The Changeling

Kenzaburo Oe did not attend an MFA Program. His upbringing in postwar Japan and possibly a life in today’s Japan that’s a psychotic marvel also seem to impact his writing in some measure. For someone used to American fiction, this is novelty enough. And Elif Batuman while dismissing postwar American literature as dishonest, captures why I like The [...]

Postmodern sexuality

What does homosexuality mean? Or bisexuality? Or, for that matter, any other form that may exist. I find it insulting to the concept of person-hood that one is defined on the basis of attraction to someone else. I’d like to propose as basis of sexuality one’s own individual erogenous zones. For example, some people who [...]

The Dalit vote

I am sure I am not the only or the first or even the millionth person to notice this. However, I have not heard it said or seen it written: MK Stalin’s mother is Dalit. Yet, he never uses his Dalit status on the campaign trail. The total Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes population in Tamil [...]


I don’t know why I picked a book up after reading the pretentious prick say it was pretentious. But a man who had read to Borges as a teen deserves to be read. Manguel’s poorly written sanctimonious nonsense though got me wondering: is intelligence, as we comprehend it in the modern context, by definition, an understanding of what is, or can [...]

On Federalism

Not that anyone cares, but I thought I should clarify I had no idea what I was talking about when I’d randomly use ‘Federalism’ as an argument. Please listen to Heather Gerken actually say something non-trivial on the subject. Knowledge seems so dangerous to the stupidity of my youth.

On sexism

For someone who grew up on Tamil movies and Hollywood, that the mise-en-scène and the screenplay can be used to not drive something or someone forward is a pleasant surprise in itself. Therefore my judgment of La soledad may be biased by that novelty factor; but I did enjoy it immensely. This may also be a right [...]


Susan Orlean has trouble with naming the Great war. But the memorial in Madras refers to each War in that period as an individual war. One would think that is a respectful way to treat those who laid down lives and not call their theaters battles. What did the Germans gain for giving up Gauss? Ugly hypothetical examples of architecture? Why? I remember [...]

The capsule

Deborah Treisman defines much of the popular discourse on contemporary fiction. She being obsessed with imagery, I imagine most people under 30 are as well. And to prove that point, here is Jonathan Franzen this week. Then, the Cinderella story happened. Paul Harding’s Tinkers deserves all its superlatives. The greatest pleasure of it though was in the effortless [...]

RTI wants your ass

Unless one is Hendrick Hertzberg, one cannot make a reasonable case for the raison d’être of government being “doing something” as opposed to “prevent the worst thing being done”. Political discourse at all levels, one could argue, is some variation of this dichotomy. Independent India achieved that equilibrium by virtue of government inefficiency. The middle [...]


Initiation rituals are sacred for a good reason. And year-end lists in the era of social media explain that better than most. People who have read less than ten books in the year feel compelled to come out with top 10 lists. 1996 is not even that far away. If John Edwards had died in 2009, [...]