk from Josh Prager about his book 100 Years, which contains pithy statements from famous writers on every year of life.
It is a beautiful talk, and the sayings are very well chosen. Many will hit home; they sure did for me.
What I found curious from those sayings was that some of the happiest people were ones in their sixties and older. I’d expected that happiness peaks alongside vigour and declines side by side with it, all other things being equal.
We’d vacationed in Coorg at the beginning of the month. One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the beautiful Kwality Estate, a working coffee plantation. The plantation is large, varied, well planned and incredibly beautiful. The pictures in the AirBnb link do not do it justice; you have to be on site to feel its impact. The estate even has its own stream and mini-waterfall! We will return to stay someday; ideally in a large group.
The parliamentary election process in India goes on for over a month in different phases across the country.
Last Thursday was ours in Bangalore. Our offices had given us the day off. The booths are crowded in the mornings, so we had a leisurely start to the day, had lunch, then took off to the booth to vote.
My daughter had come with us the last time, for the local elections.
I’ve lived in a few different cities. Of the lot, I’ve lived in Bangalore the longest - over half my life. It is where I live now, and there’s a lot I love about the city - the people, the weather, the labour market, the eating options, shopping and entertainment, etc.
There’s a couple of things I don’t like at all - the lack of water, the spotty electricity, the pollution and the traffic.
As the year comes to a close, there’s a lot to look back at.
Professionally, this was my first year where I was primarily a manager rather than an engineer. I can’t say I liked it (I didn’t), but I did learn a lot. It also helped me understand that there are some ladders that are not mine to climb. No matter what rewards exist at the top.
It was also a year where I saw significant growth in parts of my team.