An Elegy For A Library

( Published in Tehelka, January 2008 )

ON DECEMBER 9, 2007, BOOK LOVERS in Thiruvananthapuram woke up to a shocking news — the British Council would soon close down its library in the city. The Council’s Minister of Cultural Affairs, Rod Pryde, announced that “we are reducing our presence in the country and diverting our funds to development activities”. Decades ago, Indians had waged a struggle to oust their colonial masters; today residents of Thiruvananthapuram are doing the opposite — organising to ensure that the British Library stays. Continue reading “An Elegy For A Library”

Death visited us twice that October, bonding us forever in one memory

Eternal Light

( This appeared in the  Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 2, Dated Jan 19 , 2008 )

Eternal Light Its the October of 1998 changed my perspective on death; it bonded us cousins, all 22 of us, forever in one memory that is revived in a solemn moment every year. Till then cousins were just fun or not fun, the family bond was not conscious to most of us…we didn’t remember we shared the same blood. We weren’t all very close, and all incredibly different, ranging in age from the wrong side of forty to the pre-teen. Muthachan (Grandfather) was then 98 and we were impatiently waiting for him to hit the century mark. He was still very active and extremely proud of his brood of grandchildren. Muthachan was well-planned for death as he had been in life. He had a notebook that recorded every number to be called when he died, an envelope holding the amount needed for the funeral, and his clothes for the last journey. He wanted all formalities connected with death to be over with the cremation. His only regret was: “So many important people will come here — I won’t be able to see any of them!” Continue reading “Death visited us twice that October, bonding us forever in one memory”