Smile 2019 :)

31 Dec 2019

Gegenpressing

Countering the counter attack. This is amazing!

30 Dec 2019

Liverpool, you have got to be kidding me :)

29 Dec 2019

Lawyer's logic vs Scientist's logic :)

Both a lawyer and a scientist are logical and rational. Both reach a conclusion logically. Then what's the difference in their approach?

A lawyer concludes first and then builds a logical route to reach the conclusion. A lawyer is supposed to defend his/her client no matter what even if the client is actually guilty. So 'the client is not guilty' has already been concluded. The lawyer's job is to then come up with a logical explanation.

On the other hand, a scientist does not conclude anything beforehand. A scientist waits for more experiments, more information, more evidence to show up until the conclusion emerges on its own.

It is a very subtle difference. We use both approaches in our daily lives. Sometimes we are scientific and sometimes we are lawyers. In retrospect I realise I should have been a lawyer at certain times and a scientist at certain others but somehow mixed the two approaches. Never mind. From now on, I will be more conscious of when to be a lawyer and when to be a scientist :)

28 Dec 2019

Watched 'Bala' :)

And I loved it. Beautiful story. A must watch!

27 Dec 2019

Woh sach ya yeh sach?

Translates as

Was that true or is this true?


Please listen to the story in the video :)

26 Dec 2019

The internet said so :)

"Blackhole looks like Medu Vada!"

-Varun Thakur


Hahaha :)

25 Dec 2019

4minutes 9seconds :)

24 Dec 2019

Focus is back! Thanks Rubik's Cube :)

I had lost focus and I will blame nobody. It was all my mistake. It was all me. But I am back now :)

Bought a Rubik's cube and learned to solve it. Within a day I have managed to come to a level where I am solving it within 10 mins. My personal best so far is 5mins 22sec (just one day of practice). It will only get better. Just like I did with juggling :)

Now that the focus is back, every other pending task will happen, everything else will fall in place. Don't worry :)

15 Dec 2019

Please express :)

Every machine, for that matter everything in existence, can be thought of as objects which take input(s) then processes it and then produce output(s). We humans are machines too. We eat food (input), digest the food (process), and perform some activity and shit (output).

Yes, shit! Excretion! Do it well. That's an extremely important part of the entire pipeline to lead a healthy life. You don't want Constipation or Diarrhoea.

Now if you are paying enough attention and look very closely, the pipeline of input -> processing -> output is happening not just in the physical body but your mental and emotional bodies too. Your mind and your heart are taking in information and sensing the world, processing it and want to express it out in the form of words or poetry or dance or song or art or ..., etcetera. It is subtle but it is happening.

So, for your wellbeing, I am asking you to please express and express yourself really well. I assure you, at the very least, I will never judge you. We definitely don't want constipation or loose motions, do we? :)

14 Dec 2019

Beautiful illusion in the London underground :)

The central line trains of the London underground taper towards the top. Your reflection in the bending door-glass creates a beautiful illusion. I was dancing to a song and captured the illusion. Take a look :)

13 Dec 2019

My bike, my love :)

Repaired and serviced my beautiful bike. Bowed down to her. Kissed her. Riding her after 4 months.

My bike is love :)

It will always be!

12 Dec 2019

Boris Johnson seems to have re-drawn the map of UK politics!

What a victory! Whoa!

So Brexit is happening for real now, is it?

11 Dec 2019

Green party

I support the Green Party for the UK General elections for two reasons:

  • For nature: Trees, animals, our nature at large do not get to vote in the elections. Feels like they don't have any say in politics in spite of being most affected by our policies.

  • Universal Basic Income: It is similar to 'probability smoothing' in maths and stats. A better version of wealth re-distribution. People may find it counterintuitive and not really understand the concept but I find it mathematically sane thing to do. I will write on this someday later.

10 Dec 2019

"Life is Live!"

-Himanshi Bansal


Lets compare two performing arts - (1) a recorded movie/video, and (2) theatre. Movies are recorded and can be watched again and again. Theatre performances are 'live'. If you miss a scene in a movie, you can rewind and play it again. Miss a scene in a theatre performance and its gone forever. You can afford to be less attentive in a movie. Theatre requires absolute 100% attention, focus, awareness.

Extend this argument to your experience of life. It is LIVE. Not recorded. So what makes you think you can afford to be less attentive and/or less focussed and/or less conscious and/or less aware of the present? Why is your mind lost in the past or in the future?

Life is live :)

09 Dec 2019

Buffet restaurants may just ban me :)

So turns out, with one-meal-a-day policy, I eat what an average person eats during the entire day in just one sitting. That makes it appear that I am eating so much more than a normal person but I am eating as much as a normal person should (not more). It also makes buffets/all-you-can-eat restaurants a real value for money for me. I have begun going to a Pizza-hut nearby where they serve unlimited salad and pizzas buffets. This way I save quite a bit of money too :)

I am just wondering when will Pizza-hut ban me from exploiting their buffet deal. Lets wait and watch. Hahaha :)

08 Dec 2019

Himi :)

There is so much more you and I can be

Above and beyond what we would be individually


So Himi, move with me

You know the reasons why

In tune with me

You are getting the rhythm right

One two three

Lets keep it going

Lets keep it growing


Let me dance with thee

To the music, I try

In trance with thee

I will catch your pulse right

One two three

Lets keep exploring

Lets keep exploding

-Chiraag

07 Dec 2019

That amazing feeling :)

06 Dec 2019

My favourite meme in a long time :)

Childishly funny. Effectively used a couple of times when I want a quick response from my friends and keep them laughing at the same time :)

05 Dec 2019

The bitter sweet history of chocolate :)

Found this fascinating Youtube channel - Cogito. Love his work, especially this cartoon documentary on history of chocolate. Extremely talented artist and history teller.

04 Dec 2019

Sustaining the intensity

Things get done when I am intensely focussed. Getting intense is not a big deal. It is sustaining the intensity for long periods of time which is difficult. I have come up with a few practices which I believe will ramp-up my intensity on a daily basis enabling me to sustain it for 300 days.

300 days. Thats it. Lets do this!

03 Dec 2019

Ayla

She peeked

She smiled

She blushed

Then took a bite

"Ayla, dear Ayla

What are you staring at?"

She looked at her mother

And widened her eyes

Then she went quiet

Gulped in her morsel

And turned again to my side

She peeked

She smiled

She blushed

And took another bite :)

-Chiraag

02 Dec 2019

Getting ready for Christmas :)

01 Dec 2019

350.org

Donated $88 to 350.org ... its all about ending fossil fuel consumption.

Previous month, I donated another $88 to the Cauvery Calling project.

30 Nov 2019

What lies ahead? Uncertainty :)

Foggy mornings in London.

A gentle reminder that future is always uncertain. Always!

And I think it is beautiful that way :)

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29 Nov 2019

Lets kill that tumour in your breast :)

These cells in your breast

How dare they misbehave

Why are they greedy

Why don't they die for god sake


Will have to kill these forcefully

There will be collateral damage

A civil war in your body

I hope you emerge safe


Lets cut their supplies and resources

Lets starve them to death, shall we?

Lets fight this war brave soldier

Lets kill that tumour stuck so deep :)

-Chiraag

28 Nov 2019

Starting again :)

So much happened in the past couple of weeks and I regret not documenting it. No problem. Re-starting this blog once again :)

13 Nov 2019

Stand-up comedy - Abhishek Upamanyu :)

This guy is, perhaps, the best Indian stand-up comic in recent times. Watched all his youtube videos today and now I think he is my favourite comic :)

"Mahim mein metro ban rahi hai... Isliye unhone sadke hatta di!"

("They are building a metro rail in Mahim... So they removed all the roads!")

"My girlfriend and I - we broke up because it was mutually decided that I don't deserve her!"

12 Nov 2019

A long walk to Harley Davidson :)

One of my best friends is getting married soon. He is a biker so I thought of buying him a Harley Davidson gloves. Two pairs. One for him and one for his to-be wife. The store is 20km away and, I don't know why, I decided to walk all the way in the morning from 4:30 am till 9am halting here and there to enjoy the cold breeze and the sunrise. It was just 5degrees Celsius. Stopped at a Gurudwara too at around 5am and it happens to be Guru Nanak birthday celebrations. That felt great too :)

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02 Oct 2019

The final sprint :)

Like in every sport, it is the final stage which is the toughest. The last lap in F1, the last over in cricket, the last stoppage time in football. I am nearing the last phase of my time at Google and I need to make that final sprint count. Everything else has to wait, including this blog. While this blog has helped me a lot, I am pausing it until mid November.

See you then :)

01 Oct 2019

Reviving rivers in India starting with Cauvery down south via tree plantations. My home land suffers from the highest population pressure on the planet and this has taken a toll on nature. The forest cover has gone down. When it rains, we have floods. When it does not, we have droughts. The reason is water is not seeping into the ground. Instead of going vertically down into the soil with the help of trees and roots, all of the rain water moves horizontally out into the ocean in a very short time during monsoon. Hence floods during monsoon and drought rest of the time. If the project succeeds then lessons learnt will spread across all rivers in India and around the world. The science is clear and the solution of strategic tree plantations and Agroforestry makes sense (a large portion of my diet is fruits so I will be happy if fruits get cheaper in the process) which is why I donated $88 towards the cause. Also, Google will match the donation I made which means a total of $176 goes to Cauvery Calling (equivalent to about 300 tree saplings) making me a Cauvery Mitr (Friend of Cauvery). Damn Google, respect :)

30 Sep 2019

You are living an amazing story :)

Bhai mere,

You enjoyed reading Shakespeare, didn't you? You didn't read mediocre, uneventful, unadventurous stories. You loved reading Shakespeare because it was dramatic. Now the only difference is the same drama is happening to you. You are living an amazing story. Even if it ends up in a tragedy, the thought of which is freaking you out, it will still be a fantastic story. But why do you want to know the climax now. Tragedy or Happy Ending, that will unfold whenever it does. You can cry or laugh accordingly then. Enjoy the suspense and the drama for now. Add a bit of humour as and when possible :)

I am always there for you.

Love,

Lala

P.S: "Ab mood swing se nikal #@&%$. Pehli fursat mein nikal."

29 Sep 2019

The three musketeers :)

Another high school bestie joins us. I am reminded of the title 'The three musketeers'. A few of our high school teachers used to call us that :)

We explored the Salesforce park, the steep San Francisco streets, the crooked street, biked across the Golden Gate Bridge, and a boat ride back. Would upload pics and videos whenever the other musketeers send it to me :)

28 Sep 2019

A high school bestie meets me after 9 years :)

This is the silliest meme I could have made to celebrate this reunion and I could not resist :) Watch Andaz Apna Apna for context. Hhahaha!

27 Sep 2019

The infamous American healthcare - 'billed to insurance'

For an eye exam and 3 spectacles, it costs $2272. Fortunately, billed to insurance. Had read about the infamous American healthcare system. USA's medical bill is larger than India's GDP.

Now, I have experienced it!

26 Sep 2019

Giving up elevators :)

I tried it yesterday. Did not use the elevators at all. My office is on the 5th floor and I need to go up or down a few floors for meetings and down to 1st floor for food. It was doable and made me wonder - what if I gave up elevators and escalators for good :)

A couple of exceptions are when there is no alternative like some London underground stations do not have stairs or if I am carrying a suitcase (or anything heavier than a backpack) or if the climb is more than 10 floors. 10 is a good threshold I feel. This is an interesting challenge :)

25 Sep 2019

Right to be forgotten

European union provides its citizens the right to be forgotten which is in conflict with freedom of expression, right to access information, etcetera. It is an intriguing debate. Yesterday Google won an interesting case on the right to be forgotten in European courts of justice (see the news article shared) which made me dig deep and try an understand why Europe is so strict with privacy in the first place.

During world war 2, Adolf Hitler was profiling citizens and eventually misused it to kill the Jews. Europe's brutal history holds the basis for such a right to exist. Practicality of such a right in the age of the internet is a different matter though.

With exposure to the privacy domain, I am beginning to be extra conscious about the privacy of others. Take this blog for instance, if you are mentioned in any post then my freedom of expression is in direct conflict with your right to be forgotten/privacy. I completely understand this and the solution is anonymity.

