January 27

Why is everything (stocks, ETF, crypto, asset prices) going up?

Lately, everything I look at is going up. I look at stocks of tech companies in US and they are going up. I look at various stock market exchange indexes and they are going up, both in India and in US at least. Crypto-currencies are going up for the last year or so. And not just up, some of these assets are going up in a crazy fashion, doubling 10x in a year. It was becoming hard for me to even understand what I was doing and made investing even more risky.

For a long period of time, until recently, I used to believe that net result of every transaction is 0. If you are spending money, someone is earning money. So if you make money in the stock market, someone should be losing money. That is what the conventional wisdom in my head said. Continue reading

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November 5

How Safe is my city?

It’s been about 3 months since I moved to Tokyo. There are a lot of things that are very different about this city than say Delhi or Seattle for example. There are a few I don’t like but then there are quite a few that are absolutely wonderful. One of the great things about Tokyo is just how safe I feel in general. It’s a feeling that cannot be described because usually it is about lack of certain elements and environments and so our mind struggles to define the lack of something.

There are quite a few anecdote’s I had heard about Tokyo and all of them ring true somehow. You can leave your cellphone on a table at a coffee shop and that is sufficient to reserve the table (and obviously no one will take it). You can forget your cellphone or camera on a train and you will get it back within the hour. You can actually leave your cellphones on a train seat I heard to hold your seat. Continue reading

September 23

Climate Change needs our attention

It’s one of those topics that has divided the world for years and probably will continue to do so for years to come. It is not easy to accept that change is here and your way of life is in danger. It is equally difficult to accept responsibility for something that you cannot see or touch or feel right in front of you. Even if you can, it is hard to correlate your acts of keep the air conditioning on to the freak hurricane that hits you.

So I can understand why people do not believe in climate change. I can also understand the situation where people believe in it but they feel they are too small and trivial to do anything about it. I think this is the real reason for a lot of climate change deniers. It is easy to deny something than accept it even though you think you can’t take action.
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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

July 27

Why Tokyo?

Why Tokyo?

This exact line has been the response of me telling people I am leaving Amazon and moving to Tokyo. It has been a very interesting question because no one asked me why Seattle when I left Bangalore. In fact I have been pondering over this quite a bit and I don’t think I have a great answer.

I wonder if part of the question is implicitly asking: Why leave US? And why leave Amazon? If I have to answer the question of why Tokyo, I probably need to answer these questions.
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April 14

10 pounds down: My fitness journey

The story really starts about 10.5 months ago when I bought a Fitbit. I thought now that I have spent some money I would have more incentive to be fit. But my real journey started way back. Back in 2007, I was in my 2nd year of graduation. I was a thin person. People (mostly relatives) used to question me on my food habits and the quality of the mess food. But in a way I never had to bother about fitness and weight since I was thin and that was all fitness meant to me then.

It was also during my graduation that I started eating a lot, at all times and all kinds of things. I also started getting more stressed and used food as a cope-up mechanism. In no time, all that oil and butter and fat was getting on me. I still remained thin but my waist started to creep up. However I was too lazy or too weak to exercise. I used to just convince myself that I don’t need to do any of it since that’s not my strong area. I considered working on a computer to be my strength and that’s all I did. Sitting and sometimes lying on the bed for hours at a stretch meant my body got little work out.
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March 13

Thoughts about time (ideas while meditating)

As I mentioned in some of my blogs from January, I started meditating this year. I had started to not like myself because I was always ready to snap. I had long thought of myself as a cool and composed person but that had started becoming more of a fictional character. So I turned to meditation to channel some of these energies.

Meditation is a fun activity when you don’t rush it or force it. I started meditating regularly and most days tried to do it in a part of my day where I wasn’t time pressed. Once I started to clear my head of the everyday thoughts about work, traffic, food, money, TV, technology etc I got a little more mental room to follow some of the other thoughts that would pop up. Earlier I would have run out of time or energy to even consider such thoughts but I felt more upbeat after starting to meditate.
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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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