Happy Independence Day

Before 1947, if one had a distinctly Indian name, which 99% Indians did, one could literally die of a name.

In 1943, a British Naval Officer, who was from Indian roots but had been born and brought up as a pure Brit in Sussex, was assigned to a mission at the Bombay port. He had never sympathised with the Indian cause and had taken every step he could to make it known to people that despite his roots, he was very thoroughly a Brit.

But Bombay was a new place and new places come with their new prejudices. When the Master-of-Port at Bombay saw that someone by the name of Rustomji Jahajwalah was asking permission to dock his rowing boat, he assumed almost immediately that the line saying “Boatswain in His Highness’s Royal British Navy” must have been clearly a mistake. Continue reading

Being an Authorpreneur: why writing feels so much like starting up

People like Eric Schmidt scare the daylight out of me when they say we are, presently, producing as much content in 48 hours as we did from the beginning of time till 2003. Just take a minute and imagine: every single day we are producing as much text as there is in half the libraries of the world. What Schmidt is basically telling us is that we can be great writers, but if we can’t figure out a way to stand out in today’s crowded world of content, we are just hobbyists and little else. Continue reading

“Here, drink.”

“Can I have a look at your work?”

For a long time now, I have dreaded that question. For me, my writing is private. It is not meant for those who do not know the context and so I choose very carefully who sees my words. And yet, if you know me well, you would know that I have tried in the past to overcome this dread, that this page that you see today is not my first blog. I have, in the past, started and abandoned three of them. Each of these blogs has a story of its own and each has quite an independent share of my writings on it. I will not migrate my work from there, though. They belong there, crystallised in the amber of time. But I will tell their stories here. Continue reading