That Was The Week That Was: 22nd to 28th March 2023

The one in which I tried to get back to work but failed miserably.

Delhi, India

I am really late in publishing this edition of That Was the Week That Was. I had an important work deadline and had to drop everything else to meet it. Sorry! 🙇🏽‍♂️

After spending months on getting my mother's house repaired, I seem to have lost the ability to do deep knowledge work. Last week, I had the opportunity to engage in deep work for an extended period for the first time this year. I wanted to write a couple of technical articles for this website. But I was just not able to sustain focus for that long.

My mind kept meandering from one thing to another. Every thought in my head seemed important enough to interrupt work. A bigger irritation was that my mind was welcoming every distraction and interruption. I had forgotten how to focus. It was like I was back in middle school when I would forget how to write after the summer vacations every year.

Sometimes, I like to believe that I have an innate ability to work hard, maintain focus, think deeply and be productive. That I am gifted in this way. Last week was yet another reiteration of the bitter truth that I, like everyone else, have to practice hard to cultivate the ability to do deep work and harder still to sustain it. And that making plans to work deeply is one thing but then stopping the planning and daydreaming at some point to put them into action is another.

My most natural reaction at times like these was to berate myself and push my mind's rebellion into submission. But the many years of introspection and metacognition have made me realise the toxicity of such a response and the need to be kind and patient with myself (even if others are impatient with me). I've spent a long time away from proper productive deep work—it is logical that I will be rusty. I will just have start small and keep going. Expectation-meeting productivity will gradually follow. 🤞🏽

Other Notable Stuff

  • I published this website's first technical article last week: How to Specify a Node Version in Netlify Builds. It's a short and simple piece that I started writing a couple of weeks ago. Here's to a lot more in the future. 🙌🏽

  • A few (good) friends came over on that weekend. We chilled and played FIFA all night. 🍻

  • I visited Alkauser after a long time. Their Kakori Kebabs and Mutton Burras are out of this world! Better than Karim's in my opinion.

  • The Alkauser visit was followed by a walk around India Gate and on Kartavya Path (which we know better as Rajpath). I had not been here since the Central Vista changes and the place looked completely different. I'm not yet sure what I feel about that—looks more posh for certain but there's a lot more stone and concrete than soil and grass. Maybe it's for the better only. 🤷🏽‍♂️

  • The flatmates gathered together to play some sports after quite a while. Playing badminton and cricket brought some much-needed respite from staying indoors almost all the time.

Content Consumed

  • Video: Why Banks Fail by Johnny Harris
    Watching this video and learning more about the money multiplier effect, I was wondering if the entire banking system is a Ponzi scheme in the end.

  • TV show: Crash Course
    Pretty interesting storyline about the rivalry between two coaching institutes in Kota and the extent to which they would go to compete with each other. Annu Kapoor played the perfect villain—really good acting. While his character was right on point, the same can't be said of the students. It was like all the kids in this show slept one night when they were 16 years old and woke up the next morning with the bodies and minds of 22-year-olds who had seen too many western TV shows. They didn't act like Plus-2 students at all. I don't remember me or my friends saying such pseudo-mature things or behaving like final-year engineering college students when we were sixteen-seventeen. Or maybe my generation is now old and the current post-internet tribe of kids is like this only? 🤔

  • Film: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
    I don't quite get the craze around the Black Panther films. I didn't enjoy the first one and this one feels like it could have been so much better but then held back for some reason (but maybe that's what Marvel is all about). [Spoiler alert] The sadness around T'challa's death (RIP Chadwick Boseman) created many emotional moments and the tension between the two Vibranium-rich nations was built-up well but then fizzled out in the end. Quite disappointing. It's the hope that kills you.

  • Book: The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

Random Thoughts

  • Apart from reducing distractions, I quit Facebook and Instagram to get out of the dopamine-triggered addiction to these platforms. But now a new habit is doing the same thing to me again—checking the analytics for this website! I keep opening GoatCounter every few hours in the hope of seeing more views (spoiler: very few views, mostly my own). Dopa is everywhere and we need to look out.

  • Mosquito season is back and it's wrecking my sleep. AllOut and Mortein just don't work well anymore and Goodknight is a joke. 😔

  • Maggie Appleton's website is a work of art. The idea to set this site up as a digital garden mostly came from her website. I was already thinking of adding disclaimers to posts that they were representations of my current thinking and that my thoughts on a topic might change with time but seeing her digital garden made me much more comfortable with embracing the idea of the same content evolving with time and being okay with imperfections. This site is in a nascent stage right now and might not seem very garden-y but I'll try to bring it to Maggie Appleton's site's level someday (I can't draw to save my life, though).

  • I noticed that I've been on Twitter longer than Elon Musk! 😜

Last Week in Numbers

  • 2 deep work hours 🤮

  • 1 technical article published 😎

  • 6 FIFA matches lost in a row

  • 4 Kakori Kebabs eaten like someone will steal them from me

  • 5 runs scored in a two-over cricket match

That was the week that was. I'll be back with this week's edition very soon.