April 23, 2020

Fine

I am not sure what it is but I am not able to work these days. I mean it's not like I have work work, which may be part of the problem, but I did keep myself busy so far with something or the other. Like writing a book. Taking courses but these days I am unable to do so. It's not like I don't have the inspiration to do work, especially with the book. It's just I can't form sentences to write what I want to write. The flow is missing, which is ironic as I can write a blog post about not working. Like this one. 

Part of me wishes I was employed at the moment. Earning your salary is a powerful motivator. Although it might be just the present environment that might be doing this. Who knows? I just don't want to sit in front of my laptop, staring at the screen, doing nothing. Any solutions?


April 21, 2020

Exit Startegy

Of course, I am talking about COVID-19. With the number of infections in the world crossing 2.5 million and race being on for developing a vaccine, I wonder if we are focusing on the right thing. I mean, it will take about 12-18 months to develop a vaccine. The virus has infected 2.5 million people in the last 4 months (it started spreading outside China in Jan). With the rate of contagion being highish, how many will it infect in the next 12-18 months? As per my calculation, we will infect the entire population of the world in about 7 months since the start in January at the current rate of spread. We are already in month 4.


Even at a slower rate of infection, the entire world will be infected in 288 days. So, again, what's the point of a vaccine?
 

Well, we don't yet know how bad the re-infection would be. By re-infection, I mean people who have already gotten better from COVID-19 infection may get re-infected. How bad this re-infection would be? Will it be better or worse than the first infection? Only time will tell. There is also a possibility of the virus mutating itself with time. I don't know if the vaccine will be effective in that case. Would we need to reinvent another one?

 Also, I can't imagine it will be possible for us to be in lockdown for the next 12-18 months. Economic costs need to be balanced. There will be lives and livelihoods lost that will start to mount up soon. So lives lost due to Coronavirus need to be balanced out with lives and livelihood lost due to lockdown. 

The point of the lockdown, in the first place, was to flatten the curve so that our medical sector can cope with the number of additional people getting sick. The keyword being "additional". Without turning down existing patients or other patients. Minimize the collateral damage as well as damage due to COIVID-19. We have been building new facilities all over the world. Is it enough? Do we have enough supplies? And most importantly, do we have enough medical staff to deal with this? Are we prepared? 

The next question is have we flattened the curve? Is it enough?   If not, then do we know when we would have done so? 

Again, this needs to be balanced with Economic costs, social unrest, and collateral damages. We don't want to keep focusing on one problem only. We have multiple problems. We need to find the best solution that help with these multiple problems. 

PS: 1. These are back of envelope calculations although I don't think they are too far from actual rates. 
2. For India:

With the actual rate (ignoring initial days), we will reach 1.3 billion in 161 days from January 22, 2020. The date would be 1st July 2020.
This is 33% less rate than actual. We reach 1.3 billion in 222 days from 22 January 2020. That will be 31st August 2020.



April 13, 2020

Discipline

I jumped 'B' and 'C', I know. But guess what? I think I lack the 'discipline' to follow through a challenge/routine. To be honest, it felt like I would be writing for the sake of writing while having nothing new to share. That wasn't incentive enough, I guess. To write just to write.

I may have done this ten years back. Heck, I think I would have jumped through hoops last year too. I just feel too old to be jumping hoops anymore. Either that or I have jumped through too many hoops without any expected results. I just don't see the point of jumping hoops anymore, for anyone or for anything. Nothing works even if you keep jumping hoops. So what's the point.

Either way, yet another project in the past few months that I am not following through...

April 11, 2020

Apocalypse #AtoZchallenge 2020


Really? Well, that's what few people claim this to be. I mean I know we are not in a normal situation at the moment (no, I don't use abbreviations. That must show my age but I don't care). I am not sure it is as bad as an apocalypse. Things are bad. Yes. More than half the world population is in some form of restricted movement scenario. We are watching counters for infected people and deaths go up and up. It's scary. However, the death rate is 6%, unlike ebola with up to 90% death rate. The issue we are facing is the speed at which this is spreading, hence the movement restrictions. So can we not make it something bigger than it already is?  

P.S.: 1. Well, I am late to the AtoZ Challenge but better late than never.
2. I managed to write the entire post without mentioning Coronavirus by name. Pretty sure you understood what I was talking about anyway. Goes to show we all have associated apocalypse with Coronavirus. That or nothing else is going on in the world that comes close to apocalypse at the moment.   

