In medias res, NalandaWay



A sudden unexpected gift from a child, in the middle of a crazy day did brighten up my spirits. Kamesh a twelve year old, had carefully scooped out the contents of an egg, painted the shell in bright colours, inserted a cutesy message in neatly rolled pieces of paper, gift wrapped it and sent it through a colleague. There is redemption, our world is not all that bad. Love you Kamesh.

In medias res, NalandaWay

Social entrepreneurship


These days, calling social entrepreneurs to speak about their work is the new entertainment ‘tamasha’ that the moneyed and company types indulge in. “They want to be inspired,” the organisers will tell you, “they have lots of money and their connections can open the world to you.” I have been waiting for that utopian cheque at every one of these events. When they get bored of stand-up comedians they organise the ‘speech of the century that will rock you,’ by the most available bakra in town.

“I exactly know when the aunties in the audience will get teary-eyed,” a friend once told me. And if you thought your work had inspired them and they might actually sign a cheque, my sincere apologies, that was not why they came for the show. It is like shedding a tear when they watch Shahrukh light a bulb in ‘Swades.’ Period. Pop corn time over.

And you got your five minutes of spotlight.

“We loved your presentation. Did you enjoy the food?” the organiser lady in stilettos asked.

“Thank you,” I smiled. Yes, gourmet food at fancy hotels is all that I look for in these events.

In medias res



When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared at me, incredulous, and said, “You mean they forget?”

~ Howard Ikemoto | Photo by Kate Parker

In medias res

Righteous indignation


“The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior ‘righteous indignation’ — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.”

~ Aldous Huxley, Crome Yellow | Art by Mark Rathinaraj

In medias res



I get a huge high when I receive handwritten letters. I treasure the letters that I have received from my friends over the years. Kate Fitzpatrick, a Fulbright scholar who worked at Nalandaway Foundation for the past 4 months gave me this letter. Thank you and wish you all the very best in all your future endeavours.

In medias res

My favourite song in recent times

I do not have the courage to lift my veil.
I am not tall enough to see the fading dusk.
I jumped into the waters, only to collect my tears, lonely and yearning,
Like the hole in a flute that has lost its music.
I have lost my directions,
twirling and twisting
my fickle spirit, is not mine.

In medias res

Free food

My colleague and I got off a long meeting at the DLF Cyber City in Gurgaon this afternoon. It was two and we were hungry. We surveyed the food court and were disappointed seeing the usual suspects.

“Nothing greasy,” suggested my colleague.

After dismissing the first few options we reached “Wendy’s.” The café looked brightly lit with few diners.

“Can we try this?” we were impatient.

While we surveyed the menu, a tall gentleman approached us and said that the restaurant had not yet opened for the public.

Both of us looked at each other in disappointment.

“Why don’t you join us? Tell us what you would like to eat,” he offered.

“But didn’t you say you weren’t open for business?” we were confused.

“Yes, but both of you look hungry. It’s our treat, everything’s on-the-house,” he said.

“Who says no to free food right,” we sure mind-voiced together. I had the most awesomest Paneer Salsa sandwich, Watermelon fizz and super-delicious banana pie.

“Are you guys enjoying the meal?” the gentleman asked.

Both of us nodded, all smiles while our mouths munched away.

Next time you are in DLF Cyber Hub, do make a visit to the Wendy’s. Both the folks and their fare are fabulous.

‪#‎Wendys‬ ‪#‎JoyOfFreeFood‬

In medias res

Raja Ravi Varma


Last week, I had the ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to see the original paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. This was at the Piramal Art Museum, Lower Parel in Mumbai.

I have grown up watching my parents worship the framed prints of Ravi Varma’s Sri Rama Pattabhishekam, goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswathi. To see the paintings in real was a surreal ‘out of the world’ experience. The last show of Ravi Varma’s collection was apparently 20 years back. The paintings have been sourced from collectors around the world.

I particularly enjoyed a very large painting, scene from the Ramayana; Rama questions Sita’s chastity, Sita in utter disgust sitting on the lap of Bhoomadevi asks her to be taken away from the constant humiliation and her sons weeping and heartbroken. I stood there mesmerised. Totally blew me away. This painting is the one on the photograph.

The exhibition also displays oleographic prints that found their way as advertisements promoting soaps and detergents.

The exhibition is free and open to public till the 30th of April. The gallery is at Peninsula Corporate Park in Lower Parel. If you are Mumbai or if you plan to be in the city make sure you visit the exhibition, do not miss it.