Weekly Notes 12/2023


I delivered a lot of writing work this week. Left me in a high. But, this did not overflow to other writing. No blog posts. No newsletter. No other writing.


I watched:

  • The Rocket Boys – Season 2 (Hindi) – finished
  • Everything, Everywhere, All at Once (English)
  • Pathaan (Hindi)
  • Vaathi (Tamil)
  • Lost (Hindi)
  • Suits (English) – in progress


I read/listened:

Badminton and Cycling

I am probably going to focus on one and not on both. I stopped the badminton middle of this week. I am going to focus on cycling.

I cycled for a day for about 11.3 km.



Weekly Notes 11/2023


Focus continued to stay on work related writing this week. I hope to complete and deliver many of these in the next week.

I managed to write one blog post:

I managed to also send out one edition of Pradeep’s Space Newsletter:

I wrote one post on my Tumblr, Working Column:

This week’s writing was not of the quality that I would have preferred but means that I shipped content.


I watched:

  • Rekha (Malayalam)
  • Ela Veezha Poonchira (Malayalam)
  • The Rocket Boys – Season 2 (Hindi) (in progress)


I am reading/listening to:

  • J Krishnamurti – A Life of Compassion beyond Boundaries – Roshen Dalal [Audible]
  • So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport [Kindle]
  • Building Your Second Brain – Tiago Forte [Physical Paperback]

Badminton and Cycling

Another week of no cycling.

Played badminton on all days save one.


A wonderful refresher on bullet journalling. Also, loved the one page download of the video.
Fun take on working out. I might learn more when these discussions happen with fun rather than dry talk on working out?
Dhyan Sreenivasan talking about writer, director and actor Sreenivasan. Interview is in Malayalam.

Role of ISRO in the future?

Fortune India did an interview with Chairman, ISRO Dr. S. Somanath. This was one of the exchanges in the interview.

Commercial human space travel is something which private players in some countries are offering. Can ISRO do this?

We can, but it is not our job. It is the job of the industry. ISRO is a national agency. ISRO can develop the technology. But the practice of government funding ISRO to develop technology is going to stop. If a technology is needed, it will be developed by ISRO and industry through government-industry funding. So, now, the industry will have to put money into technology development. They have to do some R&D and develop technology.

This is an interesting comment and perhaps provides an insight into how ISRO thinks of its evolving role in the new space policy regime in India post-2019.

NSIL, the Department of Space’s commercial arm signaled the intention to move to a demand-driven model in the space sector. As an example, GSAT-24 was India’s first demand-driven satellite that NSIL/ISRO built for Tata Play (DTH service provider).

If you read through the whole interview, you can see the lengths to which Somanath goes to protect ISRO’s role while trying to push the idea that industry must lead in the future. This is a new tension for ISRO to hold. I don’t think there is enough clarity on how this will happen for him to communicate the message well.

Weekly Notes 10/2023


The lower volume of work completed in Week 9 meant that more work-related writing got done than anything else. I did not write any blog posts. I did not publish the weekly space newsletter. I did not attend the RozWrite sessions.


I watched:

  • Nanpakal Nerratha Mayakkum (Malayalam, Tamil)
  • Alone (Malayalam)
  • Adrishyam (Malayalam)
  • Thattassery Kuttam (Malayalam)
  • Christopher (Malayalam)

Of the lot, I enjoyed watching Nanpakal… the most. I had to watch the review by Baradwaj Rangan to really appreciate the movie more.


I am reading/listening to:

  • J Krishnamurti – A Life of Compassion beyond Boundaries – Roshen Dalal [Audible]
  • So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport [Kindle]
  • Building Your Second Brain – Tiago Forte [Physical Paperback]

Cycling and Badminton

Another week without cycling. I played badminton on all days this week.


Weekly Notes 09/2023


Again, a poor writing week. Two weeks in a row means it is time to buck up.

I was able to write three blog posts for the blog:

I did not publish the weekly space newsletter. I did not attend the RozWrite sessions. The contribution to the work writing was lower as well because of power cuts and fever.


I continued watching OTT. I moved from watching Malayalam and to other languages:

  • The Law According to Lidia Poet (Italian, English voice over)
  • Triptych (Spanish, English voice over)

I especially liked the alternate rock intro music and music interlaced in a period drama in Lidia Poet.


I finished listening to Four Thousand Weeks and wrote a blog post about it.

  • Audible: J. Krishnamurti: A Life of Compassion Beyond Boundaries by Roshen Dalal
  • Kindle: So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

Cycling and Badminton

I did not get any cycling done.

I played badminton only on two days. I played on Monday and Wednesday. I had a beginnings of fever on Tuesday and actual fever on Thursday and Friday.


Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter

Zoomed in and edited using Snapseed. Image taken using Realme GT Master. Image Credit: Pradeep Mohandas

The question my wife had was how do the planets that are on either side of the Earth are seen together in the night sky.

A drawing to explain how Venus and Jupiter whose orbit is on either side of Earth can be seen together in the night sky. Drawing: Pradeep Mohandas

When we see from Earth, Jupiter must be on the other side of the Sun. Whereas, Venus could be between the Sun and Earth or between the Sun and Jupiter.

