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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

The Road to Redemption

Never, ever tell me that chess is a boring sport. On the last day of March in 2015, two players…

Assembly Proceedings

This is the 28th installment of Rhyme and Reason, my weekly set of limericks for the Sunday Times of India…

The Baptist, the Bootlegger and the Dead Man Walking

This is the 35th installment of Lighthouse, my monthly column for BLink, a supplement of the Hindu Business Line. Appearances…

The Seen and the Unseen 5: This Is All Because Of Rupal Ben

This is the fifth episode of my weekly podcast, The Seen and the Unseen. [embedded podcast] A few years ago,…

The Landscape of Freedom in India

Here’s the video and transcript of a keynote speech I gave at the Asia Liberty Forum on January 11, 2017…

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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