That Was The Week That Was: 19th to 25th April 2023

The one in which I took pride in mundane house chores.

Delhi, India

A fair bit of last week went into the process of getting back to work after a long holiday. And in fixing a few important yet mundane things in the house that we mostly take for granted.

We had to fire our previous domestic help for being excessively passive-aggressive towards us (WTF!) earlier in the month. Since then, we've been on a tiring lookout for a new maid. So far, we had been managing by getting someone or the other to work for us on a daily basis but it was not a sustainable solution. Further, I spend half my time at my mother's house and this partial absence from my own place wasn't helping the situation.

We, as a society, don't give enough credit to our domestic helps. Their underrated effort forms the foundation of our ability to work hard. We understand this well and acknowledge it when probed, but hardly ever spend time thinking about it. Or take a moment to feel grateful. Their work gets taken for granted except, of course, when they're not there. I know that my work gets completely derailed when a domestic help is not available (part of the allure of a physical office, especially for managers, is that their reports don't have to deal with domestic stuff like this and can, thus, be more productive).

So, after coming back from Karnataka, I decided to not go anywhere till I sorted this shit out. Taking time out from work and talking to potential maids on a daily basis was a frustrating exercise but it was probably the single biggest productivity-enabling thing that I could do. Thankfully, we were able to finalise one after a few hits and misses. Her name is Silky (yes, reminds us of shampoo too) and hopefully, she'll work with us for years. 🤞🏽

Other Notable Stuff

  • Continuing with the theme, I did more domestic chores like going to the market to buy a pressure cooker and get the mixer-grinder repaired. Uncle ban gaya hun main.

  • I donated a bit of money to Wikipedia. After Google (I wish they weren't evil now), Wikipedia has been the biggest digital influence on my life. Giving money to them is a no-brainer. A thing to note is that they collect money through affiliate organisations in various regions—do not be alarmed if you see a name like Deepansum Solutions Pvt. Ltd. as the payee.

  • I restarted my efforts to do some yoga regularly. I'm doing Rashmi Ramesh's 20-Day Yoga Challenge, but am cheating a little and doing a session every alternate day or so. 😅

  • I met a couple of school friends after several years. We went to The Big Chill in Promenade Mall. While The Big Chill is the go-to place for many meetups in my circles (usually the Khan Market branch), I hadn't had the Grilled Chicken Salad there, which turned out to be really good. The Quattro Formaggi pizza and the New York Cheesecake were delicious, as always. The Squidgy Chocolate Mousse Cake was a bit too dark-chocolatey for me, though.

  • I had to complete some work while on the road, so went to a Chaayos for a couple of hours. It looks like the Chaayos in Preet Vihar has been completely taken over by MLM-kinds who are constantly on the phone trying to convince someone to put money into what they're offering. And they're doing this while acting like they're uber-successful and are instead doing the other person a favour by giving them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Having been duped into participating in something like this in the past, I wished I could shout into their phones and ask the other person to run away as fast as they can.

  • I did some routine maintenance work for a client's website and, of course, something went off-track. A plugin update conflicted with the existing code and had to be fixed. Bloody Murphy. 😠

  • A very good friend asked me to create a website for their upcoming business but needed it in a week, so I had to say no. It's just extremely difficult to create anything reasonably decent in less than a few weeks' time. 🙁

  • I don't like to write about football clubs that I don't support, but Chelsea have hardly anything good to write about right now. This year's EPL title chase, on the other hand, is super-duper exciting. First Arsenal dropped points against Southampton (but still, what a comeback!) and then were beaten comprehensively by Man City. After having led the league for what now seems like ages, it looks quite likely that they'll lose out in the end. What a pity!

Random Thoughts

  • Thinking again about domestic helps, our society is often oppressive towards people in lower economic classes. Raise your hand if you've ever heard something like "itna mat do, nahi toh inke sar chadh jaayenge" from someone you otherwise respect 🙋‍♂️. We only oppress those we know we can oppress and then get away with it. Which is why the onus is on us to ensure fair treatment and remuneration to our maids, drivers, etc. if we want a more just and civilised society (including regular raises like we expect for ourselves). Many of us already do that—this is just another reminder.

  • The previous issue of That Was The Week That Was took almost two days' worth of effort. I had just returned from a holiday and wasn't invested in other work, so was able to manage it but I need to be faster with these posts. That being said, I received appreciation from many circles and reconnected with a few old friends over it. So maybe the effort was worth it? 😊

  • I was thinking about conflicts that keep happening around us because people have different opinions. What is gradually becoming clear to me is that arguments, conversations, or talking seldom work when other things are not in order. Instead, the order of influence might be the atmosphere (mahaul) >> empathy >> conversations. If the atmosphere is cordial, people try to understand others and develop some level of empathy, which creates a trusted space for them to talk even if they disagree. Just talking without the other prerequisites might even make the situation worse. This is an evolving thought—feel free to write to me about this.

  • I found out that the spices in Mother Dairy's Spiced Chach come from something called oleoresins. The internet describes them as semi-solid extracts of a spice that is composed of resins and essential oils. But the process of extraction might use artificial volatile chemicals like alcohols. So does this mean that this packaged chhaachh is not as healthy as I used to think? Moreover, Rujuta Diwekar says "jitna packet khulega utna pet phoolega". My milk, curd, buttermilk, and ghee all come in packets. Is that a problem?

Content Consumed

  • Film: Paan Singh Tomar
    My mom hadn't seen Paan Singh Tomar before and it seemed like a good idea to re-watch it. Such a good movie that highlights how someone noble can be pushed into a world of crime through years of injustice and frustrations.

Stumbled Upon

  •, a really well designed webpage by the folks at Looks pretty, its HTML seems semantically correct and all the graphics are actual web-friendly elements rather than images (inspect the page and see for yourself). I've always liked their work but this is just next level. Btw, their React newsletter is quite fun to read every week.

  • The website of an Australian illustrator named Luke John Matthew Arnold (that's a mouthful). I really liked the quirky illustrations (may be slightly objectionable to some), colour scheme, and witty design overall. The animations are not over-the-top and add character to the page—I especially liked the eyes following the mouse pointer (◔_◔). Kudos to Vanessa Brewster for the good work.

  • Lo-rain, a MacOS app that simulates the rain seen in lo-fi videos on your Mac, complete with occasional splashes on the dock and the bottom of your screen. It serves no purpose but is just beautiful to behold. I tried the 15-min trial and was blown away by the level of detail. There is also a setting to show fireflies while it is raining! If there is such a thing as art in software development, this is right up there. Alas, I'm still middle-class enough in my thinking not to buy it.

  • YouTube Clips from CBS Sports's coverage of the UEFA Champions League. I am not very invested in Champions League matches now that Chelsea have been knocked out but still love to watch clips of the companion show with Kate Abdo, Thierry Henry, Jamie Carragher, and Micah Richards. Easily the best chemistry on a football show that I've seen—the banter is hilarious! Check it out for yourself.

  • Daily quiz questions posted by Akshaya Sivakumar under the #AkshayaAsks hashtag. They're a fun break from work and take me back to all the quizzing I used to do in college.

Last Week in Numbers

  • 7 deep work hours. Abysmal but completing some of the household work was crucial after weeks of neglect.

  • 4 yoga sessions completed during the week. A habit may be forming. 😎

  • 10+ YouTube videos of Kate Abdo and the gang watched.

  • 7 matches without a win for Chelsea now. 🤦🏽‍♂️

Not too happening, but that was the week that was. I'll be back with the next one soon.