There’s always time for books and music. Despite book deadlines, articles due, and election paranoia. The last of which seems to have exploded in all our faces, throwing up hugely existential questions. Among many, “What do you do when a friend has voted/supported a party you loathe, fear and despise?” I’ve been swaying between BLOCK ’em all (face it, if you voted Modi you’re an asshole) and “No, I mustn’t act in precisely the same manner that idiotic right-wingers do–silencing anyone whose point of view doesn’t align with mine.” To cut long story extremely short: I don’t know. For now, I’m trying to ignore their posts and tweets. Perhaps they’ll just…disappear…on their own.

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Seahorse (Excerpt)

Seahorse: A Novel (Forthcoming November 2014 with Vintage Books, Random House India)

“My songs, lords of the lyre, which of the gods, what hero, what mortal shall we celebrate?” – Pindar

I remember the moment I discovered Nicholas’ disappearance as though it were yesterday. Although perhaps that’s not quite an accurate way to phrase it. Yesterday may be further away than two years past, than ten, or more. For instance, I can’t recall my supper a week ago, but that morning remains palpable on my tongue, like a wine I’ve sipped, and sipped so long it colours everything else on my palate.

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All that they can leave behind

I like to remember old loves, ex-boyfriends, heartfelt crushes, by the music we shared. The tunes I was introduced to in their rooms, and on rooftops, on long all-night bus journeys to the mountains. Music that has sometimes stayed in my life (and my ipod) long after we’ve parted. And, sadly even rarer, music we continue to exchange because, even after all the drama, we somehow ended up as friends. Not all relationships are melodically inclined – I’d like to imagine other interests that kept us together, however long or fleeting – but these, below, I carry in my heart. A musical biography of loss and love.

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We Need New Names

Our ‘celebrations’ need new names.

Ideal, of course, if, to begin with, we had no occasion to carve out a ‘women’s’ day. But if celebrate we must, let’s do so with quiet rebellion. And an all-embracing  sans souci–ness that topples the mightily narrow definitive constraints of the event.

I invite you to throw it open. Read more

Army Stops

driving through assam

meant check points.

obsolete barricades, sand bag

piles heavy as sin.

a slowing down of journeys,

and tightening of air. terse

dialogue in hushed voices.

sometimes they came upon

us suddenly, those clusters

of brown-uniformed men,

waiting like a lazy hunting party.

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It’s been a busy week, with a few new article commissions and trying to finish reworking Seahorse into an edit-ready draft I’m happy with. Had a lovely evening at a Postcolonial seminar in Canterbury – and rather nervous for my reading there in the first week of March.

Putting People in a Box

Years ago, when I moved to Delhi from Shillong to study and consequently work there, I had little notion of being a ‘Northeasterner.’ Until, of course, I was repeatedly reminded – by the couple who refused to rent me a flat in East of Kailash, by the lady who didn’t want me to move into her barsati in Defence Colony. Through these experiences I realized that, after a while, there is a real danger of relinquishing the possibility to imagine ourselves beyond categories. We simply accept to align with certain identities – ‘us’ as outsiders, ‘them’ as locals – using a language that is distinctly polarised. Read more

The Place I Cannot Call Home

I left Delhi because X, my then boyfriend, and I were beaten up in Lado Sarai.

Only a handful of people know this, but there, I’ve said it. I never thought I would, but I have.

It’s been almost five years, and I can still remember the woman’s face. The woman who grabbed me by my hair, took off her slipper and beat me with it all across my back, my face, my legs. She was tall and strong and wearing a dark blue salwar.

In my head she is always wearing a dark blue salwar. She was much too strong for me to wrestle out of her grasp.

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