I hope you are keeping well. As I turn a year older, I am sharing a brief update about myself and would love to hear from you too! Don’t worry if you forgot to wish me. I am sending this to preserve our relationship. But if you already wished me, thank you.

Last year, I published my first-ever academic article. It was about a new satellite-based method to measure drought stress in trees leading to their death. As part of the study, I analysed electromagnetic waves emitted by the Earth’s surface to quantify the lack of water in trees. Writing my first article made me realize how much time and effort is needed to go from an initial result to a finished article- one that has robust results, easy-to-read figures, and a coherent story line.

Last year was also the first time I led adventure trips to encourage people to explore nature and wildlife- on foot and on bicycle (my two favourite modes of exploring). I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in such trips as I got to learn many new outdoor skills (did you know you could start a fire with wet wood by stripping away the surface, and use a small fire to dry the other wood?). I also realized that many who think that they dislike the outdoors often change their minds once they try it.

In the past, I have made birthday wishes like asking you to help mitigate climate change, help the poor and needy and so on. This year, this email is reaching you at a tough time. COVID-19 is now a global pandemic. Thus, as a wish for my birthday, I ask you to take (extra) care of yourself. There are simple practical tips to protect yourself and control the disease spread like washing your hands and social distancing. These, and other tips are shown in videos by the World Health Organization. Protecting ourselves is not a greedy pursuit. The best way to take care of others is by taking care of ourselves first, as it flattens the curve of new cases. Just like every other crisis, this too, we will overcome. But if we act now, a better time shall soon come.

Thank you again for your wishes. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Krishna Rao