Log in

No account? Create an account

The Big Books Post - Part II

Pre - 2000
The Sittaford MysteryAgatha Christie
Murder is EasyAgatha Christie
And Then There Were NoneAgatha Christie
Evil Under The SunAgatha Christie
Endless NightAgatha Christie
Elephants Can RememberAgatha Christie
The Hound of DeathAgatha Christie
Parker Pyne InvestigatesAgatha Christie
Miss Marple's Final Cases and Two Other StoriesAgatha Christie
Several more but I am not sure which onesAgatha Christie
Fear is the KeyAlisatair MacLean
Where Eagles DareAlisatair MacLean
Force 10 from NavaroneAlisatair MacLean
The Camels are ComingW.E.Johns
The Cruise of the CondorW.E.Johns
Biggles of the Camel SquadronW.E.Johns
Biggles of 266W.E.Johns
Invisible ManH.G.Wells
Journey to the Center of the EarthJules Verne
Journey to the MoonJules Verne
One or twoIsaac Asimov
One Day WondersSunil Gavaskar
Sunny DaysSunil Gavaskar
Runs and RuinsSunil Gavaskar
Idols (Incomplete)Sunil Gavaskar
Fifty Years of Test CricketTony Cozier
The Elephant Adventure Willard Price
A couple of othersWillard Price
A FewJames Heriott
One or twoKenneth Anderson
One or twoJim Corbett
A FewR.L.Stine
Pride and PrejudiceJane Austen
Sleazy romance found in an aunt's clinicUnknown
The Dam BustersPaul Brickhill
Great Flying StoriesFrederick Forsyth
The Tunnel of Time: An AutobiographyR.K.Laxman

2000: Between 12th and First Year Engg.
The Chancellor ManuscriptRobert Ludlum
FrankensteinMary Shelley
Alice in WonderlandLewis Carroll
Through the Looking GlassLewis Carroll
Curtains: Poirot's Last CaseAgatha Christie

2000-01: First Year
The FountainheadAyn Rand
Jane EyreCharlotte Bronte
Don't RememberDanielle Steele
The Pelican BriefJohn Grisham
Every Living ThingJames Heriott
Love StoryEric Segal
The Matarese CircleRobert Ludlum
The ClientJohn Grisham
The PartnerJohn Grisham
Quite a fewP.G.Wodehouse

2001: Annual Break
Don Quixote of La ManchaMiguel de Cervantes
To Sir With LoveE.R.Braithwaite
The GoalEliyahu Goldratt

2001: Third Semester
A House for Mr.BiswasV.S.Naipul
Catch-22Joseph Heller
Atlas ShruggedAyn Rand
The Rainbow (Incomplete)D.H.Lawrence

Early 2002: Semester Break
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneJ.K.Rowling
The GuideR.K.Narayan

2002: Yearly Break
The Day of the JackalFrederick Forsyth
RootsAlex Haley
DraculaBram Stoker
GodfatherMario Puzo
The Count of Monte CristoAlexandre Dumas
The Painter of SignsR.K.Narayan
The RainmakerJohn Grisham
Great ExpectationsCharles Dickens
Wuthering HeightsEmily Bronte
Sense and SensibilityJane Austen

2002-03: Third Year
A Brief History of TimeStephen Hawking
Iacocca: An AutobiographyLee Iacocca, William Novak
OneRichard Bach
Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsJ.K.Rowling
EmmaJane Austen
The Pickwick Papers (Incomplete)Charles Dickens
We the LivingAyn Rand
Catcher in the RyeJ.D.Salinger
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant MessiahRichard Bach
Zoo VetDavid Taylor
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanJ.K.Rowling
Games People PlayEric Berne
The Best of SakiH.H.Munro
An Autobiography (Incomplete)Jawaharlal Nehru

2003: Yearly Break
The RamayanaC.Rajagopalachari

2003: Campus Placement 
Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireJ.K.Rowling

2003-04: Final Year
BiplaneRichard Bach
Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixJ.K.Rowling
The King of TortsJohn Grisham
The Bridge Across ForeverRichard Bach
Only LoveEric Segal
To Kill A Mocking BirdHarper Lee
The Naked ApeDesmond Morris
The Strange Case of Billy BiswasArun Joshi
The AlchemistPaulo Coelho
The Murder of Roger AckroydAgatha Christie

2004: Before IIMB
Five Have Plenty of FunEnid Blyton
The Arctic IncidentEoin Colfer
Towards ZeroAgatha Christie

2004-05: First Year, IIMB
The Mating SeasonP.G.Wodehouse
The Da Vinci CodeDan Brown

2005: Summers in Mumbai
The Maneating Leapord of RudraprayagJim Corbett
Night of January 16thAyn Rand
Nothing By ChanceRichard Bach
RebeccaDaphne du Maurier
LolitaVladimir Nabokov
My Family and Other AnimalsGerald Durrell
Lady of the ShroudBram Stoker
1984George Orwell
The Black Panther of SivanipalliKenneth Anderson
Summer of '42Herman Raucher
Tess of D'UrbervillesThomas Hardy

2005: 4th Trimester: IIMB
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceJ.K.Rowling
I Have Read That SomewhereAswath Venkatraman

2005: On Exchange in Europe
Brave New WorldAldos Huxley
Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary WarChe Guevera
Anna Karenina (Incomplete)Leo Tolstoy
How the Mind Works (Incomplete)Steven Pinker

2006: Before Gurgaon
Claudine at St.Clare'sEnid Blyton
The Horizon Concise History of SpainMelveena McKendrick
Of Human BondageSomerset Maugham

2006-07: Gurgaon
Notes from UndergroundFyodor Dostoevsky
Barbarians at the GateBryan Burrough & John Helyar
On BeautyZadie Smith
O JerusalemLarry Collins & Dominique Lapierre
SiddharthaHermann Hesse
Seize the DaySaul Bellow
SnowOrhan Pamuk
Rosy is My RelativeGerald Durrell
The Unbearable Lightness of BeingMilan Kundera
Animal FarmGeorge Orwell
Lorna DooneR.D.Blackmore
Jonathon Livingstone SeagullRichard Bach
Liar's PokerMichael Lewis
AnthemAyn Rand
Keeping FitReader's Digest

June-July 2007: Bangalore
The Picnic and Other …Gerald Durrell
The Deathly HallowsJ.K.Rowling
How I [Became A] QuantRichard R. Lindsey/ Barry Schachter

2007-08: Hyderabad
A Short History of Nearly EverythingBill Bryson
The Kite RunnerKhaled Hosseini
The TrialFranz Kafka

