Friday, December 31, 2021

Another year goes by ...

And just like that 2021 is over! Another year has gone by ... I had a relatively busy and not-so-disciplined last quarter of the year. That is reflected in the absence of any blog posts past October this year.

As we look forward to 2022, I am hoping we can return to at least some form of normalcy in this year (or get used to whatever the "new normal" is going to be). I hope to continue to learn, read new books, and continue on my path to a healthier lifestyle.

I wish you all a very happy new year!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

The power of 1.5x

 Since I have joined my new company, my day consists of listening to a lot of recorded meetings that have happened overnight in North America (while I am fast asleep). A trick that I learnt when I started listening to podcasts a few months ago is - speed up the recording! Human beings take a lot of pauses, think and speak slow most of the times!

Our brains can comprehend other people speaking at 1.5x their normal speeds without much trouble (Yeah you have to focus better, but anyway, you are expected to focus in meetings!). The advantage is - I can save 20 minutes in a 60 minute recorded meeting (that's 33% saving of time) without any loss in the content or comprehension!


Now this trick only works if the speaker speaks at "normal" human talking speeds. It does not work in a multi-party meeting where some people tend to speak real fast. So if you have multiple people speaking at different speeds in a meeting, this may not work for you (unless everyone speaks at the same pace).

Anyway, now I have gotten so addicted to this trick that

  1. I prefer recorded meetings to live meetings cause I don't have to participate, and I can listen to the content at "my pace"
  2. I have gotten used to listening to a lot of people at 1.5x their normal talking speeds, so when I indeed have a live meeting with them, they sound super slow to me!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Voiced post

Hello people! So I decided to type this blog by using my voice.This is the first time I am using the voice typing feature in Google Docs. It's amazing to see how smart Google has become at voice recognition. 

I decided to let the blog be written without me correcting any word that Google has written. And if I have to really correct one, I would let you know that that particular word has been corrected by me manually.

I find that Google has not made a single mistake so far and can recognize my voice flawlessly. I always thought that speech recognition would be an extremely difficult task for computers to do because of all the accents that it has to address and correct for. But it looks like that does not seem to be an issue anymore. Everyday I keep getting amazed by the level of progress that we are doing as a society. It's scary to imagine the future.

I'm still struggling with punctuations. So I had to press the enter key and start new paragraphs. As I'm voicing these two paragraphs above I realized that it's a lot more easier to talk than to write. So maybe in the future the "writer's block" may be a thing of history. I can also imagine that if documents  start writing the way they do right now with my voice we could actually write a lot more as well as a lot faster than we do right now, and entire conversations could be just written down this way without someone having to actually write them down manually. So writers would just have to proofread what was automatically typed by the computer already. That's it from me folks, it's actually a weird feeling to talk to the computer and see it write down as you speak to it.

This section was written:
After I voice typed the section above, I realized that Google gets my punctutations incorrectly. So I had to paragarph and put periods and also put quotes for the "writer's block" above. The rest of the speech is as it is - verbatim - perfect. If you want to try it out for yourself, I would recommend you open a Google Doc in Chrome or Edge browser and try this function.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Acknowledge ephemeral happiness

 In our relentless pursuit of happiness, I realize that most of us have stopped acknowledging the ephemeral happiness we derive from small wordly moments every single day. 21 years into the 21st century we actually experience a lot more happiness on a daily basis than anytime in the history of homo sapiens. Most of us experience unprecedented levels of comfort, access to amazing healthcare and nutrition. Yet we as a society have now become increasingly divided, unhappy, irritable, stressed and unhappy.

While curbing societal pressures and controlling stress is something beyond everyone's reach, acknowledging happiness is definitely something we all can (and should do!). Ideally, throughout the day, we should learn to pause, acknowledge and appreciate the simple pleasures in our life. Complex things like airconditioners, refridgerators, microwaves, telephones, internet, televisions and simple things like hot water, taps, electricity etc. etc. all have enriched our life by leaps and bounds. We have completely stopped acknowledging the level of ease we have gotten used to, and constantly think of the next thing!

