Lately, I’ve been missing home. Reading about India has reminded me of how exciting life is there. Indians are a curious bunch and they will ask you the most personal questions just five minutes after meeting you. They have a distinct outlook on family, friendships, and how to live a fulfilling life. It’s not uncommon for people, whom you barely know, to ask you about your salary, the square footage of your house, and when you will settle down.
To me, all these questions boil down to status symbols. Assigning labels helps people understand your “standard” and figure out if they need to adjust their own mannerisms around you. This labeling is hard to undo and naturally affects people’s perception of you.
Labels are even more powerful in places where there’s less of them available. I grew up surrounded by people for whom status played a huge role in their day-to-day. Their upbringing and experiences did not expose them to labels outside of those already commonplace. It’s totally understandable then that they would stick to their limited set of labels. After all, how can you assign a new label to someone when you don’t even realize that it could exist?
Okay. This abstract mumbo jumbo ends here. 😅
During quarantine, I’ve been cooking lots of desi food, possibly in hopes to restore my lost spice tolerance. Thankfully there’s a small South Asian store nearby. I frequently get Marie Gold biscuits, although I would concede that Aloo bhujia still remains my biggest weakness (sorry Yippee! noodles).
I’m taking a keen interest in Indian politics. In the past few days, I’ve watched a fair number of debates on the anti-Muslim rhetoric, Hindutva, and the constitution. The talking points are often not about whether Muslims deserve to be in India but rather the subtleties of the definition of secularism and the subjectivity of the Indian constitution. Listening to the articulate Dr. Subramanian Swamy has introduced me to a line of reasoning which surely other Hindu nationalists like him can relate to. I’m not emotionally invested yet, but there’s a lawyer in me (the worst one in the history of lawyers, maybe ever…) who likes to debate.
On an unrelated note, here goes my first ever shot at Hindi poetry.
बर्तन धोते हुए भूल जाता हूँ कि बड़ी हो गई आकर यहाँ जिंदगी याद आतें हैं वो दिलकश पल वो गली में खेली लुका छुपी वो चाय के साथ खाई गयी नानी की मठरी वो टिल्लू की मक्का कुरकुरी और वो कागज़ की नावें जो बारिश में भीगी अब खैर बड़ा होना तो जायज़ है लेकिन भूल नहीं सकता मैं ये पल कभी
Tech + Money 🖥️
Tech jobs in the Silicon Valley are cozy. “Unlimited” vacation, flexible work from home policy, free coconut water, and massages. I knew all this before starting my job. In the back of my mind, I’ve questioned how I can prepare myself to give a lot of this up in case something else pops up, for better or worse.
Is that living in the moment? No. Why do I think this way? Because however independently I may be living currently, there’s a sense of responsibility that I can never give up. In some ways, this circles back to the notion of an Indian family. My free-spirited self cannot afford to be too free-spirited.
About money. Earning more gives you freedom of choice but almost always (how convenient for me to use “almost always” 😉) leads to greed and materialism. I own more things now than I’ve ever before in my life. I’m not a reckless spender by any means, but owning things that take up more than two suitcases and a duffle bag feels strange.
In the long term, cultivating a healthy relationship with money is the second most important thing I can do for my sanity. The most important being eating falafel everyday, obviously. Money problems are all too common, and I’ve experienced how entire families can fall apart. I’m lucky to have a strong father and wise-beyond-their-years friends Aman and Jae who constantly guide me on how to think about money.
In essence, a) you can always earn more money, b) spend money on celebrating people you love, c) relationships, a quality education, and seeing new places are priceless, and d) a charitable mindset takes time to materialize.
Routine is boring and I still crave it. Why? Because mastering boring fundamentals takes consistency. I started bullet journaling recently like a proper millennial Youtuber, only I don’t care about drawing straight lines or using colored pens. I’ve tried habit tracking apps before, but there’s something magical about pen and paper. Writing down my “tasks for the day” at the beginning of a month has made me more aware and at peace with however I’m progressing.
Here’s a few other things that I’m happy about during quarantine.
- Indian men’s cricket team’s next oversees Test match is in November. So hopefully I won’t miss any cricket that actually matters.
- After a long illness, Dynamo released a new magic show called Beyond Belief.
- 3Blue1Brown has a new Youtube series called Lockdown math.
- Old Bollywood songs
- Zoom’s gallery view
Thanks for keeping company 🙂 See you after #corona.