In this series, I will talk to people who have taken a leap of faith, pursued their passion at a great cost or are balancing their passions with a life that makes it extremely hard to follow those passions. These people should not be seen as heroes or ideals. But they establish that more is possible, alternatives are worthwhile and there is no single lens to look at people and measure them. The series starts with Shivendra Sharma who quit his job at World Bank…Continue Reading “Passion Parade: Shivendra Sharma, Chalung House”

Woke up to quite a few wishes of happy ratha jatra. I did not even know it was today. Was never a big fan of the god or the ritual. The jatra, specifically, is a terrible reiteration of caste and religious exclusivity that the temple stands for today. I don’t know much about the temple or the rituals as I was never interested. But top of my mind, here are a few things that is wrong with the whole institution: 1. The King is a…Continue Reading “Why ratha yatra is a celebration of caste and religious exclusion”

Had a debate with a few friends about death and if we can wish it on others, especially parents. I said we can wish it on anyone. When someone is terminally ill, many of us wish death than prolonged suffering. I have so many friends who have been releived when parents passed away. The sort of moral hegemony that nooooo, i will never wish death for anyone is idiotic and very un-Hindu. Of all religions, it is Hinduism that not just tells you to be…Continue Reading “Wishing death”

You can’t miss Jurassic. I loved it not because I love dinos, I do. I have never missed one. 3 was bad. 4 was ok. But this one is phenomenal. And, it is 2D. You see, 3D is not a technology. It is a tech in transition. Like Bluetooth. Never perfected, never less than a pain. And, given what they have done in this with 2D, I wonder why we need 3D. And, this movie packs so many screams, hugs and high fives, go with…Continue Reading “The latest Jurassic movie in 2D tells us that 3D is shit.”

ode to safeda

There are snobs who say there is nothing called a veg biryani. There are rebels against paneer because it tastes like styrofoam. There are jihadists against chicken because only red meat is meat. Last few days, I i have come across many mango terrorists. Safeda is an impostor, it does not deserve being called a mango, safeda is bleh, safeda is thuuuu, safeda is tatti. I love safeda or Banganapalle or baiganapalei as we call it in Odisha. Baigana means brinjal in Odia and I…Continue Reading “An ode to safeda”

luchi bhaji in guwahati

Close to the Apsara theater in Guwahati was this guy who came around seven and was gone before twelve in the noon. Luchi ( lusee ) bhaji seemed like the national breakfast dish of Assam. So, every cart and dhaba had their own version. Even the hospital that my mom in law was admitted in did horrible parody of this beautiful dish. Anyway, this here was the best of the lot. The luchis were spotless, the curry was chana dal and alu. Many make this…Continue Reading “Luchi bhaji in Guwahati”

I don’t understand how Flipkart buyout is being seen as a Indian success story. One of the Bansals earlier said they want to become a global entity and also wanted to exit if the ever came to sell Flipkart off. If acquisition was the goal, Flipkart could have done that long back. There was no shortage of lovers. If valuation was the goal, that has been achieved, partly. The share market does not think it’s a good deal and the Walmart shares took a hit….Continue Reading “Is Flipkart buyout a win for Indian startups?”

kulhads in kolkata

Kulhads. They are a rarity in Delhi tea shops. There is one guy in CR Park market one who gives chai in kulhads for 15 rupees and in plastic cups for 10. So, every time we land there, I get one Kulhad and then ask for refills. So, if there are 3 people, it is not 3 cups of tea at one go. It is one cup (15) plus two refills (20). That effectively saves 20 rupees, plays foul with the teaman’s economics and gives…Continue Reading “Kulhads in Kolkata”

migrant workers in tea estates

Met two Odia boys at the heritage property we were staying at. One knew he was from Cuttack but never had been there. He was a Patnaik. He spoke a language that was neither Odia nor Assamese. But he plans to visit Odisha once he has enough money and leaves. He was a second generation migrant worker. The other one had a surname that I had never heard before. He could not speak even the bastard Odia. A third generation migrant, he knew he was…Continue Reading “Odias in a tea estate”

Let’s talk about stool samples. Not potty but academic ones. I passed out Delhi School of Economics some 15 years back. Did my masters in a lowly sociology and not the uply economics. But I learnt a lot and lot more than jargons. I dropped using words such as liminal a decade back. I remember the parts about Dramaturgy and can quote parts from my most favorite book- The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. But I gave up on the language because I was…Continue Reading “Academic stool samples”

