What is your superpower?

Sempi is really into superheroes and police. The other day I was walking him to school and he tells me, 

Sempi: Appa, can I tell you a secret? 

Me: Yeah. 

Sempi (whispers): My secret identity is (redacted). 

Me: Wow, really? Why didn't you tell me sooner, I could have used your powers to crush the boxes in the recycling bins.

Sempi: You can't tell anyone. Well, maybe just amma, but no one else. 

Me: What about Vian? 

Sempi: He's too young, he might tell someone. Maybe when he grows up you can tell him. 

Me: Do you think when he grows up he'll also get superpowers? 

Sempi: Yeah. Even you have superpowers appa. You can be police.

Me: Really?

Sempi: Yeah, you can be police who stays indoors and we'll contact you for instructions when we're fighting bad guys. You know, since you're good with computers. 


*sniff* My son thinks I'm good with computers. It is the highest compliment I've received in my life.

Nice try, dad

Vian is still having trouble pronouncing the sound 'ka'. He uses the sound 'ta' when he tries to say 'ka'. See previous post for some examples. 

We're reading a picture book on the couch. 

Vian: What is this?

Me: That is a farm.

Vian: Farm!?

Vian: What is this?

Me: That's a chicken.

Vian: A Tciten? 

Me: Yeah a chicken. 

I noticed that his pronunciation of "Tciten" is suspiciously close to how he would pronounce "Kitchen". 

So I figured I'll take this opportunity to troll him using cognitive dissonance.

Me: Where is Amma?

Vian: Over there (points to Kitchen).

Me: What is that room called.

Vian: That's a "Titen".

Me: What is this called? (pointing to the chicken in a book). 

Vian stares at me a second while he figures out my trap.

Vian: It's a dut (duck). 

Once again I'm outsmarted by a two-year-old. Never been prouder. 

Conversations with a 3yo

We're visiting India and the kids are playing with my brother's son, Thiralon (the 3yo protagonist). He's a matter of fact guy who is unintentionally hilarious. 

---

The phone rings at home and Thiralon picks up the phone. It's his grandpa calling. 

Grandpa: Hi Thiralon, how are you? 

Thiralon: I'm fine.

Grandpa: What are you doing? 

Thiralon: Right now I'm talking to you on the phone. 

---

He's a rambunctious kid who loves to smash things. He has just smashed down a pillow fort. I'm trying to get him to admit he smashed it.

Me: Thiralon, what happened to the fort? 

Thiralon: It broke down.

Me: How did it break?

Thiralon: It broke with a kaboom! 

Me: LOL! Of course, it did. 

---

Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is

Vian is quite eloquent these days. But he still can't pronounce the sounds 'Ka' and 'Ga'. Instead, he replaces them with the sounds 'Ta' and 'Da' respectively.

Here are some choice selections: 

Vian: Appa, where is my tar (car)?

Vian: Tan I have a tootie (cookie)? 

Vian: Amma, gone to yoda (yoga) class. 


I always had a nagging suspicion that my wife is a Jedi. The way she can change my mind in one sentence....

Zen master or a troll?

My 2-year old (Vian) is getting eloquent by the day. He is not afraid to try out his new vocabulary.

Yesterday we were playing in the backyard. The kids want me to find them a rake. I walk around trying to find it, muttering to myself. 

Vian comes over and says, "I help you".

I accept graciously and tell him that I'm looking for the rake. 

Me: I wonder where it is. (muttering to myself). 

Vian walks over to me and pulls my hand. In all seriousness he says, 

Vian: Appa, it is somewhere. 

And walks away with the satisfaction of having just helped his clueless dad. 

Social sites and emotional ups and downs

Note: I do NOT suffer from depression. I'm not trying to make light of the serious condition that is depression.

I just got back from PyCon. I had a booth for DBCLI (OpenSource project), I gave a talk about my work at Netflix, I manned the job fair table and participated in the sprints. People were coming up to me and showering with praise about my OpenSource project and my talk. It is like getting a lifetime's worth of positive feedback thrown at me in a span of three days. It was exhilarating.

I got back home and hugged the kids and my wife. My two kids obviously missed me and they clung to me for about 20 minutes before reverting back to being mama's boys. I really don't blame them for preferring their mom over me. My wife is just a better human being than me and the kids just know it.

This is where the hint of a mild depression sets in. I start to wonder why my wife and kids aren't constantly showering me with praise. I just walked from the bedroom to the kitchen and not a single compliment was thrown at me. What is going on? In a couple of days, the trickle of online pampering (via Twitter) starts to taper off. When you refresh twitter there are no more new notifications.

What did I do to deserve this shunning? Why do people hate me? These are questions that run through my mind before I realize I've become an insufferable spoiled brat.

It is alarming how quickly my brain got accustomed to being treated like a "celebrity". I now understand why real celebrities often suffer from depression. They live through this high and low every single day.

I am so glad I don't have to deal with this emotional roller coaster every day. I shudder at the thought of living in a world where I'm constantly praised for doing even the most mundane things in life. Where everyday activities are treated as accomplishments and complimented as such.

Having 18 friends compliment my breakfast. Or 23 friends fawn over a picture of some cat.

Not just any old compliment but a compliment laced with superfluous adjectives.

"OMG! That toast looks super delicious."

"That cat melts my heart super hard, it makes me want to eat my own eyelids."

You know where I'm going with this, don't you? Social networking sites.

Praising someone is just a click away. You can "heart" someone's picture, you can "like" someone's rambling, you can even spread their nugget of wisdom by retweeting. Can you imagine what will happen when all of that is taken away? Someone who is forced to interact with the real world and only the real world. A world where people don't swarm around someone's breakfast to talk about how wonderful that toast and scrambled eggs look. Heck, they don't even bother to take a picture of the food to save it in the archives for the future generations to appreciate.

If you eat a salad without sharing a picture of it, do you really get full?

All of this "attention" is addictive. Soon we're chasing after the next hit. A bigger hit. Let's share something thrilling, something shocking, something dangerous.

I'm sure the "big social" knows all about the emotional turmoil that results from this. But why would they continue to find new ways that make it easier to spread this fake attention? Surely, they're not just trying to maximize their short-term profits at the cost of desensitizing a whole generation of youngsters and sinking them into depression. Because that would make them cold, calculating, heartless, and evil.

Conversations with a 1 yo

Vian has more than a few words in his vocabulary now and he's not afraid to show off.

-----

I'm having breakfast with Vian. 

We hear the bathroom flush. 

Vian gets all animated and yells "Poop!" and points to the restroom.

-----

Another day, the same setup. I'm having breakfast with Vian.

Yoshi joins us with a cup of tea. 

Vian points to the steam rising from the cup and yells "HOT". 

Yoshi acknowledges, yes. It is hot tea. 

Vian: "Hot Tea"  (sounds more like hottie). 

Me: Yes Vian, you're a hottie. 

Vian (yells): NO!

Me: You're not a hottie?

Vian: Amma hottie. 

Who am I to argue. ;)


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 git-open.sh. 

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.