Many years back, I read a book titled simply “The Vedas.” It’s an English translation of a series of discourses given by Paramacharya Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati of Kanchi Mutt. I’ve read this book several times over in the last five years. Each time I’ve read it, I’ve discovered a new and intriguing notion missed in […]

Is it me or is it becoming more and more painful to log into you bank account online? Dear Online Banking Customer, In view of a recent spate of fraudulent transactions, we’re taking extra security precautions. Which is why we ask that you answer the following questions before we can allow you to log into […]

A What Ho! thesaurus of terms related to homework and school. Parent-Teacher meetings and Annual Day functions Contrary to popular belief, these are not occasions to explain to the class teacher as to why you missed an entire season of Dexter or why you have declined all social invitations, including an invitation to a dinner reception […]

Loot-and-Scoot is a new service from What Ho! carefully crafted to help arrange an urgent and secretive getaway for an Indian politician looking to disappear without trace, should the need arise at any stage in his career. Please share this application form with anyone who might be interested. APPLICATION FORM NOTE:  Loot-and-Scoot is a cash-only […]

This is a world for the privileged few. The rest of us just happen to live in it. Here’s a pre boarding announcement that makes my case

Does the simple apology merit existence? Is “sorry” worth the trouble of expression? I pondered on the hurts, pains, aches, anger, disappointment and disillusionment we cause each other. When considered against the backdrop of our monumental blunders, our abject apologies seem inadequate.

When it comes to his own specialty, evolutionary biology, there is none better than Richard Dawkins. But the purpose of this book is not to explain science. It is rather, as he tells us, “to raise consciousness,” which is quite another thing.

Today (July 4, 2012), scientists from CERN in Europe announced that they may have found clear signs of a particle which is thought to be the Higgs boson, popularly known as the God particle. The hardworking scientists aren’t getting ahead of themselves, and are not quite confirming the existence of the Higgs boson outright. They’ve […]

Indians occupy a special place in the pantheon of insensitivity. We are a nation of uncaring, indifferent boors, whose lives are only occasionally punctuated by those (increasingly rare) Satyameva Jayate moments, when we sit down and pretend to care about our fellow citizens. Why are we a nation of dimwitted fools?

A short interpretation of a “bliss mantra” from the Taitriya Upanishad in the Vedas.

Empathy is the ability to view the world from another’s perspective. Of all emotions, it’s empathy that makes us human. Some would even say it’s empathy that makes us divine. So how exactly does empathy work from a neurological perspective? What triggers empathy? Can we be trained to be empathetic?

Wonder if there is a loss of morale over at Hallmark with e-cards becoming popular? Here are a few Hallmark card ideas for uniquely Indian occasions to help boost enthusiasm.

My living will, for the record.

If Rome is the eternal city, Istanbul has to be the timeless city, having endured centuries of struggle and change. Notes from a recent trip to Turkey

Who am I? That’s a simple question. Yet one without a simple answer.

In an intriguing twist to the 2,000+ year old history of the religion, a prominent leader of Tibetan buddhists today stepped forward with the startling and controversial claim that the core tenet of his faith – “to stay in the moment” – was perhaps over-rated.

This year, as is the case each year, there will be a crazed competition among teenagers, in which they will fight each other to the finish for a grand prize. Yes, I’m talking about the Hunger Games, also known as the Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Exam (IIT JEE).

It’s not hard to understand why Rahul Dravid is celebrated as a hero. There are obvious and undeniable reasons. Yet at some level it is hard to fathom how such a persona – one who was so unwilling to seek public attention and uncompromisingly focused inwardly – came to be a hero in these modern times.

If you’re not secular, you must be communal. Seen the foreign hand lately? One man’s jolt is another man’s setback. Who’s in command? And why is she high? Gems from the Indian political and media lingo

The evolution of V-day from its 12th century pagan origins (as the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia) through its Christianization by the semi-heroic figure of St. Valentine (who secretly and illegally married off lovers and paid with his head) into its modern avatar of a blockbuster Hallmark holiday is mind boggling. What and who did the trick?

Everyone wants to be secular these days. The newspapers are full of important people who are anxious to let everyone know how important it is to be secular. “The minorities are such a maligned lot. They cannot take care of themselves. It is up to us – the enlightened majority, to take care of them. […]

The Uninformed Reader might scoff at, and even under-estimate the significance of the dark art of driving in India. To her, I must point out that data collected from observation of Indian drivers has been the only reason that scientists have been nail down the exact moment in time we homo sapiens branched off from […]

We live in an incredibly fascinating world. I found more evidence of this in the last couple of weeks while reading a couple of different but related articles. The first insight came from a video by Professor Philip Zimbardo on the “The Secret Powers of Time“. The good professor posits that we, humans, tend to […]

Groucho Marx said, “I refuse to become a member of any club that’s willing to admit me”. This clever absurdism reveals the innate human tendency to desire something and yet feel unworthy of it at the same time. It’s been such a long held, gloomy Western tradition to view marriage through a Marxist lens, that […]

If I had a dime for everytime I got this question from my younger one (in fifth grade), I’d have assets so disproportionate to my income that would put the local MLA to shame. “Why do I have to learn this?” Caught off guard the first few times, I drew a blank. Quickly, I learnt to come up […]

Everyone’s talking about Pakistan. You can’t run for office, nay even step out of the kitchen these days without knowing your Waziris from your Mehsuds and your Lashkars from your Jaishes. Not everyone knows what they are talking about. After all, there are lots of guys over there doing some incredibly bizarre stuff, that it’s not […]

Scientific progress has not wiped out religion. At the same time, organized religion is losing their grip. This tale is not over, and has a few twists left

Light is at the core of physics. Light, its attributes and energy, define the very parameters of this amazing universe that we find ourselves in. The nature of light, also (less commonly) known by its scientific name – electromagnetic radiation (EMR) – is the most fascinating conundrum we have encountered in nature. Light is the two-faced […]

It’s not clear why men and women decided to get together and start this thing called the human race. But one thing is clear – that LSD was definitely involved.