Jorabagan Police Station

How I became the ultimate authority on Kolkata is a matter of serendipity. We were informed that Jorasanko is closed on Sundays and open on Mondays. That was incorrect. But it led us on a journey that needs telling. We discovered the truth while were well on our way and had to quickly reroute. Thankfully, the cab we had hailed had an amazing bade chacha in the driver’s seat. He smoked bidi, sipped water from the first plastic bottle ever made, talked shyly and did…Continue Reading “The Kolkata heritage tour that you must do”

jack daniels masterclass Jeff Arnett

Jeff Arnett is the Master Distiller at Jack Daniel’s. He is only the 7th Master Distiller of Jack Daniel’s in over 150 years of the brand’s existence, the first one being Jack Daniel himself. So, attending the masterclass was a serious matter for me. Here are the notes:   • Jack Daniels is made from corn and grains. Earlier all whiskey was made from rye, so having a large component of corn was a novelty during the early years of JD. • Rye tastes of pepper…Continue Reading “Notes from Masterclass by Jeff Arnett, Master Distiller, Jack Daniel’s”

If the movie is an ambassador of black power and brotherhood, it communicated all of that wrong. I am giving you just 10 reasons, there are tons of them in the movie: 1. Blacks can’t stick together. Movie starts with the Jabari falling out and ends with border tribe falling out. And, then a brother kills another. Point: Blacks are trademark leaders at infighting. 2. The kingship is apparently based on merit. Here merit is brute physical strength. But when T’Challa is humiliatingly defeated, he…Continue Reading “8 things Black Panther got totally wrong about black power”

Zaika e Nizamuddin

When people talk of passion, I go ‘huh, who stole my bag when I was coming down on the earth train?” However, the good part about being bored is you walk into the most interesting stuff from time to time. Let me tell you the story. Aga Khan Foundation set out with their community outreach program in Nizamuddin basti. The first thing they noticed is the malnutrition among the basti children. A little more research showed that a major reason for it was the fast…Continue Reading “Nizamuddin Eleven and Zaika-e-Nizamuddin pop up”

kalsang AMA cafe non veg platter

Okay, the rule is pretty simple. If the name has a Kalsang in it, enter. We went to the restaurant upstairs the night before and wished to try the cafe for lunch. It was one of the best decisions taken in the two day trip. The cafe is massive, has a great feel and view of the city and hills too. Coming to food, we started with the fries. After a lot of confusion, we ordered the fries with bacon. And, this bacon was better…Continue Reading “Kalsang AMA Cafe, Dehradun”

aapsosh sivsagar assam

This sweet is called aapsosh, meaning regret. That’s absosh, I know, but you know how the bongs turn every a into aa and b to p and all that. This is from Sivsagar, a small but historically critical city in upper Assam. It was the capital of Ahom kingdom and is one of the most important sites, globally, for shiva worshipers. The only other site that comes close is Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar. Anyway, back to aabsosh. It is half chhena and half khoya. Some…Continue Reading “Tasted Aapsosh yet?”

karada homestay coorg

First at the homestay in Coorg. I ask for hot water as a perfect city bred asshole and also because the temperate was really low. Half an hour later Mr. Fixit shows up. He works in the fields, there is a cook and there is a caretaker. All three are from Bengal. Like Indian and Pakistanis in England, we became friends. He shows me how to heat water. Next day morning, we had to drive to Bangalore and to catch the flight back. So, I…Continue Reading “Of hot water and burnt hair”

empires of the indus

Some books take you on a journey and drop you right at the starting point. Some others have no such noble intentions. They take you through narrow lanes, open fields and lonely stretches from which there is no way back. This book is one of the latter sort. When I read love in the times of cholera in college, I had fever, like real fever. Before that it was Chandrara Mryutu, an Odia fiction titled death of the moon. This book is about a lone…Continue Reading “The book to read on Hinduism is not on Hinduism”

The Mumbai spirit is they go to office and carry on as usual even when the city is under 3 feet of sewage water. The Chennai spirit is they will take a boat and give food to some old person who has gone hungry for three days in due to flood. The Bangalore spirit they can drive past toxic foam from lakes, take photos and upload on Facebook and carry on as usual. The Delhi spirit is when the air is poison at 999, children…Continue Reading “Hoping Delhi does not have the Mumbai spirit”