Posts Tagged 'John Silliphant'

Aman ki Asha: Now Why Didn’t We Think of That!

The Dil se Dil and Aman ki Asha Logos

Sometimes an idea just takes a while to germinate. Sometimes the big guys simply need to feel that the brainchild was all theirs before they’ll really run with it. Whatever the reason, it seems that the time has finally come for a serious effort at an Indo-Pak peace initiative based on simple people-to-people interactions and cultural exchange.

The proponents of this undertaking are two of South Asia’s largest media outlets, the Times of India and the Jang Group in Pakistan. In the garbled, half-literate language of the writers at the TOI: “Starting with a series of cross-border cultural interactions, business seminars, music & literary festivals and citizens meet that will give the bonds of humanity a chance to survive outside the battlefields of politics, terrorism and fundamentalism.”

The project is being called “Aman ki Asha”, Hope for Peace. Shiv Sena suck-up Amitabh Bachchan, no less, is promoting the as-yet vaguely defined bridge-building. The one program they have articulated is a concert (or series of concerts) featuring both Indian and Pakistani pop musicians.

If this sounds familiar, it is because it appears to be based on our lovely Friends Without Borders project and its not-quite-successful sequel, Dil se Dil, both the brainchildren of service wizard John Silliphant.

Continue reading ‘Aman ki Asha: Now Why Didn’t We Think of That!’

Understanding the Gift Economy

Iconic Tiffany's Box with Question Mark

I received an interesting assignment a couple weeks ago: write an explanation of the gift economy. Since the request came from my dear friend Nipun Mehta, to whom I can refuse nothing, I agreed; but I knew from the outset how challenging this seemingly straightforward task would be. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously observed about pornography, some things are easy to recognize and yet quite difficult to define.

The essay, now completed, is included in a new online reference, The Dictionary of Ethical Politics, a joint project of Resurgence and openDemocracy.

Continue reading ‘Understanding the Gift Economy’

A Close Shave, a film by Rahul “Frenchy” Brown

Ouch!

I am pleased – OK, not all that pleased – to present A Close Shave, the latest film by celebrated international auteur, Rahul “Frenchy” Brown. This is an exclusive memestream world premiere.

The film, presented in three acts and a powerful epilogue, is a tragic-comedy of sub-epic proportions. It explores a variety of issues surrounding intravenous (and intramuscular) drug use, focusing principally on the devastating mental destruction that is an all-too-frequent side-effect of the high.

Click on the image below to download and view A Close Shave.

A Close Shave, a film by Rahul Frenchy Brown

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A CLOSE SHAVE
A film by Rahul “Frenchy” Brown

    Cast (in order of appearance)

MBJ as Appendicitis Victim, Stoner, and Furball
Rahul “Frenchy” Brown as Voice of God
John “Uncle” Sillyhead as Amused Onlooker
Archana Sankara as Telephone Caller
Yoo-Mi Lee as Nonchalant Family Member
Dr. Rajiv as Attending Physician
Dr. Randeep Wadhawan as Senior Laparoscopic Surgeon
Santos as the Butcher of Rockland Hospital

    Production

Rahul “Frenchy” Brown: Director, Cinematographer, Editor, and pretty much Everything Else

    Post-Production Sympathy

Mona Panchal
Sachi Maniar


No animals other than me were harmed in the making of this film.

A Rough Day

The Black Knight, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

I had kind of a rough day yesterday, even by Delhi standards, culminating in the removal of my inflamed appendix last night. I am starting to feel a bit like the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Luckily, like the Knight, I don’t have major body integrity issues.

Photos soon.

1,000 Crisp Mohandases

Mohandases

On the CharityFocus blog, Nipun reports on a question posed by Oprah Winfrey on Yahoo Answers: If you were given $1,000 to change the life of a perfect stranger, what would you do?

Oprah received thousands of answers. Nipun comments that, as a believer in the significance of small acts, he’d probably divide the sum into five dollar grants to match the small gifts made to community micro-philanthropy programs like the five dollar club.

Nipun’s reminder of the power of tiny, compassionate gifts put me in mind of a story that goes back a few years, but which is worth a retelling.

Continue reading ‘1,000 Crisp Mohandases’

Fame

Lisa D'Costa
“Is she a model?” Lisa D’Costa with a fan.

All the world has a prurient, voyeuristic fascination with celebrity. In America, the process is so well-advanced that fame is self-reflexive and self-fulfilling. People like Paris Hilton, though lacking any talent or meaningful social value, are considered “famous for being famous.”

But India far outstrips even the American love of the famous. Americans thrill when chance allows them to brush-up against celebrities; Indians crave such opportunities. No event in India should take place without the “felicities” of a celebrity. And if the famous can’t make an appearance, the demi-famous will have to do.

Continue reading ‘Fame’

A Gift of Service

Within my circle of friends, it is not uncommon to give gifts-of-service in lieu of material gifts for birthdays and other special events. Saturday afternoon, the day before Pavi and Viral’s wedding, a small group of friends ducked out of the festivities for about four hours to dedicate a gift of service to them.

Continue reading ‘A Gift of Service’


Blasts from the Past

Man Up!
Man up you pussy!

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

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Talking Turkey
how to cook a perfect turkey in half the time

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

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Filial Piety Awareness Day
Kaki Tusler, Mother's Day Celebrant

... because everyday is Mother's Day.

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America Dreaming Small
American Dream

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

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Serenity and Gratitude to Bring in the New Year
New Year's Eve at Tibetan Pavillion

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

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Incredible Vision
Infinite Vision

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

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Expelliarmus! Harry Potter and the Path to Gandhian Nonviolence
Expelliarmus, Potter, Gandhi, Nonviolence

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

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India Going Nowhere Fast
Nano in Flames

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

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Understanding the Gift Economy
Gift Economy Explained

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

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