Pune to Palakkad

I moved to Palakkad, my home town from Pune in the second last week of July. We drove our car from Pune to Palakkad. I will write separately about that experience. In this post, I would like to document for posterity the reasons for my decisions.

When we entered lock down in March 2020, my initial expectation was that India was much better off than other countries at that point in time. Hence, my expectation then was that if we stayed put at home, we would be safe. Things would run their course and we might return to normalcy by June, at the latest.

As things unraveled, I realized that this was a much longer journey than I had anticipated. Things could remain unchanged for much longer. Colleagues at office were going to their native place in the months of May and June 2020. So, in June 2020, I decided to go to our native place.

Kerala had instituted a system of granting passes to the people entering the state. My application for travel to Kerala in June 2020 was declined. Many of my colleagues from work who were from Kerala traveled to the state at this time. We resigned ourselves to the fact that we might be stuck in Pune.

My main concern in staying on in Pune was the lack of a support system. If my wife was infected and had to be hospitalized, I was not sure if I would be able to take care of our daughter by myself. I could have got my relatives over but I did not want to complicate things for others for my incompetency.

So, when Unlock 1.0 started, we decided to apply again. Kerala then moved from a pass system to a registration system. Hence, we applied and received a pass on July 21. We started in the morning of July 23 and reached Palakkad in the evening of July 24.

About Narayan

When I first stumble on a blog, I love to read the about me page.

WordPress sent me a notification when Narayan liked a post on my blog. His about me page is one of the most breath-taking page I’ve read in quite a while. I think anything more I write here is just keeping you away from reading that page.

Kadambari

I’ve had a writers block. I could record my podcast this week but couldn’t find anything to write.

Besides the gulmohar tree in front of my balcony was another tree. My wife who correctly identified the gulmohar could not identify the other correctly. She first thought it was ramphal (wild sweetsop). But, as the tree bore fruit, she confessed to me that it was not ramphal.

The Kadambari tree in our compound. The gulmohar shared earlier can be seen photo bombing. Image Credit: Pradeep Mohandas

Sahil Khan fleeted a picture of the tree on Twitter. I asked him for the identity of the tree and he said it was the kadambari (burflower). So, what we thought of as a fruit was actually it’s flower!

I then read through the Wikipedia entry for the kadambari and I must say my inquisitiveness was piqued. This also led me to the eponymous romantic novel in Sanskrit.

The See, Listen and Read Better Podcast Episode 3 – Running, TV Journalism and Rest

Running, TV journalism and Rest The See Listen Read (SLR) Better Podcast

Sharing suggestions for a See, Listen and Read each week so that you can See, Listen and Read better. This week I suggest watching HasGeek TV’s Run, Run, Run, listening to The Seen and The Unseen episode on journalism and reading Leo Babauta’s blog post on taking rest.

  1. See – Run, Run, Run – HasGeek TV and QnA
  2. Listen – What Happened to our Journalism?
  3. Read – The Lost Art of Taking Rest

Laptop issues

A week before my daughter’s school started, we were facing an issue where the laptop would switch off in the middle of a session. So, I decided to get it fixed before the school begins.

I was not sure about road restrictions heading towards the laptop repair center. Hence, I picked a laptop repair center nearby. He replaced some parts and the laptop worked for a grand total of one day. Then, as I shared earlier, the laptop died right in the middle of a school session.

I decided to go to my original repair center to fix the issue this time. Once fixed, the laptop ran for a couple of days. Then, the laptop died again over the weekend.

In the midst of all this, I had upgraded from Windows Home to Windows Pro, when the option appeared in the Updates page of the control panel. This is that throwaway line that you read in the novel and you skip past thinking it is insignificant but which turns into a world ending event later on in the novel.

The laptop repair center informed me that my laptop’s Intel Core i5 processor is not available and needs to be replaced with an Intel Core i7. He assured an extension of life of at least 2 years for almost a quarter of the cost of the new one. I took that offer.

When I got back home, the laptop worked well but got a “Windows not activated” message. Trying to fix it myself did not yield any results. So, I took it back to the laptop repair center. The center rep reprimanded me for upgrading the version and said that I now had a pirated version of Windows and he would have to crack the version. He informed me that I would never be able to update Windows ever again.

He returned the laptop to me to enable me to store the data before he cracked Windows.

Once I returned home, I considered searching a bit more to try and save the situation. This is when I found the article that saved me and enabled me to go back to my Windows Home edition with a new install.

When you upgrade from Windows Home to Windows Pro, you get a 10-day window to go back to Windows Home. If you miss this window, you need to do a fresh install of Windows. Windows now comes as an ISO image which you can boot from a pen drive. Also, BIOS has been replaced by something called UEFI.

All of the technical details are linked to in the article. The answer to look at is one by Andre Da Costa.

The See Listen Read Better Podcast Episode 2 – Rest, Cal Newport and The Vault of Vishnu

Running, TV journalism and Rest The See Listen Read (SLR) Better Podcast

  1. See – Matt D’Avella – The Most Overlooked Way to be More Productive
  2. Listen – Cal Newport on the Rich Roll Podcast
  3. Ashwin Sanghi – The Vault of Vishnu (2020)

The Vault of Vishnu (2020)

I had purchased all Ashwin Sanghi books up to Sialkot Saga as and when they came. I purchased The Vault of Vishnu on pre-order. When the book came I realised that Sanghi had written more books in the interim that I had missed.

