Excursions by Amit Gawande

I am getting used to this new normal

Empty, lifeless streets. Calm, soundless surrounding. Few overly protected bodies strolling around.

No cars. No motorbikes. No home delivery agents. No horns. No flights zooming through the skies.

Waking up early, trying to get into some sort of routine. As my mind attempts to convince me that it just doesn’t matter when I wake up. A morning tea with family, the ears listening to and the brain doing it’s best to ignore the updates from the news.

I know very well that there’s not going to be any significant change to the state of the world. I am mindful that I can’t expect the things to be back to any form of normalcy anytime soon. But I still have ears to the news - in search of that one downward trend.

Or that one act of human kindness that will bring a smile to my face.

Yoga at home. A half an hour walk across the rooms. And balconies. At home. Work, as the mind wanders every now and then. At home. Play board games, silly pranks with my daughter. Dance. Be foolish. At times play some outdoor games too. But just inside. At home.

Spend evenings with family. Look outside to the empty streets, the calm surrounding. At those few strolling bodies.

Hopeful that I will soon be able to go out. Not being afraid. Or circumspect. Not alone. But being carefree. With family. Take that impulsive walk or a ride. Go for that long drive.

Hopeful that it won’t be so eerily quiet outside. And inside. At the same time, thankful that I’ve my family close to me to lean on to. To gain strength from.

Today marks 14 days that we have spent locked down in your homes. The at-home routine has become our new normal now. I am getting used to it.

I spent the evening today with my daughter, looking out to the clear skies. She asked me nonchalantly why can’t we go outside. And before I could answer, I saw her roll her eyes and blurt without a hint of sadness in her voice, yeah, the virus”.

She wished it will go settle onto the hilly forests that are visible from our balcony. She wished us, just our family, got fairy wings. So that we could make the clear, empty skies our home. The purity, the genuineness in her wishes, her thoughts brought a smile to my face.

I know it is this zeal in her that will help me pull through this exhausting time. This new normal is fine with me.

Tue, Apr 7, 2020 thoughts covid

I have realized that am not afraid to click the Follow” link on a profile on Micro.blog. I believe it is the lack of an algorithmic timeline that prevents the whole reading experience from becoming overwhelming. The list of post is never too much - so keeps the timeline sane.

Mon, Apr 6, 2020 thoughts

If you publish a newsletter, please, please include a link to your archives very close to that Subscribe” button your want readers to click. You intend to form a relationship with the readers. Give them a chance to see in advance what and how you write.

Mon, Apr 6, 2020 thoughts

I have now learnt about how to cut hair at home. To make sanitizers at home. To make masks at home. The correct way to wear masks - and hand gloves. And the correct way to remove them. To efficiently and effectively wash hands. To wash food containers. To sanitize cash. To sanitize sanitizer bottles.

Sigh! I don’t think I was ready for all these unique knowledge bites. I don’t think even internet was.

Mon, Apr 6, 2020 thoughts

This had to be the worst time for US to have Donald Trump as President. He comes out as indifferent from whatever I’ve read and seen. Maybe what gets reported is biased, but even his addresses to press have been mixed. Indifferent is worst you can be as a leader today.

Mon, Apr 6, 2020 thoughts

I started, and stopped watching Manifest — another in the list of Lost-wannabes. It takes more than just a good sci-fi premise to be what Lost was. Sure, even Lost wasn’t perfect. But it’s well written and acted, which most aren’t.

Sat, Apr 4, 2020 thoughts

With a significant majority of the world following a stay-home routine, many of the planned events have gone online-only. This has given me a wonderful chance to be part of events that I could never have been part of. A small relief amidst all the negativity and gloom around!

Fri, Apr 3, 2020 thoughts

Kai Brach delivers a brilliant advise as part of this week’s newsletter of Dense Discovery. I have been trying my best to also live a trivial life in these trying times.

It never felt so comforting watching someone clean their car. On my screen, the world ends any minute. But from my balcony, life goes on, one sponge wipe at a time.

So let’s think and read and write and talk about trivial stuff, too. Trivial is OK. Trivial is life.

Wed, Apr 1, 2020 thoughts

I am always fascinated with the idea of a book club - may be because I just haven’t got a chance to be part of one. How does it work? In today’s time of lockdown, this would be wonderful to experience. Are there any that are done on web, say via Zoom?

Tue, Mar 31, 2020 thoughts

I have been working with David Merfield on a little side project. The idea started simple - what if there was a simple posting interface for Blot? In extension, something that one can use to write and publish a post to Dropbox. Blot is simple as-is for writing and posting (it’s all files). But there are times when I do want to quickly post from my web browser. And for such times, I still need a simple writing interface.

That thought was enough to interest both me and David. We got to work. The project got neglected in between. And then was picked up again. And I think, it is in a state now where it can really be useful to a few. I can attest to that because I, myself, have been using it for few days now.

Here’s Wall — a web-accessible text-editor over Dropbox, works nicely with Blot.

I believe this would be useful for many. It is clean. It is light, pure-client side application. It supports local drafts. It can export markdown. It can publish to Blot. Perfect for all those text posts.

I have my own fork of the project where I want to use the editor and support publishing to multiple places. To start with, I have extended it to post it anywhere in Dropbox.

I have hosted it here as Scribe. I plan to extend it next to be used as a micropub client. Still in works, though.

Of course, this is not perfect yet. For one, it does not work well on smaller screens. But it is a good enough. Do give it try.

Mon, Mar 30, 2020 dev update

I don’t think it must be surprising to anyone — the use of that dumb, forgotten app on your smartphone is on the rise again. The phone. People are calling others more. They are talking to them longer. If you can’t meet others physically, your mind reaches out for other ways.

Sun, Mar 29, 2020 thoughts

I watched Parasite today — I didn’t like it. I believe if a movie with the same premise and same treatment was made in US, it would have no chance at Oscars. This did win because it was foreign. Very similar to Slumdog Millionaire.

Sun, Mar 29, 2020 thoughts

I’ve been working with IndieWeb for quite some time now and I still get confused with implementing a simple IndieLogin workflow before a micropub request. There’s just too much back and forth between multiple endpoints. Time to put the head down and get this working!

Sun, Mar 29, 2020 thoughts