Month: April 2003

  • The Babu wonders what Salman Rushdie finds more irritating–speculation about his on-off relationship with Padma Lakshmi or questions about the fatwa years. He answered both fairly patiently at the PEN awards recently (yup, the woman who provided the inspiration for Nila in Fury seems to be back in his life; for all we know she […]

  • This just in: the shortlist for the 2003 Orange Prize has been announced. Carol Shields, Donna Tartt, Zadie Smith, Anne Donovan, Shena Mackay and Valerie Martin are in contention for the award, which goes to the best fiction written by a woman. Though the Babu doesn’t believe that literature and literary prizes should be segregated […]

  • Most of the Babu’s child-bearing friends in India are still stuck with Spock or the New Bible of Parenting: What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Sandra Tsing Loh suggests in The Atlantic that they may be luckier than they realise. “Day Six of the Baby, bent double over the bed, I found myself frantically cracking […]

  • The King’s gonna rock you tonight…along with Amy Tan, Dave Barry and a bunch of other authors collectively known as the Rock Bottom Remainders. (“Barry explains that he’s the lead guitarist not because he’s the best but because he’s the loudest.”) The way the Babu sees it, if Madonna’s off writing children’s books, well, someone’s […]

  • The Babu saw a private screening of Anand Patwardhan’s documentary War and Peace and found the Censor Board’s attempts to muzzle the filmmaker just as inexplicable as the Mumbai High Court, fortunately, did. An official ban was never placed on the film, but the Board attempted to block private screenings and suggested several cuts. These […]

  • Punjabi playwright Balwant Gargi has died at the age of 87. The Hindu has a brief obituary; The Indian Express carries a more personal tribute from Gursharan Singh.

  • Little Rock, Arkansas, produced the world’s most famous cigar user. It’s been in the news recently because of efforts by Little Rockian parents to ban the “evil” Harry Potter books for propagating witchcraft and magic. But a federal judge has ruled that it’s safe to read Rowling again. Bring on Volume Five.

  • Very naive of the Babu to expect objectivity on the looting of Baghdad’s museum and library from The Wall Street Journal. Even so, he didn’t expect Andre Emmerich to put forward this argument with a straight face: “The major lesson to be learned from the Iraq disaster is the desirability of dispersing widely the art […]

  • Why haven’t any of our bright young film-makers considered making a movie based on Mahasweta Devi’s writings? The Bengali writer and advocate for tribal rights, one of the most respected names in the Indian literary pantheon, is willing to lend her blessings to prospective directors, so long as they agree not to change the story. […]

  • It’s been over 30 years since Watergate, and a group of journalism students think they finally know who Deep Throat is. After four years of going through the Watergate files and crosschecking possible sources against Woodward and Bernstein’s clues, these students at the University of Illinois say that the most famous anonymous source in media […]