Sunday, November 22, 2020

The irony of hindsight

 So 17/Nov/2020 we quietly celebrated the first anniversary of the discovery of COVID-19 on WhatsApp. I think that date is disputed and based on this article by SCMP. WHO declared its existence to the world only on 31/Dec/2019. As I look back, I find it ironic that I took a day off on 31st December of 2019 to celebrate the end of a decade and the start of a new one! We had no clue of how bad this pandemic is going to be all the way till Feb 2020!

As we prepare to look forward to the last month of 2020, I do not see hope in things improving any faster. Outbreaks continue, lock-downs are common place and travel, tourism and a host of other related activities are a distant memory. While we all await the vaccine with bated breath, my pessimistic mind says, it ain't gonna happen so soon. And then distributing the vaccines across the globe is going to be another "unprecedented" logistics nightmare!

I remember reading articles and thinking about "Vision 2020" and "How will the world be in 2020" a few decades ago. No where did we talk about locking ourselves in our homes, wearing masks, avoiding people and working our a$$ off from home. But here we are in 2020 now, and that is the new normal.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Continue reading books

Books haven't been my go to source for entertainment ever. Almost 3 years ago, I tried to build a "book reading" habit into my daily routine before I sleep, and I have managed to keep it that way now for a while. Yesterday I managed to finish my 12th book of this year and I am happy to say that I managed to stretch my resolution of reading a book a month to the third year. I hope to keep this resolution (forever?).

Of course, sometimes I read really small books and sometimes I get stuck in super big ones. Overall, I just manage. I have realized that I am not a fan of fictional books, but they are the fastest to read. In non-fiction, I am not particularly fond of "self-help" books. I think I mainly love reading business books, and recently have taken special liking for history. Managed to read 2 books about India's history this year and the 3rd book is on its way in the postal mail as I write this blog post.

I don't manage to retain everything I read in a book, but well, bits and pieces and some novel ideas do stick in the back of my brain for most books. If you are consuming all your information these days from news sites and social media, I implore you to read books of topics you like. And if you are a voracious reader, I admire you!

The US elections that just went by, seem to me like one of the most divisive elections I have ever seen (in my lifetime). It could be because of social media, or just that anything that happens in the USA gets a lot more media coverage than anything happening anywhere else. Anyway, reading all the caustic news occasionally, has strengthened my resolve to read more books I like and not get unnecessarily bothered by political  happenings on the other side of the planet.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle

After we are done (whenever that is) with COVID-19 and the US Elections, we still have to come back to the looming problem of Climate Change. It may be on the back burner now, but it is just a matter of time before it raises its ugly head again. While I am no scientist, I do believe that we all can contribute to reducing our (human race's) impact on the fragile ecology (or whatever is left of it now).
I think the age-old saying of Reduce - Reuse - Recycle needs to be somehow changed to emphasize on the fact that we need to reduce a lot more than we have to reuse and we have to reduce and reuse a hell-lot-more than we have to recycle. Only then, we have any hope of saving the planet. My not-so-clever brain came up with this inverted pyramid to depict that:

Rather than simply engaging in green washing, think about your environmental impact in everything you do. For e.g. by now, I hope you have read that plastic bags are environmentally more friendly (if you reuse them) than cotton bags (reuse 45 times than reuse 7100 times to have the same life-cycle effect). Anyway, let's revisit the terms Reduce - Reuse - Recycle again:


Buy less. Use less paper, plastic, food. Use less electricity. Use less water. Walk where you can drive your car. Take public transport wherever you can. Don't waste stuff. Every action you do, think of your environmental impact. Remember, the world has to last even after you are gone. So reduce the irreversible change that you are inadvertently causing.


Reuse plastics, reuse paper, reuse clothes, reuse utensils. Reuse whatever you can. Be stingy for the environment. It is not about how much you can afford anymore (most of us are rich enough to afford quite a bit of luxury and be wasteful). It is all about the environment now.


If you can't reuse, then remember that most countries now have recycling programs. If you try you can find out how you can recycle your stuff. Make sure you segregate at source so that items put for recycling are really recycled.