As you read this blog, I hope you think about all the little comforts that you have gotten used to, and starting today, pause and appreciate these fleeting moments of happiness as life passes by at breakneck speed!

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Mac for the win!

 After having used Windows for all my working life, my new company forced me to switch to a Mac. I was terrified, unhappy and was not sure I would be able to cope with the switch. The first week was a nightmare, cause I had to unlearn all my shortcuts.

For starters, Mac has no backspace, no Windows Key, no Home, no End, no Page-up and no Page-down. Function keys are in the fancy touch bar and there is this key called "Command" which does most of the work. The mouse scrolls in the opposite direction, the concept of Desktops is different and there is no start menu.

Anyway, I have now been using the Mac for almost 3 weeks now, and I think I am surviving. I am confused with a lot of my shortcuts, but slowly and steadily I am getting my speed and efficiency back. The best part of learning to use Mac was to just Google search things like "How to Page Down in Mac" and you would get the right answer to your question almost always.

The interesting part though is - I hardly use any desktop tools anymore. Almost all my work is done in the Google Workspace suite. Though I am very familiar with the Office 365 suite of products, I am lucky to have also used Google Workspace extensively before.

My preliminary impression of Mac is not that extraordinarily different than Windows. Build-qualitywise Macbook pro looks definitely "cooler" than my trusty old Thinkpad X1. But that may have not been a big reason for me to change (ever).

I have almost found equivalent alternatives for all software that I used on Windows. The only problem now is that when I go back to my Windows Laptop, I mistype my shortcuts!

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Sum Totalled Life

 Every once in a while I have this epiphany about what my life is all about because I read a book or read a tweet or a blog. This is one of those tweets by Tim Urban.

Tim Urban -

The way I interpret this tweet is - your life is a sum total of all the things that you have ever done (or to be more poetic - a sum total of all the paths you have taken). Which for me means - the books you have read, the blogs you have followed, the movies you have seen, the random tweets, facebook posts, tik-toks you have consumed as well as the people you have spent time with, the jobs you have worked on and the schools you have gone, the places you have visited and the friends you spend time with.

Now the good part of the diagram is - you still have a million different paths to go on after today. So rather than having a defitist mentality, you can still be an optimist and "optimize" the paths that you take, the things that you do, the time that you spend on going forward. Starting now, you can still choose a better path than you ever did before. And this could then be your lowest point in your life!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Letting it go

 As I grow older I realize one of the most important part of the "being an adult" experience is the ability to just "let it go". In not so positive words - it is literally getting used to the feeling of helplessness.

I had an amazingly protected childhood. I generally got what I wanted and I grew up with this attitude that I can get what I want if I work hard towards it. So, my childhood was all about, setting a goal and working towards it. Then adulthood happened and as I grow older I realize - you can't achieve a lot of things that you think you can. It's not that you are not putting enough effort or you are not focused, but there are a billion things beyond your control.

As I sit and ruminate on my present state, I think the most important lesson that I have learnt over the last decade or so is that - you have to try hard for whatever you want to do or achieve. But if you can't you have to gracefully let it go. The "being adult" part is the letting it go and moving on part. The more you can do it faster, the better your life is going to be.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Technology Uncle

As I sulk with the sadness of losing yet another tool in my technology arsenal, after having already spent many sad nights losing another one, I realize that my association with technology is at least two decades behind the current trend.

So while everyone is tiktok-ing and instagram-ming, I am still blogging. While everyone uses iPads, tablets, wearables and mobile devices, I am still most comfortable with a desktop. While everyone else is spotify-ing, I am still stuck to my rusty old radio.

If there is one lesson to be learnt from all this sadness and feeling of betrayal - I think it is that I need to upgrade things that I rely on; faster. Not only will it not lead to sulking, but also it will make me the cool uncle that I have always aspired to be.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Email Subscriptions and RSS Feeds

Google has done it again. They have killed one more of their properties just like that. It is Feedburner this time and it affects everyone who subscribes to this blog either via email or through RSS feeds.

