Sunday, May 25, 2014

Nostalgia - V.S.Naipaul and India - A Land of 171 Million Mutinies

India will swear in it's next Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Economist featured him on the cover this month with the words - " An Indian growth miracle would be a great thing not only just for Indians, but also for the world"

Akash mentions a book by V.S. Naipaul "India: A Million Mutinies Now" that he read 24 years ago. This brought a lot memories back to me. I met V.S.Naipaul when he stayed at the Hotel Ashok, in Bangalore where I worked in the late 1980's when he was researching this book. One of my good friends M.A.Deviah, at that time a journalist for The Indian Express introduced me to V.S.Naipaul and he is mentioned in Naipaul's book several times.
I am glad Akash Kapur mentioned V.S.Naipaul's book and brought these memories back. I like what Akask Kapur says about the recent Indian elections and the results in the NPR story.
"On Monday, Narendra Modi will be sworn in as India's prime minister. His rise to power is a remarkable story. A former tea vendor who speaks poor English, Modi is a distinct outsider to India's political and cultural establishment. His election signals the extent to which India is shedding its old hierarchies and class barriers, becoming a more meritocratic society.
In many ways, that idea — a sense of self-confidence, of individual self-expression — has found shape in Modi's election. Modi's success signals to millions of marginalized Indians that their aspirations are attainable."
What will happen next only time will tell.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Listen To Your Mom to Make the World a Better Place - 5 Simple Things That My Mom Taught Me

The best thing your parents can teach you is common sense and on Mother's Day, I am sharing with you a few simple things that I learnt from my parents, speically my mom.

  1. Buy Only What You Need :
    • When you decide to buy anything a simple common sense check will save you. Do you really need to buy it? 
  2. Conserve Resources 
    • Switch off lights, Don't keep water running beyond what you need. 
  3. Practice Discretion
    • As human beings we overshare and I am not sure I follow this advice but it is important to always "speak in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information"
  4. Eat Fresh Food
    • I appreciate this advice very much. Michael Pollan would be happy. A lot of us would like to go back to the times when food was freshly cooked and the family ate together.
  5. Always Be Prepared
    • When you are in India you have no option. You have to be street smart, master the art of negotiation ( Haggle), always be careful of your surroundings and safeguard your belongings specially while traveling.
The biggest lesson I learnt from from both our parents who left their native village in Andhra Pradesh, India to begin a life thousands of miles away in New Delhi, was never to shy away from challenges and explore new places beyond your comfort zone. I remember all the times that my mom took my brother and me thousands of miles from New Delhi to our ancestral village, traveling by train, bus and ultimately by bullock cart. As kids we enjoyed it but for mom, it must have been stressful. Thank you Mom and Dad.