I have put efforts to anonymise the content on this blog but from now on I will put double triple efforts to anonymise it in future and also review the past posts and anonymise any weak links I can find whenever time permits. If you find any content which relates to you and feel someone can easily identify you then send me an email with the date of the post and I will remove it right away - no questions asked. This is not just restricted to blog but even when I converse with friends and colleagues. Even gossip is anonymised from my end :)

Ideally I would want the entire world to break open their fear of being judged, give up privacy and become an open book like I am right now. But I know its not easy, it was a struggle for me too, so I will protect the identity of every person in this blog and uphold their right to be forgotten/privacy :)

24 Sep 2019

Harami Pana Jaari Rakho :)

The slang basically means Stay crazy :)

I reconnected with an old friend after a very long time. The last time we spoke was more than 6 years ago and it took not more than 2 minutes to open up, break the ice and talk trash again as if it was just yesterday! He was delighted to have me and take me around Palo Alto. I am happy to see him do well for himself.

We laughed and spoke for 3 hours, mostly rubbish, and I have no euphemistic way to share the details over here. In his own words, "It is actually very healthy (the rubbish talk). Harami Pana Jaari Rakho" :)

23 Sep 2019

Amused by the 'Howdy Modi' event!

The hype around this event among Indians and Indian Americans got to me. I was resisting not to spend my 90mins on it but eventually I gave in. And to my surprise, this was actually quite entertaining.

Now, this does not mean I support or oppose Modi (or Trump) and his policies blindfolded. I try my best to be critical giving credit when it is due and condemning actions which don't make sense. I am not a political analyst so I won't go into details here but one point (less understood by common people) that caught my attention is his mention of "Data is the new oil and the new gold".

I don't know if Modi understood this phrase correctly because he goes on to state the example that India gives its citizens access to 'internet data' at a cheaper rate (he is basically talking about Reliance Jio data plans). The 'data' in the oil-gold phrase actually refers to 'user data' (like the location of a user), not internet data plans from telecom companies. It is making me ponder about the privacy concerns of Indian internet users. India needs a GDPR-like regulation soon. We have one in the making called Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB). I think I will read about it in more detail sometime later.

22 Sep 2019

Edinburgh is Love, Edinburgh is Bliss, Edinburgh is a Poem :)

It is 2am Sunday in Sunnyvale, CA and all lights in the Google building CRSM1265 are off except the 5th floor where one crazy person is blissed out riding his chair across the lab. How happy can one be! Isn't he tired? He was in here since Saturday morning, but all of a sudden he is glowing like a star!

That glowing star is me. And what made me glow is 'Edinburgh'.

I was reminded of the city by a friend who is visiting Edinburgh today. The Arthur Seat, The Meadows, The Dean village, Nicholson Street, Richmond Lane, Appleton Tower ...

Of all the beautiful memories, one tiny little insignificant memory resurfaced in my mind - the poems on the walls of the Edinburgh airport. I was catching a flight from Edinburgh to Exeter back in 2014 and at the airport I noticed poems and quotes written on the walls. I had spent time reading the poems and I remember how blessed I felt to be in Edinburgh. Was this the seed of poetry that got sowed in me and it got nurtured over time finding full expression now? Maybe. Here is a tribute to Edinburgh anyway:

What is love? they asked a lover

What does it look like? How does it feel?

It looks like a rainbow over Edinburgh

It feels like mist over Arthur seat


What is bliss? they asked a blissed-out (person)

What does it look like? How does it feel?

It looks like the clouds flying over the Meadows

It feels like playing in large swings (of the Meadows) near the trees


What is a poem? they asked a poet

What does it look like? How does it feel?

It looks like the night lights seen from Appleton tower

It feels like these are twinkling in rhythm for you and me :)

-Chiraag

21 Sep 2019

Praying Mantis - A test of patience :)

Spotted a Praying Mantis and observed it for some time hoping to see it move. In my head, I was like...

Mantis: The first to move loses.

Me: Challenge accepted :)

Then I stood there as still as death (Eyes blinking was allowed though). Eventually the Mantis moved and I won :)

It wasn't easy but then, again in my head...

Mantis: The game is in your head, I wasn't playing anyway. If I did play properly, you wouldn't stand a chance.

Me: I bow down to your stillness oh Mantis. I bow down to your stance :)

20 Sep 2019

Protect Restore Fund

In April I played football on the street near Marble Arch London with a few environmental activists. See my 23 April 2019 post. That was Greta Thunberg's protest. That is when I got to know about her.

Fast-forward today and her protests have gone global. Global Climate Strike. I participated in it over here in San Francisco. Strongly support it.

Long story short, we don't have much time. Please do everything you can to help our planet. Two hundred species going extinct every single day! Not dying... going extinct! We won't see them ever again. It sucks to realize that I am a virus to our planet Earth :(

19 Sep 2019

Silicon Valley - the TV series :)

Oh my god! How on Earth did I miss this TV series? Its been running since 2014 and I got the first glimpse today!!! Where was I? Was I sleeping? This is hilarious :)

Not going to watch the show now though. Will live the silicon valley for now and watch it later.

Caution: Do not watch this video if you are offended by adult language and content.

18 Sep 2019

Whisper in the dark :)

Tired am I

I have a mountain ahead to climb

So I will rest for tomorrow, tonight


Turning off the lights

And then I close my eyes

Letting go of all the sorrows, with a smile :)


Hold my hand against the plight

Give me all the strength I need to fight


Heal all the wounds in my heart

Thanking you as I whisper in the dark :)

-Chiraag

17 Sep 2019

Homesick :)

Oh dear London & Sheffield & Edinburgh,

The first rain in the bay and I am already homesick

The drizzle in the air and I am already homesick

The cold wind caressing my hair and I am already homesick

My friends are over there and I am already homesick :)

-Chiraag


UK-like weather in the bay area :)

16 Sep 2019

Surprising A***** - Instructions

Hi N*****,


As soon as you land in London,


(1) Buy an Oyster card

It will be available at the Airport. An Oyster card costs £5. I recommend loading it up with £20 (total £25). You may load more later from any underground station. A***** will help you out later on.


(2) Travel to Hotel/Oxford Circus

I am assuming you land at Heathrow airport which is actually very close to my house, but 'sigh!' I am not around. Its okay :).


Take the piccadilly line underground train to Green Park Station. This will take you an hour. Then, Victoria Line train to Oxford Circus station. This is just one stop. Click here for directions . You can then find your hotel. Which hotel is it? Let me know.


(3) Buy a local sim

Prepaid sim. Lyca, lebara, giffgaff, tescomobile, anything will do from any store like tesco or local groceries. Don't forget to carry the pin to remove the sim card slot of your phone. Prepaid sim loaded with data will cost a maximum of £20. I would suggest you go with 8GB data at least and possibly more. Don't try to save money here. This is an essential.


(4) Currency Exchange

You don't really need a lot of cash. Your ********* debit/credit card will work at most places including tesco or sainsbury or any coffee shops or restaurants or even when you load your Oyster card or buy a UK sim. Use those. Direct use of credit/debit card is better than buying Sterling Pounds cash. To be on the safe side though, buy £100 cash from reliable currency exchange bureaus like those mentioned in this article. Although there are tons of currency exchange shops in Oxford Circus, I would still recommend you to stick to the ones mentioned in the article. Or best, don't buy pounds until you meet A*****, discuss with him how much cash you will really need and he will take you to the right places.


(5) Message A***** to meet you at Wok to Walk

You can message something as follows from the new number

"Hi A*****. A*** here. How are you doing bro? This is my local number. N******* tells me you and Chirag often meet at some food-joint called Wok to Walk near Oxford Circus. I happen to be staying very close to that place and I would love to try it. My conference, for today, ends at 4pm and I will be back to my hotel half past 4 onwards. So let's meet at Wok to Walk in Oxford Circus at 5pm. Looking forward to hanging out with you! I wish Chirag was here and would join us. Let me know."


After that message... plan it with him... if he calls then do not pick up the call. Message him back saying, "sorry. I am attending a conference talk. please message."


If he calls after 4:30pm, pick up his call and let him say "hello hello hello", but you don't say anything back. Then you call him back and don't say anything and let him say "hello hello hello"... and then message him "I was trying to speak but you could not hear me. Was I not audible? Must be a network problem or something. Let's coordinate via messages. Have you reached Wok to walk?".


(6) Make A***** Cry and capture it on camera

Ensure that A***** reaches the place first. Message him to verify he has reached. Once he is there and you are nearing in too, then turn on the camera and capture the moment when he sees you. I think he will cry out of joy. Capture that moment, 5-10sec bhi chalega. and then stop recording and continue with him. Send me a message saying "touch down"... I will understand you guys met :)


Have a really joyful trip N*****. Give my regards to A***. I wish I was there :)


Love,

Chiraag


Your mood can affect how you read this email. Please read it with a smile :)
15 Sep 2019

"Mahiya na aaya mera mahiya na aaya"

Amateur Singing


Original Song Credits-

Music & Lyrics: Ayushmann Khurrana, Rochak Kohli

Singer: Ayushmann Khurrana

14 Sep 2019

"When data surpassed oil in value!"

Watched this long, slow but interesting and insightful documentary on the data privacy scandals surrounding Facebook and Cambridge Analytica which influenced Brexit and Trump campaigns among others. I was aware of the story in bits and pieces and this documentary connected the dots. Now it is much clearer what happened.

Also, my current work is in the domain of privacy and, it seems, is a direct consequence of this whole episode. Naturally, the documentary is very interesting for me. I feel it is important I have a deep understanding of the domain I work in. Strongly recommend you to watch this but at the same time warning you that it is very very slow. Would have been better if it were a bit faster :)

13 Sep 2019

Jab koi bohot bhooka ho toh butter pav bhi butter chicken lagta hai :)

Loosely translates as When you are very hungry then butter bread tastes like butter chicken. Hahaha. Had a funny long conversation with a friend from which this quote emerged :)

12 Sep 2019

Baith jaiye baith jaiye, sabko gaali khaane ka mauka milega :)

Loosely translates as Please be seated, you will be served your fair share of swear words. Hahahaha!

Binge watching Bhuvan Bam's 'BB ki Vines' on Youtube. India's highest watched youtuber. Popular for his comical swear words. Love his silly one-liners :)

11 Sep 2019

Walkstation treadmill :)

I discovered a walkstation treadmill at Google for the first time ever. This ridiculously simple idea of walking and working blew my mind! Wow! I tried it for an hour and loved it :)

Why is this not common? Think about it, our body is designed for physical activity. We went from hunting to farming to sitting more than 12hours a day in front of a computer screen. I have lost my health in the past several years. Efforts are on to regain it. This is the first thing I am going to buy once I return to London :)

10 Sep 2019

Slept with :)

Slept with lego

Slept listening to songs

I have slept several times on railway platforms


Slept in love

Slept in dismay

I have even slept injured on an active motorway


Slept in libraries

With books n laptop on

But this is the first time I will sleep with a teddy and a unicorn :)

-Chiraag

09 Sep 2019

Pumped up by Ganpati - The Singham :)

Yesterday, we went to a Ganpati festival here in the Bay Area. Woah! This was just like Mumbai :)

I got all pumped up, particularly by this remix of the song Singham. Not a big fan of remixes in general but this one was superb. Listening for the first time.

08 Sep 2019

Babysitting my niece at Elizabeth lake Fremont :)

07 Sep 2019

Rediscovered "In the end" :)

Wow! What a wonderful tribute to the song that captured the imagination of millions like me at one point of time!

This trance-like version was released so long ago... how am I discovering it now? I am surprised! Want to listen to it again and again but I fear it will get stuck in my head. It is so good :)

06 Sep 2019

Fall at the final hurdle :(

I know how this feels. I know EXACTLY how this feels!

Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO's) Chandrayaan 2 mission to land a rover on moon seems to have failed just 2.1 kilometers from its final destination after travelling 384 thousand kilometers successfully without any problems. This is heartbreaking. I was following the mission closely. The chairman of ISRO cried on camera. I feel for him and everyone else who worked on this mission.

I am looking at this as a reminder of my failures. One can either forget the failure and move on like most would. Or, like a scientist, do a detailed post-mortem and never forget the lessons learned.