2008: Bangalore
AmerikaFranz Kafka

2008: Mumbai
The Horse and His BoyC.S.Lewis
Lord of the FliesWilliam Golding
Lunatic in My HeadAnjum Hasan
My Life as a Quant - Reflections on Physics and FinanceEmmanuel Derman
One Hundered Years of SolitudeGabriel Garcia Marquez
Persepolis - The Story of a Childhood and The Story of a ReturnMarjane Satrapi
The Age of TurbulenceAlan Greenspan
The StrangerAlbert Camus
The Grandmothers: Four Short NovelsDoris Lessing
The Music RoomNamita Devdayal

2009: Mumbai
The TrialFranz Kafka
Collected Short Stories - Volume 3Somerset Maugham
The First ManAlbert Camus
Three Men in a BoatJerome K. Jerome
The Idle Thoughts of an Idle FellowJerome K. Jerome
My Friend SanchoAmit Varma
Multiple City: Writings on BangaloreAditi De
The Wind in the WillowsKenneth Grahame
The Inheritance of LossKiran Desai
NetherlandJoseph O'Neill
The Old Man and the SeaErnest Hemingway
Les Aventures de Tintin - Coke en StockHergé
Neti, Neti - Not This, Not ThisAnjum Hasan

2010: Mumbai
The Ascent of MoneyNiall Ferguson
Asterix chez les BretonsGoscinny et Uderzo
JailbirdKurt Vonnegut
The Secret Life of FranceLucy Wadham
The Big ShortMichael Lewis
Down and Out in Paris and LondonGeorge Orwell
SoloJohn Calder
The Judgment and Other StoriesFranz Kafka
Empires of the Indus: The Story of a RiverAlice Albinia
Kafka on the ShoreHaruki Murakami

2011: Mumbai 
Southern Mail / Night FlightAntoine de Saint-Exupéry
From Sex to SuperconsciousnessOsho
The Power of Your Subconscious MindJoseph Murphy
A Moveable FeastErnest Hemingway
Fault LinesRaghuram G.Rajan
The Social AnimalDavid Brooks

2012: Mumbai, Bangalore, Paris
ChinamanShehan Karunatilaka
Beautiful ThingSonia Faleiro
The Highly Sensitive PersonElaine N.Aron
French LoverTaslima Nasrin
Spirou - le journal d'un ingénuÉmile Bravo
Poor EconomicsAbhijit V.Banerjee & Esther Duflo
A Certain Je Ne Sais QuoiCharles Timony
(Don't Lose Your Mind) Lose Your WeightRujuta Diwekar
The Highly Sensitive Person in LoveElaine N.Aron
Stuff Parisians LikeOlivier Magny
Le Petit PrinceAntoine de Saint-Exupery
French Women Don't Sleep AloneJamie Cat Callan
A Room with a ViewE.M.Forster

2013: Paris
Oumpah-Pah! - L'IntegraleR.Goscinny & A.Uderzo
Such a Long JourneyRohinton Mistry
Forever ParisChristina Henry de Tessan
Treasure IslandRobert Louis Stevenson
The Picture of Dorian GrayOscar Wilde
Quiet: The Power of IntrovertsSusan Cain

2014: Paris, Bangalore, Buenos Aires, Brasil
Looking for AlaskaJohn Green
Following FishSamanth Subramanian
Fever PitchNick Hornby
SoccernomicsSimon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski
The Dairy of Adam and EveMark Twain
Rahul Dravid: Timeless SteelCollected Writings
About a BoyNick Hornby
In Defence of FoodMichael Pollan
OpenAndre Agassi
Poulet aux PrunesMarjane Satrapi
Thinking, Fast and SlowDaniel Kahneman

2015: Paris
The Boys of SummerRoger Kahn
AntifragileNassim Nicholas Taleb
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal ExperienceMihaly Csikszentmihalyi
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoJunot Diaz
le Guide des FEMMESGodard & Marmou
Steve JobsWalter Isaacson
Le PAPYRUS de CésarFerri & Conrad
chasers of the lightTyler Knott Gregson
The Call of the WildJack London

2016: Paris
Sea of PoppiesAmitav Ghosh
Mr.Galliano's CircusEnid Blyton :)
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of DespairPablo Neruda
Sapiens: A Brief History of HumankindYuval Noah Harari
The Biology of SuccessBob Arnot, M.D.
Man's Search for MeaningViktor E. Frankl
Secret Seven Win ThroughEnid Blyton :)

2017: Paris
Laburnum for My HeadTemsula Ao
Unaccustomed EarthJhumpa Lahiri
The Sly Company of People Who CareRahul Bhattacharya
The Road to CharacterDavid Brooks
Homage to CataloniaGeorge Orwell
Piccadilly JimP.G. Wodehouse
Stumbling on HappinessDaniel Gilbert
A Life with Wildlife: From Princely India to the PresentM.K. Ranjitsinh
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer :)Mark Twain
Arzee the DwarfChandrahas Choudhury

2018: Paris
The Vanishing: India's Wildlife CrisisPrerna Singh Bindra
India After GandhiRamachandra Guha
For Whom the Bell TollsErnest Hemingway
Blood on the TracksMartin Edwards

Rivers of Life
"Look! Brahmins and chumars, bankers and tinkers, barbers and bunnias, pilgrims - and potters - all the world going and coming. It is to me as a river from which I am withdrawn like a log after a flood. And truly the Grand Trunk Road is a wonderful spectacle. It runs straight, bearing without crowding India's traffic for fifteen hundred miles - such a river of life as nowhere else exists in the world." – Rudyard Kipling, 1901

The Grand Trunk Road of which Rudyard Kipling wrote with such enthusiasm is two millennia old, traversing the northern span of the Indian subcontinent from Kabul in Afghanistan to Chittagong in the Bay of Bengal, across the Khyber Pass and the fertile plains of the Indus and the Ganges. Rebuilt in the 16th century by Sher Shah Suri, a Pashtun interloper in the Mughal dynasty, the present day Indian sections of this ancient road include the country's National Highway-1 and National Highway-2.

India’s national highways continue to be rivers of life full of character like few other in the world, but five centuries on, the time is nigh for another grand renewal, of both the highways and their closely related cousin, the sprawling British-bequeathed Indian Railways, as well as a massive expansion in transportation through the skies and on water.

In the footsteps of Kipling

The national highways span nearly 77,000 km, but comprise just 2% of the entire roadway network of the country, which includes state highways and smaller regional and rural roads. Yet, running as they do between the major cities, they account for 40% of all road traffic, but are often out-dated as just 23% are four-laned. Driving long distance on Indian roads has thus often been a slow and perilous adventure, with 130,000 people dying in road accidents every year.

