2. Nadeem Aslam has a blistering personal essay in Granta about growing up with fundamentalists in his family. These folks were so extreme in their hatred of idolatry, they routinely broke even children's toys. Aslam also has some interesting reflections on linguistic alienation that hit close to home for me as well:
I have read widely in Arabic literature, beginning, yes, with the Thousand Nights and A Night. I have read the Qur'an several times as an adult, and of course there are the novels of the magnificent Naguib Mahfouz; pre-Islamic pagan poetry; the fables of Kalila wa Dimna; extracts from a sorcerer's manual from eleventh-century Spain; the wounded and wounding lines of Mahmoud Darwish. But I have read them all in English, silently in my study. The aural connection was severed long ago.
3. Asafoetida attack! Jai Arjun has a hilarious (and needless to say, negative) review of the new Aishwariya Rai film Mistress of Spices. How this pleasurable takedown relates to our discussion of negative reviewing from a couple of weeks ago, I have no idea.
4. And I randomly came across this interesting personal reflection on "authenticity" in India Currents magazine. A young woman (an NRI) meets a Tibetan woman and a white woman in an American grocery store. While everyone (including the woman herself) assumes that she "knows" the Himalayas because she is ethnically Indian, it turns out that the Tibetan is the granddaughter of Tenzing Norgay, the first person to climb Mt. Everest.