Spain mein Desi Driver

Question: What happens when you drive in a foreign country for the first time after being accustomed to the ‘Indian’ style of driving?

  1. You drive into the pedestrian area and pray that the policeman sitting in the car you have been following, doesn’t look into his rear-view mirror!
  2. You make a deadly turn and almost enter the opposite lane while driving on a highway (at about one sixth the speed of sound!) to end up saving a dog whose motive in the first place was to commit suicide… Continue reading →

The Dancer on the Sill

“Is it true that you can steal portraits from nature as well?”

She did not immediately acknowledge the question, but continued to stare intently at the raindrops breaking off the window sill. I had the unsettling feeling that she could see something that I was clearly missing. I followed her gaze, resting my eyes on the very edge of the window. The rain was breaking into a hundred different miniscule rubies and sapphires where it touched the concrete, shining in the light borrowed from the low flame of the hurricane lamp. Indeed, there seemed to be a fatalistic beauty in it all, with just a sheen of hope to delude the unsuspecting daydreamer. Continue reading →

Lost in Ancient Greece

Two towering figures face each other on the foot of the Acropolis – a woman clad in an armour of the fiercest bronze, her shield bearing the snarling head of a Gorgon, her radiant spear held high; and a man, swirling a mighty trident, glistening in the waves that slowly rose all around him, his eyes gleaming blue with the power of the deepest of oceans. Continue reading →

Food.

Life is short, eat your dessert first! (Because I was bored with the insistence of being a rebel, a man, a lawyer, superman or awesome etc.) Be a foodie! Why? Because you have seen enough of those monotonous writing, reading, travelling, engineering or lawyering up, so far. Now, eat! Until now, you would have never known how food constitutes a large proportion of your social life. It might sound as ridiculous and futile as a cardamom in a plate of chicken biryani, but it adds taste to the delicacy just like food does to your life. People who love to eat are less judgmental and selfless to the lot. Continue reading →

The Curious Case of Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks was a poor 31 year old black woman who died at the age of 31 in October 1950 from metastasised cervical cancer which ravaged every single organ inside her body. During the course of her treatment at Johns Hopkins, a surgeon sliced away cancerous and healthy portions of her cervix which landed in the lab of Dr. George Gey who by 1950 had devoted around 30 years to the pursuit of an ‘immortal’ cell line: human cells that would reproduce endlessly in test tubes to provide a steady supply of cells for medical research. Continue reading →

The Offering (A History of Jacke in 100 Objects #26)

Jacke Wilson

staring-fox

And then something happened that changed everything.

I wish I could start the story that way, because that’s how it felt when it happened: startling, vivid, breathtakingly transformative. Even now it makes my heart race, the moment when I looked down and saw what I saw on our front porch, and the follow-up moment when I pulled the car out of the garage and saw what was there. But you can’t be jolted out of a world without there being a world to be jolted out of. That’s an awkward way of saying it, but I’m a storyteller, not an expert in metaphysics. Bear with me.

And then something happened that changed everything.

We’ll get to the something. But first, you have to know what the everything was.

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We were renting a house on a cul-de-sac in northern Virginia. The purplest part of a purple state, in the section of…

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