Month: October 2006

  • Lovecraft’s phobias

    The reason I like H P Lovecraft? He came up with book titles like Nyarlahotep, Azathoth and, in what might be an ominous portent for a pioneering Indian graphic novelist, The Doom That Comes to Sarnath. Luc Sante has a more literary appraisal in The New York Review of Books, and a rather wonderful list […]

  • SF in six words, and Seven

    Wired asked SF, fantasy and horror authors to take a shot at the six-word short story. My favourite? Definitely Joss Whedon: “Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so. The web-only article features short-shorts by William Gibson, Ben Bova, Robert Jordan (“Heaven falls. Details at eleven.”), David Brin, and Margaret Atwood. Not that the Babu would presume […]

  • Darwin’s Origin…

    …and a whole lot more, online. Do read Darwin’s Beagle diary, if you haven’t already: 1832 Bahia Feb 28th The houses are white & lofty & from the windows being narrow & long have a very light & elegant appearance. Convents, Porticos & public buildings vary the uniformity of the houses: the bay is scattered […]

  • Supersizing speech

    John Humphreys explains why we need to reclaim language: The supermarkets are masters of the art – always trying to persuade us how thrilling it will be if we share our shopping experience with them. Note “experience”. We don’t shop any longer. We have an “experience”.At the heart of this hype process, in which the […]

  • Reading at random: Parashuram

    Sukanta Chaudhuri and his colleagues recently came out with a translation of the stories and miscellaneous writings of ‘Parashuram’, one of Bengal’s best-loved, and most feared, satirists. Here’s a selection from ‘The Scripture Read Backwards’, a “what if India had ruled over England instead” piece Parashuram wrote around 1928-29: The Richmond Banga-Ingiya Pathshala. Mr Cram, […]

  • The first Scots Mughal

    Aamer Hussein–who is, for all his fans, with book again, due to deliver next year–has a lovely review of William Dalrymple’s The Last Mughal: On my shelf is the 13th edition (published in 1942) of Begamat ke Aansu, a collection of chronicles of what befell members of the Mughal court during and after the Indian […]

  • Thande ka Tadka

    The Babu isn’t sure what Ruchir Joshi’s drinking these days, but it certainly isn’t Pepsi. Or Coke: We are a country where international Cola companies find it far cheaper to hire the most expensive movie stars to defend their interests than to clean up the bad chemicals in their plants. We are a country where […]

  • Franks and beans

    Post-Frankfurt, post-mortem: Mukund Padmanabhan in The Hindu: The choice of India as the Guest of Honour (for an unprecedented second time, the first in 1986) is invariably explained in economic terms — as a country “on the rise”, as a potentially huge market. Regrettably, literary prowess is mentioned almost as an aside…..With 70 invited writers, […]

  • Roses are red, cacti blue…

    Mitali Saran explains how to enunciate clearly when you’re saying it with flowers: The Shiv Sena is sending roses to the Varanasi police force; students are sending get-well-soon emails to Arjun Singh, and it is rumoured that even Sushmita Sen sent a cactus to Aishwarya Rai. I, too, want to send flowers to the Municipal […]

  • Vande Mataram: the seven crore question

    In the Calcutta Telegraph, Ashok Mitra deconstructs Vandemataram: What is of much greater significance, the mother hailed with such fervour in Vandemataram is, without a shred of doubt, not Mother India, but Mother Bengal. Consider, for instance, the 8th, 9th and 10th lines in the song: “saptakotikantha-kala-kala-ninadakarale,/ dvisaptakotibhujairdhritakhrakalabale/ abala kano ma at bale”. A rough […]