Trying to stay optimistic and positive over the last year was easier said than done, more so for people like me. Early in the pandemic, I realized that I’d have to be more cautious and careful than most people, to protect not just my physical health but also my mental health. To that end, I decided to focus on the things that I liked. I stopped consuming the news and began channeling my energy into reading more books, especially in areas that I was interested in… I was always a reader but I found a new vigor and joy in what I was trying to do.
The reviews I post online are supposed to be a small attempt to distract from the armchair activism of social media. An effort to talk about something else other than death, disease, politics. By not participating in such conversations, I’m choosing to protect myself by doing the one thing I know I’m good at… Read and write. And on this journey, I’ve found love and support from some really amazing and talented people (you know who you are). There are times when I feel stuck and overwhelmed with every aspect of life, and I go back to my conversations with these people and it helps. Thank you!
I hope those who’ve picked up the books that I’ve recommended (which were recommendations from someone to begin with) have benefitted in some small way. I also hope that my writing moves away from the derivative nature of what I’m doing right now – reviews of books written by people who know a lot more about the world than I do – to something more original.
Ben Macintyre’s The Spy and The Traitor is a true story of a Russian defector, Oleg Gordievsky, who changes the course of the Cold War by spying for the British. His defection to Britain’s MI6, his eventual detention by the KGB, and his subsequent extraction from Moscow is edge-of-the-seat stuff that will definitely find its way to the TV screen.
My job to the outside world is a little like Chandler’s job from the TV show Friends; I’m a data transponster. I often struggle to explain what I do to people who do not belong to this industry, and hence I leave it at business development. With time, Ruki has learned what I do and is now able to explain to anyone who asks what RFPs and RFIs are… Her world is fundamentally different from mine, and it was difficult to explain work calls late into the night or early in the morning. Having worked for close to eight years in a role that requires me to coordinate and collaborate with stakeholders from different nationalities and cultures, I can relate to almost every aspect that Erin Meyer covers in her book, The Culture Map. Continue reading
I began reading How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates just as India was entering its second wave of the Covid 19 pandemic. In the weeks that followed, the onslaught of bad news pouring in from every part of the country was, to say the least, relentless. In hindsight, reading a book about the bleak future we face, while oscillating between pandemic-induced fear and fatalism, wasn’t a very good idea… It was almost as if the mere act of distancing myself from the reality of climate change and the contents of the book, would somehow make them less true… Less worrisome… Continue reading