Readalog Issue #7 | Of Elemental Forces Rocking Our World

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Readalog by Neha

November 17 · Issue #7 · View online

I collect words the way some people collect coins or butterfly specimens.
And this is where I share some of them with you.


If you’re were anywhere in North India last night (or should I say this morning?), your world would’ve been rocked - whether you woke up to realise it or not. And if you were woken up by the earthquake, I hope you were able to go back to sleep soon. Sending warmth and prayers of strength your way, with this edition.
As always, it would be great if you’d share it with your friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, and whoever you think might enjoy reading this issue. Thank you! :)

From Around the Web
  1. If you are a fan of fanfic, you’d be familiar with portals - magical doorways that connect two distant locations separated by spacetime. Mohsin Hamid (of The Reluctant Fundamentalist fame) fuses this element in a realistic fiction piece, Of Windows and Doors, making it a surreal read. Set in an unnamed city descending into civil war, it is a story of Saeed and Nadia - two people who’ve recently started dating and have to seek an escape. In this insightful interview, Hamid talks about his motivation to write this story (which is actually an excerpt from his upcoming novel Exit West. ‘A little bit of the unreal can heighten our sense of reality by allowing us to experience something that knows it is a fiction but feels at the same time true.
  2. Most often than not, post-tragedy reporting in mainstream media consists of facts, analyses, opinions, tiptoeing around the affected and the damaged. Very rarely do we find stories which represent the loss using the inanimate remains, infusing an almost lyrical quality in the prose. Here’s one story, written by the Indian Express editor Raj Kamal Jha, chronicling his visit to the site, soon after the Godhra riots. It’s poignant, poetic, Romantic, all told through the semi-charred and stained pieces of paper left behind.
  3. How we see a cityscape is a function of from where do we see it - or more precisely, where the camera is placed. Since our eyes do that job for us in the day-to-day lives, the perspective we get when the position of the ‘camera’ is played around with can be stunning. For example, when we see a city through a feline perspective - placing the cameras where the cats would see the city from. Exploring this thought and much more is this delightful piece, talking about the street cats of Istanbul.
  4. Talking of perspectives, even with the tall talks of women equality and feminism, there is one area where we are still reluctant to venture and which is still considered as a woman’s zone. And that is contraceptives. When one thinks of contraceptives, the associated gender is instinctively female, because c'mon! Popping a pill ain’t a man’s job. But why? It’s time we started questioning the established narrative. And this insightful piece lets the reader on a plausible reason for why men may have been excluded from this phenomenon. (Here’s the answer: because contraceptives have side-effects. Yes, really, that is the reason.) But as the article suggests, it’s time for men to put up with them too.
  5. “Many assume I am Muslim as I have a Muslim surname.” Radha Khan, product of a secular Nehruvian project, writes about her unusual name, and the question it draws from all corners.
Book of the Week
Creativity, Inc. Ed Catmull.
Creativity, Inc. Ed Catmull.
Believe me, you don’t want to be at a company where there is more candour in the hallways than in the rooms where fundamental ideas or matters of policy are being hashed out.
In three words: Encyclopaedic. Earnest. Stimulating.
Beyond the book: For someone who isn’t a fan of nonfiction (let alone ‘management books’), it’s one of those rare books that had me hooked from the word go. The gripping narrative is unlike any nonfiction book, and reads almost like a memoir. With numerous anecdotes and names strewn around, the book is like a physical click-bait engine. Oh, expect to end up with a curated list of Disney movies, Pixar movies and movies that influenced Catmull through his life, as a happy by-product of this reading!
Buy the book here.
Word Wise
monachopsis
n. the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place, as maladapted to your surroundings as a seal on a beach—lumbering, clumsy, easily distracted, huddled in the company of other misfits, unable to recognize the ambient roar of your intended habitat, in which you’d be fluidly, brilliantly, effortlessly at home.
You know the feeling when there is ostensibly no reason for you to feel excluded, but you do? Yeah? That, my friend, is monachopsis.
#FF
@shakeyiyer. Abhishek’s tweets constitute a large part of what can be correctly termed ‘football Twitter’; the catch being, he makes the observations palatable (and even desirable) to sports non-fans like me. And, the occasional non-sports tweets are laced with enough sass to make it worth your while. Follow him for the daily dose of coolth on your timeline.
#OnLoop
Side to Side. Third single from Ariana Grande’s album Dangerous Woman, the song features Nicki Minaj. If you’re a fan of pop music, this song will stay on your lips for a long long time.
P.S.
Check out Quick, Draw! - if you feel a paucity of being invalidated, here’s your chance to have tonnes of that - by an AI bot, no less. A fun machine learning game, it foretells one of the ways in which deep learning can become a regular part of our lives sooner than we expect it to.
With gratitude and warmth
Neha
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