Archive for the ‘childhood memories’ Category

220px-Namak_Halaal_1982_film_posterAlthough I am no expert on the history of Indian or Bengali cinema, like many of us, it has touched my life in innumerable, and many a times, in profound ways – whether as a creative person, as an active member of society, or simply as a human.

Film has a uniquely subliminal storytelling power; it can immerse and transport us in time and space in ways little other art can do.  And while on one end it can be sublime art, on the other end it can be crass, vapid entertainment. So when we consider the incredibly complex nature of Indian cinema – born in the wake of a ravaged political history, broken socio-economic structure, an incredibly complex cultural / religious palimpsest – it is a contradictory mix of deeply humane, relevant themes and incredibly misguided constructs projected on big screen to help millions in poverty or otherwise floundering despair escape for 2-3 hours into a world far from their own; and so, it is at best a questionable influence. But powerful it is. (more…)


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When I was little, I often heard my father say, “Remember, time is money.” So the idea that my time is supremely valuable, was planted as a core value rather early in life. The superimposition of “don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish” meant that I also learned that spending time on minutiae doesn’t help to “save” anything, because even if you do save money, you don’t save time, which, ultimately, is money.

Little did I know that these values would impact so much in my life – so many choices at so many turns – and shape my life, creative and professional journeys. With my increasing commitment to spending my time doing only what matters (see Quality Time: fulfillment, not busyness), the idea that my time is not just valuable, but priceless, has become firmly cemented. (more…)

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This holiday season I can’t help but chuckle again at a conversation a good friend of mine (let’s call her Devi) and I had earlier this year, comparing notes on our respective upbringings with specific regard to things, stuff, gifts … you know, materialism. She was telling me how her mother had one very principled and very uncompromising refrain: We believe in Simple Living, High Thinking. (And given her mother speaks with a Malayali accent, it goes: Simmbile Living, Hiiiiigh Dinging.) On top of childhood trauma, Devi is still reeling from the fact that her mother stuck to her principles even during kanyadaan, refusing to weigh down her daughter with multiple, overlapping strands of 24-karat gold on her wedding day. Now that’s quite a feat; a desi parent sticking to no-materialism principles at her daughter’s marriage! (more…)

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[Adaptated into an essay in my book Thrive! Falling in Love with Life, published Nov 1, 2011. This is also one of my most-read posts!]

Here’s a little story from the Hindu epic Mahabharata, about the renowned archery master Dronacharya training the Pandava brothers in the art and skill of archery. Once, when the five Pandava brothers and Karna were assembled for an archery instruction session with Guru Drona, he tied a wooden fish high on a tree above a pool of water, and asked each student, one by one, to take the archer’s stance. He instructed them to aim their bow and arrow at the fish’s eye, while looking only at its reflection in the water below. As each student came along and took his turn, Guru Drona made them pause in the stance and asked, “Son, what all do you see?” The oldest, Yudhisthira, answered, “The sky, the tree, the …,” and before he could finish, Drona stopped him and replaced him with the next boy.


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Long international flights, like the ones I just did from Seattle to London and back, are great times to nap, watch movies, read a book … and well, for me, often ponder important thoughts. This time, besides making considerable headway on Roger Martin’s Opposable Mind: Winning Through Integrative Thinking, and watching 3 movies, I thought quite a bit about … secularity, and what it really means. (Side Note: Amazingly, British Airways is now showing Bollywood and serving rajma-chawal even on Pacific flights!)

One of the pertinent childhood memories that floated back to me, was of our family acquiring its first ever car. I was about 5 years old, (more…)

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As the stock market plummets, the stimulus package remains under scrutiny and more jobs disappear, what is it about Slumdog Millionaire’s rag-to-riches story that has overwhelmingly caught the Western world’s rapt attention? With the Academy Awards in which the film has garnered 10 nominations including Best Picture and Best Director being only a few days away, it is timely to dwell on the question: why has this Dickensonian tale won so many hearts?

I can certainly tell you why it won my heart – and big time. For one, I am one of those rarer specimens who enjoy mainstream Bollywood and independent cinema with equal passion and fervor, as if two schizophrenic halves of me occupy completely different film worlds, and have never felt a compulsion to reconcile with each other. But in my parallel journeys, rarely have I come across a film that makes these two tracks meld, not as an awkward merger (more…)

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Valentine’s Day will soon be here, and I am inspired to share some of my reflections on love and friendship through my life experiences.

Romantic love stands out as unique because of the special and distinct attribute of sexual attraction. And yet, as I am sure all of us have experienced, sexual attraction can undergo ups and downs, diminish, and even completely disappear. The reverse is also true – it can suddenly and unexpectedly appear in what otherwise seems entirely Platonic. So in either case, what remains as the foundation even in a romantic relationship is … friendship. I have heard it said by many experts that although chemistry and attraction are very important in a romantic relationship, the underlying friendship (or lack thereof) can make or break it. (more…)

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