• The Stench of Augusta National

    Augusta National Golf Club just admitted two female women into its ranks.  But why are so many people hailing it as a victory for women?  Did women and the so-called Women’s Movement really need authentication by an effete old boy’s network of stodgy businessmen?   On the surface it would appear that they have finally put […]

  • Citius, Altius, Fortius

    The Olympic motto has always intrigued me because across so many disciplines it seems to be honored more in the breach than the observance.  Faster, Higher, Stronger is a clean set of aspirations for athletes all over the world—beautiful in its simplicity and crystalline clarity, with no room for doubt (now that electronic photo-finishes are […]

  • What’s An American?

    A dozen years ago I became a US citizen, joining my children and circle of friends in this grand experiment. It wasn’t easy dealing with the INS and a battery of incompetent petty bureaucrats who forced us to take our fingerprints four times on four separate occasions spread over two years (for a variety of […]

  • I Love Golf, Hate its Culture

    I love the game of golf.  I love the paradox of its simple complexity.  I love the way it challenges my inner demons.  I love the fact that the golf course is the one place where I am extremely patient with myself (not so patient when idiots ignore the etiquette of the game).  As an […]

  • Introduction of Kal Penn (Indian Cultural Dinner at Illinois State University, April 22, 2014)

    Obviously most college students would know Kal Penn from his role as Kumar on the Harold & Kumar movies or from the TV show House. Personally, I remember him from the wonderful adaptation of Jhumpa Laihiri’s incandescent novel The Namesake, a story about Indian immigrants and the constant struggle to assimilate. But, as I’m sure […]

  • Teaching Online??

    At the risk of offending my employers and colleagues I cannot wrap my mind around online teaching. I realize that it’s a modern version of the old “degree by correspondence,” but I even found that to be problematic. So am I just a fuddy-duddy traditionalist” mired in the past, unable to come to terms with […]

  • Heady Bangkok!

    Every morning at 6am, as the city raised its sleepy torso under a humid blanket, I would set out for a brisk walk on the campus of Srinakharinwirot University (try rolling that on your tongue), the fragrance of spices from nearby canteens and cafeterias wafting towards me on day-breaking slivers of light. Ah, it felt […]

  • Artistic Contests–A Paradox

    Ever since The Dionysia in ancient Greece, competitions have been part of the artistic landscape—theatre and music competitions, painting and sculpture prizes; novels, poems, short stories, etc., all judged so that one may be deemed better than the rest; the list is endless. We have just entered the arts competition season—Golden Globes, Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, […]

  • Death of an Artist

    The agony of time and distance is sometimes unleashed furiously upon the soul.  I was browsing through some news reports when I read this phrase: “the late Chetan Datar…”  Late???  How? When?  I knew this man; met him on my last visit to Mumbai in 2001, when I was making a documentary about theatre in […]

  • An Indian Christmas

    Christmas in India, a predominantly Hindu nation, is a very interesting festival.  The country is so diverse, with a myriad of cultures each with its own language, food, clothing, and traditions, that I am always loath to describe any part of it for fear of suggesting a generalization that doesn’t hold true for the rest; […]