February 25

Being strong by being Quiet

Every book is an insight into someone’s soul, a lifetime of discovery condensed into an easily digestible format. Yet not all books are created equal. Most books touch you but very few can be termed as profound. One such profound book that I read recently was Quiet: The power of introverts by Susan Cain. It touched something inside me and turned a life knob or something. I see the world very differently after having read this book.

Take a moment and imagine some of the things we do every day: speak up, speak out, push back, write about achievements, advertise our work, evangelize things we believe one. There is a common thread that binds all these behaviors: they are all extrovert behaviors to a certain degree.
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December 24

What is the opposite of bliss?

This blog, like many other blogs I have written in my life, was triggered by a book I am reading. The book I am reading right now is called Krishna: The man and his philosophy by Osho. I don’t believe in religion for sure and was a little skeptical about reading this. But it came up in a conversation with a friend and I liked what he was talking about. I decided to read it and one of the lines that struck me from the book was The word bliss is without an opposite. And I asked myself, what is the opposite of bliss? I couldn’t find an answer. We talk of most feelings in pair: love-hate, joy-sorrow, pleasure-pain but bliss is just bliss.

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November 24

What i learned from How to win friends and influence people.

Before I decided to read this book, I used to laugh at the title and I probably looked down on people who might have read it. I mean who needs to read a book to win friends? What kind of loser would that person be? Well, here I am, one of such Losers. In hindsight, the title of the book is unfortunate but catchy. Maybe had it not been titled such, it would not have sold as much or stood out among people the way it did.

This is not a book review as such. This post is more about my opinion on the book and the other chain of thoughts it made me wonder about. The book was first published in 1936. Just reflect on that. Here is a book that can be termed self-help that is still valid and working for 81 years now. That caught my fantasy. The other thing that was equally appealing was Goodreads page of this book. This book has a rating of 4.22/5 from 322,000+ ratings. That blew my mind. Here is a book which 320,000 people have bothered to review and rated 4.2 on average. I mean surely it must have had a profound impact on a lot of people. But even before I got to this point, this book was recommended and was also on my to-read list. I picked it up to read without hesitation.
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October 21

The world without us

I am reading this book right now called The world without us by Alan Weisman. It talks about the world that will be if humans were to somehow miraculously be removed from Earth. And it got me thinking of a poem I wrote about 8-9 years ago that I had titled It will too turn to dust. Sitting here looking at rain and the water around me, I can’t help but think about the world we are making for ourselves.

And one day this too shall turn to dust
Weather down and slowly mix with earth
But long before that day comes
This world will shake and crumble
By our own bombs.

We talk of nothing but war
We crave nothing but fight
We see nothing but me
And we following nothing but rage Continue reading

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September 17

Minimalism

The idea of minimalism is largely known to people in some form or other. However the term minimalism being used to represent this idea may not be very popular or mainstream. The interesting part though, in my personal experience, has been that those who do know the term minimalism have strong opinion on it. They might be strongly in favor of it and consider it a life enhancing tool or they might be strongly not in favor of this and consider it a waste of time and a blight on human nature.

I was largely unaware of this term a few years ago. And I don’t remember when I did start understanding the term but I remember calling myself a minimalist at least a few times in the last 5 years or so. I happened to watch a documentary, sometime in 2017, on Netflix called Minimalism and that helped coalesce some of my thoughts into more coherent opinions. If you would like to watch it, check out this websiteContinue reading

April 3

Humans: The only storytellers

About a month ago I got a chance to read a very interesting book called Sapiens. It was written by a historian and it was one of the most thought provoking books I have had a chance to read. I rarely read non-fiction but history interests me somewhat. This book was more of a mashup between human history and psychology. It’s goal in a way was to write an unbiased history of the Homo genus, more specifically the Homo sapiens species. That, btw, is modern human beings

What really caught my attention was a very obscure fact. The brain matter of another human species, Neanderthals, was bigger than homo sapiens. Yet that specie died out and never developed civilization and sophisticated tools etc. For all of my life, I had assumed that humans are special because we have more brain matter. However I was clearly wrong.
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February 26

The Costa Rican adventure: Arenal

If you haven’t already read the first part of us being in Liberia and Del Coco, I highly recommend reading it here.

We were on a week vacation to Costa Rica and spent the first few days basking in the sun and rolling in the beach. Our second leg was to go to Arenal Volcano region.

Initially we had planned to take a bus from Del coco to arenal volcano where we had planned to spend the last half of our trip. But when we did check out the bus situation it would take 6+ hours and need 3 bus changes to get to La Fortuna (which is the main town near Arenal volcano). Our hotel was about 10 KM from La Fortuna town so we would then have to take another taxi. We kind of decided at last-minute to get a rental car. If you book in advance you can get them for like $10-15 a day and ours was $25 a day. In hindsight, this was the best decision of our trip.
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February 26

The Costa Rican adventure: Liberia and Del Coco

Recently I had a chance to visit Costa Rica. For those of you who don’t know where it is (like I did a year ago), it is in South America. I would say it is central america reaching out to meet south america. You can almost miss it in Maps between the Mexico at top and Colombia / Brazil below. My trip lasted almost a week and it was a very interesting one indeed. In some ways it was a trip of firsts. It was my first trip to South America. It was my first trip where I wasn’t on a vacation from work. It was my first trip to a volcano. It was my first trip where I drove a car. It was also my first trip where I felt US was cheaper.

I had been meaning to take a vacation since Gayatri had a week off around this time. The idea was to go somewhere where I can use an old Alaska airline credit but still not in USA. We kind of settled down to 2 main choices: Cuba and Costa Rica. Both had their pros / cons but what did it eventually was that Cuba was super booked. It seemed like every hotel was booked due to President Day weekend and flights were crazy expensive. As usual I tried to avoid crowds and ended up booking the tickets to Costa Rica.
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