05 Sep 2019

Million pound menu :)

My cousin's husband introduced me to this new TV show he found on Netflix called the Million Pound Menu. I couldn't thank him much because I am hooked to this Reality show after watching just one episode. He knows I post pictures of food on Instagram :)

I don't know when will I get a chance to watch all the episodes. If time permits, I want to binge watch the whole thing. When I go back to Britain, I am going to try each and every restaurant startup that emerged from the show. But for now, I am just enjoying watching this one episode :)

04 Sep 2019

Redwood trees in Palo Alto :)

Today, I had to visit Palo Alto for a personal work and couldn't stop noticing the tall trees there. Redwood. These are the tallest trees I have ever seen! No tree in India, Europe or Japan comes close. These are like sky scrapers. The Dubai skyline of trees :)

I was in a bit of hurry so I did not spend much time there. Did not even take a picture. But I guess no picture will do justice. It is only when one stands beneath a Redwood tree and touches it that one truly experiences the size. Now I have been thinking about it the whole day and regret not spending more time. I should have spend an hour or so exploring more. Could have been a spiritual experience. A life so tall, so enormous, so sturdy, so still, so old must be very wise. In contrast, I am so tiny, so short-lived and full of fuss. There is a lot left to learn from a Redwood tree :)

03 Sep 2019

Be my sunrise :)

On your way back home from work today, when you see the setting sun

Know I am watching the same sun glow, as it rises here from behind the mountain


Remember the time we climbed up the hill, and saw two instead of one

One sinking deep into the sea, the other rising high as the day moved on


From now on lets do the same, splitting the task as the planet spins on

You be my sunrise and bring me a smile, let me be your setting sun :)

-Chiraag

02 Sep 2019

Seamless Bay Area :)

Lately I was frustrated with the public transportation system in the Silicon Valley. The mecca of technology and innovation has the most ridiculous public transportation system. 20min by car = 2+hours by public transport (that too if you are lucky). Although 1 American = 10 Indians in terms of Carbon footprint, but based on my observation 1 Bay area citizen = 30 to 40 Indians. The inequality between car owners and non-car owners is also extreme.

Am I the only one who can see the problem?

On further research I found https://www.seamlessbayarea.org/ . They know they have a problem. They also have a solution and I am convinced their proposition is needed :)

So I donated $88 towards this cause for a few reasons:

(1) I feel like giving back to the city which is hosting me these days.

(2) The environmental impact. Influencing 1 American is like influencing 10 Indians in terms of carbon footprint.

(3) The world looks up to America in general and the silicon valley in particular. If they get it right, the rest of the world should follow. If they reduce cars, the world will reduce it too, I feel :)

01 Sep 2019

Frozen :)

Watched the animated movie Frozen with my niece and her parents. I loved it :)

A beautiful storyline. The poetic and musical flow of the story captured my imagination. The northern lights and other animations were picturesque. A dream world :)

I would love to write a musical and a poetic script like this with some deep cryptic profound meanings someday :)

I strongly recommend to watch this with your loved ones and melt for them. Just like the snowman Olaf says in the movie - "some people are worth melting for" :)

31 Aug 2019

Imelda Marcos

We watched an old documentary on Imelda Marcos. A very interesting personality. Famous/infamous for her lavish lifestyle, shoe shopping and the holder of the Guinness World Record for the Greatest Robbery of a Government. What amused me the most are her hilarious quotes:

  • I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty.

  • I was no Marie Antoinette. I was not born to nobility, but I had a human right to nobility.

  • They went into my closets looking for skeletons, but thank God, all they found were shoes, beautiful shoes.

  • Win or lose, we go shopping after the election.

  • People say I'm extravagant because I want to be surrounded by beauty. But tell me, who wants to be surrounded by garbage?

  • I have never been a material girl. My father always told me never to love anything that cannot love you back.

  • Filipinos want beauty. I have to look beautiful so that the poor Filipinos will have a star to look at from their slums.

  • Never dress down for the poor. They won't respect you for it. They want their First Lady to look like a million dollars.

  • I get so tired listening to one million dollars here, one million dollars there, it's so petty.

30 Aug 2019

A sense of community :)

Last night, at my cousin's condominium they had a get-together. All her neighbours, residents of the condominium, hosted what is called a potluck party in the common courtyard. Each family prepared a food item for others to try. My sister had prepared pani-puri. The kids were playing around and their parents were chatting with each other as they ate all the food on display.

I arrived in late from work. Tasted every food item. Commented and discussed the cooking/preparation with each of the "cooks". Interacted with everyone. Cracked jokes. Entertained everybody. Played around with the kids teaching them football. Danced with them and even juggled for them. Many appreciated my efforts. "Hey Chiraag, please babysit my kid na!" It felt good :)

29 Aug 2019

The best letter ending :)

Today I received a very important email that ended as shown in the image. Imagine the smile on my face. Hahaha. I am going to use this in my emails from now on :)

28 Aug 2019

When two Chinis meet :)

I have moved into my cousin's house. Sharing the room with my 4 year old niece. Have become her best friend. My sister calls her 'chini' too. So whenever she calls chini, both my niece and I respond :)

I guess, the next couple of months the two chinis are going to go crazy :)

27 Aug 2019

Ma Pa with me at Googleplex :)

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And the last kiss before they fly home :)

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26 Aug 2019

Utrecht :)

Planning for people, not for cars

I continued my research on efficient environment friendly public transportation. While London, Tokyo and Copenhagen were on my mind, I came across Utrecht. Wowww! Check out the video :)

We want this to happen across the world :)

Dear USA,

Please plan for your people, not for your businesses and industries.

Kind regards,

An observant critic

25 Aug 2019

US public transportation system is a disaster!

I can vouch for this. What a shame! A society so affluent has a public transport system so appalling. Forcing people to buy cars. I can vent for hours on this. Seriously. But I think I will let Hassan Minhaj do it in a hilarious and informative way :) ... check the video.

Also, at the risk of being boring, repetitive and sounding angry I will briefly mention the environmental impact which was not discussed in the show. (I am not really angry, the tone is only for impact :))

On my way to work, I see thousands and thousands of cars on the road because public transportation sucks in the Bay Area. Correction - thousands and thousands of 'SUVs' and 'trucks' on the road. And its not like they are filled with people. Its only one person in the giant vehicle. Which made me wonder what might be the carbon footprint of an average American who drives an SUV to get just one kilogram of grocery from a store just one km away instead of walking there or taking a bus?

This is what I found when it comes to per capita carbon footprint:

  • 1 American = 10 Indians

What about city with the highest standard of living - Vienna in Austria, Europe?

  • 1 Austrian = 4 Indians

What about the oil-rich nations?

  • 1 Saudi = 12 Indians

  • 1 Qatari = 26 Indians

So here is my point, when I see a poor kid from Dharavi begging on the streets of Mumbai, I feel sympathetic. The sympathy basically means deep down I want that poor kid and every other poor person to have the same comforts and conveniences that I enjoy, to have the same standard of living as I do. Now tomorrow if I decide I want an SUV, it means deep down I want 7 Billion people (the world population) to have SUVs. 7billion SUVs! You might as well burn the entire planet!

I want the entire world to have highest standard of living like Vienna but not at the cost of carbon footprint of Americas or worst Qatar. So dear humans world over, lets cut down on cars (especially fossil fuelled) and increase public transport and bicycles. I will be honest, I am a car enthusiast and I would have loved to have my hands on a Porsche or an Aston Martin but we are the times in which we live. And the time in which we live does not allow me to buy a car without the guilt of destroying nature. Tesla electric vehicle is an alternative but then its no less harmful if the electricity that it needs comes from a fossil fuel driven power plant. So here I am changing my aspirations from Porsche to Pinarello, an amazing bicycle, something which will make me smile a million times more :)

The next month, I plan to donate £72 towards environment friendly public transportation systems in India or anywhere - either research or an advertisement encouraging and educating people to shift from cars to public transport or bicycles or something of that sort. I am seeking avenues to do that. Help me if you can.

With my pockets finally filling up, I could have increased my monthly donations several folds, which I wanted to, but I have struck a deal with my father to keep monthly donations at £72 until I finish my PhD and get into a full-time role. Once in position of power, and liberated from debts, I am free to do whatever I want :)

24 Aug 2019

MY HEART JUST MELTED :)

I have been staring for hours with a smile and a melting heart. Still staring as I write because "mann hi nahi bhar raha". How can someone be so beautiful? And its not just the external beauty. I know the deepest realms of your mind and heart. You are beautiful beyond words, more than what you think you are, my love :)

So cheers to love :) an emotion so profound that it can literally move mountains. Recall Manjhi. After losing his wife, the man carved a mountain to pave way for others to a nearby hospital. He did it purely out of love. And while doing so if he was hurt or injured, the love within made him laugh at the suffering. If it wasn't love, he would have complained and hated his dead wife at the first hint of pain and not laughed.

So cheers to laughter and playfulness in general :) an act so profound that it heals wounds which medicines cannot. No wonder they say laughter is the best medicine. And because his wounds were getting healed with laughter, Manjhi could function on full throttle and push himself relentlessly to achieve something which was believed humanly impossible. A single man carving a mountain is simply miraculous and magical.

So cheers to the magic :) that comes with love and laughter.

There you go, I connected the three, perhaps not the way you thought, but I did it anyway. Perhaps, deep down you knew the three were connected. It is my wish and my blessing that you love and laugh with people around you so much that it brings magic and profoundness to your experience of life :)

Keep expressing and keep sharing, please :) I was tempted to respond, or at least reach out, but I did not because I am aware I am the villain in your circles and a joke in mine. Forgotten and ignored. Writing pointlessly in vain. But I do it with love and laughter... lets see what magic it unfolds :)

23 Aug 2019

10353

At around 9am

In year twenty nineteen

On August twenty third

Somewhere in River Oaks

Near a barren field

Under a thin lonely tree

The clock stopped ticking

The earth stopped spinning

The winds stopped blowing

A chill down my spine

The floodgates opened up

And tears kept flowing

One zero three five three

The number didn't sink in

"Must be a mistake"

Overwhelmed I was

I fell to the ground

Made strange sounds

A roar, a cry, a scream

Cried out the last tear in the tank

And then I fell asleep

-Chiraag

22 Aug 2019

Filoli gardens picnic :)

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21 Aug 2019

Dear Nature / The Entire Cosmos,

How kind of you to grant me a sense of individualism. I am aware I am just an object in you. Like any other object in existence. A tree, a rock, a cloud, a comet, a star, the chair I am sitting on, the shoes I am wearing. But you were kind to bestow on me the ability to be aware of myself. You did not give many other objects the same privilege. Thank you :)

You gave me this body. I will explore how fast it can run, how strong it can get, how flexible it is, how dexterous and balanced it can be.

You gave me this mind with intellect. I will explore the extent to which I can grasp the whole universe, the boundaries of my knowledge and ignorance and how far can I stretch it, how much can I understand and unravel your mysterious workings, how creative and artistic I can get.

You gave me emotions. I will explore every terrain of the emotional landscape, the entire spectrum without losing myself, how deep I can experience each emotion including love and how balanced I can stay while doing so.

You gave me life - this energy - the fire within. I will make it burn as much as possible for as long as possible.

You gave me senses to absorb the world. I will highten the senses and make them more and more receptive and sensitive.

You made me conscious and aware. I will continue to raise my consciousness higher and higher.

Until you take away these privileges, I will function on full throttle :)


Humbly yours,

A tiny little object in you which is called 'Chiraag' by several other objects of the same kind :)

20 Aug 2019

Massage :)

My first professional massage in my adult life. Fully automated. Wow!

It was this massage chair

And I swear

Its does great repair

Resolving my wear and tear

Taking good care... hahaha :)

19 Aug 2019

Legitimate or scam?

An IISER Bhopal alumni, Shivam Shive, who was junior to me approached me today asking for financial help. Long story short - he says his mother has been unwell and her medical treatment is costly and he has not received his salary for the last couple of months and he is in debt and financial crisis. My first instantaneous reaction was sympathy. I know what debt feels like. Also, it is my mother's birthday today so I was already in that zone of 'love for mother'. In fact, I was going to spend time writing something for my mother today. In such an emotional state when I heard Shivam talk about his mother's suffering, I felt for that guy.

