Fun with dosas

I love dosas. Dosa is a south Indian dish. A better version of a crepe (shots fired) or a ridiculously thin pancake. Sempi (5yo) is also a huge fan. 

I'm making dosas for his breakfast and he requested that I make the dosas into shapes for him. He requested a police car. I was happy to oblige. 

Sempi: What is this?

Me: A police car. 

Sempi: It looks like a spaceship. Next time add some wheels to it.

Me: I'll see what I can do.

Language and Thought

I believe that the language you speak influences the way you think. I don't have any kind of proof other than some anecdotal evidence. 

Recently I started noticing this in the field of computer languages as well. I consider Python to be my dominant language. I have a coworker (let's call him Aaron, because that's his name) who likes to bait me by pointing out certain lack of features in Python and how Ruby gets it right. Most of the time I dismiss his complaints as invalid because I never have a use for those features in my day to day coding.

Then it dawned on me that I don't have a need for those features because I tend to think in Python. When I am presented with a problem I think of a solution that can be implemented in Python and my thought process naturally gravitates towards the features available in Python. 

What I learned from this realization is, if you learn many different languages you'll never be happy with any single language. You'll always yearn for that sweet feature that is missing in your current language. 

Let that be a lesson.

git open - A small git hack

You can add a git sub-command by defining a new alias in your ~/.gitconfig file as follows:

The git open defined in the ~/.gitconfig is mapped to a shell script called 

This bash script does two things: 

1. It tries to detect if there are any files with uncommitted changes in the current repo and prints out the filenames.

2. If the repo doesn't have any uncommitted files, it'll print the filenames from the last commit.

The git open alias is mapped to open the output from this script using vim. 

Why is this useful?

I can pick up where I left off the previous day by simply typing `git open` inside the repo. This will open either all files with uncommitted changes or open the files from the last commit. There is a very good chance that my work for the day will continue on those files.

A small hack to make life a little bit easier.

Conversations with a 1 year old

Vian is picking up new words. His new addition is "Yeah". It is pronounced with an emphatic "EYAH!" (imagine a Karate yell).

I like asking him random questions that are at the edge of his understanding and watch him say "Yeah!".

But sometimes he uses his "Yeah!" with such precision it catches us off guard. Such as last night when we were getting him ready for bed.

Yoshi: Vian, would you like to hold a toy? You can pick either Pandie (stuffed panda) or the fire engine.

Vian: Yeah!

Words, Words, Words

Vian has been picking up a few words courtesy of Sempi. The words he has picked up so far are the ones that Sempi uses with forceful emotion. 


Whenever Vian tries to take Sempi's toys, Sempi yells "STOOOOP" with conviction and distress. So that's the first word that Vian decided to pick up. Now he uses it with us generously. He can't quite pronounce the sound "ssss" so his STOP sounds like "TOP".

It's a catch all phrase for stopping anything that is unpleasant. So far he has used it to stop me from giving Yoshi hugs in front of him (jealousy). It is hilarious to watch him command his toys to "TOOPPP" when they keep sliding off of the couch or the table where he's playing.


This is the second word that he's picked up from Sempi. But the twist is, Vian says NO with a tinge of joy and pride. We've asked Sempi to ask Vian's permission before taking toys from Vian's hands. Sempi being the older, more responsible brother will ask politely "Vian can I please play with the toy you have in your hand?" and Vian responds "NO" with a smile and enthusiasm. It looks absolutely savage when witnessed in person.


This one, I'm very glad he's picked it up from Sempi. Sempi is a total book worm. He asks us to read a book as soon as he wakes up, while eating, while lounging, right before bedtime, even while driving (instead we listen to podcasts while driving). Now Vian has picked up on this and he demands that we read to him while he eats. He can't pronounce "R" or "D" so it sounds more like a "WEE", "WEE". He get so excited about this that he would keep asking us to read even while we're reading him a book.

Life hack of a 5 yo

When I drop off Sempi at school, I walk him to the front desk where they have name badges for the kids arranged in random order. I ask Sempi to pick out his badge while I sign the sign-in sheet. This is my way of training him to recognize his name.

This morning he told me, "Appa, do you see how the safety pin is attached sideways to my badge? I did that yesterday so I can find my badge easily in the mornings". 


It starts early

Yoshi was washing her face in the bathroom while Vian was playing with the bathroom scale.

Yoshi: Why is it upside down?

Vian: Appaaaa

Yoshi: Appa did it? 

Vian: Appaaa

Yoshi: oh, appa did it 

Vian: Appaaa Appaaa

Yoshi: no Vian, you did it 

Vian: (silence)

All of this happened while I was at work. Appa means dad in Tamil.


Conversation with Sempi this morning. 

Me: I'm going to finish making the fried rice and then we can do our usual shenanigans. What do you say? 

Sempi: Yeah, you finish the fried rice and then we'll throw it in our mouths.

