MonthEnd – Day 31

Today was a very eventful day. When I was taking out my cycle on the way to work, the cook at my usual hotel stopped me and asked why his Facebook app wasn’t working as expected. I said I do not know, because I do not use Facebook. He was shocked. I suggested that he uninstall and reinstall the app, but I am not quite sure he understood that.

Yesterday, my mom told me that I shouldn’t eat between 6 to 9 today because of the Lunar Eclipse. I am really hungry right this moment and I am probably going to stuff my stomach with delicious good food aka Dosai.

Tomorrow is the first of February which marks one complete month of me writing everyday after starting this blog. *pats self on back* Self praise is important. So is self loathe and self pity, not necessarily in that order.

DR – 7/10

Belief – Day 30

Yuval Noah Harari is a brilliant man who has done his research. I have read only about 1/5th of Sapiens and I am already so intrigued by the ideas presented in this book.

Sapiens really makes you think about life and the world around you. It’s not what I would call being mindful, but somewhere along the lines of being aware and not being naive. There is a particular chapter which makes you believe how all of our lives have been a lie, revolving around a system that was specifically created for it to make us believe this lie.

Sounds scary right? Read Sapiens and it will open your eyes.

Belief is a very powerful tool.

Make use of it.

DR – 7/10

Meditation – Day 29

The first thing I did in the morning today after waking up was firing up my phone and opening Headspace. Hands down, the best morning ritual for anyone looking for a clearer head.

For the uninitiated, Headspace is a guided meditation app which guides you through the path of mindfulness, free at first, then I think they charge 200 rupees per month? Well, you could opt out and do it on your own. But spending money has a drive to motivate some people, or so they think. In reality, it is the complete opposite.

I have a friend who spends money planning on doing something but then does something entirely different. Dear Friend, if you are reading this right now, I know you must be either laughing or hurling abuses at me. This is my humble attempt at motivating you. Hopefully, humiliating you in my blog would boil your blood enough to get off of your lazy ass and do something. Please don’t hit me though.

Coming back to the topic at hand. Meditation is powerful. I had a great day at work today, because I was more mindful of all the things happening around me. I also watched a documentary on Scientology which shows how the founder of Scientology* (basically a science fiction author) published more than 1000 books in his life time! He is an actual record holder for this particular feat. Even if he wrote 1 book a month, he could only write 600 books in 50 years. Clearly, this is a fiction writing prodigy. To my ears, this sounds like a challenge and a very tough one at that. I don’t say challenge accepted yet, because I have another challenge in progress. But eventually, 1500 books is the feat to beat. Oh I am also going to rate my days starting today. Rating days motivate you to get more stuff done, so that you give it a higher rating. 🙂

DR – 8/10

*Scientology is a religion formed by L. Ron. Hubbard  which believes in a wide variety of things. Actors like Tom Cruise and John Travolta are followers of this religion. But before you jump in and become a follower yourself, I would recommend doing a simple google search and opening your eyes about it. Better yet, watch the documentary ‘Going Clear: Scientology and the prison of belief’.

Time Travel – Day 28

I remember a very specific idea discussed in college by a friend. He said that if we manage to travel faster than the speed of light, we can see the past. This is a very intriguing idea and its applications are limitless.

For starters, if you are watching a star in the night sky – Proxima Centauri around 4.24 light years away. This implies that it will take light 4.24 years from the star to reach earth, and the opposite holds true as well. It takes 4.24 light years for the light from earth to reach Proxima Centauri.

So hypothetically, if a planet like earth is present 10 light minutes away from Proxima Centauri, then that planet right this moment, can see what happened on earth, 4.24 years ago. So, if we do manage to travel instantly to Proxima Centauri, we could hypothetically solve all crimes that have happened for the past 4 years on planet earth.

“The farthest star we can see with our naked eye is V762 Cas in Cassiopeia at 16,308 light-years away.” – (Source : Google)

The applications do not stop here, imagine what anthropologists and historians could achieve with this feat. The implications on a sociopolitical level are enormous. Religions could either be banished or widely accepted with just a bit of research. Empires could be overthrown or made in a fortnight. We could then study how our ancestors lived and all their knowledge could be put to good use.

History however, tells us one more thing about discoveries. Whenever there is something positive, there is bound to be an equal and opposite negative. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, Nuclear energy and the Nuclear weapon. Government scrutiny and stalking could go through the roof, that is if government’s exist. There would be no privacy for humans, at all. Imagine living every moment of your life knowing that someone somewhere can possibly see all that you are doing right this moment. The invention of tools to scramble data given out to space is admissible, but innovation only invites more innovation. With generic increase in security, the quality of hacking increases hand in hand.

