The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

SPOILERS AHEAD! This week I read Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Namesake". My favourite sections, I think, were the scenes of Ashima and Ashoke (Gogol's parents) at the beginning of the book. They are plucked from their familiar homes in East India and pulled to a foreign country where they are required…

My First Day In Senegal

When I was in London, I tried on several occasions to write down the frustrations I had with life in the city. Each time I failed because I could not avoid, in my own mind, coming across as embittered or defective - as though I had made a mistake (or…

At the Wagha Border

It is a hot day. I’ve been told the Wagha border ceremony is something worth seeing, but I don’t yet know about the peacock hats, the funny dances, the 6ft tall soldiers and the fanfare. In a few weeks, I will travel from India to Pakistan on a…

Rationality as a Coping Mechanism

I think a lot about “complexity”, in an abstract sense, and the mechanisms we have for coping with complex situations. In the physical sciences, there is a concept called “coarse-graining” which essentially means simplifying a system in a way that captures its most relevant properties. So, for instance, if we…