I have manually migrated my RSS Feeds and my Email subscribers to However just like all IT migrations I am sure there are glitches. So if for some reason you stop getting emails or RSS Feeds from my blog, or better yet, you take the effort to re-subscribe now (by clicking here) that would save me a lot of heartache!

Thank you for patiently reading my rants all this while and I hope you continue to do so 😊

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Jumping off

Every once in a while I take crazy-ass decisions in my life. Yesterday happens to be one of them. Without going into the specifics. Here is a gist of what has happened - 

  • I got promoted (sorta) and I quit my current job
  • I will be taking up a new job with:
    • Reduced scope of work
    • Lower title
    • Reduced geographical coverage
    • Different business model
    • New Technology
    • New Industry

So basically, I am sort of restarting my career after 16+ years of doing more or less the same stuff (pre and post MBA). I am excited (the kind of excitement when you are standing on the ledge of a 40 floored building and looking down at the street).

Coming from an eastern religious mindset (Hinduism/ Buddhism), I believe I have several lifetimes to correct the mess. If my life was a Hollywood movie, this is the time when the protagonist does something absolutely crazy. My favorite scene for this would be Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr, doing the "Show me the money bit" in Jerry Maguire (Disclaimer - I no way think that I am Tom Cruise, nor do I think I am taking the kind of risk that Jerry Maguire was taking in the movie at this point).

However, aren't we all the main characters/ protagonists/ heroes of our own life stories? So associating with Tom is fine at this time!



And why do I want to blog about this? Well, this blog is turning out to be my life story and some milestones are best left documented.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Knowledge-net

 So this is like a follow-up to a blog post I wrote in 2014 about learning online. By now, I hope you have realized that it is practically possible to learn almost anything online. Yeah I know you can't learn to fly (for example) cause you still need an aircraft.

I feel like we are living in a unprecedented time in history where we have access to all the knowledge in the world at literally a "touch" of a button and can spend time to learn and enrich our lives with anything. This ease of access, is seriously going to jeopardize the business of higher education. I believe that in the next 10 years University education will get massively disrupted.

From my own experience, I feel like I learnt more outside of my formal education than the 4 years of Engineering and 1.5 years of MBA. And the rapid pace at which things keep changing around us, anyway continuous education is the way forward. I am not sure students of the next generation (and their parents) would be keen to spend a significant portion of their earnings on a degree that can be easily obtained online and you can choose your teachers and build your own curriculum. Ultimately though, if employers stop insisting on University degrees and recognize your education online, that would spell an end to University education the way we have known it!

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Race, Nationality and Religion

My nationality, race and religion has always been at the forefront of my "classification" within the society at home and abroad. With social media increasingly fueling people to be overly religious, xenophobic and racist, I feel that it is time to talk about these topics from a pseudo-scientific perspective without going down a slippery slope. So my dear readers, please try to read this blog post without any bias.

Nationality - By far, I think this is the easiest to identify and categorize human beings on. All you have to do is ask for their passport. But if it were that simple, then life would be easy. There are certain nations in the world that allow dual-citizenship. In that case you can have 2 nationalities (e.g. Swedish-French, American-Italian etc.). You are legally carrying 2 passports and both countries recognize you as their citizens. 

Then there are people who change their nationalities during their lifetime. For e.g. an Indian citizen can renounce their citizenship of India and become a citizen of USA etc. In that case, you have had one nationality for a few years of your life and you changed your nationality for the next few years of your life and so on.

Now, according to the very broad definition of xenophobia, it is the fear or hatred of foreigners (which would mean foreign nationals). If you decide to become a xenophobic and spew your hatred on someone, you have to make sure that they are really of a different nationality. For e.g. Anyone in the world can become an American or an Australian or a Canadian as long as they follow their immigration processes. I believe that's what the nations have been founded on. So you can't just look at a person and call them a "foreigner" and marginalize them.

