Interesting ideas interspersed with nonsense - RSS - by nikhil bhatla, -

Category: Life

A Follow-up on X, after 12 years
Dec 1, 2019, 10:19p - Life
Man, it has been almost 3 years since my last blog post. Having a kid sure does make time scarce in a way I had never experienced.

I found myself writing a long email response to a stranger on an important topic, so I figured that could be a blog post.

He wrote:
I came across you while considering the ... more »

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Third time around, has anything changed?
Feb 11, 2016, 10:52a - Life
I am now on a break from working a specific job, the third such break of my life.

My first break came in 2002, after graduating from college. From June until October, I had all my time to myself. With Dave, I tried to start a company selling live concert CDs at the end of shows, called Music Mint. I ... more »

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Mar 31, 2015, 2:49p - Life
You were there, at the station, before any of your friends. So you figured you had some time to kill. The storefronts were pretty boring, so you wandered away, distracting yourslef by looking for a distraction. By the time you got back to the station, all your friends were gone. The train had come, picked them up, and left without ... more »

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Dec 1, 2014, 10:26a - Life
There are certain assumptions one tends to make in life. The assumption that you will someday have kids. Or the assumption that you won't have kids (right now, or ever). The assumption that you'll find a job. The assumption that you will die before your children do. The assumption that you'll find someone to share some (or the rest) of ... more »

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28 Days of Survival Food: A Conclusion
Oct 30, 2010, 12:31p - Life
It's been more than 2 months since my experiment with survival food ended. In that time, I wrote an Android app, went to India for my cousin's wedding, and have started playing with my worms anew. But it's been too long, so now's the time to reflect and remember what I have not forgotten.

My first non-prescribed meal came on ... more »

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28 Days of Survival Food: Day 22
Aug 15, 2010, 10:14a - Life
(Just some short thoughts right now, as I'm pretty busy installing hardwood floors in our house. I wanted to get something down though.)

Headache lots of mornings, which fades over the day (probably from teeth-clenching - lost nightguard in June).

Days 18 and 19 best so far - calm, detached, very low anxiety.

Don't care about food much any more, ... more »

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28 Days of Survival Food: Day 16
Aug 9, 2010, 11:08a - Life
Well this is going swimmingly. The past 4 days have been a time of feast. I bought a lamb shank from the local butcher (McKinnon's) on day 12, and have been eating from it for the past 4 days, ending last night with homemade lamb tamales. I ate way too much though (8 small tamales compared to the 2 and ... more »

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28 Days of Survival Food: Day 12
Aug 5, 2010, 11:40a - Life
Yesterday (day 11) was the toughest day yet. Becca had her thesis proposal hearing, and to celebrate we had a bbq with her friends afterwards. I was surrounded by food, and not just any food - the impulsively-, non-consciously consumed food. You know, like the chips you get at a Mexican restaurant, that are perfectly crispy and lathered in salt, ... more »

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28 Days of Survival Food: Day 9
Aug 2, 2010, 12:19p - Life
Quite a few days have passed since I last wrote. Overall I'm doing OK, though I've been pretty spacey and slow with the thought processing recently. My energy level is pretty good though, and my limbs haven't ached since day 4.

Day 4 was the last day of the complete fast. I broke the fast with a ripe banana around ... more »

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28 Days of Survival Food: Day 4
Jul 28, 2010, 11:40a - Life
OK, I've made it this far. It's been roughly 72 hours since I last ate. My body feels very weak, especially my lower arms (elbow down) and lower legs (knee down), which have been aching in a way that reminds me of growing pains. Becca and I went to see Salt last night, and I couldn't even prop my feet ... more »

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Jul 26, 2010, 12:26p - Life
Post survival school, I had an experience that for lack of a better word I'll call "X". Words like "inner peace", "happiness", and "bliss" come to mind, but none of them actually captures the feeling that I had. I've tried and failed to explain it to people who have never had a similar feeling, so maybe it's like explaining ... more »

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Tugging Bubbles in a Box
Dec 15, 2009, 10:15a - Life
Last weekend, I went to San Francisco for a friend's wedding. While there, I was thrust back into a world I left 3 years ago, the world that is my California. It is a world of engineering and of business, the world of working and thinking in Silicon Valley. It is a world raft with rapid, superficial, constructed, and possibly ... more »

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Aug 28, 2008, 10:16a - Life
I've come to realize something. For much of my previous life, I read for enlightenment. I believed that, somewhere out there, someone knew a truth that would be exactly what I was looking for, would satisfy the search and change my life. I believed that there was a "lost" truth, hidden in the wilderness, discovered long ago but since forgotten; ... more »

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I Know You
Jun 22, 2008, 11:10a - Life
Off the train, riding the escalator, reading my PCR.

