Weeknote 02 – Snow mischief

A glimpse of the past week and the few articles, podcasts, tools, videos and music that captivated my attention:

Earlier this week I helped Sharath setup a nextcloud instance on the RaspberryPi 4 that we got him for Christmas. Installed the DietPi OS, moved the user data over to a 5TB WD disk and while at it also setup a pi-hole for the network.

Weather wise, this was one odd week. Had a good dusting of snow on Tuesday night and a balmy 60 degrees for most of the weekend. The kids had early school closures and we made sure we hit the trails.

Gone are the crawling days. Shasta has moved on to walking and she’s getting pretty good at it. Also her mischief quotient is raising by the day!

Meena found an interesting course in Tufts and has applied for the 2020 Fall deadline. Fingers crossed that she makes it! Some other exciting developments through this week might take us back to Boston this spring.

Interesting podcasts this week:

The Indicator from Planet Money: The Skyrocketing Cost Of Air Ambulances

Interesting reads this week:

Welcome to New Hollywood: Netflix has absolutely taken over the digital market. Oddly they rely on AWS!

Why parents are addicted to Calpol: So true! It struck me so starkly when we moved to the states several years back. It’s amazing how quickly my family pops in paracetamols without any second thoughts.

The Shadow Commander: Quite an interesting read on recent developments in Iran and it’s past.

Weeknote 47 – Shasta’s First

A glimpse of the past week and the few articles, podcasts, tools, videos and music that captivated my attention:

Happy Birthday little munchkin! At 00:00 on the 19th, Amma and I celebrated your birthday with just the three of us; with you fast asleep on amma’s shoulder, as we were waiting to board the flight to Hong Kong. This will be your longest [34hrs] birthday so far. We’re supremely thankful to have you with us and we’re beyond surprised how you make parenting feel so easy(mostly). As you grow in this mad, illogical, crazy yet mesmerizing world; we hope we’re able to will expose you to people, countries, realms, religions, experiences, wildlife, nature and above all nudge you towards making this a better place for everyone. As cliche as it sounds, time IS flying!

We’re back in Baltimore just in time for the winter! Shuttled to DC for the IMST OA which fell through by just 0.25 points. Sucks, but I guess that’s part of the deal.

Overall a busy week. Didn’t get around reading/listening as much as I generally do.

Interesting podcasts this week:

  • The Memory Palace: Let it snow. On the flight headed towards Dulles today, I was pondering over the recent shooting in California. Shootings in schools and parties? Where are we really headed? Humanity is passing through some really shitty times and it’s beyond my comprehension why a human would willingly take another individual’s life. The U.S needs to control public access to firearms. Actually, No. It should prohibit individuals from bearing arms altogether! The absolute lack of any tangible action is deplorable.

Interesting tools this week:

  • Grocy: ERP beyond the fridge
  • Forecast Advisor: 5-day weather forecast for a U.S. Zipcode with accuracy calcs for the major weather forecasters.
  • Pixelfed: Ad and algorithm free, federated image sharing platform

Interesting reads this week:


Morning muses with the little munchkin perched on top of her stack of books. Babbling, pointing, standing and now slowly trying to walk; this soon to be 11 brat is growing way too fast!

River ridge trail

Shasta’s first visit to Patapsco state park. Sharath, Meena, Shasta and I planned to head out together initially. Was pretty breezy and cold. Shasta initially was showing signs of queasiness, so Meena suggested Sharath and I head out while she’d stroll closer to the car.

Started out on the downhill and entered the woods around the corner. Meena joined with Shasta as we were heading back covering about three miles. A wonderful, refreshing day out!

We head out to Hot Pot later that evening. Delicious food and some real good time with the whole family!


It’s about 2 AM and I am on a side bed in Sinai Hospital. Earlier today (yesterday) Meena and I brought into this world a sparkingly beautiful 7lb 5oz girl. I remember seeing Meena during the institute at TFI with some of her school kids and thinking she would be a wonderful mother one day. Eight years from then, as I see this little munchkin in the crib beside her, I am more than thankful for all that has led to this day. I’m thrilled beyond limits.

Tara, Zara, Agni, Annapurna were all front runners for the name. With our mutual love for the mountains and belief that the name should exude power and confidence, we eventually zeroed in on Shasta. I first came across the name on a Dirtbag diaries podcast – Flying Deep. I profusely liked the way it sounded and the fact that Mt. Shasta was a towering, potentially active volcano sealed the deal.

I’m psyched that we’re naming her after a mountain. While climbing up a peak or on the ridge, I always feel the eerie and calming sense of belonging. It always reminds me of days spent in the hospital living by the day…a mixed bag of memories I so wish, I didn’t have, yet I’m so thankful I do… Somewhere deep under I knew Amma wouldn’t make it. She’d been swinging in and out of consciousness for several months now. One of those lucky days in November 1999, her vitals seemed reasonably stable. She was longing for some fresh air and I was able to finagle one of the nurses to take us outdoors. We took amma on a wheelchair to the terrace of the hospital. It was a dark, chilly and breezy night. Hyderabad was just about wrapping up its Diwali celebrations. Far down where our vision could stretch, every now and then a rocket would shoot up and the fireworks would brighten up the sky. Amma was thrilled! As another waft of cold air blew on the terrace, amma clenched my fists and said “I’ve never been this high on the mountains. This is the most beautiful sun rise I’ve ever seen”. It didn’t take us a lot to figure out she was having yet another bout of hallucination. The last few months the medications were wrecking havoc. This time though on that terrace, I felt a sense of thankfulness. For this, was one of those moments when I could see that child-like sparkle in her eyes, something that would remain captured in my memories of her and something which I’d never see again…forever. From that day, Mountains and more so sunrise on those ridges took a whole different meaning.

A few days back, as we floated the name within the family circle, one of my cousin’s mentioned Shasta meant ‘teacher’ in Sanskrit. Meena and I met through a teaching fellowship and I thought it was pretty awesome that we ended up naming our kid – Shasta! Shasta, also happens to be a reference to a south Indian Hindu deity that my ancestors have long worshiped. All in all we seem to have appeased all generations!

For the middle name we decided to just leave it as R, depicting Ratna – amma’s name, Rajesh – a dear cousin of mine who committed suicide a few years back and Ramu anna – another cousin who very recently passed away fighting cancer. The hope is that we’re saliently reminded of them all through Shasta.

While I can’t quite foresee the future, I believe we do have in mind the kind of person we would like to raise. The world at this point in time has a lot of negative things going on. We hope as Shasta grows and develops a personality of her own, she does so much more than what we’ve done to bring in more positivity around her.