The yin and the yang.

We are stuck in an eternal tug of war between good and bad in this cosmos, where winning is illusive, so is good and bad. One person’s good could be another’s bad.

In the grand scheme of things, there are no winner and losers. We are stuck in a zero sum game and the only way out is to play.

I sincerely hope you like playing.

 

P.S. – Apologies if this post ended in a gloomy way. Courtesy of a gloomy day.

Downsizing – Day 27.1

Spoiler alert – This post contains spoilers

I watched the film Downsizing today. I have wanted to watch this film from a long time. I have been toying with the idea of how much space one would get if we were actually very tiny ever since I was a kid.

The reviews of the film aren’t great but I absolutely loved it. Probably because this is the only film I watched this month. Also, I decided to not watch films at all this year. This gives me more time to do stuff that are actually productive. However, my creative side has been taking a back seat. No matter the amount of blog posts I churn out, I still lack the regular insights I used to get from films. I am BIG film fanatic, I used to watch 2-3 films on weekends and many more on weekdays. Those were the days.

Downsizing is about an invention by a scientist who manages to shrink people like the hit 90s TV – Honey I shrunk the kids! But here, they shrink everyone and people opt voluntarily to be shrunk because the value of your bank account increases when you are the size of a finger.

On the outset, people lead lavish lives, nobody works, they party all the time. Then comes the poor people that somehow manage to shrink themselves but are not allowed in gated cities which are protected from animals and insects. So, the people get smuggled in TV boxes and what not. There are lot of things that are not addressed in the film and leaves the audience hanging. The story then pivots towards a slightly 3rd world miniature city where smuggled immigrants live out of giant make shift boxes. Matt Damon then meets a cleaning lady and falls in love with her, not right away, but eventually. All thanks to his rich friendly neighbor who takes them on a trip to Norway.

The people from Norway have a very doomsday-ish outlook and think the world is going to end. So they build a small tunnel which goes very very deep where they plan on continuing the human race for around 8000 years. That’s a lot of years living in a hole.

Our protagonist and his love chose not to go in the hole and instead help people, which makes you feel warm and fuzzy. The film ends with Matt Damon giving food to a tiny homeless guy watching normal sized television in a normal sized box, which translates to a homeless guy watching theatre sized television in a big hall which is actually the verandah of a big housing colony where lots of people live. The end.

I think I am going to watch 12 films this year, or 24 hours of films. One day a year for films sounds fair.

Films are great, but too many films make you flimsy.

Of Restaurants and Receipts – Day 27

One of the major differences I see in the cultural food habits in South India and Bombay are the way payments are made. No matter where you go in Mumbai, there are waiters ready to take your order and at the end of your meal, hand you a bill.

On the contrary, in most south indian restaurants, the concept of writing down a receipt does not exist. Most prevalent among those restaurants are eateries which are lovingly called ‘mess’. The waiter / waitresses in such places are called akka / anna, chetta / chechi, depending on the part of south india you visit. The most interesting part however is when you go to pay for your food to the cashier, who is usually a stout / old – man / lady, you say what you had by yourself. The akka / anna, chetta / chechi doesn’t accompany you or rather does not even notify the cashier what your meal was.

There is so much trust in the customers that the mess owners believe that they will not lie. Transactions are made on good karma. So, in this scenario even if you had a hefty meal with lots of eggs, you could just say 2 dosai, pay the fare of 2 dosai and walk away.

Or so I thought.

There was a group of 3 students who came to eat at this particular mess where I was having my usual two dosai and one omlette. At the cashier, I promptly told the old lady what I had for breakfast and she gave a reassuring nod that approved of my eating habits. I handed her a 50 rupee note and got back the 5 rupee change. We exchanged thank you’s and I left. As I was unlocking my cycle right outside the mess, the 3 students were having a hard time telling the old lady what their breakfast was. To make things worse, she called their waiter to check if they were telling her the truth. Turns out, they were telling her that they had Two Sada Dosai, instead of Two Roast Dosai because they thought both kinds of Dosai cost the same. Typical rookie mistake. It was sorted right away and they paid her the fare.

My question here is how did the old lady come to know that they did not have sada and something else instead, when she was sitting in the cashiers place all this while? There is also a small wall between where those students were eating and the cashiers. There are no cctv cameras in this place.

This is not the only place I have observed such instances happen. Most cashiers who do not believe in the system of receipts and bill, somehow have an inherent power of gauging truth from a lie. Such cashiers have an old school ancestral power passed down from generations, that does their bidding.

