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

Poetic Feminist Rant

I talked with a group of poets yesterday. Poetry operates at a level beyond my ordinary grasp; often it reads like an excuse for lazy incoherence rather than stabs at truth. In yesterday’s case, the writers had forged their art around efforts to ensure equal rights and legal protections for women. The event rose above … Continue reading Poetic Feminist Rant

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

Thoreau’s First New Yorker Cartoon

The wordless cartoons of Nurit Karlin. The sketched illustrations of R.O. Blechman. Turns out these staples from The New Yorker have an antecedent in Henry David Thoreau. Had The New Yorker been around, how might Thoreau have captioned this sketch from Journal XVII, kept February 1854 to September 1854? Certainly not as follows: At the steam-mill sand-bank was … Continue reading Thoreau’s First New Yorker Cartoon

Thoreau, Hold the Joe

Noble and wise, Henry David Thoreau also could be irascible, judgy, and temperamental. In Walden, we learn why: a conspicuous absence of coffee. Take his list of supplies: Rice..... $ 1.73½ Molasses..... 1.73     Cheapest form of the saccharine. Rye meal..... 1.04¾ Indian meal..... 0.99¾     Cheaper than rye. Pork..... 0.22 Flour..... 0.88  Costs more than Indian meal, both money … Continue reading Thoreau, Hold the Joe