Stuff I Love : The Ken Subscription

Starting with this blog post, I will try to tell you the  stuff I like and why.  This is more of a personal chronicle, but I would  strongly urge you to scan the source I mention here. These will include websites, youtube channels and obscure books. The  people I love.

Starting today is a digital media subscription I took recently – The Ken Website subscription. It costed  me Rs. 3,245 for an entire year. I have read about the founder Rohin Dharmakumar, when I was working in the startup space, dabbling in a startup media startup TheTechPanda. Things went differently, and I was out of it, but thanks to my good memory – I remember the names quite well. When I saw they were launching a digital media startup,  I was one of the first ones to express interest.  While The Ken formally launched in October 2016,  I read their free piece and kept waiting. Ever since, they have sent me one email everyday – exactly at 08.05 am.  I would have read hardly 10 pieces from them – until I subscribed.  Now,  the first thing I read is the article from The Ken, before I start my day.   So, why did I subscribe?

  1.  The cover letters that come in email everyday.  Written by the author of the piece, they set an excellent tone and to me, it feels as if the author is sitting in front of me, and is now about to start their story telling.  They have recently started weekend posts as well, and the first one is just tooooo goood.
  2. Well researched content and long form journalism. After you read the piece, you feel you have achieved something – it gives you that high, that sense of satisfaction. It’s very close to drinking a cup of  Filter coffee 🙂
  3. No Agenda, No mud slinging and no hiding of  Investors. I have seen them mention Vijay Sekhar Sharma as an investor everytime  PayTM is mentioned.
  4. Narrow Categories and in depth coverage. They write on Technology, Business, Startups, Science  and Health care.  I love these  guys for staying away from Politics.
  5. Consistent quality.  It’s not easy to maintain the quality of the publication – when you are running purely subscription based and not showing me the nasty google ads everytime I come to your home. Recently, these guys became profitable and I was cheering for them from my home desk.

The Single most reason why I subscribed  –

Reading The Ken makes me happy.

It’s has its place in the list of habits I like to build really long term.  They have a free read every week, please read it for a few weeks – I promise you will be hooked, just like me.

Have a good day and keep rocking!

 

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Old School or Old Already?

I got a whatsapp from my otherwise very busy husband mid day.

“How’s the bike?  If you can’t drive – you should take cab for the next few days”.

I smiled. My bike fell and got few bruises on the way to work that morning. He was always the one to worry – about things small and big, between both of us. I responded – “Choo Chweet” followed by few smileys of hugs and kisses.  Or I thought I should. Instead, all I said was – “Bike looks manageable, let’s see”.

I could not get myself to send the emojis to convey the exact emotions going on in my mind right now.  In fact, the only emoji I have ever used is the SMILEY.  Not even blushing or winking or anything else.  Ofcourse, my husband is close to me. But, we have never managed to convert our effection digitally.  After this strange realization, I took some time and scrolled over our conversations in the last few months.

Him – “When are you coming home?”

Me – “Feed the kids, I will be late”

Him – “Ok”

Can you see love in this?  No smileys and no expressions.  However, he never asks how late i will be, or what meetings he has so he cannot feed the kids. I looked back to emails few years ago – same. Regular mundane stuff, not a letter more. I guess no matter what the external appearances reveal – some things remain old school, and never migrate digital.  And I’m glad it didn’t.

 

The Cost of Convenience

Call it coincidence or a master stroke of misfortune – both my cook and maid have taken leave for exact 4 days.  I think we managed to sail through the planned leave days – but the next day was working, and they both didn’t turn up.  I wasn’t contributing very heavily for the planned leave part – so I decided to do the heavy lifting on the unplanned leave( 5th day).  This coincided perfectly with the book I was reading – Homo Deus.

Certain strange thoughts crossed my mind, once they both resumed their work the day after. The book explains how – Humans will give up meaning in search of power.  How, we will give control of every single thing for free. Best examples – Facebook and Google. Recently, Facebook was in news for this –

Facebook admits it poses mental health risk – but says using site more can help

So, Wah. You admit that you cause misery and yet want people to believe that using more of you will bring me out of it.  I was relating this to a very strange thing – the household help. When the cook was away, we took turns to cook and the food was delicious. We started ranting about how the cook always cooks the “same” taste and how nice it is if we cooked ourselves. However, ironically – every single person at home is relieved to see the door bell ringing at 6 in the morning : a signal that cook is here.

