Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Catching Up

So much to read, so little time! :(

I had been so busy chasing the TsukubaU documents that I now find myself with a pile of untouched reading material. Sunday "Eye's" from Indian Express, Tehelka magazines, EPWs, and many newspapers folded inside out, waiting with news of the ongoing Olympics; of the sudden eruption in J&K; of roads and houses ravaged by the extended monsoons and SIMI's alleged expertise in serial bombings...

The first magazine I picked today was the Tehelka of 16/08 and two pieces struck a chord. The first one was an article, "Guardians of our secret hometowns" by Sudhir Mishra, director of the amazing Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi. He writes about his childhood in Sagar and the friends he grew up with, one of whom turned out to be Dr. Binayak Sen who "embraced what everyone wanted to escape". An excerpt -

"Because he is not from Bollywood, he would not have been able to give his opinion on all subjects, from public toilets to higher education, but then life is not perfect and the paychecks would have compensated. Instead, he chooses to go to a place where instead of appreciation he gets locked up in jail!...where the people who run the place are using him as an example to all those who dare raise their head that if they don't retreat, they will face the same fate as him...".
The full text is here.

The second article was the interview of Richard Castra. I had not heard of him or his books before, but his opinions made a lot of sense. I have been reading the much-talked-about "Sea of Poppies" by Amitav Ghosh and I found myself grudgingly agreeing to Castra's view that most of Indian literary output is controlled by the West -

"You cannot be a professional writer unless your main focus is on the Western market. That's how they end up ruling us. Another method: the Brooker.The Brits always give prizes to well-behaved brown boys who served their purposes. Rao Bahadur and Order of the British Empire. Who the hell are they to give us prizes? Why don't we give then prizes? "The Cooker Prize for Docile, Well-behaved Brit Writers" and "The Order of Lalu", whose recipients will have to kneel while Lalu knights them

Now, where can I get my hands on "The Revised Kamasutra"?
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