Sebastian and Sons

One man’s noise is another’s music. When I was listening to classic rock, alternative rock and metal, I could never fathom why people needed any other genre. Ok – maybe western classical had utility as ‘white noise’ backdrop to intense intellectual concentration. When I started dating the gal who would become my wife, jazz entered …

Continue reading

Underachiever’s Manifesto

As a tribute to this post’s theme, I’m just going to share excerpts of this not-so-famous 2006 book. As opposed to providing a commentary on what this topic means to me.  For obvious reasons, it’s entirely appropriate that a book entitled The Underachiever’s Manifesto never really became a huge seller. Written by an American doctor named Ray Bennett …

Continue reading

Mind is deeply blowing

[Title is a hat tip to the recent Bollywood masala flick where the character Simbba turns a perfectly legit American phrase into the endearingly Hinglish “mind is blowing”.] There’s much to say in this post but let me start by urging you to watch this short video where Hanli Prinsloo, competitive freediver turned ocean conservationist, …

Continue reading

Swami Vivekananda on India’s Caste Problem

[Editor’s Note: I don’t recall from which of his books I found this extract. It’s been sitting in my Drafts folder for 4.5 years and is eminently worth a read.] A man from the highest caste and a man from the lowest may become a monk in India and the two castes become equal. The …

Continue reading

The Guide’s trouble with the Censor Board

If you thought Bollywood’s troubles with the Censor Board are a recent phenomenon, think again. R.K. Narayan recounts, in The Writerly Life, his experience with the movie making process of The Guide. He appropriately titles that episode in his book as The ‘Misguided’ Guide. He devotes 13 pages to that episode, fine Narayan reading of …

Continue reading

Minimalist in a maximal world

[Editor’s Note: I’ve been meaning to write this post for sometime. This needs mention because this post has the rare distinction of having only a 2 week gestation period (the median post is more like 3-6 months). On a flight back from Delhi, I started writing. The battery went kaput after two paragraphs. Undeterred, I …

Continue reading

How Hinduism is different from all other religions

[Editor’s Note: Swami Vivekananda opines on how Hinduism is different from all other religions. The emphasis in the excerpts are all mine. This is but a partial extract and has been languishing in my Drafts folder for a year. Thanks to the Doniger/Penguin fracas, I remembered. Here you go.] You hear claims made by every …

Continue reading

The Zoo-enslaved Panther’s Ritual Dance

I forget where I found the extract below. But it instantly transported me to the last trip to Mysore Zoo – the description couldn’t be more spot-on. The desperation of a life in captivity is perhaps conveyed best in Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “The Panther”: As the animal “paces in cramped circles, over and over,” …

Continue reading

Solzhenitsyn and the Struggle for Russia’s Soul

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by George Friedman, Founder of Stratfor, after the death of Alexander Solzhenitsyn in Aug 2008. I received it as part of the free Stratfor subscription. I have two Solzhenitsyn volumes in my book collection but.. they haven’t yet made it home. When I forwarded this article to my Ukrainian …

Continue reading

Swami Vivekananda on Spiritual Conquest (Part 2)

[Editor’s Prelude] This is Part 2 of a two-part blog series on Swami Vivekananda’s ideas on spiritual conquest – from a talk titled The Work Before Us delivered at the Triplicane Literary Society, Madras. In the excerpts below, he elaborates on spiritual conquest – “conquest of the world by spiritual thought is the sending out of the life-giving principles, …

Continue reading