A Maha Shivratri special memory

What triggers a memory? The senses - the smell or the taste, the sound or the sight. And some memories are more vivid than others. Every Maha Shivratri I am reminded of the year of my Boards. It was 2nd of March - exactly two days before the Class X exams started. As was my…

Shiva Shiva …

Amish Tripathi calls him "Dude of the Gods". Others call him by various names - 1008 names to be precise - Bholenath, Mahadev, Shankar, Shambhu, Rudra, Neelkanth, Nataraja or Shiva are some of the more popular ones. He is a paradox - as a destroyer and a benefactor, as an ascetic as well as a…

Rang de Basanti

Keeping memories alive, a look back on #BasantPanchami – BHU celebrates its founders day with Saraswati Puja and lot of festivities!

I am what I am

“If winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”

That’s so true … Albeit with a barely there winter season, Basant Panchami seems to be early this year. This day officially marks the beginning of a brief spring season in India.

Basant Panchami has special significance for people of BHU, the day celebrates the anniversary of Foundation laying ceremony of the University 100 years back in 1916. It’s a holiday, but with celebrations in the air. Most of the hostels start the day with Saraswati Puja early in the morning with students and teachers decked up in yellow clothes followed by a parade with march pasts by the students and decorated tableus depicting history and achievements of the University (the Parade stopped sometime in mid 80s after a student riots, but it has started again in last couple of years).

One of the special memories associated with the day has been…

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The Tirangi Barfi of Banaras

The fight for Indian Independence was fought at many levels - from the boycott of foreign made clothes, to making salt and by making statement through food. And Banaras (Varanasi) led the way by creating special mithai (sweets) during the Independence movement. The commonly known Tirangi Barfi (tri-colour sweet) was an Independence Day and Republic…

My 2018 Year in Books

The end of a calendar year is a time for retrospection, and it results in many year-end lists by journalists across the spectrum of fashion, movies, tech, music, political news and my favourite genre - books. Reading a blog by Sunil Sethi and an article by Seema Goswami (both of whom I follow to get…

The best bookshelf of 2018

Long ago (before the social media deluge), I used to watch Sunil Sethi’s show on NDTV Just Books for his recommendations and this year-end blog is just that.

Sunil Sethi

2018 was a commendable year for offerings in fiction, history and biography.

Column in Business Standard, December 29, 2018

In a long-held tradition the last column of the year is dedicated to some of the best reading of the year across genres. If fiction, in Albert Camus’s words, is the lie by which writers tell the truth, then three novels by accomplished Indian practitioners stood out for the intricacy and innovation of the form.

Amitabha Bagchi’s earlier works, Above Average and The Householder, are deft explorations of middle-class life but his latest, Half the Night Is Gone (Juggernaut; Rs 599), is altogether more ambitious. Part epistolary novel, part family chronicle spanning the 20th century, its fiction-within-fiction layering is an exhumation of a battling personal demons as he spins out his narrative.

True to its title, award-winning Anuradha Roy’s All the Lives We Never Lived (Hachette; Rs…

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A Biography of Cancer

I have been meaning to read Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies ever since it was released in 2010. However, the morbid subject matter made me pushing it back on my reading list. But over the years, I have come to hear about a new cancer case atleast once a week on an average,…

Mahalaya Ritual

It is an annual ritual in our house to get up early on Mahalaya morning and listen to Mahisasuramardini. The tradition started probably with my maternal Grandmother who was a devotee of Goddess Durga and lived in Patna surrounded by Bengali households, and it continued even when she moved to Banaras and then with my mother…