Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Unaccustomed Earth

Jhumpa Lahiri revisits familiar territory in her latest. The haunted land of bengali immigrants.

By now, you almost know each of the characters inside out, the pining for home first generation, the angsty rootless second and their sometimes confused, sometimes empathic partners. They meet, they talk, they think of home, they brood, they keep rediscovering each other and sometimes they take a step too far.

As always, the things to watch out for, the folk-talesque simplicity of the narrative and the curious way of presenting the case without any value judgement. So much so, that you forget all about the author and her stand. This in my opinion, is what makes Madame Lahiri so poignant as a writer. Like, come on, she's definitely no Rushdie or Amitav Ghosh. Rather, her strength is to present characters with all their typical bong educated middle-class vulnerabilities and make readers wonder what would they be doing faced with such situations.

All in all, its more of the same. In case you have liked Interpreter of Maladies or The Namesake, there's no way you are not going to like this one, even if the dish is a bit stale. But then, we all like panta-bhat, don't we?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tag team

Tagged by him.

Let me gush about my new-found circulating library, first. Its a wet dream come true.

Tucked in a corner between the Bombay's lousiest lounge bar called P.U.L.S.E. and the HDFC Bank ATM on Hill Road, N/books, Sales & Library should immediately be declared a national treasure.

Charges are 150 per month, 1 book at a time and 250 bucks refundable deposit. You can change as may times as you wish. To a somewhat energetic reader like me, that works out to about 25 bucks per book.

And here is the list of the books I've borrowed so far :
  • Artemis Fowl, The Eternity Code - Eoin Colfer
  • The Alchemy of Desire - Tarun Tejpal
  • Franny & Zooey - JD Salinger
  • Portrait of an artist as an old man - Joseph Heller
  • The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
  • Children of Hurin - JRR Tolkien
  • Love in a Blue Time - Hanif Kurieshi
  • Half Moon Investigations - Eoin Colfer
  • Needful Things - Stephen King
  • Unaccustomed Earth - Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Maximum City - Suketu Mehta

Not your run-of-the-mill street corner kabadiwala cum circulating library, eh? In addition the books are in pristine, virtually new condition.

I was actually thinking about not letting out this secret to anybody, but you know, what-the-hell ...

The book I am reading now is obviously the last one in that list. Hasn't quite made up my mind up on this one. Definitely better than Shantaram, definitely worse than Sacred Games. But overall, not very defining to a forced resident, like me.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I write therefore I am. Easy to preach, hard to practise.

At least that's all I can say after looking at the meagre output of this blog over last 6 months.

What started off as a cool sort of diary, did evolve to a window into my own mind and its peculiar hang-ups amongst other things. But like all self exploration trips it soon got bored with itself. What was left was a simple act of entertainment, a self-indulgent expression of my cynical world view. The absurdities of this joke called life, if you please.

However, self-expectation is such a lousy bitch.

For instance, what if you don't like what you write, won't want to read it yourself? What if, indeed.

That brings us to the moot point of this post, What's next in the life of our intrepid adventurer, i.e. this blog?