But then I took a deep breath and paused. Who is Shivam Shive? I was struggling to remember his face. Looked into his FB profile and could faintly remember interacting with him for a mere few minutes more that 6 years ago. For me this guy is a stranger, although he is a friend on facebook, I seriously don't remember him. But I want to help him. He accurately struck my 'sympathy G-spot'. My parents say "nothing doing, just ignore".

I paused again. Deep breathe and thought, "Lets find out if this situation is legitimate or a scam. If it is legitimate then I will help him generously and get more people to help him out. If it is a scam then I will complain through the right channels."

Shivam had mentioned two other IISER Bhopal Alumni who had helped him. I know the two he mentioned so I contacted them and asked them whether Shivam's story is legitimate or not. They say they just paid him a month ago out of sympathy but don't know if he is saying the truth. In fact, they started raising doubts now after hearing my version of the story. After paying, Shivam had told them that his mother is recovering well, but now he is approaching me for more money and not them who had paid. That is a red flag - those who paid don't know if Shivam's situation is legitimate or not.

So next, I inquired with my IISER batch mates. One after another my batch mates raised their finger - "yes, I was approached". Turns out Shivam has been approaching many IISER Alumni. Some paid him. Many did not. But everyone, for some strange reason, kept quiet and ignored. And whoever I ask whether his situation is legitimate, they say they don't know. All I wanted to hear was one trusted voice saying, "yes, I know Shivam and his situation is true". But none so far.

Until I get to hear that trusted voice I will not take any action - neither donate nor complain. So after spending more than 2 hours of inquiry today, the question remains - Legitimate or Scam?

18 Aug 2019

A very happy self listening to the cries of Sea Gulls :)

Yesterday I was very happy because I have been informed that I will get to play football/soccer in the 'A' division league within Google :)

Then my cousin Nitesh took us for San Francisco sightseeing. Many touristy places including Golden Gate Bridge and a crooked street called the Lombard Street. Thoroughly enjoyed every experience especially the drive and the laughter up and down the crooked Lombard street. Couldn't document all that properly but I did capture the cries of the California Sea Gulls which amused me a lot :)

17 Aug 2019

Raksha Bandhan and my american nieces :)

Meeting my cousins - an elder brother Nitesh and an elder sister Anita and their families who are settled in the Bay Area - after more than six years. On the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, Anita is tying me Rakhi after 10 years in-person. Met my 'cousin' american nieces for the first time. Ayana and Nishika. Broke the ice and befriended them with juggling and then acting as childish as I can be. Anita says, "Ayana aur Chini toh jaise janmo janmo ke yaar hai" (Ayana and Chini are like friends forever). Had so much fun with my nieces :)

16 Aug 2019

A different bike but the name and the love stays the same :)

Google was kind to give me a bicycle for free for long-distance commute. The one in black. Six gears in the rear, none in front. Smooth, elegant, sturdy. Love at first ride :)

Google is a bicycle friendly and a bicycle loving company. They even have something called a conference bike for 5 people to have a conference and ride the common bike at the same time. I will probably have a separate post on Google's love for bicycles in the coming days. Its crazy :)

15 Aug 2019

Happy independence day India

I say this with some doubt and unease. Kashmir valley. The telecom and internet bans. Doesn't really feel 'independence' there. I hope I am wrong. I hope whatever happened and is happening there is for the best in the long run.

Anyway... I hope, soon 'everyone' in India feels independent.

14 Aug 2019

My father is pulling my leg :)

My parents have been watching Mr. Bean. They came across a funny scene where he is packing his suitcase (see the video). That reminded my father about my minimalist approach. He tells me this is how I pack my bag. Hahahaha :)

13 Aug 2019

Football for life :)

Played first football match (friendly) at Google. This is now going to be a regular thing :)

It is good to have some structure.

Training: Monday - Wednesday - Friday

Matches: Tuesday - Thursday

Control, Balance and Freestyle: Saturday - Sunday

How senseless a sport? Just put the ball in the goal without using arms. There is no meaning to it. And yet it feels the most meaningful thing to do.

12 Aug 2019

The fire within - a limerick :)

All I have is this fire within

And love in my heart and a bit of vision

Scorch the Sun

Hotter than its core

I think I can burn like never before :)

-Chiraag

11 Aug 2019

A great opportunity to regain health :)

The workload here is not much. Although, I hear few complaining about it. But turns out, compared to where I come from, this is a far more relaxed place. On top of that the amount of support like sports, gym, food, massage, medical, etcetera blows my mind.

I won't get this opportunity again after I return back to London. Perhaps, I should grab this chance and regain the fitness level I possessed like Edinburgh time or even better like St. John's time. Oh, can I ever be as fit as I was at St. John's? I don't know, but lets give it a shot :)

10 Aug 2019

Compostable Plastic :)

I have been avoiding plastic for the last 10 days. It is so difficult! 95% of the things on a market shelf have plastic. Searching for the remaining 5% is frustratingly difficult. I even had moments of weakness where I thought of reconsidering my decision to avoid plastic. "It cannot be done. It is impossible in today's world."

In Google's various cafeterias, besides the regular steel, glass, paper and ceramic utensils, they have plastic cups and containers too. I was disheartened to see plastic at Google. They say some of the smartest brains on the planet are in this campus and here I see them no different from the rest of human race when it comes to harming the planet :(

Yesterday, I was having dinner with some software engineer who got iced-tea in a plastic cup. I befriended him and then gently slide in a comment, "Hey, there are glass cups available. Why not use those next time. Once you throw this plastic cup, it won't ever be used and will hang around for centuries without being degraded harming many other life forms". He was convinced and suggested that I should raise this awareness within the Google community. A leading company should not have a wasteful and harmful culture. And so I decided I should pursue this. After all, I have promised to spend 7% of my time towards an environmental cause.

BUT THEN, while clearing my plate, my eyes went to the signs on the bins (see the first image). PLANT-BASED COMPOSTABLE PLASTICS. Whaaaattt :)

I was wrong about Google. The plastic here is compostable. Will do more research about this. Meanwhile, I strongly encourage you to look into plant-based compostable plastics for your company / university / neighbourhood / community. Check the carbon footprint of the society you live in. Try and reduce it as much as you can. Please :)

09 Aug 2019

News

Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong

Mass shootings in Texas

Article 370 and Kashmir riots

So much has happened in the last one week! I read and read and read and still reading.

08 Aug 2019

Living the dream?

Yes. But the dream is not mine. This was someone else's dream. And each day I think about that one person who dreamt this. Each moment, I wish that one person was experiencing all this with me :)

07 Aug 2019

The incident that got me here

Listen to the video.

Yes. And now I am entrusted to help resolve this.

What an irony? A man who gave up his own privacy will now help protect the privacy of everyone else. Its like a naked man helping others dress up properly.

06 Aug 2019

Blank

My brain just turned off. No, not the meditative blank. This was the blackout kind.

05 Aug 2019

chiraag@google.com

Hey Google,

You are famous for many. You are infamous too, I am aware. Many come here with pride. A few don't out of hatred and fear of your power. But I come with no prejudice.

I am neither for you nor against you. I am here to know you, who you really are, what you really do.

And I am here to know me, who I really am, what can I really do.

-Chiraag

04 Aug 2019

47 hours :)

The journey from London to San Jose is briefly summarised in the video. Watch with higher volume (higher bass) for the effect. Tried to match the video to the music in the background :)

Also, a movie marathon in the flights. Describing the experience in one word for each movie below:

  • A Star Is Born -- Cool

  • The Intern (not the Google one) -- Cute

  • Stolen Identity (Japanese movie) -- Bizarre

  • APOLLO Missions To The Moon -- Inspiring

  • The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley -- OMG! (This is a must watch. I insist. Please Please Please watch this. Don't read any reviews or any news or anything about it now. Take my word. Just watch. Please :)

  • Business Wars - Nike vs Adidas (podcast) -- Hooked

03 Aug 2019

The last Concorde :)

A childhood dream - to travel faster than sound - to fly the Concorde - unfulfilled :(

Spotted the last Concorde at Heathrow airport yesterday. Abandoned. Could identify it from its distinctly unique shape. Immediately, emotions rushed in. As a child, I used to imagine the 'sonic boom'. Dreamed of flying the Concorde. When British Airways and Air France decided to stop the Concorde, my heart broke. I must be 12 or 13 year old.

Seeing the plane for the first time in real (not tv or youtube) brings me immense joy :)

02 Aug 2019

Less than 7kg :)

A long journey ahead. London - Rome - New York - San Francisco - San Jose. Total accommodation to accommodation (door to door) travel time = 45 to 50 hours. I could have done it in less than 20 hours but then the longer trip saves me £200 and gives me an opportunity to explore :)

I have decided to travel light and carry only those things which are absolutely absolutely necessary. This picture sums it up (except toothbrush and phone). Total weight < 7kg for a 100days stay. Not bad :)

I love tracking flights on flightradar24.com . Here, track my flights and explore the congested sky :)

LHR - FCO --- AZ209

FCO - JFK --- AZ608

JFK - SFO --- AZ5906

01 Aug 2019

The Ocean Cleanup :)

I plan on donating on the 1st of each month towards an environmental cause. I plan to be vocal about it too unlike previously where I did it more discreetly to just Greenpeace and for smaller amounts.

Today I donated £72 to the Ocean Cleanup project which I seriously cannot afford but I did it anyway. Why?

Lets go back in time by about 18 months when I was watching Blue Planet II

This show made me cry. Those who were very close to me then know this.

While there are many people concerned about the environment, their concern is often restricted to things they can see. The things out of sight, are simply out of mind. For a long time, the life in the ocean has been out of sight. And so has the human impact on them. More specifically, the plastic pollution of the oceans by humans. Not visible. When a city like Mumbai or London or San Francisco dumps its plastic in landfills in rural areas, there will be villagers coming out in protest. Dump the plastic waste in the oceans and nobody protests. Even if the fish do protest - out of sight, ....

Many say, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. I don't know about that but I do know we are consuming a lot of plastic and a lot of that goes into the ocean.

The Ocean Cleanup project is novel, elegant and a seemingly effective solution taking advantage of the ocean currents and wind currents.

They are still working on the first models and I wish them speedy success. If they do succeed then this will surely save numerous marine species. Besides the donation, this will also be my 'NoPlastic' month. I will not buy/consume anything that comes in a plastic bag or a plastic bottle or anything plastic for one whole month. Let us do our bit for the oceans :)

30 July 2019

Going offline until 1 Aug

I want my mind to be at its efficient best for the next 100 days. For that, I need absolute clarity. To make a glass of muddy water clear, one needs to keep it still to let the mud settle down. And hence... Meditation. Vipassana for two days :)

29 July 2019

24 hours of fun with Nimu, Karthik anna and Swati didi :)

Yesterday's sequence of events summarised:

  • Watched 2 movies - (1) De de pyar de, and (2) Luka Chupi. It is very easy to enjoy such movies, which can otherwise make you scratch your head. Just turn your brain off and focus on dialogues and punchlines only. Loved laughing pointlessly with Nimesh :)

  • School stories - Rohan (over whatsapp video) joined us. We chatted and laughed for hours over silly school stories. My cheeks hurt laughing :)

  • Authentic Maharastrian poha - Swati didi prepared delicious poha for breakfast as we continued to joke, laugh, and behave like teenagers :)

  • Drive to Eastbourne, Brighton and several places on the way - Karthik anna drove us to several places down south. More jokes, more leg pulling. I found Birling Gap very beautiful. Would love to explore the geology of the region and the white cliffs if I go back alone. Seagulls were hovering in the fierce ocean winds. Wrote a quick short one inspired by the seagulls in front of the cliffs

Like a seagull in fierce winds

Keep your wings in shape - firm and steady

Don't you pull the rudder now

Else be thrown away, hitting the cliff and falling into the sea

-Chiraag

  • Mohan Anna and family - Finally, we went to Karthik anna's elder brother Siddharth's (a.k.a Mohan Anna) home. His wife, Priyanka didi, had cooked an amazing dinner. Mohan anna had returned from Bombay and shared us the news that 'Modern dairy building' (where we all grew up) is now all rubble :(

28 July 2019

See you soon, Ma Pa :)

I will be tracking your flight, health and wellbeing :)

27 July 2019

Modern dairy reunion :)

My first home - Modern dairy building, Jogeshwari West, Mumbai - where Nimesh (in yellow) and I were born and spent the first 5 years our lives. Our families were neighbours and we had the most unexpected reunion yesterday.

