Love in the time of Corona!

Trying to stay optimistic and positive over the last year was easier said than done, more so for people like me. Early in the pandemic, I realized that I’d have to be more cautious and careful than most people, to protect not just my physical health but also my mental health. To that end, I decided to focus on the things that I liked. I stopped consuming the news and began channeling my energy into reading more books, especially in areas that I was interested in… I was always a reader but I found a new vigor and joy in what I was trying to do.

The reviews I post online are supposed to be a small attempt to distract from the armchair activism of social media. An effort to talk about something else other than death, disease, politics. By not participating in such conversations, I’m choosing to protect myself by doing the one thing I know I’m good at… Read and write. And on this journey, I’ve found love and support from some really amazing and talented people (you know who you are). There are times when I feel stuck and overwhelmed with every aspect of life, and I go back to my conversations with these people and it helps. Thank you!

I hope those who’ve picked up the books that I’ve recommended (which were recommendations from someone to begin with) have benefitted in some small way. I also hope that my writing moves away from the derivative nature of what I’m doing right now – reviews of books written by people who know a lot more about the world than I do – to something more original.

Three Ways to Decide What to Read Next!

Ruki and I don’t agree on a lot of things, and one of my peculiarities that annoys the crap out of her is this weird logic that any good fiction book is not to be read, for at some point, someone’s going to make a movie or a TV show out of it. I couldn’t help but smirk to myself, thinking about the number of arguments and debates we’ve had on this, as I go about writing this post. In the aftermath of this video that I created at the end of last year (my #somethingnew for 2020), a lot of people asked me how I chose my reading list. This seemingly innocuous question often stumps a lot of bibliophiles; of course, one can’t be expected to read everything out there… So how do I go about deciding what to read?

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The Story of More: An Addendum

Update: I’ve created and appended a second infographic inspired by Hope Jahren’s content on electricity from the book, The Story of More. Hope you like this! Click on Read More to view the full post 🙂

As I was reading Hope Jahren’s The Story of More, I couldn’t help but wonder if the enormity of what she was attempting to convey was lost, simply because her content was devoid of visual elements such as charts, graphs, and infographics. I often found myself going back several pages and chapters to connect the dots and grasp the picture she paints. I wondered if there was a better way to summarize what she was trying to say… I created the following infographic as a ready-reckoner and a reminder of some of the key points from her chapters on food. Strictly amateurish, but something new! Continue reading

Fear and Fatalism: The Pandemic-induced States of Life

My wife and I haven’t really traveled a lot in the short time that we’ve been married. We were hoping to change that this year, and as early as February, we were planning a trip to Europe. In the few weeks since we finalized our itinerary, life as we knew it was upended by a pandemic-induced lockdown and the subsequent chaos, confusion and economic ruin that it left in its wake.

Living in a constant state of fear and paranoia since then, I’ve now reached a point of pandemic fatigue. I’m starting to look at the world through a fatalistic lens – the idea that my health and well-being is in destiny’s hands and all of this is beyond my control. I’ve started to trivialize this pandemic, by calling it the flu and equating it to a fever that lasts a few days – even though I know better. I’ve started indulging in behavior that is risky, and I’m attempting to legitimize it by convincing myself that life has to go on. Continue reading