Weekly Outbox 2: On Coronavirus, Greta Thunberg and Books I Wormed Through

This week has been a balancing act – trying to get back into the work routine but the attempts were thwarted by flu caused by dust allergies. So some work, some antibiotics, and a lot of reading through the week left me feeling satiated in mind but tired in the body. 

(You can find the previous week’s outbox here – Weekly Outbox 1)

The Knowledge Hub

1. With COVID-19 turning into a pandemic and more and more countries entering into lockdown, a lot of my reading has centered around this disease and its effects across the globe. One of the most interesting pieces is from Washington Post that talks about why epidemics like the novel coronavirus we are witnessing spread exponentially. Told through a number of simulations it goes on to describe how different preventive measures like quarantines and social distancing can help flatten the curve and contain the spread. 

2. Another interesting read, also from the Washington Post, presents a series of visualizations on how epidemics like COVID-19 spread and how they can be ended faster. It compares the spread of COVID-19 to measles – that spreads extremely rapidly, and to Ebola – which isn’t as contagious but is a lot more fatal. 

3. Swaminathan Aiyar, the Consulting Editor of ET Now talks about how a recession in the Indian economy is inevitable in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic. His advice to the government and central bank is to get additional purchasing power into the hands of people. 

4. I have been following the work of Great Thunberg for a while and when I happened to come across an article based on the book written by Malena Ernman (Greta’s mom), I had myself abandoning everything else to read the piece. It wasn’t easy to get through. I was moved by the candid portrayal of everything that this piece seeks to summarize – a troubled childhood, challenging parenting, keeping the family unit together and of course, Greta’s ongoing battle to bring awareness and action to the climate crisis. Read this to understand how a young child dealt with bullying and came out of darkness to find a meaning for her life that is so much grander than any individual and concerns all the generations – the ones on the planet right now and the ones to come. 

5. I happened to stumble upon this piece on Vanuatu randomly. Vanuatu is a Pacific island country with a population of just over 270,000 people. The more fascinating bit is that Vanuatu is a country with no female MPs. Women are making a push to represent themselves in politics as the country goes to polls this Thursday. This article is an informative read of how the women are taking charge with the aim of not only getting themselves into the parliament and positions of power but also creating agendas that seek to work for the welfare of the community. 

6. The best way to learn something is to teach it. While I have never tried this for myself (I wonder if I can ever stand in front of a class of fifty or even twenty and deliver a lecture), I do believe this to be true. Someday, I hope to set up one-on-one classes to teach enthusiasts all I can about storytelling, marketing, psychology, and their intersections – in a bid to impart knowledge of course, but also, to learn better myself. 

7. I am reading through a slide deck on Brand Strategy Toolkit by Brand Amplitude, the insights from which I hope to share in a series of blog posts sometime in the coming weeks. 

8. Another insightful reading I found was on what a post-event report should contain. This one should be useful for content writers and I hope to share my ideas on it sometime this week. 

Books I wormed through

9. I (finally) finished reading India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha. This one took me a couple of months to get through considering how extensive the subject matter is. It is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive history books I have ever read and when it comes to learning about the history of India after its independence, this one ought to be made mandatory reading!

10. I also finished reading Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago, a book I chose to read purely for its title. And it was worth it! It’s a fascinating exploration of what the world would be like if death were to take a break – should be a dream come true, to be able to live forever right? Wrong. This book will have you laughing at all the sarcastic and witty commentary on politicians, religious pundits, philosophers, businesses and the people themselves as they react, come to terms with and rebel against the notion of death having taken a break from her business.

11. I have a number of books in my currently-reading pile

  •  Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix by J K Rowling
  •  Bleak House by Charles Darwin
  •  The Hindus by Wendy Doniger
  •  The Anxiety Workbook by Arlin Cuncic

Work and Everything Else

12. The only thing I managed to get out of my outbox this week was a blog post for a client which had me researching and writing about enterprise architecture

Social distancing means more time with this baby

13. I took some time out to watch a movie and guess which one I picked? Contagion. Hard to believe that something was made way back in 2011 and it rings so true to our times. 

14. All this social distancing has meant that I have only stepped out once in the entire week. So there’s been a lot of playtime with Jordan (or as much as was possible for the flu-ridden me). I’m going to be finding out more fun activities to do with this hyper-energetic, massively intelligent, superbly handsome doggo of mine.

What has your week been like? Did you discover anything interesting? Do share, I’m curious to know.

Published by Sanskriti Nagar

I'm a storyteller on a journey - to connect people with places, the past with the present, the contemporary with the traditional. I'm just stepping into the shoes of an explorer, aspiring to be a globetrotter, and someday, a novelist. Follow me through my journeys, and if something does resonate with you, or you'd like me to cover a story for you, I'd love to catch up. (PS: I love coffee!)

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