Many old memories were revisited - My elder brother Rajeev and Karthik hijacking the common WCs shitting together with open doors and chatting for hours. Me licking the walls of the common courtyard for years till it lost paint and a couple of centimetres of cement. Nimesh and I lying on a buffalo. Hahaha. Wish someone had documented all the crazy episodes of our early childhood :)

26 July 2019

London's hottest day EVER! And it went by like a cool breeze :)

Ya. London, with no fans or ACs or ventilation, witnessed 39 degrees Celsius yesterday. Europe, in general, experienced weather around 40s. And I survived!

How? I stayed at home. Drank 2ltrs of ice cold lemonade and 2ltrs of ice cold coconut water. Had three towels and two tshirts in the freezer (or as I would lovingly call fridger :) Would wear the frozen towels and t-shirts and change every two hours. Even my laptop was wrapped in cold towels to function properly. I overdid this precautionary measure but yes, we could clearly see nature's wrath around. Its not that I haven't seen hot weather before. Its the swing in temperature in a region which is not supposed to experience it. 39C yesterday and 18C right now as I type. We call our planet 'mother' earth. Know that our mother is going through mood swings and we, human species, are the reason. It has begun and it will last for a long long time, at least my lifetime for sure.

For the record: (1) I will never ever buy a car even if I have the money. I will rent it if I really need to else bicycle and public transport. (2) I will never buy any new product unless the old existing one dies off completely and is unusable. (3) And this is new which is making my parents freakout - 7% of my income and 7% of my time goes to environment. Even during debt. I had been donating to Greenpeace. Now I will diversify to other environment and wildlife protection and conservation. Over time, if I become more financially independent then these percentages will only increase.

Its a short human life and all we seek is happiness, excitement, adventure, satisfaction and fulfilment. We can have all that but it need not come at such a heavy environmental cost. Will keep reducing material dependence and hope I can inspire many others to do the same :)

25 July 2019

Gazing Lightning with Mom and her childish excitement :)

24 July 2019

Rehne ko ghar nahi, sone ko bistar nahi :)

My mother was singing this song so beautifully, but she is shy to record it for me. We are all staying in one room with just one single bed to share so two have to sleep on the floor. Nothing uncomfortable. It just made my mother joke and sing about it and her past.

"Rehne ko ghar nahi. Sone ko bistar nahi. Apna khuda hai rakhwala. Ab tak ussi ne hai pala."

Also, since my parents and I have opened up so much, they are sharing their stories with me. Some pretty bizarre. Some uncomfortable to hear. Some tragic especially with the number of deaths in the family. Some funny.

They also shared the partition stories of their parents, my grandparents. My grandparents were from Sindh and had to migrate 1500km to Mumbai in 1947. These stories were far more worse than I originally thought they were. Explains why my parents had the kind of upbringing they had and what makes them think in a particular way.

For the record: Ma Pa, I acknowledge and understand the struggles and tragedies of your lives. I really do. Calling your stories tragedy is an understatement and calling my story the same is an overstatement. I understand and appreciate everything you did. I am not blaming anything on you. I am not blaming anything on anybody else either. Nobody was wrong except me. Everybody did the best they could in the situation they were. It is just me and me alone who spoiled it for everyone in one way or another. I cracked under pressure. From now on, I promise I am committed to everybody's wellbeing in whatever limited capacity I can :)

23 July 2019

Took Ma Pa to Radha-Krishna temple :)

Yesterday, after US embassy, I took my parents to the Radha-Krishna temple in SOHO Central London. Made them sit the very same place where I sat smiling. They know the whole story. They are humbled, overwhelmed and silent. Contemplating. Praying for the wellbeing and happiness of everyone involved. And how powerful were their prayers...

...Later in the evening, after returning home, I received the most genuine and the most beautiful message that made me smile and cry my heart out. Truly miraculous for me. I was so very happy :)

But soon, I became worried and concerned because it feels 'all is not well' at the other end :(

Feeling so helpless. I hope this feeling is wrong. I hope everything is fine.

22 July 2019

Put on your earphones, close your eyes and listen to this :)

Please.

21 July 2019

That shaky shivery hand and that limping leg

Pa, I see your hands shake and shiver. They didn't when I last saw you. Yes, it is old age. But I know, it is also because of me. I am so sorry.

Ma, you are the fittest, most athletic and most energetic person I have ever known. But I noticed you limp today. You cannot hide it from me.

Don't worry... 'zakhm bhi maine diya hai... malham bhi main lagaunga'

20 July 2019

Smoothy

No. Not the drink. It is my mother's fingers caressing me and running over my back, my arms, legs, neck, face, scalp. She used to do it to calm my nerves.

My parents are here with me in London. I am meeting them, especially my father, after a very very long time :)

Late in the evening my mother started doing 'smoothy' to me. I didn't ask for it. But she did it anyway. She did it with tears in her eyes. Later, my father joined her too. Both doing smoothy. Both having tears. All of us silent. They did it for several hours till I fell asleep in their arms. I slept twice or thrice longer than usual :)

I don't have any wounds and yet you continued relentlessly to heal me. Thank you Ma Pa. Love you. I am at peace :)

19 July 2019

Lisbon in photos :)

Click here

18 July 2019

LxMLS ends

An LxMLS monitor and a dear friend - Eliezer - plays guitar to mark the end of a successful summer school :)

17 July 2019

Elena

I saw the Moon reflect in the river

As white pearls making way


The Elena so beautiful, I kept staring at her

And just couldn't look away


And when she spoke I would hear

With attention to every sound she made


I could also understand her Spanish words

Whilst not the English others would say

-Chiraag


Note: Elena = Bright and shining moonlight. Also, I don't know Spanish language.

16 July 2019

Imagine starting a race. And the guy with starter pistol shoots you in the leg.

A very funny and informative take on the student debt crisis (more specifically USA's student debt crisis)... hahaha

If you are in debt with limited backing, then yes dear friend, I symphatize with you. I know how it feels.

I hope I get off my debts (of all kinds) within the next two years max. And if and when that happens - ohhhhhh boyyyyyy - that will be the biggest sigh of relief :)

Really looking forward to it :)

15 July 2019

Electric Standing Scooter :)

This is so much fun!

14 July 2019

Barest of margins :)

England vs New Zealand. Match tied. Super Over tied too. And yet! England win World Cup by count of boundaries. Whaaatttt!!!! Also, Wimbledon final went to tie breaker but I didn't watch that. Will watch the highlights later.

First of all, cricket has come home - my temporary home at least :)

Second of all, London erupted and I am missing it :(

Finally, I feel for New Zealand, I really do. That overthrow boundary off Ben Stoke's helmet is just freakishly lucky. "The most significant six of the tournament was the one that went along the ground"-Ian Smith.

What an absolutely ridiculous match of cricket. Hahaha. I enjoyed every bit. I am exhausted! I am ecstatic too as a sports enthusiast! It teaches so much. Today's lesson: beware of the barest of margins.

If you ask me, I think they should write both the teams as joint winners of this world cup. Seriously!

13 July 2019

Raani aur ghulaam :)

Ehhh meri raani

Ki hogi iss ghulaam ne galti

Par isse apne darbaar se mat nikaal

Hara zaroor hai, par hai kaabil insaan


Kaam aayega yeh pyaada

Rakhega aapki aur raja ki shaan

Nahi karega koi bhi saazish

Mazboot usool hai iske, aap pe hai meherbaan


Rakhle isse meri raani

Kar le iska istamaal

Karz pe jee raha hai aapke ishq ki

Sukoon mile isse agar pukaar lo uska naam

-Chiraag

12 July 2019

Farfetch - will consider :)

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11 July 2019

Autophagy - Nobel Prize in Medicine 2016. Please consider widening the gap between meals :)

For the last 9 months or so, I have been eating just once a day. I was under immense pressure of time back then and decided to save some by eating just once a day. With experience and observation, I realised this works for me. My efficiency sky-rocketed. [There were many other things happening at the same time so I cannot credit this surge in efficiency entirely to 'one meal a day only' practice, but still]

Today I went with a few new friends for dinner. I didn't order anything.

"Are you fasting?"

"No, I eat just once a day and I have already eaten today."

"Oh! Are you doing it because of the Nobel Prize winning research on fasting?"

"What?"

Then I searched and found this - Autophagy

Simply put, fasting/starving a bit is good. It triggers 'autophagy'. Allows your system to remove trash. Think of it like this. In a movie hall, you allow people to leave and then clean the hall and repair seats and then allow next batch of people to enter. The cleaning and maintenance happens when the hall is empty.

I wasn't suggesting this to anyone thinking its working just for me and may be harmful to others. But now there is evidence. Please consider this. Consult your dietician too with this research if you wish. I would be happy to see you live long :)

10 July 2019

Bleeding blue: success and failure :)

Watched India vs New Zealand. India lost :(

Could feel the nervous energy in players.

One bad 30 minute phase and the team is out in spite of performing the best in the entire tournament. While New Zealand had performed relatively poorly in the entire tournament but one excellent 30 minute session and they are in the final.

When I look back at my failures in life, I see many a times I have been like India.

However, to be fair, when I look at my successes in life, many a times I have been like New Zealand :)

This brings me back to Nishkam Karma - forget the outcome and just focus on the process. Because sometimes you may work hard and rightfully deserve the desired outcome but not get it due to a tiny mistake while sometimes you may not work as hard as many others and may not deserve the desired outcome but still get it due to some tiny little brilliance.

09 July 2019

London Luton Airport :)

Amateur vlogging.

08 July 2019

Walking with Fal :)

My landlady took me for a 5km walk with her walking group to Stockley Park. Twelve senior citizens.

I spoke mostly with a 78 year old British woman. Her name is 'Fal' (if I heard her correctly). She befriended me so quickly, I was surprised. She enquired about me and spoke at length about her travels in vineyards of Portugal, the industries in and around Stockley, the canal routes of Britain, etcetera. :)

Towards the end she said she is fighting cancer. I felt so sorry for her. I hope she recovers from it soon.

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07 July 2019

Wow - a beautiful poem in the London Underground :)

06 July 2019

Bleeding blue, Kohli's comment and considering to skip the Portugal trip :)

Watched both India vs Sri Lanka and Australia vs South Africa. Enjoyed a full day of cricket :)

Picked up this quote from Virat Kohli's interview (a bit paraphrased) - "If we don't play well then any weak team can beat us. If we play well then we can beat any strong team. And therefore the focus is on our own performance and not the strength of the opposition." Sounds like someone is reading the Bhagavad Gita :)

I sense an India vs England final at Lords. Whoever wins, London would be celebrating (plus we got the Wimbledon too at the same time). Exciting time to be in the city but unfortunately I will be headed to Portugal :(

I am considering skipping the Portugal trip :)

05 July 2019

Mark Andrew Charles, ruk jata yaar!

This IIT Hyderabad student committed suicide. He wrote an 8-page suicide note. Articulate and clear. I am mourning for this kid.

"Ruk jata yaar. Cheek leta jab tak gala na fatte. Bhaag leta jab tak per na dukhe. Gaana ga leta. Kavita likh deta kitna bhi chutiyaap kyu na ho. Blog likhta koi pade na pade. Gaali de deta bhenchod. Khudko jhaapad maar deta. Bas ruk jata yaar. Ruk jata."

04 July 2019

The underlying code :)

Yesterday facebook owned services faced outages... hahaha

And this is true with almost everything and everyone. Not just technology, but people too. A world obsessed with appearance!

But thats fine.

Let us make an effort to uncover the underlying code / the underlying math / the underlying science / the underlying art / the underlying person, in case of people / the underlying life, in case of animals, trees, Earth, etc. / the underlying truth, no matter how ugly or difficult or tedious or unrewarding it may seem :)

I try. I hope you will too :)

03 July 2019

Bleeding blue. We have qualified for the semi-finals :)

02 July 2019

Football is back into my life :)

First of all, I think I have recovered from sunstroke. Will be careful with my health :)

Secondly, I came across this hilarious video. A cow playing football. This shows football is universal... beyond humanity :)

Rediscovered my love for the sport. Have decided to play football every day for 30 mins no matter what :)

01 July 2019

Bleeding orange :)

India vs England. India lost :(

But this India away jersey colour combination from front looks great! Orange + black would also look beautiful.

