Month: June 2010

  • The BS column: the Emergency in fiction

    Many years after 1975, I had the opportunity to see some of the posters that Indira Gandhi’s Congress used as propaganda for The Emergency. They came from the same school of writing as the Soviet Union’s Mother Russia propaganda, as though Mrs G’s department had taken creative writing classes from Glavlit and the GRU: “The […]

  • On being fed by friends

    Traditionally, it’s the women who do it. Mothers, aunts, grandmothers, wives, sisters, daughters, pouring their love and their frustrations into what they put on the plate; the extra sandesh, the meal that took six hours to cook and a week to plan. Then we grew up, and moved out, and there were no more Mashimas […]

  • The BS column: The Visionary and The Raconteur

    (Published in the Business Standard, June 22, 2010) In 2008, a friend called, incoherent with excitement. “Jose Saramago has a blog!” It seemed ridiculous. Saramago, the Portuguese Nobel literature laureate who passed away this weekend, was then 85. Many writers avoided blogging, on the basis that it took away from the “real” writing, and Saramago’s […]

  • Book review: The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver

    The LacunaBarbara KingsolverFaber, distributed by Penguin,Rs 550, 507 pages “I think our first responsibility, and also our first treasure as writers, is to represent ourselves,” Barbara Kingsolver said in an interview early in her career. She was speaking specifically of women’s writing; and even at that stage of her writing life, 15 years ago, she […]

  • The BS column: The Saint Sonia Syndrome

    (Published in the Business Standard, June 8, 2010) A few months ago, Norberto Fuentes wrote an autobiography of Fidel Castro, a book that starts and ends in Castro’s voice, where by page 150 the reader has forgotten that this is a fictional creation. Fuentes’ relationship with Fidel was a dark and troubled one; he was […]

  • Food: Following Fish

    (Published in the Business Standard, June 2010, in the food column) The arguments against fish are many, especially in a north Indian city like Delhi. Fish is bony — often, in fact, the tastier the fish, the bonier it is. Its fragrance is persistent, and for some, too pungent to handle. Meat is relatively easy […]

  • Book review: Ayn Rand and The World She Made

    (Published in the Business Standard, June 3, 2010) Ayn Rand and The World She MadeAnne C HellerTranquebar, Rs 495, 567 pages Here is my second-favourite Ayn Rand story. Challenged by a journalist to present her philosophy while standing on one foot, the philosopher, novelist and all-round provocateur stuck her foot in the air and stated […]

  • The Business Standard column: Copyright, copywrong?

    (Published in the Business Standard, June 1, 2010)The fantasy of any Indian reader who’s travelled to countries with bigger and better bookstores is simple: we want to be able to buy the books we love when they come out. Many great books, especially histories, biographies, science writing and world literature/ poetry/ drama in translation will […]