When we cleaned our own vessels, mopped our floors – we marvelled at how neat they were. Again – repeat feelings when the maid turned up at 8 in the morning.  I told her –  Wash the boxes first, we are getting late!

We gladly gave up neatness, and variety in taste for convenience.  One can argue – you would have gained lot of extra time, which is spent in doing something useful. While it looks correct theoretically  – I cannot explain where “ALL” the free time I gained by employing a cook and maid went. I slogged a little more at work ( hey, dinner will be ready anyway), I overslept than necessary, and sometimes – spent decent time with kids.

Is the convenience worth the sacrifice? I don’t know. But, this is how we are used to, since last 3 years. Cook first entered our life when I was about to deliver my second kid, and I had plans of continuing  work after delivery.  A family of 7 including a new born – was too much with a mother in law, stickler for timings.  The cook came out of necessity, but now we are used to her.  Can I manage without her? Yes, with lot of planning and little hardwork. Will I manage without her? Hell, NO.

I think when I started using Facebook or Google – my need was driving a lot of it’s usage. Connect with old friends, market the startup blog I was driving at that moment and read up conversations on popular groups.  Google came to my rescue to discover new recipes and mostly to deepen the few hobbies I have in life.  But, now – I think I have better way of doing things instead of going to Generic Google search. Customized websites, and lot of non-facebook chatter in concentrated forums. But, Will I ever give up Facebook and Google? Hell, NO.

I think eventually that’s what gonna happen to humans as well.  We will start giving more power to Algorithms seemingly to meet a business need- but once they start ruling us : there’s no looking back.  The concept of Algorithms ruling Humans comes from Homo Deus, and it looks quite convincing to me – atleast comparing with the way I live today.

 

Raising Girls

Off late, to add to what I often think – few things I’ve heard from my friends and close people reinforced my thinking on how to raise girls.

Yes, Conventional wisdom.  Raise Girls Strong. Raise Girls Independent. Raise them to stand up for themselves.

But, at the same time : Raise Girls to blend in.  Give benefit of doubt.  Realize his parents are like hers, who cannot change at the tip of hat.  Realize not every man wants to live off his wife’s money. Realize just like the girl, guy also has lot of plans that have perfectly jeopardized because you entered his life.  And he is trying to help, genuinely.  Like you – he needs time to adjust.

If there’s one thing I’ll tell my girl, that will be –  LISTEN. EMPATHIZE. TAKE TIME TO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE ASKING OF HIM, HIS FAMILY AND LIFE.

More than anything else –  It’s good to stand up for one selves, but never at the cost of misunderstanding good people and burning bridges and hearts.

False Expectations

Little Melancholic mooood today.  May be, lack of sleep.

Every one I speak to at work, is so unhappy.  Want to get out, do many things.

My colleague wants to learn DevOps, some one else wants to open their company and what not. I’ve had these thoughts for long – penning down first time.

It is really unfair for a person, object or profession to satisfy the limitless, infinite potential filled human soul.

People say they are unhappy at JOB. And what do you expect from a job?

Money

Self Satisfaction

Challenge

Flexibility

New Technologies, Cutting Edge

And all this from a place, which is driven by Margins  & Profits. Not blaming the employers, but there is only so much anyone can do. What you experience at workplace largely depends on who you report to, and what does you day look like. Nevertheless, its is extremely rare to get a guy who has all his criteria satisfied.

But, why look at JOB to fulfill everything?

Another pet peeve of people is MARRIAGE and SPOUSE. We want so many contradicting things in our life, that lot of times we have no clue what we really want. Only one thing is sure – every one needs someone who loves them unconditionally, no matter what.  But, apart from that – it is unfair for your spouse to meet your wide range of emotional needs.

That’s why. Side Businesses are created.  Hobbies are born. Friends are kept.

Don’t be guilty.

Go on a coffee date with a friend.

Enrol that course and get your kick by starting freelancing.

Sing that song, and dance that tune.

Everytime you are frustrated with someone / something / someplace –  It’s not their fault not to live upto your expectations, it’s your fault to have those on them!

Have a good day and keep rocking!

