Category: Lifestyle

Monday Reads – 25/05

person holding white ceramic mug beside macbook pro
Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on Pexels.com

A few months into the lock-down triggered by the pandemic and we are starting to see more opinions on what the ‘new normal’ might look like and how we might have to adjust. Here are a few such articles that I found interesting.

Work From Home Is Here To Stay – So we might have all heard by now that many (tech) companies are making it optional for employees to return to their offices to work. This article has a very interesting take on this – “The post-pandemic workplace will have fewer lunches, happy hours, and conferences where schmoozers can make their mark… So if your main job skill is networking, you might want to learn the art of actually working.”

Mental Models For A Pandemic – In this Farnam Street Blog, the author poses some very thought-provoking questions. How can we improve our Antifragility? How can we grow stronger through change and challenge? Worth a detailed read.

What We Leave Behind – Another thought-provoking article, this one is by Professor Scott Galloway. As he puts it, “This is an opportunity to spend less on stuff, spend less time commuting, and reallocate that capital and time to our partners and children.”

These Are The World’s Happiest Places – This is admittedly an old article, written well before the pandemic hit us. I would be interested to see research on how the pandemic has affected these results, but my sense is that it might not have a significant impact. “…three-quarters of human happiness is driven by six factors: strong economic growth, healthy life expectancy, quality social relationships, generosity, trust, and freedom to live the life that’s right for you. These factors don’t materialize by chance; they are intimately related to a country’s government and its cultural values. In other words the happiest places incubate happiness for their people.”

Trying my hand at hair-cutting

Barber shop - Laos

India has announced the extension of its lock-down by a further 2 weeks. Which means that, if there are no further extensions, it will be nearly 2 months where most of us have been ‘locked’ at home.

Clearly, it’s not as bad for people with a roof over their heads and money to buy essential items. I realise that I am fortunate in that there has not really been a significant disruption in our lives due to the fact that we are staying in a gated residential complex. Sure, the common spaces are closed, which means that kids have no where to go and play. But they have their grand-mother staying with us, which has been a great help to us parents!

There has also not been much disruption at work. The internet connections have held up very well, so work from home has not been an issue for either my wife or I. Work has also been keeping us very busy, thankfully.

One service that we have now started missing is the barber shop. Looking back, I am so grateful that I got my hair cut a few days before we went into lock-down. But it’s getting to the stage where I will have to pay a visit to the hair-cutters soon after they re-open. And I am not looking forward to the crowds that are likely to be there then.

Anyway, my boy’s hair was getting quite unruly, so today, I decided to take matters into my own hands, literally! He was quite keen on getting it cut as well, so he was quite happy to be my guinea-pig! It took me 45 minutes to get through it, and I am pretty certain that the end result will not get me a look in at any saloon anywhere. But my son seemed quite happy with the end result! And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it? 🙂

 

Monday Reads – 13/04

Birds flying over a beach
Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

We are now coming to the end of the initial three-week lock-down in India. But there’s still not much clarity on what’s going to happen next. And it’s the same across most countries. Here are a few articles to kick off another week of uncertainty:

Power Laws: How Nonlinear Relationships Amplify Results – The pandemic has brought exponential curves to the mainstream. This article explains this (and other Power Laws) further.

Minimalism Renewed – I do not intend to use this time and article to push any agendas. But it is worth reflecting on the Minimalism philosophy as we are all confronted with the present situation and possibly reflecting on what the future might look like.

The Little Recession Playbook: 10 things you need to know right now – Let’s face it, we are staring at a recession. The only thing we do not know is how deep or long it might be. There is no harm in being prepared to face it, and that is where this article might help.

What colonial writing about Indian birds reveals about the British Raj – Finally, one of the positives from the present crisis is the rejuvenation of Nature and wildlife. My wife and I were commenting on how we can hear more birds these days. Bird-watching has been a hobby of mine for nearly four decades now and I would like to think that the passion is still as strong as it was all those years ago when I first started learning how to identify birds. Even if you are not a bird-watcher, this is a good read.

Stay safe, stay positive!

Google’s Community Mobility Reports

As many of you might have heard by now, Google has recently released a set of reports called Community Mobility Reports. “The reports chart movement trends over time by geography, across different categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential.” These “aim to provide insights into what has changed in response to policies aimed at combating COVID-19.

I was taking a look at the most recent version of the reports (as of March 29) for a few countries. Here are some snapshots:

India:

India
India

India announced its lock-down on March 24 and we can see an almost vertical decline in traffic to most public places, with a corresponding increase in Residential traffic.

Australia:

Australia
Australia

Australia’s graphs reflect a very different trend. It shows a more gradual decline in traffic to public places compared to India’s.

Japan:

Japan
Japan

Japan has not yet declared a lock-down and that reflects in their charts. Interestingly, transit stations have seen a 41% decline in traffic and the decline in the middle of February.

South Korea:

South Korea
South Korea

South Korea was one of the first countries outside of Chine to see a large number of Covid-19 cases. However, they did not announce a lock-down, but aimed to control the spread with extensive testing. And this reflects in their charts above.

Italy:

Italy
Italy

Italy was one of the first countries to announce a nation-wide lock-down (on the 9th of March). The drop in traffic numbers post that are truly staggering. It’s interesting to see that Retail & Recreation and Transit Stations had started seeing a drop even before that date.

Spain:

Spain
Spain

Spain announced its lock-down a few days after Italy and the effect was instantaneous.

Germany:

Germany
Germany

Germany has not imposed a strict lock-down and their numbers reflect that. It is interesting to see the trends for Parks.

France:

France
France

France announced a lock-down on March 17th and we can see a steep drop after that date, including to Parks.

Great Britain:

GB
Great Britain

Great Britain only announced a lock-down on March 24th, and the traffic started declining immediately. Interestingly, Transit Stations and Workplaces had started seeing a decline even before that date.

Ireland:

Ireland
Ireland

Ireland only announced a lock-down on 28th March. Again, traffic to most public places had started declining well before that date, except for Parks.

US:

US
US

The US, similar to Australia, displays a more gradual decline in traffic, starting from early March. It is to be noted that this data is only till the 29th March. It is possible that more recent data might demonstrate more declines.

 

Day 7 of Lock-down and Some Interesting Lists

Atlas, camera
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

As many places of the world get resigned to the fact that it might still be a while before things get back to anything resembling ‘normal’ again, we are seeing more and more lists of interesting things to read, watch and listen pop up. Here are a few that I came across recently:

18 Best Travel Shows You Can Stream Right Now – An exhaustive compilation on CN Traveller. This should keep us occupied for a few weeks!

Best travel films and TV shows to stream right now – Continuing with the theme of travel, this is from Lonely Planet. It’s nicely categorised, so you can choose where you want to start and dive in!

The best Lonely Planet Spotify playlists for travellers pining for the road – Working from home and pining for your next travel getaway? These playlists might just transport you for some time to some of the most popular cities in the World.

The top cricketing reads for a long and yawning summer – This is typically the time that the cricket season starts in England, but it’s unlikely that one is getting to watch cricket (or any sport) anytime soon. In the meantime, cricket lovers can keep themselves occupied with some interesting reads from the world of cricket.