I’ve been using social media, on and off, for a little over a decade. I was taking a short break from Twitter for a few weeks, but by force of habit I lurked for a few minutes to see what was on the minds of the people I follow. That was the day Kunal Kamra … Continue reading Why we tweet what we tweet
The use of fingerprints to identify who was at a crime-scene is standard forensic practice, and well known in the general public. (What you may not know is that two Bengalis, Azizul Haque and Hem Chandra Bose developed the fingerprint classification system that forms the basis of modern fingerprint identification). Fingerprints are useful in telling … Continue reading Dating fingerprints
The aesthetic quality of cinema
There is a wonderful vignette representative of Satyajit Ray that was published in May, 1989 in The New York Times that I must share. Ray had been sidelined by heart disease, and after half a decade, Ganashatru, which he had finished in 28 days was about to premiere at Cannes. Asked by Barbara Crossette why … Continue reading The aesthetic quality of cinema
Of mornings and afternoons
Sometimes I watch a movie after a really long time and find that my impressions of it have changed drastically. Watching “Bikele Bhorer Phul” two decades after first seeing it, I certainly feel that way. This is a Bengali film made in 1974 by a director who kind of fell into obscurity (Piyush Bose). Virtually, … Continue reading Of mornings and afternoons
Gratitude is hard for me. It is hard because I wake up with expectations. But I shouldn’t take my life for granted: sentient existence is a gift. Billions of years of evolution and a series of highly-improbable random events resulted in me being here this precise moment and in my body functioning against all odds … Continue reading My gratitude
When music reaches the exalted height of perfection, it is like an architectural masterpiece bereft of any extraneous building blocks. If you remove a single note, then the entire musical edifice comes tumbling down. If you add a note, the structure loses its minimal aesthetic. As in the physical world, in music such perfection is … Continue reading Perfect music
The blindness of privilege
It was one of those trips to visit my grandparents in the ancestral village when I was a young boy, and nothing quite out of the ordinary. An elderly man who had worked my grandfather's fields had come to see me. I touched his feet, as I had been taught to do for all elders. … Continue reading The blindness of privilege
In the Land of the Sun
Shortly after winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1990, Mexico’s most famous poet and essayist, Octavio Paz, was asked by The Paris Review why he lived in Mexico City. “Living in the heart of Mexico is neither an inspiration nor an obstacle. It’s a challenge,” answered Paz, adding, “if you live in Mexico, you’ve got to … Continue reading In the Land of the Sun
The problem with superfoods.
Incomplete knowledge, or lack of understanding can be a very dangerous thing. I was reading a newspaper article with a list of "superfoods" supposedly good for health. The feature listed fruit jam, bacon, cheddar cheese, ice cream, potatoes, coffee, chocolate, and red wine as being beneficial to health based on certain inherent properties. On the … Continue reading The problem with superfoods.
Crossing the River
When I was 25, I consigned my grandmother to flames on the banks of the Kangsabati River. A few months later, I left that town, with my belongings in two suitcases. I crossed the bridge over the river, leaving behind my ageing parents, the home where I had planted trees and footprints, and the woman … Continue reading Crossing the River