… are finally in the same place.
Kitabkhana began in early 2003, back when people called the Internet the “information superhighway”. (The past is so much more glamorous than the present, yes?) It was run by Hurree Babu, who didn’t seem to mind being stolen from Kipling’s Kim. Though it’s often referred to as a “literary blog”, the truth was a lot less grand: it was an early demonstration of the 21st century ability to raise procrastination to an art form. Back then, we blogged; today, we tweet; either way, we wasted time on an epic scale.
Kitabkhana archives will eventually be filed by category, but until then, feel free to browse the Archives (just search for ‘Kitabkhana’ under tags, or scroll down to access older posts).
The Akhond of Swat set up house in 2004, inspired by Edward Lear’s nonsense verse: “Who, or why, or which, or what, Is the Akond of SWAT? Is he tall or short, or dark or fair? or SQUAT, The Akond of Swat?” (This is the closest I’ve come to anything resembling an anarchist manifesto.) It’s mostly a collection of old pieces of journalism. Some of them are useful. Some bits of what we laughingly called “journalism” in those days–“1,000 words by 8 pm”. “Do they have to make sense?” “Sense? Sense? Don’t be daft.” “In that case, you’re on.”— are kept in the same manner in which penitents in their cells collect favourite scourges, or hairshirts. Most of that stuff is in the 2004-2009 archives.
This is the first time the Akhond, the Babu and me are sharing the same chummery. It’s working out as you might have predicted. There are piles of books on the floor, cats everywhere, and we each have our own Rourkee Forn-umm, Recliners and hammocks. Khidmatgars and khansammas lurk in the background, bearing dishes of kedgeree and baraf pani. Make yourself at home.