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
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.
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
Frequenting local markets has been one of the joys of my life. When I think of Istanbul, I think of stacks of colorful lokum coated with powdered sugar in the Grand Bazaar. Paris in spring conjures rain-drenched strawberries bursting with flavour in the 12th Arrondissement. Beijing is a hutong market with customers lining up for … Continue reading The joy of exploring local markets
When I'm at home you're most likely to find me sitting on a sofa in a windowless room in my basement, barricaded behind shelves and stacks of books. This is my refuge. This is where I come after fighting against the world. Without knowing it, in this respect I've turned into my father. He had set … Continue reading Books as the last refuge.
Travel by car is relatively comfortable in India these days. The roads are improved and the cars are modern. That was not always the case, and certainly not when I was growing up. There were two kinds of cars- the Hindustan Motors Ambassador and the Premier Padmini- and neither had been updated with creature comforts … Continue reading Oh, the luxuries of traveling by car!
Open the door of the closet you have been hiding in and take a look. There is sunlight streaming into the room. The monsters are gone. It is now safe to come outside and learn the stories behind the dry facts and formulae you were forced to commit to memory as a child. Leaving your … Continue reading Learning