Month: May 2010

  • Book review: Way To Go, by Upamanyu Chatterjee

    (BOOK REVIEW FOR BIBLIO/ MAY 2010)Way To Go Upamanyu Chatterjee,Hamish Hamilton (Penguin)Rs 499, 359 pagesISBN: 9780670083527 Life is nasty, brutish and at 359 pages, not short, in Upamanyu Chatterjee’s sequel to his 1994 novel, The Last Burden. In the intervening 16 years, India has become more corrupt, more vicious, more consumerist and stayed as grimy […]

  • The BS column: The Girls Who Played With Fire

    (Published in the Business Standard, May 25, 2010. Spoiler alert: if you haven’t read either the Blaise series or the Millennium trilogy, this reveals a lot of backstory.) Forty two years before Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo, became this decade’s princess of crime fiction, Peter O’Donnell created the original Princess. As Stieg […]

  • From the archives: The power of offence

    (This is an old piece, written and published in August 2007. Posting it chiefly for my personal records.) When an author, artist or a film-maker is attacked, the assumption most people make is that the assailants hate the person in question. This is not true. Most assailants, whether they are bigots, religious fundamentalists, old-world conservatives […]

  • The BS column: The high cost of neutrality

    (Published in the Business Standard, May 18, 2010; image from Joe Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza) Highway 443 connects Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and remains one of the most visible symbols of the Israel-Palestine conflict. It is, in effect and even after recent rulings, a segregated highway, inaccessible to Palestinians without work permits and accessible in […]

  • Atwood, Ghosh, and "empty gestures"

    Just a quick round-up of the controversy over the Dan David Prize–chiefly as an aide-memoire for myself. Funded by an Israeli philanthropist, the Dan David Prize was offered to Amitav Ghosh and Margaret Atwood this year for their literary achievements. Both were urged to refuse the Prize, as a way of showing solidarity with the […]

  • The BS column: The Unread Tagore

    (Published in the Business Standard, May 2010; photograph by Saibal Das.) As Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary became a trending topic on Twitter, the social media site, it seemed like a good time to ask which Tagore we were celebrating. (Sticklers will point out that we’re celebrating a year early—technically, the Nobel Prize winning poet and […]

  • Ideas of India

    (Published in the Business Standard, May 2010. I’m working on a longer version, and will share that when it’s done; each of the people quoted offered far more in the way of insight and experience than I had space for in the span of a newspaper article.) If you’ve ever ridden the Himsagar Express, you […]

  • Art: Twitterneurons

    (For Beam Me Up/ #cloudrumble56. This was part of a performance art exhibition by Abhishek Hazra; the earlier piece, Twitterneurons, is here.) A few weeks after Abhishek Hazra’s twitter-art/ performance in Delhi, Marina Abramovic performs The Artist is Present at the MOMA. In her decades as a performance artist, Abramovic has used her body as […]

  • The BS Column: Offended in Egypt: The 1,001 Nights

    (Published in the Business Standard, May 2010) This is a story about a 19th-century wanderer and anthropologist, a book that took shape between the 9th and the 11th centuries, and a bunch of 21st century lawyers and clerics who share their beliefs with the most rigid of the 19th century Victorians. The book we know […]