Eating pork chops while petting your Golden Retriever

Fifteen years ago, as we sat in a Singapore tour bus, we heard the story of how the Singapore zoo came to be. An entire generation of kids had grown up knowing chicken only as a packet of shrink-wrapped meat bought from a supermarket that would eventually turn into a delicious dish for dinner. The …

Continue reading

Adventures in buffet optimization

Mathematically speaking, a buffet function could be expressed thus: Buffet f(x) = sigma (dish1(a1 ->n1)) + sigma(dish2(a2->n2) +… + sigma(dish N(aN->nN) (Turns out there is a WordPress LaTeX plugin that’ll make the above equation more readable but I’m skipping it in the interest of early publishing) For the purpose of this blog post, I’d classify …

Continue reading

A Sunday in Jakarta

The best part of spending a Sunday in Jakarta is their car-free zone on Sudirman Road. A nearly 8km stretch of Sudirman Road (General Sudirman was the first commander-in-chief of Indonesian Armed Forces) goes vehicle-free from 6am to 10am and it’s a total carnival atmosphere. Runners, walkers, cyclists, and families descend in droves and even …

Continue reading

A summer vacation in 1955

[Editor’s Note: My mother, a late adopter of the Internet, used to write the loveliest of letters to her children pre-Internet era. The letters stopped after I returned to India. In the past few years, after she got comfortable with Internet and gmail, the letters resumed as emails to her children. This is email #4 – …

Continue reading

Of quadrants and boring race reports

It’s written that while progress could be happening linearly, results come only in cycles. The Bhagawat Geeta says one should act without thinking of results. Of course I buy this aphorism but internalizing it is only the first step. In the weeks leading to the race (as more and more things fell into place), my …

Continue reading

The Bengali outlier

What if I told you that I know a Bengali who doesn’t eat fish. In fact he doesn’t eat meat of *any* kind. Furthermore, he convinced his parents that they too should give up fish and meat. And they did. Maybe him being an only child was a factor but still.. Reflect on this: a …

Continue reading

Why you should turn your husband into a runner

Doing repetitive monotonous things are meant for machines, robots or ‘servants’ (if you are part of the Indian middle class). I find some of these activities highly therapeutic and enjoyable. Allow me to explain. Let’s start with running. Who wants to keep a rhythmic motion minute after minute for hours together? Especially when the alternatives …

Continue reading

Every new beginning starts with a grand farewell

I’ve been around the block, as they say. Across continents and geographies.  Jan 5, 2018 was my last day at Yatra. And my team gave me the grandest possible farewell I could ever imagine. Scratch that. I couldn’t possibly have imagined the kind of farewell they gave me. A year and six months is not …

Continue reading

What Kubera can teach us about the miser philanthropist

Another Mahabharata story excavated from the tendrils of my Amar Chitra Katha memories. Specifically, from the period after the Pandavas had decimated 99% of the Kauravas clan. The Pandava kingdom was in the grip of a famine and were desperately in need of food grains, having exhausted the royal granaries. Yudhishthir the Wise (who always …

Continue reading

Resetting habit defaults

We know adding good habits is hard. Stopping bad habits is harder.. though Sam Thomas Davies will have you believe it’s not impossible. Exercise every day? Good. Smoking? Bad. Eat vegetables? Good. Daily drinking? Bad. Sleep 7-8 hours daily? Good. What about the vast spectrum of decisions in between? Uber or Ola? Flipkart or Amazon? …

Continue reading