attia hosain (1913-1998) – the sunlight on a broken column

We were from two extreme ends of the social spectrum. She, landed aristocracy. Me, respectable middle-class, at best. We also had 52 years between us. I met her when she was at the end of her long, eventful life. She was 83. She was articulate, gracious, full of words. Her voice, girlish and musical. Her laughter tinkling. Her curiosity untarnished. I didn’t see her as … Continue reading attia hosain (1913-1998) – the sunlight on a broken column

the portrait of a lady (henry james, 1881)

(And I chose this cover, because her gaze reminds me of Dhanno’s) I’ve always found ‘The Portrait of a Lady’ (Henry James, 1881) ominously disturbing. I think this was my second reading. I was hoping, in some strange way, that it would be different this time. Maybe the story would have changed. Maybe, after all these years, the characters would have changed, that they would … Continue reading the portrait of a lady (henry james, 1881)

the rabbit hole is unavoidable, it seems

Sometimes I go down the rabbit hole, and I meet peoples, like the Mad Hatter or some such, people I don’t really know anything about, I know there is a Queen there, somewhere, too, but they make the rabbit hole more … more understandable, comprehensible. imaginable, navigable with their colours and their oddities and their weirdness. The rabbit hole becomes the least of my worries … Continue reading the rabbit hole is unavoidable, it seems

amrit aur vish (hindi, 1966) – poison can be nectar, or vice-versa

An author turns 60. The local political party has organized a celebration in his honour. He himself feels like a cheat, he has not written in 2 years, he feels he can never write again, he feels old. He feels defeated by life, by the worry of money, by the anxiety for his children. But he knows he has to write, the money is running … Continue reading amrit aur vish (hindi, 1966) – poison can be nectar, or vice-versa

kambakht bilkul aurat

I’ve been reading Ismat Chugtai’s ‘Kagazi Hai Pairhan’ and ‘Tedhi Lakeer’. Recently. Reading them, almost back to back, was a little confusing. ‘Kagazi ..’ is Ismat’s almost fiction like autobiography and ‘Tedhi Lakeer’ is her novel, almost like her autobiography. I was completely engrossed in both, but came out, a little annoyed by the books, mainly by the main character, Ismat herself in one, and … Continue reading kambakht bilkul aurat