19: We didn't start the fire

November 17, 2022


Tonnes of rain, lay-offs, last month was a write-off,

working out, getting hurt, drinking ginger ale.

Interest rates are super low, how do I go with the flow,

falling down, standing up, balancing the scale.

We didn’t start the fire… is pretty much how the last few weeks have been. I’ve tried not to think too much about it which is why I’ve been scarce on here. But hey, I’m alive.

I’ve been waking up way earlier than usual—around 6.30AM—to give myself enough time to leisurely hit the gym, get ready for work and do my daily darshan of Ola, Uber and Rapido. Every morning I feel tempted to burrow deeper into my duvet and read fantasy novels until the sun shines a few months later. But I have been very good at fending it off, mostly because my responsibilities tug at my conscience like a third alarm. I have realised that the secret, again, is to not think about what I’m doing and just do it. By the time my mind has cottoned on, I’m already halfway through squats sets or in an auto rickshaw pottering away to Obvious HQ.

In other news, I’m at that stage of my job where most of my productivity systems are failing miserably — not because they suck, but because they were for a completely different me. A year ago I had to make myself better; now, I have to help others be better. It’s been a tectonic shift in many ways, most obviously in the way that some structures I thought were pretty solid crumbled. The amount of context-switching I need to do and the pace at which I need to do it have also changed, and so I find myself frantically optimising for speed in not great ways. On some days, I sense that I am mentally racing against a clock I’ve set, physically leaning towards my screen as if it would get me over a (completely self-imposed) deadline.

Conversations with Dhruv—and the random chanting of “paceyourselfpaceyourselfpaceyourself”—are helping in bits and pieces, but I need to start proactively looking for systems that will work for the ‘now’ me. This is the phase of metamorphosis where I’m struggling against my cocoon on my way to becoming a butterfly (in a few years’ time, in my case). What was comfortable is now restrictive. What an interesting yet challenging liminal space to be in.

I’ll keep the rest of this note quick.

  • I am now a Curator at Startupy, having the best time finding incredible reads on writing, curiosity, tech and ambition. A recent read is this one by Nat Eliason on reframing “work-life balance” as “life bucket integration”.

  • I’m still travelling through Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive. As I said to a friend the other day, “Great story, fantastic world-building and really well-paced despite being super-lengthy”. High praise for a series with as many books as fingers on my hands, IMO.

  • I am slightly over my jazz phase and am now back to playing the Glass Animals on repeat. Playlist? More like playcircle.

  • This tweet thread is the only kind of tweet thread I will tolerate.

  • I wrote the last Kindred Spirits issue for 2022, titled 5.a.m in Pokhara. I want to take the rest of the year to read the kind of writing I want to write. I'm starting with food memoir essays—a genre I want to experiment with—from the likes of Ruby Tandoh, Madhur Jaffrey and Nina Mingya Powles.

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