The Story Belongs to All

In search of distraction from my low mood, and the month of foul headlines that created it, I turn to the library of familiar books recently arrived to the shelves of our Mumbai flat. Narratives on writing by V.S. Naipaul catch my eye. The author's self-indulgence aside, he shares my way of thinking when it comes to … Continue reading The Story Belongs to All

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Cricket

Travels around India don’t have to include the Taj Mahal, the Gateway of India, or a dip in the Ganges to be special. Our four-day journey to Karnataka state included stops at Chamundi Hills, the ancestral village for which my father-in-law takes his name—Kuppahalli, and half a click from where we stayed, the Mysore Palace. … Continue reading Cricket

Peace Corps, the Musical

Five years ago, I flirted with writing a musical based on ‘the generic Peace Corps experience.’ I tabled the idea quickly. The unique nature of volunteer service set abundant hurdles. Peace Corps Africa and Peace Corps Latin America are different beasts. The organization’s six decades presented another problem. We’d moved from the era of ‘Drop … Continue reading Peace Corps, the Musical

Mumbai Standstill

Who owns this day? This town? Nobody. The rains come across the bay, halt awhile, move along. They leave behind a soaked humanity, anonymous. The brightest among us are alien. Forbidding.         ##  

Twinkle for Gents—A Close Shave

I ask around about haircuts. Authoritative Mumbai sources say: Twinkle for Gents. Five weeks into our stay, haircuts are essential. But am I to test Twinkle for Gents? I take a 2 and 3 across the sides and top. My sons buzz down to 4 and 5. Not haircuts, so much as a few quick strokes … Continue reading Twinkle for Gents—A Close Shave

Always

Puzzled that I’d spend my time doing this, people will ask, ‘How long have you been writing?’ Part accusation, part sincere inquiry, it deserves consideration. The truest answer I have—and it’s not a wise guy answer—is always. I say ‘truest’ because of the stages leading up to my present output: two published novels; two mid-grade … Continue reading Always

Another One Bites the Dust

All in one Mumbai day we enjoyed these musical interludes. At Malabar Hill we toured the Hanging Garden (The Cure, Pornography, 1982). It doesn’t hang so much as stand upon a series of reservoirs that hold—depending on who you ask—30 or 90 or 300 million gallons of water. The garden’s benches and clocks and topiary fill the paths, … Continue reading Another One Bites the Dust

Elevatorwala

Mumbai has a wallah for everything, no task too big or small. Outside my 14th-story flat, one of four elevatorwalas pushes the button that takes us to the street and back again. The other night we ate our first dinner at a Parsi restaurant called---this is all one word---Sodabottleopenerwala. It’s a chain. Derived in part … Continue reading Elevatorwala

Early Monsoon

We always knew the monsoon would greet our arrival in Mumbai this Thursday. We never expected heavy rains to be part of our departure from DC. Yesterday the area received 4 inches of rain, equal to about 40 days of wet weather for this time of year for DC. July commonly sees 3.75". What better … Continue reading Early Monsoon

Maximum City

We are neither here nor there. The carpets are up and the curios down. The boys are packed and shipped off south for a week with Naniji. A week from tomorrow the packers arrive. They'll invade for 3 or 4 days to box up several categories of shipment: 700 lbs of air freight; 7k lbs … Continue reading Maximum City