In any restaurant, my eyes alight first, as if by an atavistic pull, on the meat dishes on the menu. In any dinner party I throw, I think of the non-vegetarian dish as central. I view this as a combination of weakness, greed and moral failure. Someone please help.
The freedom fighters in India's long struggle for independence from British rule, or members of the African National Congress, were once classed as terrorists. History, as they say, is written by victors, but history also has many cunning corridors - how much time must elapse before all those tricky side-passages are revealed?
Fiction can either be a mirror reflecting you back to yourself or it can be a clean pane of glass looking on the outside.
I grew up in financially straitened circumstances and meat, which was expensive, was a rare thing at mealtimes. We ate meat about once a month, if that.
The Naxalite revolution - an ultra-left Maoist movement - in Bengal, and elsewhere in India, in the late 1960s provides one strand of 'The Lives of Others.'
India introduced Britain to vegetarianism - see Tristram Stuart's excellent first book on this - and it is possible, indeed all too easy, to be a vegetarian in India and eat extraordinarily good, varied food every day, with very few 'repeats.'
Meat-fetishiser that I was, I used to find willed vegetarianism inexplicable. It was one thing to be a vegetarian because of religious and caste reasons - something I was familiar with because of my Indian upbringing - but to choose to be a vegetarian when you could eat meat for every meal every day? That seemed madness to me.
Nostalgia can be extremely powerful in the right hands: think of the intense longing in the films Andrei Tarkovsky made after he left the U.S.S.R. They wring your soul.