Indians live in many skins.
We deal with an extraordinarily diverse and multi-layered thing that we call “Indian culture”.
There have been various attempts to reduce its complexities to something simple that represents the sum of its parts. Often, a fool’s errand, not easily expressed by say, a fondness for Bollywood and spicy food.
Such cultural differences are stark when we travel; not the differences with other cultures of the world—we always knew that—but but the cultural differences between Indians that we don’t notice so much at home.
Finding out that you have more in common with a western colleague than from an Indian from a different part of India with a different language, a different religion and different tastes in pop culture can be hard to articulate.
My guest today is Saikat Majumdar. His novel, The Middle Finger explores this dynamic with the insight and sensitivity of a perpetual student of the world.
At the story telling level, the novel is entertaining. But like any competent literary work, the storytelling plays second violin to the complexity of the composition.
I had heard of Saikat Majumdar in stray reviews but I first encountered Saikat’s writing in a review of a novel he had written in a newspaper.
There’s always something about class and competence that jumps out at you. When I googled him I was delighted to find he was a much published author and an English language academician.
And today I am delighted to invite Saikat Majumdar as my guest onThe Literary City.
ABOUT SAIKAT MAJUMDAR
Saikat Majumdar has taught at Stanford University, was a Fellow at Wellesley College, and is currently Professor of English & Creative Writing at Ashoka University. He writes regularly on higher education and literature in different venues, including the Hindu, Hindustan Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Times Higher Education. His other novels include The Scent of God and The Firebird/Play House, which narrates a young boy’s destructive obsession with his mother’s life as a theatre actress. His works of nonfiction and criticism include Prose of the World, The Critic as Amateur, and College: Pathways of Possibility.
Buy The Middle Finger: https://amzn.to/3T5lifm
WHAT'S THAT WORD?!
Co-host Pranati "Pea" Madhav joins Ramjee Chandran in "What's That Word?!", where they discuss the phrases "flipping the bird" and "having a jones".
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