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Valentine’s Day in Karachi 16 February 2009

Posted by ABD in Culture, Travel, VARANGALI.

This week’s guest post is by VARANGALI, a San Francisco-based consultant and one-time regular at othermatters.org.

One of my favorite educational experiences came while studying abroad. Specifically, sitting in a pizzeria on the coast of Normandy with friends, eating the thinnest pizza margarita I have ever had, topped with an egg, sunny side up. Sometime between the yolk and the crust, we noticed a troupe of angelic, costumed 1st graders winding its way through the tables to the maître d’. With a huge grin, he swooped out a bowl of candy. This was one in the afternoon, October 28th. This was Halloween, French-style.

Holidays, like other cultural imports, often get lost in translation. I thought of my French Halloween a couple of days ago, while stuck in traffic late at night on February 13th. Bewildered by the timing of the jam, I questioned my cousin. “Valentine’s Day, of course.”

Of course. Cruising the streets the night of February 13th. A live rock band at Dunkin Donuts. Wearing red to announce your healthy love life. Restaurants turning off their lights for a minute at midnight. Valentine’s Day, Pakistani-style.



retread| America the Itinerant 24 May 2008

Posted by EDITOR in Culture, VARANGALI.
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Retreads are quality posts from yesterweeks that are given a second run on Fridays. This is originally a VARANGALI piece from 14 Nov 2006.

drive, he sd

– Robert Creeley, “I Know a Man”

There is a vein that runs deep in the American psyche, one that binds self-knowledge to flight. It is Huck Finn on the Mississippi; Jack Kerouac “driving west into the sun;” James Dean poised on a motorbike, revving our engines as he coolly dangles his cigarette. And it is Bruce Springsteen commenting on its fatalism: “The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive.”


retread| Tonight 14 April 2007

Posted by VARANGALI in Poetry, Spirituality, VARANGALI.
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Retreads are quality posts from yesterweeks that are given a second run on Saturdays. This piece was originally posted by VARANGALI on 27 Oct 2006.

I do not feel how to pray.
Fear I never did.
Prostate and bent, haggard and wincing,
wrinkled and furrowed, sweated and sweating –
knew the pain and knew the vigor,
knew the concentration and knew the sinner


retread| Exploit Women and Win a Nobel! 24 March 2007

Posted by EDITOR in Culture, Economics, Relationships, VARANGALI.

Retreads are quality posts from yesterweeks that are given a second run on Saturdays. This piece was originally posted by VARANGALI on 18 Oct 2006.

Given the opportunity to fight against poverty and hunger women turn out to be natural and better fighters than men.
Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank founder and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, 2006

The Grameen Bank has been heralded for what many considered a pipe dream: earning profit by alleviating poverty. Having loaned $5.7 bn over 30 years to poor villagers at a loan recovery rate of 99%, many have asked “where is the magic?” Unfortunately, it lies in exploiting the very same women Grameen Bank claims to liberate.


Abandoning the Rational (The Power of Positive Thinking) 6 March 2007

Posted by VARANGALI in Culture, VARANGALI.

Place your hand on your heart and say… “I admire rich people!” “I bless rich people!” “I love rich people!” “And I’m going to be one of those rich people too!”

T. Harv Eker, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth

We live in a self-help world. We have to think positive thoughts, believe we “can do it,” and power through adversity with a grin. Perhaps the Cult of Positivity is but another iteration in the quest for individual freedom, or a crass result of our materialist society. Ultimately, however, it stunts our very ability to reason.