Gandhi Encounters Raychandbhai During an Emotionally Fraught Period
The contemporary obsession with self-improvement traces back to ancient antecedents, as far back for instance, as an Egyptian genre called the ‘Sebayt’ or ‘teaching’ published around 2800 B.C. Correlating current trends with historic parallels, like in the character formation of Mohandas Gandhi drawn from the historian Ramachandra Guha’s illuminating volumes on the leader’s life, we might be both comforted and surprised that Gandhi himself, especially in the early years,
In early Feb 2020, who could have imagined a café conversation between Anshuman and me would soon acquire the otherworldly glow of an irretrievable past? At the hip Terra Bites in Koramangala, a drum near the window displayed a message scrawled with a black marker: “We Are Open.” Even in the fourth phase of the nation’s lockdown, that sign feels as tantalizingly invisible and wickedly beckoning as Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station (from which Harry Potter and his wizard friends depart to Hogwarts).
Few people, if any, can predict the exact contours of the world when we
emerge from the ravages of the Corona virus. But the sudden ceasing of sights
and sounds we were accustomed to – the hubbub at a café, the squeals of
swerving buses – have reinforced the underlying fragility of everything. It’s
heartening then, at such a time, to absorb lessons from Pema Chodron,
Somak Ghoshal: Discovering the Riches of English Literature As a Young Adult
The Mint Lounge has always been a favourite weekend read. Especially the book reviews that dissect the profusion of works spawned by Indian authors. While the Lounge, overall, is peopled by a particularly gifted set of writers, I’m expressly captivated by the pieces penned by Somak Ghoshal. He not only evokes a book’s texture and theme within a tight space,
Aditya Sondhi: Fosters A Living Room Theatre Group
On a Saturday night in January, the wind has a biting snap to it. About twenty people, some with stoles wrapped around their necks, others sweater clad, file into the yellow glow of a living room. There are signs of a party: the clinks of beer-filled bottles, the splash of wine in glasses, water smushed into paper cups. But few other sounds. The conversations are hushed,
David Brooks: Embarking on a Personal Quest After a Divorce
In The Second Mountain, David Brooks, acknowledges with a beguiling honesty, that at the age of 52, he felt suddenly unmoored. His three-decade long marriage had ended, and he was “lonely, humiliated, scattered.” For someone who possessed all other markers of social success – his job and reputation as a New York Times columnist, wealth, kids,
In the historian Ramachandra Guha’s extraordinarily-researched, brilliant chronicle of Gandhi’s life, one gets a fascinating glimpse of his life inside prisons. After all, the nation’s leader often courted arrest for willfully defying unjust laws. For a man who was renowned for being frenetically active, and constantly surrounded by friends, colleagues and followers, one wonders how he spent his time in confinement, which lasted for weeks, months or even years.
After each arrest, Gandhi was prepared to martyr every aspect of himself
Gitanjali Maini: Foraying from HR to the
Situated inside the heart of Bengaluru, gallery g (www.galleryg.com) seems to freeze time and halt the city’s perpetual busyness. Designed with an elegant sparseness – shafts of light on wooden floors, the arresting views of a vertical garden, a lobby area that sports prints of the legendary Raja Ravi Varma – the space embodies a reprieve from the trafficky tumult. When you step inside,
David Whyte, a poet who engages with
American corporations to inspire creativity, once had a transformational
encounter with a stranger. Whyte was in his early twenties, and had recently
graduated from college with a degree in Marine Biology. Struggling to land a
job, he was despondent about his future. Around then, he had checked into a friend’s
farmhouse, in North Wales. On a cold wintry evening,
I’ve lived in gated spaces for many years. Mostly inside apartment complexes, and more recently, inside a project with townhomes and villas. While none have been as elite or as exclusive as Fantasia, the fictional setting in No Trespassing has echoes of the places I’ve inhabited. It’s a very convenient life for people from the middle and upper-middle class – for one thing, you get a 24/7 supply of power and water, access to a host of amenities like a pool and a badminton court – and you also feel like you belong to a community,
Though Ravi Shankar was born in 1920, when India was still a British
colony, he led a fabulously avant-garde life, combining in his creative persona, elements of the East and West. It’s fascinating to examine fragments from the life of the intensely inventive global icon.
