James Ramya Rajan

The Koi fish pond at our condominium’s lobby is such a peaceful thing to watch!

#MalaysianDiary

A koi fish pond

Went on a hike yesterday to Bukit Kiara at TTDI (again!)

I absolutely love this area. It has a paved hike for beginners, casual hikers and for the elderly! But it also has trails that branch out for additional explorations. Took one such trail “Snakes & Ladders” yesterday.

#MalaysianDiary


Obama on the Decoder podcast

I am always amazed by the clarity of his thought. Even on emerging topics like AI he is pretty spot on!


Of the Voice Assistants I have used, to ask questions on things I don’t know about, I have found ChatGPT Voice by far the best. It is quick to understand my accent, super fast in its response, cohesive when referring over to previous responses in the current chat. I have always ended up knowing something and with a smile!

If I were to be really nit-picky, I would only say that initial “Connecting” UX could be avoided and it could start listening from the moment I tap the microphone icon!


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


With a week off at school for Deepavali, #OhBoy and I are using each morning to a different activity. Yesterday we went off for a short hike at Kiara Hill Walk.

#MalaysianDiary #Hiking


#OhBoy is drinking his Yuzu Mandarin Gelato, since he wanted to bring it home and share it with his grandmother! 😍

#MalaysianDiary


A long awaited writing desk came home and was assembled yesterday! #OhBoy said it was a wonderful Deepavali for him!! 😍

This is a Flisat Desk and Bench from IKEA.

#MalaysianDiary


Tasty Porridge, Bukit Jalil

While we we left home hoping to dine at Shin Zushi in Bukit Jalil, the line was long. That’s when I saw “Tasty Porridge” and I remembered @liztai@hachyderm.io recommending it.

We ended up having dinner there and quite enjoyed it. We tried the following— Golden Pumpkin Porridge

Porky Mushroomic Porridge

Mala Crispy Fish Skin

Lemongrass Chicken Wing

#DiningOut #MalaysianDiary


I just realised I have been away for almost a week from posting or reading anything from here. In my defense, I was finally able to locate my camera. And we were getting introduced to each other all over again :)

My usage of the camera dropped around the later part of 2018 and with the birth of our son #OhBoy the following year I have been just shooting primarily with my iPhone XR.

There is a lot of brushing up to do, including literally cleaning up the body and sensor!

I hope to get back to shooting with this old friend and do a lot of pending edits on my Lightroom as well!


Our condo is getting decorated for Deepavali!

#MalaysianDiary


After the back injury last year, I’ve been slowly building up the strength. Finally after ages, got to do 5K yesterday.

From where I was last year, this is a huge win. Hoping to slowly build up the strength for a 10K by next year! Poco a poco, paso a paso!

#MalaysianDiary

(I am the 3rd from the left!)


Ethnochestra Senandung Nusantara

Thursday night we got an opportunity to attend the National Day reception organised by the Embassy of Indonesia here in Kuala Lumpur. As part of the evening, there was an concert titled Senandung Nusantara

It was one of a kind, of the concerts I have been to so far. It was an excellent blend of traditional folk and modern sounds. And the lighting and projection of visuals (they do it off stage as well!) envelope you and transport you.

For me the highlight of the evening was Woro Mustiko! What a talent—both with the singing and dancing!

(The photo is bad, I know! But this is the only shot I got of her performance!)

#MalaysianDiary


I was a fan of @elk.zone (https://elk.zone/) to browse my Mastodon feed, until I discovered @phanpy.social (https://phanpy.social/).

I in love with what @cheeaun@mastodon.social has done at Phanpy.social. Highly recommend it!


An obituary that unravels a lot more to what was considered a disconnected life!

A nice heart warming obituary and send-off, to an otherwise who was assumed to have had a lonely and disconnected life!

It is perhaps the longest lasting legacy of the pandemic: the loss that trickles its way through every part of society. The great reported and unreported loss of life looms as the world attempts to move on. It may not be the policies, the fines or the conspiracies, but loss that ultimately defines how the pandemic is remembered.

Atilla died alone, and seemed to have no family. But a sex shop told a surprisingly different story

📽Leo (2023)

Watched Leo today in the cinemas.

Overall it is a decent watch. It has many things going for it — a good premise, technical brilliance and good action set pieces.

My biggest dissatisfaction with the movie was the writing. It lacks the drama required to justify the actions of its characters. It all feels flimsy, ridden with logical loose ends and very non-practical stuff.