April 10, 2020

Book Writing

So I am writing a book. A book of Economics, to be precise. No, I am not an Economist per se. I took one class in Economics in 9th grade. I am a Geophysicist (I have a Ph.D. to prove that one) by training and some kind of analyst by profession (I think. Well, I really hope so). 

So I am writing a book of Economics. Because I find it fascinating. Because I think I may have a different point of view. But I don't know if that point of view has been worked on before. If they already have some fancy term for it.

Yet, I am writing a book. And I plan to publish it. I think it's a good idea. Well, sometimes I think I am in over my head on this. 

Yet, I enjoy writing the book. Well, most of the time. So I am going to write that book and publish it on Kindle. I will let the market forces do their job.

PS: How do you figure out that your book is done? I mean I can keep writing and keep adding something or the other to it. How do I know wits time to stop and publish the book?    

April 9, 2020

Would I?

With all that's going on with Coronavirus I am very sure this is going to sound highly inappropriate. I don't know if it's the fear or hope but part of my brain keeps thinking about how would my body will react to the virus. Most of the time, I am confused that it will be mild. Why? Because I don't think after 2 years of all this drama, my life will be as anti-climactic as that. The other part- the one with fear- is scared that it might just be that...

April 8, 2020

Lockdown Life

So we have been under lockdown for more than two weeks now. Being an introvert, I thought that this wouldn't be a problem. And to some extent it isn't. I don't have any craving to go out as such. But the days I have gone out for essential shopping, I feel a bit more down. The usual bustling and the noise, I kinda miss it. Even though absence of usual bustling and noise is a good sign. Still everything seems to be empty. I can't really explain it, it's just not a nice feeling. It makes me feel slightly more worried about the current state of things. It just gets real in a way that staying at home doesn't.  

That being state of things I think I need to find an outlet to rant. I have been ranting on WhatsApp quite a lot recently, which isn't the best option. So will try ranting on the blog instead for next few days. Don't mind me..

P.S.: I miss my blog friends. It's not very motivating to write a post when no one is reading and commenting. Although it is good for my ranting session. At least, I will not  be bothering anyone..

February 9, 2020

Water

I am fascinated by water bodies. Like rivers. When I am watching a river, or a canal, flow, I am enthralled by the volume of water crossing me every second. Water that has travelled thousands of kilometres and that continue to travel thousands of kilometres to reach its destination, which is often an ocean.

Oceans are another fascinating thing. So much water just being there, moving with tides and waves. The fluid allowed free movement in all aspects -the physics of all these movements. And just not that. Oceans cover three-quarters of the Earth surface. Well, I say oceans but honestly, there is only one water body there, isn't it? We like to call it seas, gulfs, bays, and oceans for our convenience but honestly, have you seen a boundary? I mean, where does Bay of Bengal ends and Indian ocean begins? It's like differentiating Europe and Asia as two different continents when they are really a part of the same landmass. Guess the Europeans didn't want to be bundle up with the Asians so insisted on creating two continents from one landmass. If they went by their own definition of the continent, they wouldn't have done so. It's not like having one big continent at that point would have affected anything (EU would have been named something else - that's all). But I digress. I was talking about the Ocean. The big water body that encompasses the majority of the Earth.

And it's not just that. It is expanding, the ocean that is. And I am not talking about climate change and associated sea-level rise, which are also happening. But that's a transient event for the 4 billion years old Earth that has seen many such events. I am talking about plate tectonics.

You see, in the plate-tectonics, there are convergent plate boundaries and there are divergent plate boundaries. Convergent plate boundaries are where two plates converge. This results in the destruction of one of the plate. Divergent plate boundaries are where a new plate is formed from the lava in the mantle.

Now a plate can be made of either have a continental crust or an oceanic crust. So there can be three different types of convergent plate boundaries. The convergence of a continental plate and an oceanic plate results in the destruction of the continental plate. The convergence of two continental plates results in the destruction of one continental plate (for example, the Indian plate is submerging under the Eurasian plate). The convergence of two oceanic plates results in the destruction of one of the oceanic plate.

But when it comes to constructing a new plate, divergent boundaries only create the oceanic crust. There is no continental crust being created anywhere.

So basically, the continental crust is getting destroyed inch by inch every year on the Earth but not created. It's like continents are on a self destruct mode at a very very slow pace.

