Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Links: Missing links and Other Things

I can’t go wrong today, it seems. Every day brings exhortations from my social media timelines – links that lead to news, videos, cat videos, absorbing views, activism, personal photo albums... the lot. Today, link after link led to gold, so I’m just collating it all.

First thing in the morning, my friend Samanth Subramanian’s most excellent and moving essay about his grandfather, whom he says he didn’t question closely enough when he was alive. (I find that shocking – Samanth has at least half a dozen questions for anyone.) But now with the man himself obscured by death, Samanth tries to make ‘forensic guesses’ about his grandfather’s life, to build a sketchy biography, and a tribute.

He says: “There is some complicated guilt here too, lurking in the corner but unavoidable. I have felt as if I am personally responsible for rupturing traditions that run back many generations and that are still alive, to some extent, in the person of my father... under my uncaring stewardship, a certain continuity has snapped, and a vast body of inherited knowledge has suddenly and irreversibly decayed.”

How this resonates with me! Particularly since my mother’s death, I find myself stupidly at a loss – and feel many pangs over this heritage that could have been mine if I had only respected, valued it more. Between my grandmother’s lifestyle and mine is such a world of difference and I know whose is shallower, poorer.

In the same vein allow me to link (although I came across it a few weeks ago) to another fine piece that speaks of a culture, a past we have wantonly let go of.

When Shweta and I discuss this loss, we are agreed that the blame lies with our parents’ generation – our doting parents who loved their parents but didn’t respect them enough, who looked too much to the future, to western educations, to success, to expanding their horizons beyond anything their forefathers had dreamt of. Theirs the blame for not holding on tightly enough, for their lack of conviction, for not insisting that we, their children, learn and carry on some of it, for letting it all sink before we thought to grasp it. Is that too harsh? I am not bitter, only regretful.


Another link today led to this wonderful interview with actor Kangana Ranaut. She’s astonishingly poised, impressively mature (she’s 26!) and devoid of artifice or affectation.


My Guru talks of knowing rain: “If you walk through the rain with utmost awareness, you will know rain in a certain way. But if you walk through the rain with absolute abandon, you will know rain another way.” Isn’t that like holding on to moon beams? Can one know rain? He says maybe. That’s what I’m after. Which way I still don’t know, but I’ll know in the end. Or it won’t matter.

But let Sadhguru speak for himself.


And though I didn’t come across these links today-today, these TED talks enlivened my week, so they go in here too.

Iwan Baan on how people carve out homes in unexpected places and ways:

This unexpectedly moving lecture on muses by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love:

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