Heads I win, tails I don’t lose

“Racing is a true experience. Only the conditions are artificial. My entire self is engaged in a genuine struggle against time and distance and those around me. All my strengths, physical and emotional and moral, are called upon to decide the issue.” – Dr. George Sheehan, How to feel great 24 hours a day. I’ve …

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Quitting in the age of vaping

If vaping was a thing back in the early ’90’s, I seriously doubt I’d have quit smoking when I did. Not that it was easy. It took a year of umpteen failed attempts with quit streaks ranging from days to months. I still don’t know the precise reason why attempt #67 worked. Perhaps it was …

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Unlocking a superpower

Decades ago, I went to bed with a raging headache. For the next 10 minutes, I performed a sequence somewhat like this – took my attention away from my forehead, imagined myself floating in the ether, then gently lowered myself into a bottomless void ever so slowly. As I floated down, a part of me …

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Mind is deeply blowing

[Title is a hat tip to the recent Bollywood masala flick where the character Simbba turns a perfectly legit American phrase into the endearingly Hinglish “mind is blowing”.] There’s much to say in this post but let me start by urging you to watch this short video where Hanli Prinsloo, competitive freediver turned ocean conservationist, …

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The crowdsourced traffic light

I’ve been wanting to write this post since 2009. Really. Have a look at Year in Bangalore – the Unwritten Posts. When we moved to Bangalore 10 years ago, good reason prevailed to not get immediately behind the wheel of a car. My last driving stint in Indian conditions was over a decade ago – …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 – …

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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 …

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