Month: January 2005

  • The 3 am blues

    Made myself a promise before I got to Bombay: “Babu,” I sez, “you may do many things in Bombay. You may get onto the wrong trains (did that). You may fall out of a taxi in Bandra (ditto). You may even dance on tables (on the to-do list) singing obscene Bengali songs (did that already). […]

  • The X-Files

    The Babu was in Bombay during the Hutch Crossword Book Awards, and had a most entertaining time, even though he had to put on fancy dress for the occasion. Here’s what he noted: 1) Aruna Sairam, Carnatic music diva, and Ella Fitzgerald, jazz icon, would’ve had a lot in common. Remember Ella’s scat singing on […]

  • Amitav Ghosh: the tsunami essay

    Caught up with this at Amardeep’s blog. Amitav Ghosh went to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands just after the devastation; he wrote a three-part article for The Hindu about what he found. In Part One, Overlapping Faults, he makes the point that: “Over the last two weeks, both the fault lines that underlie the islands […]

  • The greatest story ever retold

    Shashi Tharoor has been re-assessing the Mahabharata, which he used as the foundation for his The Great Indian Novel: “Whenever a particular social or political message was sought to be imparted to Indians at large, it was simply inserted into a retelling of the Mahabharata.” In the next part of his column, he writes: “Which […]

  • The Tiger Claw

    The good thing about being offline, without a working television set and having no operational phones while shifting house is that you catch up with your reading in an atmosphere of peace and quiet, only occasionally interrupted by cats leaping gracefully out of packing cartons. (One of our cats is a kleptomaniac who took full […]

  • Gagged but not bound

    I’m not sure what you think of John Sutherland, this year’s chairman of the Booker panel. All I know is that he’s manna from heaven to book reporters. He’s “an inaccurate and impenitent leaker of panel discussions”, “incredibly indiscreet”, and he’s been voluntarily “gagged”. The muzzle slipped, though; he is now ranting about Penguin. Specifically, […]

  • At last, a book award I like

    The Morning News launches The Tournament of Books (inhouse slogan: “See bright young things crushed!”) Some of my favourite lit bloggers are judging this one. The winner will get The Rooster, the lit world’s version of the Oscar, with a twist: “We have looked into shipping a live rooster to the winner. We are still […]

  • Through a mirror darkly

    The Babu isn’t sure he likes being written about, being a nervous, shy, wilting wallflower in real life. On the other hand, it’s kinda nice being called “dashing” and learning that I offer cyberspace’s equivalent of an adda (self-contained and indulgent, damn right it’s both!). Enough about me. Hung out with a few blogger friends […]

  • Taking the Indian setting for granted

    From Githa Hariharan’s tribute to the late Shama Futehally in The Kolkata Telegraph: “Shama’s commitment to writing was made when she “felt part of the human family”. This sense of being part of a family included her sense of location in the larger family of Indian writers; Shama wanted to share what she perceived as […]

  • The Crossword awards…

    …will be announced later this week. They’re officially the Hutch Crossword Book Awards now, which The Complete Review thinks is hands down the worst name for a literary award ever. (Lit Saloon guys, you have no idea. In my misspent youth, I once won an award entitled the Good Reading and Happy Writing Urge to […]