Category Fiction


Speaking Volumes: Stoner and the tyranny of now

 (Published in the Business Standard, January 7, 2013) Towards the end of 2013, I found an old interview with Mahmood Farooqui, the historian and story-teller. Many things that year had reminded me of his words: “We’re living with a loss of our sense of history… We live in a contemporary present where what happened two […]


The Hundred Names of Darkness

“The night hides more than predators until we know it so well that we can speak its many names without fear; and yet, we live most keenly under the wing of darkness.” ~ Kirri The Hundred Names of Darkness, Aleph Book Company “But how do you make friends with the night?” From the branches of […]


Booklove: Munro’s Ordinary People

  (Published in the Business Standard, Tuesday, October 15, 2013) You don’t have to be a woman to love Alice Munro’s writing, but it helps not to be an obnoxious, pompous, and usually male, twit. Exhibit A: Bret Easton Ellis, who grumbled that Munro was “always an over-rated” writer and that her Nobel literature win […]

Booklove: The Booker’s New Imperium

(Published in the Business Standard, September 24, 2013) It was in 1899 that Rudyard Kipling beseeched the US to “take up the White Man’s burden”, in an infamous poem. Kipling was thinking of conquering “new-caught, sullen peoples”, not extending the dominion of the United States across the Man Booker Prize when he suggested that America […]


The Wildings

Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize (2013), the Shakti Bhatt First Book Award (2013) and the Tata First Book Literary Award (2012) “You’re a Sender,” she remembered her mother telling her, the day she had opened her eyes for the first time. Mara had been curled up, a tiny comma against her mother’s warm flank, listening […]


The Wildings: Mara’s story

Mara’s story She was an orange kitten with deep green eyes, no bigger than the palm of my partner’s hand. Mara had been rescued from a drain in Sujan Singh Park by my cousin, and was temporarily living with them and their three dogs. “We have to find someone to adopt her!” said Kamini. “Yes,” […]

H. Hatterr cover

Booklove: All About Hatterji (50 Writers, 50 Books)

(From 50 Writers, 50 Books, edited by Pradeep Sebastian and Chandra Siddan, HarperCollins. I wrote this for Pradeep back in 2010, when he called very excited about the idea of an anthology where writers from across (and outside) the country would talk about their favourite books, characters, landscapes. He and Chandra Siddan looked for books […]

The Hundred Names…

Nine Lives, jugalbandhi

Illustrations: Prabha Mallya; Text; Nilanjana Roy (I wrote Nine Lives for Bombay Mid-Day, when they asked for a story about cats in 140 words. Then Prabha sent this stunning illustrated version.) More about The Wildings here. 

140-word fiction: Nine Lives

(Sunday Mid-Day asked for a cat story, in 140 words. Here it is.) My nine lives? I had a house, once, and Bigfeet of my own: then they packed everything, except me, and left. There was a word for kittens who wandered outside for the first time: prey. Seven bird kills, eight battles with rats, […]


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