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!


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 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! 😂

#Parenting


  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 ↩︎


I was a software engineer till 2004, when I was actively writing code. Then MBA happened and the most code I ever wrote was in Microsoft Excel. And for the last decade and half in product management, the most I would do is read documentation to understand how something worked or sit with my development team to logically debug an issue (sometimes much to their annoyance!).

But over the last few months I have gotten back to coding, thanks to ChatGPT. It has been such a good companion for me to code with. No more reading through documentation or looking for boiler plate code in StackOverflow or GitHub to kickstart the development. All I need to do now is to keep explaining in plain English what I want, copy the code, tweak parts of it to my liking, run it, throw back the error at ChatGPT and then let it provide alternatives. Rinse and repeat.

The next decade in software engineering and development is going to be pretty wild!


Copper Grillhouse, TTDI, Kuala Lumpur

A few weeks ago, we were invited to the inauguration of the newest restaurant in TTDI — Copper Grillhouse. It is the international avatar of the famous Copper Chimney chain of restaurants in India. They specialise in North Indian and North West Frontier cuisine.

Photo of the first page of the tasting menu of Copper Grillhouse, which gives an overview of the history of the restaurant chain. The menu of the 5 course meal that was served at the opening of Copper Grillhouse restaurant in Kuala Lumpur

Overall we enjoyed the 5 course meal and the celebration. Here are notes on some of the dishes we really enjoyed.

For starters we had Kadak Roomali Roti and Chandni Chowk Chaat. I’ve always relished the soft, chewy and cloth like thin Roomali Rotis, but this was the first time we had them crisp, in the shape of a wok. Also it was topped with a generous amount of Butter and spice powders, making it a tempting eat.

Kadak Roomali Roti, a crisp wafer thin bread topped with melted butter and spice powders. A glass tumbler, layered with boiled potatoes, boiled chickpeas and spiced up with chaat masalas and yoghurt sauce.

From the Tandoor Grills we limited ourselves to just had Paneer Tikka and Chicken Tikka, as we didn’t want to fill ourselves before the main course. The Chicken Tikka was really tender and the dry mango powder (aamchur) in its marinade gave it a nice tang!

A platter of tandoor grilled chicken served with coriander yoghurt chutney

Between the courses, there was a nice performance by traditional Malay dance artists!

Malay artists performing a traditional dance

For the mains, we had the Lasooni Corn Palak. Lamb Rogan Josh and Gosht Dum Biryani. The gravies came with a bread basket. While the palak (spinach) was tasty with the kick of fried garlic, it had something grainy in it like sand, so we just let it be. The Lamb Rogan Josh was just perfect in every way. The gravy was deep red, silky smooth, tangy and spicy. And the meat was soft to the touch. We lapped it up.

Servings of Corn Spinach gravy, Lamb Rogan Josh, Dal and a flat bread basket

By the time we came to the biryani, we were stuffed. We decided to taste just a spoon of it, but ended up having way more! 🙈
It was one of the highlights of the evening for us.

A bowl of lamb dum biryani served with yoghurt raita.

We finished it all with one of the excellent Jabeli’s I have had in the recent times — crisp, not too sweet and mildly tangy.

A plate of jalebis in chrome yellow colour

We were invited to the event, so we have no idea of the prices of these dishes. But we really enjoyed the food and would highly recommend it!

#DiningOut #MalaysianDiary


I am pretty pleased that I finally found a way to collect quotes from all the notes in my Obsidian Vault. I am using Dataview to query it out.

All thanks to GPT4. We went back and forth with the code, the errors, the gaps in the logic and finally after a day I am pleased with what I have now!

