Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2008

Indian Chick-Lit : Smug and selling

Swati Kaushal

Anuja Chauhan

Meenakshi Reddy
The romance of the quick and spicy chick-lit (ingredients and flavour totally desi) is spurring the Indian market to buy and read like never before. And it is the pretty-young-things with their saucy, smug and sexy writing that are accelerating the sales into dizzy new highs. In most other genres—a struggling, breathless 3000 copies are applauded by publishers as best sellers while this savvy, in- your- face lit is instantly pulling readers and pushing over 10,000 copies per month. Aha, what have we here? Even as Indians writers are snatching worldwide attention with their heavy-weight literary fiction, it is this emerging breed of young authors that is likely to laugh all the way to the bank. For decades, Indian readers with an inclination for chicklit had to make do with the import of romance rapidly fleshed out by Mills &Boon, Harlequin etc… Neither the location nor the TDH (tall, dark and handsome) protagonists of these books quite be…

A Poetry Soiree

That's Kapil for you-I am sure you can recognize him from behind too

It began for Kapil Sibal (Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences) quite unintentionally. When he wrote poems for judges who were retiring, the verses were always laudatory—“At the bar, the golden rule, in order to seek discretionary relief, is to be exceptionally laudatory about the judges. I did not, after their retirement want to deviate from this well-accepted norm,” he says in the introduction of I Witness, Partial Observations, his first book of verse. It unleashes unbridled wit and scorn, nostalgia and angst of this lawyer-politician
turned poet.
At an evening of poetry at Landmark, Kapil Sibal in conversation with Kanimozhi explains, “I never thought I will write a book on poetry. It was result of boredom on long flights that I decided to pen a few thoughts mostly for self- entertainment.” When Kanimozhi asks him how he feels as a poet, he replies, “It would be too presumptive of me to t…


The Power Of The Glance

The military generals, we are talking about geniuses here, are said to have a certain “coup d’oeil”— roughly translated from French, it means the power of the glance. In the military sense it is “the ability to immediately see and make sense of the battlefield” under high stress. The power of the glance is often undermined and considered to be irrelevant in a world where theory and study hold a hierarchical and privileged position. But Blink by Malcolm Gladwell pares away at those theories and proves that our power of assessing something in the first few seconds—our gut reaction can be absolutely correct, bang on. Interestingly Blink continues to dominate the prime areas on book shelves even though it was first published three years ago. I went into a re-read here because one of the bookshops in the city was having a discount sale and they were offering it for Rs 45 less. This is one book every one should have on their bookshelves, so go get it. Written powerful…


Review of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi TALKING ABOUT A REVOLUTION OH NO! Witnessing a revolution can be quite traumatic. In the graphic memoir Persepolis, The story of a childhood—a Bildungsroman—Marjane, a little girl grows up in Iran in the midst of the Islamic revolution. The dichotomy of thoughts reflected on the pages in stark black and white makes it painfully poignant. Marjane begins her early childhood with visions of God and hopes of becoming the next prophet. In the midst of the religious revolution, Marji rejects God and banishes her “unshakeable faith” from the landscape of her mind. The ten- year-old has already read Marx and the history of Iran ( atleast in comic books) and sees the revolution clearly in the historical context.
Her games are not with sissy toys—though her parents don’t let her accompany them to demonstrations—she asserts her grownup-ness in the form of agitations in the garden, dressed up as Che Guevara. The grimness of the situation outside is quite graph…

Appropriating Gandhiji

Cordoned off in red! With no exit. (Photograph by Rajeev Prasad)

Incredible India: A Shower Stop

A quick shower before the next leg of the journey? Where else? An open platform serves the cool refreshing purpose.
(Photograph by Rajeev Prasad)