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Indira Gandhi and Lee Kuan Yew

  Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew is compared to Indira Gandhi by the Indian journalist, Sunanda Datta-Ray, who once worked for The Straits Times. In his book, Looking East to Look West, exploring India-Singapore relations, based on his interviews with MM Lee, he writes: Lee and Indira Gandhi shared […]

Paul Theroux on Kali and Calcutta

In A Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta, Paul Theroux describes an animal sacrifice at the Kali temple in Kalighat. A goat, garlanded with flowers, is led bleating into a walled enclosure to the beat of drums. Once inside, the terrified creature is thrust between two upright stakes and caressed […]

Remembering Steinbeck

John Steinbeck died on this day in 1968 at the age of 66, six years after he won the Nobel Prize, which even he himself didn’t expect. Critical scorn When asked by a reporter whether he believed he deserved the prize, he responded, "Frankly, no,” says Robert Gottlieb. In a […]

Amit Chaudhuri on Calcutta

Real Time by Amit Chaudhuri What a surprise! Dakkhinee, the bookstall I used to visit in my younger days in Calcutta (Kolkata), is mentioned by the Indian writer, Amit Chaudhuri, in his Real Time collection of short stories. “The Dakkhinee Bookshop, at the turning crossing of Lansdowne Road and Rashbehari […]

A New World by Amit Chaudhuri

A New World by Amit Chaudhuri Amit Chaudhuri is one of the finest but possibly less known Indian authors writing in English. His language can verge on poetry and be as vivid as a movie. But nothing much happens in his stories. That didn’t matter very much in his early […]

The magic of Ian McEwan

Saturday by Ian McEwan Seldom have I read a better book. It’s about a day in a man’s life. Forty-eight-year-old neurosurgeon Henry Perowne wakes up in the middle of the night in his posh London home, sees a plane in the sky and fears it is going down in flames. […]

The poetry of Amit Chaudhuri

Three Novels by Amit Chaudhuri: A Strange and Sublime Address, Afternoon Raag, Freedom Song Amit Chaudhuri is like no other Indian writer I have read recently. He writes about ordinary day-to-day life like RK Narayan and Ruskin Bond, but in a language so vivid and evocative it sometimes rises to […]