Month: October 2006

  • The Delhi reading list

    (This was for the Outlook Delhi guide–very truncated list of books, fiction and non-fiction, on Dilli.) City of Djinns: William Dalrymple (Penguin) First published in 1993, William Dalrymple’s exuberant account of a year in Delhi wears its age lightly. As the writer and his wife meet eunuchs, gently sozzled taxi drivers, nostalgic Anglo-Indians and the […]

  • The BS Column: Independence Day

    (Carried in Speaking Volumes, the Business Standard, August 15, 2006) As we celebrate Independence Day, it is worth remembering that the great literary works from that time concern Partition and mourning, not Independence and celebration. Here are four extraordinary works that go deep into the heart of Partition. Saadat Hasan Manto, Collected Short Stories : […]

  • The Decline of the Book Review

    (Carried in The Hindu, August 27, 2006.) “The book review is a form that is capable of being used to address nearly any kind of issue, and any kind of question … The most intense issues are addressed in books. And book reviewing can be a way of bringing critical perspectives to bear on the […]

  • Book Review: Sacred Games

    Sacred GamesVikram ChandraPenguin Books IndiaRs 650, 900 pages “You wanna talk rules? You wanna talk all that old-school bullshit? Then remember this rule: I am the m***f**-f*** one who calls the shots!” Tony Soprano Sr, in the hit TV series The Sopranos. “If anything in this life is certain; if history has taught us anything, […]

  • The censor’s @ yr URL

    (I don’t normally post my Time Out cybercolumn, which is written by and large for an offline, not online, audience, but this one probably deserves to be here. It was written at the height of the Indian Internet censorship controversy.) Dr Gulshan Rai is not in the office. On a normal day, I wouldn’t need […]

  • The BS Column: Terrorist Tales

    (Carried in Speaking Volumes, the Business Standard, July 18, 2006) Long before 9/11 unleashed a flood of novels about terror into a paranoid world, Don DeLilo spoke of the challenge before the writer: “Isolation, solitude, secret plotting. A novel is a secret a writer may keep for years before he lets it out of his […]

  • The BS column: Raja Rao (obituary)

    (Carried in Speaking Volumes, the Business Standard, July 11, 2006. This elicited one of the most hair-raising emails I have received in a while: “Dear Mr (sic) Roy: [Long paragraph about importance of Raja Rao and/ or importance of spirituality in daily life, plus lament about the irreligiosity of the Modern Man. And then:] I […]

  • Fishballs at five am

    (Carried in Outlook Traveller’s August issue, I think. Thoroughly enjoyed writing this one. More than I enjoyed the breakfast itself, frankly.) It’s six am, Tiretta Bazaar, Calcutta, and we’re doing the Chinese breakfast on Bentinck Street the right way. Which is to stay up all night arguing and laughing, maroing adda until someone says, Hey, […]

  • Zadie, I Hardly Knew You

    (Carried in The Hindu, July 2006. This was an interesting piece to write; I have never met Zadie Smith, and it was very strange, recognising how much in the way of personal detail you end up knowing about even the most reticent writers in the media age. And how little of that detail makes a […]

  • The BS column: Noor, fact and fiction

    (Carried in Speaking Volumes, the Business Standard, July 3, 2006) Once you’ve seen it, you cannot to forget the crematorium at Dachau,the concentration camp where thousands of people were slaughtered bythe Nazis during World War Two. I saw it five decades after the warhad ended. Time had done nothing to obliterate the horror of a […]