egg| bachelor best friend

Orthodox Indian families often don’t consume egg or meat. Yet the longer one spends time in hostel or as a new recruit away from family, the more is the chances that the person would be eating egg regularly. Why is the egg a bachelor’s best friend?

1. It is almost fool proof. In whatever form that you want to consume, it is very difficult to get the recipe wrong. Even when you are tired and half asleep. A friend of mine over-boiled the egg, just to prove the point.

2. It has a long shelf life & even after it goes bad, unlike vegetables/meats it does not stink till the shell is not broken.

3. It can be boiled, scrambled, fried, made into pancake/omelette. It can be the main dish of your meal, a side dish or used as garnishing the food. In whatever form you consume it enhances the taste.

4. You can eat it warm or cold, it does not matter. If you have oil, onion, tomato, chilli or bread, Great! If you don’t have it, it does not matter. You can eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a midnight snack.

5. Even though it is a ready to eat meal (takes <5 minutes to cook), it has none of the preservatives or ills of processed food. It is a rich source of proteins, vitamins, minerals & energy.

6. Weather you boil it in water or cook it over in a pan, it does not need too many utensils or cleaning

7. Last, but the best part, even in cooking places with questionable hygiene (most bachelors don’t have a workable kitchen or sinks that is not overloaded with dirty dishes) it still manages to remain wholesome.

From the earlier post on half fried egg, some might think that cooking is not layman. But egg seems to defy all logic.

Cattle & economic development of India

Ever wondered if the milk producing ability of indigenous Cows was far inferior to buffaloes both in quantity & quality/fat content, why are cows sacred and buffaloes not? In India, it is probable that the elimination of meat eating came about in a slow, practical manner.  In an agricultural society, crop failures are common and the success of the civilization depends on how quickly one could recoup and take advantage of the favorable conditions that follows. After a period of drought or natural disaster, the farmers who decided not to eat their cattle, were the ones who had oxen left. They were the ones who were able to cultivate their land to the fullest and save most grains for the hard days ahead. The ban on slaughter of cows came from the practical need to maximize the ability of the village to cultivate their farms. Today tractors have taken up this role. Do you think it is time to revisit our old practices that have been codified through religion?

Recently I read an interesting article on “Role of Lactose Tolerance in Pre-Colonial Development”. Essentially the author says with statistics & proofs that ability to digest milk allowed some civilizations a huge advantage over others. The babies whose diet was supplemented by cattle milk were stronger (less prone to infant mortality) and grew faster. The mothers could safely wean off their kids earlier, hence allowing for larger families & faster resuming of household duties. All this allowed the lactose tolerant societies to replenish their population faster & support larger numbers on any piece of land.

The author’s premise is that animals were raised primarily for draught (heavy work/muscle power) and meat. The ability of some civilizations to use them also for milk (a much smaller and less valuable by-product) was good enough to give these civilizations an edge. In China, the symbol of house is a roof over a pig. It highlights the importance of cattle as a ready source of converting inedible organic waste into useful proteins and fats. (Both of which are scarce and valuable throughout the history of mankind)

The mangroves of the Coastal India does not have the luxury of strong timber trees, but they more than compensate by effectively using what they have. I have a Mallu friend that cannot stop appreciating the Coconut tree. According to him the entire coastal economy is dependent on coconut tree & its products. From water, oil, firewood, husk, shell and leaves no part of the tree is wasted. As a result Kerala and coastal India is probably more prosperous than the rest of the nation. Three of the four largest cities of India are on the coast.

Societies that flourish are able to maximize the productivity of the resources at their disposal. Today the country has malnutrition rates that are more serious than the poorest part of the Sahara deserts. Yet rather than solving the problem of protein, iron & fat deficiency of the country, we are contemplating banning even slaughter of goat. The rising food prices could be solved by allowing the country to better use its cattle. Rather than having aging cows roam the streets of the country, can we use them to provide affordable proteins & iron?

Girl Parenting & hypocracry

All I want to do is to equip my daughter for her life journey. As a parent it is my duty to give an exposure to various realms of possibility, moderate the excesses & empower with a mind strong enough to handle the stress of life. I have a 2 year old daughter and my parenting objectives are very simple

  1. She should respect the values, culture, relationships (understand the nuances rather than blindly conform to the norms)
  2. She should be well educated & independent
  3. She should have an ability to communicate in a constructive manner what is good for her and the people close to her
  4. Help her discover her own personality rather than imposing my own. But intervene only to teach her honorable values, morals and ethics.

In other words, I don’t want my daughter to grow up docile and submissive. She needs to have a mind and an ability to think and express. This way, in my own mind, raising a girl is no different from raising a boy.

Having grown up in a cosmopolitan environment, dietary and religious choices were never important in judging a person. However, lately it has been impressed upon me that the two are quite interlinked. Especially in a conservative society like Aggarwal, eating meat (forget beef) is considered as a vice next only to smoking & drugs.

Society often fails to distinguish between an independent person & a person without morals and values. A girl, who is too independent, assertive & outgoing, often is not treated as a marriage material (not sure if there is anything like that). They might achieve success professionally, but it often comes at a cost of maintaining a meaningful long term relationship. What further hurts me is that the norms imposed by society on the both sexes are different. Refer to my earlier post on triple standards. The lifestyle choices (clothes, food, drinking, smoking, clubbing etc.) lead to prejudice & pre-conceived notions more often for a girl than for a boy.

I never want to make choices or take decisions for my daughter or relive my dreams or ambitions through her eyes. However as a parent, I guess it is impossible. We not only sub-consciously steer our wards towards what we think is right and often under the pretext of experiences we even justify the necessity of the interventions.

