I began this blog in November of 2004, to sooth my own hard-feelings about having the New York Times reject my letters to the editor with such alacrity and regularity. In a perfect world, I would hope that my blog might persuade, inspire, inform, and draw attention to people, places, ideas, and events I find noteworthy. In the end, I’ll be happy if it simply manages to provoke, piss-off, or perhaps amuse.

If you experience any of those feelings when reading these postings, be sure to comment.



34 Responses to “About”

  1. 1 Terry 31 January 2007 at 4:35 pm

    just wanted to say hi to all seen some names from the past and took a mental walk down memory lane.

  2. 2 Aaman Lamba 10 April 2007 at 7:58 pm


    I’m the publisher of Desicritics.org, a leading online magazine on all things South Asian. I’d like to invite you to write for Desicritics. Please see this post for more and mail me so I can set you up: http://desicritics.org/2006/01/25/205846.php

    Aaman Lamba

  3. 3 Sylvia Paull 16 April 2007 at 11:25 am

    interesting essay about the constraints for entrepreneurs in India. I think the ones who move to the U.S. adapt to our culture pretty quickly,though!

  4. 4 Project Humanbeingsfirst.org 16 April 2007 at 11:15 pm

    Dear Mark – I read of your observations and experience of Darfur and I have to say that it takes superhuman strength for an ‘accomplished’ westerner to do what you and your wife are doing. Most would be, and indeed are, content with ‘looking from the side’ (see John Pilger’s article). I have also read of your incredible exploits in India, and js has also shared them with me. I am not sure saying thank you on behalf of humanity is appropriate, as thank you is not what humanity is entitled to say for being treated as human beings first!. But I will say thankyou for myself, for being so inspiring – you and your team of volunteers some of whom I have met and been greatly enriched by.

    Zahir Ebrahim
    In California at the moment, usually in the streets of Pakistan scratching my head on when the plebeians will rise to demand their simple inalienable rights of being treated as human beings first!

  5. 5 David Aronoff 28 June 2007 at 6:03 am

    Mark — Too long! How’s the guitar? I’m now a “name.” Give me a shout. Best to Yoo-Mi. DA

  6. 6 Raksha Bharadia 18 September 2007 at 10:57 pm

    Dear MBJ

    This is Raksha Bharadia. I am an author. My debut book ‘ME’ – a handbook for Life (Rupa & Co) is on the shelf.
    The next book Roots and Wings – a handbook for parents (Rupa & Co) would be out soon.
    The current assignment undertaken by me is compilation of individual experiences for the ‘Chicken Soup for the Indian soul’ series for Westland publishing house. The book will carry the brand name of Chicken soup and the publishing house believes it will surely be a success.

    I welcome write-ups from your blog which will fit the Chicken soup format.

    Please send your stories to:
    bharadiaraksha@hotmail.com and mark a cc to rakshabharadia@gmail.com
    before 15th october 2007

  7. 7 mbjesq 19 September 2007 at 2:07 pm


    I’m not big on self-help books or other “spritually uplifting” mumbo-jumbo, but I’m happy to contribute my story “A Gift of Cloth”, which might be appropriate for you.

    Best of luck,


  8. 8 Raksha Bharadia 3 October 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Dear Mark:

    A small question. Are you an Indian?


  9. 9 mbjesq 3 October 2007 at 2:11 pm


    Small answer: no.


  10. 10 Will 25 October 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog http://onethingiknow,net. I appreciate your visit and your taking the time to leave a comment on my post about The Red Wheelbarrow.

  11. 11 finance ninja 12 January 2008 at 8:44 am

    you definitely pissed me off. well done =D superb writer. i mean that. definitely not big on dirty business, but not everyone has the stomache for it. i think you should right more pro/con’s with more business statistics and I might agree with statements more. if you want your work published you have to be really crazy. thats my tip. get peoples attention even if it lands you a couple nights in jail.

    cheers, fn

  12. 12 jessima 16 January 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Hi. I am going to be in chennai, between jan 21 nad feb 2nd 2008. would it be ok for me to stop by pondicherry ,to have a look at your work?

  13. 13 Lakshmi Mareddy 22 January 2008 at 9:08 am

    Just dropped in to say Hi. Am curious, whats with the Indian fixation?

  14. 14 mbjesq 22 January 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Yikes! Do I have an “Indian fixation”? I think I’m just curious — and have ample opportunity to write about — a country in which I live half of each year. So it’s more of a “life fixation.” I discover magic, and horror, just about everywhere I find myself. And one of the fun things about being me is that I find myself in so many different places.

  15. 15 P.Delphiki 15 February 2008 at 10:39 pm

    I don’t think I’ve read anything this profound in a long, long time.

