Month: February 2011

  • Speaking Volumes: The twilight of the Brahmins

    In Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes, there is a wonderful section on the fascination Japonisme held at a certain time in Europe, when Japanese bibelots, netsuke, robes and paintings found their way into Parisian salons: “Anyone would sell you anything. Japan existed as a sort of parallel country of licensed gratification, artistic, […]

  • Speaking Volumes: Cricket and Collaborators

    (Published in the Business Standard, February 15, 2011; image from, AFP.) Around the time that Shehan Karunatilaka began writing the first notes that became Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew, another Sri Lankan writer was defining what drove him back to the desk, one novel after another. “In the sense that writing is to […]

  • Book review: The Sly Company of People Who Care

    (Published in India Today, February 2011; this is a longer version.) The Sly Company of People Who CarePicador India,Rs 495, 281 pagesRahul Bhattacharya VS Naipaul made two observations that should be committed to memory by all aspiring authors, and travelers. The first was that his travel books, specifically the ones about India, were all books […]

  • Parallel imports (3): From the publishing industry

    (The debate over parallel imports is a matter of public interest–it affects readers, writers and the publishing industry. This is why the publishing industry thinks the 2m amendment will be bad for business–copyright lawyers have had a very different perspective. To follow the debate, read back on Divya Dubey’s blog: here, here, here and here. […]

  • Parallel imports (2): Publishing and the 2(m) amendment

    (This was a follow-up to the blog post on parallel imports, below; carried in the Business Standard, February 19th. Thomas Abraham and Prof Shamnad Basheer continue the debate over at Divya Dubey’s blog, in considerable depth.)Call this the war of the slogans. On one side, copyright lawyers and the Ministry of Human Resource Development offer […]

  • Parallel imports: what readers should know

    Just a quick summary of the intense debates around the possibility of opening up the Indian publishing market to “parallel imports”. This is in many ways a very technical issue; the proposed amendments to the Indian Copyright laws would allow parallel imports of books in India, and would effectively change the way publishers in the […]

  • JLF: excerpts

    On writing with the reader in mind:Martin Amis: I never think of you. No, I think you’re dead if you’re writing for a certain reader.Richard Ford: I couldn’t disagree more. I think if you don’t have a public, you don’t have a self as a writer. Get outside your room, get into the lives and […]

  • The BS Column: Emperors of Exploration

    (Published in the Business Standard, February 1, 2011) In three new books, an oncologist, a physician and a neuroscientist offer astonishing insights into our bodies and minds. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s biography of cancer is a kind of medical war journalism; Oliver Sacks explores the ways in which we might author our own experience; and Vilayanur Ramachandran […]