This is a story about a magic wardrobe – but I’m getting ahead of myself here.
So let me start by asking you a question. How many of you believed in Santa Claus when you were little? I certainly did. I believed in Santa long after I’d given up on fairies, and witches, and thinking that if I concentrated hard enough, I’d be able to fly. Year after year, when I opened my eyes on Christmas morning, I would find myself surrounded by toys. Model trains and Lego sets, Barbie dolls, books, puzzles, one of those early Super Soakers – you name that 90s toy, I got it for Christmas.
Let me be clear, though. It wasn’t because I got a lot of toys that I believed. Continue reading
About a month ago, I read Simon Sinek’s Start With Why as part of a course I’m enrolled in, and found myself frustrated for a number of reasons. After reflecting on what I wished he had addressed, I realised that my concerns stemmed from my personal preoccupations with the politics of belonging and social inclusion. I began to wonder if other popular thought leaders addressed this politics in their texts on tribe-making, and decided that Seth Godin’s book Tribes was an appropriate starting point.
Tribes is more leadership manifesto than book, with spare prose, lightly sketched examples, and no end-notes. In a sense, it feels strange to so seriously critique a text that is meant more as a provocation than a playbook, but I decided to do it anyway.
I didn’t really follow the annual Forbes 30 Under 30 so much as accept that my Facebook feed would blow up each January with the news that someone I went to undergrad with had just made the list. I noticed a pattern: they were all hard workers who had also mastered the art of working smartly and in alignment with the right people.
When I started college, I thought Princeton was simply a good way to get a degree sans debt (it was one of the few schools offering need-blind financial aid to international students). It was only once I left that I began to value the connections I’d made entirely by accident, who served as mentors, supporters, and harbingers of further opportunities. Meanwhile, I admired the people on the Forbes list, while regretfully admitting that I would probably never know how to make my work visible in a way that felt right. Continue reading
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been fortunate to have worked with a crew of stellar artists in putting together the South Asian premiere of Guillermo Calderon’s Villa. It was surreal, not least because the script elegantly tackled some of the self-same issues I grapple with in my academic writing (but people would rather watch a play than read a paper!). I’m especially grateful to Indika Senanayake for putting in a massive effort to bring Calderon and his work to Sri Lanka. After two of the three performances, there was an opportunity for a Q&A with Calderon, one of which included Radhika Coomaraswamy as panellist. The questions (and the answers) were all excellent, so I’ve jotted down some of my notes. Below is the expanded version. Continue reading