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Delhi Snapshot: Goat Eating a Paratha

Came across this fellow here in Delhi yesterday. He (or she) was eating a paratha

Given his/her interesting colouring, neck adornment, and hoof bling, I was wondering if it might be an auspicious goat, kept and fed by people nearby in the neighborhood. 

So I asked some guys hanging out nearby. They kept repeating a word I didn’t understand. I thought it might be the creature’s name, or an adjective meaning something like “special.”

Then I looked it up and it was “bakara,” बकरा. Which means “goat.”  

So there you go. 

Delhi Snapshot: ‘Selfie Garlic Bread’

Spotted here in Delhi: a brochure for an Italian restaurant promoting free “selfie garlic bread.”

I have no idea what it has to do with selfies. And who is the guy in the photo?

It’s a distinct possibility that I’m overthinking all of this. 

Book Notes — The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller

Note: For some time I have kept, on index cards, written notes about the books I’ve read. I decided to share some of these thoughts here, and will be posting them, one by one on individual books, in no particular order. I’ll group them all together on a central page later. For now I’m assigning them all to my Book Notes category. Thanks to Derek Sivers for the inspiration.

The dog stars

The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller
Published: 2013
ISBN: 1611736137
Amazon link
Rating: 8/10

Brief recap: A beautifully written, hope-infused post-apocalyptic novel. Yes, you read that right.

My notes:

  • I am not ashamed to admit I an enamored of post-apocalyptic fiction. Like another well-known book about a disaster-struck world, Cormack McCarthy’s “The Road,” this novel tells the story of handful of people left behind after most of the world’s population has been wiped out. But unlike “The Road,” as some reviewers have noted, this book — while it does contains some very real nastiness — is dominated by the protagonist’s love for his deceased wife, his bond with his beloved dog, and his hope that the future may bring salvation of some sort. In other words, it is strangely optimistic. And very moving.

  • Narratively speaking, Heller does an excellent job recounting, in bits and pieces via flashbacks, the sickness that befell humanity. But rather than get into highly specific medical or scientific details, he hints at symptoms and theories, leaving the reader to ponder precisely what happened. Similarly, the reader gleans just enough details about the how chaos unfolds to still leave some questions unanswered. This is not, in other words, “World War Z,” replete with gory details (and zombie attacks), viewed from some future standpoint.

  • The novel is set in Colorado, and there are some really gorgeous passages here about nature: mountainous vistas, deer, trout. Striking stuff.

  • This is a book aviation buffs will enjoy, as the narrator, Hig, lives with his partner at an abandoned airport. Hig frequently takes his Cessna out to patrol surrounding areas and visit other survivors, and the book has some detailed passages about the experience of flying.

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Ford in India; a ‘City’ in the Desert; Experts’ Book Picks; Invasive Capybaras

Edition 63 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers on Wednesday. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox a few days before I post them here, sign up at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief — and few people unsubscribe!

Hi friends,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes.

What I wrote in The WSJ

India Payment Firm Paytm Raises $300 Million:

NEW DELHI—Indian online payment and e-commerce firm Paytm is raising $300 million from a group of investors led by Taiwanese chip-design company MediaTek Inc., according to a person familiar with the situation.

The investment values the Noida, India-based company at $5 billion, up from an earlier valuation of about $2.5 billion, the person said. MediaTek’s contribution amounted to $60 million, according to the person.

In a country where users are increasingly coming online via low-cost smartphones, Paytm provides a popular mobile app that can be used to pay for services like rides from Uber Technologies Inc. and utility bill payments.

Ford Leads $24 Million Funding in India Car-Rental Startup Zoomcar:

NEW DELHI—A Ford Motor Co. subsidiary is among the investors contributing $24 million to a vehicle-rental startup in India, the latest development in the race to use technology in new ways to target consumers in the world’s second-most-populous country.

Bangalore-based Zoomcar allows users to rent its vehicles for as little as an hour at a time, a model similar to the U.S.’s Zipcar Inc., which Avis Budget Group acquired for about $500 million in 2013.

India Wins Its First Olympic Medal in Rio as Wrestler Sakshi Malik Gets Bronze:

Indian wrestler Sakshi Malik won bronze in women’s wrestling at the Olympic Games in Rio on Wednesday, bringing home her country’s first medal of the competition — and she did it in dramatic fashion.

Twenty three-year-old Malik defeated Kyrgyzstan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova in the 58-kilogram freestyle in a thrilling bout, making a comeback in the final seconds to win 8–5. At one point early in the match she trailed 5 points to none.