An older guy, maybe 5' 5", playing his harmonica. Glance up, then back to my PCR. Make eye contact, he stops playing.

"I know you."

"You do?"

"Yeah, I know where you're from."

"Where am I from?"



"Where are ya from?"

We get on the second escalator, side-by-side.

"Guess ... more »

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What Now
May 26, 2008, 1:24a - Life
(Written on Jan 13, 2008, after getting back to MIT after Christmas)

What now - I don't know what I'm doing. Somehow I left my desire somewhere, and now I cannot find it. Maybe I'm just overwhelmed by distractions, but that's not quite right. I go through moments where I don't live in the present because it's moving too fast, ... more »

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Trading Consciousness
May 24, 2008, 9:05a - Life
(Written on Dec 13, 2007, after finishing my first semester @ MIT, on the plane ride from Boston to LA)

To be productive, or not? That is the question.

Each of us has been blessed with the opportunity to *feel*, yet we so often act like machines, churning out productivity with the utmost efficiency. At least I feel that way ... more »

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May 22, 2008, 8:06p - Life
(I wrote this on May 24, 2007. It may sound suicidal, but don't worry, I wasn't. For the past year I've debated with myself whether I should post this. With summer imminent and time for blogging back again, it seems only right to post some things I've written that have been sitting on the edge. A few more back-dated posts ... more »

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The Beginning of Survival School
Aug 12, 2007, 3:04p - Life
For people who visit this blog in a web browser and want to read my survival school journal from the beginning (instead of in reverse), here's a quick link: Day 0 of Survival School. Enjoy.
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Survival School: Day 28
Aug 11, 2007, 10:41p - Life
Final Day

Woke up early, only ~5 hours of sleep. Steve came, & rushed us into the van. No idea where we were going. No sign yet of 2nd 28-day group [there were 2 separate troops who did variants of the 28-day course @ the same time - I was expecting to see them back at BOSS HQ too]. Drove ... more »

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Survival School: Day 27
Aug 10, 2007, 9:27p - Life
6th day of student ex

1 more night left! Jeff caught a scorpion in a bag, I killed it to take back to Jyoti, Aki's sister. She said she wanted one before I left. Should be easy hike today, all along not dense riverbed. ~6 miles.

Scorpion Hill, our second-to-last night out here

Self-portrait on day 27, on Scorpion Hill ...
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Survival School: Day 26
Aug 9, 2007, 11:08p - Life
5th day of Student Ex

2 more nights left!!! Can't wait to get out - 2 more hot days of hiking. Can't wait to call Becca & Mom & Pops & Tin. Hope cell works @ BOSS - had bars before we left. Skin is really, dark dark. I can't wait for this to be over - we're so freakin' ... more »

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Survival School: Day 25
Aug 8, 2007, 11:11p - Life
4th day of Student Ex

Only 3 more nights left! Today was a ridiculous, hardcore day, one of the toughest so far. Woke up early, ate a delicious hot oatmeal w/ a tad of milk, lots of sugar, & a smidge of cinnamon - full cup, the best breakfast so far. So much better than dinner. (Been writing over the ... more »

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Survival School: Day 24
Aug 7, 2007, 10:15p - Life
3rd day of Student Ex

More hot porridge this morning - best meal (outside lamb) of the whole trip. Full, piping hot bowl - very full, and not on water. Just oats & water, w/ lots of sugar & cinnamon added @ the end (so it doesn't dissolve & evaporate).

Tree I slept under last night

Self-portrait on day 24 ...
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Survival School: Day 23
Aug 6, 2007, 8:47p - Life
2nd Day of STUDENT EX

Got up wicked early, when the sky started turning blue. Hot food in the morning! HOT oats w/ milk, sugar, & cinnamon - so damn good, so much better than dinner. I'm so loving the hot oatmeal in the morning - it's really a boost bright & early.

The tree Hannes & I slept under ...
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Survival School: Day 22
Aug 5, 2007, 11:19p - Life

Self-portrait on day 22, after 4.5 days of being entirely alone

Goodbye, lonely home

6th day of SOLO -> 1st day of Student Ex

Last day of solo! Woke up, mostly overcast. Packed up my stuff, got my last meal going. Bandanas on top & bottom to try to keep it warm, but it didn't do much.

Last breakfast alone, ...
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Survival School: Day 21
Aug 4, 2007, 8:10p - Life
Day 5 of SOLO

Now this is beginning to feel like solitary confinement. I'm out of stuff to chew on (ate all my GORP yesterday), so time is passing really slowly. Also, it's probably knowing that this is the last full day before this solo thing is over. I'm ready for it to be over. Funny how I've had enough ... more »

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Survival School: Day 20
Aug 3, 2007, 11:48p - Life
Day 4 of SOLO

Super-clear day today - finally, I can just bake in the sun. Feel like a lizard. Not doing much - just lazying around my home, not really exploring. Didn't even try to make fire today - it'll come when it comes, you know.

