Monday, April 07, 2014

Wishful Thinking of a Secular, Fairly Informed, Politically Engaged Citizen

The major threats to democracy are

(1) Pseudo seculars
(2) gullible tards, who blindly believe any propaganda without bothering to find the truth, and
(3) politically indifferent citizens.

These are not my lines but lines posted by an fb "friend" who is a hard core right wing supporter, an ardent Modi fan and a dedicated  campaign volunteer for the saffron colored Party who takes his task very seriously and therefore keeps updating his fb timeline with propaganda material issued by the Party, either glorifying the saffron clad saviour, all set to "transform" the world's largest democracy or trashing "the family" and its scion (who obviously bunked career counselling in  school and is now stuck in the wrong profession) or nitpicking on every move made or word uttered by the maverick activist turned politician.

Given this context, when I found his recent post on his fb timeline I was left a bit dumbfounded! Did he not realize that the three points he listed reflected no one but himself and his like minded pals? I mean, when you think about it -is there anyone more pseudo secular than these saffron flag swaying groupies of a party based on Hindutva ideology who are preparing to govern a secular and pluralistic nation? can there be anyone more gullible than these tards/ party followers who devour the Party's propaganda material and out of sheer ignorance label anyone who comes out with a decent informed piece of writing as pseudo intellectuals (this is writers like Ramachandra Guha, Arundhathi Roy! )? and can there be anyone more politically indifferent than these citizens who claim to be "upto date in Indian politics" but clueless on the policies or how skewed its outcomes are or going to be?

On a more serious note- I don't know what the fate of this "Democracy" is going to be but I really wish people made more informed decisions and those literate enough to read, read works of genuine scholars, whose scholarship is based on facts and reflective thinking and inclusivity and not doctored, propaganda material.

Hmm..I wonder if all this is wishful thinking on my part?

PS: Post written out of sheer anger and feeling of utter hopelessness. 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

My Architect On a Friday Evening

Poignant, inspiring, spiritual, emotional, artistic, romantic and an extraordinary journey undertaken by a son. I am talking about My Architect, a documentary on Louis Kahn- the greatest American architect, directed by his son Nathaniel Kahn. Last Friday evening there was a free screening of the movie at the campus, organized by the School of Architecture and I decided to go.

I was touched by  how emotionally invested the interviewer/director (Nathaniel Khan) was, to bring to life this intriguing artist/architect who is his father and in the process try and understand him and the person he was. The people he interviewed-his family, his friends and colleagues and all the interesting memories they had of him and their candid thoughts and insights about the man were brought out beautifully and were truly revealing. The movie is beautifully presented, with touching conversations with people who loved him(especially the one with the director's mother, one of the three women Louis Kahn had a relationship with) and stunning visuals of his architectural creations (The Salk Institute for e.g.). In the end you cannot but admire the man for his genius and convictions and forgive him for all his shortcomings. This clip below, from the movie, best articulates and sums up the man for you.

Below is another clip from the movie- a testimony by a fellow architect I.M Pei and the incredible architecture of the Salk Institute designed by Louis Kahn!

A fantastic movie and a must watch for anyone who loves, enjoys and is passionate about what they do. Louis Kahn- A truly inspiring personality well captured and presented by Nathaniel Kahn in My Architect. Also for me, a wonderful Friday evening well spent!

Friday, March 28, 2014

About A Movie Shot and Set in India

Have you seen the movie The Darjeeling Limited? Well, I just finished seeing it a second time. The first time was many years ago and so the second time felt almost like first time. I read somewhere that Wes Anderson the director/producer made the movie as a tribute to the great Satyajit Ray, who has been a great source of inspiration to him. I could detect elements of Ray's style and sensibilities in the movie, but more than that I liked the movie because it was entertaining, funny and  visually very, very interesting as expected of Wes Anderson movies. Check out these cool .gifs from the movie or better still, go watch the movie.

Have you seen the new Wes Anderson movie- The Grand Budapest Hotel?

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Yes, its been a while. I was bored and I did not have anything particular to say or show even if I had paid a visit and so I stayed away.

Time is flying and yet life seems a bit stagnant. It is strange juxtaposition of time to be at. I tell myself that I deserve a time off after what feels like years of constant work with a minor accomplishment in the end to boast of. Yet, the mind has a way of its own, in constant debate on the value of time and how best to use it. So as these debates carry on fully-fledged, I have taken refuge in books; books that are not directly related to school or my professional interests which is actually refreshing and wonderful! One is a fiction and the other is a non-fiction which I am reading simultaneously (yes! of course it is possible!) and takes me on these journeys, not just in terms of space from Europe to Asia, but in time as well and they are, simply stated, outstanding!
Here is a little bit about them..

Technically a novel, but once you get into it you wonder if you are reading a novel or a book of philosophy. An incredibly beautiful novel, where the characters are fascinating and the language is almost poetic!