The last non-Congress government, led by the BJP, back in 2000 instituted a vast, still incomplete, yet expanding highway building and renewal program called the National Highway Development Project. The NHDP was timely and necessary and focused on two major routes: the Golden Quadrilateral which connects Delhi – Mumbai – Chennai – Kolkata, touching Pune and Bangalore on the way (and includes the Grand Trunk Road), and the two diagonals of the Quadrilateral which make up the North-South and East-West corridors.

While these two phases of the NHDP are largely complete, the project has been expanded to include renewal of the regional roads, conversion of single-lane to double-lane roads, and the eventual upgrading of the Golden Quadrilateral to six-lanes. Also in the works are an ambitious Bharat Nirman (literally India or nation-building) program to connect each village of at least 1,000 people with all-weather roads and a plan to build 16,000 km of access-controlled expressways connecting major economic nerve-centres.

Building on this scale is complex and unprecedented in modern India, and involves vast sums of money, land, and the attendant problems of corruption and rent-seeking. Land acquisition has been less of a problem for these public highways than for privately owned mines, but has nevertheless meant less than the bulldozing pace of construction seen in China. The government has over time moved from building the roads by itself to EPC contracts to partnering with infrastructure companies in PPP projects.

The private sector has emerged as a major source of financing, investing ten billion euros from 2007-12, but many of these projects need government funding – either from the general budget, or through specific taxes on fuels or indeed borrowings from the likes of the World Bank. Another 80 billion euros will be spent on building and expanding roads over India’s 12th Five-Year Plan period from 2012-17, making it an interesting time for the curious to be performing a Bharat Darshan by road.

From a Railway Carriage

The average Indian long-distance traveller is more likely, however, to be familiar with the Great Indian Railways, often reckoned as one of the few good things to come from the British Empire, along with the common law legal system and English, the nation’s lingua franca. The railways ferry eight billion people every year, usually at leisurely speeds of less than 60km/hour, across 65,000 km (of which less than a third is electrified) all over the country. However, just 12,000 of these have been added since Independence in 1947.

The Indian Railways is a public sector behemoth, one of the largest employers in the world (reputed to be the largest until recently overtaken by those ubiquitous American chains – McDonald’s and Wal-Mart), and commands its own special annual railway budget, often an exercise in doling out populist hand-outs like new routes in the state of the coalition partner in charge.

With successive governments balking at raising the cheap passenger fares (one-fourth of the fares in China, 1/20th of those in Japan; in 2012 the minister was sacked by his own party chief for daring to consider even the most nominal hikes), the railways lose money to the tune of three billion euros every year in passenger services. That has meant no money available to invest in or expand the services for freight transport. Freight rates have been set high (double the levels in China and the US) to cross-subsidize passenger services, leaving a sub-optimal 2/3rd of all freight on the roads.

These problems have been studied by multiple committees, and their solutions are well-known, and include a makeover of Indian Railways into a modern business enterprise, but as always in India, there’s many a slip between the cup and the lip. Nevertheless, over the next five years, the railways will still see investments on a scale similar to those in the roadways. More than 70 billion euros, much of which will have to come from private sources, will be spent on tracks, bridges, coaches, wagons and locomotives, stations and cargo terminals, safety devices and IT systems. Particular thrust will be paid to moving freight from the roads to the railways, through higher use of containers, and establishing dedicated freight corridors. High-speed passenger rail corridors are on the anvil as well, much in the vein of the Golden Quadrilateral.

If radical organizational reforms do to take place along with all the expansion, it isn’t inconceivable that the chaotic if romantic experience of traveling by the Indian Railways will one day be transformed into something closer to the quiet efficiency of the Deutsche Bahn or the SNCF.

Up in the Air

Flying in India till as recently as eight years ago was the contrast of travelling by train: expensive, exclusive, but more often than not a plush experience with full service meals and richly liveried flight attendants of the government owned Indian Airlines. Liberalization of the entry norms saw the arrival of a number of low-cost airlines as well as the once premium but now flightless Kingfisher Airlines, making flight an affordable option for the growing middle class in the strong economy of the last decade.

The grounding of Kingfisher and the perennial losses of most other airlines has meant higher passenger fares by more than 50% over the last year. Airlines across the world are seldom profitable, but in India they face considerably tougher odds: the highly inefficient government owned flag-carrier Air India has been kept alive with endless capital infusions, keeping competitive intensity high; airport re-development investments have been recovered through fees on airlines (and hence passengers); and critically, the costs of fuel are prohibitively high due to an antiquated take on fuel subsidies.

Diesel, kerosene and petrol, the fuels for the masses, have hitherto been cross-subsidized by heavily taxing aviation turbine fuel as flying has been considered the privilege of the well-heeled. The result is ATF prices 60% higher than in nearby Singapore or Dubai, and 40-50% of airline operating expenses spent on fuel. Before being grounded last year, Kingfisher Airlines was belatedly allowed to import its own fuel and save on a variety of taxes, but that wasn’t enough to keep the airline going. Most routes in India now have only five players: Air India, Jet Airways (and its low-cost twin), IndiGo, Spice Jet and Go Air.

Reforms are now critical for an industry poised for take-off: airport capacities have been expanded significantly with 11 international airports, a total handling capacity of 220 million passengers per year, and passenger traffic expected to grow by more than 10% per year from the 106 million in 2011 (9th largest in the world). Foreign direct investment has been allowed into the industry only recently, to the extent of 49% of equity, but the response has been lukewarm at best. Asia’s largest no-frills operator, Malaysia-based Air Asia, has sought and received approval to enter the market in a partnership with the house of the Tatas. That would be one full circle for the country's aviation, as the Tatas established its first commercial airline back in 1932, before it was duly nationalized after independence.

Such a Long Journey

India plans to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure over the next five years, and a majority of that will be on transportation infrastructure – roads, rails, airports, ports and inland waterways. It promises to be an exciting journey but one that the country critically needs to get right, to keep its rich rivers of life flowing unabatedly.


This piece was written as an introduction to transport infrastructure in India, for investors in my ex-employer's India fund. However, it was never used, as my ex-boss deemed it was too "literary".

