James Ramya Rajan

After 10 years, upgrading my personal computer setup. My last laptop was a MacBook Pro on Intel chip. Now migrating to iMac on M3 chip.

Looking forward to a long acquaintance my new friend!

A desktop setup with a new blue iMac with a keyboard, mouse and trackpad in front of it.

Ever since we got to know we will be heading to Cairo, I started learning Arabic on Duolingo. Today finished Unit 1!

With our stay in KL is getting to an end soon, we are starting to have goodbye meals with friends. A few weeks ago, we hosted our Chinese neighbour for a lunch at an Indian restaurant here. During that lunch, their son was reminiscing about the Vadai he had in our place, so we followed it up by a breakfast of Vadai, Idly and Dosai another day.

As conversations flowed in different directions that morning, we talked about Mala cuisine and about a lovely chilli chicken we had in one of the places here in KL. They quickly said that we have to try this place in Pudu, where the lady who cooks is from China and makes some fantastic food. So we went there this weekend. What a wonderful meal it turned out to be.

The highlight was the sour and spicy fish. The fish was fried and later a flavourful broth was added. That broth was just divine. We drank bowls of it.

A chinese dish of whole fried fish in a broth

The Pork was also good — so soft, garlicky and spicy as well

A Pork dish cooked in Chinese Sichuan Style

There were other dishes like Prawns, Cabbage Sautee, Potato fry, spiced cucumber and the Chilli Chicken we came for. But the chicken was fried too dry and tough for our taste. The sichuan peppers though on it, were fun to eat ;)

Cucumber smashed and spiced with some chilli oil Fried chicken tossed with some dry red chillies and sichuan pepper A plate with rice in the middle, surrounded by chilli cucumber, chinese style potato fry, chilli chicken and pork

We followed it up with some desserts. There were all made from paste of different nuts or seeds. We had one cup each of Black Sesame, Peanut, Almond and Walnut. I loved the Peanut and Black Sesame one.

A neon lit, old school dessert shop with seating on the pavement A man tending to the warm pots of desserts Cups of the desserts made out of pastes of Black Sesame, Walnut, Peanut and Almond

#OhBoy was playing well with them all through and was a jester making up jokes and silly games. As our time here in KL is coming to end, I am slowly realising the so many things and people I will miss about this place. But I am glad to be leaving with so many wonderful memories!


This morning The Missus had to participate at a Yoga event a part of her official duties. We joined in as well. We stayed after the event to watch few of the games in the Sports Day of the school. One of them was an racing event for children with special needs and those in the autistic spectrum. Each child had a teacher or a volunteer helping them and it was nice to see these kids included as part of the Sports Day.

School ground where in a game some chldren are guided by teachers

We were told that the school has a couple of teachers for children with special needs and when such events happen, teachers from other schools pitch in to help them. And we were told it was a Malaysian government initiative. It is good to see some thought gone in for the needs of these children, rather than them being just an after thought. Can more be done? Sure. But kudos for the steps already taken!


📺 The Good Doctor, Prime Video ★★★★

Poster of the TV Series The Good Doctor showing the lead character Shaun Murphy in a operating theatre

We watched the series finale of Good Doctor a couple of days ago. We started watching this after we finished watching House. Both were created by David Shore.

We in general are suckers for good episodic drama be it either in medical or legal. So it was no surprise that we gravitated towards this. Also unlike House, the approach is all positive and has less sarcasm and meanness. So it made the watch all more fun.

They would regularly kill off characters and bring in new ones. But then it helped the plot move in new directions and kept the story fresh. While talking of characters, I want to quickly mention about the lead character Dr. Shaun Murphy played by Freddie Highmore. This is one of the finest performances of someone in the autistic spectrum, by someone who is neurotypical.

When the series finale started, I was wondering aloud how would they wrap it up. But then towards the end I realised, if writers wanted to they could bring any series to an end at any time. Here they brought the plot to some cliffhangers, cut to “10 years later” and neatly tied it all up. In an way I appreciate showrunners letting a show end when they don’t have any thing new to add!

