Writing

Published and unpublished writing on art, books, cities, food, travel and other reportage.

The Great Trotter Resurrection

Irwin Allan Sealy’s Trotter-Nama comes alive for the third time. ♦ Originally published in India Today. It’s hard to imagine that the author of a book as gargantuan, complex and exuberant as The Trotter-Nama ever suffered such a crisis of faith in his creation — which had been out of print for an extended period — that …

The Great Trotter Resurrection Read More »

Exile and the Kingdom

An ongoing exhibition of miniatures inspired by the Ramayana, at the Met in New York City ♦ Originally published in India Today. Far from the bustling, big-ticket shows of Dutch Masters or Camp fashion, beyond the high-ceilinged galleries of large American canvases, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a maze of jewel-box galleries. Hosting exhibitions …

Exile and the Kingdom Read More »

East is Beast

Book Review ♦ New Kings of the World: The Rise and Rise of Eastern Pop Culture, By Fatima Bhutto Originally published in Open. As 2014’s feeble monsoon faltered to a close, India burnt for Fawad Khan. The Pakistani actor had just crossed over into Bollywood with Khubsoorat, reducing women across the country ‘to wobbling blobs of …

East is Beast Read More »

The Book of Waswo

The new miniatures from the studio of Waswo X. Waswo are as captivating as his latest photobook. ♦ Originally published in India Today. Nearly two decades ago, when Waswo X. Waswo was travelling in Pushkar, a group of camel herders started referring to him as “Chacha”. “The name just stuck,” the artist tells me in …

The Book of Waswo Read More »

Greener Pastures

Aunty Sudha Aunty Radha is a world apart, capturing the slow rhythm of daily life in a kothi in Lahra, Uttar Pradesh, without embellishment. ♦ Originally published in India Today. One of the most striking things about Tanuja Chandra’s first documentary, which premiered internationally last month and features her 93 and 86-year-old aunts, is her …

Greener Pastures Read More »

Floods and Streams of Anarchy

William Dalrymple discusses his new book on the rise of the East India Company ♦ Originally published in Mumbai Mirror.  â€œAt the dawn of the nineteenth century all seemed dark; the stars were paling, and it was not by any means plain what the day was likely to be,” wrote orientalist historian HG Keene in …

Floods and Streams of Anarchy Read More »

The Writer’s Endurance Test

Book Review ♦ The Assassination of Indira Gandhi: The Collected Stories of Upamanyu Chatterjee, Volume I Originally published in India Today. From the ‘hazaar fucked’ slang of English, August through six subsequent novels and a novella, linguistic playfulness has always been a central feature of Upamanyu Chatterjee’s style, enamouring as many readers as it puts …

The Writer’s Endurance Test Read More »

A Deadly Cocktail in Delhi

Book Review: Killing Time in Delhi ♦By Ravi Shankar Etteth A certain kind of book predictably gets described as a “heady cocktail” of sex, drugs, crime and money. Killing Time In Delhi is such a book. As with other quaffable novels that suggest endless parties and rapid repartee, high-polish beauties and dark underbellies, Killing Time is about society’s upper …

A Deadly Cocktail in Delhi Read More »

bpb Review: Kampai, Aerocity

Samurai gour-meh. ♦ Leaving aside roadside chow mein, unaffordable five-star hotels, and Delhi’s immortal Aka Sakas and Ichibans, three newer categories of east Asian eateries abound in the NCR these days. The first: pan-Asian delivery joints of varying quality, from the comfort curries of Culinaire to the poké bowls of newer contenders like Orient Heritage. …

bpb Review: Kampai, Aerocity Read More »