The society evolves over time and what is relevant today might not be tomorrow. Is it justified for me to make religious & lifestyle choices on behalf of my kid? Maybe tomorrow the society would have evolved to a level that people stop poking their nose into other’s life & respect their choices.

Considering that I eat meat (all kinds), drink socially but am imposing a different set of morals on my daughter: “Am I being a hypocrite?” Unfortunately my daughter is too young to answer this question.

Inflation & real estate

What is more expensive property under construction on ready to move in property? Ideally under construction property will have the risk of construction, getting all the approvals, plus interest (capital cost) for advance payments, plus it takes 6-12 months from construction to get the property fit for occupation with all stabilized amenities & no noise/nuisance due to construction/repairs/woodwork/modification. As a firm believer of bird in hand is better than two in the bush, I would believe that people should be paying a premium for ready to move in flats. Unfortunately it is opposite in Bangalore.

What has dawned on me that Inflation is actually a bigger driving factor in these property purchases. Call it speculation, but high inflation and low interest yield (post-tax deduction on interest income) has created borrow now and pay later economy.

Essentially a builder will come up with a scheme: Pay 10-20% now and nothing till possession. Some builder even offer to reimburse the EMI/interest expense during construction. People believe that in 3 years their salary would have jumped by 35% (10% p.a.)  so by going for an under construction property they are essentially locking in a good rate early one. Also the milestone based payment ensures that on a 100Lakh property, you only need to pay 10L or so upfront/on each milestone. Allowing you to leverage high & hence reap more profits.

With rental yield ~3% of apartment value, and maintenance in tune of 6-7k per flat, living in a 1cr flat is worth paying 35k in rental/accommodation. 0.25% of the value of the property + maintenance + 1/12 property taxes (etc.). However people with multiple EMIs often face issues in servicing them esp. when market is down which makes liquidation difficult. Also often it induces an undue pressure to postpone family planning or taking time off to raise them.

There is an English proverb “Fools buy property for and wise men live in them.” In the quest for getting rich soon, a lot of people often take in too much debt with the hope that the prices will increase faster than the EMI. However if the rising prices dries the liquidity, people have to end up selling these assets at a distress incurring losses.

One plus one invites to gift

one plus one invites

I have 3 one plus one invites to share. If you need it (before the time runs out) then email me or leave your contact details in the comment section. It is a Good phone at deep discount prices, it will be a shame if these were allowed to lapse

Details, specs and product reviews at amazon. All I ask in return visit at least once a week

Clever Hydration tricks

Don’t be surprised if you never feel thirsty. It take more than a few decades to unlearn thousands of years of evolution. Unlike us, our ancestors did not have a canteen, water bottle or tap at their disposal. They had to walk for miles to fetch their water,wait for safe time of the day and  fend off predators who are waiting to pounce on you both from land and from the water. Also there is no way to ascertain if the water is pure. No wonder our survival instincts have trained us to not feel thirsty for a long period.

The first vessels/containers we designed were to store and carry water/fluids and not food. The first engineering structures we designed were not homes or pyramids but a simple water storage tanks. We soon realized that not all water is safe/portable and we build aqueducts and canals to transport clean water from far off springs & streams. Beer, wine and alcohol were brewed by our ancestors not because they wanted to indulge in drunken revelry every night but because fermentation was the only water purification technology known to them. Till middle of 20th century cholera was a pestilence, an epidemic that laid waste the large cities even advanced ones like  London and Paris. Today almost everyone has portable water at their disposal. Yet the sun stroke and kidney/liver problems due to inadequate dehydration is long way from being solved.

kitchen timer

  1. Kitchen timer: In 2006 I had written an article highlighting that the human beings invented to concept of time (esp. hours) with the sole purpose of ensuring that the workers drink water every 60 min and don’t die of heat stroke while working at the pyramids. Why can’t we bring the humble kitchen timer to work and practice this time proven technique. Work place is one where we spend most of our active time and usually we are so engrossed that we get dehydrated easily. Why not set a 60 min alarm at your desk. What is most interesting is that it will be so annoying that in a week’s time you will kick out the habit of parching oneself.

dehydration charts urinals

2. Urine color charts: I saw this in one of the washroom of one of the fulfillment centers of Amazon. It basically is a color printout that reminds people that their kidneys have to work harder to compensate your laziness.

3. Create occasions & fix regular timings. Most people eat their mails, take tea/coffee breaks at regular intervals. They don’t need their body or a clock to tell them that its time. I am sure you could water-train yourself for the same. Also try to create frequent occasions (like break time, going to loo, meeting someone etc.) where you out of habit also consume copious amounts of fluids.

Many of the problems of kidney, arthritis, gout, headaches, weakness and even digestion are linked with inadequate water intake. It is simply because we don’t feel thirsty as often as we should and even when we do feel thirsty, we don’t drink as much water as we should. Let us all knock off our medical bills by drinking a glass of water. Some of the best things in life are free and so is this water.

Junk Technology

Have you noticed that there are so many technology features that put you in double whammy. Firstly you had to pay a premium to have this unproved, untested feature with dubious claims of efficiency/coolness. Secondly they make you spend more and increase the ownership cost of your assets. Essentially they turn out to be a marketing channels that does not serve your interests.

car diagnostics

It is easy to add sensors and technology into anything but does this do any good? Our phones and gadgets are over-loaded with features that we have never used. When will technology stop being a tick in a check-box of a comparison sheet and start playing a vital role. To me a useful technology is one that boosts productivity and reduces wastage. Am I asking too much?