Month: October 2012

  • Book review: Joseph Anton

    Journal of the plague years (Published in the Business Standard, September 2012) A meme, defined by Richard Dawkins, is a unit of cultural transmission by which ideas spread through a network. If the idea catches on, it transmits itself, spreading from brain to brain. The Rushdie meme was born on Valentine’s Day, 1989, after the […]

  • Journal: Kitabkhana on dolphin clicks

    From Kitabkhana, Hurree Babu’s old blog, October 2003. Irene Pepperberg on “that damn bird” and the question of whether animals might be able to share a language with humans: “Researchers such as Pinker and I get along well because I never claim that Alex has full-blown language; I never would. I’m not going to be able […]

  • Journal: Kitabkhana on Classified Ads

    From kitabkhana, Hurree babu’s old blog, october 2004: From the Utterly-Useless-Stuff Dept I love the classified ads. Among the hundreds of hopefuls extolling their “gorgette prints”, you have benefactors offering relief for those “tensed and depressed by heavy pressure of creditors”. “Survical body massage by male to male” competes with Tanisha, who will “service only […]

  • Journal: Kitabkhana on the Nobel

    From the vaults: Kitabkhana, Hurree Babu’s old blog, in 2005 on how the Nobel Literature laureate is chosen. This is always a difficult decision: “Vargas Llosa?” “Na, too famous…” “Kundera?” “Na, it’ll look like we’re bowing down to the pressure exerted by a reading public incredulous that we hadn’t given it to him before.” “Okay, […]

  • Writers, October: RK Narayan

    RK Narayan on the naming of Malgudi, from interviews with N Ram and Susan Ram, Frontline: I had an idea of a railway station, a very small railway station. You’ve seen the kind of thing, with a platform and trees and a station-master. The railway station to which Swami goes to watch the trains arrive […]

  • The Wildings

    From The Wildings, published by Aleph Book Company, August 2012: They began to stroll back home; the moon was passing behind clouds and its light was touched with purple and yellow, like an old bruise. They had almost reached the road to the canal when Southpaw felt all his fur stand up at once, Miao […]

  • Writers, October: Premchand

      A clip from Shatranj Ke Khiladi: The complete short story, Poos Ki Raat, from the Doordarshan series: (Premchand: died, 8th October, 1936)

  • Banned Books Week: Prem Panicker, Bringing Up Father

    Bringing up Father Prem Panicker   My father taught me to read. In imperceptible stages he widened my horizons, broadened my mind, inculcated an eclectic taste that endures long after his passing. Then one day, I taught my father to read. I was around 16 at the time. My father walked into my room looking […]

  • Banned Books Week: Rules For Citizens, Jeet Thayil

    RULES FOR CITIZENS A poem by Jeet Thayil Let us govern those who undertake the telling of stories. Censorship is good governance. Self-censorship is an attribute of the highest civilization. If an actor speaks of God, he will be chastised. He will be refused an encore. If he repeats the speech, he will have his […]

  • Banned Books Week: Lawrence Liang, “The Process is the Punishment”

    The process is the bloody punishment Lawrence Liang Sec. 153A of the Indian Penal Code – that favored child of the religious right- provides for punishment of upto three years imprisonment for the promotion by words (spoken or written) of disharmony, feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will between religious communities. The punishment laid down […]