Ravdeep Singh

❤️ building.

Looking back at 2019

Hello, people! It’s the weather for gorging on gajar halwa and snuggling with a book under comfy blankets. The laziness naturally lends itself into bouts of introspection on the months that went by.

Our travel journeys this year became richer (and funnier). In March, we visited Vietnam with our parents and it was ah-mazing!

Hanoi

Random cafe in Hanoi

The food in Vietnam, especially Hanoi is to die for. The egg-coffee @ Giang cafe, pork spring roll and broth @ Bun Cha Ta and beef noodle soup @ Bun Bo Nam Bo all within 1km of each other blew our collective minds. My mum is vegetarian and in most places like Bun Cha Ta, the vegetarian broth gave a mean fight to the pork. Not that food in Ha Long or Ninh Binh was any inferior but in absolute terms, Hanoi is hard to match globally!

Two epiphanies during that trip will stay with me for a while.

  1. Languages evolve in peculiar ways and words, even ones you don’t understand can convey emotions. ~60% of words in Vietnamese are of chinese origin and use just 2-3 phones per word. It emphasizes brevity and most english translations took nearly 3x the space on signboards. In comparison one can poetically romanticize most intonations in Turkish or Hindi
  2. Beauty can look like the pitch-black insides of a tunnel with nature providing a magnificent background score. It’s easy to have a conversation with yourself when the world around you disappears entirely

I also made a short trip to SriLanka with the Myntra gang and tried surfing. Like humpty dumpty, we had a few great falls but we placed ourselves back on the boards and managed to ride on a couple of waves!

Surfing

Myntra Squad @ Unawatuna

The calm backwaters of Kumarakom with a daily fresh catch of lobsters and meen made us very happy campers for a long weekend in June. The big surprise in this trip was the Kathakali performance. I didn’t anticipate the craft one needs to emote behind a painted face but we can all agree that I can look more goofy :-)

Kumarakom

Kumarakom. The Kathakali image is actually a sculpture at Kochi airport

Our trip to Turkey in October was easily the best hiking experiences of my life. I was pleasantly surprised by how many Turkish words we’ve borrowed in our daily Hindi lexicon of which şarap (Sharaab, wine) is my favorite

To anyone visiting turkey, I highly recommend 2 experiences:

  1. the balloon ride in Cappadocia is as nice as advertised. Plan to spend 3-4 days here, you might need a spare day since weather can be unpredictable and book well in advance to avoid price surge. There are a lot of hiking trails nearby on other days
  2. Navigate as many sections of the Lycian trail across the Turquoise coast as possible. We did 40 odd km, once climbing a straight-up 70 degree incline around 4 storeys high that was the adrenaline rush moment of the year. Personally, I loved the sections from Kayakoy to Oludeniz and the one through Saklikent National park.

Turkey

Turkey 💖

Professionally, I felt like I could’ve done so much more at my second Myntra stint but I did manage to ship a few fantastic experiences which got great user feedback so pretty stoked. Next week, both I and Aditi are moving to Berlin and taking up new jobs. The shift is simultaneously exciting and scary for us given the unknowns involved. The good bit is that our gigs are in food and travel which fits our personalities pretty nicely.

On the health front, I started the year at 93Kg and finishing it at 85Kg. Being unemployed and back into running helps I guess :-) Running is pretty much a meditative state for me where the worldly noise tunes out. I’ll miss the awesomeness that Cubbon park brings to my life on a daily basis. My parents and wife had a few nasty scares this year though. It’s an aspect I have little control over and I wish 2020 is a healthier year for them.

The best fiction book I read this year was: A gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles and nonfiction was Poor Economics - Abhijeet Banerjee and Esther Duflo. I’m reading far slower and dropping many books half-way these days. As I grow older, I enjoy the mental debates and tangential counterfactuals I can think about more than the simple act of reading. I’ll pick up the highly recommended the three-body problem trilogy - Cixin Liu next. Also, this was the year I discovered podcasts and boy, am I glad! Seen-unseen by Amit Varma, Audiogyan by my good friend Kedar Nimkar (who also introduced me to the medium) and Talks at Google are my weekly content doses

Signing off for now… Hope you and your loved ones have a lovely 2020 and you create some crazy stories together.

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