Month: July 2005

  • Last Word: The Naked Truth

    (Written for Last Word, The Kolkata Telegraph, published on July 24, 2005) “How could they do that?” my friend said. We were discussing photographer Spencer Tunick’s “installation” in Newcastle, for which he persuaded roughly 1,700 ordinary people to pose naked. My friend is a bright writer, but to her the idea that you might strip […]

  • Speaking Volumes: Ceylon between the covers

    (First published in Speaking Volumes, Business Standard, July 20, 2005) It’s an old, bad habit: reading books about a country or a place in that setting, but nowhere have the books whispered into my ear as insistently as in Sri Lanka. I’m here as a tourist, but a deeply privileged one: my guides are Michael […]

  • Last Word: The cashew girls

    (Written for Last Word, The Kolkata Telegraph, July 17, 2005; you can tell I loved doing this particular piece.) It’s a well-known village on the road from Colombo to Kandy, where like bright birds-of-paradise, the cashew girls flutter around passing cars, calling out to buses and scooters from their small tables. They’re mostly young, though […]

  • The Potter review

    (And this was the obligatory Instant Potter review. Published in the Business Standard on July 18, 2005) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceJ K RowlingBloomsburyPOUNDS 16.99, 607 pages Not that I want to rain on everybody’s Potter parade, but now that we’ve reached Book Six, Rowling’s saga has surpassed The Lord of the Rings , […]

  • Speaking Volumes: The Trouble with Harry

    (First published in Speaking Volumes, Business Standard, on July 15, 2005. This was the obligatory pre-Potter piece.) Like every other Muggle on the planet, I’ll be queuing up tomorrow for the sixth book in the Harry Potter saga. There are good reasons for doing this. Millions of copies of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and […]

  • Random stuff: Kolkata blogs

    (This was a blogs-for-beginners story, written in a hurry for The Kolkata Telegraph; published on Saturday, July 9, 2005).“More than the newspapers, more than the many films shot every year in Calcutta, it’s the blogs that bring me the real news, of a city that is shifting shape in strange and interesting ways, home to […]

  • Speaking Volumes: Five ideas of India

    (First published in Speaking Volumes, Business Standard, July 5, 2005) The problem with telling history as though it were a story is that some stories always end up being more influential than others. I can think of four in particular that are told about contemporary India in Rashomon style; all four, in varying degrees, are […]

  • As I Lay Giggling My Head Off

    Sam Apple wrote the winning entry for Hemisphere’s Faux Faulkner contest, starring George ‘Georgie’ Bush and friends: “Hush now,” Dick said. “This aint no laughing matter. He know lot more than folks think.” Dick patted me on the back good and hard. “Come on now, Georgie,” Dick said. “Never mind you, Rummy.”We walked down steps […]

  • Writers, not caterers

    The thing about children’s books is that there’s so much more to them than boy wizards: James Gunn, veteran SF junkie, is campaigning for more, and better, catch-em-young SF reading that can move beyond Star Wars and Star Trek. “There’s a saying that the ‘golden age’ of science fiction is 12,” he said. “That’s a […]

  • Fighting for Palestine

    From The Guardian: “It’s been a hot summer on the Palestinian arts scene: gunmen broke up the concert of a popular West Bank singer after he refused to limit his repertoire to political songs, and a Hamas-run town banned a music festival to prevent mingling of the sexes.Now, Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish is striking […]