Showing posts from 2008


Morning Rush

The day had not started well. She missed the 6.40 bus. Ashu had thrown a tantrum and refused to take what she had prepared for his lunch. He did not want the poha, he wanted a sandwich. That was the problem with sending him to the English medium school with all the rich kids for classmates. Now the next bus would arrive 20 minutes later, which means she would be delayed reaching Sharda bhabhi’s house. She would get an earful. Not a good day for asking her for that 500 rupee advance. Maybe she should ask Neetu bhabhi in 1201. At least she would not refuse point blank. What if either would not give her the money? What would she do for Ashu’s exam fees this month? There was the bus. Hopefully she would get a place to sit. The only rest she would get for her feet for the next 6 hours.
It was the 3rd time this week. No matter how many times you told her, Geeta just came and went as she pleased. She lit the lamp and surveyed the mess her kitchen was. The dinner dishes in…

It’s been a while since this blog has seen some action. There have been books, a few movies. Average stuff, not worth a visit to blogger I think. Unless you have an evening to spare and wish to drive away tedium by inflicting your opinion on a silent web page.

Shashi Deshpande is an Indian writer I had never read. I picked up That Long Silence because I came across her name in a magazine that described her as one of the foremost Indian women writers in English. It’s a tedious read. When Jaya’s husband is accused of fraud, the couple coops down in an old flat in Dadar to tide the time through. In those two weeks, Jaya has enough time (her kids are away with a friend) to think about her life and the relationships that make it up. Surprisingly there is no one except her dead father who she seems to care for. Her childhood comes across as a dreary one with family politics holding sway. The matriarchs on either side of the family rule the roost and they come across as unsympatheti…
Falling ManBy Don DeLilloDon DeLillo I hear is one of America’s foremost contemporary writers – a National Book Award winner and runner-up in a NY Times survey of the best American fiction in the last 25 years. Falling Man I am hoping is not one of his better works – it was disappointing to say the least. First of all, it is about the twin towers and 9/11. I would think it couldn’t be the easiest place to start a work of fiction – it is too close in time, there are far too many images in your head from TV, real-life stories have been played and re-played far too often. Even with these disadvantages, I found the book shallow, whiney and insubstantial. Keith is the man in the building when the planes strike. In zombie-like fashion, he gets out carrying some one else’s briefcase and comes straight to his estranged wife Lianne’s house. In trying to make some sense of his life after those dark hours (where he has lost a poker-playing buddy), he attempts re-enacting the family man with his …
The White Tiger
By Aravinda AdigaAdiga’s debut novel has been acclaimed as the one that questions the India Shining story, the one that puts paid to the hype of the emerging super power. It describes an India that has been left behind in the New India dream of the middle classes. In a state that is obviously Bihar, Adiga creates a character called Balram Halwai and gives him a voice. It is a voice that is unlike any that we have seen so far in English Indian fiction – brutal, simmering with obvious anger, yet laced through with sardonic dark humour. Balram Halwai is a man who has come up from the depths of grinding poverty to become one of New India’s stories of successful entrepreneurship. And in a series of letters he writes to the Chinese Premier on a state visit to India (a devilish ploy by Adiga, given our obsession with comparisons with China), he describes the route he takes to get where he is.Balram is born Munna (there are so many children in his joint family in Laxmangarh, th…