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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 Hub of Crime

Mid Day has a headline today that says: ‘Andheri station is the hub of crime on Western Railway.’ If you…

Rising Divorce Rates are a Feature, Not a Bug

The Times of India has an intriguing headline up today: ‘Marriages last the longest in north India, Maharashtra; least in…

Tolstoy’s Chicken and the Expanding Circle

This is the 24th installment of Lighthouse, my monthly column for BLink, a supplement of the Hindu Business Line. I’m…

The Halo of the Last Candle

The Monday Poem: ADAGE by Billy Collins When it’s late at night and branches are banging against the windows, you…

The Mountain That Remains

16 April, 2011

This Terrible Process

In a lovely little profile of James Taylor in the New Yorker, he is quoted as saying, about his wife Kim:

If I went online and tried to find the perfect mate—and I think that that is probably an excellent use of the internet—I couldn’t have done it better. That’s such a smart way to do it, by the way. I think that a couples therapist and a computer geek should form a company and shepherd people through it. For so long, there’s been this terrible process where we find a mate through our worst instincts and our reiteration of all our family mistakes. We always become one parent and marry the other one.

That sounds like a fabulous little insight to me, though I think that it is also true that some people do it the other way around, and find a mate who is nothing like their parents, so that they don’t end up like one of them. Who can say who is making the greater mistake?

*  *  *  *

I am reminded of Philip Larkin’s great poem, “This be the Verse”, and even though it has appeared on this blog before, I shall reproduce it again:

This be the Verse—Philip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

Posted by Amit Varma in Arts and entertainment | Small thoughts

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