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”

Some days before my food writing rant yesterday, something went wrong in the kitchen, a short crust fell apart. I was telling Tanu how she needs to share these stories of failure, of things going wrong, how eventually we picked up the crumbs and it still tasted good. The suggestion seemed original at the time, it seems it has been said and written a gazillion times. Just that social media has made us too embarrassed about sharing our failures. I followed a few food photography…Continue Reading “You are a human, not a toothpaste”

I was talking to this startup owner. The signal was bad. So, we did the “can you hear me, shifted in our chairs, can you hear me now, walked ten paces, can you hear me now, yaaa, much better now” routine and then talked work. He runs a solution that uses satellite imaging for crop monitoring. He recounted how he was on a webex call with his this other guy in Singapore and they did the same can you hear me, can you hear me…Continue Reading “Launching 5G before fixing 3G”

We hate politicians and there are good reasons why. Most of them proclaim there would be no politics of death and then they go on manufacture riots and rivalries and employ goons to impose authority. But, we, the normal people should be normal, right? Death, especially unnatural, should shock us. Be it from floods, riots, train accidents, potholes, hit and runs, no matter what, deaths should grab our attention and make us value life, humanity and just plain existence more. So, when some people brush…Continue Reading “Lynchings are acts of journalism”

The number of resignations in Trump camp has been stunning. These dudes knew they are campaigning for the biggest asshole in the world. He did not doublespeak or had a hidden agenda like Modiji. He was shitting all over the place and his team stood by. And, then he wins and it is time to reap the benefits. That’s when people start fighting and quitting and showing him that they won’t be steamrolled. Contrast that with our case here – judges, politicians, bureaucrats, members from…Continue Reading “Resignations from Trump camp”

If someone tells our maid that i called her a maid in a blogpost, she will slap me. She has slapped me, on the back (not on the face, thankfully), when I walk on the floor she has just cleaned. She will reprimand us if we eat out and the food she cooked is untouched, she will taunt,she will joke and she will shout back when in a bad mood. She has a spare key to the house and we only see her on weekends….Continue Reading “How middle India treats its maids”

Two statements today put a question mark on future of Indian democracy: 1. VHP brings in truckloads of stones for construction of Ram temple. Chief of ram janmabhoomi nyas says it does not matter if the matter is sub judice, supreme court respects public opinion and will toe line. 2. Bengal BJP described the Governor as a dedicated soldier of Modi vahini and will toe the line. I know most right wingers want an autocracy. But the rest should think, do they want every Democratic…Continue Reading “Whither democracy?”

People watching is time watching. Let me explain how. Today morning, I saw a man walk down the service lane next to the NH8 near the airport. High waist pants, really long sleeved shirts and a receding hairline. The sun was extremely strong this morning. He looked hassled. Point being he looked from another time. I recently saw a young nephew who got a haircut that would have been odd in my time. Nothing on the sides and the back and suddenly a crop at…Continue Reading “People watching is time watching”

Odisha. Odias on my timeline may not agree. But as a friend just said, odisha is a majoritariant caste Hindu state. I agree. There are not enough Muslims in Odisha, less than 2% last I knew. The state has no culture of promoting intellectualism or liberalism. The Jagannath temple is the most regressive of all temples, the costal folks either don’t know or abhor the tribals and western odias. Odias are regressive and only seemingly mild because the dalits and tribals are in such bad…Continue Reading “Why Odisha will be next to fall for Hindutva”

Okay, I have been saying it to everyone I meet. Time to say it to everyone I don’t meet. I really like Rahul Gandhi. I know in today’s politics, there is a special place in hell for all who say that. Even then, I like him. And, then one day, he would be PM. No matter what you feel or do, that is inevitable. In five, ten, fifteen, twenty years, UPA will come to power. If he is around, he has a chance as anyone…Continue Reading “Why I am not giving up on Rahul Gandhi”