This xenophobia gets even worst when people of the same nation discriminate amongst each other based on their "place of origin" in the same nation. (e.g. in India - discrimination based on the state that you "domiciled" in)

Religion - Coming from India, this is a very contentious topic. But I guess, again, religion is quite easy to understand and categorize. You follow a faith and you abide by the principles of that faith. So you could be a Catholic, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist etc. Your religious identity is very distinct from your nationality. While statistically speaking there is a higher probability of having someone from some religion coming from some nationality it is just a statistic. I mean, theoretically an entire population can decide to change their religion overnight and still maintain their nationality (in almost all countries). I do understand that some countries are formed on the basis of religion, and you are not allowed to "freely" practice another religion if you do not follow the state religion.

Race - This has been the most difficult to comprehend classification for me. As far as I have researched there is no solid-scientific basis on which to classify people into races. While we continue to desperately classify populations of people into races - this classification is inherently flawed and very difficult to prove. If you think I am wrong, I request you to comment and redirect me to credible sources on race. This classification  has caused innumerable conflicts, wars and genocides and we continue to fight amongst us on a classification that has no clear scientific basis.

The general arguments I see online sounds something like this - My ancestors came here before your ancestors, so this land belongs to me and you go "back". This argument only holds for "Nationalities". For e.g. An Indian passport holder can only live in the USA for the duration of the time that her "Visa" permits her to stay in that country. There is no argument there. And for any reason if the "relevant" authorities (The people in the immigration who determine if you are fit to stay in their country or not) decide that you have to pack your bags and go "back" (to your country of citizenship) - you have to.

Any other reason given for this argument is - xenophobic and/or racist. You can't discriminate people based on how they look, how they speak or how they dress. Human beings have existed on this planet for 150,000 years. I can confidently say that none of our 100K+ years of ancestors stayed in the same place as we stay now. You can potentially only trace back your ancestors to a few hundred years? Same goes with race. Whatever physical features of a person you see have come after 100K years of intermingling between homo-sapiens coming from around the world and evolution. Some blood-lines have had distinct features that have propagated to their off-springs, but that's about it (I am talking about skin color, eye color, shape of eyes, type of hair, height etc.)

It is time (I know this sounds so cliched) we keep these differences away and work together towards the greater good of humanity and the planet!

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Minimalist Athleisure Clothing

As we continue to work from home for more than a year now, casual clothing in client meetings has now become acceptable (sort of) in my industry. I guess the tropical climate of Singapore has a part to play, as well as the fact that these days most customers also seem to be wearing t-shirts for most meetings that I video dial into.

Over the last year, I ended up converting my entire work wardrobe to athleisure clothes only. So almost all days now I wear a t-shirt and shorts for work. I am loving this comfort and as Singapore gets hotter in the next few months, I cant be more blissful.

Long term readers of my blog know that I have been generally a big fan of Uniqlo. However, recently I discovered these amazing t-shirts from H&M and I love them. So, I guess, I need to introduce them to you.

So before you judge me, I have to explain. Since I became a minimalist, I don't like to wear t-shirts with designs or witty slogans or messages. I love my t-shirts to be super plain and if possible in solid colors. The second thing about t-shirts is that - they should be able to absorb sweat (yeah tropical country - remember?). So the Sports top Muscle fit H&M t-shirts fit my description perfectly. Same fit, 7 colors, fast-drying! What else would a pseudo-minimalist ask for?

And if you are also interested in my recommendation for bottoms, then I swear by the Decathlon Trek 500 shorts. Again, they are fast-drying, very comfortable and have pockets! Most exercise shorts seem to miss pockets and I can't live without them (keys, phone, wallet)! Unfortunately, the shorts are available in only 2 colors.

So there it is - my definition of a perfect wardrobe from working to workout and everything in between. So next time if you see me in these, don't judge me, I already told you why.

Friday, April 30, 2021


 As the COVID-19 pandemic rages in most parts of the world even after the positive news of the availability of a vaccine; it got me thinking about the resilience of our species. We have been around for at least 150,000 years (and there is a lot of evidence that we have been around for a lot more). We have had pandemics often, but we have adapted and survived.

While we wait for the medical community to come up with solutions, I am positive we will adapt and survive. That's what we have been doing all these years. So while future seems bleak, we will find a way around this as long as we remain patient and do our part.