Our stay in Malaysia will end soon

After 3 years in Kuala Lumpur, it’s time to move again. By the end of this quarter we would be shifting to Cairo, Egypt.

Before moving to KL, I was a bit apprehensive about this place. We were relatively new parents still and we were anxious of how #OhBoy will adapt to this place.

But all it took was just the first day and I was so happy by the amount of greenery around, the cleaner air and evening showers! Everywhere we went we would keep commenting about the amount of vegetation was around and how much we will miss it when we leave Malaysia.

We always felt at home here. The food and culture, all felt familiar to our South Indian palate and we could get by as locals without attracting any attention of being a foreigner.

We got to travel around and have wonderful memories of the various visits we did. When we started, we hoped to visit all the 13 states and 3 federal territories during our stay. And as of today we stand at 10 states and 2 federal territories. Not a bad score and I hope we get to visit one more state before we bid adieu.

KL is where #OhBoy started his schooling. He transformed from not knowing any English to conversing only in English, that too with a Malay accent and “lah” and “already” thrown in as much as possible. He will miss Malaysia much more than us. We have been constantly talking about the movement to Cairo, to reduce the separation anxiety that will happen when we move.

The thing I will personally miss the most, is the hikes that I get to do around each week here in KL. I started this fairly late in our 2nd year of stay and since then have been regular at it. I just wish I had started earlier.

I keep telling my wife that if there was an option to retire outside of India, I would choose Malaysia over any other place — good weather, lots of nature, relatively lower living costs and good medical facilities.

Hope to make the most of the next couple of months here!

🥾Hiking at Bukit Dinding 📍

After a while, I explored a new trail this morning — Bukit Dinding. I was also in a new part of KL city.

The trail was mostly cemented path. It started with a good incline and then smoothened out. It is a moderate trail, that beginners can do. There is good tree cover all through, so  you can do this later in the day as well. There were a lot of locals, some of them doing it for fitness and some of them were training for trail running.

Like clockwork, a week after I got new shoes, the Merrell Vapor Glove that I have been using since 2020 gave in. This was the first shoe that gave me a taste of barefoot experience. I have done strength training in them, did late night walks during the pandemic, ran on asphalt and even did a couple of hikes with them here in KL.

View of a feet with Merrell Vapor Glove 4 shoes on them Worn out sole of a shoe

So long! You served me well.

#OhBoy turned 5!

When we told #OhBoy that it was June 1st, he was thrilled that it was his birthday month. Everyday since he started doing a count down for his big day.

An young boy blowing his birthday candle

Finally last week #OhBoy turned 5! We had a small celebration at our home, followed by one at his school. We adults stopped celebrating our birthdays a while ago, but now we get to vicariously celebrate through him.

To have seen him grow from a hapless little being to one who constantly questions and challenges you on every damn thing, has been a wonderful thing. Sure parenting him has a been taxing, but it has also been one of the most satisfying things as well. I cannot stop to think how blessed I am to be working from home and being available for him every single day.

I thought I will define how he is today in terms to traits, but then I also realise it is a futile exercise as it is constantly changing. For now I am really happy for the times he shows us how thoughtful and kind he can be. I can only hope he hones more of that, than anything else!

Meet my new kicks — a pair of Camper Peu Path sneakers.

A pair of green sneakers with white soles from a brand named Camper, placed on red floor tiles

From the way I refer to it, you might think I knew about this brand for a long time. But I hardly knew about them when I bought it.

So I was just in the market for some barefoot or minimalist shoes, to replace my current pair of walking/running shoes from Asics. And I want to try on shoes, before buying them. The ones I had in mind — Vivobarefoot and Xero shoes were out of question, since they were available only as an online purchase in Malaysia.

And barefoot or zero drop shoes are notoriously hard to come by here. After a while, last weekend I came across Altra Escalante at The Running Lab in Exchange TRX. I really wanted to try it, but they did not have my size.

