A Hindu’s impression of the United States in 1917.

One of the benefits of having the archives of the New York Times available for downloading from the convenience of a home is that there is a vast collection of news articles of cultural and historical significance easily available. Today, I came across a book review of Lajpat Rai's The United States of America: A … Continue reading A Hindu’s impression of the United States in 1917.

The Hariome Project

Biologists can be pretty annoying when they’re trying hard to come up with cutesy names. I mean did you guys really have to name a gene required for mammalian development sonic hedgehog after the Sega icon? I mean what comes next? A gene influencing cranial tensile strength named after a pudgy Nintendo chap? But you … Continue reading The Hariome Project

How to eat at an Indian buffet

There is a proper way to eat at an Indian buffet which those who are not desi may not appreciate. Being desi myself, I feel that I’m qualified to advise others. But my qualifications to pontificate on this topic don’t end with a blanket ethnic designation. In an earlier era, I was a graduate student … Continue reading How to eat at an Indian buffet

You know you’re part of the Indian middle-class when…

(Because we all just love stereotypes). Your national element is Indium (In), very malleable and soft, but not useful for building long-lasting structures. You find it normal for random people to get close on buses, but find the idea that two potential life-partners be allowed to talk unsupervised before being thrust into wedlock, preposterous. You … Continue reading You know you’re part of the Indian middle-class when…

Diplomacy in the age of glacial relations

Today, I saw a column in the Sunday Times of India on Indian foreign policy by none other than Indian novelist, Chetan Bhagat.  Mr Bhagat takes a very hawkish line in a whiny tone after the collapse of the India-Pakistan peace talks between SM Krishna and Shah Mahmood Qureshi. If it now acceptable for non-experts … Continue reading Diplomacy in the age of glacial relations

A series of open letters

It is the season for ranting. Actually, every season is the season for ranting. Not wanting to be left out, I've decided to post a few open letters to choice individuals. Every situation is true unless it it addressed to you (in which case the resemblance is purely fictional). ____________________ Dear Paul: I appreciate your … Continue reading A series of open letters

How to tip desi-style – a guide to the “baksheesh”

Pappu Patligali was seated with his friends at at a table in the A.C. section of New Aroma Restaurant located just off of National Highway 6. He was visiting India during semester break and he had a few days to enjoy with friends and family before heading back to the US to finish up his … Continue reading How to tip desi-style – a guide to the “baksheesh”

India though the eyes of a former Viceroy

A chance encounter with a copy of the October 1943 issue of the National Geographic magazine at a library book-sale piqued my interest since the headline article was about British India. I have always had more than a passing curiosity in the opinions of the British ruling-class during the days of the Raj. What did … Continue reading India though the eyes of a former Viceroy

The monumental failure of modern Indian architecture

All great civilizations boast architectural wonders that are not only expanses for the soul, but temples of the mind. I gaze upon temples and stupas and get a glimpse into the heart of ancient India. In the medieval forts and palaces, I am transported into my country's heritage. I look at the Taj Mahal and … Continue reading The monumental failure of modern Indian architecture