on the railway

a long long time ago, a palmist told me that everything in my life will be hard, but i will achieve whatever it is that I wanted. just nothing will come easy. and then another person told me the same thing. No wonder I used to day dream about being a station manager of a railway station that was the last stop of a train into the himalayas.

that would be the easy life that i can never have.

in my day dream, i had two rooms in the railway station. and here, i do not embellish my young self. one room would be filled with books. the other room would be filled with mangos.

during that phase, i would often sneak out of the house at night. and hop trains. i know, it was dangerous and insane. but i was in thrall with the sound of the train as it rolls over the gap in the rail.
and the night.

i wanted that clanking silence.

if that makes any sense.

Sunday Reading for Chee Malabar

The revelation was Chee Malabar. I know, and knew, that Yogi B will be global. They are way too talented and ferocious, live – to not force themselves into every iPod on the block. They are also incredibly genuine and warm. But, it is Chee, for whom I must evangelize. Though, I had heard a few tracks before, read a profile or two – I had never talked to him. And now I have all the zeal of the newly converted. Read these lyrics and discover it too – this is one poet, artist, writer and rapper who needs your support. In fact, all my gentle readers need to go buy the albums – himalayan project and oblique brown – and then seek him out when he comes to your neck of the woods or better still, invite him to your neck of the wood. Ok go.

  • First off, a sunday reading link to myself! Nathanael Robinson and Manan Ahmed had a conversation about memory and history and they put it up for you to read. It is not anything special (if only to see how badly I write when I write ‘academic’).
  • However, I can spot excellent writing from a mile away. Wendy Doniger’s essay in the LRB, The Land East of the Asterik is profound, funny, comprehensive and just an all around must-read on IE, PIE and horses. She really is a beacon of shining light in our dim academic world.
  • Also in the LRB is Zizek’s rather merde-y letter on China and Tibet. He seems to be ill-informed about a lot of things in there – including Fareed Zakaria’s brilliance.
  • A nice overview of Palestinian cinema by Nicholas Blincoe in the Guardian.
  • MQM must be stopped from terrorizing the citizens of Karachi.
  • Finally, it appears that bloggers and netizens can now link directly to Encyclopedia Brittanica. Let’s test it: al-Ḥajjāj al-Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf ath-Thaqafī

Below the fold, another number from Yogi B and Natchatra from Hiphopistan.
Continue reading “Sunday Reading for Chee Malabar”

Monsoon Chutney

CM reader JM sends in this note for all you gentle readers.

Hi! Hoping you Chapati Mystery readers can help me find a publisher for my first novel, Monsoon Chutney. It’s the multi-generational tale of an upper-caste Indian-American family. What’s really fresh about this work, I feel, is that each generation has its own unique struggles with identity and repression. The grandparents try to cope with the aftermath of Partition and finding their places in a newly-independent India, one full of religious and caste upheaval; the veranda where the two grandfathers sip whisky and bemoan certain passing traditions is the main setting of the first third of the novel. Their children marry and immigrate to America in the late Sixties, and attempt to reconcile their conservative upbringings with the demands of their new culture (n.b., I’ve left out the boring details of Dad’s professional life and just assumed that’s he’s done quite well as a urologist). The grandchildren, Raj and Sujata, are born in the U.S. They have to bridge the worlds of the two countries, mainly through wrestling with the expectations of their families while trying to establish their own identities as Indian-Americans. The struggle with patriarchy is a theme throughout: a tragic incident of incest proves to have unforeseen consequences, but to balance it out, there’s also a scene of tenderness and humor in which the parents deal with Sujata’s menarche (I’m sure female readers who are children of immigrants will smile wryly). The whole thing ends with an emotional scene in a house in La Jolla that unites the three generations. As the child of Indian immigrants who came to the U.S. in the Sixties, I was moved to write about these matters. And like you, I’m passionate about The God of Small Things and The Interpreter of Maladies, books that I hope Monsoon Chutney will one day join in the canon. Please let me know if you have any contacts in the publishing industry.

Those with leads, or those with The Inheritance of Loss (Amazon Key Phrases: deaf tailors, thun thun, chun chun, Father Booty, Uncle Potty, Cho Oyu) on their bookshelves, are urged to leave their helpful tips in the comments section.

I invite JM to submit a book proposal to CM for our own Chapati Mystery Presents … ® Series coming out soon.

Sunday Reading for Super Week

“The worst uncontrolled reentry in history occurred in July 1979, when Skylab, America’s abandoned, 78-ton space station — which had long since run out of maneuvering fuel — came down earlier than planned, raining debris across the Australian outback.”

We would be playing out in Doha’s deserty fields and my mother, standing in the doorway, would keep an eye on the sky – hoping to pull her children in, if she saw Skylab. Our neighbor, Auntie something-or-the-other, was convinced it was her house that will be crushed by Skylab. They spent hours talking about it.

I convinced my mother that if Auntie something-or-the-other is right, we will be spared.

I have no idea why I suddenly remembered Skylab.

Pleasantries aside. Ayesha Siddiqa visited Chicago this weekend. She spoke at an event and then participated on a panel with two other participants. I will put up word and video of both as it becomes available. It was a delight hosting her and I look forward to her next book.

  • In the WSJ, Rebecca Dana’s Reinventing 24, tells us about the “Calcutta Cricket Club” and about Muslim actors denying participating in the 24verse. Crazy. I am willing to sign up.
  • Eric Weiner keeps the Orientalist traditions alive and well. Between him and Somini Sengupta, NYT is just a delight to read.
  • A couple of days ago Selig Harrison made all kinds of funny in the NYT – Drawn and Quartered. It is just terrible history and terrible analysis.
  • In the LRB, Eric Hobsbawn remembers the Weimar. Recently, I acquired Interesting Times and am reading it piecemeal. I just have one question: Why is it that our generation of historians cannot write that pretty?
  • In the WaPo, Nicholas Schmidle remembers Pakistan. Pakistan’s history is indeed suffering. As are, the historians.
  • Speaking of suffering historian, this question is just lame.
  • Professional sports is very interesting.

Remember, gentle readers, that on Feb 7th, Lapata will have her show at Bollyhood. I hereby request I-Reports from everyone who belongs to the CM world and goes there. All the I-Reports will be published right here, on CM. Your chance for greatness lies within your grasp.