PunchMag

The Byword/NON-FICTION/ESSAY

Arundhati  Roy and Her Suicidal Mission: A Conspiracy Theory

Arundhati Roy and Her Suicidal Mission: A Conspiracy Theory

In The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Roy challenges the format of the novel

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Why Faiz must be read today more than ever

Why Faiz must be read today more than ever

A new translation of selected poems of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, The Colours of My Heart (Penguin Random House) by Baran Farooqi, shows how his poetry remains relevant in every age and why we need it today more than ever before

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In The Shadow Of The Devi Kumaon: An extract

In The Shadow Of The Devi Kumaon: An extract

Uttarakhand has been host for centuries to ascetics and mendicants who sought peace as they trekked the Kailash-Manasarovar and Kedarnath-Badrinath pilgrim routes

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My Meandering Mobile

My Meandering Mobile

How many times can a lost phone return? There’s something my meandering mobile has already taught me: keep a check on its place in your life.

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The Many Homelands of the Mind

The Many Homelands of the Mind

Two literary journals, in their recent issues, put together interesting perspectives on home and belonging

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An excerpt from Mir Khalid's Jaffna Street

An excerpt from Mir Khalid's Jaffna Street

In 1989, an adolescent schoolboy from downtown Srinagar watched as his elders extricated themselves from university campuses, high-school grounds, handloom machines and farms to bear arms and fight a war of attrition against the Indian state. Twenty-two years on, Jaffna Street was born from his explorations of the human dimension of the conflict appositely termed the Kashmir tragedy.

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The Big Gulmohar

The Big Gulmohar

A yellow moon, entangled in the Gulmohar’s branches, sees no hope of freedom. The Gulmohar is in pristine splendour, even when not abloom. The moon blushes upon rising over the horizon in the evenings. She has no fear of getting caught in the Gulmohar’s branches for they aren’t bare any more.

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The night reporter: Chronicling murders that shook the country

The night reporter: Chronicling murders that shook the country

In The Front Page Murders: A True Story, Puja Changoiwala, who covered the gruesome murder of a senior citizen in a wealthy Mumbai neighbourhood, recounts the story behind the sensational case of multiple murders. She explores the murky depths of a serial killer’s mind and the media's frenzy for a juicy story

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Dibai, the qasba where Intizar Husain was born

Dibai, the qasba where Intizar Husain was born

Remembering Intizar Husain (1925-2016), considered to be one of the most significant fiction writers in Urdu of the 20th century. A book on Husain by Mahmood Farooqui, published by Yoda Press, explores his writings and his times, his style and oeuvre.

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The Language of Ashes: The stories around Aghori babas

The Language of Ashes: The stories around Aghori babas

On New Year’s Day, we are on a boat in Varanasi, being steered in the night from Dashashwamedh Ghat to Assi Ghat. It is almost as though ghosts are travelling with us.

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Rushdie’s Colliding Worlds

Rushdie’s Colliding Worlds

All of Rushdie’s stories are, in a wider sense, about the act of telling stories itself. “We are all trapped in stories…each of us the prisoner of our own solipsistic narrative, each family the captive of the family story, each family locked within its own tale of itself, each people the victims of their own versions of history,” declares Blue Yasmeen, a graffiti and installation artist in Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights.

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On Milan Kundera's Art of the Novel and The Festival of Insignificance: An Essay in Seven Parts

On Milan Kundera's Art of the Novel and The Festival of Insignificance: An Essay in Seven Parts

True literature — that has layers within it, offers many ambiguous trails to invisible treasures, pulsates with the possibility of diverse meanings and contains hidden stories within the story — demands that we forget of our being, so that it can reveal to us, the truths of our being

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Art of Translation: An Act of Rediscovery

Art of Translation: An Act of Rediscovery

The art of translation is the art of turning the strangers into the familiar, the known and the knowable. Each work of translation is an act of rediscovery, a sojourn at someone else’s turf

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Art of Translation: Artists as Translators

Art of Translation: Artists as Translators

Nowadays we translate quite differently, at least much of the time, or at least we try to. But the possibility of the existence of a truly 'faithful, accurate' translation tends to be much overstated

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Art of Translation: There is a One-Eyed Man in the House

Art of Translation: There is a One-Eyed Man in the House

Translation is a solitary pursuit, and one for which the translator receives scant praise. If the translation is really good, the praise goes to the author of the original text. If it’s unsuccessful, the translator may be blamed, but readers might just assume the original author is not worth reading.

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Indie in India

Indie in India

Everywhere, the acceptance for the alternative has only grown and indie rock has seen unprecedented efflorescence. Everywhere, just not in India.

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Terry Pratchett: Flight of Fantasy

Terry Pratchett: Flight of Fantasy

His words were literary fireworks, he punned like nobody I had ever read and he invented crazy worlds and characters and winked me out of myself

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The Gathering: A look at the mushrooming litfests

The Gathering: A look at the mushrooming litfests

Are litfests pivoted on books, or just on ideas creatively expressed, or a blend of both?

