Writing

A Strange, Familiar Place

This Place ♦ By Amitabha Bagchi Fourth Estate / HarperCollins, New Delhi, 2013, 253 pp., Rs 499 (HB) ISBN 978-93-5116-018-2 After being suspended from his government job, Naresh Kumar, the title character in Amitabha Bagchi’s previous book, The Householder (Fourth Estate, 2012), finds himself a stranger in his own house. He waits desperately for the evening, …

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Chukandar chop

Beetroot patties ♦ Here’s a beetroot, juiced for breakfast and its fibrous bits turned into patties for lunch. With lettuce and tomatoes from the veranda gamlas.Beetroot patties: Fibre of one beetroot (also happened to be two carrots, a cucumber, and mint in there, but only because this was all juice byproduct); 1 egg; bunch of …

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Burnt offerings

Seasonal rituals ♦ In the narrow confines of Eve’s tailoring shop in Greater Kailash, bunched up between the brocade-covered, sequin-strewn counters and the walls plastered with neckline patterns, a queue of ladies jostles surreptitiously, packed like the rack of blouses hanging behind the unflappable form and appraising eyes of owner Vineet Kumar. In the old …

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Shelved selves

Unpacking literary baggage ♦ The first library I fell in love with was my great-grandfather’s study in Shimla. An angular room with thick glass windows, dark wood furniture and a scuffed, burnt orange carpet, it looked out over the misty tops of ragged pine trees and rounded hills. Like any good study, its architect knew …

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Home of horrors

Joe Sacco and Chris Hedges combine efforts to draw a poignant, disturbing picture of post-capitalist America ♦ Black and white truth has little place in the slippery grey of liberal opinion. Poverty porn or slum tourism are easy dismissals of writing on the human fallout of consumer capitalism. And plenty of people make a fetish …

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Footloose

Walking with a purpose ♦ “Every walk is a sort of crusade,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in his essay on “Walking”. His particular idea of a stroll had more to do with venturing into nature to reclaim one’s wildness than ambling through a city, but his words feel like a true characterization of walking in …

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The Hired Man

Aminatta Forna travels to Croatia for her fourth novel ♦ In her fourth book, Aminatta Forna ventures out of Sierra Leone and Africa, the setting for her previous titles (including the Commonwealth Writer’s Prizewinning The Memory of Love). Set in a small town at the foot of the mountains in Croatia, The Hired Man, like Forna’s …

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