A quote from the book -

"we can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come"..  And so..." there is no means of testing which decision is better,  because there is no basis for comparison. "

Technically not a novel, but the facts are so incredible you almost wish it were a novel so that your conscience can escape from feeling responsible. But no, I don't want to escape from anything. I am glad I am reading the book and feeling the gut wrenching  sadness and anger and simultaneously feeling  inspired and  motivated to react.

A quote from the book out of the many that stays with you and gnaws at your conscience, if you allow it to...

"Who constitutes the nation? Only the elite?Or do the hundreds of millions of poor in India also make up the nation? Are their interests never identified with national interest? Or is there more than one nation? That is the question you often run up against in some of India's poorest areas. Areas where extremely poor people go into destitution making way for firing ranges, jet fighter plants, coal mines, power projects, dams, sanctuaries, prawn and shrimp farms, even poultry farms. If the costs they bear are the 'price' of development, then the rest of the 'nation' is having one endless free lunch".

Well, now its your turn to read and let me know if you like.

Monday, March 03, 2014

An Evening

When you have nothing particular to do, you stop at the beach to watch the whales frolicking in the distance, spurting water, capture the surrounding landscape on camera while a crab lies dead getting  fossilized on a rock!  

Friday, February 21, 2014


I have been obsessively listening to this group the last two days. Shared a few of their songs with some friends via email and fb. But this one I thought deserved to be appreciated more and by a wider range of audiences. Although my blog is no high traffic zone, I figured it would still enable access to the song to a wider, international audience.

Believe in the universal language of music and enjoy this fantastic adaptation of an old malayalam folk song by Peethambara Menon and his son Govind Menon (a superbly talented musician and creator of the music group- Thaikkudam Bridge).

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Rainy Weekend Morning

It's a four day weekend and since its been raining cats and dogs, it does not leave you with many options to overcome boredom. I can only imagine how it is to be snowed in and stuck indoors, with sometimes no power!!!! Yikes! I would become a raving lunatic under such circumstances unless of course I have awesome company, enough food and drinks, a few good books and board games to keep me occupied.

Anyways, since none of the above conditions apply to me, I made a rather elaborate breakfast today (for a change). Tried to make French crepes (Giada inspired) and it turned out to be perfect and  was declared decadent and delicious by all who ate. Now two more days to go and the rain's showing no signs of stopping! hmm..

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Lazy Day

Spent a lazy day out. I was planning on catching a movie and then decided against it. Instead spent a few hours out window shopping and making a mental list of "must buy" and "would like to buy" items.
And it never surprises me how tiring window shopping can get! So, tried out a small, local pizza joint and finished off a slice of "Provençal pizza" (yes I know...very gourmet and fancy!!) and headed back home.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Picture and A Few Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, how about a picture is worth a few words and a heart full of emotions?

Magical "fairy lights" for sparkling up a small, dull corner.

Pretty ring sealing a sweet promise

Magnificent machine for all that wild adventures

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

String of Fate

It continues to rain and the weather is all cool and cozy. Although there is work to be done and I am getting quite a bit done, I am not completely ignoring the rains.
So today, while it rained outdoors, after finishing off some writing work, I stayed indoors, made myself some hot coffee and watched a lovely, sweet love story.

The movie is set in Naples, is fairly slow paced, oozes charm and has almost a poetic feel to it. Although I enjoyed watching it, the highlight for me was hearing about the Red String of Fate, something I never knew of before and the kind of things I love hearing about.

The movie is called While We Were Here and here is the official trailer

The East Asian version of soulmates: "The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of time, place or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break. This myth is similar to the Western concept of soulmates or a destined flame". Nice huh?

Monday, February 03, 2014

Rainy Days and Mondays

 Stealing a line from "The Carpenters" as it is what best describes today. I love a rainy day more than any other kind of day but today and of late, I've been feeling- a bit nostalgic, a bit forlorn , a bit hopeful and a bit restless. Quite a jumbled up state of mind. It has been five months since my last trip and I think its time for me to pack and wander again for a bit. The fact that I am overdosed on Antony Bourdain- Parts Unknown is definitely not helping matters!

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Political Dialogues

He: New word in dictionary
RahulGandhi (verb): to talk nonsense, irrelevant to questions asked and make a complete fool of oneself.

Usage: "How was your engineering viva? I RahulGandied it".

Me: Was this put by people who got Modi-fied? ;)

He: Did yoou watch his  interview with Arnab? You will realize how idiotic Rahul baba is.

Me: I did. I could only watch for a few minutes though. He would make a terrible PM candidate or for any leadership position for that matter. This is something that has been asserted by liberal intellectuals whose words I trust, long before this Arnab I am really not surprised.

He: Well then maybe you should campaign for the BJP in the US

Me: I will campaign for BJP the day I get RahulGandhied ;). It is a democracy and people will vote (obviously I don't know whom to vote for because the choices at present are pretty pathetic). But there is the remaining 1 less than the 1.2 billion that makes our country who may vote and decide and lets hope whoever that person is does a good job of being a leader.

(PS: Yep! pretty elementary my political dialogues (between a cousin and me)