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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.




Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

Recent entries

Good Night, Pappu

This is the second of two limericks in the 10th installment of Rhyme and Reason, my weekly set of limericks…

Mosquitoes As Big As A Bus

This is the first of two limericks in the 10th installment of Rhyme and Reason, my weekly set of limericks…

Two States

This is the 9th installment of Rhyme and Reason, my weekly set of limericks for the Sunday Times of India…

The Impresario and the Intellectual

This is the 8th installment of Rhyme and Reason, my weekly set of limericks for the Sunday Times of India…

That Gender Card Again

Swarajya plays the gender card on behalf of Smriti Irani: The jokes on Smriti being handed textiles ministry, misunderstanding it…

20 October, 2009

‘Like a Poppy-Head on the Shaft’

If you’re in the mood for action-packed, pulpy writing, I offer you the following extract from The Iliad by Homer:

But the Argives rose in grief to avenge that boast—skilled Peneleos most of all. He charged Acamas—Acamas could not stand the attack, he ran—and Peneleos stabbed at Ilioneus instead, a son of the Herdsman Phorbas rich in flocks, Hermes’ favourite Trojan: Hermes gave him wealth but Ilioneus’s mother gave him just one son… the one Peneleos lanced out beneath the brows, down to the eyes’ roots and scooped an eyeball out—the spear cut clean through the socket, out behind the nape and backward down he sat, both hands stretched wide as Peneleos, quickly drawing his whetted sword, hacked him square in the neck and lopped his head and down on the ground it tumbled, helmet and all. But the big spear’s point still stuck in the eye socket—hoisting the head high like a poppy-head on the shaft he flourished it in the eyes of all the Trojans…

This is from the Robert Fagles translation. Homer, I submit, was the Eli Roth of his time—just as William Shakespeare was the David Dhawan of his time. Classic-schmlassic, it’s just fun to read these guys!

Posted by Amit Varma in Arts and entertainment | Excerpts | Small thoughts

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