Tyson ton in Thoiry triumph
Match: Château de Thoiry Cricket Club vs. Royal Challengers 94, hosted by CTCC, 11 July 2015

CTCC XI: Tyson, Hussan, Mark Moodley, Danny, Pragash (Capt.), Chan, Dilip, Chris, Siva, John Hardy

Tyson John’s stroke-filled unbeaten hundred took Château de Thoiry Cricket Club to a comprehensive win against the visiting Royal Challengers 94 team as they chased down a target of 242 with more than five overs to spare. Opening the innings with Hussan, Tyson feasted on the Challengers’ short-pitched bowling with a series of pull shots, peppering the area between deep square-leg and midwicket with several boundaries and a six. Mark Moodley had the best seat in the ground at the non-striker’s end, as Tyson continued his stroke-play against the visitor’s left-arm spinner. The run-rate remained around the 10 runs per over mark even with the loss of Mark and Danny, before Tyson reached his hundred in the 21st over and was called in by skipper Pragash. The middle-order then took the opportunity to spend some time in the middle, with Pragash and Chan getting the team within sight of the target, and Dilip, Chris and Siva finishing off the chase. For the visitors, the highlight on the field was the excellent fielding and throwing of young, long-haired Richard on the mid-wicket/cover fence, and the left-arm orthodox (and wrist) spin of young XY.

Earlier in the day, Thoiry put in a penetrative if erroneous bowling performance, bowling out the Royal Challengers in 35 overs, but conceding a hundred extras on the way. Pragash and John Hardy claimed three wickets each, but the tone of the attack was set by a menacing spell by Dilip Raghupathi with the new ball. While both Siva and Dilip kept the Challengers’ top-order quiet outside the off-stump and repeatedly found the edge down to thirdman for four, Dilip’s bounce from just short-of-a-length troubled the batsmen no end. In one memorable over, he set up one of the openers with four short balls that had the batsman hopping, and then cleaned up the off-stump bowling full with the last ball of the over. John Hardy then took over the role of aggressor, fired up by some dubious umpiring and a batsman who refused to walk after an edge off the glove. The batsman further enraged John with a hoick edged to third-man and then a slog over mid-wicket but John had the last laugh, inducing another edge to stand-in keeper Tyson, who had a fine day behind the stumps ☺. The Challengers’ keeper, batting at No.7, was a right-handed Shivnarine Chanderpaul, with a front-on crab-like stance, but batted aggressively and effectively and held the innings together. After a few overs of spin from Danny, Chan and Hussan, Pragash brought himself back into the attack and finished off the innings with two accurate yorkers. The highlight of Thoiry’s fielding performance was six catches held, and none at all dropped, and several fine stops by Mark Moodley fielding on the edge of the circle.

A perfect day of cricket in lovely sunshine was complemented by an excellent tea-spread by Helen during the break, and watermelon slices and chilled beers after the match. Tyson John was declared man-of-the-match, and the lemon sponge cake as dish-of-the-day.


Chan played four non-league games for CTCC (and The Nomads) this season, playing primarily as an offspinner but contributing with the bat in the lower-middle order. He recorded his best returns of 5-1-22-4 against the British Embassy team in his last game of the season, finishing with two wickets off his last two balls. He hopes to complete the hat-trick next season, playing again for CTCC, who have become a fine club with some excellent players and a great cricket culture.

Endless Summer
In a summer bookended by two sad deaths, cricket Down Under provided lovers of the sport much to cherish and look back upon in years to come with fondness. Phil Hughes' fall in action was tragic yet heroic, and the stories of his career and his zest for life inspire us to find the best in ourselves as cricketers, sportspersons and men. The passing away of the hugely beloved and iconic Richie Benaud, likewise, inspire the heroic and the romantic and the challenge to live lives as worthy and fulfilled as the great man.

The action on the field and the spirit of the cricket, at most times, matched the romantic sentiments that come with our game. India's four tests, though dominated by Australia, provided fascinating watching as the batsmen led by Virat Kohli took the attack to the Aussies, at times suicidally so. Pity then that the team could seldom impose any pressure on the opposition in the field, in large part thanks to (now ex-) captain MS Dhoni's strange and poor leadership of the bowling & fielding effort.

The World Cup campaign that followed was rather unexpectedly good, stirred into life by those victories against Pakistan and South Africa in the first two matches. The road to the semi-final was a celebration of India's position at the top of the cricketing world, as fans in blue waving tricolors filled up grounds across Australia and New Zealand. The reliance on the top-order to make the runs was however evident in less-than-comfortable chases against the West Indies and Zimbabwe.

Come semi-final time then, the pressure of a tall run chase exposed the team's soft underbelly against a team that always rises its game on the big occassion. Contrary to Dhoni's post-match comment, I felt that the pacers had done reasonably well to restrict Australia from putting on something gargantuan, and when Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma were going strongly past the 12th over, a favourable outcome seemed within the realms of possibility. Dhawan and Kohli then played poor cricket, falling to bravado when intelligence was the need of the hour, while Raina fell to a poor shot before settling in. Rohit alone was outdone by the bowler, as Johnson bowled full and straight while the batsman was hanging back, having dispatched the previous delivery for six.

The cricket that followed at the hands of Dhoni & co was one of the stranger passages of play in my viewing, with a build up that took interminably long, and then petered out with only the hint of a spark. It was a pity that a campaign that brought much joy ended thus, not with a bang, but a whimper. Most fans, I am sure, would've preferred to be bowled out five overs earlier with the team at least threatening to chase down the total. Thus, three of India's campaigns since 1999 have come to an end at the hands of Australia, a head-to-head that calls for much correcting in the years to come. The other minor disappointment for me was Dhoni's non-retirement then and there in Sydney.

The Cup otherwise was brought to life by Brendon McCullum, his batting, his leadership and the spirit with which he played and led the Black Caps through the tournament, much like Martin Crowe back in '92. Mitchell Starc and Australia effectively nullified the Kiwi challenge in the first over of the final itself, taking his off-stump out with a knock-out yorker. Save for the Grant Elliot - Ross Taylor parternship, the rest of the final was a celebration of Australian cricket. There's much there to celebrate, as in the rest of that sun-drenched country, but one only wishes that so many of the Aussie cricketers, sparkling talents and outstanding athletes as they are, were not such uncouth boors at the same time.

The World Cup rolls over next to the Old Blighty in 2019, with apparently, only ten countries and not fourteen (or indeed more) competing. Four years can fly past rather quickly, if the last four are any to go by, but four years can also be long, full and well-lived. Here, then, to summer, sport, and life, and much gratitude for the presence in our lives of the glory of sport and the romance of cricket.
Tags: , ,

World Cup 2015
Just over two weeks to go before India begin their World Cup defence, and the team inspires little confidence. Yet, like in 2011, this is just a three-match knockout tournament, and I think India have enough time to settle down and work out their best line-up. Loss(es) early on to South Africa and/or (cricketing gods forbid) Pakistan could push them down to third place in Pool B though, and risk facing Australia or New Zealand in the quarter-final.

