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‘How does anyone know what your caste is?’ An excerpt from ‘Ants Among Elephants’

In your own town or village, everyone already knows your caste; there is no escaping it. But how do people know your caste when you go elsewhere, to a place where no one knows you? There they will ask you, “What caste are you?” You cannot avoid this question. And you cannot refuse to answer. By tradition, everyone has the right to know. If you are educated like me, if you don’t seem like a typical untouchable, then you have a choice. You can tell the truth and be ostracized, ridiculed, harassed—even driven to suicide, as happens regularly in universities.

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Excerpt: Everyone has a ‘Bombay’ story…

Mine started a day in December 2004, when I sat in a Premier Padmini cab, three bulging suitcases tied with a blue rope to its roof. We had left behind a troubled history in the unyielding city that was Delhi, sold off our nine-month-old flat, our second-hand Maruti 800 DX and all the furniture bought…… Continue reading Excerpt: Everyone has a ‘Bombay’ story…

Book Excerpts · Books · Longreads · short story

Water: A tender short-story about the day Mumbai went underwater

HarperCollins India’s latest anthology of short-fiction, out in November 2017, titled No Presents Please: Mumbai Stories is not about what Mumbai is, but what it enables. Here is a city where two young people decide to elope and then start nursing dreams of different futures, where film posters start talking to each other, where epiphanies…… Continue reading Water: A tender short-story about the day Mumbai went underwater

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‘Where have I given any hint I will allow the BJP to compromise my secularism?’

by SANKARSHAN THAKUR Midway through the campaign for the assembly elections of 2010, I set out on a three-week road journey across Bihar to take notes on why ‘change’ had become its birdsong after its long lay-off from wishing or wanting . . . Nitish [Kumar] was one of those who had egged me on.…… Continue reading ‘Where have I given any hint I will allow the BJP to compromise my secularism?’

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Finding Christopher Tucker: The Man Who Made the Ramsay Horror Masks

In the 1970s and ’80s – a period of churn in Hindi films, when commercial cinema was at its Amitabh Bachchan-fuelled peak and art-house movies were truly pushing the envelope – the Ramsay brothers burst on to the scene with their horror film-making spree. They were subaltern films (of a sort), yes. Disruptive too. The…… Continue reading Finding Christopher Tucker: The Man Who Made the Ramsay Horror Masks

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The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome

Psychologist and interpersonal relationship expert Ty Tashiro knows what it’s like to be awkward. Growing up, he could do math in his head and memorize the earned run averages of every National League starting pitcher. But he couldn’t pour liquids without spilling and habitually forgot to bring his glove to Little League games. In Awkward,…… Continue reading The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome

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‘My genetic coding is that of a storyteller’: Kiran Nagarkar

Kiran Nagarkar If I had thought like a sensible person for two minutes, that’s right, just two minutes, Saat Sakkam Trechalis would never have been written. Whatever happened was because of an absence of thought. To write a novel, and that too in Marathi … surely I would have realized that this was completely beyond…… Continue reading ‘My genetic coding is that of a storyteller’: Kiran Nagarkar