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Fathers in Fiction

Fathers in Fiction

Fiction allows you to turn fathers or filial figures into murderers, lovers, criminals, thieves, benefactors, badass bisexual beasts or just regular everyday heroes

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Reading Father: Abba, the Legend

Reading Father: Abba, the Legend

Ustad Vilayat Khan was a sensitive, dynamic and refined man, perhaps even more refined as an artiste

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Reading Father: An Inspiration

Reading Father: An Inspiration

There isn’t a single day that goes by when I don't continue learning from his vast experience, which enables me to take his legacy forward

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Reading Father: A Cut Above the Rest

Reading Father: A Cut Above the Rest

His movement, his action and act — you just take it and that's a lesson in your life. I've seen him working so hard that this has entered my bloodstream

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Reading Father: Dance Chose Him

Reading Father: Dance Chose Him

My father sees me clearer than I do myself. He knows exactly how to push me and how far to push me

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Reading Father: An Advocate of Love

Reading Father: An Advocate of Love

Ahmad Faraz believed that love was the true religion which could unite all the people around the world

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Reading Father: Life After Life

Reading Father: Life After Life

My father has been the greatest influence in my life, instilling in me the values that are indispensable. In fact, we need them to face the tempests in our life

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Reading Father: An Absentee Father

Reading Father: An Absentee Father

Faiz speaks to us in despair, in the individuality of romance and in the collective of a nation's desolation

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Reading Father: He Was a Peculiar Man

Reading Father: He Was a Peculiar Man

Among his freedoms were buying a Porsche during the seventies' fuel crisis, squandering his inheritance

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Reading Father: The Accidental Businessman

Reading Father: The Accidental Businessman

He said he entered the book industry out of passion and became a businessman by accident. I can still feel the presence of the accidental businessman in me.

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Reading Father: The Best Times I Never Had

Reading Father: The Best Times I Never Had

Dad could draw, he was a walking Hollywood dictionary, and owned the best comics in the world

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Reading Father: Trading Business

Reading Father: Trading Business

Father, expert in antique carpets, said: 'We've always been traders. You must learn to be a businessman'

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Reading Father: Sifting Sand

Reading Father: Sifting Sand

My father had used the phrase mitti chhanana to express the futility of an endeavour and yet, one which was nevertheless worth pursuing

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Reading Father: The Roof is Gone, the House Uncovered

Reading Father: The Roof is Gone, the House Uncovered

Who are we, that God plays such games with us? But then there is hope.

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Reading Father: 'He Insisted That We Live'

Reading Father: 'He Insisted That We Live'

My father gave me the liberty to be what I wanted to be, unlike Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, my grandfather, who never gave his sons the same freedom. I wish they had been allowed to live their own lives.

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Reading Father: Love, Life and Literature, in the Presence of Father

Reading Father: Love, Life and Literature, in the Presence of Father

He is a mine of information. But his learning sits lightly upon him. He made me an aware child

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Reading Father: Baba

Reading Father: Baba

I've embarked on making a film on Manto, and the more I get into his life, the more I realise why I may have been drawn to him. I feel like my father is Manto's kindred soul and that I am from that same legacy.

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Reading Father: My Ear at His Heart

Reading Father: My Ear at His Heart

Khushwant Singh managed to communicate with all kinds of people, from intellectuals to ordinary peasants

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Zubin Mehta's Musical Discovery

Zubin Mehta's Musical Discovery

Zubin Mehta's first concert was when he sang under Karajan who was conducting Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Zubin made his first recording not as a conductor, or even an instrumentalist, but as a singer.

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My Aunt Maya

My Aunt Maya

What they told me about her life, when they were in the mood, was like a series of sepia pictures, someone’s brittle leather-bound album flipping past your eyes

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A Collaboration: Shashi Kapoor, Merchant-Ivory & Ruth Jhabvala

A Collaboration: Shashi Kapoor, Merchant-Ivory & Ruth Jhabvala

James Ivory gave me the confidence to do things my way, to use my talent, my intelligence, my sensibilities to portray characters in his films: Shashi Kapoor

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The Lamenting Image: A Hallmark of Faiz's Poetry

The Lamenting Image: A Hallmark of Faiz's Poetry

Love and Revolution, Faiz Ahmed Faiz: The Authorized Biography is a portrait of the man behind the poetry — activist, revolutionary, family man, connoisseur of life — and a reading of his poetry in the context of his life and times.

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Drawing the Map of  a City on Two Feet

Drawing the Map of a City on Two Feet

The maps of Madikeri, a hill town in Karnataka, imbued with personal journeys and marked with histories & lived experiences, each like personal tattoos

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Subimal Misra: Social Realism in a New Aesthetic

Subimal Misra: Social Realism in a New Aesthetic

Subimal Misra’s stories document West Bengal and the city of Calcutta in the last four decades, its marginalised people, its degeneration, its hungers and lusts, and its hyper-violent reality

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The Writer As A Father

The Writer As A Father

On occasion, I write about Ila. As I’m doing right now. This is what writers do, they write about the world, and because their children often loom large in their world, they end up putting them into their stories too.

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