  16. 16 Lakshmi Mareddy 24 March 2008 at 10:16 am

    What is the offline e-mail I need to write to you personally? I did hunt around, but you seem to be more mysterious than the Templar Knights.. Just send an empty e-mail to lak@mareddy.com, and I shall write back in very exhausting, loving detail to which you are not required to return the favour. But when you do, do be your normal acerbic witty self, and make my day! And no, Im not stalking you!

  17. 17 Pramal 16 April 2008 at 3:47 am

    Thanks for your message! You have a brilliant blog and are an inspiration to me! Cheer bud!


  18. 18 Pandionna 7 June 2008 at 10:44 am

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on “The Aftermath.” I see what you’re saying.

  19. 19 temporal 16 October 2008 at 11:52 am


    have read you “there”

    first visit here

    have added this link to baithak


  20. 20 narendra shenoy 18 October 2008 at 6:22 am


    Your blog is great! I was in the process of reading it but the wife feels rather strongly about husbands who sit staring at a computer screen while she is going hysterical about the guests who’re coming to dinner tonight.
    So deep and cultured comments are going to have to wait. I had better run out and get the wine she seems to need so badly.


  21. 21 Sagar 1 May 2009 at 9:13 am

    Hi Mark

    I came across memestream when searching for information about Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy and have been addicted to it ever since. From what little I know about good writing, your pieces and the underlying knowledge is inspiring!

    I am currently a college student from Mumbai studying at the Univ. of Pennsylvania; very interested in social enterprise; plan to spend some time traveling across India and just meeting people who can insipire, guide and teach. I would love to meet you and the wonderful people working with you sometime this monsoon. Will you be in Pondi around from Mid-May – Late June?

    Do let me know. I would really appreciate it.


  22. 22 reta 14 September 2009 at 6:56 pm

    when i search all about manav sadhna..i look ur blog…read and i think its very inspirational words..my name is reta and i work too in some street children NGO in indonesia. I have plan go to india and im interest if can join with manav sadhna…thank u for all ur share about poverty in india



  23. 23 swat 20 February 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Hi mark,

    I’m an indian and u made me feel deeply about many disturbing facts…
    specially i liked the way you describe and comment on things.. ! Great , what do you do in India btw, if it’s not discreet.


    • 24 mbjesq 24 February 2010 at 2:05 am


      I am the very soul of indiscretion — or at least of the semi-public life. To learn more about the variety of projects on which I work within India, click on the “Service” or “India” citations in the “Category Cloud” in the column to the right. That won’t pull up my older essays; but it should bring up enough material to make you sorry you asked.



  24. 25 eric schneider 25 March 2010 at 1:39 am

    mark, you have some good stuff. a member of our indian creative team mentioned your blog entry on REAL HEROES. cool. i met Ritu last week in Berlin, and we will coop between REAL HEROES and http://www.YOUTH-LEADER.ORG

    1) when you have cool stuff about people ( success projects) – this might well fit into YL!, we have global, arab, african, pakistani, indian editions … evolving

    2) link you to our upcoming blog universe.

    what say :-) ?


  25. 26 mbjesq 25 March 2010 at 9:11 am

    I say Eric’s project and it’s website rock! I say you should all click the link in Eric’s message and prepared to be impressed.

    I say to Eric, I’ll shoot you a mail offline.


  26. 27 Tareq 14 March 2011 at 1:11 am

    Hi Mark,
    This is a reply to a post you published on Linda Christensen blog : “Is Spirituality Being Defined in a Way that Makes it Meaningless? My Atheist Friend Sure Thinks So”.
    , I thought to share it with you.

