There is danger in KS Silkwood’s King of the Jungle, the story of a misanthropic never-been artist working as a park-keeper who discovers vulnerability and rediscovers his humanity — namely, the temptation to descend into sub-Good Will Hunting soppiness. Continue reading
Heir to Dostoevsky’s character studies and inspiration to countless modernist ruminations on fracture and fragmentation, Knut Hamsun’s profoundly psychological portrait of disintegration, 1890’s Hunger, may be rightly regarded as a literary forebear to the hollow man. Continue reading
A HULKING figure — half-man, half-tank and with a back you could project a movie onto — ambles over to a table in Ludhiana’s five-star Majestic Park Plaza and, in a voice as improbably shy as the question he’s about to pose, coos, “Spanish boltain ho?” (‘Do you speak Spanish?‘) The Spanish sardar, 27-year-old Sukhwinder Singh, is lolling around the hotel lobby, looking slightly confused as a battery of turbaned men brandishing impressive-looking cards anchored to lanyards buzz with an air of consequence. Singh manages Spain’s unlikely all-Punjabi kabaddi team (a motley assembly of shopkeepers, restaurateurs and jobbers) and the sprightly card-bearers are coordinators for the nation’s first-ever Kabaddi World Cup.
If there’s one thing would-be authors could stand to learn from Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s 20-year literary career, it’s her uncanny ability to churn out product. Her latest novel, One Amazing Thing, revisits the fundamentals of the Divakaruni method: invoke a sense of exuberant melodrama and shameless sentimentality unencumbered by the likes of subtlety or understatement — with an almost bewildering efficiency. Before they can even realise it, readers are dosed with enough easily digested bromides to kill a horse.
I suppose, in retrospect, supermarket parking lots are odd places for those moments of profound realisation that change the way you see yourself. Some years ago, I was innocently loading groceries into a car when I noticed a pair of girls standing off to the side acting suspiciously. Seizing on an opportune moment, I wheeled around as they were snapping a photograph — rather sheepishly, they explained how they’d been taking turns comparing their height against mine and wanted to record the lopsided image. That’s when I realised I was tall.