“Biologists often talk about the “ecology” of an organism: the tallest oak in the forest is the tallest not just because it grew from the hardest acorn; it is the tallest also because no other trees blocked its sunlight, the soil around it was deep and rich, no rabbit chewed through its bark as a sapling, and no lumberjack cut it down before it matured. We all know that successful people come from hardy seeds. But do we know enough about the sunlight that warmed them, the soil in which they put down the roots, and the rabbits and lumberjacks they were lucky enough to avoid? This is not a book about tall trees, it’s a book about forests.”—Outliers, A Story of Success (Malcolm Gladwell)
“For being a foreigner is a sort of lifelong pregnancy—a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts. It is an ongoing responsibility, a parenthesis in what had once been ordinary life, only to discover that the previous life has vanished, replaced by something more complicated and demanding.”—Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake, pg. 50 (via enreflechissant)
I missed saying “bhenchod” to people who understood it. It does not mean “sister fucker.” That is too literal, too crude. It is, rather, punctuation, or emphasis, as innocuous a word as “shit” or “damn.” The different countries of India can be identified by the way each pronounces this word – from the Punjabi “bhaanchod” to the thin Bambaiyya “pinchud” to the Gujarati “bhenchow” to the Bhopali elaboration “bhen ka lowda.” Parsis use it all the time, grandmothers, five-year-olds, casually and without any discernable purpose except as filler: “Here, bhenchod, get me a glass of water.” “Arre, bhenchod, I went to the bhenchod bank today (Pg. 10).
Objective: To reveal the epic in the ordinary and create a cultural and historical narrative from the inner lives’ of India’s urbanites, through the mediums’ of photography and writing.
Chandra Shekhar Balachandran, who besides holding a PhD in Geography from Kent State University has also worked as a teacher of geography for over 25 years and is known for his cheeky and subtle sense of humour. I meet Chandra at a coffee shop on St. Mark’s road, chosen for its quietness.
"True expression happens when people leave their country. I believe that people can express themselves in the Diaspora more than they can here. When your homeland doesn’t offer you the freedom to exist freely, people will leave and in time they will have another homeland."
"The further people travel the more they embrace their identities. That’s an old paradigm actually."
"Traveling does give you a different perspective. For some it’s art and literature. For me geography opened up my worldview.”
"Never underestimate the power of symbols in your life."
"In Madras I see these people who still retain this sense of identity strongly." #True
"We move on and adapt. Before I went to the US I would not talk to people based on certain things. I wouldn’t talk to people if they were smoking. And I was painfully shy. America changed all that. I had to survive, I had to teach and so I left it all behind." #Storyofmylife - Ryan Lobo
Only humans can ask these questions and reflect on life. Ka ?! Because humans have an evolutionary advantage. We are blessed with the neo-frontal cortex, the part of the brain behind the forehead. This is the human brain located on top of the animal brain. It allows us to do what no other creature can do: it allows us to imagine!
Hindus smear their forehead with ash or sandal paste or red kumkum powder. It is the dot known as bindi on the forehead of women. It is the vertical and upwardly directed line known as tilak on the forehead of men. It is a ritual through which voiceless ancestors are telling the children they left behind on earth: use this unique organ behind your forehead. It is what makes you human…” - Devdutt Pattanaik
“What if you lived in a country that was fabulously wealthy and no one paid taxes? What if you lived in a country where failure is an option? What if you lived in a country so democratic that you voted seven times a year? What if you lived in a country where excessive thinking is discouraged? Would you be happy then?”—The Geography of Bliss – former NPR war correspondent goes on a mission to find the world’s happiest places and learn what they have to teach us about well-being (via curiositycounts)
“…the only person who didn’t take Gogol seriously, the only person who tormented him, the only person chronically aware of and afflicted by the embarrassment of his name, the only person who constantly questioned it and wished it were otherwise, was Gogol.”—Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake