Dan Carlin (@dccommonsense) is an amazing storyteller. In the latest episode of his podcast Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, he speaks at length about idiosyncrasies. He explains that idiosyncrasies only matter when the person is a well-known personality and those of your average John Doe really don't matter. While this is the simplest explanation of some of the infatuations of our tabloids, it got me to think about idiosyncrasies in a micro-sense in my personal life.

An idiosyncrasy is an unusual feature of a person (though there are also other uses, see below). It also means odd habit. The term is often used to express eccentricity or peculiarity.[1][2] A synonym may be "quirk".

Why do I care about that hear-me-out-completely attitude of my father or the lack of punctuality of a friend? They are important to me in my life. 

While I know those idiosyncrasies are probably not going to go away, I keep reminding them, pointing it out why some of those annoying ones are really annoying. I give up after a couple attempts but it sticks in my head. For a smaller subset of these guys, I actually don't stop and keep pointing it out over and over. These are people even more important.

Not always logical

Spock is what every nerd wants to be. If only (s)he could throw out all the emotion out of the world, it would be done in an instant.

That said, the man who introduced us to the idea of such a world himself was not always logical. The video below is my favorite moment is Spock not being a Vulcan.

Although science fiction, the sometimes diversion from logic of Spock is what tells me that all hope of a logical humanity is indeed lost. That may not be a bad thing after all though. Though minute, I unfortunately have to concede that some good things do come out of not using only logic in decision-making.

With Leonard Nimoy, Spock has died (for me). He had to. It's closure in a way. A way I don't think I can explain. Yup. Most Illogical indeed. 

Thank you for being so fascinating.

Thank you, O Hydra

Same properties, same elements,and the same nature

Purity and tranquility; in the open, or surrounded by the snow giants

Caring and forgiving; conquered, or simply enjoyed

Supporting and enabling; out in the open, or surrounded by the solid

Nourishing and forever giving; deep below, or above everything

The manifestation in all graciousness of thee

Thank you for the sunrise, I will be forever grateful

I should be more thankful, the only request is to, simply, be

Why I did the #ALSIceBucket challenge

I received the ALS Ice Bucket challenge yesterday morning (video can be found on my facebook timeline) from Aaleeya Spence at NU-Q. First thought -- YEAH, LET'S DO IT.

As I watched more challenge videos, the negatives dawned upon me, and the haters, and obviously, the trolls. Second though -- just donate the money. 

Slate, The Guardian, USA Today all have stories against or in favor of the challenge -- some critical analyses of the of the real impact of the viralness, and others about the amount of money spent on ice and the wasting of water. I thought I could find a way to find some use of the water I would waste, especially that I live in the desert, and hence decided to take the challenge in my parents' garden. (I did spend QAR 3 on the ice -- about USD 1, and let's just say I helped the local economy a little)

What really got to me were the stories  of Anthony Carbajal , who himself was recently diagnosed with ALS in addition to the deadly disease running in his family, and Pete Frates, a former Baseball player. Having played sports for the major part of my life, I can (probably) imagine how devastating it can be.


Going back to my thought process behind accepting the challenge, considerable thought was put into:

  1. Motivations - explained above
  2. Wasting water - I decided to take the challenge in a garden that had not been watered since the morning.
  3. Sending out the challenges - 
    1. Mark Stehlik, Associate Dean of Education at Carnegie Mellon Qatar: Mark is a great educator and gets students going. I really hope he takes the challenge and get more faculty and staff involved. The students, after all do love some fun and will emulate who they love.
    2. Sanjith Rajan, a friend from high school currently in Norway. I'd like Sanjith to spread the word locally and get people there going on the challenge. Also, dumping ice water in Norway MUST BE a lot of fun :)
    3. Sana, my 15 year old sister. Getting the young ones involved would go a long way in such kind of activism (I do use the word loosely) and any impact this might have on any of their lives would render this challenge worth it.


Finally, no matter how silly it comes out, if a simple action makes somebody smile, just DO IT!

The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand

Favorite parts from the book

Men like you and me would not survive beyond their first fifteen years if they did not acquire the patience of a Chinese executioner.
— Kent Lansing

The trouble with you, my dear, and with most people, is that you don’t have sufficient respect for the senseless. The senseless is the major factor in our lives. You have no chance if it is your enemy
— Ellsworth M. Toohey

Slip Fielding

Rahane and Pujara can be the Jammy(Dravid) and VVS of this new team, but only with the bat. I do think it should be a requirement for any batsman in the top order to be good behind the wickets* if you don't bowl. Either keep, or be good in the slips. It is down to simply the reflexes isn't it? And that you have already if you are a good top order batsman!

