behenji is back

by popular demand and itchy fingers, the behenji has returned. she has now taken up residence in a barsaati and welcomes visitors. her address is: http://barsaati.blogspot.com/

tell her the dakwallah sent you!


behenji's bookcase is bursting....hooray!

behenji has just ordered some books, courtesy of bohemian bhai's generous birthday gift certificate.

what did behenji order:

"White Teeth: A Novel" by Zadie Smith

"Snow (Vintage International)" by Orhan Pamuk

"The Cinnamon Peeler : Selected Poems (Vintage International)" by Michael Ondaatje

"The Apple's Bruise : Stories" by Lisa Glatt


"How to Breathe Underwater (Vintage Contemporaries)" by Julie Orringer

As a birthday gift to herself, behenji bought "The Time Traveller's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger. read an excerpt on amazon.com and was hooked, reeled in, caught.

here's a little taste (and no, behenji is not shoving a samosa down your throat):

How does it feel?

It feels exactly like one of those dreams in which you suddenly realize that you have to take a test you haven't studied for and you aren't wearing any clothes. And you've left your wallet at home.

When I am out there, in time, I am inverted, changed into a desperate version of myself. I become a thief, a vagrant, an animal who runs and hides. I startle old women and amaze children. I am a trick, an illusion of the highest order, so incredible that I am actually true.

Is there a logic, a rule to all this coming and going, all this dislocation? Is there a way to stay put, to embrace the present with every cell? I don't know. There are clues; as with any disease there are patterns, possibilities. Exhaustion, loud noises, stress, standing up suddenly, flashing light-any of these can trigger an episode. But: I can be reading the Sunday Times, coffee in hand and Clare dozing beside me on our bed and suddenly I'm in 1976 watching my thirteen-year-old self mow my grandparents' lawn. Some of these episodes last only moments; it's like listening to a car radio that's having trouble holding on to a station. I find myself in crowds, audiences, mobs. Just as often I am alone, in a field, house, car, on a beach, in a grammar school in the middle of the night. I fear finding myself in a prison cell, an elevator full of people, the middle of a highway. I appear from nowhere, naked. How can I explain? I have never been able to carry anything with me. No clothes, no money, no ID. I spend most of my sojourns acquiring clothing and trying to hide. Fortunately I don't wear glasses


chocolate anyone??? breakfast of underdogs!

from willy wonka, of course. as behenji waits for hari puttar to come flying through her door (the ups owl seems quite busy today), she is taking delight in those authors who cater to little bohemians. just read a wonderful piece on roald dahl, of charlie and the chocolate factory fame, in the new yorker (click on title). the author of the article went to visit dahl's house in england and describes dahl's writing place or writing hut rather:

'The walls, lined with Styrofoam, were stained sepia from all the cigarettes Dahl smoked; there was a grotty wing chair; and wires for a jury-rigged heating system dangled from the ceiling. “You’d expect it to be grander,” one woman said. But the kids saw more possibilities in a musty old hut of one’s own. They liked the fact that Dahl, unsatisfied with desks, had designed a baize-covered writing board, to balance on his lap just so. And they loved that he kept, on a side table, a jar containing gristly bits of his own spine, which had been removed during an operation on his lower back. Next to the jar was a waxy-looking knob that turned out to be Dahl’s hip bone, along with a titanium replacement.'

if you haven't read charlie and the chocolate factory, behenji highly recommends it. the language, the imagery, the plot, the triumph of the underdog...dare behenji say better than a 70's hindi movie;)


waiting for harry, reading about lemony

like millions of others, behenji has ordered the latest harry potter book, harry potter and the half-blood prince, to be delivered at her doorstep on saturday. if you call before monday, behenji will tell you who died, who didn't. yes, behenji can be a spoiler.

it is so fascinating to see how children's authors like j.k. rowling and lemony snicket (aka daniel handler) manage to sweep both children and adults alike with their prose. came across a profile on lemony snicket (click on the title), who lives not too far away from behenji, and enjoyed (as i always do) learning about how an author's life and likes/hates come into play in their work. in the case of handler, it's the darkness and humor of authors such as roald dahl, judaism, and the opera among other things. what a wonderful, heady combination.

so, my pretties, what have you been reading this summer??? behenji wants to know (before saturday and after monday).

so you think you're a poet...which one???

behenji took this quiz, courtesy of about.com :

You are Adrienne Rich, feminist poet who explores
the depths of the lesbian female soul. You
believe real poetry delves into the real self.

Which 20th Century Poet Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

this quiz is so dead on...not. although i do admire rich. behenji, however, lives in a different closet;)


my kinda poem

ted kooser, poet laureate of the United States, wrote this wonderful poem which i think really captures the contradiction in art: the pursuit of it, the hope that it will touch someone, the meaning and unmeaning of it in the greater scheme of things. it came in my mailbox as part of the writer's almanac for July 8th. behenji likes small surprises;)

Poem: "Selecting a Reader" by Ted Kooser, from Sure Signs. © University of Pittsburg Press. Reprinted with permission.

Selecting a Reader

First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on its shelf. She will say to herself,
"For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned." And she will.


unlucky 13

behenji has written way more posts than 13, but sadly, her profile wishes to show that number, and only that number. behenji is not superstitious, but...? i must ask peer syed saheb, of zee tv fame. maybe he can help me?

if you thought oboists had boring lives

you are sadly mistaken. now here is something behenji would love to read. it's called 'Mozart in the Jungle 'by Blair Tindall, who played the oboe with the New York Philharmonic. she writes about how her oboe got her into playing the instruments of other musicians, if you know what behenji means

a snippet from the article (which you can read by...clicking on the title):

"she describes leaping naked into a hotel pool with a leading member of a touring Andrew Lloyd Webber production who subsequently made love to her in his hotel suite as “exuberantly” as he performed music. He then lit a postcoital cigarette and offered her a job on Lloyd Webber’s new Aspects of Love in New York. “Why, I thought, did I bother with an answering machine?” Tindall writes. “Between XXX and my former oboist boyfriends, I got hired for most of my gigs in bed.”

who needs chicklit this summer???

found between the newsprint

this interesting article in the guardian (click on title) on ten overseas writers (not from britain, at least) to be read. three cheers for ismail kadare who won the Man Booker prize, joining Rushdie, Roy and many other fine, fine writers.


deconstructing the pitt

is this for real?

the 2005 Western Literature Association Conference in Los Angeles is asking for proposals for a panel on the film icon, Brad Pitt. Why 'the Pitt?' here is their reasoning:

As one of this generation's most popular actors, Pitt has explored many of the cultural tensions of our emerging postmodern era.

after taking the earwax out of her ear with her pencil, behenji is getting ready to write her proposal too. i mean seriously folks, do we have that much time on our hands. i know, i know. bring on the bricks. i'm waiting...