The work-life seesaw

I encountered this Alain de Botton quote in an article recently and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it: Work-life balance is impossible because everything worth fighting for unbalances your life. It’s so true. If you’re fighting for something at work (more visibility, a bigger pay cheque), then you’re going to have to do things that reduce the quality time you spend at home. … Continue reading The work-life seesaw

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Twists and turns

Baradwaj Rangan drops in at the Rubik’s Cube Indian National Championships and discovers a quirky, super-smart subculture. Naren Ramesh isn’t the kind of person you’d expect to encounter at the Indian Nationals 2015, the competition otherwise known as 2015 Rubik’s Cube Indian National Championships. For one, he’s 10, a small, scrawny kid with a red backpack on which a yellow octopus is beaming. With his … Continue reading Twists and turns

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Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Movies and memories”

Some thoughts on the fondness some of us have for film-related trivia. How do you know so much about cinema and how do you remember so much? Every time I am asked this question – which is not all that often, but frequently enough to serve as the opening for a piece such as this one – I give some version of the same answer. … Continue reading Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Movies and memories”

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Indian Premier Lok Sabha

With all the hype and media coverage around the elections and the new IPL season, Baradwaj Rangan wakes up finding it difficult keeping the two events apart. My money’s on this. Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be our next Prime Minister. Narendra Modi will lead the Mumbai Indians to victory. Television cameras, meanwhile, will zoom towards an ecstatic Preity Zinta, amidst rumours of a coalition with … Continue reading Indian Premier Lok Sabha

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Power to the people

How to ensure that your politicians aren’t making empty promises? Baradwaj Rangan looks into an initiative manned by eight alumni from some of our brightest colleges, including the IITs and IIMs. Rajesh Malviya, a 42-year-old who runs an executive search firm in Mumbai, first heard of AskHOW India from his buddy and IIT classmate, Yogesh Upadhyaya. The initiative – “to improve the quality of public … Continue reading Power to the people

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Death of a way of life

The Hindu’s Kerala bureaus have been covering the malnutrition deaths in the tribal villages of Palakkad. Here, Baradwaj Rangan writes about life in one such village In the tribal village of Thekke Kadambara, the air is thick with the odour of goat droppings. The animals are everywhere – inside the houses, in sheds just outside the houses (these sheds are hoisted on stilts), and on … Continue reading Death of a way of life

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A century through the eyes of a city

A book as unusual as dates.sites: Project Cinema City: Bombay/Mumbai is best described through the words of Madhushree Datta, who came up with the concept and authored the text. “This volume presents a timeline of the city of Bombay/Mumbai in the 20th century, anchored to its most adored public institution – cinema.” The book, thus, “is divided into sections by decades, and the decades in turn are … Continue reading A century through the eyes of a city

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Waiting for cricket

Ambling around Adelaide, fingers fervently crossed at the prospect of slipping into the final test match at the Oval. The twenty-sixth of January, our Republic Day, is also Australia Day. The Advertiser, a newspaper whose name suggests an unblushing commitment to its priorities, asks its readers about their holiday plans. Tenille Aberle from Mawson Lakes replies, “Taking my new son to the beach.” At the … Continue reading Waiting for cricket

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Lights, Camera, Conversation… “The unqualified joys of lowbrow sensations”

The point of pop culture isn’t some imagined idea of quality – just a sense of throbbing with a common pulse. The last column of the year. Should I devote it to best-of lists? A more cohesive meditation on the cinema of a year that, at the end of this day, will vanish from the physical present, the here and now, and take up a … Continue reading Lights, Camera, Conversation… “The unqualified joys of lowbrow sensations”

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Lights, Camera, Conversation… “The colossal cost of comments”

Everyone has the right to an opinion about your work. After all, they’ve paid a pretty price for the privilege.

What gives me the right to criticise a movie, a book, a work of art, a snatch of music? Perhaps the word “criticise” is too severe, the pedant’s equivalent of a cane whistling down on a schoolchild’s tremulous bottom. Let’s go with the more even-minded “opine.” Continue reading “Lights, Camera, Conversation… “The colossal cost of comments””

Scientific Indian

The director of IIT-Madras talks about playing the mridangam and pondering upon our country’s destiny even as he plays sheriff to a small town. Continue reading “Scientific Indian”

View from a Distance

Ten years later, Baradwaj Rangan looks back at the country he left, the country that seems, somehow, so different today.

The morning two determined terrorists, within a span of twenty minutes, brought down a couple of skyscrapers and snapped America’s spine, I was beginning a day of work in a suburb of Chicago. There was no reason to believe that September 11 would be any different from September 10, the Monday that had begun the week. Continue reading “View from a Distance”

Chip-chip. Chopin. Chennai.

An animation facility in the city pulls off its biggest project yet, at the behest of an Oscar-winning producer. Continue reading “Chip-chip. Chopin. Chennai.”

A Vote for Voting

One day, just one day every few years, a cynic becomes a sentimentalist.

It’s 8 am and there’s a hush over Besant Nagar – not a holiday hush, not the hush rising from the absence of traffic on roads as people go about the business of making a living and their uniformed children race to fill their heads with knowledge, but something more solemn, more portentous. Continue reading “A Vote for Voting”

An airy mini-essay…

DEC 30, 2010 – The good people at Tehelka asked me (and three others) to pick a word — just a word — on which I could write a year-ender piece on. The airy mini-essay is here. Continue reading “An airy mini-essay…”

The Return of Dewar’s


Dewar’s is back in India. And they’re going to tell you what whiskey goes best with Murg Makhani.
Continue reading “The Return of Dewar’s”