However, I also think that we should take the COVID-19 pandemic as a wake-up call for our species to get serious about saving the planet and working towards averting climate change. This is going to be the existential challenge of the future generations, and unlike a pandemic, our species have not really seen a climate disaster of the magnitude that we are going towards.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The 500th post

This post marks a significant milestone in this insignificant blog written by a nobody.

This is my 500th post.

Wow! Never expected to be on this journey so long! While I am a procrastinator, I realize I can also be unimaginably persistent. You my dear readers have now dwindled to probably a single digit number since I started writing here more than 14 years ago. I sincerely thank you for indulging in my egocentric rants here and patiently reading whatever I have to say.

If you have been reading me for the last few years, I think these are the 4 most important ideas that have impacted me (in no particular sequence) and I believe they more or less keep repeating in one form or another in my blog posts. (A summary of sorts):

  1. Minimalism
  2. Fitness
  3. Building Habits
  4. Meditation and Mindfulness

So, 14 years, 500 posts and I hope this relationship continues - either till death (or Google) does us apart.


Sunday, March 28, 2021


So I managed to read the Miracle of Mindfulness a third time. It is a super simple book and can easily be read in a day. It is the only book I have read more than 2 times in my life, because I felt I was too shallow in understanding it.

I realize that every time I read it, I understand a little bit more about mindfulness. While it sounds very mystic and spiritual, it indeed is a very simple concept. The problem really lies in how difficult it is to be mindful every breath of your day!

If I have to summarize my understanding of mindfulness it would be - Your mind has a continuous stream of thoughts (Monkey Mind). How you "react" to those thoughts decides how you "feel" (Fear, anxiety, stress, love, hate, anger, jealousy are all feelings - outcomes of thoughts that came in your mind). When you are practicing mindfulness - all you are really doing is completely focusing on whatever task you are currently doing (eating, sleeping, reading, walking, etc.). From a mind's perspective you are neither engaging in thinking about your past or your future (consciously or subconsciously). Also, even when thoughts indeed come in your mind (which they always will!), you are acknowledging the presence of "those" thoughts, but choosing not to "engage" in them (By not "engaging" I mean you do not "feel" or "drift" with the emotion that your mind generates with regards to those thoughts). 

If you are a practitioner of mindfulness, you might as well correct me. This is my current understanding and it may definitely change as I try to implement it more in my life and potentially understand and experience it more. And if you are not yet a student of mindfulness then I recommend you give it a shot for a few days/ weeks/ months to really "experience" it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Game of Life

So I am approaching a very significant age milestone in my life. Naturally I have been ruminating about age and life in general for the past few weeks. My current understanding of the journey called "life" is a bit more gamified than before. At this stage of my life I equate it to a game.

Why do I think of life as a game now? Well, we spend first 2 decades of our life learning skills (tooling) to survive the rest of it. If we survive the first 2 decades, then we "apply" these skills and get better at it (experience). As you progress through life you collect coins (salary). The world brings obstacles in our path and based on our "knowledge" (our weapon of choice) of how to overcome the obstacle, we "solve" and move on. There is nothing truly "right" or "wrong". Whatever you do is based on your understanding of approaching life at that point in time.

As you grow older hopefully you develop more skills and/or gain more experience increase your risk appetite and the game continues. Of course there is always that probability that you do something stupid or something happens and you are terminated. The game of course only gives you 1 life (unless you believe in rebirth then you re-enter the game in a new body and start all over again - Life does not give you the possibility to save your progress mid-way unfortunately).

So if you wish to be good at this game called "Life", you need to be continuously learning and evolving. Your only weapon to survive this game is your ability (skills) to manage obstacles. The last and most important aspect is - the journey itself is the entertainment, there is nothing at the end other than the "credits" (a euphemism for game-over) which you are not really looking forward to.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

The new year lull

 Wow! Feb 2021 felt like it just zoomed past. There we were celebrating the lunar new year, and here we are at the end of the month already! Working in Singapore for the last few years, I have realized - corporate business activities tend to slow down starting last week of December and then they do not pick up much momentum till after the lunar new year. Right after the lunar new year break, businesses wake up like "Oh no, Q1 is half way through (or more!) now let's race". Work tends to get crazy busy all the way till March end. So this is now "that time" of the year.