It was a wonderful morning. :)


My younger son (16 months) can't speak any words yet but he has no problems expressing himself by pointing and grunting. When he's hungry he whines and points to the pantry. When he wants a specific fruit out of the fridge he will reject all the other ones with a head shake and sometimes a shove until I offer him the right fruit. 

This morning I witnessed him do a gesture that can only be construed as "Look ma no hands". We were at the coffee shop and he was standing on his chair and leaning against the table and taking bites out his muffin. Suddenly he realized he wasn't holding onto the table but instead using both hands to grab onto his muffin. So he put his muffin down extended out his arms while leaning against the table and started shouting "Ah, ah, ah, eh?". He was quite pleased with his accomplishment. He proceeded to show off his newly learned skill a few more times for good measure.

Words are but a hindrance to effective communication. 

Classical Music - Getting Started

I started listening to classical music in my late 20s. Violin pieces are my favorite. I started with classical because I needed music without words while I programmed. Nowadays I listen to it for the pure joy of listening. 

I got started with Vivaldi's Four Seasons. I thought that was the best piece of music ever conceived by humans. I used to argue with my wife (a music major) about how Vivaldi was better than Tchaikovsky. I was mostly naive and a little bit arrogant. She mostly shook her head in disbelief and let me ramble on. But since then I've changed some of my opinions and I'd like to think that I have a bit more nuanced taste.

If you're interested in getting started with classical music here's a quick list of awesome pieces to get you started.

Concerto, is a musical piece designed for one leading instrument accompanied by an orchestra. There are Violin Concertos, Cello Concertos, Viola Concertos, Piano Concertos etc. Concerto typically has three movements. The first and last movements are typically fast-paced and the second movement is usually slower.

Symphony, is a musical piece designed to be played by an entire orchestra. Symphonies typically have four movements. They are a lot more elaborate than concertos.

1. Vivaldi's Four Seasons - Spotify

This is a collection of four violin concertos. My favorite is Summer. The third movement of the Summer concerto is just absolutely fantastic.

2. Beethoven's Fur Elise - Spotify

This is a solo piano piece. This is a very popular piece that is easily recognizable. It is vivacious and soothing.

3. Mozart's Symphony #40 - Spotify

This is a popular symphony by Mozart that is easy to follow and pleasant to listen.

4. Czardas - Spotify

This is a gypsy violin piece. I absolutely love this piece. It starts slow and methodical then bursts into this flame of rapid fire. It is fun to watch this being played. Try finding a video of a violinist on Youtube. It is worth a watch. :)

5. Carmen Fantasy by Sarasate - Spotify

Pablo Sarasate, the composer of this piece is a fantastic Violinist himself. He has many wonderful pieces that are an absolute joy to listen (such as zigeunerweisen, zapateado etc). Carmen Fantasy is one of those flashy pieces that is hard to play and wonderful to listen.

6. Elgar's Cello Concerto - Spotify

Cello is the big brother of Violin with a deep soothing voice. There are many popular Cello pieces (such as Dvorak's Cello Concerto) but Elgar's cello concerto showcases the beauty and range of a cello. Especially this piece played by Jacquline Du Pre is just moving. Even though this is a concerto it has four movements instead of the typical three.

7. Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky - Spotify

Swan Lake is a very famous ballet piece composed by Tchaikovsky. Ballet pieces are quite long since they are telling you a story and they last for a couple of hours. I've linked only the Swan Lake Suite which is a select few pieces from the ballet that represents the character of the whole piece.

8. Hungarian Dances by Brahms - Spotify

I'm not doing justice to Brahms by choosing Hungarian Dances. It is a light hearted collection of dance pieces that are upbeat and jolly. But Brahms' usual style is very heavy. His violin concerto is a good example of the weight of his compositions. I chose Hungarian dances because it was one of those collections that got me hooked into classical music early on. The popular ones from this collection are Dance #1, #3, #5, #6. My absolute favorite is #5. 

9. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony - Spotify

Beethoven has a lot of popular symphonies (3rd, 5th and 9th). But his ninth symphony is ground breaking. It is majestic and powerful. It starts out a bit soft and slow. But it builds up to this wonderful enormous piece. If you like this style, you should consider listening to his 5th Symphony which is also a powerful symphony and equally popular.

10. Carmina Burana - Spotify

You have already heard this piece, trust me. Whenever movies want to show something epic they always choose this piece to accompany the visual. 

This is not a definitive list or a complete list by any stretch of the imagination. I've just chosen a few pieces that I like and that are easily accessible. There are more intricate and delightful composers that I have ommited (eg: Sibelius, Mendelssohn, Dvorak etc). Perhaps I'll do this more often if there is interest.

I would love to hear your feedback or suggestions about pieces that I've missed or pieces that you enjoyed from the list. Feel free to tweet me @amjithr