We have two warm-up games, against Australia and Afghanistan, and this is the starting XI I would like to try out (with like-for-like substitutes over the tournament):

  1. Ajinkya Rahane

  2. Shikhar Dhawan

  3. Virat Kohli

  4. Rohit Sharma

  5. Suresh Raina

  6. MS Dhoni

  7. Stuart Binny (Bhuvi Kumar)

  8. Akshar Patel (Ravi Jadeja)

  9. Ashwin Ravi

  10. Mohit Sharma (Mohd. Shami)

  11. Umesh Yadav

  • Ambati Rayudu

Multiple points of note:

  • Two spinners are likely to feature in most, if not all, of India's line-ups, in contrast with most other teams, as that's the only way Dhoni knows to play, and has been successful more often that not.

  • Stuart Binny is the weakest link in a weak bowling "attack". Yet the best India can do without weakening the batting perilously is to play Patel / Jadeja at seven and bring in Bhuvi Kumar / Mohd. Shami at nine.

  • Rohit Sharma has a stated preference to open and has indeed opened when available, and who can argue with two double-hundreds and his extra time against fast bowling, but doesn't the line-up look so much more solid with Rohit at four, and then the incredible threat he poses late in the innings?

  • Ambati Rayudu, I deliberately leave on the bench. Dhoni did him no favours in the tri-series asking him to float up and down in the order and bat aggressively, instead of building an innings as he possibly can, but I wouldn't have had him in the squad at all.

  • Robin Uthappa then was the man to pick, who could've played as a finisher, or opened if Dhawan continued to struggle.

Overall, I think India have at best the fifth-best squad in the World Cup, behind South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and England, but I wouldn't write us off yet. We have at least a couple of match-winners with the bat, and MS Dhoni might have one last bag of tricks before riding off into a CSK-hued sunset. (Surely he won't have the zest to continue beyond? I won't miss him much, but thank you, well done, and enjoy the IPL.) The key for me is to get the batting unit to build innings and not continue with the scatter-brained slapdash they've played in the tri-series, as if they were batting back home in India.

Barring upset(s), the quarter-final line-up should be straighforward, with the probable winners:

  • A1: New Zealand  vs.   B4: West Indies

  • A2: Australia          vs.   B3: Pakistan

  • A3: England           vs.   B2: India

  • A4: Sri Lanka         vs.   B1: South Africa

Martin Crowe has called an England victory over India, but I wouldn't be so sure. The game is in Adelaide, and India have the better pedigree in big-match one-day cricket. And then come semi-final time, well, the World Cup should finally be alive, and worth watching and enjoying instead of predicting from here.

A few more assorted thoughts to finish:

  • ICC would have done well to go back to the super-six format of 1999 or 2003, rather than this seven-match tournament. The super-eight format of 2007 of course risks eliminating one of the big-eight too early on. I think cricket will see its first FIFA style 32 team - 64 game World Cup in the Twenty20 version of the game, somewhere in the next decade.

  • With the fielding restrictions, this Cup could well be decided by the strength of the weakest link, often the all-rounder at No.7 or thereabouts. Who will hold up best? Corey Anderson, James Faulkner / Mitchell Marsh / Glen Maxwell, Moeen Ali / Ravi Bopara, Thisara Perera, JP Duminy / Farhaan Berhadien, Shahid Afridi, Stuart Binny, or Darren Sammy / Andre Russell?

  • India will take the field at a World Cup without one Sachin Tendulkar for the first time in twenty-eight years, and what a presence he was in his six appearances starting back in Australia / NZ in 1992. Yet, his delayed exit from the ODI team cost us a year in putting together the current squad.

  • That first World Cup of his in 1992 is part of my generation's earliest (and quite fond) cricketing memories. Exciting then to see another World Cup Down Under. The idea was to be there in person, but well, two Cups in two years proved to be one too many.

That's that for now then, see you on Valentine's Day!


Previously here on Notes, a post on the WC 2011 squad.
Tags: ,

Boxing Day 2014
Boxing Day, and India are touring Down Under again. Tradition then, calls for another post here. Time flies, partly because India have gone back to Australia after just three years instead of the good old four, and partly because the years get shorter as you grow older, and live fuller. India were part of another Boxing Day game last year, but a game in South Africa or New Zealand hardly compares with the show put on by Australia at the MCG. Just look at this from Richie Benaud, and you get a sense that this is the Test of the year if you are a cricket lover, and a lover of sport, summer and life in general.

Staying with cricket in Paris has been easy and pleasurable, easy at least until this morning when all the live streams online suddenly disappeared, and pleasurable as you no longer have to be submerged in the saturation coverage by Indian media. Even Cricinfo these days can hardly just report on the game and not be awash with opinion, debate and controversy. How far we've come from the 90s when reading match reports in Deccan Herald and tour diaries in Sportstar was something to savour.

The cricket so far, or at leat the parts I've watched, has been engrossing, be it the thrilling chase in Adelaide, or the unprecedented dominance on day-one at the Gabba. Boxing Day today closely paralleled the one three years ago, and featured a surprising number of minor players from that day, from Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh to Ravi Ashwin and Umesh Yadav. Rahul Lokesh (surely) debuts for India, the first batsman from Karnataka to wear Test colours since his namesake all those eighteen years ago. Exciting times for the state, with the team showing remarkable winning prowess early this season, Uthappa and Binny likely to make the World Cup squad, and a new generation of promising youngsters.

Disappointingly though, the debut has come at the expense of Rohit Sharma. Rohit, by virtue of being gifted with time and timing and a certain elegance that can be construed as casualness, is the unfortunate recepient of much abuse from vocal Indian supporters. The guy is just an year and nine matches old in Test cricket; for cricket's sake, do not make him the whipping boy for every Indian loss. Much like Mark Waugh or Damien Martyn though, the gift of talent evidently comes with the curse of expectations, and perhaps, envy.

Coming back to Chan, studying and living in Paris has given me more game time than ever since grade school in India, through playing for a school team, and ocassionally for a club needing a player or two to make up the XI. The clubs here are mostly made up of Englishmen (and women), a few Aussies and South Africans, and inevitably, guys from the subcontinent. Cricket is only a summer game though, and it has been Ultimate frisbee from summer love, fall rentrée and winter rains through to spring championships, and the prep for the annual half-marathon.

Sports occupy a more important place in life here, though I may have a selection bias from school and my club. But being able to earn course credits by playing a sport (or practising an art), and having a national flying disc federation that organizes championships across formats, categories, and divisions shows how far ahead countries like France are. The signs are good in India, be it the recent proliferation of professional leagues, the new events added to the running calendar every year, or indeed the rise of Ultimate across the country. We have hitherto focused too much on academics and the mind, quite naturally given the returns to education particularly in our not-so-prosperous societies, but to the neglect of body and spirit. No wonder that generations of Indians have ended up being under-sported, and relatedly, under-sexed, but that then is another post, for another day.