There is a term in English – whine. It is a senseless, irrational white noise that grabs your attention and keeps you off more important stuff. Whiners are attention seekers who employ it as a strategy. The upperclass, elite, cool cats – or whatever they call themselves in Delhi – are masters of the art. In a metropolis of nearly ten million, you would hardly hear other voices. Just a few dominate all discussion, all perspectives, all city planning – without any value addition. The…Continue Reading “In support of car free zones and rooftop ban in CP”

raja rani temple odisha

I am the wrong person to write about temples. Because, I hate them. Most of them. At least, the ones with deities inside. I am indifferent to mosques and churches. Why? I have never been harassed in a mosque or hounded for money in a church. Actually, no one really cares when you are there in an Indian church. Apart from the peculiar Indian habit of leaving shoes outside, churches here are really nice, calm and friendly places. Mosques have ruled about shoes and head…Continue Reading “About Rajarani temple in odisha and a few others”

The Tamils are intelligent people. Proud, techies and very passionate. But intelligent. Even when they were uniformly called madrasis, there was a reverential respect for their famed IQs.   They occasionally set themselves on fire when a leader died, or half of the state went hungry when a leader fell ill. But who is perfect! Intelligence does not always lead to reason, but you can’t fight law of averages. It pulls down the best of us.   But then a community is led by its…Continue Reading “Jallikattu, Tamil pride and how to view culture”

kiran bedi in pondicherry

Don’t worry about Kiran Bedi. She alright. The house is massive, there is an awesome park in front of the house. The beach is in walking distance. And, every evening, before the guards close the gates, they have these trumpets that they blow, loud and in rhythm. So, it draws you from far and keeps you standing as you watch the opulence. And, then you realise inside there is a political opportunist who is trying to run down an elected govt, just like her counterpart…Continue Reading “Kiran Bedi is alright.”

If I needed friends for advices, I would have got a book of old sayings. If I needed friends for support, the corner pole would be my best pal. If I needed friends for love, I would have got a dog. If I needed friends for company, I would have got a…….friend. So company, it is. Is it ?  

We are in a democracy. The parliament is called the temple of democracy. We can talk day and night about farmers and soldiers and common man and bharat mata etc. But once the parliament falls, there is no country, no nation, no Hinduism. All that would be left is a wasteland. Whether you are a right winger, left winger, centrist wingless or just scum, this is one line that you must never cross. It’s like the dining table of a family, marital bed of a…Continue Reading “Why the PM must not avoid the parliament”

I don’t remember if I heard it from a friend or read it in a study. Memory being inversely proportional to age. Anyway, the point being how so many children in the west thought milk came from cartons. No concept of a cow.   Similarly, if you ask these days, most will say that black money comes from swiss accounts or mattresses or benami properties. The same confusion, you see. Where it is is not where it came from. Black money is generated relentlessly by a…Continue Reading “Why demonetization won’t hurt black money generation”

We, the privileged assholes should stop cribbing. Many have said that. We should only talk about bad service at five stars, no? By that logic, many should stop talking about soldiers, unless they are a soldier or a father, son or husband is a soldier. Crib only about what you have experienced, no ? But today, we should focus on the other soldier. Jai jawan, jai kisan, remember ?? These days, it is all jawan, no kisan. While I agreed to the demonetization in the…Continue Reading “Demonetization: Jai jawan, jai kisan, remember ?”

Writing stories is all about control. About letting go, but also about control. About subjecting yourself to unknown forces, but also about control. In our lives we downplay real threats as imaginary and perceived just to stay alive. On the contrary, in the fictional world of our creation, it would be hard to write if the stresses and didn’t seem real, so a writer has to exaggerate or has to heighten one’s sense of empathy, not shield it. The sense of warm, comforting control comes…Continue Reading “Story writing as a means of control”

The thing about magic, it is not a process, it is not gradual.It is instantaneous.There is no then it was all magical. It was magical or not. You don’t climb a hill and then it slowly becomes magical. It is all beautiful until you reach the peak and then look around. That’s magic. It’s quite heretical to generalise magic or to misunderstand it. If you don’t remember a singular moment when it happened, it is not magic.