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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

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04 December, 2007

The Visible Cow

Susan Orlean explains the anatomy of a cow

an essay:

I know it’s ultimately impossible and probably unnecessary to define what an essay is, but I think the Visible Cow offers an interesting and tangible analogue. What holds an essay together — the cowhide, so to speak — should be nearly invisible. The best kind of structure should be organic, revealing only the very natural way a smart person’s mind works through a topic, making connections and forming conclusions as they occur. And an essay can contain many thoughts and observations (those organs! those bones!) that might not seem to fit together, but in the end lead to a satisfying whole — a cow.

And if you’ll allow me to torture this poor cow — the Visible one and now all the real, live cows on the planet — for one more moment: just as each cow is individual, each of these essays is, too, though they are identifiably part of the same species.

This is part of Orlean’s introcution to The Best American Essays 2005. And I agree with her when she describes a cow as a satisfying whole. There can scarcely be a better occasion to assert that than the 100th cow post on India Uncut.

It’s been quite a ride.

(Link via email from Nitya Pillai. Previous posts on cows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 , 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99.)

Posted by Amit Varma in Arts and entertainment | Old memes | Cows

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