We leave you for now with pictures from this day, three years ago. Wish you a year full of sports and sunshine in 2015.

iAustralia 217

Australia! 415

Australia! 490

Australia! 500

India: v2014
States visited in India

After the Europe (and World) update, an India update wouldn't be out of order, would it? (2005 version here).

Where in India would I like to go next? No state in particular, really. But places with nature & wildlife, like always. Uttarakhand, Chattisgarh and Orissa all have enough to merit visits. So does the North-East.

When though is the more relevant question. I just don't know. On verra, comme toujours.

p.s. The site has not been updated to show the Andhra - Telangana divide.

Lines from the Road: 2013-14
Hi Dear Reader, welcome back to this fourth edition of Lines from the Road, an annual anthology of quotes I started back in 2010-11, a time of catharsis and resetting. The four years since have been full of incredible change, including not least, discovering and getting into a sport that changes lives, pulling the plug on a career in finance, and reuniting with a first love for a more enduring affair. The Lines have been a useful way of collecting together thoughts that have inspired and clarified my way of seeing life and the world. While that will always be a work in progress, I think this will be the last edition of Lines, at least in its present form. Here are the third, the second and the first editions for your convenience, should you be interested. Thanks for reading, and see you in the not too distant future with more.


"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything." - Plato

"Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music." - Bertrand Russell, via Noah

Par contre, “Math is like sex. It’s really important, but don’t do it in public.” - Samuel Bowles, in an otherwise dense class on Income Inequality


"I recommend Sachin Tendulkar's retirement speech as mandatory viewing for every young player. Humility & gratitude even in greatness." - Ian Bishop

"It is times like this that it is worth remembering the words of Dr. Seuss, 'Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.'" - Guru Greg

"As the late Bill Shankly famously said of football, 'It [the sport] is not just a matter of life and death, It is much more important than that.'" - Nirmal Sekhar, writing in The Hindu

"To begin to understand why Tendulkar meant so much to so many, one must go back to CLR James writing about WG Grace in his seminal Beyond the Boundary: 'W.G.'s batting figures, remarkable as they are, lose all their true significance unless they are seen in close relation with the history of cricket itself and the social history of England. Unless you do this you fall head foremost into the trap of making comparisons with Bradman. Bradman piled up centuries. W.G. built a social organisation.' It remains a wonder how one little Indian achieved both." - Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

“Most cricketers decide they have had enough of the goldfish bowl after a decade or so. Tendulkar played Test matches in front of the most demanding fans in the world for 24 years. If further proof was required of just how astonishing this was, it came at Perth in December, when for a few moments one Cook and one Clarke added up to exactly one Tendulkar: 200 Test caps, 15,921 runs and 51 hundreds.

Sport’s pleasure resides in meaning so much to so many, while being essentially meaningless itself. Think about this for too long and you’ll get a headache. But Tendulkar came closer than anyone to making sense of it.”
- Lawrence Booth, in the Wisden Almanack 2014


“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam....

There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
- Pale Blue Dot, Carl Sagan

All the World's a Stage

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurses's arms.
Then ...
... Last scene of all,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

- Will Shakespeare, in As You Like It - Act II, Scene VII

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” - F.Scott Fitzgeralnd in The Great Gatsby, via Mukund

“I came from a family that was fairly affluent and lost its money, so in a sense, getting [used to] a lesser and lesser status, to a diminished material world around you, to circumstances that are completely unpredictable, was part of my life when I was 8 years old, 9 years old, and it stayed, and it made a mark on me. So that's the only way that really truly interests me. It's the world of losing. It's a world where things diminish. And it happens to be the world of everybody, because you get old, and your world diminishes, and you diminish, and you become less. And it's an awfully good training for life, you know, to do it. I found, in the American cities, an echo of my own personal feelings about life and the human destiny if I could say so.” - Photographer Camilo Jose Vergara

Playboy: If life is so purposeless, do you feel it’s worth living?

Kubrick: The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism — and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong — and lucky — he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.

via Pinky on facebook

"The purpose of life is to discover your gift.
The work of life is to develop it.
The meaning of life is to give your gift away."

- David Viscott, via Stacie


“One moment this herd of graduates of the nation’s best universities are young people -- ambitious yes, but still young people -- with young people’s ideals and hopes to live a meaningful life. The next they are essentially old people, at work gaming ratings companies, and designing securities to fail so they might make a killing off the investors they dupe into buying them, and rigging various markets at the expense of the wider society, and encouraging all sorts of people to do stuff with their capital and their companies that they never should do.” - Michael Lewis writing on the occupational hazards of Wall Street

"If you really wanna make money, never make a decision based on money." - Jerry Seinfeld

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nicholas Nissim Taleb, via Sangeet

“If I only scrape a living, at least it’s a living worth scraping. If there’s no future in it, at least it’s a present worth remembering. Fires of happiness, and waves of gratitude, for everything that brought us to that point on earth, at that moment in time to do something worth remembering, or a photograph, or a scar. If you are genuinely lucky to hand on heart say I love doing what I do, and though I may never be a rich man, if I live long enough, I'll certainly have a tale or two for the nephews, and a dig to follow that.” - Mickey Smith in Darkside of The Lens


“There’s a joke about economics,” [John] Kay answers, lightly amused at his own profession. “It’s the only would-be science in which if the world isn’t like the model, then it’s the world’s problem. The odd thing is I am criticising not so much the world as the way people describe the world–and then make the world worse by trying to bash the world into their model.”

“Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.” - George Edward Pelham Box. Take heart, economists.


People without sexual partners receive 17 percent less back than people who do have sexual partners (this is true of both men and women). We find that senders who work for pay receive less from the social interaction. Senders with sexual partners take home over 4 dollars more than their celibate classmates. Individuals who drink beer earn more. - Glaeser, Laibson, Scheinkman & Soutter, on "Measuring Trust" , 2000. The things you learn in behavioural & experimental economics.

Hollywood of course had put this much more eloquently:

Ellerby: How is your wedding coming along?
Colin Sullivan: Great, great; she's a doctor.
Ellerby: That's outstanding.
Colin Sullivan: Yeah.
Ellerby: Marriage is an important part of getting ahead: lets people know you're not a homo; married guy seems more stable; people see the ring, they think at least somebody can stand the son of a bitch; ladies see the ring, they know immediately you must have some cash or your cock must work. [laughs]
Colin Sullivan: [laughing] Yeah, it's working... Overtime!
Ellerby: I'm glad to hear that.
Colin Sullivan: Yeah... Thank you.

