Speed reading – Day 43

My average reading speed is 250 words per minute. This speed is extremely slow and laughable among book reading pioneers. To improve my reading speed, I started reading this book called Speed reading with the right brain by David Butler. The book is well written and I tried the technique mentioned in the book. It seemed to work quite well given I read it last night and I am trying to read everything with my right brain now.

Meaning – I am trying to read fast and visualize the words rather than sub-vocalizing them. Ever since we were kids we have been sub vocalizing everything we read. Sub vocalizing is reading the words in our head. This process is highly inefficient as one first has to read the words and then try and comprehend the meaning.

Contrary to popular belief, we do not have to read everything in the head to understand its meaning. Glancing the word works just as well. The problem is, we are not used to this way of reading and this might take some time to get used to.

I plan on using this technique to increase my average reading speed to about 500 words per minute. It is an ambitious goal, but hey so is reading 180 books a year.

See you on the other side. 😉

Ailbaba and 40 opportunities- Day 42

I just finished reading Entrepreneur: Jack Ma, Alibaba and the 40 Thieves of Success written by a guy called Winson Ng whose personal story is quite impressive. An engineer by education and an acid attack victim transformed his life by writing books by the dozen and creating a publication which goes by the name Think Maverick. They have published close to 500 books so far, according to their website.

This is quite impressive for a couple. This got me thinking, if I can write for 42 days straight (even if I don’t feel like), maybe I can write a book and publish it on Amazon for minimal cost? I might have 0 sales, but hey I’d never know unless I try.

Jack Ma is an interesting personality and Entrepreneur: Jack Ma, Alibaba and the 40 Thieves of Success revolves around his life and principles that he considers to be his secrets for success. However, he dares us to try things beyond these rules even if he doesn’t agree with them and prove him wrong. After all, even he is a human being. From what I have read, Jack  is portrayed to be a very humble human who is aware of his roots.

Overall, this book a good mid afternoon light read. It barely has 100 pages, so you can glide past them effortlessly.

Meanwhile, I think even I should start writing a book.

Inequality for all – Day 41

I was watching this really interesting documentary by Robert Reich and I realized how stupid I have been all my life. In 2008 when the global economy crashed, I was in the tenth grade and didn’t have a clue. The word recession was Greek to me. My parents didn’t make me realize the gravity of the situation, at that time. But now that I am reading more books on varied topics, I realize how stupid I have been all of my life.

Reading books is a habit that really opens your eyes to a lot of things you didn’t know about. Books set you up, for life. Speaking of, I am still behind on my 1 book every two days target, which I plan on catching up soon.

Meanwhile, I am not going to write a long post today as Sapiens is calling me. 🙂

Watch Inequality for all. Great documentary.

Work Life Balance? – Day 40

All corporate companies boast of a work life balance but is it all on paper? Do they really adhere to these commitments? I have seen very less people who are truly happy and truly successful at their job. This is a very rare occurrence and almost all of them aren’t bound by restrictions and limits.

My definition of happiness is not just the amount of money you earn or the amount of work you do. It should be a whole lot of other things which includes things you love to do but don’t get paid for. When I see people working 24×7 365, I often wonder what drives them to work so much. Maybe they love work more than anything else in this whole wide beautiful world? Maybe they strive to climb the corporate ladder? But given that there are so many people trying to climb the proverbial ladder, the probability of getting up high reduces drastically. I cannot find a definite answer to these questions and they have been haunting me for quite some time now.

If people know that their probability of climbing the ladder is tiny, given the competition, why do they even try? Why not build your own staircase instead? Better yet, build an elevator!

I often see 30 to 40 year old people with white hair who pull long hours at work. It can’t just be a coincidence or bad genes that all of them have white hair because they are getting old. It must have to do with stress and the amount of work they are handling. It is quite unnatural for a 35 year old person to have white hair, as much as it is unnatural for a fit human being to sit for 10 hours in front of a machine that quite literally runs the world.

Humans have been enjoying work life balance ever since we first evolved. Hunter gatherers only worked for the food and once they ate a deer, they were free to do extra curricular activities that actually make them happy. In this time and age, we are doing something which is completely opposite of what our ancestors did. Working for extensive hours, extra curricular activities – not so much.

In mankind’s eternal search of happiness, are money and work life balance an elegantly crafted global ponzi scheme where both the perpetrator and victim are same?


