2014: Year in Review

Books

If I had to describe what my year was about in just one word, it would be these. I was surrounded by books, all sorts of them, throughout the year. I had set out a goal to read 26 full-length books, ie, one per fortnight over the year. I was following the plan until May, when I rediscoverd my love for comic books with the launch of Amar Chitra Katha Android app and the 12 comic books that came free with it. I was tracking my progress on Goodreads.com using the site’s yearly challenge, but being an obsessive organizer (read: goodreads librarian), I ended up adding all those comic books as well to the goal-tracker as I marked them as read. I had to make a decision whether to read for the sake of the reading goal or for the fun of it, which I used to derive from comic books from early childhood. I chose the latter, but decided to count graphic novels or comic books as contributing only fractionally to my yearly goal. Here are some stats:

  • Total books read: 64
  • Full-length non-graphic (>=200 pages): 8
  • Full-length graphic novels (>=200 pages): 13
  • Mid-length (>=50 but <200 pages): 12
  • Mid-length graphic novels (>=50 but <200 pages): 14
  • Rest: 17 with a rough avg. of 28 pages each (~476 pages)
  • Comics (untracked): 35 with a rough avg. of 44 pages each (~1540 pages)
  • Goal reached: 8 + 12.5 (12 of FL GN or ML) + 3.5 (1/4th of ML GN) + 2 (1/4th approx for rest+comics) = 26 / 26

Before this year, I had not taken up any reading challenge seriously, but since this worked out quite well, I plan to take up another in 2015 (fewer graphics novels & more technical books this time).

Relationships

2014 was the first complete year that I was not in a closed boundary of a school or college, ecosystems conducive to friendships. I realized how difficult it is to maintain old friends and make new ones otherwise. Work colleagues just can’t replace friends you make in college/school. It was the most fun and relaxing on both the occasions I visited Delhi – Comic Con in Feb and Hauz Khas Village outing in August – and reunited with college buddies.

Living away from home also brought me closer to my family which may sound counter-intuitive. From celebrating my parents’ Silver Jubilee inviting my extended family and watching them all together in a long time, to regular calls to mom and not-so-regular to others on festivals. It wasn’t that common when I used to be closer home, isolated in my bedroom with my computer and coming out mostly just for food. I understand the value of my family and relations a lot more than I used to while in college or before.

Work

Work life has been a roller-coaster ride showing all its faces this year. From working day and night, taking pride in my work to despising it for weeks at end and finally coming to terms with it. With the highs and lows, it teaches one life lessons, it’s better to learn them as they come. Probably, the most important thing I learned at work was prioritization and time management, skills I used to struggle with in college. I haven’t reached a level of perfection that would make me comfortable though and there is a lot to learn both in these skills and technically.

Gadgets

Nexus 5 late December last year, a Kindle Paperwhite and a MacBook Air in July and hopefully an Android Wear watch soon, I have become increasingly dependent on technology (which has both its pros & cons) this year. I have friends who prefer keeping a non-smartphone for various reasons, but I can’t convince myself to not try out the best technology has to offer to make lives simpler.

Open Source

I have been an enthusiast (and earlier evangelist) for far too long. One important thing that I learnt this year is that contributions happen when people have some itch to scratch. The more itches one has, the more they can scratch, er…, contribute. Taking interest in Golang, falling in love with Markdown and trying to (re-)setup my website made me try my hands on contributing to Hugo whenever I noticed things were not perfect. It has been an interesting ride so far and Hugo has been the first project I have been tracking with active interest for so long. The energy I see among the contributors is amazing, though I am yet to work on anything really significant. Apart from Hugo, I am trying to work on the OS X branch of cpslib which is a C port of Python’s popular library psutil.

Others

There were many other interesting things this year, a lot to do with exploring Bangalore culture in the weekends – book club meetups, BangPypers meetups, PyCon India, watching my first few theater performances at Ranga Shankara, irregular cycling efforts (mostly limited to work commute) and over a month long tryst with running early in the year. There were many closures as well that were not achieved. As the year ends, I would like to look ahead than worry about the past. Onward to 2015!

Posted with tags year annual personal books friends open-source website
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