Back I Am

It has been a while since I wrote. Life was doing things to me and the original driver - COVID - has temporarily disappeared. The pandemic wreaked havoc on us, and even as we recovered, we knew what to do and how to address this deadly virus. Yet there are many other things that bring us down, especially people who bring us down, from demonic despots to individuals without morals. Just as COVID left us in a DAZE there are humans who are far better than the virus in leaving us "dead" and spent. And in my life, as in yours, we have seen them all from the cheater who takes you on a ride to the one who comes along and makes things better. Hopefully you will like this new series and circulate amongst your network as well. Happy reading coming soon. 

Denial does not make it vanish

Denial does not make it vanish. The notion of denial is something that a bondhu pointed out to me recently. At a very personal level, I was told that my refusing to see the reality of some things around me does not mean that those things do not exist. As you ponder on this, you realize that sometimes you deny because you do not want to accept the truth you are seeing. It seems too painful to admit, and there is the false hope that denying what is staring at you will somehow make it go away. Look around you right now, if you are surrounded by people - friends and family - do you not see those subtle signs that tell you that you the truth but you are denying to yourself that your husband is sleeping with your friend, or your child is sobbing because of the abuse she faces in school. These signs surround us, a stolen glance that you want to overlook, that constant sob that you want to wish away, or that opportunity you let go that you now regret. For many, denial often occurs at the momen

Trust none but love everyone

Trust none but love everyone:  After my post on February 7, a reader, and a bondhu, said, "I love the clarity at the is awesome .." Such accolades deserve a response, and I said my next piece will focus on my recent book on surveillance, trust and deceptive narratives, and the bondhu offered the tag line for this post - "love everyone, trust no one." My book deals with different kinds of surveillance that are used to identify deceptive narratives. In doing my research I learnt many things, especially what we all commonly know - producing deceptive narratives is a way of life. Lying is unavoidable. But my research also showed how simple it is, with contemporary technology, to identify these stories. My research took me to many dark places, including the so-called underbelly of the digital space, where there is a persistent game of hide and seek since the information must be hidden from prying eyes lest the hand of law reach out. Surveillance here is desig

How Much Do You Need It

How Much Do You Need It: It is no surprise what a person needs and what a person gets are completely different things. This is why everyone learns to do expectation management. And also learn to grin and accept it when expectations are not met. One is also reminded that some expectations are not correct - sometimes those become entitlements and people seem to take the expectations as granted and consider them to be the norm. A bondhu recently said about life - "reprioritize and move on." Indeed that often is the way things work, jobs change, places change and if one expected to live the rest of their lives in a certain way, all of a sudden something would happen, and all the "needs" need to be rethought. Global moments from the Second World War to the recent earthquake in Turkey constantly remind us that what we need from the World, we will not only not get, but we will be reminded, sometimes even rudely, that what we thought we needed, we should not have needed at

That is awesomely shocking

That is awesomely shocking: Today, my dear bondhu and respected colleague visited my class. An internationally renowned researcher, winner of many awards, Professor Michael Hyde, wanted to collect data from my students. Data on the notion of "awe." I have spent many a spirited hour with Michael learning from him about the notion of "awe." Yet, every time I listen to him, I am inspired, and thus again I pondered. We have all had the moments of awe, but as I break it down I am tempted to ask, what are the sources of awe? For instance, some would claim that one is awed by a place. But, I wonder. When I have walked through the edifices of Manhattan, or taken a train through the rice fields of Bengal, or recently viewed the sunset on the Pacific - right off Highway 1 that runs from Los Angeles to San Francisco - I was impressed; I was amazed by the work of nature and how we have harnessed technology, but I was not awe struck, impressed, yes. Standing at Observatory Point

And you are dead

And you are dead. When do you die? The medical answer is banal, "DOA" Dead on Arrival. There comes a moment when the cells in the body, deprived of nutrients, fail to perform the tasks that we call "life." And at that moment, it is safe to burn off the remaining cells, or put it six feet under ground and call it a day. After the ceremonies and some real and false tears, life goes on, except for the cells six feet under or those reduced to ashes and polluting some water body. But this death is banal. It has no importance to the one who died. That person doesn’t really give a rat's behind about the death. Once the person is dead. Till that point it can be an excruciating life of pain or a happy life of being in an airplane hit by a missile and you are dead before you hit the ground. And splatter. But the real death happens when you are alive. And I see the dying around me. Death is the end of memories. When you decide that there is nothing more to remember. Rememb

Of Tall Tales

Of Tall Tales and Stupid People. Be warned everything you hear is a story. I have spent the better part of my career working with stories. We academics call it "narratives." And the more I look at the World around me I realize that I have lost the ability to enjoy a story. Because it is always, oh so predictable, and always, oh so false. You see the tall tales and you see the stupid people who believe the stories they are told and walk around in blissful ignorance of the fact that they have just been taken for a ride. It is easy to find the holes in a story - it is just that you have to look for them. And you only look for them when you accept that everything you are hearing is a manufactured tale with some bits of reality and truth to lull you into comfort and the rest is just fabricated. One then asks why? Why do people pepper their stories with the fictional and the fabrication. The unfortunate truth is that people have things to hide. People are in places of vulnerability