His Early Childhood at Varanasi inside A Bengali Bhadralok Family
Ravi Shankar’s parents were Shyam Shankar and Hemangini Devi, a Bengali couple living in Benares. Shyam Shankar was a middle-temple barrister and a Dewan of Jalwahar,
Alberto Manguel: Reading as a Conquest of Space and Time
Alberto Manguel, author of A History of Reading, recalls the
time, as a four-year-old, when he was first able to decipher the signs on a
billboard. He says the new magical attribute – being able to read – felt akin
to acquiring a new sense. After all reading enables the conquest of time and
space, or in the words of the 16th Century Baroque writer,
Jayanth Narayanan, Owner of Mani’s Dum Biryani and Co-author of Secret Sauce and Startup your Restaurant, Constantly Reinvents Himself
Mahatma Gandhi dwelt as intensely on the foods he and his followers consumed (or consciously avoided) as on larger political or spiritual themes. But he would have applauded the contemporary nation’s variegated palates as a hallmark of its receptiveness. Yet India, according to the authors of Secret Sauce, is a “punishing” market for most restaurateurs.
Many years ago, Pico Iyer, who resides in Nara, Japan, had travelled to the San Gabriel Mountains in California. Ragged peaks loomed into view when he turned off spiraling freeways that spun in and around Los Angeles. At his destination, where “a cluster of rough cabins scattered across a hillside,” he was greeted by a small man, dressed in threadbare monastic robes. Despite his stooped back,
In the concluding passage of his Acknowledgements, Adam Grant, Wharton Professor and author of Originals, thanks his three children for compelling him to unlearn many of the lessons that adults take for granted. After all, as someone fascinated by the mindsets and processes that create Original thinkers, Grant himself had to forge a creative path while penning his thoughts. His book does dispel familiar myths about creativity while also highlighting recent research to foster originality in both individuals and organizations.
Henry David Thoreau: The Possession of an Unusual Sensibility
At an early age, Henry David Thoreau realised he was going to be different from other members of his family. There was inside him a sense of the simultaneity of time, of the past and future melding into the present. Born in 1817, at Concord, Massachusetts, as the third of four kids, Henry was a quiet and thoughtful child, often lost in his own reveries. His spirited and firebrand mother,
With disarming modesty, Tridip Suhrud describes himself in four pithy words as a “scholar of modern Gujarat.” While he has been deeply engaged in scholarly practices, he has also, like the sunlit river that bisects Ahmedabad, coursed through a remarkable array of other roles. From being a Professor at the National Institute of Design to becoming the Director of the Sabarmati Ashram, from translating four volumes of Gandhi’s biography from Gujarati to English to annotating and contextualizing Gandhi’s My Experiments With Truth,
Mekin Maheshwari: Quitting A High-Status Position to Pursue Meaning
On the Udhyam website, Karthik’s toothy smile radiates into the camera. A migrant from Tamil Nadu, whose wife and two kids reside in the ramshackle Ejipura slum, Karthik runs a tea shop in Indiranagar. Besides tea and coffee, his menu flaunts dosas and rice baths, Maggi noodles and eggs, catering to both watchful and fearless eaters. After his interactions with the Udhyam team, Karthik is foraying into uncharted territories.
The year 2018 witnessed the release of two memoirs that corralled global readers into attentiveness. The first one was anticipated: Michelle Obama’s Becoming. The second book streaked into distracted lives like a lightning bolt, numbing all our previous notions about education, family, community, religion and government. With its electrifying account of a child being raised inside a fundamentalist Mormon family in Idaho, USA, Educated by Tara Westover not only reshapes ideas about the makings of a sound education,
It can be disconcerting to attempt changes at midlife even under the watchful scrutiny of just friends and family. After all, most of us would prefer some semblance of privacy and anonymity while fumbling into new terrains, especially now that we carry the extra heft of being ‘grown up’. Take that ordinary discomfort and magnify it a million times, and we get a sense of what Michelle had to grapple with, in her mid-forties, as she transited into a new role under the hyper-critical gaze of trailing cameras and a global audience.