My 10 year old taught me to do somersaults in the pool today. She was chuffed I could do it after drinking the pool a few times 🙂
And then she taught me how to do back-flips.  I learnt that too. Much harder than the somersaults. I’m sore, and tired. And pleased. And very happy.

She was a good teacher. I may have been an okay student. Should ask her when she wakes up in the morning.


Your house is a just a pile of stuff with a cover over it – George Carlin

A google search for decluttering brought up 1.9m results.  There’s links to creative ways to declutter your home, decluttering secrets from professional organisers, what not to do when decluttering, how to cut clutter from your home, decluttering your home AND your head & even questions whether the cult-like rise of decluttering is even healthy!  

Turns out that simply buying less shit (stuff?) isn’t an option even worth considering. And lest I sound like I’m on some moral high ground, here’s an inventory of the stuff that’s on my desk alone!

  • Two monitors
  • A wireless modem
  • A webcam
  • Three speakers
  • Two camera battery chargers 
  • A laser pointer
  • 5 USB sticks
  • 11 Calligraphy pen holders
  • 15 bottles of ink
  • 12 bottles of gouache colors
  •  A lamp
  • A clock
  • 3 Photoframes
  • A mug full of pens (20?)
  • Lens cleaning liquid
  • A laptop
  • Headphones
  • Toastmaster magazines
  • A dictionary
  • A thesaurus
  • 6 other books
  • A remote
  • A mobile phone
  • An in-tray with stuff I don’t want to look at just yet
  • A keyboard
  • A mouse
  • A mousepad
When I tell my kids they have far too many toys (or anything else), I’m reminded that I can’t preach what i don’t practice. 

The last few days have been spent cleaning out stuff that was most likely a spontaneous purchase. Three garbage bin pickups, a council cleanout booking, two recycle bin pickups, & some stuff we’ll never use given away to friends who have some use for it- all in the last three weeks. There’s still an enormous amount of stuff that will continue to depart our household over the course of the year, but I have no doubt other stuff will take its place.


Time flies.

It’s two weeks into the New Year. That means enough time has passed for a large number of New Year Resolutions to have been broken.

Late nights, broken internet connections & general busyness around the house has been my excuse for the last week.

But it’s no longer last week.


15 years ago this day, my grandpa passed away.
I loved him dearly.
A kind man. He made my childhood memorable.
With stories of his childhood. Tales of tigers & elephants where he grew up.
Taught me how to enjoy a coffee. To this day, dipping a rusk into a hot mug of coffee is still the best for me.

I miss you Aba.


The sun’s out today. After four days of incessant rain.

As I ran up the stairs to the train station, I stopped in my tracks (pun intended).  A magical sight – a rainbow that suddenly became two rainbows. I pulled out my phone & snapped this picture up, just as it started to drizzle again.

By the time I got to the platform, it was already beginning to fade away. Moments later, it was gone.
For those three minutes, it was a surreal view.

The day’s been much brighter today.
The world looks much greener.
Challenges that were insurmountable seem to have been washed away..


How do we know when we’re having a conversation?
Does it require the presence of another person?
Does it require them to actively participate? To speak? and/or listen?
How do we know they’re listening? That what we’ve said has been heard?

Trying to get the kids out of bed this morning (the dreary weather continues) got me thinking about this.
I knew they were awake because I could hear them whispering amongst themselves.
Singing out a cheery “good-morning kids” got me no respnose.
Calling out each one by name from the hall got me no response.
Raising my voice got no response.

Make a blog entry online is a similar challenge.
The motivation to write is so I can get these thoughts out of my head & into the ether.
However, rarely (never) has anyone replied to anything I’ve written.

The kids spoke to me when they were ready.
I guess the same is true here too.


It’s been bucketing down for the last 24 hours. The forecast says two more days of this. There have been flash floods reported, and half the extended holiday period for some people is now guaranteed to be spent indoors.

The weather is making me nostalgic about my pre-teen years. 
The smell of freshly deep fried jackfruit papads.
The sound of rainlashing on clay tile roof. 
The mesmerising patterns of water flowing off the roof onto the ground, leaving tiny conical impressions on the soft red soil.
Card & board games with my sister.
Curling up on a bench with a rug & a hot cup of milk.
More often with a grown-up kind of book that would take days to read at regular pace.
The nights would be spent in the light of a flickering candle or a kerosene lamp, hearing stories from our parents about their childhood.
Occasionally having my grandparents would be over. Grandma would tell us tales about the house she grew up in, which was the house we were living in at the time. Pets around the house. A mini dairy farm. Wild animals roaming freely at the periphery of the compound. A tiger or leopard occasionally making off with one of the animals.   Stories about lightning strikes as we looked out at the not yet dead coconut tree in the front yard. And stories about the tenants who lived in the now damaged huts.
Exploring the rooms in the (what seemed like) enormous house, a portion of which were strictly off-limits to us children.
Off-limits not because of the treasures they contained (they did), but because of structural damage to the walls.
It was a magical time because there was so much to do even when you were stuck indoors, without a radio, or a TV or an internet connection.
Somehow, as we grow older, that magic is lost.
The rains become an inconvenience.
We get drenched. Roofs leak. Things get wet. Sometimes to the point of being unusable.
Transport services are delayed.
We can’t get to our important / urgent meetings on time. Or without looking like we just got out of the shower.
Clothes don’t dry as fast. And perfume can’t / won’t suppress the smell of damp clothes.
Some type of screens provide a distraction. Rarely does the power go out.
Sometimes, we are reminded that we aren’t in control.
All those memories came flooding as I watched Mother Nature showering (or drowning) her children with unrequited liquid love. 


There’s something about the change of one (or perhaps two, & once in my lifetime, 4) digits of the calendar that urges most of us to make promises to ourselves.  They tend to be well intentioned promises – lose weight, eat better, love more, live more, do something crazy ad infinitum.
I’ve done this for as many years as I can consciously remember. It seems like a peer-pressure thing – I’d get asked what my new year resolutions were. The person doing the questioning would usually have a dozen of his/her own that they wanted to share. Not to be outdone, I’d make up a bunch of my own, with about as much hope of achievement as a wisp of smoke in a hurricane.
As I grow older though, I find myself making tweaks to my ongoing plans & systems.  As Scott Adams says, a system is better than a goal  – it’s more likely that I will achieve what motivated me to set the system in place in the first place.
My routine changed in the last two weeks of 2015 – I switched off my computers for most of the waking day, focusing on doing physical things. Helping my wife with her garden. Repairing & restoring stuff. Reading a book. Talking to the kids. Playing games. Reading an occasional blog on my phone. Restricting the intake of food & drink during a season devoted to excesses. Sleeping longer (& not wearing a fitbit to monitor it). Noticing my thoughts. Writing longer entries in my journal. Reading old journal entries. Rearranging. Cleaning. Discarding. Rearranging. Redecorating. Reliving old memories.
And in the midst of all this, I remembered a decision I made a while ago to stop posting to this blog. I had forced myself to post every day, & did so meticulously for a year. Then ennui set in. It seemed like a pointless exercise. So I stopped. The posts were links to stuff I read & found interesting. But there wasn’t much I had written.
Writing is cathartic for me. I write in my journals, or on blank sheets of paper. I use a fountain pen. There’s an element of control. My arm moves. The ink flows out. Words are formed. Ideas come to life. Or die.  Resolutions happen at that moment for me. The act of writing things down.
Different context, but “Stop writing everything down” are among the lyrics of a Leonard Cohen song that’s playing in the background as I wrote those last six words.