Published 20 August 2008
Art & Culture , India , Sport , Travel & Adventure
Tags: A.R. Rahman, Adnan Sami, architecture, Asha Bhosle, Beijing, Bollywood, bribery, China, corruption, dance, Delhi, Gurgaon, India, infrastructure, kick-backs, New World Order, Olympic Games, Olympics, tourism
India and China. China and India.
Whenever discussion turns to the New World Order, these neighboring giants are always mentioned in the same breath as the up-and-comers. I understand the arguments, but remain deeply skeptical about the prospects for both countries, though for vastly different reasons.
With the Beijing 2008 Olympics drawing to a close, one must concede that China has managed to pull off a fabulously successful advertisement for itself, even though its ugly authoritarianism and environmental shamefulness remained on plain view throughout. So the question nags: Could India hold an Olympics that would flatter, rather than embarrass the nation? I, for one, seriously doubt it.
Continue reading ‘Could India Host an Impressive Olympics?’
Published 31 May 2007
Environment , Friends , India , Service
Tags: Anshu Gupta, cloth, clothing, Delhi, fabric, Goonj, Meenakshi Gupta, NGO, poverty, sanitary napkin
A gift of cloth is a traditional gesture of goodwill in India. The weave of the yarns symbolize the entwinement of our lives, and the act of giving stands as an acknowledgment of our fundamental unity.
It is only natural, then, that Anshu Gupta would make clothing the poor his life’s mission. Few people I know are as instinctively empathetic or take the oneness of humanity as a basic, everyday operating instruction, rather than a kind of esoteric philosophy. Anshu understands the metaphor of the weave in an intuitive, visceral way; and as a consequence, he thinks broadly, creatively, and incisively about the suffering of others.
Continue reading ‘Anshu Gupta and the Weave of Life’
Published 25 February 2007
Bio , General Pablum
Tags: appendectomy, appendicitis, appendix, Dalai Lama, Delhi, forgiveness, guest is god, India, kindness, laparascopy, pain, revenge, spiritual poseurs, Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Say what you will about His Giggliness the Dalai Lama, but the lessons he has taught the world about the power of forgiveness are pretty significant.
I count myself in the camp, ugly as it may be, who draw a degree of strength from the art of the grudge. Somehow, I find both creativity and motivation from the self-righteous sense that someone has done me wrong, even as I understand that the energizing feelings it engenders are probably more-than-counterbalanced by the negativity of focus, and know that such enmity is hardly the thing I wish to be propagating in the world.
So, I work on forgiveness. The process is, perhaps, all-the-more interesting because it does not come easily to me. For that matter, it may not come that easily to anyone, even the Lamaisto Giganto himself. Forgiveness is a concept we throw around pretty easily. It is not difficult to utter the words of forgiveness; it is altogether a different proposition to work through the resentment and excise the satisfyingly ingenious, mouse-trap acts of revenge the mind cooks-up, to arrive at an attitude of true indifference to the slight.
Continue reading ‘Finding Forgiveness’
Published 24 February 2007
Bio , India , Service
Tags: appendectomy, appendicitis, appendix, Delhi, Friends Without Borders, laparoscopy, Malayali nurses, Randeep Wadhawan, Rockland Hospital, surgery
People have been writing to inquire about my appendectomy so, for sake of efficiency, I’ll answer one-and-all here.
One day it was intermittent cramps, which I took to be an amoeba and mostly tried to ignore, the next it was hard-core and focused in the lower right quadrant, which I correctly surmised was acute appendicitis. The good thing about guessing right is that you arrive at the hospital carrying your laptop, shorts, favorite t-shirt, and toothbrush.
Continue reading ‘Better Days’
The flow of calls and emails has already begun in the wake of the bombing of the Samjhauta Express, the train which runs between Delhi and Lahore. Everyone should know that we are still stuck in Delhi, awaiting our visas, and will probably not be leaving for Lahore for a few more days. (I guess we have some reason to be thankful for the classic inefficiency of the Pakistan High Commission and Interior Ministry, where our visa applications have been moldering.) We appreciate the expressions of concern for our well-being.
So, it looks like we’ll be walking across the border rather than traveling by train.
Continue reading ‘Samjhauta Express Bombing: We Are Fine, Many Are Not’
There is an old joke in Lahore. A hajji arrives in Mecca and is asked how he feels to be in the heart of Islam. “This is a dream come true for me,” he says, “and Mecca is more beautiful and inspiring than I ever could have imagined. But,” he adds, “Lahore is Lahore.”
Continue reading ‘Lahore Lahore Hai’