Hope it is useful to those looking for something similar. One thing to note before you proceed, my quotes all use Markdown Admonitions syntax of >[!quote] and has the tag #Quote


async function loadQuotes() {
    let quotes = [];
    const pages = await dv.pages("#Quote");

    for (const page of pages) {
        const content = await dv.io.load(page.file.path);
        if (typeof content === "string") {
            let inQuoteBlock = false;
            let quoteBuffer = [];

            content.split('\n').forEach((line) => {
                if (line.trim().match(/^>\s*\[!quote\]/) && line.includes("#Quote")) {
                    if (inQuoteBlock) {
                        addQuote(quotes, quoteBuffer, page);
                    }
                    inQuoteBlock = true;
                    let titlePart = line.split("#Quote")[1] || "";
                    quoteBuffer = [`<b>${titlePart.trim()}</b>`];
                } else if (inQuoteBlock) {
                    if (line.trim() === "") {
                        addQuote(quotes, quoteBuffer, page);
                        inQuoteBlock = false;
                    } else {
                        let formattedLine = line.trim().replace(/^>{1,2}/, '').trim().replace("[!quote]", "").replace("#Quote", "");
                        quoteBuffer.push(formattedLine);
                    }
                }
            });

            if (inQuoteBlock && quoteBuffer.length > 0) {
                addQuote(quotes, quoteBuffer, page);
            }
        }
    }

    quotes.sort((a, b) => b.rawModifiedTime - a.rawModifiedTime);
    let numberedQuotes = quotes.map((q, index) => [index + 1, q.quote, q.source]);
    dv.table(["#", "Quote", "Source"], numberedQuotes);

    function addQuote(quotes, quoteBuffer, page) {
        let modifiedTime = page.file.mtime ? dv.date(page.file.mtime) : 'Unknown';
        quotes.push({
            quote: quoteBuffer.join("<br>"),
            source: `[[${page.file.name}]]`,
            rawModifiedTime: page.file.mtime || 0
        });
    }
}

loadQuotes();


I can finally say I swim

One of my achievements of recent times would be learning to do the breaststroke. Today was the day I did 6 laps across the 50m pool in a calm non-panicky manner. I am quite proud of that!

Swimming has been elusive for me till now. There were many failed attempts to learn it. I was never comfortable with water for me to begin with. Also I was always learning with the help of friends, who while being kind were not the best to teach me the skill. There was a swimming coach in our campus in Delhi, but I think he was more of a lifeguard than a coach.

However it was in Delhi that I learnt to do the freestyle by sheer brute force. I would kick the wall to gather a good momentum and then I couldn’t have anything stop me mid-way, nor could I miss the rhythm. Else I would just fluster and sink! But it was something better than nothing, and I could get some form of swimming done.

Finally in Kuala Lumpur, thanks to getting a swimming coach for #OhBoy, I got a chance to learn. The coach had to be hired by the hour and since #OhBoy was too young to continuously swim for an hour, we could use the rest of his time to learn ourselves. I chose to learn the breaststroke as I wanted to have a clean start. And it worked out.

Next would be to unlearn my way of doing brute force freestyle and learning to do it the proper way!

#MalaysianDiary


A new home online at jrr.digital

I have been accessing the internet since 1998. It started with chatting on Internet Relay Chatrooms (IRC) on text-based Unix terminals. I have come a long way today, being online almost all the time through my mobile and laptop. Someday, I hope to document the journey to this point, but for today, I will focus on the key milestone of my online journey—my own space at jrr.digital.

After renting spaces online for email, blogs, microblogs, and photoblogs, I have finally come to realize the value of owning one’s own space in the online world where the content is mine, and I am in control of it. I am no longer subject to whimsical policy changes or the whims of site owners I rent space from.

I know I am a few decades late to this game of owning one’s own site. I consciously stayed away from it because of the costs and effort involved in running one’s site. Also, I’ve always felt that I have a lot more to learn and know, so what new could I actually add in terms of posts?

However, over the years, I have realized that learning is a continuous process, and it is better to learn in public. I used to be concerned about contradicting myself over the years. But I now realize that I am a work in progress and will continue to be one forever. In the process, we may never look at the same thing in the same way. It is no longer me contradicting myself, but it is just me growing into, or rather being who I am today.

As far as the costs are concerned, it is affordable for me now. I have been paying for my own email for the last couple of years, and at $50 a year, it gives me a lot of peace of mind and control over my email aliases. As for the website, I liked the idea of Wordpress and the simplicity of hosting your own place on the internet there. However, off late, I have been enamored by the principles of Indie Web and Fediverse. I find Micro.Blog a perfect fit for what I want today. It has everything I need—hosting a site, options for both long form and short form, photo blogging, cross-posting, etc. And all of this at $50 a year.

