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Showing posts from April, 2008
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On ChesilBeachBy Ian McEwan
It is 1962 England. The sexual revolution is still a few years away. Two young people in love get married and celebrate their honeymoon on Chesil Beach. It is their wedding night and neither of them have had sex before. It is a tortuous, intense situation and who better than McEwan to describe it in his vivid precise manner.
“Why were these lovers in a modern age so timid and innocent?” he asks. It is this question that is at the heart of this novella. “Social change never proceeds at an even pace”, he explains later. And so when the world was rapidly proceeding towards the pill, easy sex, dope and rock and roll, there is this corner in England that remains untouched.
It is a tragedy, because neither Florence nor Edward has gotten over Victorian restraint to make the physical relationship work. They are in love, impatient for their lives to get started and their future is within their grasp. But they flounder. In his exquisite way McEwan asks, “And what stood …
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The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cellphone
By Shashi Tharoor
It’s a book with all the standard clichés of a transforming liberalized India – the cell-phone wielding sadhu, the elephant that is developing the stripes of a tiger, the Sreesanth and Nell episode symbolizing a new India, the co-existence of Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi and the Infosys campus. Tharoor’s collection of essays published on the eve of India’s 60th year of Independence has really nothing terrifically new to say. Yet in his easy and evocative manner, he manages to say the old things in a refreshing way, making the book an interesting and informative read.
Maybe I am biased. I have a soft spot for the man – like me he is a Keralite, proud of his heritage, yet he has never lived in Kerala. His vision of India finds a resounding echo in mine – a deeply secular country that, like Whitman, acknowledges that ‘we are vast, we contain multitudes’. His articulation of the idea of India is one of the most evocative I have come acros…
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SACRED GAMESBy Vikram Chandra
I loved this monster of a book. It’s 900 pages long and a rollicking ride all the way through. Vikram Chandra might have just written the defining book of his career – a crime thriller genre of entertainment that manages to capture a city and its people in a way very few others have managed to do. Mumbai is here in all its fierce, tough, dirty, gory glory and just for that portrait of a city I love, this would rank as one of my favourite books of all time.Sartaj Singh is a character we have met before in one of Chandra’s short stories. He re-appears here, now divorced, mellower and quieter than how I remember him. He is the policeman hero – as honest as a cop can be in the city, which is to say not very. Yet there is integrity in him – while he has no qualms about taking small amounts of money in his daily work, he has not been bought over by politicians or gangsters and stashed away millions as his boss Parulkar has.Chandra draws a fascinating portrait of…
Watermark and her prompts

Prompt 8

The hand on the iron bar
Comes off smelling of rust
It’s somehow harshly male
And uncomfortably familiar.The smell holds memories
Of train compartments
Summer heat and anxiety
Of a love being left behind.
It’s going to need soap
And happy thoughts
And pretty fluffy things
To make it go away.------------------------------------
Prompt 16
Dark is a difficult skin tone
It needs a HalleBerry or
A Sheetal Malhar or
A distant cousin
To make it glow and resound
And fill a room with light
To stop you mid word
And leave you spell bound
Mesmerizing dark is
Impossibly distant
To attain it, it needs help
It needs red.------------------------------------
Prompt 2
She sits sipping her tea
Her special Chrysanthemum tea
In the corner that she knows
Makes her feel picture perfect.The pineapple-shaped timer rings
She can feel the grumble rise in her
As the inevitable task approaches
And the dread of an oven to be opened.
Her eyes close for a moment
And then come open guiltily
The salt shaker awaits
And s…