The Enduring Charm Of Independent Bookstores, Hindustan Times [Sunday, September 27th, 2015]

For many years now, I have spent much of my time, and most of my money, on books bought in stores owned by individuals rather than corporations. Within India, I had four favourite bookstores; Premier’s in Bangalore, Fact & Fiction in Delhi, Ram Advani in Lucknow, and Giggles in Chennai. The store I knew best [...]

 
 
line

 
  Why Canada May Be The World’s Most Underrated Country, Hindustan Times [Sunday, September 13th, 2015]

The President of the United States is the most powerful person in the world. This is why every Presidential campaign attracts such wide attention, both the primaries of the two main parties and then the election itself. The campaign for the 2016 election is in its early stages. A candidate who has made a striking [...]

 
 
line

 
  Why I’m Not Nostalgic For An Undivided India, Hindustan Times [Sunday, August 16th, 2015]

Sixty-eight years is a fairly advanced age for an individual, but a small span of time in the life of a nation. This must be why, every so often, a book or article appears lamenting the Partition of India in 1947. These blame the Congress, the Muslim League, Gandhi, Jinnah, Nehru, Patel—sometimes one, sometimes several, [...]

 
 
line

 
  Dreams Of Bat And Ball, The Telegraph [Saturday, May 30th, 2015]

When I was young, many of my dreams were about cricket. I was then obsessed with the game, which I played quite seriously at both school and university. My college eleven may have been the best in India: two of my team-mates went on to play Test cricket, while several others played in the Ranji [...]

 
 
line

 
  Homage To A Birdman, The Telegraph [Saturday, May 2nd, 2015]

The Urdu word ‘shareef’ has many meanings. An online dictionary offers ‘noble’, ‘gentlemanly’, and ‘civilized’, to which one can add: ‘refined; courteous; honourable; civil; civilized’. Among the most shareef men I knew was the conservationist Zafar Futehally. Raised and educated in Bombay, Futehally’s early interest in birds was furthered when he married Laeeq, niece of [...]

 
 
line

 
  The Best Indian Fielding Side Ever, Hindustan Times [Sunday, March 15th, 2015]

As one grows older, one forgets what happened last week or last month. But memories from one’s youth stay for ever. I can see, as I write, Alvin Kallicharan trying to on-drive Bishan Bedi in the Delhi Test of 1974. He gets a leading edge, and, as the ball balloons up into the off-side, I [...]

 
 
line

 
  Wealth and Power in Modern India, New Republic [Tuesday, January 6th, 2015]

Book Review of “Capital: The Eruption of Delhi”, Rana Dasgupta, Penguin Press. I The novelist and critic U. R. Ananthamurthy once said that India lives simultaneously in the twelfth and the twenty-first centuries. He might have added: and all the centuries in-between. No city better exemplifies Ananthamurthy’s maxim than the country’s capital, Delhi. The three [...]

 
 
line

 
  Good Husband Better Man, The Telegraph [Saturday, December 27th, 2014]

Wives of famous men do not always get their due from historians and biographers. Lincoln, Lenin, Churchill, De Gaulle, Lee Kuan Yew— the women they married and whose sacrifices enabled their work are scarcely known to posterity. What is true of politicians is usually true of writers as well. We read and admire Kalidasa, Goethe, [...]

 
 
line

 
  How The Mehtas Conquered Manhattan, Hindustan Times [Sunday, November 9th, 2014]

There is a rich literature on how the culture of modern cities has been nourished by immigrants from other countries. Books have been written on how American writers (from Ernest Hemingway and Richard Wright on to James Baldwin and Edmund White) did some of their best work in Paris. Other books explain how London was [...]

 
 
line

 
  The Indian Path to Unsustainability, The Telegraph [Saturday, August 9th, 2014]

In her recent book Green Wars, the environmental journalist Bahar Dutt writes: ‘The editor of a leading media house, everytime I pitched a green story, would invariably complain: “Environmentalism is stalling growth; all I am interested in is double-digit growth for this country”’. The idea that environmental protection and economic progress are at odds is [...]

 
 
line