Sridhar Raj Sampath Kumar Archive

Year 2020 in review

2020 was one of the most challenging yet memorable year of our life. Challenging because we were dealing with lockdown stress, being productive at work, organizing my brother's marriage, all amidst pandemic. Memorable because we were spending more time together with Dhruvan.

Professional

Books

I've read the following 8 books as a part of the Goodreads 2020 challenge.

  1. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi - My notes
  2. Atomic Habits by James Clear - My notes
  3. JavaScript Patterns by Stoyan Stefanov
  4. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
  5. வீரயுக நாயகன் வேள்பாரி, பாகம் 1 by Su. Venkatesan
  6. Hell Yeah or No: what's worth doing by Derek Sivers
  7. Your Music and People: creative and considerate fame by Derek Sivers
  8. Coffee Can Investing: The Low Risk Road to Stupendous Wealth by Saurabh Mukherjea

Side Projects

Released TabPro, a Firefox add-on to manage tabs, and updated pin-tweet to v1.1. Open sourced Onebible, my first Android app. I got started with GraphQL but yet to do a side project using it.

sridharrajs github 365

Stack Overflow

I was not active on StackOverflow yet my reputation grew from 6856 to 7975, a 16% increase.

sridharrajs stack overflow

Mobile

I had a tough time getting my iPhone's battery replaced due to the pandemic. With all my contacts, 2FA codes in it, I found it painful to configure the replacement device. It made me realize how dependent I've become on a particular platform. I took this as an opportunity to move all my digital dependencies to open standards that are independent of both Android and iOS. I started consolidating all my contacts across accounts in a single vcf file. If I need to make any contact change, I'll do it on this file, and then have it imported to my devices. Similarly, moved away from standalone authenticator apps to Authy to sync my 2FA codes across devices.

I'm planning to switch between Android and iPhone frequently to keep my dependency in check. I intend to format the device before using it to check the reliability of my tech-independent strategy. Currently, I'm using an Android with minimal set of apps.

mobile screen 2020

Donations

This year I donated to the Free Software Foundation, Wikipedia, and Mozilla.


Personal

Working from home had freed-up 2 hours of commute time for my other works. I was insanely productive during the first two months of the lockdown. I read 4 books, made huge progress in all my side projects, checked off a lot of pending items from my to-do list, all using the newly available time. The problem with being too productive is that your days become monotonously boring. With highly optimized daily routines and no physical activity, I burned out. I couldn't gather myself to focus at all.

While I was struggling with this, Amma & appa were having a good time away gardening at our home backyard.

வெண்டைக்காய் செடி / Lady finger plant வெண்டைக்காய் செடி / Lady finger plant
சீத்தா மரம் / Wild sweetsop சீத்தா மரம் / Wild sweetsop
புளிச்சக்கீரை / Fermented lettuce புளிச்சக்கீரை / Fermented lettuce
வெத்தலை கொடி / Betel vine வெத்தலை கொடி / Betel vine
தூதுவளை கொடி / Solanum Trilobatum தூதுவளை கொடி / Solanum Trilobatum
பாகற்காய் கொடி / Bitter gourd பாகற்காய் கொடி / Bitter gourd
தக்காளி செடி / Tomato plant தக்காளி செடி / Tomato plant
கர்பூரவள்ளி / Indian Borage கர்பூரவள்ளி / Indian Borage
மனதக்காளி / Solanum nigrum மனதக்காளி / Solanum nigrum
சுண்டைக்காய் செடி / Solanum torvum சுண்டைக்காய் செடி / Solanum torvum
வாழை மரம் / Banana tree வாழை மரம் / Banana tree
பப்பாளி மரம் / papaya tree பப்பாளி மரம் / papaya tree
முருங்கை மரம் / Drumstick tree முருங்கை மரம் / Drumstick tree
காராமணி / Vigna unguiculata காராமணி / Vigna unguiculata

One of the things that 2020 had taught me is that you need to have a real physical hobby that is not related to your work. This is necessary to recharge your mind and body. Gardening would serve as a better option than reading books. Reading books is great, but it complements my work. With gardening, you get a chance to be with Nature.

Finance

We made good progress on the financial front. I & Lakshmi opened a joint account for managing our home expenses. I closed all insurance policies except a term, stopped my SIP in ELSS, and started investing in an index fund for the long term.

Health

Joining the Gym was one of the best things I did in 2020. It felt great and helped me to recharge myself. I'm planning to work on my fitness goals and improve my eating habits in 2021.

Family & Self

Though 2020 was challenging, we never had any shortage of celebration. Saravanan, my younger brother got married. We had invited only a few close friends and family members. His marriage was simple yet beautiful surely one of the best marriages that we'd seen.

The real reason why 2020 became memorable was solely due to Dhruvan. Few first moments in life that are always special. The moments that won't happen again. The moments that you should never miss. You should consider yourself lucky if you get to witness them. We witnessed one such moment. We captured the moment Dhruvan walked for the very first time. With all the screams, and laughter he ran across our living room. I'm sure with the video, the moment will remain with us for eternity. I want to play the video to him when gets the age to understand it. With him around, our days were filled with pleasant surprises. I've captured boatloads of videos running into multiple GBs of all the cute things he said and did. For this very reason, 2020 will always be a memorable one for me and Lakshmi.

A recap of 2020’s goals

  1. Say No to almost anything you can and do all my communication asynchronous. Slow down, and be more mindful and present, in spending time in real life. Bring down the average mobile usage time of less than 30mins/day. - Sort of became irrelevant. There is no point in obsessing over the mobile screen time when it is the only means to do a video call with your family.
  2. Ship at least one side project. - Launched TabPro and updated pin-tweet v1.1.
  3. Complete at least one item from my bucket list. - I was not specific about what that one item would be. In retrospection, this was a bad goal.
  4. Go deep and reinvent the wheel for at least some of the items I do. - When I wrote it, I implicitly meant the things I could do with this site. So, wrote the site from scratch, including the sitemap.xml generator and the emailing system (using Amazon SES).
  5. Be more focused on health and be in harmony with myself in as many things I do. - Made it a habit to hit the Gym every day.

New goals for 2021

Unlike last year, I want to set one goal specific for each of the foundational(family, health, and work) pillars of my life.

  1. Follow offline Sundays - While I was in Mumbai, I use to follow this. I need to start following it again.
  2. Improve my eating habits - Increase our fruit consumption. Balance our carbohydrate intake and introduce a lot of variety to our food.
  3. Be tech independent - As with mobile, repeat the same exercise for music, photos, and computing device(laptop).
  4. Learn a new tech - Along with GraphQL, I want to learn a mobile language. Either, I can refresh my Java skills or learn swift. Haven't made up my mind on this yet.

Though things did not go the way we expected, I am grateful that we all made it to 2021. With vaccines around, I hope 2021 will be a great year for all of us.

Previously 2019 2018, 2017, 2014


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