Month: May 2009

  • If It Is Sweet–a personal note

    Reading Mridula Koshy’s stories for the first time, almost a year-and-a-half ago, fresh into the publishing job I left this January, I had two distinct thoughts. The first was that these were the Delhi stories I’d been looking for; the second was that if all I managed to do was publish another three books like […]

  • Gluttony-II: Mocambo

    Mocambo,25-B Park Street, Kolkata, 700016033 22172934 Chateaubriand steak for two. Sizzlers. Baked Alaska. Grilled Bekti. Prawn cocktail. Devils on horseback. What I love about Mocambo is that you can enjoy its impossibly recherche menu with no sense of irony: it’s days of the Raj with a vengeance, from the smudgy paintings to the red leather […]

  • Gluttony-I: Varq

    Varq, Taj Mahal Hotel1 Mansingh RoadTel: 91-2302-6162Category: Expensive Having suffered too many bad renditions of Indian nouvelle cuisine–a rose petal and marigold salad with paneer tikka chunks stands out as a particularly horrifying experience–my husband and I approach Varq with some nervousness. To my mind, too many bad meals–Scrooge-like portions, pretentious service and no real […]

  • The BS Column: The Orange, juiced

    (Published in the Business Standard, May 19, 2009) Hiroshima, Alzheimer’s, a racist 1931 rape trial, an inventor on the verge of a love affair, a pastor on the verge of death. Nothing in these themes or these characters indicates the gender of the author of the novels in which they appear, and this is where […]

  • On keeping a journal

    From William Boyd’s Bamboo (2005), a collection of his critical writing, this lovely riff on Keeping a Journal: For the journal – relating as it does a life-story, or part of a life-story – does so in a manifestly different manner than the other forms available, whether biography, memoir or autobiography. All these last three […]

  • Dan Baum and the fine art of tweeting

    Like many New Yorker readers, I’ve been a Dan Baum fan for many reasons, his brilliant New Orleans series among them. So I was sorry to hear that his contract hadn’t been extended last year–and more than amused when he began tweeting the story of his firing from the New Yorker recently. Dan’s Twitter feed […]

  • The BS column: The Translator’s Tale

    How do you get the world to read in Indian? I’m quoting a young Italian editor who said this when she discovered the wealth of Indian literature outside the narrow confines of writing in English recently. It’s a great question. Ever since Indian writing in English took off in the West with R K Narayan, […]

  • Book review: The Best Travel Writing 2009

    (For Outlook Traveller, May 2009) The Best Travel Writing 2009:True Stories From Around the WorldEdited by James O’Reilly, Larry Habegger and Sean O’ReillyTravellers’ Tales, distributed by WestlandRs 790, 351 pages In Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the main character has a highly covetable visiting card: “Holly Golightly: Travelling”. Today’s passport officers would call in security […]

  • The BS column: How not to write about evil

    (Published in the Business Standard, May 5, 2009) Over half a century of Indian writing in English has produced several contenders for the title of the defintive Partition novel; but other conflicts have been more elusive. Partition has been recorded in many Indian languages—from Manto’s classic, brutal short stories to Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan […]