Month: October 2006

  • Rediff and the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885

    As the head of, which also offers a very popular email service, Ajit Balakrishnan’s company often has to deal with jealous spouses wanting access to their partner’s email accounts, organisations wanting to read an employee’s mail-and police requests. In this column for the Business Standard, he explains why the Indian government gets away with […]

  • Orhan Pamuk wins Nobel

    Sometimes, those Swedish academics get it right. The Nobel Prize in Literature 2006 goes to Orhan Pamuk, “who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures.” From an interview with The Borzoi Reader: To be influenced by the western ways of […]

  • Book review: The Inheritance of Loss

    (This came out in India Today in January 2006; forgot to post it at the time, but given Kiran Desai’s Booker win, this seems like a good moment to catch up.) The Inheritance of LossKiran DesaiViking,Rs 495, 336 pages With Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard , Kiran Desai announced herself as an author in possession […]

  • Yes! Kiran wins

    Kiran Desai wins the Booker. From The Telegraph: Miss Desai spent eight years writing her book, The Inheritance of Loss, and becomes the youngest-ever woman at the age of 35 to win the award. From The Independent: “To my mother, I owe a debt so profound and so great that this book feels as much […]

  • Before the Booker

    Waiting for the winner of the Booker to be announced? Read John Crace’s parodies of the shortlisted authors while you twiddle your thumbs. Here’s his take on Kiran Desai’s Inheritance of Loss: The description of the mist moving like a water creature across the great flanks of the Himalayas possessed of ocean shadows and depths […]

  • Gourevitch’s Encounters

    The Washington Post gives Philip Gourevitch, editor of The Paris Review, an approving nod: George Plimpton is dead, alas, but the magazine he founded, the Paris Review, is alive and well and resounding with the voices of Salman Rushdie, Stephen King, Joseph Stalin, a Serb terrorist, a Chinese public toilet manager and an American woman […]

  • Chabon on "idealized nightmares"

    From Michael Chabon’s blog: In October 1964, STERANKO (one senses that he might like it written thus) produced a special number of Genii, The Conjuror’s Magazine, dedicated to Houdini. In it he revealed, in startlingly generous detail, many of the secrets of the liberationist’s art. To my eternal sorrow, I learned of the existence of […]

  • In the Flesh

    (This essay on meat was written for Seminar’s Culinary Crossings issue–some lovely pieces in there.) Here is a partial list of animals I have eaten over the last three decades. Goat (legs, stomach, brain, sweetbreads, kidney, liver, yes; eyes and head, never); cow (usually in the form of steaks, but also the tail in soups, […]

  • The BS Column: Out of Egypt

    (Published in Speaking Volumes, the Business Standard, September 5, 2006) Naguib Mahfouz, who died last week at the age of 94, would have found much to satirise at his own funeral. Reuters reported that Egypt’s most acclaimed author was given full state honours—his coffin was draped in a flag, borne in a horse-drawn carriage past […]

  • The BS column: The long silence of Gunter Grass

    (Carried in Speaking Volumes, the Business Standard, August 22, 2006) “Why only now?” he says, this person not to be confused with me. Well, because Mother’s incessant nagging…Because I wanted to cry the way I did at the time, when the cry spread across the water, but couldn’t anymore…Because for the true story…hardly more than […]