Long long ago, there lived a farmer named Jack. He had a beautiful wife and two lovely young children. Jack was very proud of his family and worked very hard every day in his field to raise crops and vegetables so they could live comfortably. In a few years, he built a nice little house for […]

Scientists in Europe claim that they have observed neutrinos traveling faster than light. What are neutrinos? Why is it surprising that they can travel faster than light? What’s the big deal? Neutrinos What are neutrinos? They are sub-atomic particles – little wisps of almost nothing, with no electrical charge. Being neutral, they are found nearly […]

In 2008, we saw collapse of financial institutions, led by US banks, unprecedented for its severity. Now, history appears to be about to repeat itself in Europe. Since we seem to be headed into the open season for bailouts, I decided to send in my bailout application right away to beat the rush and get ahead […]

What can you write about Rajnikanth that has not been already said? I guess you could start by asking how you go from a dark skinned, Marathi speaking, bus conducting Shivaji Rao Gaekwad in Bangalore to Rajnikanth, the biggest commercial movie star in India? Rajni’s Sivaji – The Boss, released a few years back, was […]

According to Livemint, India is the world’s second-largest market, after China, for telecom services with 812 million subscribers at the end of March 2011. 2010, they say, was the year of the smartphone in India. We will remember these last few years as the time when the phone was transformed into anything but a phone. Hardware vendors […]

There is a lot of hand wringing about the recent downgrade of the US debt, an unprecedented event, which some say, is the beginning of the end of the amazing run of the United States of America.

The word “queue” traces its origins to the Latin “coda” or “cauda” for “tail”. It came to English via French (and Italian) and was first used to describe the “tail of a beast” and then extended to “a line of dancers”. The verb in its modern context of “to stand in a line” is recorded […]

As humans, we have an ability that is so utterly unique in the natural world – a behavioral pattern that was so transformative, that it effectively changed the trajectory of our evolution. We can take an innovative thought and share it with another person by simply recombining sounds we learned to make as children. Sure, almost […]

And, you thought you knew it all. In a world filled with noise and confusion, there is only one source for clarity and precision in thought. What Ho!

Those who forget history, they say, are doomed to repeat it. What Ho! is proud to bring you the memorable moments in the post independence history of India, as seen on a Facebook wall. Inspired by Teddy Wayne, Mike Sachs and Thomas Ng ‘s Op-Art at New York Times.

It’s hard to fathom a cheerful world while in the throes of existential angst. But, life’s not as bad as it looks. 3 reasons why.

Recently watched a movie called Tere Bin Laden, which brings us to the topic of Bollywood. There are many jobs that people do in this world. Each requires a skill of some sort. Indefatigable fortitude goes with postman territory. Rain or shine, the mail never stops. A civil engineer has to display more than average […]

This week, we take a closer look at an interesting phenomenon in which a bunch of people voluntarily squeeze themselves into a giant pressurized metal tube which is then sealed and propelled into air. Yep, we are indeed talking about the joys of flying coach class. A gentleman named Tony Januss kicked it all off when he […]

Having lived on both sides of the pond for a good many years, I can understand both reluctance and enthusiasm on part of of Indian diaspora when it comes to returning “back” to India “for good”. I’ve known better than to be in the middle of these debates, but have gleaned enough to know the […]

Last night, Chennai Super Kings beat Bangalore Royal Challengers with ridiculous ease to win their second and back-2-back IPL title.

 Recently, someone suggested that I write about the delightful practice of honking on Indian roads. After mulling this suggestion over for all of two seconds, I decided that I would go even further. Like Starship Enterprise. I would go where no man has ventured before and scientifically explain this riveting “Only in India” phenomenon, which has inexplicably […]

What happens when we die?  What we believe in this regard, interestingly, likely plays a role in the way we live our lives. For the longest time. after-life has been a source of mystery, intrigue and anxiety for humans. Every religion has its hypothesis on what happens after death. The Judaeo-Christian-Islamic versions speak of a “transfer” to a waiting […]

Oh.. the little joys of living in India! How do I describe thee?  The topic de jour is passport sized photos. Is it me or is there an insane demand for passport sized photos in this country? In all my time of living in the US (a lengthy tenure), I must have taken perhaps a couple […]

Some one once told me that everything in this world is controlled by just fifty people. These fifty people, he said, determine everything. And he meant everything. As in everything  from stock market movements to oil prices to US presidential elections to opium trafficking and mujahideen movements in Afghanistan to installing the next puppet government […]

Live from BDA complex, Koramangala, Bangalore: Winds of change are blowing in Egypt, Yemen, Libya and across the Middle East. The latest scene of action seems to be Imperial Hair Dressers in Koramangala in Bangalore. I was shocked this morning to find that a coup of sorts was attempted 3 weeks back. Disgruntled elements in the […]