Could never really explain my inclination towards black + orange or dark blue + orange when it comes to sports jersey or jackets. When it comes to shirts - different shades of blue only (Which is kind of universal with shirts though).

Rethinking about my colour preferences! Asking myself "Baaki colours ne mera kya bigaada hai? Why only orange, black and blue?"

Maybe, just maybe, as a child I would look up at the sky a lot and those colours got imprinted in my head. Orange from the sun. Black from the night sky. Shades of blue from the day sky. Again - maybe, just maybe. I don't know for sure.

I think I shouldn't be so biased with colours. Should open up to other colours too. Perhaps different shades of fluorescent green with black because I have also developed an affection for the northern lights in the sky :)

30 June 2019

Staring at the ceiling :)

One day conquering the world

The next day staring at the ceiling


All the drama, tragedy and humour

Ending with a blank feeling


Death is a great normaliser/equaliser :)

Bringing all to the same setting


No matter how triumphant or embarrassed

We will all end up staring at the ceiling :)

-Chiraag


I am ill and have been lying in bed unable to do anything else but stare at the ceiling for hours which inspired me to write this poem :)

29 June 2019

Sunstroke :(

Pretty bad one! Made the mistake of riding my bike to the lab in the sun. After reaching the library, experienced a blackout. Now I have fever too and the brain wants to explode. Turns out, it was the hottest day of the year and it happened quite suddenly. Big big big big mistake riding in the sun! Should have taken a bus and the underground. Furious with myself. 'Penny wise pound foolish' thing I did. God knows how much time this will take to recover and how much time I will end up loosing!

Not able to move or think or do anything at all. No energy to go back home either. Just listening to my breath and waiting patiently to recover.

28 June 2019

Bleeding blue and Sheldon Cottrell's salute :)

I love Sheldon Cottrell's salute to celebrate wickets!

27 June 2019

Expensive cars giving my bike some company :)

My supervisor had invited me to a party at her house yesterday in Chelsea Harbour. A very posh neighbourhood. I parked my bicycle in the car park of her building which was full of super expensive cars. A Ferrari on one side and a Rolls Royce on the other. I whispered to my bike - "Great vehicles around to admire but I love you the most" :)

26 June 2019

Thames flowing in opposite direction?

Yes! At 5am I was near Albert Bridge over river Thames throwing pebbles in the river. I noticed the river flowing in the wrong direction towards its source (It should flow towards its mouth). For a moment I lost my sense of direction and geography but soon I realised that, in London, river Thames is a tidal river (it's flow depends on the sea-tide).

Every river near it's mouth where it is very close to the sea level gets influenced by the sea-tides. It can be thought of as a part of the sea. When the tides rise (sea-level raises) the river flows upward in the opposite direction. When the tides fall, the river flows downward in its natural direction. In other words, Thames in London is not really a river. It is a part of the Ocean - the North Sea. And the water is not a fresh river water, it must be the salty ocean water :)

25 June 2019

Everest is crowded!

Dear Everest,

On behalf of human species, sorry!

Here is an informative and hilarious take on this topic by John Oliver .... hahaha :)

24 June 2019

A dose of humility :)

I binged 5 episodes of the HBO TV series - Chernobyl. It is an extremely humbling experience. Highly recommend it :)

It reminds me of Bhopal Gas Tragedy. I have lived in Bhopal for my undergraduate studies and studied in the 'Gas Rahat' building which was constructed for the relief of Bhopal Gas Tragedy victims. That disaster was equally bad or, perhaps, worse than Chernobyl. I am sure, all my IISER friends would agree.

Chernobyl also reminds me of Oppenheimer's reference to the Bhagavad Gita after testing the atomic bomb for the first time (see the video). He saw the mushroom cloud from the atomic explosion as Krishna (called 'Vishnu' in the video) revealing his universal/all-too-powerful/deadly form to Arjuna (called 'the prince' in the video). Chernobyl is also this story - arrogance to humility.

Lastly, I admit I have been arrogant at many levels too. More specifically, an arrogance of knowledge - "I know more than you. I am smarter than you. I work harder than you. I have struggled more than you. I have suffered more than you. Etcetera." This has to go.

Time to kill the arrogance and change that to humility :)

23 June 2019

Bleeding blue: well played Afghanistan :)

I am glad I decided to watch the India vs Afghanistan match yesterday. Much more intense and exciting than expected.

22 June 2019

Flavours :)

First of all, I am convinced - London is the food capital of the world!

Secondly, the biggest advantage of cycling to work is that I get to stop anywhere I want and explore a random market and taste a random food item from a random eatery in a matter of minutes. A quick adventure of the taste buds. Such adventures happen each day :)

I guess it is time to start a food miniblog - just 5 minutes each day to articulate the flavour and post it on social media. After all, I eat every day :)

I am starting a food blog on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/flavours_afoodblog/

The same posts will also be posted on the website: https://www.chiraaglala.com/flavours

21 June 2019

Cost of PhD :)

Some recent episodes in my lab make me wonder the cost of a PhD. And then I find this... :)

20 June 2019

1983 final :)

Can't believe I had never watched the 1983 world cup final my entire life! Not even the highlights!

Until now :)

19 June 2019

I thought... But now... :)

I thought, I have done enough

But now, there is so much left to do


I thought, I have cried enough

But now, there are more tears coming through


I thought, I have loved enough

But now, there is so much more love left for you :)

-Chiraag


I, seriously, don't know where are these words coming from. Trust me, I am as surprised as you :)

18 June 2019

Smile is like...

...absolutely beautiful! I can explain and elaborate the significance and the connection :)

17 June 2019

The Mumbaikar in Rohit Sharma :)

India vs Pakistan cricket. India won! Plenty of hilarious memes, jokes and banter on twitter, youtube, etc. But the best one by the man of the match himself :)

16 June 2019

A Beautiful Tree :)

Came across this beautiful tree with an elegant design. Majestic patterns. Please help me identify the tree :)

15 June 2019

A stroll around Soho and Mayfair :)

Kati Roll Company

A 1970's 80's Bollywood themed eatery serving a variety of kathi rolls. Played with a Child - Guddu - sitting next to us.

Central London Roads to be closed on Sunday. Why? Rathayatra... hahaha :)

Mayfair

A mannequin wearing tomatoes

Buggati

Rolls Royce

Queen Elizabeth's Birth Place

14 June 2019

Archie and Chiggy with Kalpana and Ravi @ Saravana Bhavan

This was recorded last week but I edited it and published it today.

The concept is simple: My friend (Archie) and I record our conversations whenever we can and wherever we can and then edit out the best bits and thats it.

I wish I had started recording conversations long ago :)

13 June 2019

Cycling in rain :)

Yesterday I was low on focus, low on energy, feeling low in general. Didn't like the lethargy creeping in. So I forced myself to get outside sometime late in the evening and just took my bike and rode across the city in the rain. The light shower hitting your face feels great. I have been woken up to this feeling before with gentle spray of water into my face :)

A whole day wasted but at least I woke up eventually :)

12 June 2019

"High intellect, low income. Often angry people."

I binged 3 episodes of Black Mirror season 5. I am impressed by the concept - take any piece of technology, imagine it gets very advance and then see in what ways can it get awkward or uncomfortable. It is dark and interesting. Now I am tempted to watch the earlier seasons too :)

The one scene/dialogue that stood out for me and made me introspect for hours was in the episode 2 where the cops and the social media technologists do a profiling of the individual with the gun.

"Group-wise we would slot him into high intellect, low income. Often angry people."

It is as if this dialogue struck some chord in my head and I immediately paused the episode and started to ponder. Just a few days back my aunt tells my friend that I have a rebellious nature and he agreed with her. A couple of weeks ago an old friend blatantly tells me that I am full of anger. My mom works overtime to make me laugh and keep me calm. My landlady and many more seem scared of me too. People around me are seeing me as an angry person. How can this be? I rarely loose temper.

Its time I address this and kill the anger right away:

High intellect, high IQ, hard working or not - It doesn't matter :)

Low income, low reward, low returns or not - It doesn't matter :)

Just smile and "Nishkam Karma" or as Nike tagline says "Just do it". The fruits of my action come my way or not - it doesn't matter :)

11 June 2019

Travel, oh dear nomad :)

My BFF is either travelling or just finished travelling. Didn't mention where to or where from (I wanted to ask, I could have, but I didn't). I hope it is/was not a regular place - hometowns, etc. - where you visit frequently. I hope it is/was somewhere new. I hope it is/was somewhere exciting. I hope it is/was somewhere safe. I hope it is/was Japan... hahaha... actually anywhere new and safe and exciting is fine. Also, I will be travelling soon. So inspired by all this, I came up with a poem:

Deep down you are

A nomad just like me


A curious wanderer

Lost by the sea


Travel, oh dear nomad

Travel long and far


Walk down that shoreline

Experience how small you are :)


Let your eyes widen

To soak in the endless sea


Let your nostrils flare up

To smell the scent in the breeze


Travel, oh dear nomad

Feel the earth beneath


Know that you are the same soil

Just lucky to have two feet :)

-Chiraag

10 June 2019

I am alone, but lets not be lonely too :)

Being alone and being lonely are two separate things. 'Alone' is got to do with the physical reality while 'loneliness' is all inside the head. Yes, if you are alone then you are prone to spiral down the loneliness sink but at the end of the day that sour feeling is happening within you. And what is within you must be determined by you.

Having said that, I hope you never ever feel lonely. If you ever do, please feel free to return to this blog :)

09 June 2019

Bleeding Blue - India won against Australia :)

India won against Australia. My Aunt and my cousin were happy and wanted to celebrate so they took me to another fine dining Indian restaurant - Zaika of Kensington. Enjoyed the dinner :)

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08 June 2019

Another Tour Of London City

World's First Hard Rock Cafe near Hyde Park Corner -> Canary Wharf -> Emirates Air Line (Cable Car) -> O2 Arena -> River Bus (Boat Ride) -> Strada near Tower Bridge

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07 June 2019

Parchaai

Sooni si raat mein gehri tanhaai

Sunsaan si sadak pe akela main raahi

Dard tha itna ki aansu bhi aayi

Uss samay dikhi mujhe apni parchaai

Akelepan mein saath dene aayi


Parchaai se baat karne ki koshish maine ki

Bohoto ki tarah woh bhi khamosh rahi

Main rota raha, woh kuch na boli

Par kadam se kadam milaati rahi

Saath saath woh mere chalti rahi


Haaton se karne lagi woh ishaare

Kabhi chidiya, kabhi oont, kabhi kargosh dikhaaye

Kabhi choti ho jaaye toh kabhi lambi ban jaaye

Bin kuch kahe woh mujhe khoob hasaaye

Bin mujhe chooye mere aansu mitaaye


Bas yehi toh hai mere dard ka ilaaj

Parchaai si rahe tu mere paas

Bin kahe tu karti rahe baat

Bin sunne mujhe sunaai de teri aawaaz

Jhooth hi sahi, tu hamesha hai mere saath

Parchaai hai tu meri, tu hai meri muskaan :)

-Chiraag

06 June 2019

Concerned and Worried!

05 June 2019

Playing your heart out :)

India wins its first match against South Africa. Got to feel for Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris. Although on the losing side, they played their hearts out.

04 June 2019

Chasing baby Trump :)

Tried chasing the baby Trump blimp from 5pm till 7pm. Couldn't find it. We were late. Apparently, someone had stabbed the balloon before we began our hunt... hahaha

03 June 2019

Chopsticks

A movie on Netflix. Not that great. Not much of a story. Clearly low budget. Too simple. Cute. Few nice little morals. One time casual watch with family for a light and 'at ease' kind of mood. I watched it with an aunt and a cousin of mine. Felt like family after a very long time :)

02 June 2019

I am a London Tour Guide :)

An aunt and a cousin of mine are in the United Kingdom for the cricket world cup. I have taken up the task of being their London tour guide and food guide on days when they aren't watching any match. I called my friend Archie and we took them on a long walk all the way from Oxford Circus to Piccadilly Circus to Trafalgar Square to Dishoom Restaurant to Covent Garden to London Eye then walk along the river all the way till Tower Bridge.

