• Utopia and the Dialectical Image

On Funeral Rites and Getting Fucked Over

Although I’m extremely comfortable with ambiguity and open-endedness in film, I’m still wrestling with the women characters in Thithi, the recent Kannada film set in Nodekopplu village. First let me say that the film is, as indicated by the number of national and international accolades, a “must watch!” (thanks Aamir). It belongs to a growing … Continue reading

The Future of the Festival?

Something feels extremely afoul with Further Future (FF002), a self-proclaimed Music and Lifestyle Festival taking place about 40 miles from the Las Vegas strip the last weekend of April. Perhaps anticipating the potential confusion a phrase like ‘lifestyle festival’ might create in a potential goer, FF002’s website offers clarification. “Close your eyes. Imagine yourself surrounded … Continue reading

The not-so-discrete choice of being a pedestrian in Bangalore

When the program director explained that discrete choice economics was part of the PhD program my first thought was no big deal. See, I assumed he meant ‘discreet’, as in we’d learn economics in an unobtrusive kind of way, and then I had this train of thought where my mind replaced ‘choice’ with ‘charm’ and … Continue reading

What does Modi mean by ‘women led growth’?

Women are the latest target in Modi’s attempt to regain his political mojo. While Modi is not the first politician in or outside India to call attention to the societal benefits of women in leadership roles, his justification is seasoned with that distinctly Hindu right, BJP ideology: “A country is always empowered by its women. … Continue reading

Wheels and Tracks

Same destination but different mode. Why one would chose train over bus travel in India–anywhere for that matter*–hardly warrants explanation. But let me try. I finished Paul Theroux’s The Grand Railway Bazaar while traveling from Delhi to Bombay, down the coast of Maharashtra and yes, eventually to Goa. It was a mixed modes approach of … Continue reading

Ce n’est pas une neoliberal agenga

Semiotics. No doubt that stuff is complicated. So is international policy. Sometimes I think they’re more or less the same thing, but try telling that to a macro economist. “Stop with the semantics,” I hear professors working with large data sets telling confused PhD students. “Just tell me plain and simple, what is it you … Continue reading

1/2 Chapter

Like a written note to a friend, I feel the need to open with I-have-not-written-for-a-long-time. Although my posts serve a different function than a letter, the excuses are nearly the same. It’s not that I haven’t thought about writing or wanted to write. Somehow, the stamina and ability to follow through has not been. Every … Continue reading

Dream Spheres and Urban Development

When she first told me her apartment complex was off NICE road I thought I heard ‘a nice road’. “Oh, great!” I replied, trying to show enthusiasm for surface pavement, “But what is the name?” “NICE”, she said again, “The toll road, about 3 kilometers from Electronic City.” There is a lot of ambiguity in … Continue reading

Intertextual styleee

Intertextuality is a word used to describe the experience of finding one text within another; it is the rejection of closure and the championing of an open, iterative process of dialogue and meaning. I’ve long convinced myself that intertextuality did not come from Julia Kristeva nor Mikhail Bakhtin, but rather King Tubby. I’d argue that … Continue reading

Institutionalizing ‘radical’

I heard a lot of academic stuff this past week; by which I mean guest lectures and presentations. Some of it was good, most of it was eh but what really got me thinking was not the substance of these talks but rather the title of one in particular: ‘How to be a Radical Geographer.’ … Continue reading