“My svadharma was to teach”: A brief biography of Dr. Anandalakshmy

In the year 2013, I was approached to write Dr. Anandalakshmy’s biography for a publication on ‘Eminent Indian Psychologists’. I was both delighted and daunted by the responsibility, but greatly enjoyed writing this essay with inputs from Neerja Sharma and Dipali Taneja (thank you). This draft version is in fact, the final submitted to the editors with Dr. Anandalakshmy’s approval. Unfortunately, the editors of the volume believed that its rather unique format didn’t fit in with the rest of the volume and required ‘correction’. They proceeded to make dramatic (read disastrous) changes while retaining the ‘facts’. We were given the “choice” to approve or quit! With a great deal of reluctance, both of us agreed and it is now available in print. I believe that the final version lacks soul and for some years now, I have been sitting with this essay wondering when and where to place it for others to read. Here it is for you.

“Peripatetic is a word that comes to mind when I think of her”, a tribute to Dr. Anandalakshmy by Dipali Taneja

“Her greatest gift to her students is, however, far beyond erudition. It is the gift of responding to the world around one with enthusiasm. Her matter-of-fact responses to the toughest of personal problems also becomes a source of strength..”

“My svadharma was to teach”: A tribute to Dr. Anandalakshmy

Dr. Anandalakshmy left this world for her onward journey on 13th of March. Her passing has left a vacuum in the lives of so many of us who have had the privilege of being her students. As a tribute to her, we will be featuring upcoming posts with selected extracts from our association with her.

Slumdogs and sentences: The unique attention to India at the Oscars

As the Oscar fever abates, we visit some of the issues related to the portrayal of Indians in cinema: documentaries and feature films, to ask whether filmmakers in other parts of the world can simply walk into neighbourhoods, classrooms and homes to confront people with a camera and ask invasive questions? Have we failed, as a society, to preserve the dignity of our people? Some of the shots in the documentary film ‘Period etc.’ and this featured interview with Rubina Ali (of Slumdog Millionaire fame) certainly seem to indicate that.

Mamta: selfless love or love for the self?

Nandita Chaudhary and Pooja Bhargava In the year 2006, we published a journal article in Contributions to Indian Sociology with the title: Mamta: The transformation of meaning in everyday usage. Here is the link to the original article https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/006996670604000303. In this Kadak Chai Essay, we provide excerpts from the interviews we conducted around the topic. […]

Cupboards, Refrigerators and a Baby’s Love

“The Master and his Emissary”, The Hedgehog, the Fox and the Magister’s Pox”, “The Turning Point”, “The Emperor of All Maladies”, “When Breath Becomes Air”, “The Old Ways”, “The Mind’s Eye”, “The Past as Present” and also, my most favourite title ever, “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat”. These is just a […]

A smile that broke my heart

Looking straight at me with this wide, glorious and happy smile was this little baby, she was attempting to engage with me in a visual exchange! Her face had erupted into this beatific smile, characteristic of a baby who had not yet developed any fear of strange faces, ‘stranger anxiety’ as I knew it was called. A developmental stage where an infant is open and friendly with anything resembling an animated human face, but in this instance, I was unable to smile back, I felt heartbroken by this unexpected encounter, not knowing whether to fulfill the expectation of a friendly smile or burst into tears at the tragedy of her innocence. I resigned to my own inadequacy and impotence at dealing with the situation and withdrew, deeply humbled. I knew I could neither understand, nor intervene, nor assist seriously enough to find a solution here. The smile had broken our conversation, and my heart, and I couldn’t bear anymore.