Sample a couple of things that I just could not let it slide by—

  • For being an animal rescuer, the titular character after been clawed in by a wild beast, doesn’t even bother to wash the wound. He is specifically shown to just see it in mirror, change his shirt and go about business as usual.
  • In the climax the hero has setup traps along the walkway to his house, which his family is unaware of. Yeah it adds to the thrill, but if you are a parent and that too of a young child, you would know that this is just not how a parent would function. That too on the bloody walkway, for a unaware family that is indoors without you at home!

For a director who gave us Maanagaram and Kaithi (where the the ton of action was ably supported by the drama set pieces), this feels like a decline.

I just wish Lokesh takes some more time for some solid writing, instead of this frantic pace of movie making!


We attended the Bathukamma Festival organised by the Malaysia Telangana Association.

#MalaysianDiary


Date night at Shakariki 432", KL

Shakariki 432", Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur

Last evening was a date with The Missus after a long time.

I have been wanting to try a Japanese Izakaya in the neighbourhood called Shakariki432" and so we landed up there. We totally loved the vibe, the food and drinks.

We started off with Sapporo Beer🍺, Suntory Kaku Highball, Edamame, Beef Stew and Gyozas. Everything was spot on, in particular that Beef Stew was just 😍.

With conversations meandering all over the place, I added a couple of more drinks — Ponzu Sour and Tsuruume Yuzu Sake. Loved them both, mostly because of their citrusy flavour profile. I missed taking pictures of them and I blame the wonderful company for it! 😆

As I am writing this I find out that Ponzu Sour has an interesting backstory, check it out..

For the mains, we just shared a bowl of Ramen🍜, along with Aburi Shime Saba (Torched marinated Mackerel). Since it The Missus’s first time trying out Ramen we chose the milder broth style of Assari (missed a picture of it as well 😞). The Saba (Mackarel) was just basic and brilliant!

Overall an happy evening filled with good conversation, food and drinks!

#DiningOut #MalaysianDiary


The delightful Jaftea!

For the last two evenings we have been enjoying this wonderful tea 🍵 from Jaftea called Blueberry Delight.

It has a very juicy flavour profile, that is such a joy to drink.

Someone gifted it to us here in Malaysia. Blessed be those souls!

#MalaysianDiary


Adding "Reply on Mastodon"

Pretty pleased that I navigated through a bunch of things—custom themes, debugging template errors and some CSS styling to get “Reply on Mastodon” up on the site.

Not sure what I broke along the way. But that is for tomorrow 😆

The community around at Micro Blog and @help has been awesome!


Gender Theory by Judith Butler

A very good primer on Sex, Gender and how to update our thinking about it.

While I was aware of this idea of gender, the fluidity of it and how one is free to choose it, the highlights of this talk for me were —

  • Jews are the only ones usually talked about as targets of Nazi holocaust. We tend to miss out the others who were also targetted - the queer people, gays, lesbians, people with disabilities, people with illnesses etc.
  • Our vocabulary of being inclusive is constantly evolving with ages. We have now learnt to better address people of colour, women etc. The evolution to address the non-binary folks in a better way, acknowledges their existence, which is the very start of hearing out to them.

Go listen to the talk.

Gender Theory

BBC's Dars - a lifeline for Aghan girls

Such a good news to read about the impactful work of passionate folks, in otherwise bleak world news from the last week!

She used to feel as though the world had forgotten about girls in Afghanistan. “I was wondering if there are people out there that care about me,” she says. “I hope one day I will be able to go back to school, but until then Dars can help me to feel connected with my classroom.”

BBC show is a ‘lifeline’ for Afghan girls, UN says - BBC News


Steph Ango - Buying Wisely

The below article by Steph Ango, resonates with how I would also approach purchases. It is nice to see how Steph has put a process heuristic around it.

Whenever I buy things I try to prioritize cost per use. Sometimes I consider other priorities such as cost per smile, cost per thrill, cost per externality, and cost per lesson.

Buy wisely stephango.com

Borneo Cultures Museum, Kuching

We recently visited Kuching, Sarawak. The Borneo Cultures Museum was the first on our list.

We started off with the section called Healing Crisis: Lessons from the Pandemic. This simple presentation captured so well the essence of our lives during the Pandemic!

It was one of the well curated and presented museums we have been in the recent times. And there is a section for Children that will keep them engaged a really long time. I highly recommend it.

#Travel #Sarawak #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. 🤞🏼