Second, remove the all-rounders and bowlers from the slips except when they are really, REALLY good! Ashwin and Jadeja are NOT really good at the slips. As a matter of fact, nobody except Dhoni is really any good behind the wickets if the England tour is something to go by.

The most important requirement of being a good slip fielder is to be able to reboot. As Jammy explained in the tea break, you have to reboot every ball. No matter what the previous ball was; a good take or a drop. Second requirement -- expect a catch EVERY ball. If this isn't followed, any catch behind the wickets, regulation or not, is plain luck. Behind the wickets, you are ready iff you're expecting a catch every single ball.

Guys, you're playing for the Indian national team, in England! You have to be better than that!

*behind the wickets = Wicket Keeper + Slips + Gully (+ Backward Point)

Investing in Qatar Exchange for dummies


1. NIN Number

The National Investor Number is your unique identification as an individual in the Qatari stock market. This is issued for a fee of QR 100 by either Qatar Exchange, or six of the eleven brokerage firms that have an arrangement with QE to initiate the NIN account opening process.

2. Brokerage Account

You will also need a special brokerage account with any of the eleven listed brokerage firms in Doha

RECOMMENDATION: If your bank provides brokerage services, go with it to reduce the transfer hassle.

Once you have both of these in place, go buy some shares.


1. Qatar Exchange

QE MarketWatch is QE's online real-time information portal for all the listed companies. Not only is the web version of MarketWatch infinitely customizable, the mobile apps(both iOS and Android) are implemented very well. 


4-traders is among the small list websites that have some good detailed information on the Qatari market. On it's Qatar Shares page, you can see the performance YTD, short, medium and long term outlook, and the current investor rating for all the listed companies.


The watchlist on by WSJ is among the best interfaces I have seen for stock watchlists for a while. I would rate it higher than some of the portfolio interfaces around.

4. Trading Reports

Most brokerage firms will also produce daily trading and technical reports with their outlook on the markets. 


  1. The information above is true at the time of the writing.
  2. Any thoughts/opinions/recommendations are my own and do not represent any of the firms mentioned or linked to in the post.
  3. This is not an advertisement of any of the services listed above.
  4. If you find any information here outdated, incomplete or incorrect, please do let me know,

Happy Father's Day

Today marks the end of the most difficult year he has ever lived through. He can probably count the number of time he has cried, moaned, complained, disturbed others, gotten frustrated, cursed and wished he would die. Certainly more than once each, probably more than one of the above feelings per day on average through the last year.

More importantly, today also marks the most exciting year he has lived through. The most he has ever travelled (not that he likes flying to India at odd time a whole lot). He is now friends with two of the most prolific doctors in the world (Dr. Markus Beuchler and Dr. Shailesh Shrikhande). He has braved sub-zero temperatures(at least according to him) of Europe. He is the owner of multiple properties in two of the most prolific cities in India. Most importantly. he still holds the upper hand in the most important fight of his life, against Pancreatic Cancer.


The only memory I had of him until 9 years of age was a carton of Mars he would get when we'd come back home for a couple weeks. No interactions, no conversations, only pictures. On moving to Doha, life changed quite a bit. He threw me into the swimming pool to teach me how to swim. He made my drive a car (well, at least steer it) when I was 13 and 14 and 15 and 16. He let me back out of the garage when I was 17 and 18. He bought me an over-specced computer in 1998 (about 80% of his monthly income). He bought me multiple touch screen PDAs in 1999, not knowing what they were, or what its use to me would be. He bought me a badminton racket every year from 2000 through 2006. He bought me an over-specced laptop for college and a car on the same day (used up all his savings until that point. And he also sent me to Carnegie Mellon(let's not even get into the cost here).

One would think he kept me happy, and in hindsight, he sure did. I didn't think that back in the day though, probably because he's broken at least 4 belts beating me up. He's thrown me out of the house on multiple instances, sometimes for multiple hours on a winter night(it can sometimes get cold in Doha!), because I was late by 15 minutes in coming back home. He never gave me money to hang out with my friends. He would not drive me to school if I missed the bus. He would force me to take a ride (a lift for those who understand) with a stranger on days I'd have to go to play Cricket at 4 in the morning. The result -- I am money-conscious, (extremely) punctual, disciplined, independent, and can drive and swim well. (results from a Gallup poll of some friends).


I've never really thanked him enough. He's never asked for it either. Now that I think about it, he's never really asked for anything. I would like him to ask me for something, anything.


Today marks one year since he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. He continues to win, and amaze me.


Happy Father's Day, Dad!