- Martin Scorsese's The Departed, 2006

“What did you say?” I asked, walking to her, putting my hand on the small of her back.

“Shhh,” she said. “I’m sleeping.”

Just like that. From a hundred miles an hour to asleep in a nanosecond. I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not fuck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together, in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.

- Miles Halter, in John Green's Looking for Alaska


"C'est dans le silence qui suit l'orage et non dans celui qui le précède qu'il faut chercher la fleur en bouton." - Proverbe indien

"The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anaïs Nin, channelled by Martin Crowe

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” - C. S. Lewis

"'At a point in life when one is through with boyhood, but has not yet discovered how to be a man, it was my fortune to travel with the most marvellously appealing of teams.' Thus begins Roger Kahn’s dazzling Boys of Summer, a book about growing up with the Brooklyn Dodgers." - Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

“When I’m requested to speak to youngsters I like talking about this phase of my life and liken it to a fascinating plant: The Chinese Bamboo. You can take a Chinese bamboo seed and plant it in the ground, water and nurture the seed for an entire year & not even see a single sprout. In fact, you’ll not see a sprout for 5 years.

But suddenly, a tiny shoot will spring from the ground. And over the next 6 weeks, the plant can grow as tall as 90 feet. It can grow as fast as 39 inches every 24 hours. You can literally watch the plant grow. What was the plant doing during these 5 years, seemingly dormant period? It was growing its roots. For 5 full years it was preparing itself for rapid, full growth. Without this root structure, the plant simply couldn’t support itself for its future growth.

Some would say the plant grew 90 feet in 6 weeks, I would say it grew 90 feet in 5 years & 6 weeks.”
- Rahul Dravid on Patience


“Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” - Pablo Picasso

"The creative adult is the child who survived." - Ursula K Le Guin via Shreya

“Eighty percent of all choices are based on fear. Most people don't choose what they want; they choose what they think is safe.” - Phil McGraw

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour.” - Vince Lombardi

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt

“The only way to keep from going backward is to keep going forward. Eternal vigilance is the price of success. There are three steps, and each one is absolutely essential. You must first have the knowledge of your power; second, the courage to dare; third, the faith to keep going.” - Charles F Haanel

"Each person’s task in life is to become an increasingly better person." - Leo Tolstoy

“The main task in life is to give birth to our self to become what we actually are.” - Erich Fromm, via Sangeet again

"Own your dreams. There is no better way to make them happen.” - Seth Godin

"You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself into one." - Henry David Thoreau

"If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.” - Michelangelo


“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” - Lao Tzu

"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place." - Kurt Vonnegut

"The only fact that you dream is important. I wish you endless dreams and the strong desire to realize some of them. I wish you to love what you have to love and forget what you have to forget. I wish you silences. I wish you birds songs on waking, and sweet sounds of children's laughter. I wish you to resist getting dragged down, getting indifferent, to resist the negative virtues of our time. I wish you above all to be yourself." - Jacques Brel


“In the Katha Upanishad, the Lord of Death, Yamaraja, instructs his advanced student Nachiketa on how to find true enjoyment. He says: Know this self to be the rider. The body to be the chariot. The buddhi, or intellect, to be the charioteer, and the manas, or lower mind, to be the reins. The indriyas, or the senses, are the horses, and the vishayas, the sense objects, are the path on which they run." - Katha Upanishad, on Brahmacharya

"Happiness, he [John Kay] argues, is more easily experienced as a by-product of something else rather than as an ambition in itself." - Cricketer turned writer Ed Smith on just being vs just doing, and finding the balance

Finally, Martin Crowe, in another of his meditative pieces this year which have brought much pleasure and understanding,

"The gap. This is the space between thoughts, between breaths, between fielders, between balls. They say to experience the gap wholly brings ultimate joy in what we do. In the gap there is nothing, and it's that nothing space in which lies the secret to our purpose.

As I contemplate the meaning of much my life, a life I now truly treasure, with dangers lurking, it is in this moment of nothing that I feel at peace."


"'You should walk a mile in a man's shoes before you criticise him' - that way, when you criticise him, you are a mile away, and you have his shoes." - Ian Pont

Europe, Life & Travel: v2014

It is close to two years now since my last Europe update, and with good reason. In 2008-2010, I was but a visitor in Europe, extending the frontiers of my little map petit à petit, but 2012-2014 has seen me live here like a local. Little reason hence to travel with the express purpose of visiting new countries for its own sake, and more of following my particular inclinations over time.

The one addition to the map since then has been Scotland, traversed from Edinburg to the Highlands to the Isle of Skye, and then by bus, ferry and train to Glasgow and back to Edinburg in April 2013. I have since gone back to countries that were already red, Amsterdam with the parents (a very different experience from the previous time), pretty little Saint-Malo in Normandie (of rain, galettes, and crepes fame), and Napoli (where one partook of five pizzas in five days the week before a half-marathon). Desireable destinations remain aplenty, but meanwhile life's evolving in its own way, which means travel is no longer a priority in itself.

In late 2011, just a few days after getting into Sciences Po, I fancied myself "a traveling economist, philosopher, and hedonist". I was very fortunate to be able to shift geographies and go back in time, back to school in a great program with some very smart and really nice kids. Over these last two years, through extremely geeky courses and considerable academic pressures, I've (re)discovered a few things about who I am and what I'd like to become. I no longer want to become an economist though: I rather think of myself as a (traveling) engineer, philosopher and hedonist.

Let me explain. Economists are the mathematicians of the world of the social sciences (including among others, sociology and psychology), and use an immense amount of formal modeling to describe the world and to prescribe good public policy. Both are desireable and worthy goals, and economists have made great advances in modeling an inherently un-model-ably complex human world (unlike physical systems which follow more precise laws of nature). Studying economics has increased my understanding of society and life, not least from courses in behavioural economics and game theory (and from one on matching markets, which yielded multiple epiphanies).

But given how rigorous and demanding academic economics is, I would rather use all the math, programming, modeling and general geekery to create something new, instead of merely explaining the world. Ergo, the engineer. It's been a long time since I could call myself an engineer, but I've seen in the last few months that there's enough there to fall back upon. Thus, it's with some excitement that I start 2014-15. I call it the second step in the journey of a thousand miles :).

That's all for the moment then. Until the next time, a la prochaine!

Lines from the Road: 2012-13

"The rain it raineth on the just and also on the unjust fella, but mostly on the just because the unjust hath the just’s umbrella."