Every time I see or read a sci-fi about Earth's final end, in the back of my mind I always have this picture where the planet has turned all blue with no brown and green of continents left. Would evolution make life crawl back to the ocean? Or, would life simply evolve in the ocean while life on continents gets destroyed? Which species will survive, which will die out? Or would the life itself die out? Who knows?

We are still trying to figure out the transient climate change crisis.

PS: Okay, I will bite. Climate Change. So the argument has been made (yes, I am intentionally using passive voice) that to "stop" the current climate change crisis, we should stop almost all Economic growth. Let's play this out. We stop industrial activities, which by the way should include Electric vehicles, computers, telecommunications but guess they will call me extremist for such view so let's be moderate. Let's stop Economic growth which may trigger a recession.  As the economy slows and goes into recession, unemployment will increase. The lower and middle class will be affected badly. We won't be able to create new jobs. However, as the population continues to grow, we have more people joining the workforce. This will increase unemployment further.

Guess all of them will get unemployment benefit which countries will no longer be able to afford due to recession. Guess we can always mint more money. This will increase inflation. As the price for necessities like food, housing increase and still no jobs, this may, and it's just me thinking aloud, instigate riots. But again I am being negative. Say this doesn't happen. But countries don't have resource, money, equipment, industry. The sea level is still rising because you know what, stopping Economic growth and reducing our carbon footprint to zero is not going to stop climate change. So as the sea level rise we don't have money, resource, equipment to ensure we can safeguard our coastal population. The unpredictable climate will impact agriculture so food prices will rise even further. At some point or the other, riots will break out. Everywhere. I hope you can live with the loss of those human lives across the globe. I hope you can imagine the helplessness of those people. Because you are making this choice. For those who say that Economic growth is not necessary, my friend, you need to stop population growth before stopping Economic growth.

It's like we are nailing our feet to the ground, throwing away our weapons, and cutting off our hands when a predator is approaching us so that we can't run or defend ourselves when we are finally attacked. I know a predator is a bad metaphor here but that's how this situation feels like. If anything, we need a strong Economic growth all around the globe and divert the focus of the growth and benefits toward being prepared for the upcoming crisis. That's the only way out. It's going to be a hell of a ride. It doesn't matter how the crisis got started, it only matters that it's coming.

But you know what, it doesn't matter. When I encounter the end of the Earth scenarios and imagine a blue Earth and wonder about what life would be at that point, I always come back to reality with the thought that I will be long gone by then. This is the same situation. I will be long gone by the time all this happens. So please carry on. Don't mind me. 

January 19, 2020

Simply life

"It was my 40th birthday. That's when my life changed. Not drastically. Although the change itself was drastic. I became from a nobody to someone with a considerable amount of power. Not that I wanted power or was seeking it.

I was three months into my mid-life crisis I called the Executive-MBA when this happened..."

I never dreamt of writing an autobiography in my life. But if I ever did, those will be the opening lines. No 'Once upon a time...' and no, it will not start with the day I was born. In my head, the book sounds like quite a thriller. Too many "Oooh and how did she get out of that one..." for my taste. But it has to wait, that is if it ever gets written down. I haven't still gotten out of this particular situation I am in at the moment.

Some day, I will learn the whole truth about all of it. Some day, all this will be behind me. Some day, I will be in control of my own life again...well as much as anyone is in charge of their life. Some day - a day I have been waiting for desperately for the past two years now. Some day. I have tried bribing the Gods for that day to come. I have cried and begged. I have gone on a hunger strike. I have done anything and everything I could but to no avail so far. Some day. I just can't wait for that day...

December 3, 2019

Wedding Vs. Marriage

Another pet peeve of mine (I think I have too many of those): when people use words wedding and marriage interchangeably. You see, in most Indian languages (at least the ones I know), there is usually one word that means both wedding and marriage. So people simply use them interchangeably. It makes me cringe every time.

So what's the difference you ask. Wedding refers to the ceremony while marriage refers to the relationship between two people. So correct uses of the word wedding are wedding ceremony (and not marriage ceremony), wedding anniversary (and not marriage anniversary) as in celebrating the anniversary of the wedding ceremony, wedding rituals, wedding day, etc. Please, oh please, stop using marriage everywhere.

