TLDR; “Wish you a happy new year 2014”.
And the longer version, just to kick-start the habit of blogging again and to provide a review of 2013 for myself:
The year did begin in style with the little one arriving on the 25th of January, setting up an “annus mirabilis” for me & my family (though, a few diaper changes did make it feel “an(n)nus horribilis”, if you know what I mean haha! Sorry won’t repeat such jokes again).
Social / Life
Given my “anti-social” nature, as such my social activities have been limited but the arrival of the little one to Bangalore in May reduced it to zilch. It has been a year of being at home most of the time with little time for friends, parties, vacations, movies and so on. Again, in online social life as well, I have not been so active like many but Zucky has done a neat job of doing a year in review for me on whatever I did at FB (you need to be a friend of mine in FB to see this).
I have been wanting to post more on FB but have been really lazy. To top it, some posts of mine (so called jokes - like this) are not even understood by people so I wonder why bother posting! My social (FB) capital as such is less to receive “likes” by the dozens. When I posted some photos of my daughter, I had to tag my wife in it to generate some “likes” lest my daughter question me in the future! I resolve to build my social capital this year by LIKE-ing all sorts of sh**ty posts that appear on my newsfeed. Oh No, did I lose a few more friends by saying that?
Office has been pretty smooth this year with some improvements in the nature of work and stuff. With 4 international travels, travel was a bit more than I would have liked with a little kid at home. However, every travel had some learning for the historian/anthropologist hiding in me so no complaints there! Over the past 5 or so years, I have noticed an increasing overlap of work & personal time. It has not been possible to do strictly office work while in office and personal work while at home. This year kind of cemented it deeply. So much so, that in some weeks, I wondered if I did more personal work at office and more office work at home. :-)
Taking care of a kid is such a breeze actually. I will tell you the secret - Just ask your wife to take a break from work and outsource it to her haha. Having said that, I think I did spend a lot of time at home (I know at least one person who will disagree. Yes, I mean you, my dear wife!).
All my pseudo knowledge in psychology / early human development was put to use in bringing up my daughter. At every instance when my daughter cried and behaved in a certain way, I applied a theory of Piaget, Erik Erikson etc. on psycho-social development and so on to analyze why. Promptly, my wife, mother-in-law, mother did simple things like a diaper change, feeding her etc. and more importantly taking her away from me etc. to resolve it.
Whenever I took her to a doctor, I notice that they do “Ear in Review” just like I am doing the “Year in Review” now. Sorry, I know this is a poor joke.
One last note on this - Every child’s mind is a “tabula rasa”. So you should not keep “rasam in a table” without adult supervision. (Oops, Sorry, this is the last joke!)
You would have expected me to have read lesser books this year with a child at home. But surprisingly, the number of books I read was probably more than last year & the year before:
- Hooked - On how to create habit-forming products
- Land of Seven Rivers - The history of India’s geography
- Anti Fragile - How to live in an uncertain world
- Volga to Ganga (re-read) - The migration of Aryans from Central Asia to India
- 4 Steps to Epiphany - Very popular book on start-up product development
- Barbarians at the Gate - About the bad bad world of LPs in the late 80s
- Positioning, Battle of the mind - On the marketing concept of positioning
- Conversations with God - Oh forget it!
- Don’t make me think - On UX design for building good websites
- Design of Everyday things - The seminal work on design
- Nudge - On the psychology of making people do what you want
- Influence - Same topic as Nudge but a more popular book
- Conversations with Maniratnam (different from the previous one on Conversations with God haha),
- Daily Drucker - Nuggets of wisdom from Drucker
- Intelligent Investor - A very popular book on investing
- Buffet’s Bites - Nuggets of wisdom from Warren Buffet
- Being Slightly Evil - Collection of articles on being “slightly evil” in everyday life
- The Wave Rider - Story of Rediff.com
- Thinking Fast & Slow - Very popular work on psychology (somewhat similar to Nudge & Influence)
- India Unbound - About license raj since 1947 and how India’s economy changed in the 90s
- Inmates are running the asylum (re-read) - The book that popularized the concept of interaction design, personas etc.
- Steve Jobs (re-read) - You really do not know?
- Woody Allen Complete Prose and
- a few other stuff I read as PDF files that I forget.
I am not giving any Amazon / Flipkart links here since anyways you are not going to purchase through this and give me any affiliate commissions! Just Google yourself ;-)
To be fair, I did not complete all of them. I would have read three-fourths of them fully (100%) and the rest would be anywhere between 20-80%. And there are books like Intelligent Investor, Anti Fragile etc. that will be read and re-read many times over.
I think I should thank JustBooks, Kwench service at my office and my own reduction in frugality (yes I did buy a few of them). Plus the travels I did in Bangalore-Hyderabad trains in the first few months to meet my daughter helped!
In spite of all these, I kept reading and re-reading over the last few months just one book. By last count, I just finished reading it the 1378th time. It is - “My First Book of Words” that a relative gifted to my daughter. She would just not let me end my day without reading it aloud some 20 times. Last heard, my wife’s corresponding number is in 6 digits haha.
I just listened and listened to a lot of classics this year after many many years of not listening to them. See a sample list below
- Mary had a little lamb
- Anil-um Aadum A-Aah vaam (Tamil)
- Georgie Porgie Pudding & Pie
- Old MacDonalds had a farm
- London bridge is falling down
I know these songs so well now that I have started re-writing the lyrics and localizing them to my needs of the day. ;-)
The saddest news of 2013 should be the demise of Google Reader that I have been a “power user” of since 2009. However, Feedly / Pocket / Instapaper have more than compensated for that. Glad with these now. I have become very strict in 2013 with reading that I spend only about 180 minutes in a day reading online news (compared to 3 full hours earlier). In spite of using Pocket only since October, they said I was in their Top 5% of readers.
Yes, I read a lot and share good stuff too over Flipboard. Check out my channels on Good Reads, Technynotions and Banuvasan.
I continued to be the greatest Steve Job’s fan who has never bought an Apple product. The year began with a Galaxy Ace that I bought for my wife in January. I bought a Nexus 4 for myself in July, a Nexus 7 for my wife again in October and finally a Galaxy Star Pro for my father in December. If Jobs were alive, he might first go thermonuclear on my family! We are so deeply entrenched into the Android ecosystem now! Or so you think. Tell Google to start charging for their services and we will all run to other platforms haha!
For the first time in my work life, I took a vacation during the year-end. I did end up doing office work for about an hour or two every day but that was OK. I spent a lot of time at home and did a quick trip to Chennai as well to meet my parents and brother’s family. It would have all been good but for Etihad airways who made my travel back from Kenya to India in mid December a difficult one and to top it, delayed my baggage by over a week (thereby not letting me plan anything). They should ideally be renamed as Eti-Bad airways.
They had overbooked their Bangalore flights and redirected me to Delhi through Jet Airways. They were so cool about it and no word of apology was given. In contrast, they way Jet guys handled my flight to Bangalore from Delhi was so commendable in spite of me having had to file a complaint for the lost bag and having only 20 minutes to board the flight. I am afraid what would happen to Jet after their merger with Etibad.
The New Year
Here’s wishing you a wonderful 2014. May all that you legally, morally and ethically wish for come true!!
If you believe in God, pray well to achieve everything you want. If you do not believe in God, may God bless you to achieve everything you want.