Self-portrait on day 20, after 2.5 days of (virtually) no human contact

Clear ...
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Survival School: Day 19
Aug 2, 2007, 8:03p - Life
Day 3 of SOLO

Rainy in the morning, overcast, no direct sun. Yesterday I saw a deer near my camp, we just stared @ each other. Also, 2 or 3 ground chipmunks & a flying squirrel live near my home. Also, Abe stumbled into my camp yesterday - I had to shoe him away. Boundaries are difficult to see when ... more »

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Survival School: Day 18
Aug 1, 2007, 11:56p - Life
Day 2 of SOLO

Woke up this morning & really had to take a dump. Gathered some sticks & sagebrush, but each step made me need to go a little more. Finally, couldn't handle it, no time to dig a trench, so just dropped my pants. 5th time this trip, avg. once every 3.6 days. Shit is yellow & soft ... more »

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Survival School: Day 17
Jul 31, 2007, 11:49p - Life
Terrible weather - cold, overcast, no sun :( Woke up early because too cold. Been awake for 2 hours, everyone else still asleep.

Morning sky, moon in sight - damn it was cold

Self-portrait on day 17 - like I said, I was cold

Where we camped - slept on a grid of sticks so the ground wouldn't suck the ...
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Survival School: Day 16
Jul 30, 2007, 11:07p - Life

Self-portrait on day 16, as we loaded up to leave the camp we stayed at for the past 5 nights


Woke up early, helped break down debris shelters & clean up camp. Continued my ritual of kissing Beccafly every morning & night, saying "good morning" & "good night". The day started off really lazy & slow. We had ... more »

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Survival School: Day 15
Jul 29, 2007, 11:59p - Life

Self-portrait on day 15 (Crit in background, twine holding up kitchen tarp wrapped around tree)

(full moon last night)

Wake up to another breakfast of amaranth, sugar, & honey. Today we got 2 helpings - I savored every bite, said a silent prayer before I started, & tried to say "thank you" & look @ each spoonful before each bite. ... more »

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Survival School: Day 14
Jul 28, 2007, 11:59p - Life

Where we've been sleeping for the past 3 nights - Abe's on the left & Leland, myself, & Hannes are to the right of the path

Self-portrait on day 14

Opened Becca's letter today - I've been saving it for the halfway point, & we've finally made it. Tears welled up - I read it twice. I can't wait to ... more »

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Survival School: Day 13
Jul 27, 2007, 11:14p - Life
Still @ the campsite - Not too much going on, pretty relaxing. Breakfast of amaranth w/ honey and sucanut (sugar) - very little (half of the blue cup), but better than nothing. Amaranth is like cream of wheat, & we had it warm. It's native to the Americas.

Next we had a few lessons. We learned how to nap (flake) ... more »

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Survival School: Day 12
Jul 26, 2007, 11:42p - Life
Today we got to kill & process a sheep. Steve told us this morning, & we're going to be @ the same campsite for the next 4 nights, so we also have time to practice our skills (e.g. fire). The sheep was female, weighed ~80 lbs, and was a member of the Navajo churro (sp?) species. We ... more »

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Survival School: Day 11
Jul 25, 2007, 11:12p - Life
Woke up @ Five Lakes. Ate the last breakfast of Group Ex - a few oats, milk, sugar, & cinnamon. Didn't sleep much, so pretty tired & quiet & isolated all day. Packed up. Took my 3rd shit, first in 4 days. I'm getting better at it, though it's still a pain.

Self-portrait on day 11, outside Five Lakes

And ...
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Survival School: Day 10
Jul 24, 2007, 11:50p - Life

Our poncho tent, which I was pretty proud of. Hannes, Leland, & I shared it.

Self-portrait on day 10

Woke up - Ben found 4 eggs (maybe duck) that were cold, so we hard-boiled them. Rich, bright-orange, creamy center. He said he found them on the embankment - somehow he found exactly 4, which is too much of a coincidence ... more »

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Survival School: Day 9
Jul 23, 2007, 11:46p - Life
Day 5 of group ex. Hannes & Ted leading, Abe & Cliff in sweep. Packed up, but didn't feel like shitting today. 6 mile hike to Pleasant Lake, mostly flat. Hannes keeping a fast pace, a bit too fast for my tastes. Learned about bearings. Very hungry, ate GORP continuously all day, one at a time. Gave Brit Nic a ... more »

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Survival School: Day 8
Jul 22, 2007, 11:18p - Life
Woke up late, cause of the craziness last night. Shorter hike today, from Green Lake to Twin Lakes - 800' up. Cliff & Abe led, Leland & I swept. Got off course to start, but recovered. Pack is getting lighter, cause we're eating more. Oats for breakfast, warm this time. It's nice to have a map [only leaders and sweepers ... more »