After checking out almost all the footwear shops, we aimlessly went into the one belonging to Camper. These Peu Path shoes immediately got my attention and on wearing them, they fit like a glove and it was joy at first try! I wanted another colour, but this one was on 50% off. It had everything I wanted — wide toe box, zero drop and barefoot ethos!

I later went about reading about the Camper brand and their shoes. Seems like a cool company.

It is nice how some shoes find you! So far I am enjoying these Peu Path shoes.

#OhBoy got this done at his school for Father’s Day. Hope I like up to this expectation 😅

A hand-drawn, colored paper cutout of a superhero with text “Super Dad” on its chest lies on a textured grey background.

This device — Daylight DC-1 is very tempting. It has the charm of a Kindle with its fast refreshing e-ink technology. I am tempted mostly because it will be less strain on the eyes, and good for catching up on reading without much distractions. But then this is a first generation device. I will most probably wait out for the next version, when things settle down on the hardware and software front.

🥾Hiking at Sri Bintang 📍

A month ago when we were trying out Bak Kut The at Sri Bintang, I got to know about the trail nearby. Last week I got a chance to hike it as part of my Thursday hikes. I liked it so much that I went again with my wife on the weekend.

📽 Premalu, Disney Hotstar ★★★★★

Poster of the movie Premalu, where the two leads are seeing driving in the car

Yesterday, we finished watching Premalu. I absolutely loved it. It is such a refreshing and light hearted movie, without being frivolous or over the top. It was very grounded and finds comedy even on the mundane things of life. We laughed all the way through — what a fun writing it has.

The story is a very generic story, of a boy and girl across different strata falling in love. But the entire treatment of setting up their ways of life, how they cross each others path and then become intertwined is all done so well and in a new way that you are sitting there and watching a slice of those lives. The movie begins and ends in a matter of fact manner, so there is no introduction or climax scene as such.

And all this wouldn’t have worked out without the cast. Just spot on. The leads Naslen and Babitha have lived their roles, that you just don’t see them as actors. And everyone of those supporting cast, support the leads so well, that you left wanting for more.

#OhBoy made this at school for Mother’s Day!

A Mother’s Day bouquet made out of flowers.

My company @nfnlabs.in does a monthly curation of interesting tools and services that we come across. Here is this month’s curation.


#OhBoy is learning to enjoy road trips, particularly those breaks 😊

A little boy enjoying his McD softy cone in a car

Owing to a system malfuntion, the Air Asia staff at Lombok, Indonesia had to hand write every boarding pass for the flight to Kuala Lumpur 

A flight boarding pass with all details written by hand

Summited Mt. Rinjani yesterday (22 Apr 2024) at around 6.15am. I hope to write more about the trek when I am at my desk and have recovered from assault.

The Mt. Rinjani trek starts this weekend. Though I’m as prepared as I can be, still feeling the butterflies!

Now onboard the train to KLIA2

Bags are packed!
Bags are packed!

#OhBoy and the case of 🖕

Last week, it was just another day of vacation that was all fun, until we sat down for lunch. #OhBoy was arguing with my mom, I forget about what. But something she said irritated him a lot and he showed her the middle finger. 😮

This was not his first time. He did the same a few days ago, and I let it slide, thinking I misconstrued his gesture. This time, there was no doubt. There was a flash of anger in my face, but I was also sure that he was just showing off his anger, without knowing the actual meaning of the gesture.

I asked him what it was and where he learnt it from. Thus started our tussle. The entire lunch was a crying session, with him not wanting to talk about it or telling me where he picked it from. He switched excuses between — he does not remember, he does not want to tell, it meant a big heart, he read it in a dinosaur book, he dreamt about it etc. I kept at it, without shouting at him. I warned him that if I don’t get to know, then I will have to tell the school about it.

He clearly felt cornered. He understood it was a mistake, but did not want to reveal where he picked up this gesture from. At some level, I am amazed by his grit to not tell us the source. I wish he puts this grit to good use in his life.

He took his afternoon nap, under heavy threats and discussion. I spoke to my wife and also ended up reaching out to, what I call, my parenting council 1. I am writing down here the highlights of the points they told me, so it is helpful for those in similar situation.

