Month: December 2003

  • (Personal note: Griff, trust you’re reading this!) ‘Tis the Night Before Christmas The Babu has nothing better to do Than to link to this page of parodies for you. The Babu’s on the road between now and January 9, 2004; expect a drop in blogging levels, though we’ll do our best to keep Kitabkhana updated […]

  • The next time we use the term “literary feud”, send a prayer up to the knights of the board. When it comes to bodyslamming reviews, writers and fellow players, chessplayers make the rest of us look like wimps. It all started when Nigel Short wrote this review (second item on page). Justin Horton reacted: “Psychiatric […]

  • Profiles we will treasure: this author’s a “compulsive liar”, a “hard-drinking, icon-bashing rocker”, and the “office stud”. Mukul Kesavan provides less hyperbole in his review of Indrajit Hazra’s The Garden of Earthly Delights: “Hazra does this seedy, low-voltage world well. The story is told by Hiren in the first person and through his insomniac eyes […]

  • The Babu was moved to contemplation of his favourite words and phrases after he read this piece in The Scotsman. Twittering feet is somewhere at the top–a beautiful phrase, employed to describe the involuntary post-death twitches of a hanged man’s feet; ziggurat, because I love the way it sounds; the heebie-jeebies, which always felt like […]

  • The Dog Ate My Homework Dept: Apologies for the long silence, and thanks for the hundreds of letters asking whether I was still alive. (This doesn’t mean you, Person Who Added “because if your dead, maybe I can have your blogspot”.) The Babu realises he owes everyone an explanation (scroll down for today’s links if […]

  • * It was Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s birthday today. He celebrated by telling an audience in Tulsa that some of what was happening in the United States today reminded him of the “worst of the Soviet Union”. Love his poetry, too. Long live Rick Whittington; bow to Franny and Alexander; and please note, it should be Good […]

  • “Bahal’s extensive use of motoring metaphors to describe sex suggests that writers in other fields too could use the same method. Here are a few examples of what can be achieved. Business Reporter: “Scale, scale, there’s value in scale”, he gasped as he took in her impressive infrastructure. Ever since he had signed the letter […]

  • * As you enter the Babu’s neighbourhood, a huge banner promises to “teach you how to speak American and get a lucerative (sic) job at a Call Center…” Over in NYC, the rise and rise of the call centre has become the stuff of drama. “…Four Indian students sit at desks like schoolchildren, put through […]

  • The end of the year book wrap-ups are upon us. The Independent does several lists; The New York Times has the usual mini-directory; The Guardian has picks from a whole bunch of people; The St Louis Post-Dispatch tries to find a path between commercial bestsellers and serious literature; while The Spectator has a few unusual […]

  • Aniruddha Bahal may console himself with the thought that he’ll get to meet Sting, at any rate, who presents this year’s Bad Sex awards. Bahal won in the teeth of fierce competition from Paulo Coelho (“I was the earth, the mountains, the tigers, the rivers that flowed into the lakes, the lake that became the […]