It's been almost a year since we all started working from home. Now it has become a routine, this is the new normal (yeah sounds so cliche!) but we are stuck in this now. I was a bit more disciplined with my personal schedule in the first 6-7 months of the pandemic, but now I have more or less fallen back to my old procrastinating and lazy ways.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Motivation vs. Habit

 As I grow older, I realize that motivation is difficult to sustain and if you plan to do things because you are motivated, you generally are setting yourself up for failure. Of course, there are few awesome people out there in the world who do things out of motivation and passion, but for the rest of us a lazy weekend or a bout of Netflix is enough to kill that motivation. And then being the self-proclaimed "God of procrastination" doesn't really help me much in that aspect as well.

Over the last few years, I have realized the easiest way to work towards a goal is by forming a habit. I know I have written about habits before, but I realize I understand them better; only now. If I had discovered this trick a few decades ago, I would have been a better person. Just to give you context, I will provide two examples from my life:

My company gives me access to LinkedIn Learning. It is a treasure trove of amazing videos to learn about almost anything under the sun. Now if I set a goal like "I want to get certified in xyz", it is too far-fetched and insurmountable because of the number of lessons required to be taken and the discipline/ motivation required to study through them. However, if I set a habit like - I will listen to 15 minutes of LinkedIn Learning lessons everyday, then in a matter of 1 month, I can do almost 7.5 hours of lessons - a respectable amount of time to study a lot of things (most courses are less than 12 hours).

Another example would be my resolution to read more books. Like everyone else, I am distracted, I binge watch and then I surf aimlessly. Reading books is a boring task that requires motivation and will-power. Now how about this - at the beginning of the year make a list of books you want to read. Arrange them in this order - Jan - Book 1, Feb - Book 2 etc. Then see the number of pages in Book 1 (e.g. 300). Resolve to read 10 pages a day. Viola, you can read a book in a month.

I think forming habits is the lazy man's way towards a resolution.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021


 Since the start of the pandemic, one thing that is sourly missing is - vacations. Its been a very long time since we have taken any vacations. What this also means is that we have been working from home all the time every day in and out. I ended up forfeiting quite a bit of my leave at the end of 2020 (because my organization does not allow me to carry forward leaves). That's a tonne of rest and rejuvenation gone down the drain.

I decided that in 2021 I will take these one off, random personal time offs (PTOs). Relax and rejuvenate in the middle of the week just so that - I get some "me" time and I do not end up wasting my entitled leaves this year again. Vacations still seem to be a very distant dream.

I call such PTOs "Me-days". These are my days where I do what I want. It could be reading a book, going out for exercise or just go window shopping. The aim is to disconnect and not work and not do your household chores. I already managed to take 2 till now and lets see how this goes.

I feel like Me-days make me happy and help me recharge!

Sunday, January 31, 2021


 And before we know it, the first month of the new year is over. 2021 is no longer new. We are 8% into the year already. January has been a busy month catching up on work and adjusting to new changes. COVID-19 situation continues to be as-is and even worsening in some countries.

A new thing I seem to have discovered in the last few months is - bicycling. I think with the lock-downs, the social distancing and the overall lack of entertainment options indoors, people seem to have  generally ended-up outdoors. And if you are not the jogging kind I guess cycling is a nice form of low intensity work out. It can take you long distances, you can get some wind in your hair and also get a bit of cardio.

Singapore has been encouraging people to pedal (and generally remain active). The Park Connector Network (PCN) is an amazing network of bicycle paths that are trying to connect all the parks in the entire island so that you can literally navigate the entire island by your bicycle (or on your feet). Naturally, biking seems to have become a very common activity for a lot of people island-wide. This is evident by 2 things - the no. of people on bikes in the PCN and the general lack of new bicycles available for purchase in most bike shops.

FOMO hit me hard, and I have been trying to bike some miles last few weeks. I am not sure how long this new found hobby is going to last, but if you are sitting on the fence and thinking about a new activity to start, I guess biking should be a good one to try out in 2021 and beyond.