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the problems of plenty

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Today's Sunday Mid-day column, about t he pleasures of libraries , maybe the necessity. What I couldn't expand on in the column but which people can check out from here are two excellent online library ventures - they will send and pick books up! www.friendsofbooks.com And this one just for comic books www.leapingwindows.com

Labbu's birthday

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Today is my father's birthday and I am continuing my effort to write something about him as I decided to in 2008 and then managed to in 2009 and here I am now, writing in 2010, but at the 11th hour as he would have said :). When my father was small he had very fat cheeks. His cheeks were so fat that if you slapped one cheek the other used to wobble. So his two older sisters loved to call him over and then slap him, and laugh to see the other cheek wobble. This exemplifies the love of Punjabi women, as many will know. They really did love him, as I saw over the years - he was the apple of their eye - and accordingly they had their own petname for him: Labbu - from Laabh, a blessing luckily gotten. In all my years with him I never heard anyone actually call him that, although my aunt in Bombay would sometimes lovingly say: he is my favourite, I used to call him Labbu. My father always laughed and loved to tell this story of cheek slapping. He loved telling stories of his childh
Last to last week's Mid-day column - we had Divali holiday in between. A couple of my friend's fought with me about it because they felt I did not take a clear stand on what I felt about what Arundhati Roy said about Kashmir - and I felt a bit frustrated by that. I somehow think there are many types of solidarity - I suppose one is definitely for many to say the same thing at the same time. On the other hand I guess I am a bit more invested in trying to reach out to a more "regular" audience and also in the idea of debate which eventually is not about rights and wrongs but about the ability to listen. And I don't feel very interested in making declarations about matters of national importance (which is not to say that I don't think those declarations should be made) but interested in a rather more local voice and way. Still, it's an uncertain thought, only half formed in my head and I'm still wondering.

Don't look left, Don't look right - just head to the cinema

My friend Bela Negi's film is releasing this October 29th in Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore. Please do go see it and please spread the word around! Here's my column about it from last Sunday's Mid-day

The Young and the Restless

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My column from last Sunday: Such a short journey for Aditya Thackeray and hopefully Meter Jammers now know that politics is a long haul

Munni's...

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...not badnaam enough for me... Last Sunday's Mid-day column

vamps, victims and videotape

Have been shooting so not updating but pasted below a longer version of my Sunday Mid-day column from last week , which appears today in The Delhi Guardian which is apparently Delhi version of The Independent of London (go figure). They don't have a website yet. You can watch online the VAMP video as well as the documentary it responds to - Prostitutes of God VAMPS, VICTIMS AND VIDEOTAPE Recently a YouTube video called “VAMP Protests ‘Prostitutes of God” went viral. Produced by Vaishya Anyaya Mukti Parishad (VAMP) a sex worker rights organization in Sangli, it was a series of testimonies by people who had featured in the VBS documentary by Sarah Harris - “Prostitutes of God” - which explored sex work around the cult of Goddess Yellamma and linked to the Devdasi tradition. One after another, these people asked the filmmaker why she betrayed their trust by insulting their gods, misinterpreting their culture and portraying them as craven victims. VAMPs video is lo-fi a