December 1, 2019

Week that was (25/11-1/12)

So what do I bring along this week, you ask? Well, some nice sunrise pics to start with. I have been going for the morning run and walk for the past month or so. As the winter approaches, the sunrise has become a fixed feature of these runs/walks. Every sunrise is different, every sunrise is breathtakingly beautiful. Taken from same-ish spot are the pictures of four such sunrises.

Exercising has been a regular part of my daily routine for the past month or so. However, surprisingly, I have gained another kg while I have visibly reduced dress size. I have said before that weight is just a number. One shouldn't put too much emphasis on it but it is quite hard to do. Especially when other indicators show that you are losing weight and the scale shows you a different story. Oh well! The fact remains that I do have better stamina than when I started. I feel more healthy, more energetic, and a bit sore. It's a good feeling. 

I also got my blood test done this week. My triglycerides are back to normal, thanks to all the exercising. It was one of the reasons I have been exercising for the past month or so. Another goal was weight loss but guess that will take time. My Vitamin B12 levels are also back to normal which is another good news. So only aches and pains I have now are due to the exercising. Yay!

So all in all, this was a good week physical-health wise. I did miss my cousin's wedding this week so not very happy about that. In fact, that was the only thing that's pulling me down this week. 

Ending the weekly rant with another diptych. Just two different scenes that caught my eye. Both of them are the play of light: one is the shadow, the other is the reflection. Very different yet quite similar. 

P.S.: I miss the regular comments on the blog too. I think this is a week of vanity. I want to have all the meaningless numbers.  

November 29, 2019

To reply or not to reply...

...on a sticker comment?

Maybe my age is finally showing or maybe it's a wider issue. Either way, I really don't know if the author of a sticker comment expects me to reply. Should I reply with another sticker or should I consider it as a proper comment?

One particular sticker comment that confuses me even further is this sticker:

What does this mean? Okay I know it's abbreviated form of "What's up?" which can be used as a greeting. So are they saying "Hi" or are they actually asking "What's up?" ? In either case, how can "Thanks" be an appropriate response to that! Believe you me, I have seen that response to this sticker quite a few times. So much so that I actually checked if "Sup?" still means the same. Urban Dictionary confirms what I already knew:

A term that cool people use because they are too damn lazy to say What's up. (Too much effort involved there man.)
Can someone please explain to me the proper etiquette here?

P.S.: To make matter worse, it seems my mom frequently uses stickers as a comment. It makes me feel so unhip. Seriously. When did I miss the evolutionary step while my mom picked it up? 

November 28, 2019

The decade 2010-2019

The 2010s are almost over. I started the decade strongly with frequent posts on the blog. I am ending the decade by trying to get back to blogging. The decade saw very few posts. I didn't post anything between 2015-2018. So yeah, there has been a hiatus in the blog. So I decided to expand the decade meme to include a brief highlight of each year in the decade. It was busy few years with a lot of moves and changes. Let's get started.

2010: I affectionately call 2010 as my thesis year as most of the year was dedicated to writing, editing, submitting, and defending my PhD thesis. So I commemorate the year with the picture from my PhD defence day. My advisor, Gary Mavko,  also features in the picture for obvious reason.
I also started a job in 2010. This entailed the first move of the decade from Mountain View, California to Houston, Texas.

2011: 2011 is my Canadian year. I spent about 5 months in Canada to get my H1B stamped. I feel slightly guilty complaining though. Canada is beautiful during the summer months. I did take full advantage of my stay. The picture I picked to commemorate is from Lake Morraine in Banff.


Although I don't count my days in Canada as a move, I did feel nomadic as I stayed in hotels, moved from Ottawa to Calgary with little luggage to sustain me. The year ended with me moving to London in late November. 

2012: The Olympic year. So I crossed off 'attend Olympic' from my bucket list in 2012. Being in London during 2012 meant I attended several Olympic events. The picture shows me supporting the US and the UK during the Olympics.


In yet another move, I moved from East London to West London to be closer to work. 

2013: Another item crossed off from my bucket list: I finally managed to visit Taj Mahal. The picture proves that I have indeed been there and done that. 
I again moved houses. This time I moved from South-West London to North-West London.

2014: Yet another move. This time I stayed in the same area but moved flats. I felt at home for the first time ever since I left Mountain View in 2010. I stayed in this flat for 2 years.


I also earned my British driving licence and bought a car. Life became so much easier. As a result, I started volunteering with professional society, Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). 

