The Koel

Among the sporadic posts written here in the last decade, the rain trees outside the windows of my home in Singapore have often found a mention and anyone still following this blog will know how much I love just standing and staring at those trees, taking in the greenery, the sight of the birds inhabiting it and the sleeping leaves as the sun starts to set. During silent times like weekday day times, I often have the chirping of birds for company. While orioles and mynahs are regulars, the woodpeckers, parrots and koels are the occasional inhabitants of these trees. A koel seems to have recently made a tree its home and, thus, I have been waking up to the beautiful singing of the koel every morning. A nice way to begin the day, isn’t it?

Unblock the block

I was reading some time back about how to unblock the writer’s block. Reading the point which talked about remembering the intention behind why one started to write had me getting back my inspiration in a flash. After all, I am still as passionate about all the things that I was passionate about back when I started to write and it was to share more about those passions that I started to write.

New Year Resolutions

I had started writing this on January 2nd and had just written down the next two paragraphs when Murphy struck even before I could finish all that I wanted to write and thus, this too ended up as a draft like several other posts lying unpublished! Anyway, now that I thought it’s better to restart again, I am posting this now.

I have never been a person who has successfully stuck to new year resolutions, since I can’t keep up at anything beyond a few weeks. But, new year or not, every time I come back to Singapore from a trip to Madras, I come back with an increased level of motivation and inner energy and thus, end up sticking to some new small daily goals (just another way of saying resolution 🙂 ) for a few weeks. I usually stick to those till the sameness of the everyday routine gets on to me or till the feeling of missing my home that is Madras intensifies.

Anyway, getting back to the title of this post, tapping into the energy I have got from just returning from India, I am planning to take up some resolutions for January and first among them is the daily goal of writing something here, be it two lines or two hundred lines, it doesn’t matter. Wish me luck, folks! Wishing you all a very happy new year and tons of luck in getting all your goals, big and small, accomplished.

Sita Ramam – The Experience

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

As the last scene of Sita Ramam unfolded, I was struck with the realization that how much Roja appears to be a complete fantasy, though I know that it was inspired by a real-life story.

A couple of years back, my then 8-year old daughter refused to watch the movie beyond the scene where Arvind Samy is abducted by the terrorists, since she found it very scary. This was coming from a child who usually watches a lot of movies, though, mostly the masala movies which I usually don’t like. Since then, every time I mentioned Roja, she has always said that she won’t watch it.
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Learning in the age of Googling

Last year, my son started primary school. Within a few weeks, he wanted to know why one had to go to school to learn stuff when the answer to everything can be found in Google! Thankfully, the reply I gave convinced him to some extent. I asked him how Google got to know everything and he didn’t have an answer. That’s when I told him that he should go to school and study so that he can teach Google the things it doesn’t know and make Google do even more things.

Even as I told him these words, I started to ponder about how learning about anything and everything under the sun has become so easy now, all thanks to Google. But has it really become easy?

Gone are the days when one could confidently say that they didn’t know something. Be it cooking a new dish or finding the way to a small shop in a new city in an unfamiliar country or getting to know the plot of a movie or learning a complex Maths concept or clearing primary school grammar doubts or mastering a new yoga asana or, for that matter, even parenting, one ends up turning to Google for everything from education to entertainment.

For me, the year 2021 has been a year of learning. As I wrote in the opening paragraph, last year my son started going to full day primary school. Suddenly, I was left with a good chunk of uninterrupted 5 hours. In a bid to get back to refreshing my technical skills and updating myself on the latest technologies and programming languages, I started utilizing the time to study. After all, everything was only a Google Search away.

But I found myself feeling overwhelmed with a lot of stuff – Cloud, Java, Python, R, Statistics, Data Analytics, Geographic Information System, Probability, Regression, SQL, Javascript, Scratch Programming and what not. Each time I didn’t understand something, I found myself jumping from one website or a YouTube video to another before finding THAT correct resource which would make me understand the concept or the sequences clearly. While I was learning whatever I set out to learn about, some time was also getting wasted in the hunt for the correct learning resource. It took me a while to pause, come out of the enthusiasm and start focussing on one thing at a time.

That is when the realization that, how in this world of multitasking and information overload, it is easy to lose oneself and end up setting unreasonable expectations. But, with proper planning and focus, it is indeed easy to learn so much without any hassle whatsoever.

Be it Microsoft’s Learn Programme or Google’s ‘Digital Garage’ or Oracle Academy or any of the huge number of MOOCs and the YouTube videos, there is a whole lot of highly informative and well-structured free learning resources available out there.

Of course, it isn’t just in the field of software engineering and development alone that these resources are there. If you only you choose to focus, research, pause and concentrate, you too can embark on a beautiful learning journey on any field of your choice.

Happy Learning!

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore – Part 1

Ask me my favourite way of spending a day in Singapore and I will tell you that it’s visiting an NPark (Nature Park). After almost an entire year of restricting ourselves to our immediate neighbourhood, emboldened by the decrease in locally-transmitted Covid-19 cases, we visited quite a few places during the month of December 2020. The most memorable among all the places and which warranted a second visit within a span of a couple of weeks was Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.


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The Window

At 11:30 in the night, I sit on a revolving chair by the window and gaze outside. It has been raining almost the whole day today and the roads are wet.

Yet I see the busy junction of roads is still bustling with activity. I see people in their running outfits waiting for the signal to turn green. ‘Who on earth would run at 11 pm on a rainy night?’, I wonder.
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Madras Day 2020 Musings

Dearest Madras,

Wishing you a very, very happy birthday! It has been more than 7 months since I flew away from you and how much life has changed in between?!

From being just a 4.5 hrs flight journey away from you, I am suddenly a flight journey (and that too to some other neighbouring place) + 14 days quarantine + a scary-looking swab test away from you! What sort of a world has this become with nobody being even a tad bit certain about whether they are carrying the virus or not?!
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Waterloo Street, Singapore

If you were to ask me which is my favourite place in Singapore or which place in Singapore did I like in the first visit itself, my instant answer would be ‘Waterloo Street’!

If my memory serves me right, we visited this street for the first time on my second weekend in Singapore, in August 2012.
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