Cube Farm

BOGIE, or Why I Wrote Patchworks My second novel addresses gun violence in America. It didn’t start out that way. Patchworks' protagonist, a millennial grad student interning for peanuts within a government bureaucracy, didn’t appear until several months into writing. And, angry as I felt to see America shredded over and over again by episodes of massive … Continue reading Cube Farm

Swipe-N-Wipe?

The Internet can solve a lot of problems, but not this one. Spotted this sign in heavy traffic on the stretch between Navi Mumbai and Mumbai proper. Never did spot the facility itself as promised, 100 meters on. Or was that the place where all the cyborgs were lined up, that most human of all … Continue reading Swipe-N-Wipe?

War Novels and the War on Terror

More than 16 years ago, standing beneath a massive banner, George W. Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq: “Mission Accomplished.” What followed this publicity stunt—he arrived on an aircraft carrier off California's coast riding in a Navy jet—were years of insurgency and bloodshed in pursuit of a Dick Cheney figment: Saddam … Continue reading War Novels and the War on Terror

It Rains, It Pours

Tuesday I flew to Delhi, this kitchen knife concealed in my shoulder bag. Security missed the 5-½” blade. Wednesday my phone blew up during a seminar I was conducting with 90 colleagues, a deluge of messages from Mumbai, much of the city underwater, including the 5km stretch between my son’s elementary school and home. A … Continue reading It Rains, It Pours

Ground Control to Chandrayaan

To India's space scientists today: Keep your eyes toward the heavens... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNuSD49chY8 Your efforts these last eight years, culminating in a profound silence from Lunar Lander Vikram moments before touchdown, share a vast and spirited company. Brave adventurers have gone before you and not returned. Their sacrifices line our memories. Their endeavors fire our imagination. Your vision … Continue reading Ground Control to Chandrayaan

Ganesh Chaturthi

Today marks the birthday of Lord Ganesh. Witness his creation! Part man, part elephant, Lord Ganesh is made of plaster from the inside out. Finally he's painted and draped in finery. Behold his glory! For the next ten days, he'll be paraded through the streets of Mumbai to be immersed into the Arabian Sea. Happy Ganesh … Continue reading Ganesh Chaturthi

Again

While we sit idly by No longer dumbfounded Just dumb Numb Gunman kills 7 in a rampage that started with a West Texas traffic stop

Poetic Feminist Rant

I talked with a group of poets yesterday. Poetry operates at a level beyond my ordinary grasp; often it reads like an excuse for lazy incoherence rather than stabs at truth. In yesterday’s case, the writers had forged their art around efforts to ensure equal rights and legal protections for women. The event rose above … Continue reading Poetic Feminist Rant

Rain

The monsoon retains a grip on Mumbai. Heavy storms blow in today, sideways, slashing bellows of water from the sky. Socked in on the 14th floor, we overlook only mist and cloud, the teeming city obscured. Twenty-five million people hunker beneath this umbrella of rain. Some of my pleasantest hours were during the long rain storms … Continue reading Rain

Thoreau’s First New Yorker Cartoon

The wordless cartoons of Nurit Karlin. The sketched illustrations of R.O. Blechman. Turns out these staples from The New Yorker have an antecedent in Henry David Thoreau. Had The New Yorker been around, how might Thoreau have captioned this sketch from Journal XVII, kept February 1854 to September 1854? Certainly not as follows: At the steam-mill sand-bank was … Continue reading Thoreau’s First New Yorker Cartoon