Career-wise, 2014 is what I call a dead year. I worked on projects that an intern should have been given, and not someone with about seven years of experience. Definitely not to someone with a PhD degree in Rock Physics. Even when I specifically asked to work on the projects that are more closely related to my expertise. Luckily for me, I could still salvage the products and got something useful out of the projects. Not that that made a difference. Thankfully, I had SPE to distract me. 

Oil prices took a dive in mid-2014 which had long term impact on my career. 

2015: I was able to turn around things at the job using my dead-end projects. Again, it didn't help me in the long run but I did earn respect from colleagues. To be honest, that is what is important in the long run, isn't it?

Anyway. A big event of the year was a family wedding. I travelled to India for the wedding. The picture for the year commemorates the wedding.

2016: The redundancy year. As the oil prices continue to be low, I was made redundant from work. It was quite a stressful time. However, I took this opportunity to transition my career from science to trading. I became an analyst on the trading floor. It was a sharp transition with a very steep learning curve but it was a fun, fast-paced working environment that I enjoyed very much.

Since we are counting the number of moves I made in the decade, I moved back from West London to East London to be closer to work.

I also received recognition for my volunteer work with SPE. The picture is from the award ceremony.

2017: The MBA year. The major part of the year was consumed by preparation, application, and admission to the Executive MBA programme at London Business School. despite my busy schedule with my job on the trading floor and my volunteer work with SPE and SCGB, I managed to arrange and connect with most of my classmates even before the classes started. Looking back, I really don't know how I managed that but somehow I did. I even found time to roughly write the draft theory for two papers - one related to energy economics, another in social equality, in the middle of all this. 

In addition to all this, I also managed to buy a flat. My first fixed asset. I moved into my new home in the middle of the year. 

I am sharing two pics for the year. First one is my Executive MBA profile picture. Second is the welcome pack from my mortgage bank. 


2018: The tornado year. Honestly. I can't find a word strong enough to describe the year. It was an upside-down kind of year. A whirlwind. So much so, that parts of it are a blur to me. I can't place the events in their chronological order.

In the normal order of the things, receiving my British citizenship would have been the biggest event of the year. It is still a big event of the year, just not the biggest. In fact, I remember counting down towards the date of the ceremony because it would have meant the end of daily torture.

I resigned from my job. I quit the Executive MBA. I "moved" to India. Well, if you call staying at one place more than a year, then I definitely moved. If not having my stuff counts, then I am just spending time in India. Choose one.

There are so many good things that I want to associate with the year, apart from citizenship. I am picking two messages that I received (hopefully) that I want to keep. 

First came from Google Doodle on the 90th birthday of Dr Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

The second one was a message from Amazon:


2019: The recovery year. Well, that's what it was. The year I did nothing. Unless you count gaining weight as doing something. My medical test reports have been all over the place. As we move towards the end of the year, tests are getting back to normal range. So hopefully I will start the new decade with good health.

I also attended yet another family wedding.

That's my decade done. How was your decade?

November 24, 2019

Week that was (18/11-24/11)

Should I dare proclaim that I will at least write a weekly post from here on? Given my recent past in updating the blog, even I feel it's a bit premature. So let me start by saying that I will TRY to update the blog at least weekly. The inspiration, of course, comes from Sanch's weekly gratitude posts.

So what did I do this week, you ask? Why I learnt and made some golgappe this week. 130 edible golgappes, that is. It took me 3 days to make as many golgappes.

Fortunately, they came out well. Well, the ones that did puff up. It is so satisfying to see them puff up and so frustrating to see them bomb. In any case, I did learn something new this week so that was good. How was your week?

November 10, 2019

I knew there was a reason

Fall cleaning some of the old pictures (hence all the picture posts). Apparently, I have 500GB worth of pictures so I am deleting the bad ones. Almost deleted this one too. I noticed the reason for this picture. The reflection on the coke bottle catches almost a 180degree view of the campus from our department. Can you see it?

Photo Credit: Richa, 2007 (Stanford Campus)

Tickles my funny bone...

This one does. You are here and not there. Apparently, I needed a sign to tell me that... (Fairly sure must be some fire drill stuff but it's still funny! Yep, I am qualifying again)..

Photo Credit: Richa, 2007 (Stanford Campus)

Fall

As the green turns to yellow to brown, Fall makes a colourful entry. 


Photo Credit: Richa, 2007 (Stanford Campus)