On the way, we saw many street performers like the guitarist below who really did pump up the crowd that they started dancing :)

Then we went to the popular Dishoom restaurant and I must say - although a bit too expensive for a student like me but the 'raita' (curd with some condiments) was the best ever in the world (not just in UK)! They are surely adding some sour cream to it or something of that sort. It was delicious beyond compare. I might just go there again and wait in the queue for an hour just for the raita :)

And finally, we walked along the river. The stretch along river Thames from Southbank to Tower Bridge is very dear to me. Brings back many cherished memories and beautiful emotions. At certain venues, I closed my eyes, touched my chest over the heart to feel its beat and smiled :)

01 June 2019

18 inch pizza and boring matches of cricket & football :(

I had plans to cycle to Cambridge today but my friend wanted us to watch the Champions League football final together. So I cancelled my cycling plan and later he cancelled the football plan :(

To make the evening exciting I ordered an 18 inch pizza and watched the later half of the Australia vs Afghanistan world cup cricket match and the Champions League football final Tottenham vs Liverpool. Both the matches were so incredibly boring and intolerable... I fell asleep in both the matches :(

But yes, I managed to finish eating the 18 inch pizza :)

31 May 2019

Had to shave my three months old beard for visa interviews :(

30 May 2019

Cricket World Cup Fever!

The world cup has come to my backyard. I am excited! Not that I will be attending or even watching full matches. Time constraints and more importantly financial constraints do not permit - India vs Pakistan tickets are being sold/traded for £1500! Woahhh!

But I am still excited because all these matches are being played within 5 hour distance. Feels like I am right in the center of all the action :)

Also, Cricket in Britain depends a lot on the weather conditions unlike anywhere else in the world. Having lived in Britain for a total four years now, I can understand and sense the weather here with my eyes closed. It will be interesting to observe how the game changes as the weather changes.

Everyone has been guessing the top 4 teams to qualify for the semi finals so I would make predictions too: England, India, Australia and 'West Indies'. Yes, the Windies! I think the Windies are going to score 500+ or at least a couple of 400+. The finals will be England vs India with hopefully India winning. Fingers crossed :)

Here is the opening ceremony/party where each team had a country ambassador. Pakistan sent Malala Yousafzai as their ambassador and that, for me, clearly stands out :)

29 May 2019

You are my Queen Now and Always -> (Kiss) -> (Stab)

After missing the last episode of Game of Thrones again and again, I finally got to watch it today :)

The one scene that stood out and penetrated deep is linked here. Now I am not going to talk about whether this killing was right or wrong in the given context. I can't decide that with my finite wisdom. But I know one thing for sure - this is, by far, the single most difficult thing to do. Killing yourself is easier. In the end, she dies and he dies alive.

28 May 2019

For tennis players 'love' means 'nothing' :)

Came across this hilarious quote from a friend. Made me curious about the etymology of 'love' in tennis. No one knows for sure but there are two theories - (1) It comes from a similar sounding French word l’oeuf, meaning ‘an egg’ which refers to zero or (2) it comes from the phrase 'playing for the love of the game' where you are not interested in scoring.

But it is fascinating that the word has stuck around for decades and today the entire world says "Love all", "Fifteen Love", "Thirty Love", "Forty Love", etc. in tennis without know why. A perfect example of tradition :)

27 May 2019

A drop of tear

A drop of tear

Does not know

Where it comes from

Happiness or sorrow


When any emotion gets intense

Out it pours

Over the cheeks and

Down it flows


I have no problem with tears

Let them flow

They are beautiful indeed

Let them glow


But it is the emotion behind

Why is it low?

Why not intensify joy

Then sob some more


It is my wish and my blessing

Like the Aomori snow

You drip tears of bliss

And never have a woe :)

-Chiraag


Note: Aomori is the snowiest city on Earth

26 May 2019

Theatres of dreams 3

The Oval - Home of Surrey County Cricket Club


India vs New Zealand | Warm-up match | ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

25 May 2019

Not shy of butter :)

If you are looking for cheap vegetarian or vegan food in SOHO - Central London - then I highly recommend going to the 'Govinda's Pure Vegetarian Restaurant' which is part of the ISKCON Radha Krishna temple. For vegetarians it is surely a relief but I eat here for a different reason - they offer an 'Unlimited Thali' for just £12. Unlimited food for just £12 in Central London is unheard of. There is more to it, you can get your 7th meal free. It is one of my secrets of surviving in London. If you have a beast-like appetite then the 'Unlimited Thali' surely saves you £100s in the long run.

I was eating there yesterday and while refilling my plate I asked for some extra butter. The woman serving me smiled and said, "You are definitely not shy of butter!" She was referring to the fact that the different dishes are already quite creamy.

I love the phrase and plan to use it often when introducing myself. Something like - Hi, I am Chiraag... and I am not shy of butter :)

24 May 2019

Theatres of dreams 2

Stamford Bridge - Home of Chelsea F.C.

23 May 2019

Einstein's dream - unifying your wife and your mother who don't get along :)

A conversation with an old IISER friend reminds me of Einstein's dream of unifying 'General Relativity' and 'Quantum Mechanics' which do not agree with each other. That is, gravity does not unite with electromagnetism and nuclear forces. The world of large and the world of small are so radically different that it seems these are two different worlds altogether. Two truths of nature just incompatible with each other!

Very simply put, Einstein's dream is no different than a man's dream of bringing together his wife and his mother who do not get along :)

Michio Kaku seems to have done it by assuming multiple universes and dimensions beyond the 3space+1time we know. Much to learn from him for married men I guess ;)

Note: I am not gender biased. So Einstein's dream is also no different than a woman's dream of bringing together her husband and her father who do not get along :)

22 May 2019

Hanging out with Magpies :)

21 May 2019

The illusion of "Harder you work, the more you earn"

Amidst the Indian election season, yesterday I had an interesting debate/discussion with a friend about the wealth gap in India (and globally in general).

Proponents of capitalism say wealth gap is bound to happen. Very simply put, some people work hard and some are lazy. Naturally the hard working will earn more and there is a gap. Fine. I agree. This is absolutely fine with me. "The harder you work, the more you earn" sounds great to me, but is this what is happening? Is this the ground reality? (Note: I am using the term 'hard work' representing all kinds of effort - hard, smart, etc.)

As per this article, the wealth gap has increased further over the years and the richest 1% of Indians own 73% of country's wealth. In other words, in a family of 100 brothers and sisters with 100 mangoes to share, one person gets 73 mangoes because he/she works harder while remaining 99 of his/her siblings are sharing 27 mangoes because they are lazy. According to "harder you work, the more you earn" assumption, this means that one person is working 73 times harder than the average! Is that true? Are the Ambanis working 73 times harder than you?

So here is the illusion: It is not that hard work does not attract money, but it doesn't attract enough. It is money attracting more money. Much like gravity, more massive objects have a stronger gravitational pull. Our current setup rewards money more and effort less. Here is one extremely simplified example, imagine a rich kid and a poor kid. The rich kid has £100 and the poor kid has £10. Gap of 90. Both work equally hard and, lets say, invest in the same idea. Their profit increases at say 10%. The rich kid has £110 now and the poor kid has £11. Gap of 99. Increased by 9. This gap will only compound further. In the next iteration the gap becomes 109. So what was rewarded more here - the effort or the capital? It is called 'capitalism' after all. Only in the event of failure, where both go bankrupt, the gap decreases. But the poor kid won't get a bailout. Only Morgan Stanley and Goldmann Sachs get bailout ... hahahaha:)

Again, this is an extremely simplified example, but the point I am trying to make is "harder you work, the more you earn" needs to be taken with a pinch of salt :)

20 May 2019

Iftar party at Hayes Paan & Snacks Corner :)

I often visit a shop 'Hayes Paan and Snacks Corner' to have fresh fruit juices. The shopkeepers have become good friends of mine. Yesterday, after returning from Oxford, I went to their Shop at the time when they were breaking their Ramadan fasting.

They: "Laale di jaan, you look more Muslim than we do :)"

Me: "Really! In that case, you should give a discount to this regular and 'more Muslim looking' customer :)"

They: "Hahaha... Why discounts? Here, please have a meal with us."

They offered me dates, biryani, etc. I had a feast (should have clicked a pic or a video). An Iftaar party of sorts :)

19 May 2019

100Kms of Romance: London to Oxford :)

Another bicycle trip, this time towards west to Oxford. Surprisingly, its a very tiny town. Much smaller than Brighton or or Sheffield. Makes sense though because, while other cities have quite a few things, Oxford has just its University. I don't know why I had the impression that it is a big city.

The city has preserved a lot of medieval architecture. Felt like 16th century. The streets were buzzing with students, especially George street. It has plenty of restaurants and pubs. I ended up going to a restaurant 'Dosa Park' near the station and I have to mention this - their coconut chutney is the best I have had in all UK! Creamy and yummy! Are they mixing cream or butter with regular coconut chutney?

Across the Station I came across a statue of an actual Ox. "Ohhhh! Hence the name. I really didn't know that." :)

The overall journey was scenic in parts. The town of Wycombe on the way is very pretty. A much more scenic route might have been along the river Thames though. But the river meanders quite a bit and so it would have taken me two days to reach if I had taken the river route.

Here is a video and some pictures: The first half of the video is about the journey. Second half is about Oxford :)

18 May 2019

Your voice is so sweet

Your voice is so sweet

I hear you

In the chirp of a happy robin

In the coo of a playful pigeon

In the cry of an excited chaffinch

In the song of a joyful starling


And when the birds go quiet

I hear you

In the whisper of a gentle breeze

In the rustle of shivering trees

In the rain falling on leaves

In the splashing waves of the sea


And when it gets absolutely quiet

I can still hear you

In my breath and my heartbeat

Because your voice is so sweet

I can even hear you in my sleep :)

-Chiraag

17 May 2019

Theatres of Dreams 1

Emirates Stadium - Home of Arsenal F.C.

16 May 2019

Singing "Tum aa gaye ho, Noor aa gaya hai"

"Tum aa gaye ho, Noor aa gaya hai

Nahi toh, chiraago se, lau ja rahi thi

Jeene ki tumse, wajah mil gayi hai

Badi bewajah, zindagi, jaa rahi thi


Kahan se chale, kahan ke liye, Yeh khabar nahi thi magar

Koi bhi sira, jahan ja mila, vahi tum miloge

Ke hum tak tumhaaari duaa aa rahi thi


Din dooba nahi, raat doobi nahi, jaane kaisa hai safar

Khwaabo ke diye, aankho mein liye, wahi aa rahe thay

Jahan se tumhaaari sadaa aa rahi thi"

-Gulzaar

15 May 2019

The best on youtube

Unfinished London

For the London enthusiasts, this is the best youtube channel about the discrepancies of this great city. Jay Foreman's videos are silly, funny, entertaining and quite educational. These videos have made me know my city better. Makes me a proud Londoner :)


A funny quote from the 'The future of London's airports' video:

"Isn't that just typically British! Just like with our trains and our sports, we got there first and now we are the worst!" :)

14 May 2019

Beard art 8

Two months old raw

Just letting it be :)

13 May 2019

Indulgent pondering: consciousness

It is so extremely unsettling to realise that I do not understand what makes me 'aware' of myself and the world. Consciousness is, perhaps, the biggest riddle in nature and we can't even define it properly! It is one of the reasons, among others, that made me move from study of Pure Mathematics to Artificial Intelligence. Although AI teaches us quite a bit about 'intelligence', it tells us nothing about consciousness I feel.

Too many have devoted too much to know so little about consciousness. I too have spent a lot of my time and energy pondering about it, including more than 3 hours today (which is why this post), to make any significant inroads towards a proper understanding.

But one thing is clear: I may not understand consciousness as well as I understand Newton's laws of motion, but I am surely raising my consciousness each day :)

12 May 2019

A nail-biting IPL final :)

My hometown Mumbai somehow managed to win... Yeahh! "Bumrah, you are a superstar!"... India (not a fast-bowling nation) has a gem of a fast bowler in Jasprit Bumrah! Looking forward to his bowling in the World Cup :)

11 May 2019

100Kms of Romance: London to Brighton :)

I rode from London to Brighton on UK's National Cycle Network route 20. I was all pumped up and feeling romantic with my lovely bike :)

"Got me lifted, driftin' higher than the ceiling

Ooh, baby it's the ultimate feeling

You got me lifted feeling so gifted

Sugar, how you get so fly?"

