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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. These days, he makes his living playing poker as he works on his second novel.




My Friend Sancho

My first book, My Friend Sancho, was published in May 2009, and went on to become the biggest selling debut novel released that year in India. It is a contemporary love story set in Mumbai, and had earlier been longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2008. To learn more about the book, click here.


If you're interested, do join the Facebook group for My Friend Sancho


Click here for more about my publisher, Hachette India.


My posts on India Uncut about My Friend Sancho can be found here.


Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

Recent entries

The Importance of Profiling

This is the 28th installment of my fortnightly poker column in the Economic Times, Range Rover. Poker at its heart…

The Endowment Effect

This is the 27th installment of my fortnightly poker column in the Economic Times, Range Rover. There’s something strange that…

The Shame Game

This is the 9th installment of Lighthouse, my monthly column for BLink, a supplement of the Hindu Business Line. One…

The Tournament Lottery

This is the 26th installment of my now fortnightly poker column in the Economic Times, Range Rover. I write these…

The Second Game of Dice

This is the 25th installment of my weekly poker column in the Economic Times, Range Rover. The Mahabharata is an…

29 December, 2008

Taking A Stand

Joby Warrick of The Washington Post reports:

The Afghan chieftain looked older than his 60-odd years, and his bearded face bore the creases of a man burdened with duties as tribal patriarch and husband to four younger women. His visitor, a CIA officer, saw an opportunity, and reached into his bag for a small gift.

Four blue pills. Viagra.

“Take one of these. You’ll love it,” the officer said. Compliments of Uncle Sam.

The enticement worked. The officer, who described the encounter, returned four days later to an enthusiastic reception. The grinning chief offered up a bonanza of information about Taliban movements and supply routes—followed by a request for more pills.

For U.S. intelligence officials, this is how some crucial battles in Afghanistan are fought and won.

I can imagine what will happen if our intelligence networks hear of this. First, they will place a large order (with taxpayers’ money, of course) for many, many tons of Viagra. Then, just as field operatives are about to be handed strategic supplies, the chief of the bureau will raise a finger. “Wait,” he will say, “if these pills don’t work, or have side effects, they could turn out to be counterproductive for us. There is only way to make sure that they work as advertised.” He will pop a pill into his waiting mouth.

Ten minutes later, he will call his wife on her mobile phone, his hands vibrating with excitement as he holds his instrument.

“Darling,” he will say, “I am coming home in ten minutes. Be ready for me. Wear something nice.”

“Ok, I will wear my Patola sari. But why, what happened?”

“Duty calls!”

(Link via email from Arun Hiregange.)

Posted by Amit Varma in Dialogue | Miscellaneous | News

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