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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Books, Nikhil

Cat of Nine Tales

A few months ago, a family of cats took residence in our bookshelf.  While the family itself is fairly reticent, a boisterous youngster emerges each day to entertain our son Nikhil with his various feline adventures before returning to the confines of the pages where he dwells when the books are put away.  Entertaining Nikhil is a bit of a challenge. …

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Books, Memories

James Herriot

It’s 1982 and I’m at the bus terminus waiting for the bus to go home after school.  The bus has not showed up, so I have to wait another hour for the next one.  I have nothing to fear though, I have just checked out “If Only They Could Talk” by James Herriot from the library and I happily perch…

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Nikhil

In His Own Words

A year ago, I wrote a blog called “The Conversationalist” in which I chronicled our son Nikhil’s journey with his iPad. Nikhil is a special needs child and is non-verbal and the iPad serves as his communication device. When I wrote that blog, little did we realize that Nikhil would spend much of the year at home due to the…

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Books, Music

Time, Life and Stoicism via Songs

As another year ends, it is perhaps appropriate to reflect on the passage of time. This is also the second part of my blog on exploring stoic philosophy through songs, particularly Hindi songs.  This blog focuses mainly on Seneca’s  “On the Shortness of Life” (“De Brevitate Vitae”), a moral essay that he wrote around 49 AD.  I’m relying on the…

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