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Dark Numbers

1) The Bezbaruah committee, that was set up to probe the rise in hate crimes against people from the northeast, found the incidence of such crimes to be the highest in Delhi. Why Delhi? From your experience, can you think of any reason why it is worse in Delhi than in other metros?

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Happy Birthday, TS Eliot

“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
They called me the hyacinth girl.’
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Od’ und leer das Meer.”

— TS Eliot, The Wasteland

Deleted Scene

“A deleted scene refers to footage that has been removed, censored, or replaced in the final version of a film or television show.” In this case, my novel, Seahorse. I’d written this paragraph in its earliest draft, and it survived until final edits, shuffled here and there, tweaked and polished. And then it had to go. “Suggest cutting to make it more brisk,” marked my editor. Yet I felt a little sorrowful to hit Delete. So it’s gone from the manuscript. Here it has its own space.

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Always Rome

I’ve written about Rome before, but that was a few years ago, and I’ve been back several times since. Each—for Rome is endless—brought about the discovery of something new. More churches than I can count, ancient neighbourhoods, ugliness, un-touristy bars, a disquieting rise in its neofascist numbers, Trastevere, local eateries, sudden vast midnight piazzas, old loves. Read more

Journey From the Hills

It began with a bookshelf.

An ordinary bookshelf made of dark wood, devoid of elegant carvings or an elaborately decorated plinth. In my mind it looms far above me. Although, I suspect, if I stood before it now, it would appear quite normal, perhaps even a tad small. Like walking into a house from childhood, and discovering the rooms aren’t as large as you’d always imagined, the ceiling not as high.

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Bloomsday

“Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves.”
Ulysses

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‘Amby’ memories

“how sad and bad and mad it was – but then, how it was sweet” ― Robert Browning

With the news that Hindustan Motors (HM) has suspended production of the Ambassador, India heaved a collective nostalgic sigh. After all, this mightily rotund tank of a car has been around forever (1957 is forever), taking up much space on our mostly narrow, potholed roads. And for those of us old enough to remember our pre-liberalisation days, the beloved ‘Amby’ is slotted with Things From Childhood — NP chewing gum, Chitrahaar, Disney Hour, VHS Tapes, Tinkle comics, Bournvita, Thums Up. Items endowed with mystical weight, bearing the insignia of youth, of sepia-tinted memory, of simpler, more innocent times. Naturally, we feel a tug of loss.

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Update

About to embark on second edits for Seahorse, a commissioned essay for HarperCollins, a potential conference trip to…wait for it…Slovenia in August, and a reading at the London Short Story Festival next month. But before that a little travel and respite this last week of May.

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