"When a feeling was there, they felt as if it would never go; When it was gone, they felt as if it had never been; When it returned, they felt as if it had never gone." - George Macdonald, What's Mine's Mine, 1886

“ONCE you start thinking about growth”, said Robert Lucas, a Nobel prize-winning economist, “it's hard to think about anything else.”

Conservatives tend to be economic individualists ("don't tax or regulate me") and moral collectivists ("legislate against immorality"). Liberals tend to be the opposite: economic collectivists (support national health care), and moral individualists ("keep your laws off my body").

A Handful of Summers

"Go back down the years
And recall if you can
All the warm temperate times;
You may find with surprise
That they're all squeezed in
To a headful of thoughts
And a handful of summers."

- Graham Forbes, 1968

"Les grands esprits se rencontrent." - Paris Summer Love 2013

Like Philippe-Alexandre, one of our lecturers in Paris said on the eve of our final lecture: "Paris is like a capricious woman. Every time I’m fed up with her and convinced I want to leave, she stops me in my tracks." - Our Shiny City


"I can't stand people that do not take food seriously." - Oscar Wilde, via Celine

"Mon coeur est saturé de plaisir quand j'ai du pain et de l'eau." - Epicure

"De toutes les passions, la seule vraiment respectable me parait être la gourmandise." - Guy de Maupassant, extrait du Amoreux et primeurs


"Writing is not a serious business. It’s a joy and a celebration. You should be having fun with it. Ignore the authors who say ‘Oh, my God, what word? Oh, Jesus Christ…’, you know. Now, to hell with that. It’s not work. If it’s work, stop and do something else." - George Orwell, via Malik on facebook

The novelist Chaim Potok recalls being urged by his mother to forgo writing: "Be a brain surgeon; you'll make a lot more money." Potok's response: "Mama, I don't want to keep people from dying; I want to show them how to live."


"Wherever you go, there you are."

Bruine ("brown") cafés are to Amsterdam what pubs are to London. That is, they are casual, neighborhood gathering spots located all around the city, featuring dark wood and people looking for a drink, a snack and friendly conversation (unlike British pubs, most Dutch brown cafés stay open until 1 or 2 a.m.). The term "brown" comes from the dark wood and stained walls that supposedly owe their hue to years of smoking patrons. Amsterdam's brown cafés are as much a part of the city's charm as its canals and architecture. Most of them epitomize the Dutch term gezelligheid (pronounced "khuh ZEL ikh hide"), a word quite difficult to translate into English; coziness or a feeling of friendly welcome best describes it.

"I travel for travel's sake." - Robert Louis Stevenson

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour." - Stevenson again, at the Writers' Museum, Edinburgh

"Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You'll find what you need to furnish it - memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey." - Tad Williams


"Man's greatest tragedy is that he thinks he has plenty of time." - The Yoga Institute

As I Walked Out One Evening

'I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

'The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.'

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
'O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

'In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.



WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

- W.H.Davies

"Live life while you are alive and do what you mean to do while you're able to do it." - Rebekka

"Man surprises me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” - Dalai Lama XIV

"BERTRAND RUSSELL, the English philosopher, was not a fan of work. In his 1932 essay, “In Praise of Idleness”, he reckoned that if society were better managed the average person would only need to work four hours a day. Such a small working day would “entitle a man to the necessities and elementary comforts of life.” The rest of the day could be devoted to the pursuit of science, painting and writing." - Get a Life, The Economist


"Know thyself" - an ancient Greek oracle

"You cannot create experience. You must undergo it." - Albert Camus, via Guru Greg

"There are three things extremely hard, steel, a diamond, and to know one's self." - Benjamin Franklin

"He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is enlightened." - Lao-tzu


"Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you're living?" - Bob Marley

"What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now." - The Buddha

"The strength of your character is the strength of your future."

"Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied; men of power are feared, but only men of character are trusted." - @sherryontop, on Rahul Dravid

"Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them." - Albert Einstein

"You are faster than this. Don't think you are, know you are. Come on! Stop trying to hit me, and hit me!" - Morpheus to Neo

"There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self." - Indian proverb


I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Harold R. McAlindon

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." - Mark Twain

"Fitting in is a short-term strategy that gets you nowhere. Standing out is a long-term strategy that takes guts and produces results." - Seth Godin

"Jean Piaget: Education, for most people, means trying to lead the child to resemble the typical adult of his society.
Bringuier: To be like the men it needs.
Jean Piaget: That's right. But for me, education means making creators, even if there aren't many of them, even if the creations of one are limited by comparison with those of another. But you have to make inventors, innovators, not conformists." - Sharika

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

"In the afternoon of your life, you don’t do life. You do what resonates with the callings of your soul."

"Everything will line up perfectly when knowing and living the truth becomes more important than looking good." - Alan Cohen


"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." -
Albert Schweitzer

"You get out of life what you put into it. You have to keep on practicing, keep on rehearsing…and believe. Never give up believing in your dreams." - Sean "Puffy" Combs

"A sportsman in the zone, like an artist, has both a wider and a narrower focus. He has the ability to be in the game and yet stand above it, seeing it clearly." - The Zone and the Importance of Imagination - Ed Smith on Cricinfo

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle


"Having perfected our disguise, we spend our lives searching for someone we don't fool." - Robert Brault, via Zach

"Le désir d’amitié vient assez promptement, mais l’amitié est un fruit qui mûrit lentement." - Aristote

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful." - Lord Henry, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could."- Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum, via Sanal on the Dead Readers' Society


"Un joyau ne peut être poli sans friction."

"Soyez patient. Toute chose est difficile avant de devenir facile."
- Saadi

"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." - Psalm 30:5


"Je ne vois pas pourquoi les gens attendent d'une oeuvre d'art qu'elle veuille dire quelque chose alors qu'ils acceptent que leur vie à eux ne rime à rien." - David Lynch

"I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive." - Joseph Campbell

"How would you define a good life? It’s a bafflingly tough question. An even tougher one: does the economy we have today value such a life? Does it help us create one?" - Is a Well-Lived Life Worth Anything? - Umair Haque, on the HBR Blog

"Happiness is not the same as a sense of meaning. How do we go about finding a meaningful life, not just a happy one?" - The Meanings of Life - Roy F Baumesteir, in aeon magazine


Hey there, if you got down all this way. I started putting together Quotes that I came across and liked into one annual blog-post two years ago. Here's that one, and here is the one from last year. It has been a great way for me to collect and organise thoughts of wise men and women that have been of some significance to me. I hope you find these lines interesting, thought-provoking, and maybe even useful.

Until the next time, wish you a good life!

Il faut choisir: vivre ou raconter.” - Sartre