Much ado about the humble idli

                  The ongoing palaver over the ‘idli is boring’ statement by an English historian is, frankly, getting a bit tedious. There’s a whole army of self-righteous voices on mainstream and social media, particularly the latter (surprise, surprise) who have decided to take up cudgels on behalf of India’s favourite breakfast dish. Make that south India’s. …

Grit your teeth and bear it

Take a near-fatal dose on rising, of course. But take a near-fatal dose the night before, in addition. Then numbness descends on numbness. Then you are two distances away from your reality. Martin Amis. Celebrated author Martin Amis’ sage advice to those who are viewing an impending visit to the dentist, particularly if dental surgery …

Fred the Fly Takes the Cake

A friendly fly on the wall has been privy to a number of recent interrogations that have been taking place in Mumbai in connection with the alleged Sushant Singh Rajput murder / suicide case (strike out whichever is not applicable), the Rhea Chakraborty angle along with her brother, the death of Disha Salian under mysterious …

Let’s hear it for the Zoom zombies

The ongoing pandemic (is it ever going to end?) has allowed many housebound men, women, boys and girls to take up a long-lost hobby and give full vent to their latent talent. Incidentally, rarely do you get two anagrammatic words (latent and talent) in close juxtaposition. Call it serendipity, but I digress. Take me, for …

Rave on, Sir Van Morrison

Growing up in the sixties and seventies in India, my musical influences were many. My family was wedded to the arcane and intricate wonders, with plenty of theology casually thrown in, of South Indian Carnatic music, as distinct from the more universally embraced North Indian or Hindustani music, popularised in the west by the likes …

LOTUS for POTUS?

The nomination of Kamala Harris as the Democratic vice-presidential candidate for the forthcoming elections in the United States this November, has set the cat among the pigeons here in India. People from various parts of Tamil Nadu, which is where Kamala’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan hailed from, thence migrated to Oakland, California back in the ‘60s, …

No full stops on television

Let me confess, straight off the bat, that I have not seen a single movie starring the late Sushant Singh Rajput. Since I have virtually stopped seeing Hindi films after the 70s, even the Shah Rukh Khans, Aamir Khans and Salman Khans have passed me by, like the idle wind. They are a closed book …

Let me have books about me that are fat

I read voraciously. I write obsessively. The reading aids the writing. Any Rushdie will tell you that. The reading bug took hold of me, in a serious way, rather late in life; only about twenty years ago. Prior to that I read fitfully and my oeuvre was largely confined to P.G. Wodehouse and his ilk. …

Mind your language. Mind it, I say!

 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:1–9. According to the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, there are 22 languages officially listed and recognised in India. …

Manu Chhabria, the marketing maverick

Manohar (Manu) Rajaram Chhabria (1946 – 2002), or MRC, was perhaps the most discussed business tycoon during the ‘80s and’90s. Rising like a Phoenix from the electronics shops of Lamington Road in Mumbai, the mercurial corporate gadfly dropped anchor in Dubai, founding his flagship Jumbo Electronics. Whence he proceeded on an acquisition spree of blue …