Torn condoms and cabinets of wonders

I know a dozen people who hate Karan Mahajan, for good reason: he’s bright, articulate, very funny and Family Planning, his first book, looks like a rare example of a decent Delhi novel. (Attempts to write the Great Bombay Novel outnumber attempts to write even the Really Not Half Bad Delhi Novel ten-to-one.) All this, and he’s not yet 26. But jettison the jealousy and read this small piece in Granta–it’s a great reason to start liking the man. I’m catching up with my reading, just started the book and will blog about it once I’m through.

In October 2004, The Matthias K. Rath Museum of Destruction and Resurrection (MKRMDR) opened on the campus of Stanford University. I was its co-founder, co-curator and co-inhabitant. The museum was run out of a dorm room. It was dedicated modestly to the reanimation of ‘wonder’ in the universe. Despite spatial restrictions and three grossly unmade beds, the MKRMDR boasted sixty wondrous exhibits, including a ‘Celestial Chart Employed by Ancient Navigators in Micronesia’, ‘The Quilt Worn By Governor Dukakis in Berkeley College in the Year 1988, when He Squandered Forever the Democratic Nomination’ and ‘A Shaman’s Rug In Arrested Flight’. The MKRMDR achieved, in its short life-span, a spectacular level of success – which is to say it peaked briefly above the status of a collegiate prank, became a famous venue for boozy parties, and was dismantled as soon as I graduated.

Reviews compiled at The Complete Review, over here:

Karan Mahajan interviews Suketu Mehta at The Believer:

Excerpts from Family Planning here:





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