India’s Ola Lays Off Workers Amid Growing Competition From Uber:

NEW DELHI—ANI Technologies Pvt.’s ride-hailing service Ola is laying off hundreds of workers at a fellow Indian operator it bought last year, a sign of possible consolidation amid increased competition in the country from Uber Technologies Inc.

Bangalore-based Ola last year acquired Serendipity Infolab Pvt.’s TaxiForSure for $200 million in cash and stock, saying the two companies would continue to operate separately. Ola said at the time that it would retain TaxiForSure’s 1,700 employees.

What I wrote at

The Capybaras are Coming. Be Very Afraid. Forewarned is forearmed. How awesome/creepy are these rodents?

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) This Century-Old Map Details the Path to Musical Success

A map from 1913 shows musicians how to become successful: by climbing a mountain toward one’s objectives, and keeping clear of pitfalls like flattery, laziness and “weak morals.” Also: avoid bohemianism.

2) LongRead of the week: “A Monument to Outlast Humanity,” by Dana Goodyear, in The New Yorker.

The story is abuot artist Michael Heizer, who has been building an enormous work, called “City,” in the Nevada desert since 1972. It is not open to the public, but will be viewable in a few years:

After decades of torment—“When’s it gonna be done, Mike?”—the piece is nearly complete. Michael Govan, the director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, says that the site, which lacma will help to administer, will admit its first visitors from the general public in 2020. Govan, who has been raising money for “City” for twenty years, sees it as one of our civilization’s greatest achievements. “Mike started the idea that you can go out in this landscape and make work that is sublime,” he says. “There is nothing more powerful, romantic, and American than these gestures that in Mike’s case have taken his whole life.”

Click through for a few fascinating images.

3) is a fantastic repository of book recommendations.

It’s not a new site, but it’s new to me. The concept is simple: experts recommend five of their favorite books that help explain their areas of expertise. It’s that simple.

Check out WSJ columnist Jason Zweig on the best personal finance books, the Center For American Progress’s Van Jones on change in America, academic and author Ian Buruma on books about the east and west; author William Dalrymple on the best books about ancient and modern India, and much, much more. A truly fantastic resource.

4) “A Critic’s Lonely Quest: Revealing the Whole Truth About Mother Teresa.”

An interesting look, in the New York Times, at Dr. Aroup Chatterjee, who has devoted years to exposing the dark side of Mother Teresa’s work.

5) “The 21st Century’s 100 Greatest Films.”

To be sure, we’re only talking a decade and a half here, but this BBC roundup has some gems.

Have a great week, and let me know what’s new in your world.


P.S. If someone forwarded you this email, you can subscribe here. | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Delhi Snapshot: Nighttime Autorickshaw Ride

Snapped on a rainy evening recently, while stuck in traffic. 

Indian Newspapers: So Punny

Newspapers here in India are serious about their puns and wordplay. Here, a sampling taken just from front pages yesterday!

Snapshot from Delhi: Enterprising Street Dog

Spotted recently in Connaught Place, downtown Delhi: an opportunistic street dog drinking pooled water, after a rainstorm, from atop a parked car. 

He looked at me as if to say, what’s so strange about this, and why the hell are you taking my picture? 

The Capybaras are Coming. Be Very Afraid

2016 08 25capybara


Capybaras, giant rodents native to South America, could become Florida’s next big invasive species, a biologist warned August 3 in Columbia, Mo., at the 53rd Annual Conference of the Animal Behavior Society.

“Capybaras have been introduced to northern Florida,” said Elizabeth Congdon of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla. And there are enough similarities to nutria — large invasive rodents that have caused havoc in many states — to warrant a closer look at the South American newcomers.

Scary stuff indeed. Capybaras: cute and cuddly pets? Or the next nutria? Maybe both? We shall see.

Previously in capybara references: I mentioned in a Newley’s Note edition back in May that I’d been looking into the creatures.

I was researching capybaras – yes, you read that right; they’ve been in the news – and came across this amazing video of two people who have made pets of the huge rodents. Here’s a video of the pair, Romeo and Tuff’n, going shopping.

And of course there’s one of the best videos ever, which I think I mentioned in my very first NN: capybaras taking a dip in an onsen.

How to Achieve Musical Success, According to a Map from 1913

2016 08 23map

Atlas Obscura:

When it comes to finding success, practice does really make perfect.

That’s the message behind this 1913 allegorical map entitled “The Road to Success,” a drawing that turns the figurative journey towards artistic triumph into a cartographic depiction of an actual climb towards victory.

The map appeared first in an October 1913 edition of The Etude, a magazine covering musical topics that was also known as Presser’s Musical Magazine, named for its editor Theodore Presser.

I love it. Applicable to much in life, not just music. Click through for a bigger version. And beware bohemiansim!

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