Category: Columns and Journalism

  • Column: “It was a pleasure to burn”

    Column: “It was a pleasure to burn”

    I wrote about Fahrenheit 451, and a world gone mad from junk, for the Financial Times this week: “In Bradbury’s novel, books are outlawed in a time saturated by mindless television, loud and banal radio streams, where people fear books, silence, pedestrians. Montag’s wife Mildred, shifting between hours of watching TV shows and mowing down…

  • Travelling tales: The Panchatantra

    For the BBC’s 100 Stories That Shaped The World, I wrote about The Panchatantra, and a subject I love – myths, fables, and how far they travel. “In the first millennium, roughly 1,500 years ago, a pair of jackals began travelling around the world. They were known in India as Karataka and Damanaka, and they were…

  • The FT column: Nourishing the creative life

    The FT column: Nourishing the creative life

    Some stuff I’ve been thinking about: I don’t believe that art comes from nowhere, that artists and writers do better work in oppressive times (a few rise to the challenge, but so many more choke), that we live or create well when we’re disconnected. Do you have to belong somewhere? No, not at all, and…

  • The FT column: Future Shocks

    The FT column: Future Shocks

    The pull of dystopia might be that it allows us to explore present-day anxieties more easily by setting them safely in the future. This week’s column explored what we’re worrying about: “I am Borne. I talking talking talking.” One of the first complete sentences he says to Rachel introduces one of the great conundrums of…

  • Book Review: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

    Book Review: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

    an elegy for a bulldozed world, Roy’s instincts placing her once again on the side of the outcasts, challenging Delhi’s infamous ‘insider’ culture by foregrounding a far more interesting set of city insiders.

  • Bob, or the Book of Books, and the pleasure of lists

    Bob, or the Book of Books, and the pleasure of lists

      This week’s column for the Financial Times is about Pamela Paul’s My Life With Bob – an account of the slim, no-frills notebook where she kept the simplest of records, logging the names of all the books she read, from 1988 onwards. So simple, and yet so revealing, if you can bring yourself to…

  • The FT column: Present, please

    The FT column: Present, please

    On over-gifting, under-gifting, and finding the right present – my column for the Financial Times this week: “Perhaps you should give only what establishes trust, or creates welcome surprise, though this is utopian — much of gift-giving is driven by the impulse to flatter, to bribe or to appease a guilty conscience. Old manuscripts —…

  • Favourite Reads, 2016

    Favourite Reads, 2016

    (Published in the Business Standard, December 2016) Some of the pleasure of a Books of the Year list is felt by the reader, but only some. I hope I never grow so jaded as to lose the pleasure of going over each month’s reading diary, revisiting the surprise of discovery, the deeper satisfaction of letting…

  • Speaking Volumes: Afterwards

    Speaking Volumes: Afterwards

    In a world where entire sections of the population embrace the politics of hate and anger, acquiring power through the careful nurturing of grudges and grievance, it is not an ordinary act to choose the path of radical love: on Antoine Leiris’ You Will Not Have My Hate.

  • Speaking Volumes: Unfree – what to expect next

    This week’s column will absolutely not sound the alarm on free speech and the future of India’s liberal democracy. That would be like standing up at the RK Puram intersection and announcing that the air in Delhi feels a trifle murky these days. Instead, this column will point out gently that democracy is not an…