Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reunions

Back in Delhi, reunions with old friends, colleagues, family of friends. At their house in Gurgaon the parents of my graduate pal P, now quite an important person, remember that when I stayed with them last, almost five years ago, I'd been in the pilgrimage site Chitrakoot (something I'd forgotten; all credit goes to Intrepid Tours). At a coffee shop in Khan Market and then the India International Center, I met colleagues and friends of our school's India China Institute, from economists to urban designers, green developers to university-planters (I'll have to tell you some time about the explosion of institutions of higher education of every shape and form in these parts)... a family which now has a religious studies branch, too! At the Center for Policy Research, P opined that the US' problem is not the 1% but a class of people who have made it to the top of newly open and meritocratic institutions and believe they deserve their wealth - old-style conservatives like Hayek and Friedman, he said, warned against ethicizing the results of capitalism: "you can shame an aristocracy, but not a meritocracy." And then at a restaurant in Hauz Khas my Bengali friend S who took particular pleasure in upending my previously unenthusiastic view of South Indian cuisine: Gun Powder's Andhra-style sweet and sour pumpkin is to die for!

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