Memories

Showcase of Memories

Curio cabinets or “showcases” as they are called, were a popular fixture in Indian homes when I was growing up.  They housed items that the family considered to be noteworthy and worthy of display.  These items were not necessarily of monetary value but of sentimental value.  Sporting mementoes, handicrafts, family pictures, religious icons and pictures of saints and gods. During…

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Memories

Tow Tales

We had an interesting experience last week.  I had stopped by the local Indian store to pick some Rotis (Indian flatbread) and when I returned, the van would not start.  After trying to start the van a few times, I called my friend who graciously gave us a ride home. Nikhil was puzzled.  He was puzzled to find himself transported…

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Books, History

Tailor Spy

The little-known story of the 19th-century spy Pandit Kinthup who was the first to ascertain that the Tsangpo and Brahmaputra were the same rivers.

Family, Nikhil

Back to School Again

As a young boy in elementary school, the end of the summer holidays heralded a familiar knot in my stomach.  The anticipation of meeting my classmates after a long break was tempered by the twin nemeses of every schoolboy – homework, and exams.  Fortunately, our son Nikhil does not seem to suffer from the same malady as me. It was…

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Books, Memories

Old Path New Encounters

There are many stereotypes of Americans, some positive and some negative.  “Lack of cultural awareness” is one of the negative ones and to a certain extent, I have found that to be true in my experience.  There were the occasional “did you have elephants and tigers in your neighborhood?” type questions when I was studying at Clemson. “How is it…

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Nikhil

Aal Izz Well, Sorta!

Have you ever desired, indeed craved, something from the bottom of your heart?  Have you talked about it night and day and asked, nay beseeched, only to have your requests fall on deaf ears?  Have you single-handedly done everything in your power to possess it?  After having done this, have you come tantalizingly close to your object of desire, only…

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Memories

The Cycle of Life

The wind blew through my hair as I pedaled excitedly down the street on a “Junior” bicycle.  I was eight and my brother had been teaching me how to ride a bicycle.  On this Sunday evening, I had finally managed to maintain my balance and pedal down the street without my brother’s steadying hand on the rear of the seat. …

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Books, Memories

On Bookstores

If you lived in Bangalore anytime between 1970 and 2010 and loved reading and purchasing books, you have probably been receiving forwards in various WhatsApp groups about the recent demise of Mr. T. S. Shanbhag. Mr. Shanbhag was the owner of Premier Bookshop on Church Street, Bangalore, and was an institution to himself. He, sadly, like many others in India,…

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Books

Panorama – A Selection of Poems

“Didn’t we study a poem called ‘On Killing a Tree?’”, asked my brother. “It was written by Gieve Patel,” he added. We had just started our daily WhatsApp call and I mentioned to him that I had spent the better part of the morning cutting down a tree. My wife had been asking me for the last three years to…

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Books, School

Peshan, the Lapland Boy

My introduction to the word “Geography” came via my third-grade textbook.  It was passed on to me by my friend and neighbor Srikanth, who is a year older than me.  I received it probably sometime in December after the end of my second grade and I remember poring over the black and white photographs of people and their dwellings in…

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