Book Cover – The Vault of Vishnu by Ashwin Sanghi

During this time, I was trying new techniques of reading multiple books at the same time. In mid-May this year, I realized I could not read like this. I also found that I could not read the next book until I broke the log jam by writing a review about it on my blog. In fact, this log jam affected everything else in my life as well. Hence, I am writing this now to break the log jam so I can go on to my next book.

I always liked how Sanghi wrote his book from multiple stories that coalesce some where in time. I particularly liked the leisurely pace at which the book started. I kept switching between books until I wrote the review for the 7 Brief Lessons in Physics and then I finished the book in one sitting. Now, you might understand why the second paragraph of this review was essential.

The book neatly merges facts and fiction. For all the facts, Sanghi has a nice appendix with all the reading he did to research for the book. It merges timelines across time and space. It merges spies and history. I like how his writing style has improved so much since the Rozabal Line.

Official trailer of The Vault of Vishnu by Ashwin Sanghi

When I read the title, The Vault of Vishnu, my Malayali mind immediately leapt to the Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvanantapuram and the hidden vaults under the temple. That is why I ordered the book. Turns out the referenced temple is the Chidambaram Temple in Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu.

Sanghi begins his novel with the events that happened at Doklam in 2017 between India and China. Given the situation at the border now, the novel may be relatable? Then the story moves between India and China and across centuries. Even in the novel, we are dependent on help from the Americans for intelligence. There is reference to limitation of RISAT-2 which keeps an eye on India’s borders with China and Pakistan. There are references to our glorious past – especially the Cholas, Indian contributions to Kungfu and Shaolin and Bodhidharma (no Indo-Chinese fiction book is complete without him).

The story line of the Chinese monk travelling to get to India is a little slow through the book and adding a map to understand the path he took would have been a great add.

For me, the book reemphasizes our open borders between India, China, Persia and Central Asia. Knowledge, legends and myths have traveled on these roads for centuries and the modern nation-state has sought to destroy these ancient connections. I think we are poorer as a result.

From the books page on his website, I realised that he has published many more books than I anticipated. I am yet to read The Keepers of the Kalachakra in his Bharat Series, all books in his Private Series and some of his later books on his 13 Steps series. I had read 13 Steps book on wealth and luck.

The SLR Better Podcast – Episode 1

Running, TV journalism and Rest The See Listen Read (SLR) Better Podcast

See

Zettelkasten Learning Method – Simply Explained

How to Take Smart Notes – Zettelkasten Method in Roam Research

Listen

The Moving Curve – the podcast episodes and show notes.

Read

In the podcast, I kept calling the book Seven Lessons instead of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics!!

Here is the link to my blog post about the book.

SLR Better Podcast – Episode 0

Running, TV journalism and Rest The See Listen Read (SLR) Better Podcast

This is a trailer episode for my new podcast.

This is a recommendations podcast. I have been trying out different iterations of this podcast since December 2019 but never got around to it. An episode will be out each Wednesday.

Malayalam YouTube channel recommendations

I wrote a Twitter thread last night about the Malayalam language YouTube channels I discovered over the last month. As I kept watching these videos, YouTube’s algorithm started surfacing more Malayalam content for me after a week. The English captioning for Malayalam video is currently awful. This list is expanded and includes more channels that I follow.

MalluTraveller

I started following MalluTraveller following his video from the COVID-19 ward in Kannur. He had passed through Iran on his Kerala to Europe tour and was hence denied visa to travel to Georgia. He was stuck in Azerbaijan. When he managed to return to Kannur, he continued posting to his vlog which I think showed people the level of preparedness in Kerala to face the pandemic.

MasterPiece Live

They are two people who go around interviewing other Malayalam YouTube creators on their channel. I am not sure what’s with the name. I like them more for surfacing other YouTubers than for their content.

M4 Tech

This channel is a DIY channel and is more Kerala centric with some the ideas that they build. I found them via a YouTube reaction video. I think you will be blown away by the energy of the guy presenting. There are two of them here too. They are friends and not brothers.

Strell in Malayalam

He is always in a helmet. He talks about bike riding, learning to ride a bike, bike maintenance, and moto vlogs on his channel. His videos are very safety oriented.

V K Adarsh

I used to follow Adarsh on Twitter. He created a YouTube channel recently and his explanation of loan products for entrepreneurs and business people is great. One of his recent explainers was on the moratorium provided by the RBI due to the lockdown.

MommaCool

I started following this channel for parenting advise but the channel recently did a lot of content on development milestones for children and good books to get your child as per age. The channel talks about baby care, parenting and pregnancy.

Ratheesh R Menon

He does video with tech tips and app reviews on his channel. My wife used to follow him on Facebook where he provides tips like how to find hidden cameras in hotel rooms etc.

Happy Life TV

This is a channel that talks of family, parenting, personality and sex. My wife and I used to follow this channel for his talks related to family. His point of view is conservative but practical.