Nobel Prize – An arms trader’s legacy

The Nobel Prizes are awarded annually to recognise excellence and significant contributions. It has become the most glamorous and recognised laurel in many fields that can definitely do with more limelight. No wonder then that for economists, chemists, physicists and physiologists world-wide, the Nobel prize announcements bring a level of suspense and excitement akin to the Oscars or Grammys. The Nobel prize that was first awarded in 1901, was actually instated from blood money, the money made on the lives of many thousands.

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To be round or to be sharp

As a youngster who has been (How do I put it?) let’s say on the healthier side as far back as I can remember and one who has been fighting a losing battle against calories ever since I struck puberty, I understand the struggle of my fellow fighters and I must, at the outset provide this clarification. If you were misled by the title and are looking for a motivational piece on staying fit, read no further because this will suck out any remnant motivation from your faltering fitness regime. You have been warned……

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Interpreter of Dreams, anyone?

This morning I woke up at 7:30 AM, after a delayed victory in my fight with a strong urge to stay longer on the cushiony bed. As is customary, I made my way to the balcony for 2 minutes of stretching and a ‘Suryanamaskar’ which has been making doing as my daily dose of exercise for at least a month now. My current lodging in Pune is a corner apartment on the first floor of a seven storied residential complex. My bedroom’s balcony, in spite of being on the first floor, receives ample sunlight and an excellent breeze thanks to it facing an empty plot with no construction.

I walked sleepily to the balcony to energise my lungs with the cold morning air and found that the plot which till yesterday was dry and barren with a bunch of eucalyptus trees adding to the dry look, had gotten a sudden makeover. The entire plot was filled with stagnant water, just enough to reach one’s ankles. The dry eucalyptus trees had been replaced by a species of greener and thicker trees. The wind blowing onto my face was colder than usual and the whole thing felt like standing on the banks of a river or lake. Recovering from my initial surprise and surmising it to be the consequence of the recent showers in the city, I scanned the panorama. I saw in the plot at a distance of about 50m from where I was standing, a red coloured car overturned with its doors open and no one in it. Before I could make any sense of a car having overturned in the middle of the empty plot, I saw Chris Gayle (yes, the West Indian cricketer) walking up to the car. He saw me and gestured to help him get a rope. Continue reading “Interpreter of Dreams, anyone?”

The Curious Case of the Veiled Headman

As part of my work to improve citizen engagement in the governance process in villages while at a think tank in Bangalore, I had travelled across the nation talking to villagers at many Gram Sabhas. Of these, my first ever Gram Sabha was a revealing one. What then seemed extraordinary, seems to be nothing out of the ordinary now after a year of travelling and interactions at many more Gram Sabhas across the nation. Continue reading “The Curious Case of the Veiled Headman”