Time – Day 39

Roped in a teeny tiny profit of 15 rupees trading today. I know its a very small amount, but it still helps to boost your motivation. For instance, today I was sitting on an unrealized profit of 200 rupees! But I got greedy and started thinking of unrealistic scenarios where I could make a shit ton of money in one bet and then chill out.

However, trading doesn’t work like that. Its all a game of probability. I had hit my target price which was around 200 rupees and I could have closed the trade and booked that profit. However, greediness overtook me and I did not square off my position.

Result? I lost all of that profit and booked a measly 15 rupees as profit. I am not complaining, because any number in green is any day better than a red. I must adhere to strict targets and stop losses. Timing is everything. If I had waited for 5 more minutes, I could have made 100 rupees but I was hasty because everything pointed that I was going to lose money. I think I need more of Philakone’s videos.

I am behind on a lot of things I thought I would do this month. There is so much to do and so less time.

Although, you must persevere. Come what may.

I know my posts aren’t worth a read and I really appreciate it if you still read my blog, but this is like a journal I write for myself. If I write a blog post that I think is worth sharing, I will definitely share it with you, my faithful reader. 🙂

Crude Oil Inventory – Day 38

Crude Oil is traded all over the world and inventories are probably one of the main events that happen in crude. Millions of traders all over the world are glued to their computer screens when crude oil inventories arrive. I myself refrain from trading during crude inventories because as soon as the inventory arrives, the market over reacts and jumps an obscene number of points in either direction.

Doesn’t matter what the inventory denotes, the market takes a plunge somewhere and then settles down after a while. I sold crude at 4094 and closed it at 4084 booking a sweet 80 rupees profit excluding taxes. However, post inventory, it broke 4000 and went down right to 3960! If I had kept my position and closed it at 3964 I could have a made a whopping 1200 rupees profit excluding tax! Such drastic amounts of P&L is possible because crude is highly leveraged.

As I write this post (11:00 PM), I am sitting on an unrealized loss of 100 rupees. It is still oversold on the RSI and I am hoping it would that it would jump to 4k levels so that I can book a decent profit, or at least break even. However, now that I only have half an hour to close my position, this seems highly unlikely. I might have to book a loss.

Lets see how that goes.

Update – 11:20 PM – I booked a loss of 200 rupees.

Trading is a serious business.

Silence – Day 37

One of the advantages of having a canker sore is that you don’t have to talk to people often. People do not bother asking you silly questions or engaging you in a pointless conversation if they know that every time you speak, you hurt. Literally.

I have been exploiting this trait to the maximum. It has also helped me think twice before talking to someone. Thanks to meditation, a clear mind keeps me focused and busy at the task at hand.

I have created a checklist now, which reinforces the way I interact with people. Only when all the checklist options have been signed off do I initiate the conversation.

PFB points for reference.

  1. Is this of importance to me/other person?
  2. Does the other person really need to know this?
  3. Will it affect the other person’s mood significantly in a negative way? (this is tricky)
  4. Will I/other person have a meaningful conversation revolving around this topic?

Keeping these points handy keeps me and my canker sore in check. Because less unnecessary conversations equals less bullshit equals clear head. 🙂

Yesterday – Part 2 – Day 36

This is a continuation of my previous post.

I have tried all possible solutions to cure the painful ulcer in my mouth. I finally decided to visit a doctor and she gave me B Complex tablets. Lets see if that checks out.

Meanwhile, I was asking suggestions from my friends and colleagues for vernacular recipes of mouth ulcer cures. I got a lot of different answers from everyone.

1. Fenugreek seed powder, soak in water and drink

2. Spinach and its variants

3. Heat ghee and apply

4. Apply coconut oil

5. Eat pani puri

6. Drink Coconut milk

7. Drink plenty of water

8. B Complex

These are just to name a few. I am going to take B complex tablets today and see if it gets cured. I have also found another two reasons for the ulcer

1. I bit my tongue

2. Improper sleep

Also, I was working all night last night, so this is just going to intensify.

P.S. – The ulcer looks like a duck, literally! I’m not going to creep you out with a picture though.


What to Eat and What not to Eat? – Day 35

“How on earth do I get mouth ulcers when I haven’t had meat in a month!”, I asked my room mate.

“Probably, something wrong with digestion?”, he replied.

I recalled that I did have 3 samosas with cake and some stupid juice the previous day. I also skipped dinner, because hey I had 3 samosas with cake and some stupid juice!

