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

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

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


The word heritage use to make me yawn. I associated it with visiting my grandparent’s house as a child where the perfectly preserved 1950s interior was equally dull as it was formal. Almost all socializing took place in the dimly lit front living room; I’d stare out the window, to the street, and wonder how … Continue reading

Occupy Wall Street

“Che Guevara was not a communist,” a girl says without glancing up from her cell phone, nodding in the direction of a group of five people wearing occupy the hood shirts; the face of Che in between the words occupy and hood. From where I sit, it’s too loud to hear what someone might have … Continue reading

In the Domain of Body Culture

The image of the crowd belongs to the domain of body culture. It’s unquestionable powerful lies in momentum, where the body—as mass—replaces the singular mind. Last month, as crowds proliferated across the Middle East, there was a brief interlude here in the US in form of the Super bowl and its halftime show. The extreme … Continue reading

Some Shitty Wine at the Thing

A friend and I use to joke that Thursday nights in New York might as well be dubbed some shitty wine at the thing because of the numerous opportunities to partake in free alcohol and visual culture. Also known as exhibition openings, these alternative happy hours draw a wide range of people: underemployed students and … Continue reading

Second Story Social Exchange

Like the rest of America, a great deal of socializing in New York occurs outdoors, with one marked difference–it’s often a few stories off the ground. If you’re like me you might’ve assumed that New York City rooftop leisure is a product of 21st century real estate development, particularly in the outer boroughs where condos … Continue reading