Monday, February 11, 2013


Two stories, both about murders and murderers but from opposite ends of this dark spectrum.

The Aarushi Talwar Case is at the initiating end, with the as-yet unsolved murder that took place in New Delhi more than four years, of a fourteen-year-old girl. Meanwhile the family has been not merely bereaved but utterly devastated by the process of finding justice. The story is written with unusual sensitivity and thoroughness, which is what makes it worth reading.

Meanwhile the second story is about Jerry Givens, a man who had the job of being an executioner for the state of Virginia in the US, but who is now a passionate opponent of the death penalty.


I am ending this post with what I consider a rather surreal drinking water tap, at the Madras Zoo (the correct name for it is: ARIGNAR ANNA ZOOLOGICAL PARK or Vandalur Zoo) I have yet to write an account of my visit ... and I do still plan to ... but not tonight.

I have a number of photographs, but I realized just now, looking at them, that this one is probably the best in the collection. There were different animals for each different water fountain and I didn't have the smarts to take pictures at EACH ONE. Ah well. At least I DID take this one!

Thursday, February 07, 2013


This is the cover of a new collection of my short stories, due to be published by ZUBAAN. It's been a long time since my last collection -- KLEPTOMANIA (Penguin Books, India, 2004) -- came out, so I'm very pleased. The stories are a combination of old and new: a few of those that appeared in Kali for Women's 1996 HOT DEATH, COLD SOUP* collection alongside more recent pieces, a couple of them completely new and never-published. We're still deciding how many stories will make the cut. Maybe thirteen.

I am particularly thrilled with the cover -- the drawing is by me, but design and titles by Zubaan's multi-talented Anita Roy. This drawing, and those on the inside pages (small amusements to herald each story) are what I call "telephone doodles" -- drawings done while talking on the phone. Well, okay, I'll admit that THIS one, on the cover, wasn't done during a conversation! But it's in the same style, sort of. The original is in b/w, coloured in PhotoShop. The inside doodles are b/w and really were done during Skype chats.
*(this link is to the GARNET WORLD FICTION edition, published in the UK. The KfW edition is out of print).

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Wednesday 6th February

Here's a link to an academic essay by PhD scholar ROSITTA JOSEPH about my 2008 novel ESCAPE, published in MUSE INDIA's Issue 47, Jan-Feb 2013. It's only the second academic article I've read about ESCAPE (the first one was by a Professor of English Literature in Tarragona, Spain; now a friend) and the first I've read by an Indian scholar. Unlike the reviews that came out, this article analyses the real-world social context of the book with some seriousness.

It's always a great relief to know that there ARE readers who notice minor details -- such as the "notes" from the Generals' publications -- and come to the correct associations and conclusions. But especially now, when I am writing the final chapters of the sequel ... yes. It's good.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Sunday February 3rd

These photographs are from the Madras trip. I'm posting them now because (a) the reason I took them in the first place was to post to the blog and (b) I delayed posting them coz I didn't have my computer to edit them on.  I don't know if I am right to believe that my computer (a MacBookPro) protests and/or trashes any storage device which has been slutting around on Other Operating Systems but whether I am right or wrong, I don't want to find out the hard way -- so I didn't upload and work on the pix in Madras, where I was using an ACER.

Here's my recap of the past six days:
Monday 28th The main feature of the day, after getting back from Madras was feeling COOOOOLD. What is wrong with my feet? They seem to have no idea that they are connected to a warm-blooded body. They spend all their waking hours time sending up a continuous whining lament of "We're COLD! VERY COLD! EXTREMELY VERY COLD!" Etc. It gets to be supremely tedious. I considered the possibility of hibernating until early March.

Tuesday 29th My friend RS came over for lunch as well as to continue a double-headed interview for Forbes Life Magazine on the subject of The Patron and the Artist. We started working on it maybe two years ago, by e-mail, but haven't budged since the initial exchange of Q's and A's. What makes it interesting (we hope) is that R has for years been a patron of my paintings/drawings/prints aside from continuing to be a good friend throughout. The purpose of the piece is to explore both sides of the Art coin and the plan is for both of us to ask questions and to find answers, which is why I call it "double-headed". It's going well, I think.

Wednesday 30th The fear of multiple deadlines piling up on my desk finally convinced me that my plan for the month (see Monday 28th) was perhaps not a good one. Also, E fixed the plug for the heater in my room, so that it's no longer threatening to melt down. Also I was revived by an excellent tea upstairs, with rum-marble cake and good conversation. Also I have been pursuing the "writing for two hours" part of my Resolutions quite diligently.

Thursday 31st Somewhat to my surprise, a minor form of drawing that I call "telephone doodling" -- just the same as we all do while talking on the phone, except that I've taken to using good paper and a slightly more formal approach to subject matter -- has suddenly become the basis of a book of illustrations I have been trying to do "on the side". That is, I have discovered that I can telephone-doodle my way through to completing these illustrations which have otherwise been stuck in my mind, refusing to come out on paper. Because they're doodles (i.e., I don't think of them as formal illustrations), I can do them while thinking about other stuff. Such as the two hours of writing, for instance ...

Friday 1st Yaaay! I finally managed to make an expedition to Deepest Grrrgaon! To have a night-spend Chez Ghose -- let's just say that we talked and ate and giggled and talked some more all through the evening and then again in the morning and into early noon. "We" comprised E and V and S, as might be expected, but also their visiting friends M, R and M plus U, at whose adjoining house we had dinner. M/R/M are visiting from England, but have a long and loving connection with India and with the Ghoses, so it was very good to reconnect.

E had a pre-dawn event with her Cycling Club. She went and came back from it before I was even conscious. She is the most active and energetic person I know. I feel like a fossilized sloth in her company(I mean this in a nice way. We sloths don't in the least mind being turned to stone. Kind of suits our sedentary personalities). It always amazes me that she and I can not only have a conversation, but even manage to chat for hours, because I really think we occupy different time zones while sitting in the same room. Exhilarating!

Saturday 2nd Got back to my dimension in time for lunch. Back to all the little obsessions, drawings, writings, eight-glasses-of-water, etc. The weather has slightly improved. I am no longer stuck to the heater.

Sunday 3rd Today! More drawing, writing, water etc. No origami, however. Instead, I watched the final Harry Potter movie, Deathly Hallows Part II. Okay, so that's done now. I'm glad I've got it watched and under my belt. Onwards ...