There are several possibilities on the cause of my mouth ulcer, which is extremely painful. There are several solutions to this as well, but I am not sure which is the correct way. So I’m going to do all of them. This process might cost me some money.

1. Eating too many eggs.

Problem – I did eat too many eggs this past week. So there could be unnecessary heat in my body looking for a way out which ultimately took the form of a mouth ulcer.

Solution – Eating lots of banana’s and banana milk shakes and some more bananas with curd rice.

2. Indigestion due to samosa.

Problem – I had 3 samosas which were cold and probably not in the best of shape which might have led to indigestion and mouth ulcers.

Solution – Again, Bananas and Pani Puri. Pani Puri? Yes! My room mate suggested this and turns out, its great for digestion – The Pani in the Puri.

3. Iron deficiency.

Problem – I was a healthy chicken consumer which provided all the necessary iron content to sustain my lifestyle. However, when I stopped eating chicken abruptly and ate only Dosai, the iron content was lost.

Solution – Start eating chicken again / Eat lots of spinach, regularly. Eat other food that has plenty of iron content.

All three data points look valid enough to me, I think I would have to wait it out and find what the solution to this tragedy is.

Saturday Musings and Bananas – Day 34

Saturday mornings are the best. After a quick meditation session, I went to a new mess today. I think I mentioned this earlier, but the best thing I like about mess (small restaurants that serve food) here is after you finish eating, you clean after yourselves. Typically, we eat in a banana leaf and at the end of your meal,you trash the leaf in the dustbin full of used banana leaves.

There are certain affluent places where the waiters trash your banana leaves for you, but I prefer abstaining myself from such affluence. Its the simple things in life that keep you humble and grateful.

Breakfast was two Dosai, as usual. At the billing counter, I told the cashier that I had two Dosai and handed her 30 rupees – the standard cost price of two Dosai in this locality. To my surprise, this mess only charges 20 rupees for 2 Dosai and boy do they taste good!

I think I have found my soul mess.

Coincidentally, the mess I had breakfast today is called Apple Mess.

Like Adam and Eve found an apple in the garden of Eden, I have found Apple mess in the garden of messes. Yes, the word messes sounds wrong but I am still using it. This is how humans evolved from Shakespearean English to modern English. I am just another measly catalyst for the future development of this young language.

I then bought a dozen bananas from the general store right opposite Apple mess. The lady is a kind hearted, environment friendly lady who recently started using cloth bags instead of plastic! I asked her why she switched back to plastic. Sadly, her pockets are shallow and cloth bags burn a hole through them.

Her answer was one of sadness and thought. She said how plastic bags are way cheaper than cloth bags. Also, no neighboring shops have adopted cloth bags. People do not understand the impact of plastic to the environment. She is a businesswoman and has an inventory to maintain. Only if someone did something about this. Ironical, isn’t it?

These are the bananas I bought. They might look less because I ate 3 already.

There are two old friendly ladies who do the cleaning and mopping of our rooms every other day. I have known them for quite some time now. While I was parking my cycle in the hostel, they asked me how much did I buy the bananas for. I said 60 rupees for a dozen. They were astonished. They said that those bananas were easily 1.5 kilos and the bananas they buy are usually 50 rupees a kilo. They were impressed by my bargaining skills. I confessed that I bought the bananas from the kind hearted, environment friendly lady down the street. They continued their discussion in a language which is a mix of Kannada and Tamil, of which I understand bits and pieces.

They were saying something along the lines of, “We must try this grocery store and see what this kind hearted, environment friendly lady has to offer.” I offered them to weigh the banana bunch and they were happy that these fruits were ripe and heavy. One of the old ladies said to me, “Eat two bananas every day Thambi*. Don’t keep them for long or else they will perish.” This reminded me of my grandmother.

I assured them that I will eat those bananas religiously, smiled and walked up to my room.

This was the first time I was recommending a grocery store to someone a lot elder than me. Such an eventful and jolly good morning today was. 🙂

*Thambi – Thambi is a Tamil word of affection for younger brothers. I mention affection because, it can be used by everyone. Mothers call their kids Thambi, Uncles call their nephews Thambi. You are almost always a Thambi to anyone who is elder to you. (only if you are guy)

I once had this discussion with a friend on how Thangachi (Tamil for younger sister) is not used as liberally as Thambi. We still don’t know why. If you do, please let us know. 🙂

Update – Pointed out by a friend — Akka is more liberally used than Thambi. 🙂