Month: January 2006

  • The Web @ 2010

    (Business Standard gladdened my heart by asking all its columnists on the Weekend section to crystal-gazing. This was my take on the shape of the Internet circa 2010.) Yeah, I know how the script’s supposed to go. You’re woken by Ali Farkatoure, picked at random from your IPod and set as an alarm on the […]

  • The Best of 2005: Non-fiction

    (Not that this was comprehensive to begin with, but this year-end look at non-fiction shrank even more on the page. Carried in the Business Standard, December 2005. I did a fiction round-up too, but can’t find that in my archives–will post if it turns up.) According to S H Steinberg, the first printed book that […]

  • Last Word: XXX rated

    (For the Kolkata Telegraph, December 2005) In Nepal, by the Pokhra lake, the locals will nod at the benches strewn around and explain cheerfully that these are for courting couples. You see them everywhere, young boys and girls looking into each other’s eyes, or just quietly conversing. There’s an unspoken line that doesn’t seem to […]

  • The BS Column: Bedtime stories

    (For Speaking Volumes, the Business Standard, 5th December 2005) For a country that’s obsessed with sex, we have a terrible track record when it comes to writing about it. This year’s annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award was won by Giles Coren for a passage that had the male protagonist gasping and glugging as other […]

  • Pie-eyed

    Who says we aren’t a nation of poets? From the Reserve Bank’s archives, an official exchange of memos in 1952 on the subject of the “pie”, the one-paisa copper coin, between the then-Finance Secretary, K G Ambegaokar, and the then-Finance Minister, C D Deshmukh: “Much as I admire the valiant efforts made to rescue the […]

  • In brief: Ali, Amitav, Rushdie, Amitava

    –New short story by Monica Ali, ‘Sundowners’, in the New Yorker. —Reviews of Amitav Ghosh’s new collection of essays, Incendiary Circumstances. —Rushdie suggests sex therapy for Islamic terrorists (kidding. If you’re an Islamic terrorist and you can’t find a sex therapist near you, do not Googlebomb this page.) –and Amitava Kumar, who is on the […]

  • This weekend: Jaipur festival

    The Jaipur Festival has a special literary showcase; it’s on from Saturday to Monday, so if you’re in Delhi, consider driving down. Saturday features Zubaan’s Anita Roy, freelance writer Payal Dhar, Urdu poet Sheen Kaaf Nizam, Ira Pande, Tarun Tejpal and Alka Saraogi. Sunday has readings and discussions by Nand Kishore Acharya, Mamang Dai, Vivek […]

  • Oedipus Wrecks

    Like so many of us, Ananya Vajpayi is baffled by the recent banning of another book by Professor James Laine: In January 2004, Professor Laine’s Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India (2003) was banned. This month, exactly two years later, his older volume The Epic of Shivaji (2001), an English translation of the incomplete Sanskrit […]

  • The Darwin factor

    Dennis Dutton on Darwinian aesthetics: Darwinian aesthetics have hardly got off the ground, and much work remains to be done. Nevertheless, I’ve already seen a stiff, knee-jerk resistance to the very idea among older academics in the humanities. It’s odd that the very academics who express outrage that religious conservatives want to keep Darwin out […]

  • Last Word: Home, alone

    (For The Kolkata Telegraph, December 3rd, 2005) The testimony of 24,000 women across ten countries confirms one of the nastier truths about violence against women: the home is the last place where women are safe. Though India wasn’t one of the countries covered in this landmark survey by WHO, the findings in these countries–Bangladesh, Brazil, […]