Bombay and Istanbul

Eminönü has been the shopping district of Istanbul since the Byzantine times which makes it the busiest part of the city for the last 1500 years. My father and I would start in the Mısır Çarşısı (The Spice Market) and look at the birds, dogs and cats, fish, spices and teas, monkeys, cheese and sausages, hamsters, dried fruit and nuts. We’d have lunch in Pandeli which brings back images of aubergine and tender meat, and elderly waiters with pristine white shirts. And finally we’d walk up the street towards Suleymaniye, the most magnificent of the mosques in the city. I remember my father buying me toys and trinkets from the little shops in tiny and crowded streets: balloons, Chinese toys made from cheap plastic, a small radio, a green ring connected to a small rubber ball hidden in the palm used to spray water to the face of the unsuspecting onlookers. Continue reading Bombay and Istanbul

Gospel According to Jesus Christ (İsa’ya Göre İncil), Jose Saramago

It was not totally Saramago’s fault. Our timing was terrible. 43% of the book club members were depressed because of the financial crisis that began to shake the capitalist world. (Ironically, Saramago could have been feeling some schadenfreude at the same time.) 29% of the members had tardy arrivals because their business meetings ended very late, a bit unusual for a Ramadan day. Continue reading Gospel According to Jesus Christ (İsa’ya Göre İncil), Jose Saramago

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon

This is problem with slang, especially old (80’s) slang like this, the minute you step out of the relevant circles you begin missing out on the experience and it becomes difficult to distinguish the passé from the hip. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (TMOP), the coming of age story of Art Bechstein is set in an era that is clearly defined by flamboyant details like knitted ties, white blazers, spandex and loop earrings. It also happens to be an era I could – however I would rather not – remember in the context of my teenage years. Continue reading The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon

Literature Meme, Midnight’s Children

I discovered Midnight’s Children in a bookstore in Mumbai eight and a half years ago and was more than pleasantly surprised as soon as I began reading it on the train from Agra to Delhi. Back then, my knowledge of Rushdie was limited to the controversy after the fatwa and I must say I am quite angry with the whole cacophony that has shrouded the beauty of his writing. Continue reading Literature Meme, Midnight’s Children

(auto)biography

Studying architecture during the summer of ’92 made him an engineer. His dislike for the Introduction to Operations Research course, his indifference for car engines, and his thoughts about the unsightliness of the Civil Engineering building made him a Materials Scientist. Continue reading (auto)biography

Aparna Weds Pratap

They wore red uniforms with flat hats, and around them were a couple of guys carrying huge lanterns. When everyone was ready, we started the march to the wedding area. We probably took 45 minutes for a distance of 2 kilometers because we stopped every few minutes and danced to the tunes of the band. We were joined by local kids on the way who pointed at me, an obvious foreigner in indian clothing, gaped and giggled. Continue reading Aparna Weds Pratap