So here I am, taking the plunge of buying my own domain jrr.digital, hosting it on Micro.Blog, finding a new home for all my previous online posts (Instagrams and Tweets), and starting to share my thoughts here, beginning with this post.

I have a vague idea of how I want to organize this place—posts, interesting links, photos, books, etc. I hope to do this over time as I tend to this digital garden of mine. 🤞🏼


1st Anniversary of Sleep Training

At around 7.30p each day, #OhBoy kisses and waves everyone good night. Me and him step into the bedroom and approx. 20mins later I am out. He sleeps through the night and wakes up at around 6am next morning.

This was not the case a year ago. Here is our journey.

How it was

A year ago, #OhBoy would wake up every 45m to an hour and would only fall asleep with a feed. He was using The Missus as a soothing toy to fall sleep. Both of them were not happy with this arrangement and resulted in cranky behavior throughout the day (dare I say for both!).

Things got so bad that we would dread evenings as the sleep time approached. This is the time The Missus read about sleep training (on Mint Lounge, I think). She searched about the author Kerry Bajaj and purchased her book—Sleep, Baby, Sleep, on Kindle.

Discovering sleep training

The Missus read it first and was convinced on the way forward. I read the first chapter and agreed with her. The book talks of many things—setting a routine and avoid surprises, being boring at sleep time, low to no light in the room, white noise etc.

We were adopting some of those things already. Like an evening routine—bath, powder, read a book and sleep, using yellow lights instead of white lights etc.

Braving the start

A year ago from today, 29th May 2020, we went cold turkey to begin sleep training. We stuck newspapers on windows to block ambient light. Setup a nice cozy bed for the evening and showed it to #OhBoy all day to make it familiar. Fed him well to sustain the night. I had an early dinner at 7.30p and went into the room with him. I locked ourselves up with just a bottle of water for him and a speaker playing rain sounds.

After almost 45mins of crying and fighting to get out of the room, he slept off. It was tough on us to bear those cries, but we all believed it was the right thing.

The first night he woke up 4-5 times. Each time I gave him water and he grudgingly had it and fought a little, but went back to sleep.

He was on a two nap routine, so we did the same next day for his morning and afternoon naps as well. Day naps were tougher than nights, given the daylight around. But we made it a point that this was the way he is going to sleep.

The transformation

What started with so much resistance from him, went on to become something he loved. He began seeing sleep as an enjoyable activity, instead of something that made him miss all the fun around.

During the course of the year, we invested in a separate bed/crib for him.

We went on a couple of vacations, but all through, kept up with the routine (much to the disappointing nods from many around!).

We also took turns on who would put him to sleep, so he would not build an attachment to just one of us to fall asleep.

We were able to see the change. He was a happier kid with less cranky outbursts. More importantly he embraced sleep as another essential activity.

We still have off-days once in a while, when he wants to lie in bed and throw silly tantrums. Then there are days when he goes on about choosing pillows/sheets, wanting to get cozy on the shoulder, asking to pat or sing a song etc. But more often than not, we both would get in, talk for a while and he would lie down, toss around and fall asleep.

We see our role now as those enabling him to catch the sleep train each night.

Our guide for sleep training

We highly recommend the book Sleep, Baby, Sleep by Kerry Bajaj. In fact, we have presented the book to new parents in our circles and talked about it at every chance with new parents.

PS: Yes, our parents did not follow this “fad” of sleep training. But this is the need of our times. Super bright lights, plethora of screens, increased ambient noises etc., have all changed since we were kids. IMO to accommodate all these changes, we need to sleep train kids. Else it is a disservice to them.


The Big 40

Most folks get retrospective hitting this number. I am just swamped doing the chores of #OhBoy What I am feeling though is a sense of gratefulness. For all what life has offered up to now and where it has me today.

I am grateful for things at home. Couldn’t ask for anything more.

I am grateful for things I get to do at work. I am enjoying it and hope the folks around me are too :) I am grateful for the kind folks in family and friends circles, for keeping us in their thoughts and helping us at times of need.

At this stage of life, you know nothing lasts forever. You just savor the most out of the present and hope the good things last as long as they can and the tough periods are short and leave you with learnings!

Here is to life, the great 40 years and some more to come :)