Photograph of sunrise on the Ganga or Ganges River in India

Catch this point!

The journey begins when you get home When my teacher, Swamiji (Swami Brahmdev of Aurovalley Ashram, Rishidwar, India), says something during satsang that he wants to underline, he says, “catch this point.” It’s a great example of a non-native English speaker using the language in a particularly creative and effective way. I have been back in […]

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Inn Seventh Heaven courtyard, Pushkar, Rajasthan, India

Life is perfect

What I learned about happiness in India Whenever I return to Toronto from India, I go through the throes of reverse culture shock. I miss things. I miss the smells of India, the flowers, incense, cooking fires, animals. India doesn’t always smell nice, but it always smells like something. I miss the diversity of life, the […]

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Photograph of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

To Jaisalmer

Connecting to childhood imagination When I was a child I painted huge colourful murals on my walls – always something I considered exotic and oriental like genies coming out of bottles and turret-topped palaces and stone fortress-like cityscapes. Imagination was more important than reality, and I stoked the fires of my imagination with fabulous tales […]

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Photograph of the evening aarti in Haridwar, India during Kumbh Mela 2011

Empire of the soul

Getting ready to return to India for the third time I am “borrowing” the title of this post from writer Paul William Roberts. It’s the name of his book about his travels in India and I think it just perfectly describes how I — and so many others — feel about India. I am leaving for […]

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Maharaja: The Splendour of India

Top 10 books on India (thus far)

Classics, prize winners, histories about India Just before the news broke about the terror attacks in Mumbai, I was going to write about my favourite Indian books and books about India. Ironically, one of my top picks is Maximum City by Suketu Mehta, an incredibly well-researched and well-written book about Bombay. Having recently read that […]

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Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai, Bombay, India

Certain Psychology of Terror

Terror attacks in India When thinking you’re right makes you wrong As I write this, police, hotel staff and and various specialists are combing through the wreckage of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai looking for casualties, evidence, survivors and possibly terrorists in hiding. There have been so many shocking images coming out of […]

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Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai, India

Jai Hind

My heart is in India I am writing this from the comfort of my quiet home in Canada. My cat is curled up beside me, purring, the heat and electricity are running, I have food in the ‘fridge, I can hear the heavy steel-on-sreel rattle of the street car. The world outside my window seems […]

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yoga on the beach in Goa, India

10 top spiritual books

10 Favourite spiritual books Personally, I think spirituality is the most private and personal aspect of human life — even more than sex and salary. So, I would never presume to make a list of spiritual books without qualifying the criteria: Here are 10 of the most spiritually influential books to me. In other words, […]

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Magical Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, by photographer Andrew Adams

India is my karmabhoomi

Karmabhoomi: the land of your destiny I came across this most excellent word while reading Maximum City by Suketu Mehta. The book is about Bombay (Mumbai) and the word is used by a (real) character, a 17-year-old poet who lives on the footpath. He left his village to live hard in sin city because Bombay […]

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