Being here is number one at the moment, but here are a few specifics:
1. My favorite Indian musician – I have to go with Zakir Hussain; yes the CDs are wonderful but they do not compare with seeing him live. Honorary mentions go to Ali Akhbar Khan (sarod) and L. Subramaniam (violin).
2. My favorite Indian movie – Bollywood stands or falls as a whole, but if I had to pick one film, it is the classic Mother India; this 1957 movie is arguably the defining moment of Indian cinema.
3. My favorite Indian novel – Rushdie is the obvious favorite, but I will opt for Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy. Better than any Dickens but Bleak House. And did you know that he was an errant economics Ph.d. student at Stanford when he wrote the manuscript?
4. My favorite Indian artist – Indian miniatures are a favorite, but we must go with named artists for this category. How about Nandalal Bose, the Bengali painter from the early twentieth century? Here are more nice pictures by him.
5. Favorite Indian chess player – Vishwanathan Anand is a no-brainer. India has a history of supercalculators, so how about this guy? You give him two and a half hours on his clock and he still uses only thirty minutes, and that is against world class competition. He used to be ranked number two in the world, though he has slipped in the last few years.