Sunday Levity: Handmade writing instruments

Now for something completely different Here’s an excerpt of an article I wrote for Mint Lounge on the wonderful handmade fountain pens of Andhra Pradesh. Several years ago, I heard about a manufacturer of fountain pens in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, whose products were said to have been used by national leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, … Continue reading “Sunday Levity: Handmade writing instruments”

Sunday Levity: Paid views

The Sicilian women who offered this blogger $150m to oppose Anna Hazare An excerpt of my short article in OPEN magazine on the wages of making unpopular points: If the political establishment didn’t know how to respond to Anna Hazare, the mindless thousands who supported him—largely from in front of their television and computer screens— … Continue reading “Sunday Levity: Paid views”

Sunday Levity: What did you learn from Gandhi?

The morals we draw The father gathered the two little girls around him. Since they had disturbed him while he was reading a book on Gandhi, he decided to tell them about the Mahatma and more specifically, why he had a large framed photograph of the man in his study. So he told them the … Continue reading “Sunday Levity: What did you learn from Gandhi?”

Sunday Levity: The Swami and the Emperor of China

Elixir of Long Life and the recipe for sugar In The Real Tripitaka: and other pieces Arthur Waley narrates an interesting episode, a side-story in the aftermath of the first armed conflict between Chinese and Indian forces (see these two posts for the background). In the summer of 648 the Chinese envoy Wang Xuance returned … Continue reading “Sunday Levity: The Swami and the Emperor of China”

Sunday Levity: Tell me Khomeini wasn’t a Sikh

Did the Ayatollah qualify for a PIO card? From Hooman Majd’s excellent The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran: Some secular Persian intellectuals … reserve a special hatred for Ayatollah Khomeini, not just because he founded the Islamic Republic, but because to them he wasn’t even Persian. Since his paternal grandfather was … Continue reading “Sunday Levity: Tell me Khomeini wasn’t a Sikh”

Sunday Levity: INDImag’s short-story contest

Bucks for tales “But honestly, how many of us get excited about editorials?” asks Madhu Rao. (Chances are, if you are reading this, you are one of them. But read on.) In his email, Mr Rao says that INDImag is an out-of-pocket non-profit initiative (sound familiar?) “to get people who love story telling to come … Continue reading “Sunday Levity: INDImag’s short-story contest”

Sunday Levity: A philosophical investigation of bovine excrement

Why is there so much of it? “One of the salient features of our culture,” writes Harry Frankfurt “is that there is so much bullshit.” And since “we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us” wrote a little monograph On Bullshit. Given the profound geo-political, geo-strategic, geo-climactic and geo-olfactory importance of … Continue reading “Sunday Levity: A philosophical investigation of bovine excrement”

Sunday Levity: Now they are infiltrating into our advertisements!

“Get me an air chief marshal, any air chief marshal” This happened. Yes, it really did. (linkthanks Sidin Vadukut) The photograph of former Pakistan Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed in uniform appeared along with those of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi in a full-page newspaper advertisement given by Ministry of … Continue reading “Sunday Levity: Now they are infiltrating into our advertisements!”

Sunday Levity: Babes, do your patriotic duty

What attracts women? INI’s resident military affairs expert (no, no pun intended) sends in an article with the following bit highlighted: Young women who don’t join the army have another important role to play. They may opt to marry army officers and encourage their female friends to follow suit. If pretty young women in large … Continue reading “Sunday Levity: Babes, do your patriotic duty”