“Thank God, I’m a 100% American!”

Well! Here are we are, at the end of another academic year. Final exams are already underway for many of you. I think of exams as kolli devvas (ಕೊಳ್ಳಿ ದೆವ್ವ) – the Kannada term probably refers to a swamp gas (methane, one of the deadly greenhouse gases) that has lit up and is being blown […]

23 Mar, 2017

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Desire and despoliation

Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” However, those of us who can afford to pay money for what we want (more than what we need) very often end up getting it. We may buy it, but we are not paying the true cost of […]

15 Mar, 2017

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Foodie geography

Once a student whom I taught geography, born in India, raised abroad, was then in Bengaluru because his father had bee posted here by his company. He had a younger sister, too. I was to find out that he not only had a great sense of humor, but was also a brilliant geographer!

09 Mar, 2017

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It’s a small world!

All places interact with other places – through the flow of certain resources (air and water, for example) and through the movement of human beings. This is called spatial interaction (spatial is the adjectival form of space).

02 Mar, 2017

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Points of view

Point of view, often abbreviated to POV, is very important for us to make sense of our world. And since POVs differ among us, we have to learn to accommodate each other.

23 Feb, 2017

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Earth Karma

It is often said that everything that the universe is made of, we are also made of. We eat Earth! Think about it just a little and you will easily see how our physical bodies take up and throw out various elements. It’s all in the food we consume and the waste that we shed. […]

16 Feb, 2017

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Restless Earth

Quake, shake, roll … Nothing is as still as it seems. We live in a truly false sense of security about the ground below us!

07 Feb, 2017

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Home to geography

Geography is everywhere in our lives. It’s just that we may not be paying attention to it. Not only is it everywhere, we are using it all the time. Take away geography and history from our lives and everything falls apart.

19 Jan, 2017

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Pongal-oooh, Pongal!

Minimum temperatures in Bengaluru have been quite low lately – in the mid-teens on some mornings, making the mornings a little chilly. My colleague Ms Vidya Shankar, visiting Chicago, reports minimum temperatures of 1 degree Fahrenheit (what’s that in Celsius?) and even lower on some days.

12 Jan, 2017

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New Year

Welcome back from your holidays and to a new year … one of many we observe each year! Ugadi, Vishu, 2017, etc. depending on the calendar we use. This year is going to be geographically interesting in many ways. Here are some examples.

05 Jan, 2017

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MAD madness

Today, a rather depressing interactive map and evidence of how stupid we humans are. We have spent so much time, money, resources, and energy to build weapons that we can drop on each other and wipe life out.

22 Dec, 2016

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One-ness and geography

One-ness and geography Human-environment interaction is a major theme in geography. Several school textbooks only vaguely talk about this. Agriculture, industrial activity (primary, secondary, tertiary), global warming, climate change, and settlement are the usual topics subjected to this cursory treatment.

19 Dec, 2016

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Faithful geographies

Faithful geographies Religions and their geographies are fascinating to study. And to understand. The geographies of religions is an important part of cultural geography – the geography associated with cultures.

08 Dec, 2016

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Pious Citizen Geography

Pious Citizen Geography A journey My guru, Dr Surinder Mohan Bhardwaj, is a specialist in sacred geographies. My upbringing with Karnātaka sangītam; with the sacred lore in Samskrtam, Tamizh, Kannada, Telugu; and the syncretism that I spoke of in my previous column was the result of many cultural influences by many gurus. My parents, uncles, […]

23 Nov, 2016

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Syncretic geographies

Syncretic geographies Syncretism is “the attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties, as in philosophy or religion.” ( In my life, several gurus have taught me the importance of syncretism; chief among them were my amma and my geography guru (Dr. Surinder Mohan Bhardwaj). What are syncretic geographies and why […]

15 Nov, 2016

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Melodious geography

Melodious geography Hindu iconography of Krshna (I prefer this spelling) shows him with a vamshi – a short flute. What geography connections do I find with this?

10 Nov, 2016

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Geographical olio

Geographical olio Olio means “a medley or potpourri, as of musical or literary selections; miscellany.” ( Today, an online geographical olio for you to explore.

03 Nov, 2016

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The Indian Diaspora – at home and abroad

The Indian Diaspora – at home and abroad Migration. Relocation. Push-and-pull. “Greener pastures.” That itch in the foot. Recollection, re-enaction, re-creation. Tensions. Homecoming and home-going. All these, and the lens of geography. In today’s column.

03 Oct, 2016

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Pilgrimage ‘basin’

Pilgrimage “basin” Chandra Shekhar Balachandran The Institute of Geographical Studies, Bengaluru Rivers. Catchment areas. Sacred places, sacred journeys. Tirupati – local to international. Coffee time conversations with my guru. All add up to the perfect recipe for learning geography.

11 Sep, 2016

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Maps galore!

Maps galore! A cautionary tale from the USA – an HIV crisis mapped. Then, a set of interesting maps of the London ‘tube’ trains (or the ‘underground’). Ending with a map of where our foods come from. These are on today’s special menu at the Geography Darshini!

07 Sep, 2016

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