That Was The Week That Was: 15th to 21st March 2023

The one in which I got exhausted sorting through years of documents and ate too many momos to cope with it.

Delhi, India

While the actual repair work at my mum's house finished about 10 days back, last week saw us grappling with the humongous task of sorting through all the stuff that was strewn around the house and putting it back in place.

It took us almost four full days to get most of the clutter in order. There are still a lot of old documents that need to be sorted through but I could not tolerate spending more time on it. I've decided that I'll now spend 1-2 hours every other day and complete this task gradually instead of blocking everything else till it gets done.

Going through old stuff, especially old documents, is a really painful activity. Taking constant decisions on whether something should be kept (if yes, where), thrown, taken a photo of and then thrown or burnt (if something contained personal information) for hundreds of items in hours on end is quite taxing on the mind. I felt like a zombie every evening. It was a cruel reminder of when I experienced extreme burnout last year—I had no energy to work, write, read, or even watch a meaningful film. But I also felt deeply dissatisfied with the output of the day and couldn't sleep. I just made myself more miserable, stayed up till late, and binged on junk food and OTT content till I crashed out.

At the same time, I unearthed some hidden gems from our family's memories. I found emotional letters, plans to start businesses that never saw the light of day, my mother's books from when she was pursuing a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology, my father's stamp collections and one of his first job offer letters, my old Nintendo GameBoy and more. I even found an old photograph of kiddo me laughing like crazy—a slightly rare occurrence in today's life. Maybe it was worth a few days of suffering.

Other Notable Stuff

  • I ate a lot of momos last week and all of them were good. The best ones were at the Sikkim Tourism stall in Dilli Haat. The ones from Brown Sugar and Scorpio Cafe were also delicious.

  • I went to Prince Paan but decided to eat relatively healthy (in the guilt that I had eaten too many momos). The Matar Chaat there was decent but it was no Palak Patta Chaat. Stupid brain.

  • I spent the weekend with friends and we ended up having a lot of fun. Playing WWE on the PS4 was simply hilarious. A must-try activity.

  • Chelsea's recent rise in form came to an end with a draw at relegation-threatened Everton. As a supporter, the result did not seem bleak, though, and I have hope that things will improve this season.

  • Delhi experienced an earthquake. And this time, I found out without opening Twitter.

Content Consumed

  • TV show: Rocket Boys - Season 2
    This TV show was the only thing that kept me sane during the first half of last week. My mom and I couldn't wait for the next mealtime when we'd watch the show. Brilliant story (I don't care if much of it is fictional), brilliant acting, brilliant show. So many films and TV shows with nationalistic themes seem forced and mediocre, but this one had us in its grip.

  • Film: Everything Everywhere All at Once
    I watched this after a particularly exhausting day sorting through my father's old files. I'm not sure what I feel about this film. On the one hand, it was too much to handle and felt like nonsense at times but on the other, it did offer a relevant metaphor for the angst that young people face in today's social-media driven world where they are constantly bombarded with information by hundreds (thousands?) of virtual connections but are lonely because there aren't any meaningful ones that seem to understand them. Great concept, but this entire absurdist style is not my cup of tea. Not worthy of all the Oscars for me, but it's good that I don't have a voice on that front.

  • Book: The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

Random Thoughts

  • Credit Suisse more-or-less collapsed last week. After seeing that and the situations at Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic Bank, I'm starting to wonder how much this will cascade and if 2023 will just be a year of suffering.

  • Going through a tough week and reading about potential economic meltdowns did not create a good state-of-mind in which to also hear about GPT-4. I started having some panic-ridden thoughts about AI wreaking havoc on my career. Anyhow, I had recently decided to focus most of my energies on short-term tangible goals rather than worrying about the fuzzy future. So, aane do!

  • I noticed a beautiful moment towards the end of season 2 of Rocket Boys. After the successful atomic bomb test, the show pays tribute to the dead Vikram Sarabhai and Homi Bhabha, showing them running around and having fun on the beach at Thumba. There, a pensive Sarabhai asks Bhabha if they would ever achieve what they sought out to achieve. Bhabha says no, but added that it's okay if they always keep trying. Maybe this is something that we should also keep in mind. Maybe the effort and journey matter more than the destination.

Last Week in Numbers

  • 3 hours (only) spent doing deep work 😭

  • 8 boxes of old documents sorted

  • 28 momos eaten

  • 30 seconds spent in a state of anxiety, waiting for the building to fall down during the earthquake

That was the week that was. I pray that this one ends up being better.