Friday, July 28, 2006

The Namesake

I came across a review of "Interpreter of Maladies" in our to-be-published-ISB newsletter today and that reminded me of "The Namesake" by the same author - Jhumpa Lahiri. I happened to read this book about a year back and was really impressed with her writing. A very subtle story told in the most simple and interesting way. The strength of her writing is her exquisite details - be it describing a meal at the dining table or the interiors of a room. It is still so fresh and vivid in my mind!!

The book is about a Bengali family - Ashima and Ashok Ganguly who are in America, but are strongly tied to their roots, rituals and customs in India. They are blessed with a son, whom Ashok names "Gogol" (after the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol who inspired him). The book centers on how Gogol detests his name given by his father. His parents form a wide network of Bengali friends who meet often and celebrate the special occasions ..keeping up the Bengali tradition. Gogol, is more drawn towards the American culture and torn apart with his dual Indian-American life. But after a few relationship failures and few successes, his perspective changes over years and Gogol starts to connect back to his origin.

Jhumpa has done an awesome job in portraying the subtleties of many relationships - most importantly the bonding between Ashima and Ashok and the mother-son relationship, in addition to describing the culture shock that Ashima goes through when she moves to the U.S soon after marriage - the pain of leaving home and years of tradition. This Pulitzer-prize winner is a must read and a treat to the heart.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


It's been 3 days into a new term and it already feels like we are slogging for term exams! This term seems to have the toughest and not-so-interesting combination of subjects.

"Entrepreneurship" is one of the courses and on the surface seems like it has not many takeaways at the end. I just wonder if "Entrepreneurship" is actually a required course? Can Entrepreneurship be taught? In my opinion this is something similar to Leadership. Some people are just born with it - to become successful entrepreneurs or leaders. I agree that analysis and discussion of 10 or more cases in class do give insights into the various challenges faced by people in different situations, while they just started on their new ventures. But according to me, every situation in life, every opportunity is unique in its own way. Different people give the same data and facts different meanings. The "personality" of an individual also plays a significant role in the kind of decisions he/she takes. So there isnt "one best way" or "one golden rule" to success. You cannot teach people "persistence", "perseverance", "creativity", "self-confidence" , "drive", "ambition" and "risk taking". These are - to a large extent - imbibed in our personalities and hence very tough to "teach" them or inculcate them into us, if we lack one or more of it.

I feel that more vocational experiences and more chances to work together in entrepreneurial initiatives will help develop the "enterprise skills". Facing up to failures - seeing it as something from which we can learn, taking calculated and sensible risks, meeting challenges, networking et al. come from practice and not theory - is my opinion!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Anger destroys reason...

Something good i found while reading TOI... in the midst of all the exam craziness around

Delusion arises from anger. The mind is bewildered by delusion. Reasoning is destroyed when the mind is bewildered. One falls down when reasoning is destroyed.
-Bhagavad Gita

When anger rises, think of the consequences.

He is not strong and powerful who throweth people down; but he is strong who witholdeth himself from anger.
-Prophet Muhammad

I have learned through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmitted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmitted into a power that can move the world.
-Mahatma Gandhi

To be angry about trifles is mean and childish; to rage and be furious is brutish; and to maintain perpetual wrath is akin to the practice and temper of devils; but to prevent and suppress rising resentment is wise and glorious, is manly and divine.
-Alan Watts

Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him.