April 2012

Slow Burn Lahore V: Archeology of Space

The modern traveler, wrote Lévi-Strauss in Tristes Tropiques, is forever chasing after "vestiges of a lost reality". Such that writing about a city becomes a mode of constant nostalgia, a constant looking back, either textually or experientially. Sarnath Banerjee's Harappa Files (which I read recently; thankfully, after I had already planned and written some of [...]

CM Anniversary: Acht So!!

Once again, I missed it. Eight years ago this little experiment - which, in 2011 produced two books (!) and countless millions of dollars (!!) - began. There is no denying the fact that dhandha has been manda here lately. I have not found too much time to write.Yet, I have had so many amazing [...]

Slow Burn Lahore IV: See Through Cement

You can't see through cement - and neither can I. When I look at Lahore and the ways in which cement has cordoned off sight-lines, I see a city full of people blind-folded. The gated communities were the first variant - ghettos of the elite - where cement walls rose up to seclude and to [...]

More sophisticated readers of the New York Times’ editorial pages have, for years, fumed at Thomas Friedman's inane musings. Even less sophisticated readers, some of which write book reviews and essays for online magazines named after mysterious flatbreads, have bristled at Friedman’s claims, prose and weak reasoning. There are times, in fact, that one might [...]

In Cairo, I thought I met Khizr. More likely, I found a new way of walking. Following hints, barely visible pathways, I try only to keep my sense of direction overpowered by my desire to get lost. Cairo, around Tahrir Square, looks a lot like the late colonial city abutting Old Lahore - the architecture [...]

Slow Burn Lahore II: Meeting Old Masters

At some point in Old Lahore's life, cement won. Floors stacked like cardboard boxes, and filled only with cardboard boxes, sprung up everywhere. The sky which is hard enough to find, now simply hides behind slabs of grey loosely slapped into holes or onto bricks. When you see an older building, terror-stricken and shaky, you [...]

Neo Orientalism is the New Orientalism

A snippet from my new Bookslut column by me in which I review Marina Warner's Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights: Said's thesis has unfortunately made little effect in the US outside of the academy. The greatest ostensible change seems to be on the use of the term "oriental" for persons of Asian [...]

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