  1. Don’t dig into the source too much, as these days there are a lot of stimuli, and it will be pointless to get the the origin of this gesture. And also you may never find out.
  2. Tell that the behaviour is unacceptable and in the family we are not hurtful or unkind to anyone.
  3. Make them promise this will not be repeated.
  4. If it happens next time, don’t react immediately, but bring it up later when settling down and tell that the behaviour was bad and not acceptable
  5. Talk about the anger and how they feeling and help them express it in a better way. Anger stems from a feeling of loneliness, not physically but emotionally no one is understanding them.
  6. Learn to stop ending arguments in one sitting and learn to stop and start conversations about it at a later point in time. Make him understand that while you are stopping the probe about it for now, it is still pending and you are awaiting for an answer. This will learn to take him, process and have the confidence to get back at a later point in time.
  7. This is just the beginning, brace yourself to do this routine again and again.

Armed with all these pointers, I woke up him from his nap and told him that I am letting go of the request for source, but I want him to promise that he will not do it ever again. And among us, no matter how difficult it is we will tell the truth and answer questions honestly. I also told him that I am not angry with him, but just trying to explain him what is right and wrong.

He seemed to be very relieved. He was all going overboard with his niceties in the evening! 😂


  1. My parenting council is a group of 3 moms, whose parenting style and ethos resonate with me. After my wife, they are the next ones I reach out to when I have a parenting crisis. Their thoughts and directions have immensely helped in how I grew up as a parent so far with #OhBoy ↩︎

Latest video from Paranjoy’s team. Their musical take on the current Indian prime minister.


🥾Last practice hike before Mt. Rinjani 🌋

On Sunday, we did our last practice hike before the next week's trek at Mt. Rinjani. We decided to start 6am at Bukit Gasing, since we wanted to practice the use of head lamps and hiking in the dark.

Us on the trek with headlamps on!
Us on the trek with headlamps on!

The hiking in the dark went well and 4 trips of the stamina hill was the limit for me. Otherwise, I felt happy at the way I finished the trek. We completed the 7km loop in 4h. I feel confident about next week's trek now.🤞🏼

The hike was immediately followed up by a breakfast at Kanna Curry House, Petaling Jaya 📍

Finally tasted Bak kut teh

When we got to know that we will be moving to Kuala Lumpur, I went on a spree of watching YouTube videos about places to eat and dishes to explore. That is when I first heard about Bak kut teh in Mickey Chen’s video.

Bak kut teh is a pork dish cooked in broth. It is very popular in Malaysia and Singapore. I has its origins among the Hokkien and Teochew community. The name translates as “meat bone tea”.

And when I landed here and told people that I wanted to try it out, almost everyone warned me about the “herbal taste” of it. I really wanted to try it, but with someone who knew a good place to go, how to order. I never found that guide.

Last week, our wonderful Chinese neighbour came by with some fruits for our son and when asked to partake a snack, she said she was heavy with the Bak kut teh breakfast. So natually I enquired about the place and told her, I would like to join her next time.

That conversation led to me finally I tasted my first Bak kut teh today and loved it. We went to a place in Seri Bintang. It was a collection of stalls referred to as Kopitiam 818 Restaurant. I was told this is Klang style Bak kut teh. Just a luscious and flavourful broth that I loved having multiple cups of. The meat was tender from hours of simmering and all the collagen 🤩

A claypot full of a pork broth dish called Bak kut teh, along with a bowl of plain rice Pork knuckle in Bak kut teh broth along with a bowl of rice It is a very hearty breakfast meal, so maybe next time I will combine with hike at the nearby Seri Bintang trail!

#MalaysianDiary #DiningOut

Such a wonderful piece of life advice that I found this post on Kotte.

Years ago, when I was in my 20s, a bold and artistically daring older friend who has since passed on gave me what I often think was the best advice I have ever gotten. I was worrying what ‘people would think’ of a decision I had made, and she said, “Amanda, There is no audience."

—Amanda Fortini on Twitter