Month: July 2020

Monday Reads – 27/07

macbook pro on white table
Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on

This week, we continue reading about impacts of the pandemic, both short-term and long-term.

Covid 19, globotics, and development – This article argues that, “as we adjust to remote working, a new era of telemigration may drive demand for globalisation in services. This may be good news for many emerging economies, because they can exploit their comparative advantage in labour without having to manufacture goods.

Growth is falling and it has a lot to do with the youth – A very interesting take on why global growth has been declining since 2008. If this in indeed the main driver, then it will have significant implications on how markets can seek to continue driving economic growth in the future.

5 reasons why you’re probably procrastinating more right now – Important insights to be mindful as organisations around the world are trying to figure out what the workplace (and work styles) of the future might look like.

Appearances vs Experiences:  What Really Makes Us Happy – Most of us would agree that experiences are more likely to make us happier than appearances (buying stuff). There are some very interesting examples of this in the article, including one on the impact of (long) commutes on happiness.


Lock-down Blues

Blue Sky Bangalore

The months of lock-down (4 and counting) have been trying, and yes, I am feeling a bit blue.

Having said that, there are a few things that I am grateful for during these trying times. I live in a gated apartment complex with a good walking path. I go for a brisk morning walk 4 – 5 times a week. And this morning was an especially beautiful one.

One clear difference that I have been observing since the lock-down is the colour of the skies. In most Indian cities, the colour of the sky is a hazy shade of pale blue or light grey. And I always used to wonder as to how the skies in many cities outside of India (I am looking at you, Sydney!) are such a vivid shade of blue.

I now know the answer to this – air pollution. The skies over Bangalore over the past few months have been the bluest that I have seen in any Indian city. And the reason for this was made even more apparent this morning. We are now in another lock-down in Bangalore, which, I believe, has led to a reduction in vehicular traffic on the roads. And the sky today was possibly the clearest blue that I have ever seen here.

This phenomenon has been observed and reported on previously. I am a realist when it comes to these matters, and have no doubt that, once the lock-down is lifted, air pollution is going to rise again. And that means, bye-bye blue skies. So enjoy the most of it while it lasts!

Monday Reads – 20/07

woman using her laptop on video call
Photo by Edward Jenner on

With Bangalore and many others parts of the World going back into lock-down, this week’s articles continue to be influenced by Covid-19.

The Covid-19 changes that could last long-term – Now that it’s been over 3 months into the changed lifestyles that many of us are experiencing post lock-down, it’s a good time to take stock and consider what of the changes might we end up living with for longer. This article looks at the impact on our personal lives, work lives and the climate.

The Implications of Working Without An Office – Results from a detailed survey (US only) on the impact of working from home. Some very interesting insights here, especially on the key downside of Work from Home – ‘the loss of unplanned interactions that lead to important outcomes.’

The Boeing-747: The Plane That Shrank The World – Continuing on the Covid-19 related topics, British Airways, currently the largest operator of the Boeing 747, announced that it would retire its entire fleet of the iconic aircraft earlier than expected. It’s hard to imagine that this iconic aeroplane made its debut half a century ago. I have a personal connection with this aircraft as I made my first international journey on one. It will be a sad day indeed when this plane will no longer grace the skies.

Tradition is Smarter Than You Are – Ending with a relatively long read, this article discussed the point that rational thinking might not be the key to our success as a species. We must consider that ‘cultural evolution is often much smarter than we are‘. A very interesting read.


Great to have live sports back

an empty sports stadium

I don’t think anyone will dispute the fact that the months of the enforced ‘lockdown’ due to the pandemic have been quite trying in many ways. Yes, it is nice that many of us have got more time to spend at home with family, but I must admit that the past few weeks have started to tax. The inability to go out for a relaxed time with friends and family or even popping down to the local restaurant for a quick meal has led to a feeling of frustration or ‘cabin fever’. After all, there is only so much of music that one can listen to or television to watch.

It is in these conditions that ‘live sports’ on television has come as a whiff of fresh air. Starting with the German Bundesliga, and moving on to the English Premier League, FA Cup and now, international cricket, these events have once again given me something to look forward to outside of work. Yes, it is strange to see the games being played in empty stadiums with none of the spectator noise. I can only imagine how strange it must feel to the players themselves. But I, as a humble spectator, am not complaining!

It also helps that the football club that I follow – Arsenal – have been doing well lately, They just defeated Manchester City in the FA Cup semifinals to advance to their 21st FA Cup Finals. A few days before that, they had defeated the League Champions. The general sense is that the vision of their relatively new managed, Mikel Arteta, is beginning to take shape on the field.

In the cricket, West Indies have been going a good account of themselves so far in their test series away at England. It’s not easy to play well away from home in test cricket and the fact that this team is putting their head down and playing with discipline is great news for their fans (of whom there are many around the world).

Of course, a big miss in the sporting calendar this year has been Wimbledon. Yes, the US Open is scheduled to be played later this year, followed by the French Open. But I believe that there are still major question marks about both of these tournaments.

In other sports, Formula 1 is also back. But I am no longer following this sport. No disrespect to Lewis Hamilton, but it just doesn’t feel like it’s worth the time.

What about you – are you following any of the live sports? Please let me know in the comments.

The Indian Monsoon

Monsoon Western Ghats
Photo by Satyan Chawla on Unsplash

The Indian Monsoon is considered as one of the biggest and most important weather systems on the planet. This is an eagerly anticipated event every year. By the end of May, with most of the country sweltering under the scorching sun, the eyes of the nation turn towards the South West, waiting for the first signs of the arriving rains.

The monsoons usually hit the mainland of India (the state of Kerala in the South West) on the 1st of June and makes it way steadily northwards to encompass the whole of the country by early July. June 10th is when it hits my home town of Mumbai.

Growing up in this city, I used to dread the arrival of the rains, bringing as it does long periods when the sun is obscured by dark, grey clouds. It did not help that the onset of the rains coincided with school reopening. Trust me, it is not fun to walk through school in the pouring rain and having to stay in class with wet uniforms, backpacks and, sometimes, damp books.

My feelings did not really change after I finished education and started to work. Other than the fact that school was replaced by office, everything else remained the same – commuting in the rains, having to make ones way through the crowds of umbrellas while trying not to step into puddles, having to spend hours in the air conditioned office with wet clothes and socks, the very thought depresses me!

But it’s not all doom and gloom. The rains bring renewal. I stayed at the foothills of Mulund hills and it was always fascination to observe the almost immediate transformation of the barren brown hills to lush green ones. Not to mention monsoon treks in the Western ghats (and the occasional holidays due to heavy rains and flooding!).

A few years older, and I have become a bit more accepting of this annual occurrence. It is a big change from the almost monotonous weather during the rest of the year (in many parts of India). It plays a very important role in irrigating the land and filling up the water reserves that sustain 1.5+ billion people and wildlife. I won’t go so far as to say that I enjoy this season, but I have definitely begun to appreciate it!