Month: April 2006

  • Who Let The Blogs Out?

    Neither Beijing nor Microsoft can shut down Zhao Jing. The blogger better known as An Ti had run a popular blog for over a year, with the Chinese government censoring several of his posts, when he shifted to MSN Spaces. After receiving complaints from a government unused to its citizens expressing themselves freely, MSN controversially […]

  • Slower than a sleepy sloth

    Just a wave and a mea culpa, I know updates have been really, really slow, over here and at the other place. Too much travel, too many friends to meet–sorry!And yes, I know I’ve only reached February this far (and I cheated, leaving out most of the web columns I do for Business Standard and […]

  • Last Word: Paper promises

    Ten years ago, having gone through one set of arcane rituals to prove that we wished to live together as man and wife, my husband and I performed the second part of the marriage rites at the registrar’s office. The registration of the marriage was, to me, a far more exotic ritual than the ceremony, […]

  • The BS column: Love for sale

    (Published on February 14, 2006, in the Business Standard.) The feel of the keyboard under my fingers is smooth, hard, rippling, my word processor heaves with suppressed emotion and the newly installed UPS lets out a low, long, masculine purr…. Right, I think grimly, that’ll teach me to spend a week in Calcutta raiding my […]

  • The Calcutta essay

    (This was written for Seminar’s Calcutta issue.) It was when we heard about Argha the mali selling the books that we finally accepted the house in Calcutta was dying. The house was of a type once common in Calcutta, now increasingly rare, the few specimens left either already crumbling, already neglected, or looking strangely out […]

  • The BS column: Friedan’s enduring mystique

    By the time of her death on her 85th birthday this week, Betty Friedan had witnessed almost a century of the feminist movement. She had reworked her own sense of identity, declaring that she was first an American, then a person of Jewish extraction, and then, finally, a woman. In The Second Stage , she […]

  • Last word: The maulana’s empty writ

    In the lanes near the Nizamuddin dargah, women in burkhas go about their shopping, some pushing back the veil as they haggle for added emphasis. The daughters of a local entrepreneur wave a cheerful farewell as they go off, clad in salwar-kameez but without the burkha or hijab, to their offices: one works in a […]

  • Miro, Marias and mishti doi: The BS column

    (This column was written on an empty stomach. I think it kind of shows.) My guide to the Kolkata Book Fair is a man with salt-and-pepper hair whose literary taste seems to run from gory Bengali ghost stories to Javier Marias with a short detour Oshowards, judging by his book parcels. Half the crowd is […]

  • I can’t, but Sandokan

    (Outlook Traveller asked for a piece on fictional pirates, and since I was stuck in Calcutta with an ornery Net connection, I made them walk the plank for the damn thing. The fun part was Googling Sandokan posters online; and discovering (offline) Borges’ pirate fascination.) A mean-spirited adult put paid to our childhood games of […]

  • The BS Column: Speak, memory–or shut up

    All this happened, more or less—Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five Way before Oprah made his memoir, A Million Little Pieces , famous, James Frey must have taken a long, hard look at his life and decided to tell his story the Vonnegut way. Frey’s book sold over four million copies because it blended the contemporary taste […]