-Francesco David Yates / Francisco J. Bautista Jr. / Nathan Perez / Robin Schulz / Ronald Ray Bryant


Here is a video of the trip shot on a head mounted action camera. Unfortunately, it is a bit unstable. Next time, I will take more care to avoid vibrations and see if I can use a better video stabilizer. The pics turned out to be good :)

10 May 2019

Thankful :)

The return of breath! A sigh of relief! Joyful! Blissed out!

Thank you thank you thank you sooo muchhh :)

09 May 2019

Delhi driving and another comeback :)

(1) Amit Mishra is a true Delhiite... cuts a lane like a Delhi driver (see the second video)... hahaha :)

(2) Now Tottenham makes a comeback in the last second (see the first video)... wow!

For me, the last few days has been a sports bonanza! Love it :)

08 May 2019

"Never walk alone" - Liverpool FC :)

(1) In the IPL El-Classico yesterday, Mumbai won handsomely and I was happy :)

But,

(2) Liverpool made the greatest Champions League comeback I have ever seen! Spine tingling! Goosebumps! Magical! Miraculous! I am in awe! And this is not even my team! This is why I love Football!

Comeback like this is poetic... romantic... beautiful!


Here is the beautiful Liverpool Anthem which I noticed just yesterday:

"When you walk through a storm

Hold your head up high

And don't be afraid of the dark


At the end of a storm

There's a golden sky

And the sweet silver song of a lark


Walk on through the wind

Walk on through the rain

Though your dreams be tossed and blown


Walk on, walk on

With hope in your heart

And you'll never walk alone

You'll never walk alone"

-Oscar Hammerstein II / Richard Rodgers

07 May 2019

Game of Thrones Spoilers

John Snow (a.k.a Aegon Targaryen) of the Game of Thrones fame survived both - the great war and the last war (yet to be shown). He won't die.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

He survived both wars and then opened an Off Licence grocery shop in Sheperd's Bush, London :)

Alright alright! A lame joke... so what!

Here is another one... and this one is actually true... Starbucks has opened a branch in Winterfell :)

06 May 2019

For one drop

The best time to learn the true value of something (anything) is when it goes scarce. And once you do learn, you can go to great lengths to protect and preserve it. Inspired by today's event, a short poem :)


Desert: Go cactus go, don't grow here, I don't have much to offer

Just a heap of sand and sun

Just one drop of water

Cactus: No desert no, I won't go, I am your loving daughter

I have turned my leaves into thorns

For that precious drop of water

-Chiraag

05 May 2019

Watermelon

A giant Moroccan watermelon weighing 11.44 Kgs. The largest I have ever bought. Tastes great :)

04 May 2019

Planet Earth II

I binged watched Planet Earth II. It is a beautiful show. Six episodes of 50 to 60 mins each. It is rated higher than the Game of Thrones on IMDb and quite rightly so. It made me laugh and cry as much as anything else.

The drama in the natural world can be, at times, far more dramatic than the human world. It reminds me that this is not a human-centric world we live in. I have to consider the impact of my actions on other life. This is a MUST WATCH if you have the inclination and the curiosity.

Just to provoke you: "If all insects disappear then the living world may end in a year or so. If all microbes and germs disappear, then all life will end in a much lesser time. But if all humans disappear then the world will flourish!" :)

03 May 2019

Singing "Shotgun" :)

02 May 2019

A symphony by birds :)

Spent the early morning listening to birds at Hyde Park. Here is the recorded audio.

01 May 2019

Non-stop, unwavering focus... in my zone... absolutely limitless today :)

Managed to do a week (or more) of work in just one day. Wow! Making the most of the focus while it lasts :)

30 April 2019

Shortest Paper... hahaha :)

29 April 2019

Today is dedicated to the 'Starks' :)

Watched Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3. Enjoyed each bit. Loved Arya Stark.

"What do you say to the God of Death? Not Today."


Although I haven't yet watched Avengers Endgame (I know the climax from spoilers) but I still love Tony Stark (Iron Man).

"Whatever it Takes."


Will keep their filmy, yet profound, dialogues with me :)

28 April 2019

Minimalism: more with less :)

This is my lifestyle. This is my optimisation algorithm to hit peak happiness/satisfaction/etc. (see the drawing). There are two steps.

Step 1: Initialization - At first, you put everything you own into a box and take things out from the box only if you need to use them. Do this for a few months or a year. After that, whatever remains in the box is something you never needed. Sell that stuff or donate it.

Step 2: Maintain - Things that you are now left with after selling/donating the unwanted stuff are things you really needed. Now, you buy a new thing only if the old one dies. This way the number of your possessions remains a constant number. Your wardrobe never grows.

I have fewer possessions but I am fully involved, deeply devoted and in absolute love with those few things. You may see me post some articles in this blog where I express my love for those few possessions. It is like getting into a relationship. You fall so deeply in love and devoted to your partner that you don't feel the need to replace the partner. Similarly, I won't buy a new phone or a new shirt or a new shoe until the old one dies. In other words, I am extremely loyal to my possessions and make the most out of the few things that I have :) It also makes me happy to know that I have a much lesser carbon footprint - a far lesser ecological impact than an average person.

I have been practicing this for some time now. There are many like me and I got to know there are some who have created a documentary. Here is a trailer of the documentary and I strongly recommend you to watch the whole documentary.

27 April 2019

On the move

I love this track 'After Earth' by Ben Böhmer and I was listening to it while walking so just created a video of my walk in sync with the track :)

26 April 2019

The El-Classico of Indian Premier League

It was Mumbai Indians @ Chennai Superkings. My hometown Mumbai won handsomely. Clinical performance Mumbai. Loved it :)

25 April 2019

'Delhi Crime' on Netflix

Based on the Nirbhaya Case, I have watched just one episode and I can already say that this is a MUST WATCH. I might end up binge watching the whole series this weekend. But before that I want to share one moment from the first episode.

There is a Hospital scene where the rape victim (Deepika/Nirbhaya) describes how she was raped. It brought me tears and made me sit back silently for some time. I have read about the Nirbhaya case before and although it was disturbing back then I don't think I had cried. However this time I did.

Compared to such incidents my problems, if any, are ridiculously petty. I hope I develop the strength and wisdom to not cry over my silly issues ever :)

24 April 2019

Khwaahish

Aaj tujhe hasaane ki hui khwaahish

Kuch gud gudaake, kuch jhool jhulaake

Koi gaana sunaake, koi qissa bataake


Aaj tujhe duniya ghumaane ki hui khwaahish

Le chala tujhe nadi ke kinaare

Dikhaya tujhe aasmaan ke rang saare


Aaj teri muskurahat dekhne ki hui khwaahish

Nikala tera chehra yaadon ke kitaab se

Bhar diya usse aankhon ke parde pe :)

-Chiraag

23 April 2019

Street football

In the midst of Extinction Rebellion, football with a few activists on the main road at Marble Arch, London at around 1am yesterday. It was a good game :)

22 April 2019

A quiet calm morning

I shared a quiet morning yesterday with these two lovely Swans at Hyde Park. A calming video :)

21 April 2019

Saving our planet

So a new song is out with some of the big names of the Pop Music industry. Its a great song because it can influence hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people. This attempt to raise awareness is great and I strongly promote it too.

Even better than the song are these four videos that explain the problem and suggest solutions in layman language. On top of that, here is a perspective (not fully covered in the videos) that I want to put forth.


The crisis

Global warming / Climate change affects humans of course, but I want you to also take the perspective of the planet itself. Imagine you are planet Earth yourself (Visualize, Personify Earth, put your creativity to work). Now you (Earth) are alive with 8 or 9 million species in you. Say 8 or 9 million body parts of yours.

Now some species go extinct and some new ones get created. Its like your (Earth's) body keeps replenishing as some cells die and new ones are born. Its a slow and gradual process and has a natural rate to it. However, the current extinction rate is 1000 to 10,000 times higher than the natural rate. At this rate we fear 30% to 50% of species could head to extinction in 30 years time [ref].

For a human, 30 years is a long time. But you are Earth personified right now. For you, 30 years is a blink of an eye. So what does the extinction rate makes you say - "In a blink of an eye, a third to a half of my (Earth's) body is poisoned or infected! This one specie/organ called human is the culprit. Its a virus! A cancer!"

Are you?


The root causes

The way I see it, there are two root causes that led to this crisis - (1) Overconsumption, and (2) Overpopulation.

Overconsumption: Let's do a thought experiment. Take a look around your house and notice all the things you own - Clothes, Shoes, Books, Cars, Gadgets, Lights, etc. (including the amount of food in your fridge). Now close your eyes and imagine someone poorer than you. Sympathise a bit. Now imagine he/she also owns all those things that you own. Do you want this to happen? Do you see the dilemma?

The human in you is sympathetic towards the poor. You want them to enjoy the same luxuries that you do. But can planet Earth handle 8 Billion warehouses? (Compared to someone poorer than you, yours is a warehouse, isn't it!)

Overpopulation: The crisis is a recent happening, say 50-100 years. Rise in global temperatures is directly correlated to rise in human population. So lets check the population when there was no crisis. Aha! 3 Billion in 1960. 1.6 Billion in 1900. 8 Billion right now. Predicted to be 12 Billion in 2050. Are you kidding me?

The easiest way to ruin the life of your kids is to have more kids. Hahaha :)


Stop pointing fingers

Its so easy to point fingers. In general and in very simple terms, the west (US, Europe, etc.) blames the east (India, China, Africa, etc.) for overpopulation and the east blames the west for overconsumption. Its like two families where one family produces 10 children and the other family consumes 10times as much of resource. In the end, both families have the same impact.

So stop pointing fingers, take responsibility and commit in your individual capacity towards a solution.


The urge

Yes, you want to cut down your consumption. Yes, you want to bring down the population. But the urge is too strong. The urge to buy the latest iPhone, the latest BMW, the latest trending clothes. The urge to have many kids.

I won't deny, I have the urge too. Had I been born in 1800s, by the age of 28 I would have reproduced a football team of kids. I would have had a palace full of trending stuffs of the time.

But this is the 21st Century. It is time to rise above these urges. It is time to become conscious.


The proposition

Whatever we have done - both overconsumption and overpopulation - has been in the pursuit of happiness, right? Whatever you want to call it - happiness, convenience, pleasure, etc. Why not deal it directly.

So here is my proposition. Put consumption/population/etc. on the X-axis and happiness, convenience, pleasure, etc. on Y-axis (see the diagram). What you are facing is an optimisation problem. You want to maximise Y for lowest possible X.

So all I am saying is try and be mindful of this optimisation problem the next time you go out shopping (or when you are planning a baby). You may miss the optimal solution at times. I have missed it many times and a few times I have paid a heavy price. But the good news is that it is an iterative process. You can make more attempts. So get hold of a good optimisation algorithm. Mine is called minimalism. More about it, maybe, next time :)

20 April 2019

This too shall pass

Had a lovely little recovery break. A lot of sleep, plenty of sports, a plethora of entertainment, tons of laughter, and a glimpse of Smile :) - Ahhh! What joy! What bliss!

Anyway, a good recovery at last. If only it could last. But this too shall pass. But this too shall pass :(

It is fair though. Because when things go bad and my time goes farce. That too shall pass. That too shall pass :)

I won't get complacent. I am thankful for the break. I will get back to the strenuous routine and get things running again.

19 April 2019

Aadhi adhuri :)

Bohot si baatein, reh gayi aadhi adhuri

Na jaane kab hongi puri, na jaane kab hongi puri


Ek dilchasp kahani, aadhe mein ruk gayi

Shayad nahi hogi puri, shayad nahi hogi puri


Yeh kavita bhi,

-Chiraag

18 April 2019

Pankaj Tripathi saab, you are a star

Watched Criminal Justice (TV series). Pankaj Tripathi's performance and to some extent Jackie Shroff's performance stood out :)

I would say Pankaj Tripathi should be considered as the lead actor of the show. The rest of the show is okay, I guess. The story within the jail isn't that great though. A one time watch for the splendid Pankaj Tripathi.

17 April 2019

No summer no

No summer no

Please don't set in

I love the cold

The mist in the wind


I don't want your warmth

There is fire within

Rather cool me down

But you won't listen


It's fine I guess

I will have more lemon n melon drinks :)

So cheers to you summer

You will pass by in a blink

-Chiraag