Month: April 2015

  • Speaking Volumes: Those Who Stay

    Speaking Volumes: Those Who Stay

    (In tribute to Sabeen Mahmud.) (Published in the Business Standard, 28 April, 2015) It was around noon on March 2007 when Baghdad’s street of booksellers went up in flames. A suicide car bomber had detonated in the middle of Mutanabbi Street, killing over 20 people. One of them was Mohammed Hayawi, owner of the Renaissance […]

  • If only they could talk

    If only they could talk

      The Interspecies Internet interests me a lot more than the Internet of Things: it’s such a beautiful, simple idea at its core, even though it would take a lot to get it to work. Peter Gabriel on animal-human animal communication: “What was amazing to me was that [the animals] seemed a lot more adept […]

  • Nervous Throat-Clearing

    Nervous Throat-Clearing

    Much to my own surprise, I have finished writing a book. Perhaps some people’s surprise is greater than mine, and that would be the very patient editors at HarperCollins India who suggested some five years ago that I should make a collection of my book columns. I started to collect my book columns and got […]

  • Picture This: on Radhaben Garva’s remarkable art

    Picture This: on Radhaben Garva’s remarkable art

    Radhaben Garva, from Kutch, has been painting the Indian women’s movement for the last 20 years in vivid, layered sketches. I was thrilled when Granta.com asked me to do an essay accompanying the artwork from her book, Picture This! The essay is up on the site here: http://granta.com/radhaben-garva-painting-the-womens-movement/ In another of Garva’s paintings, Malji, a […]

  • Speaking Volumes: A Thousand Tongues

    Speaking Volumes: A Thousand Tongues

    (Published in the Business Standard, March 30th, 2015) How long have Indians been arguing about language? For centuries, in some style. Shankar Goapl Tulpule records that it was roughly seven to eight centuries ago that Mukundaraja prefaced his great work, Vivekasindhu, with a defiant excuse for using Marathi instead of Sanskrit: “If common trees can […]

  • Speaking Volumes: The Kids Are All Right

    Speaking Volumes: The Kids Are All Right

    (Published in the Business Standard, April 14, 2015) This is from a favourite essay by a favourite writer – Philip Pullman, who should know, on why children need reading and the arts in their lives: “Children need to read and listen to proper stories as much as they need to be loved and cared for. […]

  • Günter Grass and the losers of history

    Günter Grass and the losers of history

    (Published in the Business Standard, April 14, 2015) When I heard that Gunter Grass had died at 87, in the town of Lubek, I thought of what he had been at 17 and 18. He was still a boy then, despite what he’d seen in World War Two. He weighed just 110 pounds in his […]