Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Travel: Palakkad`s agraharams

A Way of Life in Palakkad Huge banyan and peepal trees, rows of close-set, small, tiled houses, a pair of temples on either side of the village, women drawing kolams (rangolis) in front of their houses at dawn, the strains of nadaswaram music from the temples – these are sights and sounds particular to the agraharams of Palakkad, villages,  which still…

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Book review: In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne

Meanwhile, migrants elsewhere….. In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne, Hachette India. 2018 release. So,  in a dreary London Council estate,  there lives a set of young people,  Selvon, Yusuf and Ardan, `those with elsewhere in their blood,` whose people have come over from places like the West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland. They…

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Guest column: Cancel Culture: Feeding the Socmed Monster

Cancel culture: Feeding the Socmed monster  The world has found something new to outrage over… till the next trigger comes along The official avatar of this one has crept up on us almost without warning. I`m talking about cancel culture. For those who have come in late, cancel culture refers to the practice of withdrawing support…

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Book review: The Book of Indian Kings

Royal characters A spotlight shone on a select set of Indian kings through the ages This slim volume is part of Aleph Books`  Olio series,  which trains focus on India`s great cities, culture, civilisations and suchlike. The theme here is Indian kings, a chapter each on  the likes of Raja Raja Chozhar, the Mauryas, Ashoka,…

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Book review: Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

Basti log A trio of kids set out to solve the mystery of disappearing kids.  This book has a slew of most impressive names blurbing about it, using words of high praise. And usually, that would be enough to make me somewhat suspicious. Not in this case, though. Anappara`s debut fiction more than deserves all…

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Book review: Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh

Gun Island, Amitav Ghosh, Penguin Hamish Hamilton Books  A disclaimer is necessary: I am a huge fan of Ghosh, and positively devour each book of his with avid interest. But that in no way impinges on my statement that GUN ISLAND  is a terrific read, packed with information, and that info is delivered so effortlessly,…

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Feature: Shailaja Padindala, profiled

  Shailaja Padindala, founder of Mustache Under My Nose Ring, speaks on non-binary dressing and her new, dark comedy on queer expression in a heteronormative world. “The beauty of some women lies in their unacknowledged mustache,” Padindala tells me earneslty. Sitting across me at a table in the canteen of the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in…

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Book review: The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel

THE MIRROR & THE LIGHT by Hilary Mantel, HarperCollins Publisher. In the first of her Tudor trilogy, Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel  introduced us to Thomas Cromwell,  the blacksmith`s son. Through Wolf Hall, Bring up the Bodies and now, The Mirror &  the Light, the reader watches Cromwell`s dizzying  rise as he becomes Master Secretary, then…

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Guest column: The kindness of strangers

The kindness of strangers Sometimes, when times are bad, we are comforted immeasurably by the kindness of strangers…. To begin, a quote from the Dalai Lama. “ When we face some tragic situation, it reveals the deeper human values of compassion. Usually people don’t think about these deeper human values but when they see their…

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