Vote

I'm campaigning for nobody. Not much needs to be said. Just fill in the dot beside the name that stirs the least opprobrium, fold, seal, and send. Guide others to do the same. If possible, do it in person.       ##

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The Lights of Navratri

We brought back a replica of Mysore Palace for our Navratri display. It's no match for the real thing, especially lit up as it is this time of year. But we're glad to have it as a central feature of our celebration. Our display consists of five steps populated by dolls. Some represent the gods … Continue reading The Lights of Navratri

A Gift at Navratri

Navratri celebrates female energy and the conquest of good over evil. Appropriately, this year's nine nights marking Goddess Durga's battles against the buffalo demon Mahishasuran arrived in concert with the power of India's #MeToo movement. Accusations of sexual assault and harassment by men against women first took aim at prominent figures in the Indian film … Continue reading A Gift at Navratri

The Story Belongs to All

In search of distraction from my low mood, and the month of foul headlines that created it, I turn to the library of familiar books recently arrived to the shelves of our Mumbai flat. Narratives on writing by V.S. Naipaul catch my eye. The author's self-indulgence aside, he shares my way of thinking when it comes to … Continue reading The Story Belongs to All

What’s in a Name?

Truckload of 229 boxes arrived today. Some in better shape than others. Pennywise, our organization hired the lowest-bidder for the job: turned out to be 'Quality Services Moving and Storage.' Boy, is that company smart! With a name like that, they're free to provide 'Terrible Quality Services,' 'Low Quality Services,' 'Lackluster Quality Services,' and a … Continue reading What’s in a Name?

Ozymandias and the Alter Ego

Dunking Ganpati into the sea is all about dissolution (more). Even so, witnessing his mortal remains embedded in the mud tonight brought to mind the enormous ego of past Lords: 'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, … Continue reading Ozymandias and the Alter Ego

Ganpati Visarjan

Toward sunset ahead of a near-full moon, the tide far out on the Arabian Sea, Ganpati marches shoreward. Carried through the streets on trucks surrounded by throbbing drums, hoisted at the beachhead on a multitude of shoulders, carted across the sand to the edge, then towed, bobbing on the waves, by Zodiac. Ganpati topples into … Continue reading Ganpati Visarjan

Cricket

Travels around India don’t have to include the Taj Mahal, the Gateway of India, or a dip in the Ganges to be special. Our four-day journey to Karnataka state included stops at Chamundi Hills, the ancestral village for which my father-in-law takes his name—Kuppahalli, and half a click from where we stayed, the Mysore Palace. … Continue reading Cricket

Peace Corps, the Musical

Five years ago, I flirted with writing a musical based on ‘the generic Peace Corps experience.’ I tabled the idea quickly. The unique nature of volunteer service set abundant hurdles. Peace Corps Africa and Peace Corps Latin America are different beasts. The organization’s six decades presented another problem. We’d moved from the era of ‘Drop … Continue reading Peace Corps, the Musical

Lord Ganesh

Last week I wrote up the drums. The drums have been overtaken by Lord Ganesha himself. Today, his birthday, idols in his likeness march home through the streets. Ganesh was getting ready for months, built from the inside out by laborers and artisans, men who craft and carve by eye, trained through the bloodlines, directing … Continue reading Lord Ganesh