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Survival School: Day 7
Jul 21, 2007, 11:35p - Life
Took a dump in the morning [#2 of the trip]. Today was the most ridiculous day so far. Ben & Nick led, Hannes & Ted swept. We had to go from 7500' to 10,300' feet, most elevation in a day yet. Followed the river upstream, then started scaling a mountain. Started raining w/ thunder, so we hunkered down on the ... more »

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Survival School: Day 6
Jul 20, 2007, 10:55p - Life
Day 2 of Group Ex: Jeff & Brit Nic in lead, Ben & Yogi Nick Ph. in sweep. Today was a tough day for me. Dismal scenery - in a canyon most of the day, damn hot. Began questioning why the hell I was out here - it's the most masochistic thing I've ever done. Talked to Hannes, Abe, & ... more »

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Survival School: Day 5
Jul 19, 2007, 10:15p - Life
Took a shit in the morning [first of the whole trip]. Group expedition begins today. We got our food rations for the next 7 days (4 people per group): 9 potatoes, 2 onions, 4 carrots, bag of lentils, bag of quinoa, bag of sucanut, salt, pepper, cinnamon, bag of oats, bag of condensed milk, bag of vegetable ... more »

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Survival School: Day 4
Jul 18, 2007, 10:43p - Life
Drank 1.5 qts before hiking out. Today was the hardest day - we hiked up 2000 ft, and my stomach was feeling nauseas for several hours. The sun was seriously beating down. This was our third day without any food, though I did eat 6 pine needles & a Juniper berry yesterday. My stomach was very upset by this.

Pure, ...
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Survival School: Day 3
Jul 17, 2007, 9:10p - Life
Woke up & tried to drink as much of the Earl Grey as possible. There was mosquito larvae in it, but they get killed in the stomach. "The stomach is the best canteen" [which means that you shouldn't "save" water by not drinking it if you have it - apparently many hikers who have died of dehydration were found with ... more »

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Survival School: Day 2
Jul 16, 2007, 11:19p - Life

Self-portrait after first night

Hannes, sporting a versacloth

Guides David & Steve w/ students Leland, Nick C. (back), Jeff, Rob (crouched), & Cliff, getting ready to leave our first sleeping site

Where Hannes & I slept the first night (yes, I didn't realize I was sleeping on rocks)

Lots of hiking. Found 3 water holes. Beautiful red mtns.

The southern ...
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Survival School: Day 1
Jul 15, 2007, 10:52p - Life
Sleeping is getting a bit easier. I'm dreaming 2-3 times a night. Brief recap:

5 hour drive from Provo to Boulder. We stopped 3 times on the way. 2 vans. Intro from Josh (Field Director) at BOSS property. [He reminded us that no matter how bad we feel out there, we should remember that it was always] "better than ... more »

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Survival School
Jul 14, 2007, 10:57p - Life
[Note that this post has been back-dated, for reasons that may become apparent. This post was really written on Dec 29, 2007.]

It's been nearly half a year since my last post, the longest period of serenity this blog has seen since 2002. A lot has happened in the last 6 months, so much so that I'm not quite sure ... more »

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Fear of Guilt
Jun 11, 2007, 6:43p - Life
We have fear. We're scared. That's OK.

What's not OK is that we let that fear control how we feel, on the inside.

We let fear build walls where none exist. In our minds. We board up the options we assume won't budge, without even giving them a push.

We let fear dictate what we will do and what ... more »

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Nov 30, 2006, 10:34a - Life
I went to elementary school, like most kids. Unlike most kids, I went to a private school because my parents wanted me to and we were able to afford it. I was a good student, of no doing of my own. I liked learning the spellings of words and didn't find learning all that hard. I was just interested in ... more »

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Names I've been called lately
Jul 11, 2006, 8:11a - Life

"Papa smurf meets Fidel Castro," said Jessica.

"Feral," said Buzz.

"You look like someone from Planet of the Apes. It's hot," said Julia.

"Hey hairy," said Avni.

"Chewbacca," said Becca.

"Wolverine," said someone.

"Teen wolf," said countless numbers.

"Wolf," said countless numbers.

"Wolfman," said someone.

"Jake Gyllenhaal," said Sanjay, later supported by Aki abnd Avni.

"Terrorist - don't they stop ... more »

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Gandhi, at it again
Jun 7, 2006, 8:49a - Life
“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.” - Mahatma Gandhi
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Steve Jobs' Commencement Speech @ Stanford
Jul 14, 2005, 12:36a - Life
I finally got a hold of the full-text of Steve Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford. I found it particularly inspiring, so I've copied it below. He delivered this speech on June 12, 2005.

"I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the
finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college.
Truth be ... more »

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