User Profile


Joined 1 year, 2 months ago

I read books to understand myself. Posts sporadically on

This link opens in a pop-up window

User Activity

The Way We Eat (2006, Rodale, Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers) 4 stars

A thought-provoking look at how what we eat profoundly affects all living things--and how we …

Ethics of Eating Animals

4 stars

Ethics is hard.

If I've learnt something all these years, it is this universal maxim. Everybody wishes they'd make ethically sound choices in their lives, but more often than not, ethical choices are in contrast with cost and convenience. Nowhere is this more apparent than the way we consume food.

There are a lot of similarities between food and religion. Both are deeply personal choices which are erroneously thought of as having a clear, set winning answer. Both divide people into disjoint sets where they vehemently try to outdo one another in following "The Right Way". And of course, both are deeply political.

My personal journey in food, as in religion, has been quite tumultuous. Coming from a vegetarian family, I used to feel discomfort in sitting at the same table where somebody was eating meat, used to scoff at the smell of eggs and couldn't go near anything related …

In het hedendaagse Pakistan, met zijn grote tegenstelling tussen rijk en arm, zijn machtsstrijd, politiek …

Review of 'Shame' on 'GoodReads'

5 stars

Now that I've moved away from reading fiction, I find that I face a lot of inertia to pick up something purely for pleasure. Maybe this is a nasty by-product of wanting to be as "productive" as possible. But the more I have drifted away from reading for pleasure, more mechanical the whole process has become for me. Partly to avoid this feeling, and partly because of my shame at seeing my bookshelf filled with dusty unread books, I picked up this one to assuage my feelings of guilt.

I had not expected the journey to be this beautiful!

Salman Rushdie doesn't need an introduction. He has been routinely hailed amongst one of the best contemporary writers of our time. It only speaks of my ignorance that I had only heard about him because of his controversies - outcry for Satanic Verses, fatwa issued against him - and only knew …

Review of 'Navayana Annihilation Of Caste' on 'GoodReads'

5 stars

I find India really fascinating sometimes, even though I've lived my whole life here. What the cultural multitudes and colorful festivals hide underneath is an ugly facade which threatens to break everything that has been built over the years. What I find most fascinating is how we've conditioned ourselves to ignore the blatant reality and move ahead with an oblivious calm, living in shit and aspiring for the gold.

Caste and religion are two of the most contentious topics out there, so much ingrained in our day to day life that one cannot even comprehend that any alternatives exist. Ambedkar had tried to show an alternative way out, and it only speaks of the deep-rootedness of the system when all we remember Dr. Ambedkar for is writing the Constitution (albiet not a small feat by any stretch), while all his life he had worked to shake the society off from …

The Second Sex (2011, Vintage) 4 stars

Simone de Beauvoir’s essential masterwork is a powerful analysis of the Western notion of “woman,” …

Review of 'The Second Sex' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

I tried to sit down multiple times to write my thoughts on this, but alas, they've been eluding me for quite some time now. Needless to say, this feminist manifesto doesn't require any introduction and I can't do a proper review right now, so I'll just give a personal push to folks reading this - pick it up even if you don't plan to finish it, as the parts in themselves are power punches.

Delusions of gender (2010, W. W. Norton) 4 stars

Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience and psychology, Cordelia Fine debunks the myth of …

Review of 'Delusions of gender' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

A fine book which dives deep into the prevalent social attitude of creating gender differences and how difficult it becomes to disassociate oneself from the gendered identity. The more I think about gender, more and more I become entangled into this weird loop of seeing every social thing in a different light.

Those seemingly-innocent "bro" comments between male friends, saying that the new hire in the team is a "diverse candidate", claiming "they don't have the balls to do it" as if two-round-eggs-in-a-sac somehow magically makes you superior to everyone else - all of these reinforce the gender stereotypes. Cordelia discusses at length about all the subtle cues that we don't even notice but which has a pretty significant impact on how we treat others. It's amazing how difficult it has become in today's world to not discriminate sexually, more so especially for a parent to bring up their children …

Review of 'Parenting beyond belief' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

I have had a very curious relationship with religion, although now that I talk to others, it was a much more normal experience than what I led myself to believe. I followed the typical path of receiving a particular religion from my parents (born a "Hindu child"), which had a supporting role in my life up until my late-teenage/early-adolescent years.

As is the norm for every child brought up in religion, I used to consider myself special believing that I had a "personal relationship" with God. There are so many good things about religion, but this in particular I believe to be the best part - this soothing feeling that somebody is watching over you in times of distress. During my early college years when I lost my faith, I was most afraid of having lost this rescuer of last resort (I wrote a short poem on this which you …

"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" (2018, W. W. Norton & Company) 4 stars

Review of '"Surely You\'re Joking, Mr. Feynman!"' on 'GoodReads'

2 stars

It's so strange to find a book beloved by everyone else, and find it so disappointing. The more I kept listening to the audiobook, the more and more I kept getting annoyed at his false modesty and complete sense of disrespect for people that he made fun of. Maybe he was a charming, goofy guy in his personal life - and there's no question about his legacy in his professional life - but if the intent of this book was to show how down-to-earth, carefree and charming Dr. Feynman was, it had exactly the opposite effect on me.

Pulling a prank on innocent bystanders and having a good laugh about it is one thing; deliberately keeping your tips in glasses full of water and then boasting about the mess that the waitress had to deal with in his memoir is a completely different thing altogether. And I had just started …

Make It Stick (2014, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press) 4 stars

To most of us, learning something "the hard way" implies wasted time and effort. Good …

Review of 'Make It Stick' on 'GoodReads'

3 stars

A potent summary of things to keep in mind if you want learning to last. Although if you're familiar with the theories of spaced repetition, elaboration, testing effects etc., this can easily be skipped.

The complete Persepolis (Paperback, 2007, Pantheon Books) 5 stars

From inside front cover: The story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within …

Review of 'The complete Persepolis' on 'GoodReads'

5 stars

I was in a state of frenzy and anxiety, unable to decide on how to get started on numerous projects that were pending for a while. So naturally, I decided to procrastinate more and picked up the first book from my bedside table, thinking to calm my mind for a few minutes.

Those few minutes turned into 3 hours as I sat obsessively with this book, forgetting to eat, drink or do anything else. The brilliant prose and the ironic humor in the face of absurdities reminded me of Kurt Vonnegut. What makes this graphic novel stand out among others is the unabashedly self-critical and honest voice of Marjane Satrapi. Loved this book to the core!

I'd recommend [b:Hyperbole and a Half|17571564|Hyperbole and a Half Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened|Allie Brosh||24510592] if you're interested in reading something similar.

Review of 'I Do What I Do' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

I had picked up this one thinking it to be an autobiography, and with an expectation that it'll cover Rajan's tussles with the government in more details. I was pleasantly surprised to find instead a good collection of technical essays covering the workings of RBI, and economics in general. If you're looking for a good explanatory work in the field of Economics (and especially those concerning India and its policies), you'll enjoy this.