Shopping Carts

We humans have some baffling little habits, and not returning shopping carts to the stand is one for the anthropology class. It’s not because we are pressed for time. We are happy to spend forty minutes every day back and forth in our oversized minivan to go to the gym and run on a stationary treadmill for another forty minutes. But we will not spend the extra forty seconds to walk an empty shopping cart back to its rightful place.

Ugadi – A spring-time, new year festival

There are a lot of grand festivals that are celebrated in India, but it is a humble one that I treasure the most. It is not Diwali with its lights, gaiety, and splendor. It is not Holi with its splash of color and joy. It is not Ganesh Chaturthi with its pomp and processions. The festival I hold most dear to my heart is Ugadi or New Year. I don’t know if it is the symbolism or meaningfulness or the family time that comes with the festival, but celebrating it is one of my greatest joys.

Fairness Cream Industry Whitewashes

Whitewashed

There is an unhealthy obsession with white skin in India. It is like a hidden disease. It infects everyone, is largely undiagnosed and by the looks of will remain uncured for a long time. Unfortunately, the over $400 skin whitening industry in India seems only too eager to play on people’s ignorance and prejudice so it can increase its line of products and profits. In 2010, AC Nielson had reported that this industry was growing annually at the rate of 18%. At a time where we are having critical conversations about tolerance, integration, and multi-culturalism, this growth of the skin whitening industry is a disturbing trend. We need strong social messaging, a conscious move by thinkers and leaders to gently move people away from this thinking. It is not impossible. But it does need all of us to come together and resist.

The very indian creative hack

A tale of Jugaad

There are some words which carry within them entire cultures and centuries of thinking. Translating them to another language does not achieve much. It fails to convey the purport, the essence around the word. To truly do that, one would have to relate a story. The word that prefaces this story is ‘Jugaad’ – the

Remembering the Chicago river turning green

For the ‘Fighting Irish’ spirit

My first experience of a St. Patrick’s Day parade in America was at Chicago in 2002/3. I was studying at the University of Notre Dame – home to the spirit of the ‘Fighting Irish’. A bunch of us decided to make a trip to Chicago to see the river turning green. The weather was crispy,

Chai story

An Invitation to Tea

A new immigrant in a new country has a lot to learn. The practical things are easy to master. It is the cultural differences that is the real challenge. Here’s a personal account of how an innocent invitation to Tea could get misconstrued in ‘translation’.
invitation to Tea.

A Special Day

  Years ago when I was a child, maybe 7 years old or so, we went to a nearby park with my parents and sisters. We played in the grass, sat on the see-saw, held on tight to the merry-go-round as it furiously went round and round. After an evening of play, we nibbled on

Quality or quantity

What’s in a Toy?

We were running some errands one weekend when I walked into a Toy store for an urgent purchase with my 4-year-old. I knew it was a mistake – going there with him – as soon as we walked in. As he reveled in his Toy heaven, I thought of “What’s in a Toy? What is it that holds the rapture for a child?”