Month: June 2014

  • Speaking Volumes: The listener and the storyteller

    Speaking Volumes: The listener and the storyteller

    (Published in the Business Standard, June 2, 2014) In 1970, an interviewer whose collection of oral narratives would transform North America’s sense of history had a long chat with an author whose memories of her own history would transform the lives of thousands across the world. The recording of that interview between Studs Terkel […]

  • Booklove: KD Singh, Delhi’s gentle bookseller

    Booklove: KD Singh, Delhi’s gentle bookseller

    (Published in the Business Standard, May 26, 2014) The Book Shop in Delhi was a lot like the magical places of fantasy described in the books it carried: larger on the inside than it seemed from the outside. The space it occupied in the lives of city readers was far broader than the compact premises […]

  • Speaking Volumes: Reclaiming the past

    Speaking Volumes: Reclaiming the past

    (Published by the Business Standard, May 19, 2014) When I saw that the Murty Classical Library had released its first five titles, it jogged my memory about my MRI-inspired reading project. There are few art materials as beautiful and as disturbing as MRI scans of the human brain. Angela Palmer’s art uses engraved details from […]

  • Speaking Volumes: The messy bits

    Speaking Volumes: The messy bits

    (Published in the Business Standard, May 5, 2014) At the Chor Bazaar in Old Delhi, you used to be able to find Hindi film posters, record album art and what I classified as Readymade Families: discarded photographs gathered in shoeboxes and cardboard boxes. In a faded pink cardboard box the colour and size of a […]

  • (Published in the Business Standard, April 30, 2014) In the great city of Varanasi, there lived a weaver of threads and words, who sent out his poems like incendiary drones into the comfortable world of the Kazis and the Brahmins, neither of whom had much liking for Kabir. The weaver’s verses preached the love of […]

  • Speaking Volumes: The Unruly Past

    Speaking Volumes: The Unruly Past

    (Published in the Business Standard, April 14, 2014) In 2003, a study asked 569 college students what their memories of 9/11 were. Seventy-three per cent “remembered” seeing television footage of the first plane crash into the north tower of the World Trade Centre; so did the neuroscientist Karim Nader, who was in New York at […]

  • Speaking Volumes: The Cosmos Evolution

    Speaking Volumes: The Cosmos Evolution

    (Published in the Business Standard, March 31, 2014) One of my favourite Carl Sagan moments came during a radio show years ago, where the scientist addressed the questions put to him by a creationist. He answered the first question on evolution; his interlocutor did not acknowledge his answer, moving on to the next question on […]

  • Speaking Volumes: The Pirate Wars

    Speaking Volumes: The Pirate Wars

    (Published in the Business Standard, March 17, 2014) One of the very few regrets I harbour about my journalism career is that I did not have the foresight to be in the Delhi High Court in 1996, when the case of Raja Pocket Books vs Radha Pocket Books was heard in front of their learned […]