Leaky pans and geeky fans

I have made a few changes around here as part of my year end cleaning: I have decided to post my theory-heavy social science posts on a new nerdy blog. So, now that one life of this nerd has been resettled, we have enough space to discuss the other eight.

It is an important day: the new Star Wars movie is out. I’ve been thinking about something for quite some time that would have made an excellent Twitter thread. However, since Twitter raised its character limit to 280 and reduced attention spans to negative integers, I figured the space of even five tweets would give me enough for a short 200-word blog post. In the good old spirit of uneditable Twitter, I have chosen not to edit this post for increased coherence, like I did with all my previous posts. (Trust me.)

Let us talk about ‘Geekdoms’ and ‘Fandoms’. Continue reading “Leaky pans and geeky fans”


Poetry I read over the summer

It’s almost the end of the year and I am yet to catch up with this habit of writing a response post immediately after reading a book. But a commitment has been made, so let’s get this 2017-reads project done with. Here are a few excerpts from the “Indian Poetry Summer” I had this year, thanks to Kala Krishnan Ramesh’s ‘He is Honey, Salt, and the Most Perfect Grammar‘ (which deserves its own post). Excerpts are not the most ideal way to read poetry, because often I end up revealing the volta because that is the phrase that moved me the most. Still, I hope you find some of them interesting enough to pick them up. Continue reading “Poetry I read over the summer”

Wheel 2.0

For as long as I can remember, we have always neighbourhood corner shop has been known as the cyclekadaikaarar veedu (house of the cycle shop man). Rent cycles were a common sight in the city until three decades ago, and they are still a popular business in the rural parts. (Here’s a famous comedy clip, featuring a character “All-in-all Azhagu Raja”, whose main business is the ‘hour-cycle shop’, but is also the village’s mechanic/plumber/electrician moulded into one.) These cycles taken for an hourly, weekly, or sometimes even monthly rent were not only used by people who were too poor to buy a cycle of their own. For many, it was a cheaper option to rent a cycle for occasional use than spending a lump-sum on a cycle, which almost always morphs into a clothes stand. It was also a clever option for middle-class families like mine, where children like my aunts and my uncle had to learn riding a cycle. It was better to leave the wear-and-tear while inevitably falling down to a rented cycle. Children who weren’t tall enough to reach the pedal while sitting on the seat do a one-sided ‘korangu-pedal’ (monkey pedal), while they gain the sense of balance. Continue reading “Wheel 2.0”

Update: Graduation essay

It was quite easy to write an essay in 25 minutes after the previous blog post. I had a structure, goal, and trimmed content. I was quite happy with it, the first twenty times I read it, so I decided it was good enough for an audience who, utmost, might only skim through it.

I may have done a little too much research on my metaphor, however. I spent some time reading through a pictorial handbook of Indian land snails, all because I was referring to a few. I did not even need their species name. The fact that my audience knew that snails had a shell, tended to mostly live underground, and were quite ordinary creatures was sufficient. But I can’t help it. I think I spend a lot of time thinking and dismissing metaphors while I write. I don’t try hard for them to be unique; I don’t mind if they’re cliched, as long as they fit well. Metaphors, unlike real life, are not messy neither do they work in unpredictable ways, and you can always find a way to make them mean not more, not less, and just so.

It has been a while since I updated this blog and I need to catch up, so meanwhile you can download the handbook on snails here. My graduation essay is published here.