Sidharth Vardhan

Of Africa’s Hopes and Impediments

(A review of ‘Hopes and Impediments’a collection of essays by Chinua AchebeFirst written on August 12, 2015) This is an excellent collection of essays and journalism – most of them manage to look into African cultures in particular, while at time analyzing a theme fr humanity in general. North and South Achebe uses words ‘North’ and ‘South’ in same sense as we use ‘West’ and ‘East’. His North means Europe and also includes USA. He argues that Africa has so not been allowed to speak for itself – it has been assumed by west that it is incapable of doing so as if Africans were children or worse still animals; that even if Europeans (in Africa, Americans too are called Europeans) want to know about Africa, they will send their own expert to study it rather than listen to what Africans might have to say for themselves. To take a contemporary example, look at all those Discovery-Wildlife channels describing local cultures where all the hosts are Americans. Wouldn’t it be better if someone closer to those cultures was to describe them? There could be enough Africans who could explain their culture to world, even in European languages. But Achebe tells

Diary of a Cynical Suicide – Part 5

(A short fiction by Sidharth VardhanSeptember 15, 2018) 101.I return to these notes guilty as I have yet again failed to kill myself. Guilty as I have humiliated both myself and these notes, which are my best endeavor, to be honest. I won’t make any excuses. After all, to whom I am to make them. The whole point of talking to a paper is knowing that the paper understands. 102.There was a time when, after considering how much pain I am always in, I thought I would make a great artist. I mean think Van Gogh with his anxiety attacks, Proust with ridiculous sensitiveness, Woolf with her secret wings of imagination that she could not use to fly because she didn’t have a room of her own, Dostoevsky with his epileptic attacks, Kafka with his fear of never understood, Passoa with his self-imposed loneliness. I believed that everything beautiful must be born of a touch of a suffering hand. The mothers going through extreme pain give birth to children. A lover’s teardrops must surely have dropped, as that Sufi poet claimed, where flowers bloom now. But then I realized all of us are suffering to some extent – all seven

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