From Lectures 394 and 397

In 1990 in Madrid I saw a series of Picasso’s sketches called “The Bull”. Picasso began, as most would, with a quick rendition of the animal, head hanging low, exposing massive shoulders and an expansive flank. 2007_2972.jpg From there he proceeded to reduce the representation, removing specifics portions, erasing form and curvateurs until the final sketch was the “essence” of the toro in Picasso’s mind. 2007_2973.jpg

And so it can be with people too. Sometimes a person can live long enough that the layers are stripped away by the passing days and when you look at them you notice that each movement of the body and every phrase they utter is both measured and relevant. This is what it’s like when you meet Professor P. Lal. He is the founder and architect of The Writers Workshop, a publishing house run in minimal terms with maximum output. Check out some of the names who first found a public space with him. He gave me a small packet one day, which contained a book listing Writers Workshop publications, some postcards, and other inserts and bookmarks. One postcard just shows his profile, done carefully but with apparent ease. At nearly 80 years of age he is something of a caricature anyways; from a generation that breathed the bloody, exhilarating dust of Partition and in a mere 60 years since that time now checks emails. Continue reading →


A Simple Kind of Life

Update: The link to the article now contains the full article.

I wrote a while back that I have been having trouble remembering things I’ve recently read, be they books, essays, etc. My (half) joking explanation was, “My brain is full,” and I (half) convinced myself that I needed some output from my noggin if I wanted room for further input. The truth, though, was explained to me by Walter Kirn in last month’s Atlantic: multitasking is dumbing me down. Kirn’s piece is one of the best I’ve read all year, and it’s hilarious. Coincidentally, I read it during a trip where I challenged myself to travel more gadget-free than I had in a long time. Continue reading →

Wicked Googly

53.jpgThis commercial was launched many months ago as India geared up for the Cricket World Cup. I’d been meaning to write about it, but it was pulled quickly after India’s lackluster performance and early exit from the tournament. Now, with India winning the First World Cup 20/20 a few months back, Nike has put the commercial back into rotation (with a shorter version).

It’s a quite excellent advert; captures much of India’s craziness about the sport. My only wish is that they stopped the commercial with the image of the bowler in mid-air as shown above. It would have been perfect, and every time I watch it I end up disappointed that they didn’t edit the rest of the commercial out.