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!

 

Monday Reads – 13/07

people playing cricket on green grass field
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

News from the fields of Business, Sports, Arts and more in this week’s list:

Let’s Get Ready to Rundle – I have to admit that I had to look up the meaning of ‘Rundle’ and I am still unsure what it means! Irrespective, this is a good article to catch up on the latest tech news.

Why Nerds Are Unpopular – This is an old article, but I only came across it recently. And I think it’s still very relevant. A long, but thought-provoking read.

Eight odd details hidden in masterpieces – Overlooked details from some of the most famous pieces of Western Art.

Drizzle, bubbles and a dystopian feel greet Test cricket’s new normal – The return on ‘live’ sports on TV has been very welcome! Now I have something to look forward to post work. Sunday marked the first time after a very long while that I watched the entire day’s play of a cricket test match. And an enjoyable day’s viewing it was too…

 

A Day in the Life

adult books business coffee
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My writings have slowed down, maybe it’s the Writer’s Block. I am struggling to come up with ideas to write about, so the only article I have been writing in the past few weeks is my weekly summary of interesting articles I have come across recently.

So what’s going on these days? This is what a typical day in my life these days looks like:

Wake up and sweat it out – I try to wake up around 6:30 am, and spend some time doing my morning exercises. I do a brisk walk of about 2.5 kilometres four days a week and half hour yoga sessions on a couple of the remaining days. Sunday is usually my rest day.

A bit of cooking – I am the designated breakfast maker in the household. So, about an hour, post exercise, goes into making breakfast, typically South Indian fare such as Dosas, Idlis, Poha, etc.

Getting the kids ready for class – My kids have online classes in the morning. So alongside preparing breakfast, I help getting the kids ready for their classes.

Helping the kids with their online classes – My kids are still small, so they need some assistance at times with their classes. This takes up about two and a half hours.

Getting ready for work – Post kids online classes is when I get ready for my work. This is also when I enjoy my first cup of coffee for the day!

Work, and lunch – After an hour or two of work, it’s lunch time! Lunch usually consists of fresh fruit and some light South Indian fare.

Further work – The rest of the day till evening goes in work. I usually have a couple of calls during the day, which is a chance to connect with co-workers from across the world. This is also when I have my second cup of coffee for the day.

Dinner – I try to have an early dinner (at least by Indian standards). So I take a break from work around 7 pm for a relatively light dinner.

Back to work – My work currently involves working with colleagues in Europe and the US of A, so I usually spend a couple of hours at work, post dinner.

Relaxation – It’s after kids are in bed that I try and get some relaxation / entertainment time. Thanks to the restart of the English Premier League, these days this consists of watching some football (time-zones permitting). I also watch some streaming video.

One of the challenges I am facing these days is to get a clearer demarcation between work time and personal / home time. I admit that I am one of those people who miss ‘commute’ time, even if prior to lock-down, commute was only a 15 minute walk. But the discipline and activities involved in sticking to that routine felt like it gave me a greater degree of control over my time. These days, when I feel bored, I just sit in front of my computer and do some work of spend some time casually browsing. I miss the experience of going out, traveling (on work or for pleasure), meeting people, eating out, getting my senses stimulated by the sights and sounds outside. I do hope that things get back to some degree of ‘normalcy’ soon…

 

 

On This Day, 35 years Ago

Wimbledon
Photo by Shep McAllister on Unsplash

It was 35 years ago to this day that a young, blond, blue-eyed boy from Germany won Wimbledon for the first time. I remember following the match live over the radio and television, watching the moment Boris Becker clinched the match. It was the first big tennis match that I can still recollect following. And it sparked my interest in tennis.

Wimbledon goes hand in hand with the monsoon season here in India. Growing up in Mumbai, where the rains are quite heavy meant that outdoors time during these months was fairly limited. So I (and my family) used to look forward to Wimbledon as a source of entertainment for two weeks during this time.

It also helped that the time-zone differences between the UK and India meant that matches would start in the afternoon and go on till around bed-time. Back in the 1980s, my recollection is that only the key matches (semi-finals and finals) would be shown live on Indian television, so we had to follow updates of earlier rounds through the daily newspaper.

This changes in the early 1990s when satellite television hit India and changed our lives. Suddenly, thanks to 24 hour sports channels, we could watch the full two weeks of Wimbledon, and other Tennis Slams. And now, we have streaming video and other modes of following matches in real-time.

Thank you Boris, for kindling the love of tennis in me!

Monday Reads – 06/07

landscape nature flowers summer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We are now more than halfway through 2020, yay! Here are some interesting reads, as we enter the traditional ‘summer holiday’ season in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere:

Farmers’ markets go hi-tech – Starting off with an article that I can personally relate to. One of the surprising things in this lock-down, for me, was the access I had to excellent quality produce, especially fruits. Now, I understand that I am speaking from a position of privilege. But as this article covers, the use of technology has also helped (at least some) farmers get a better return on their produce than they might have received from traditional channels. I do hope this trend continues and grows.

Could adding a new public holiday boost the economy? – While staying in India, the thought that adding public holidays could boost the economy might sound very strange. My view is that most Indians would rather prefer to take some time off and chill at home or visit family and friends if they get a day off. This is very different in some other countries. And I have personal experience of this from my time staying abroad. In many countries, holidays are a time of going out, doing things (leading to increased spends). This article goes deeper into the economic ramifications of a day off.

What’s wrong with WhatsApp – It’s not been the best of times for Facebook recently. And this article goes into detail on some of the negative aspects of one of the most popular social networking and communications platform.

‘Travel will never, ever go back to the way it was’ – In my opinion, travel is one of the industries that’s been impacted massively by the current pandemic. The CEO of one of the world’s leading travel companies, Airbnb, feels that the changes are likely to be permanent.

Too Many Screens – Another change that we can all relate to is the increasing amount of time all of us are spending in front of screens. I am sure that we will agree that this is not healthy. As this article asks, “At what point do we turn it off?