This is the first time that I tried to capture a celestial event with a mobile phone camera and edited it.

Four Thousand Weeks

I picked up Four Thousand Weeks to listen to on Audible.

I first heard of the book on Cal Newport’s appearance on the Tim Ferriss Show (Episode 568). Ferriss then posted a chapter of the book on his blog. From the introduction on the post it seemed like he was deeply affected by it. It did not affect me that deeply.

I subscribed to his newsletter, The Imperfectionist and read a few of his blog posts. I found that I could not focus on what he was trying to say. Hence, I decided to pick his audiobook.

His website gives a succinctly good summary of the book. What he adds in the book is evidence and anecdotes to back up the claim.

The average human lifespan is absurdly, insultingly brief.

If you live to be 80, you’ll have had about 4,000 weeks. But that’s no reason for despair.

Confronting our radical finitude – and how little control we really have – is the key to a fulfilling and meaningfully productive life.

If you need practical takeaways from the book, I’d suggest watching Nathan Lozeron’s summary of the book on his YouTube channel, Productivity Game which also has a nice 1-page PDF summary.

On listening I found a lot of overlap with concepts from Cal Newport’s Slow Productivity, the Gita’s exhortation to follow process and not be swayed by outcomes, and Warren Buffet’s advice to his pilot.

Mumbai to Pune

A couple of weeks ago, I got notified by Rakesh about an ISRO exhibition at VJTI in Mumbai. I got the same message forwarded from multiple sources other than Rakesh as well – in WhatsApp messages, Tweets, etc. The message seemed to have gone viral.

The other option was to visit IUCAA in Pune for a National Science Day event on Sunday, March 26.

I decided to visit Mumbai for the same and take along my daughter by bus. Over the next week, this plan expanded to include my wife and our son. The mode of transport also changed to our car.

We underestimated the time it would take to prepare for the ride, the time to travel, and the time for all things in between. The decisions change so much with just a 2 month old kid who has to be carried. We reached late on Saturday and I saw messages from my group that it was better to avoid the ISRO exhibition than go there. Hence, skipped it.

It seemed to have been serious enough to make the news the next day.

We spent the Saturday and Sunday in Mumbai and returned to Pune by Sunday evening. Son was cranky a bit in the end stretch of the travel to Mumbai. Else he was good on the way from and to Mumbai. All in all, we enjoyed the weekend drive.

For ISRO, it shows the demand for exhibitions like these north of Bangalore/Bengaluru.

Weekly Notes 08/2023


The writing done this week other than work was disappointing.

I only published one edition of my space newsletter. This, too, was simply a round-up of space news from India and did not feature a deep dive.

I wasn’t able to attend any session of RozWrites for the Long Form Writing Cohort 3 that I am a part of. This contributed to the lack of output this week.


OTT watching continued this week. We watched:

  • Saturday Night (Malayalam)
  • Mahaveeryar (Malayalam)
  • Thunavu (Tamil)
  • Thangam (Malayalam)
  • Varisu (Tamil)
  • Veekam (Malayalam)

I’ve updated the OTT list.


I’m happy to share that I was able to start reading blog posts, fiction and non-fiction books again. I’m presently reading:

  • Listening on Audible: 4000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman
  • Reading on Kindle: So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

In the blog post that I wrote in December 2022 called Note Taking 2023, in the section on Plain-Text productivity I had referred to Cal Newport having a system of using a workingmemory.txt file. I decided to read the blog post about it in detail and implement it at work. This led me to the book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

Cal Newport referenced Burkeman’s book during his appearance on the Tim Ferriss’ show. Ferriss then posted a snippet from the book on his blog. While Nathan Lozeron has a fantastic summary of the book on YouTube, I decided to pick the book to listen to it.

Cycling and Badminton

I did not get any cycling done this week. This was a major source of disappointment for me.

I started playing badminton and was able to play Monday thru Thursday.

I am playing again after a really long time and it feels really weird to play as an adult.


Weekly Notes 07/2023


I am part of a Long-form Writing Cohort-3 (LfW-C3). We are a group of people interested and encouraging each other to write long form. The group organises something called RozWrite (daily writing) at 10 pm each night. We keep the video on and the audio on mute and write together.

I wrote about the Star Party that I attended with my daughter on Monday. I wrote about the cycle I bought on Tuesday. I wrote my newsletter on Wednesday and a little on Thursday outside of RozWrite hour. I missed attending the RozWrites on Thursday and Friday.


My wife and I got back to watching Malayalam films on OTT this week. We watched:

  • Aanandam Paranandam (Malayalam)
  • Shefeekkinte Santhosham (Malayalam)
  • Ennalum Ente Aliya (Malayalam)
  • Mallikapuram (Malayalam)

I’ve updated the OTT list.


I drove two stretches of cycling on Sunday (when I purchased the bicycle) and then again on Wednesday. I drove 11.7 km on Sunday and 10.2 km on Wednesday. I only plan to drive Pachu two days a week to begin with.


Re-discovered the song again on YouTube, especially the melody at the 2:44 min mark.

Raj Shamani has an interesting podcast with Sahil Bloom on how he got to meet Apple CEO Tim Cook and some very interesting relationship advice.

I enjoyed watching the trailer of the Malayalam movie, Romancham.