Bhrigu's question

कभी जो याद भी आता हूँ मैं तो कहते हैं के आज बज़्म में कुछ फ़ित्ना-ओ-फ़साद नहीं - मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब

Location: the valley, California, United States

Bay Area, Strategy Manager, Haas- U. C. Berkeley, Marathons

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Marathon Day tomorrow

Off to the marathon. The bus ride from Monterey to Big Sur is an hour long. The last bus leaves at 4.30 a.m. on Sunday. The race begins at 6.45 a.m. I hope the ibuprofen helped to reduce the ITB. Let's roll. Weather forecast here. It'll be cool. Woohoo.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Three cheers for Tunku

Tunku Vardarajan skewers Amartya Sen. Delicious!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Loss of neighbourhood

This post is a response to this one, in the superb Churumuri joint blog.

I have also lived in Shankarapuram, in fact, a stone's throw away from Ranga Rao road. At least four generations of my family have lived there. A 100 year old coconut tree planted by my great-grandfather stands testimony to that fact. Recently, my neighbour a 105 year old gentleman, who played soccer with my grandpa in the 1920s on the National college grounds, passed away.

And I bring that up because it is on topic.

I disagree that it was the IT boom that changed Shankarapuram. Old gents like my neighbour and others, who owned (what in today's terms) are vast plots in Shankarapuram, have unfortunately passed on. Their children, grandchildren, who no longer subscribe to the joint-family system, for practical reasons, have had to sell those homes. Well, given the prices of such central properties, the only people who can afford them are builders. They buy them, demolish the ancient homes and build flats.

My Shankarapuram, a pristine area of bungalows, carnatic music, madhwa sangha meetings in nearby Chamarajapet, kacheris during Ramanavmi, still exists for those who want to live that life.

But the bliss of the quiet, civil life is no longer available. It has become a hustling, bustling neighbourhood, and for that I blame greedy local authorities, who have given permits to these builders to build flats in a neighbourhood where trees and bungalows flourished. I do not dislike growth- or as they call it in the US, urban sprawl. However, this sort of unplanned growth is disquieting. I had invoked Joni Mitchell when I had faced such a shift here, in the Bay Area.

I do not think Mr. Murthy is to blame for this. Au contraire, it is the inept administration, that milks us of our hard-earned money which, has to own up to the majority of the blame. And you and me, for not protesting enough.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Tarahumara runners

Article in Runner's world:
[..]They chain-smoked fierce black tobacco, ate a ton of carbs and barely any meat, and chugged so much cactus moonshine that they were either drunk or hungover an estimated one-third of each year (one day on their backs, that is, for every two on their feet). "Drunkenness is a matter of pride, not of shame," Dick and Mary Lutz wrote in their book The Running Indians. And yet, the Lutzes insist, "There is no doubt they are the best runners in the world."
Aside, I will run one of the most beautiful marathons in the world, the Big Sur International Marathon on April 30. This will be my second Big Sur marathon. The race begins at Big Sur and winds up 26.2 miles north, in Carmel-by-the-sea. Most of the race is run on Hwy 1. Visit the Big Sur marathon website and click on virtual tour.

My best in any marathon is 4.32. I did a miserable 5.24 in Big Sur in 2004. I had done 20 miles in 3.20. The next six took me 2 hours. I had muscle cramps. I hope to do better this time, even though I've been struck with ITB lately.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Naipaul interview

Read the full thing.
Which writers would you say particularly fall into this Englishness?

Hardy. An unbearable writer.


He can't write. He doesn't know how to compose a paragraph, no gift of narrative. I would say that the Romantic feminine fiction has that quality.

Even the great ones? Jane Austen?

What trouble I have with Jane Austen! Jane Austen is for those people who wish to be educated in English manners. If that isn't part of your mission, you don't know what to do with this material.
There was a conference at Bath a few years ago and I was invited. I was a very bad conference guest - I didn't say a word. But they gave me a copy of Jane Austen's novel set in Bath - Northanger Abbey. In my recent illness I've been looking at books I haven't read before so I picked it up.

I thought halfway through the book, Here am I, a grown man reading about this terrible vapid woman and her so-called love life - she calls it 'love', having seen this fellow once. I said to myself, What am I doing with this material? This is for somebody else, really. It's for someone down the road, not for me.