Could our next generation of restaurateurs implement this technique and imagine being profitable? Only time will tell.

However, If I open a restaurant, I am definitely learning this ancestral knowledge from mess cashiers and implementing them in my business venture.

Because, Inventory is a bitch whilst Karma isn’t. 🙂

Brutus – Day 26

Today has been a very eventful day so far, I finished reading two books that I started and came in close contact with a poisonous centipede which is also called as Puran in Tamil.

Super Human by Habit (Tynan)

This book is a life saver for procrastinators, it is a very practical book accompanied with a generic idea of habits that one should ideally implement to make life better. The methods mentioned in the book are tried and tested, I have also read the same methods in multiple articles, all over. In fact, I have also implemented some of these habits. Change is good. Go ahead and read this book, it won’t disappoint you.

Julius Caesar (Shakespeare)

I have heard people use ‘Et tu Brutus?’ a lot of times, especially in and around my workplace. I wanted to see for myself what the fuss was all about. Now that I have read the book / act / play, it is beautifully written. But the plebeian’s (old roman commoners) are downright plain stupid. Going whichever direction, whoever provokes them to, be it Brutus or Antony or Caesar himself. Come to think of it, so are the masses in our present time.

The old English was tough to read, really really tough. It was as if I am reading a dream. I quite literally felt like I was reading in a dream, which is a thing I like about old English. O, and the drama! (Do you see how I used O instead of Oh there? xD)

Thanks to this website, I was able to finish reading it in a less dreamy way. Still worth the read.

I really need a catchphrase to end my posts with. I also need a rubber band to tie my hair. Suggestions?

Information Overload – Day 25

Three days ago I embarked on a journey to finish 1 book every other day. Since then I have been reading books whenever I find the time, eating, before sleeping, after waking up and whenever I feel my mind wandering away. I have been reading two books now, The Blockchain Alternative and Super human by habit and I already feel I have read too much of both of these books.

I am going to tweak the challenge a little, instead of completing 1 book every two days, i will complete 15 books every month, which ultimately at the end of the year, amounts to the same number. Too much of one idea / topic / might bore me. It is also very exhausting, atleast for starters. Too much of an idea, all at once when you have a headache and lack sleep, is a recipe for disaster.

But hey, I am still going to try that recipe, because that’s what I do.

Peace out. *drops imaginary mic*

Podcasts – Day 24

Podcasts are a great way to make the most of your time, especially when you are commuting. My daily commute rounds up to a total of 30 minutes cycle ride from work and back. This is the most unproductive part of my day. I then came across this great invention by humankind – podcasts.

Now, I am jamming to some podcast or the other, on my way to work and back. I am a big fan of the Kevin Rose Show, mainly because he covers a wide array of topics in his sessions with guests. Sessions range from bio hacking to growth hacking to stoicism. The most recent podcast I listened to was on stoicism which is a pretty insightful and a very practical way of life, adopted by ancient Greeks and Romans. To know more about Stoics and Stoicism, follow ‘The Daily Stoic’ on Twitter.

Podcasts are however a great substitute to video interviews, you are not distracted by the video and the podcast has your complete undivided attention. I recommend downloading the ‘Podcast Addict’ app, which has every possible podcast on the internet.

Podcasts are the best. So are audio books, but audible expensive. Kindle unlimited zindabaad.

Recommended apps – Podcast Addict, Librivox

Twice Written (Book Review) – Day 23

Written by a theoretical physicist, this book wounds around the life of three young people trying to find meaning in life. Loaded with philosophical thoughts that typical teenagers don’t really have, at least I didn’t when I was a teenager.

Set in South Bombay in the 80s, the author makes a very good job of writing things as they were. I think this book is underrated on goodreads – 3.6/5. I would definitely rate it a 4.3. But then again, I haven’t read that many books.

There is a particular character in the book who goes by the name Dorai. His presence in the book undergoes a very positive transformation from mysterious and detached to spiritual and cozy. There is a particular book that the author mentions, which is present in Dorai’s library – The Serpent Power written by Arthur Avalon / Sir John Woodroffe. Coincidentally, I had bought a book around 7 years ago, called The World as Power written by the same author in the early 1930s.

It is not a famous book, with only 4 ratings on goodreads, but very insightful. The English used in the book is so intense that I have to find the dictionary after every two lines. This book might take some time to finish. I’m also reading two other books side by side. More on that later.

P.S – Don’t YouTube/Instagram/Facebook, instead read a book. 🙂