Posts Tagged 'Guri Mehta'

Angels, Past and Present

Charlies Angels Logo (1976)
Charlie’s Angels (1976)

Taz, Guri, and Sujatha (2001)
CharityFocus Service Angels (2001)

Zee TV's Antakshari advertisement (2007)
Antakshari Angels (2007)

In doing my research for the cultural history presented above, I noticed something quite interesting. Google “Charlie’s Angels” for images, and you will find thousands of shots substantially identical to the “Service Angel’s” photo which have made their way to the web: casual snapshots of beautiful women (albeit not quite as beautiful as Guri Mehta, Neeta Verma, and Sujatha Babu) in the “Angels Pose.” The thing is: near as I can tell, Charlie’s Angels themselves never struck the pose – either with Farrah Fawcett or Cheryl Ladd. The poster-image, above, was the nearest I could find; and yet the chicks-with-guns (or fully-loaded fingers) image is indelibly associated with TV’s original jiggle girls.

If anyone can find a source for the Angels Pose more convincing than the poster image, post a comment and let me know. Only if scholars continue to join forces in this kind of crucial research will arts and letters continue to advance.


Finding Teachers Along the Way

Each of us bears the imprint
of a friend met along the way.
In each the trace of each.
– Primo Levi

In fact, we bear the imprint of every life that intersects with ours – whether or not the people we touch are friends or perfect strangers, whether the interpersonal contact occurred in dramatic fashion or was barely noticeable. But some people teach us lesson that are so profound that we cannot help but think of them as mentors. Here are a few of mine.

Ashish Mehta has taught me the ineffable value of constant awareness. It is the channel through which compassion and thoughtfulness flows. I consider this the most important ethical insight I have ever been shown – and the most difficult to live up to.

David Cavanero taught me to respect the earth and showed me the interconnection of all living things.

Guri Mehta and John Silliphant have shown me the beauty of modesty, and that white-hot brilliance is never negated by soft warmth, quietude, and humility.

My father, if by negative example, showed me that a sharp intellect is valuable, but empty without compassion and kindness. Eric Zakim reminds me of the astonishing potential of intellect wedded to decency, common sense, and groundedness.

My mother taught me that a person who is full of joy and unfettered by self-doubt can do just about anything, and do it far better than they have a right to expect. She, Trishna Shah, and Uma Prajapati have demonstrated that, while moderation and striking “balance” in life is all well-and-fine, undaunted people can almost literally do-it-all, which is even better.

Nipun Mehta and Jayesh Patel taught me that the opportunity to serve is not only found in doing of grand, dramatic philanthropy, or even in the doing of Mother Teresa’s “small things with great love.” It exists in every human interaction.

Roger Sleight showed me that, despite the common wisdom, one could reach the top of the legal profession, representing soulless corporate clients, while growing in humanity and exercising ethical leadership.

Viral Mehta is my paragon of generosity and friendship.

Manoj Pavithran serves as a exemplary reminder that if one surrenders to the magical interconnectedness of the universe, it is impossible to ignore the joy and beauty in every moment.

Rubin Macaya and Phillipe Mollard taught me the joy of fearlessness. This has, perhaps, been the most formative lesson of my life.

Yoo-Mi Lee and my sister Betsy reveal the very limits of human perfection. Every day.  Neither have ever entered a room they did not make a better place by their presence.  I cannot hope to aspire to this; but neither can I be unaffected by it.

There are two common threads in this admittedly incomplete list. First, the people who have mentored me have done so by example, not in a didactic way. Second, either I know way too many people named Mehta or way too few.

An Atheist’s Wedding Blessing

Sure, it was an interesting assignment; but who’d have guessed that Guri and Nipun’s request that I offer a blessing from the “atheist perspective” at their interfaith wedding would generate so much curiosity. Since I’m often asked for a copy of the text, I’ll reprint it here.

Those of you not able to attend the brilliantly conceived, beautifully executed ceremony (the inimitable Reverend Heng Sure, presiding) will have missed out on the dramatic delivery of my remarks, complete with tearful choke-up at the very conclusion. What can I say: I like these guys!

Continue reading ‘An Atheist’s Wedding Blessing’

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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