Category: Blog

  • I Love Golf, Hate its Culture

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    I love the game of golf.  I love the paradox of its simple complexity.  I love the way it challenges my inner demons.  I love the fact that the golf course is the one place where I am extremely patient with myself (not so patient when idiots ignore the etiquette of the game).  As an…

  • Introduction of Kal Penn (Indian Cultural Dinner at Illinois State University, April 22, 2014)

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    Obviously most college students would know Kal Penn from his role as Kumar on the Harold & Kumar movies or from the TV show House. Personally, I remember him from the wonderful adaptation of Jhumpa Laihiri’s incandescent novel The Namesake, a story about Indian immigrants and the constant struggle to assimilate. But, as I’m sure…

  • Teaching Online??

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    At the risk of offending my employers and colleagues I cannot wrap my mind around online teaching. I realize that it’s a modern version of the old “degree by correspondence,” but I even found that to be problematic. So am I just a fuddy-duddy traditionalist” mired in the past, unable to come to terms with…

  • Heady Bangkok!

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    Every morning at 6am, as the city raised its sleepy torso under a humid blanket, I would set out for a brisk walk on the campus of Srinakharinwirot University (try rolling that on your tongue), the fragrance of spices from nearby canteens and cafeterias wafting towards me on day-breaking slivers of light. Ah, it felt…

  • Artistic Contests–A Paradox

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    Ever since The Dionysia in ancient Greece, competitions have been part of the artistic landscape—theatre and music competitions, painting and sculpture prizes; novels, poems, short stories, etc., all judged so that one may be deemed better than the rest; the list is endless. We have just entered the arts competition season—Golden Globes, Oscars, Grammys, Emmys,…

  • Death of an Artist

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    The agony of time and distance is sometimes unleashed furiously upon the soul.  I was browsing through some news reports when I read this phrase: “the late Chetan Datar…”  Late???  How? When?  I knew this man; met him on my last visit to Mumbai in 2001, when I was making a documentary about theatre in…

  • An Indian Christmas

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    Christmas in India, a predominantly Hindu nation, is a very interesting festival.  The country is so diverse, with a myriad of cultures each with its own language, food, clothing, and traditions, that I am always loath to describe any part of it for fear of suggesting a generalization that doesn’t hold true for the rest;…

  • We are Penn State!

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    After the initial tremors of the Penn State sexual scandal had rippled away I realized that a little retrospection revealed a somber analysis that is unfortunately not surprising at all.  The actions of a perverted coach, while egregious in the extreme, were not the main scandal here; the cover-up that enabled him to destroy so…

  • Raising Cain–Then Downing Him!

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    It took Herman Cain’s sexually inappropriate behavior to threaten his candidacy.  The man who has no experience in government, in fact whose chief “qualification” seems to be that he is not a politician (in a time when some sections of the electorate are leaning towards electing a non-politician to political office, and that the highest…

  • When Foul is Fair

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    “To My Mind, to Kill in War is not a Whit Better than to Commit Ordinary Murder”–Einstein When U.S-born Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were killed by our government a few weeks ago there was in some quarters a mild tone of rumbling dissent, but the overwhelming response seemed to be a collective sigh of…