Having just accomplished one of my life’s aims, I ask myself whether it was really worth it. I have just finished reading The Laws of Manu. I can’t think of any endeavour more single-minded, more self-serving and more ruthlessly successful in its purpose. It tells us why we Hindus still have the caste system in… Continue reading Of the Priests, By the Priests, For the Priests
While dusting and spring-cleaning my father’s bookshelves at home in Goa, I happened to discover a book I had never seen before in his collection. When I opened it, I was even more surprised to see his inscription: Daryaganj pavement, Delhi, 1999. He did visit me in Delhi around then and we might have wandered… Continue reading Impressions and Sketches of Another Age
In recent days, we in India have been witnessing people throwing caution to the winds, in the name of religious fervour. This, even as the Covid-19 pandemic ravages the country, with the discovery of a new, highly transmissible variant first found in India, the B.1.617. Whether it is the Maha Kumbh Mela, or the celebration… Continue reading Reading Russell During the Pandemic
Since I haven’t been earning an income in years and am going broke, I have to be careful about buying books. Such a pity really, since I tend to devour them. Yours truly decided to read books that yours truly had gifted father on his birthday last year, instead. The master of spy fiction, John… Continue reading Cold War Ghostly Presences
I am back to reading non-fiction now, as you can tell. My father bought The Hidden History of Burma early this year and I thought it’s time I read it. Thant Myint-U, the author, being the grandson of U Thant, former UN Secretary General, was an important draw, of course. It’s a country I first… Continue reading History of Burma, But Which One?
The days of the pandemic, when technology is playing an even bigger role in people’s lives and many are singing its praises, is a good time to turn to science fiction. To imagine what AI can do to our lives and our work. More importantly, to our relationships with each other. These days, I read… Continue reading Machines Like Us. Do They?
Deserted city streets. Empty or shuttered shops and restaurants. Air travel pretty much grounded. And a raging pandemic in our midst. Seems to be a strange time to be reading a book that is about just the opposite. About a life we once knew, which makes the act of reading it now, a study in… Continue reading Of Open Cities in the Time of Lockdowns
A connection on LinkedIn shared a new book by Virginia Woolf published by Times Literary Supplement and I decided that I must buy and read this book of hers. Titled Genius and Ink, Virginia Woolf on How to Read, it is a selection of her essays and criticism for the Times Literary Supplement, to which… Continue reading Discovering Virginia Woolf, The Critic
I have never understood the recent trend (a decade or more) of subtitling book titles, and I suspect it’s the publishers’ tactic of trying to boost book sales. But in the case of William Dalrymple’s recent tome, The Anarchy, the subtitle actually does more justice to the subject: The East India Company, Corporate Violence and… Continue reading The Anarchy: A Cautionary Tale of Capitalism