 

 

Thoughts around Motivation

“Dolly, why can’t you stand still? This way, you will never learn bharatnatyam. Look at your hands. Why aren’t you telling aloud? Where is the sync?”…

This is a sample lovely instruction from my daughter’s bharatnatyam teacher. Not to my daughter ofcourse. She’s basically good at dance and drawing. Atleast now. As a mom, I’m allowed to bask in the fake glory that I get out of her own natural competence. But now, that’s not the point of discussion. It’s dolly. I accompany saanvi for the saturday class and sit with her for 10-15 minutes to keep her motivation levels intact, or more as per my foolish assumptions. I know this girl, who is a very good friend of Saanvi – who is just not physically or mentally ready to take on the demands of classical dance. Her mom gets infuriated from time to time at the treatment meted out to her daughter. I would too, putting myself in her shoes. But, something strange happens here.

The girl continues to come.

Class after Class.

Week after Week.

Simply, because she enjoys dancing , with her friends. She likes the teacher.

And yesterday – I go and see her performing extremely well. Her postures are good and she didn’t miss a step. The teacher was still demanding perfection – but, in my eyes that girl has achieved something that millions of adults are struggling to achieve.

Including ME.

Why bring up all this? The girl does not know the consequences of a lot of things in life. She’s 5 years old and all she wants to do is go all out and enjoy with her friends. Never mind she can’t get her posture correct. Never mind her teacher scolds her. Never mind her mom keeps correcting her all the time she’s around.

She’s never missed a Class. And the result was awesome to see.

I’ve long carried fancy to run non stop – atleast 5K.  This year, I’ve started multiple times to run and stopped. What exactly goes through my mind in these times?

Stage 1 : Oh, Look at me. Need to cut down on weight. Also, if I’m a couch potato, how can I possibly teach my kids to be fit? It is only natural for them not to respect what I’m saying. Rite?

Stage 2 : Read new and old stuff again and again. Until I get bored to death.

Stage 3 : Chalk out a plan.

Stage 4 : Start doing it, for a couple of days.

Stage < not planned >  : Something happens like Aunt Fanny visiting,  staying overnight watching standup comedy which naturally results in skipping the next planned routine.

Stage 6 : Doesn’t exist anymore. I behave as if I have never thought about this in my life.

Stage 7 :  Crib about this to myself, insult and berate at the innate disability to follow through my plans. Make a not-so-nice entry in personal diary. Later, read it and delete it : I can’t be so harsh to myself!

Stage 8 : Go back to Stage 1.

Had I just made effort to consistently practice, irrespective of what happens : I would have long done by 5K by now. With that, I have another perspective of the whole thing : When you are a kid, there are people who force you irrespective of your will & wish. And the more you do, the more you get better at it. Basic neurology. But, once you are done & dusted with the education system and get into a cushioned job : There’s no one to push you. We aren’t taught to push ourselves.

This is going to be my next scholarly pursuit – How to motivate yourself when there’s no exam to fail or medal to show off?

Anyway, I guess this’s enough rant for a quiet sunday morning. See ya folks!

 

Things I Learnt from My Mom

Being a mom is not easy.  Being a daughter? Even tough.  It goes beyond words to explain the effort every mother puts in raising their kids. As mother makes various sacrifices and raises them, the kids grow well, and it is extremely hard to find the wonderful qualities she has. I had turned to my mom during the toughest of times, and her smiling face has been always a great source of strength. As every human, she comes with few quirky traits too, but they are endearing too 🙂

As my maternity leave comes to an end, I keep thinking on the things me & mom have talked about, and how she’s been advicing me some of the most practical stuff I have heard in my life. In no particular order, here are the things I learnt from my mom:

a) Live in the Present : not a second before, not a second after. When I see the look in her face after cooking a hearty meal for us, I know the feeling she has.  As I share with her on some of the non pleasant things that happened in life, she smiles and says – live in the present. Soon, this minute will be gone too. These are the things that define your life when you are dead.

b) Happened is Happened. What next?! –  My mom says this with her trademark english accent. After I delivered the baby, I had series of health issues, some of which can be directly attributed to the stuff I did during my pregnancy. As I crib over and over on my foolishness, she keeps repeating this sentence until it fixes firmly in  my head. Sooo true.

c) Do your BEST, wherever you can –  This one she did not tell me, but whoever observes her can make this out. Wish the best, talk the best and do the best.  Hard, but with a living example – I should try too 😀

d) Responsibility is Responsibility. Period –  As I see her suffering silently under the name of responsibility many a times, I wonder what makes her stay put. As I talk with her over tea and biscuits – she explains her philosophy of respecting the position and thus the person holding it. No grudges whatsoever.

As every kid in the world would say, ” My Mom is the best! “, I too say this with my whole heart.