Very Biryani

Here's a succulent dish: Biryani! Five layers of vegetable and rice pulao filling a casserole dish to the top. On the side, raita, a seasoned yogurt with diced tomato and shaved cucumber. I prepared the vegetables and rice separately, for the vegetables chopping eight cups of colorful peppers, broccoli, peas, carrots, and green beans into one-inch … Continue reading Very Biryani

Lockdown Countdown

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last night announced a nationwide lockdown, freezing 1.3 billion citizens in place starting at midnight tonight (coinciding with Ugadi, the first day of the New Year on the Hindu calendar). What a relief! For weeks I’ve been grappling with the lack of an end to coronavirus anxiety. Now we know. … Continue reading Lockdown Countdown

COVID, or Covfefe?

Covfefe is the sound of an old man choking on his attempt to say "COVID" While forced isolation has us looking for ways to pass the time at home, I look for something meaningful to read and settle on Poe. The meandering path of my literary pursuit began this morning with Book Fight!, a Podcast … Continue reading COVID, or Covfefe?

Gandhi at 150

It's been 150 years since Gandhi's birth, initiating a circle that goes round today. This year Gandhi Jayanti falls on the fourth day of Navratri, and so we've made his iconic ashram part of our annual display. It's nearly finished, this replica of his simple home on the banks of the Sabarmati River in Gujarat. … Continue reading Gandhi at 150

Holidays Upon Us

It's that time of year! The lights are out and the home is warm. For the next weeks and months we'll enjoy the soft glow of string lights. Here in Western India Navratri begins tomorrow. It lasts nine nights. Throughout the period, in this part of the country, we'll recognize the victory of good over … Continue reading Holidays Upon Us

It Rains, It Pours

Tuesday I flew to Delhi, this kitchen knife concealed in my shoulder bag. Security missed the 5-½” blade. Wednesday my phone blew up during a seminar I was conducting with 90 colleagues, a deluge of messages from Mumbai, much of the city underwater, including the 5km stretch between my son’s elementary school and home. A … Continue reading It Rains, It Pours

Ground Control to Chandrayaan

To India's space scientists today: Keep your eyes toward the heavens... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNuSD49chY8 Your efforts these last eight years, culminating in a profound silence from Lunar Lander Vikram moments before touchdown, share a vast and spirited company. Brave adventurers have gone before you and not returned. Their sacrifices line our memories. Their endeavors fire our imagination. Your vision … Continue reading Ground Control to Chandrayaan

Ganesh Chaturthi

Today marks the birthday of Lord Ganesh. Witness his creation! Part man, part elephant, Lord Ganesh is made of plaster from the inside out. Finally he's painted and draped in finery. Behold his glory! For the next ten days, he'll be paraded through the streets of Mumbai to be immersed into the Arabian Sea. Happy Ganesh … Continue reading Ganesh Chaturthi

Rain

The monsoon retains a grip on Mumbai. Heavy storms blow in today, sideways, slashing bellows of water from the sky. Socked in on the 14th floor, we overlook only mist and cloud, the teeming city obscured. Twenty-five million people hunker beneath this umbrella of rain. Some of my pleasantest hours were during the long rain storms … Continue reading Rain

Fly America, Call the Philippines (pt II)

When your official government itinerary on U.S.-flag contract carrier United Airlines is thrown into disarray because of concerns about flying over Iranian air space... ...and the United agents can't confirm the final leg of your trip (which includes traveling on Air Canada, Germany's Lufthansa, and Air India) for 24 hours... ...so that after two hours on … Continue reading Fly America, Call the Philippines (pt II)