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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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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Books, Music

Stoic Philosophy through Hindi Songs

My introduction to stoic philosophy came via a YouTube video.  Titled “Stoicism 101”, the engaging video was presented by Dr Massimo Pigliucci, professor of philosophy at the City College of New York.  Presented at an informal setting, likely a pub in NYC, Dr Pigliucci provides a very good overview of the history and philosophy of Stoicism.  I was intrigued enough…

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Family & Friends, Nikhil

The Son Who Walks

It is the second day of school for Nikhil. After six months at home and online classes in the summer, Nikhil is perplexed to find himself still attending online classes. Each night, he has been asking hopefully (via his iPad) “School tomorrow?” only to be told, “Sorry, Nikhil, no school”. Even though Nikhil’s school has opened and his teachers and…

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WhatSap Are You?

WhatsApp has become a fairly integral part of my life. As with many of you, I am a member of several groups and sometimes, it is hard for me to keep up with all of them. I had planned to write a blog on how WhatsApp has brought people together, has allowed me to reconnect with long lost friends, exchange…

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Mirza Ghalib

Ghalib’s Favorite Whisky

The finest Mughal food served in the court of Patiala owed its origin to a brand of whisky favored by Mirza Ghalib.  Patiala, the erstwhile Sikh kingdom, is now known for its one time larger than life ruler – Maharajah Bhupinder Singh and its larger than the normal measure of alcohol – the “Patiala peg”. In the past, Patiala was…

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