    I really enjoyed reading your post ! and it inspired me to add my two cents!
    I will start with a recent psychological experiment on gifted kids. Dr. Carol Dweck at Columbia University studied gifted children and found that praising their brain power of being intelligent wasn’t a good motivation. That is when you praise their smartness they will link the result of their success with their brain performance. Hence, when they don’t do good or fail they will turn back on themselves and make the only rational link that: they are not smart enough, thus, their brain is defected!
    Now, this looks pretty simply and forward. But how is this linked to the debate about “spirituality”?. We are all different in the way we perceive the environment and our selves, and this has to do with our unique cultural conditioning and the embedded genetics of the individuals. The only door of perception and understanding the world around us goes through our nervous system and ultimately the brain. What makes spirituality a tough subject is that it’s all a mere sensation of the presence of a super power that connects and protects and its totally tailored to the individual unique feeling system of emotional complexity. Trying to convey information of “knowing” from an individual to the other requires a familiar sharing platform that both can access and identify with on the same level of sensation. If I would have met “x” on a trail and told him that I have heard a wolf howling, “x” will probably validate my experience but wont necessarily agree that what I heard could be true as “x” himself didn’t have the same experience that I had. Simply, “x” didn’t hear any howling! But in the same time he can’t deny my experience because he wasn’t in the place I was at. Now, to be objective about my experience of hearing the howling wolf, I cant insist that “x” should be hearing what I just heard otherwise there is something wrong with him!. But if I took “x” from the hand we both went looking for the wolf and eventually found a one! Then “x” will agree with me that my experience was totally true, because we have evidence now. That’s exactly what distinguishes science from spirituality. Science is not unique! Because its evidence based. Find the evidence and prove your theory and then you have one scientific fact. But what is unique is the process of finding the evidence itself. This involves the whole human experience of emotions, psychology, history, social science, environment…etc. Its an infinite process of that reflects the human ever deepening complexity. Our brain interacts with the environment through infinite possibilities of complex system of firing neurons that goes through phases of “chaos” then leading to stability with a new emerging more complex system than the previous one. In other words your brain is never the same after any emotional experience. Spiritually is the process of consciousness that arises from our awareness of ourselves and the surrounding. Its never static to be tested in a lab . At the very moment we are testing a thought process there is another bigger and more complex thought is being born. Our thought process is always taking us to more deeper levels of understanding and its never static. I think any attempt to try to find “evidence” for a spiritual experience is like trying to kill the process of thought itself. Whoever call themselves a Spiritual and trying to convince others that this is the only way to perceive our world and share our views is a sheer reductionist who is trying to reduce the whole complex experience in some meaningless form of words. I don’t see any different from these so called spirituals and a group scientists trying to make everything testable in their narrow lab! . Spirituality gains its momentum from being un-testable. If I can prove spirituality then it will become another dead idea and an era that is ending. To relate to the kids smartness research that I mentioned at the beginning of my post, being smart has no meaning if its measured by the results of the work. On the contrary being smart have all the meaning when its measured by the “experience” and the process that leads to the results. I think what Mark trying to say is rather than to waste the time jargoning about spirituality, he is trying to get into the process of being alive and help someone that is need. It is totally his choice to label his experience of being a “spiritual” one or just for the sake of being a compassionate human. That is “his” unique experience and I honor that! I consider myself a spiritual but I find myself totally agreeing with Marks post!

  27. 28 Chuck 2 May 2011 at 11:17 am

    Hey Mark,

    It was great meeting you on the plane. Thanks for the brownie recipe and I’ll let you know how it goes!

    Best regards,

  28. 29 Gaurav Nagta 24 August 2011 at 1:36 am

    Nicely presented Mark, I am doing a report on the same beach, but could not find the management plan for it. So is there any way you can help me with this. Hope to see you soon mate.

  29. 30 Deepa 28 February 2012 at 10:40 am

    Hallo Mark,
    Not sure where would be a good place to make contact, so I have (arbitrarily) elected to comment on your “about” page. I’ve chanced on your blog before, but when I did a second time last night, took it as a sign that I ought to browse (having recently started food blogging myself, and looking more consistently for models and inspirations I tend to take more things as signs than before :) But I have been quite enjoying the romp–hence the impulse to make contact. Sounds like we share a particular affection for Pondy! I’ve lived here for three years and counting, after 20+ in North America. Cheers.

  30. 31 John Kopp 18 April 2012 at 1:40 am

    Hi Mark,

    A message from John Kopp and Sasja Knigge; long time no see… We are planning to come to Canada this summer (19 July/begin of August). Do we have an opportunity to meet again? Contact me via johnkopp@xs4all.nl please. I wil try to contact Yoo-mi Lee via internet as well (sorry lost your contactdetails).

    Kind regards John

  31. 32 Stephanie Sobel 11 June 2012 at 2:34 am

    Hey Mark,
    Great to see/meet you at reunion. Enjoyed the few minutes of existential discussion via canoe. Also intrigued by your blog; seems you do have a soul after all.

  32. 33 Sumanya Raman 7 July 2014 at 4:03 am

    Dear Mark,

    Really appreciate your writing. We are looking for a good content writer to help us with a project on manual scavenging. Could you please send us your contact details to isardtrust@gmail.com.

    Looking forward to collaborating with you.

    Thank you,

  1. 1 So American! | Pâticheri Trackback on 15 July 2012 at 8:21 pm

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Blasts from the Past

... because the idiocy of manliness is an evergreen topic.


... because Canada and the US will celebrate their Thanksgiving holidays and, regrettably and preventably, not 1-cook-in-10 will serve a decent turkey.


... because everyday is Mother's Day.


... because the American Dream seems but a distant memory, given the country's dominant ethos of small-mindedness.


... to remind us that not every mix of Tibetans and Western spiritual seekers has to be nauseating.


... to celebrate the new edition of Infinite Vision published in India.


... reprised because military strategy seems more cruel and less effective than ever -- and certainly there is a better way.


... because cars are ruining Pondicherry, where I live. How badly are they fucking up your Indian town?


... reprinted because more-and-more people seem want to understand the gift economy. (Yeah!)

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