AN ELEVEN OF THEIR OWN, The Telegraph [Saturday, March 20th, 2004]

My favourite cricketing story, patriots will be pained to hear, has a Pakistani playing the lead role. Not against India, though, but against the West Indies. On a hot day in Bridgetown many years ago, Hanif Mohammad was battling to save a Test match. Among those watching him keep out the likes of Roy Gilchrist [...]

 
 
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  COMPOSING A CULTURE, The Hindu [Sunday, February 15th, 2004]

Writers in Kannada have won seven Jnanpith awards, a record equalled only by one other language, Hindi. But then there are many more speakers of Hindi. And of the seven Kannada awardees three did not even grow up speaking that language. Thus D. R. Bendre’s mother tongue was Marathi. Masti Venkateswara Iyengar’s first language was [...]

 
 
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  THE BIRD MEN OF INDIA, The Hindu [Sunday, October 26th, 2003]

My old home town, Dehra Dun, occupies a special place in the history of Indian ornithology. It was here that Salim Ali spent five years with his wife, Tehmina. While living in Dehra Dun he revised and refined his first and most famous work, The Book of Indian Birds. The Valley has a dazzlingly diverse [...]

 
 
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  THE CONVERSATION OF POETS, The Hindu [Sunday, September 14th, 2003]

Those who believe that climate determines social behaviour should take a closer look at the American state of Wisconsin. This is cold in winter and cold in summer. In December, the snow lies high upon the ground; in May, the wind from the lakes cynically neutralizes the rays of the mid-morning sun. Yet despite its [...]

 
 
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  A SALUTE TO THE SECOND-HAND BOOKSTORE, The Hindu [Sunday, August 3rd, 2003]

In twenty years as a workaday writer, I have published several million words, of which only about a thousand have actually helped anyone other than myself. These were contained in an article published in a Delhi newspaper in 1992 after the city’s police commissioner summarily evicted the pavement book stalls in Daryaganj, holding them to [...]

 
 
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  MEMORIES OF 1983, The Hindu [Sunday, June 22nd, 2003]

In the history of Indian cricket, there are really only two competitors for the title of ‘greatest victory ever’: the 1971 series win over England in England, and the defeat of the West Indies in the 1983 World Cup final. In 1971 England were arguably the best side in the world: they had just defeated [...]

 
 
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  CRICKET ON THE VELD, The Hindu [Sunday, March 2nd, 2003]

There is a cricket World Cup now in South Africa, and watching the tournament on TV shall doubtless take me back to the one time I did visit the country. That was back in October 1997. Apartheid had recently been vanquished, and the greatest man the world has known since Mahatma Gandhi was in power. [...]

 
 
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  THE MUSIC OF INDIA, The Hindu [Sunday, January 5th, 2003]

I come from what, even by Indian standards, is a very large family. Counting only close relatives—parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, first cousins—they number in the region of fifty. While I was growing up, of this vast brood only one member ever willingly listened to a piece of music. I would have remained a music-illiterate myself, [...]

 
 
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