The idea of roots runs through this issue—from Abraham Verghese’s memories of Kerala and Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘Roman Stories’ to a thrilling animated series
Water has always carried within it the concept of transformation, moving swiftly, changing shape and carrying everything from life-giving silt to new ideas. Water is central to most creation myths, and in his book, The Covenant Of Water, Abraham Verghese describes Kerala as “a child’s fantasy world of rivulets and canals, a latticework of lakes and lagoons, a maze of backwaters and bottle-green lotus ponds; a vast circulatory system because, as her father used to say, all water is connected”. These connections in the world around us are among the many ideas that Verghese, who will be delivering the keynote at the forthcoming Bangalore Literature Festival, discusses with his childhood friend, veteran journalist Ammu Joseph, in an exclusive interview with Lounge.
Verghese’s biography can seem somewhat incredible: Of Malayali Christian heritage, born in Ethiopia, educated in India, living in the US for a large part of his professional life yet still closely tied to Kerala by his ancestry, he is a feted doctor, a respected professor, a best-selling author of fiction and non-fiction, and a fierce advocate of humanism in medicine. He talks about his many lives that seem to feed one another, and the work that keeps him going.
The idea of roots runs through this issue—one of our food stories is about Singapore’s new restaurants, helmed by chefs with an Indian heritage, which are putting a twist on south Indian staples and combining flavours for a global clientele. We have a review of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Roman Stories, short stories that interrogate the ideas of “foreigners”, migration, home and belonging. Columnist Neha Sinha explains that invasive species like lantana have put down dangerously deep roots in India, choking and overshadowing native species. Our review of the Netflix anime show, Blue Eye Samurai, reflects on the idea of heritage, origin and acceptance.
We also take a look at India’s chances in tomorrow’s final of the cricket World Cup. For most of the week, people have been making watch-party plans for the final but if your interests lie far from the world of cricket, we have plenty of suggestions for other ways you can spend your weekend—after you finish reading the rest of this issue.
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