Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I'm on my way to work, with a blocked nose, inflamed throat, and possibly conjunctivitis.

the conjunctivitis (or whatever it is) doesn't seem to trouble me at all.

the only time i realized I'm battling a respiratory infection, is after a 50 metre flat out sprint, when catching my breath was downright painful and needed consciously controlled breathing. but I'm sure I'd have survived (albeit a bit more uncomfortably) if I just let my body control its breathing while I focused on the pain or maybe distracted myself with watching this fistfight that was happening on the road near the bus I'm in.

it got me thinking: my body is never (and possibly never has been) 100% functional in its optimum capacity. it's always in a state of graceful degradation, but there's so much of redundancy and compensation mechanisms built in, that a fully functional human is probably pointless, and maybe also pointlessly unattainable.

and then i look around at the stuff humans have built. we have built everything to operate at close to optimum parameters. we build fail safe systems, redundancy, feedback systems, but at what level? it doesn't even come close to where primordial living systems are at.

to me, humans are very far from building any sort of self-sustaining lifelike system, not because the stuff we build is rather limited in its ability to gracefully degrade and adapt under adverse conditions, but because the stuff we build is too simple to bother putting such abilities in. the complexity of even the most simplest forms of life fascinates me and fills me with awe.

Monday, March 09, 2015

just a minute

my commute usually runs like clockwork. there's a plan a, plan b and plan c, each with tweaks defined for each situation. i wasn't prepared for today though.

I left from home one minute late, expecting to follow plan a: bike to borivali station (west) and take the office bus. however, a traffic snarl on the way caused me to miss the bus. since I realized too late that i wasn't gonna make it, i was unable to follow plan b (the other office bus) - that requires me to take an alternative route, and park in a different spot. i decided to take plan c: the AC bus.

when i reached the AC stop, there was a huge line, and the bus was packed. i decided to wait in queue for the next bus, as I didn't fancy standing for over an hour (i still haven't worked out where the non AC buses start from, that would be a viable plan d). the next bus arrived a few minutes later. I got a seat. brought my ticket, settled in with my headphones,  when suddenly everyone started alighting the bus. i waited a few moments before I realized they were all boarding the next bus, and the driver himself wasn't in this bus either.

I followed the herd into the rapidly filling next bus, sorely cursing my decision to not look for the non AC bus stop when i had first arrived here today. I got the last available seat, thankfully. and then people started getting back out and into the first bus!

apparently the bus was giving trouble but the driver "fixed" it, and it will now be leaving after all. the bus was now full, and there was no chance of a seat. i complained to the conductor that I left the previous bus because I wanted to sit, and thanks to this confusion, i have lost my seat in this bus as well. i asked for a refund of my ticket, but he refused.

a couple of other people joined in the chorus asking for a refund, but the conductor was adamant. i resigned myself to my apparent fate, and moved away from the argument. the bus started moving, and others suggested that we swap our tickets with people who haven't purchased theirs yet. I started asking around, but before I could find someone to swap with, the conductor relented and exchanged my ticket for a refund. the bus dropped the three of us at the next stop, and the couple disappeared before I could ask them how they were planning to travel.

luckily for me, the next stop was adjacent to the non-ac bus stop. and luckily, non AC buses run emptier than ac at that time. and a bus arrived in the next minute.

i got my seat.

i'm on my way to office.

that one minute and a few bad decisions cost me about an hour and a half.


as part of being self-aware, i've generally been conscious of the decisions i make, and their influence on my living sustainably. but i ...