Tower of Silence by James Killough

‘Just Don’t Die in India’

During my early years in India, back in the late 80s, when I was writing the first feature film of mine that would go into production, I was invited to dinner at the home of a charming socialite in the Juhu area of what was then called Bombay. Some people say Juhu is the Malibu of Mumbai, but that isn’t being fair to either California or India. The only things that make the comparison viable are the location on the beach, the presence of film folk, and the insane real-estate prices. To be honest, the strongest shared quality is that the two names rhyme.

Irving Penn Scream

The Essential Art of Not Taking Offense

A recent controversy surrounding the stand-up comedy group All-India Bakchod (‘fuck senseless’) caused them to take down an inflammatory video of a roast they did from YouTube. My Hindi is intermediate, not good enough to follow Indian stand-up comedy, which is a huge pity: it is a cultural phenomenon that is rising like a fire-breathing dragon in the New India, a welcome appropriation from what I am henceforth calling the American Raj, our unstoppable cultural hegemony that digs deeper,

Turin

SCARLETT’S LETTERS: Have Broom, Will Travel

Dear James —

I’ve recently parked my meandering caravan in Torino, Italia, and transformed it, with a quick wiggle of my exceptional nose, into a glass-enclosed nest surrounded by woods and autumn leaves. Between the chirps and trees, I’m finally at home, or close to it. Who would have thought it was in Pino Torinese, or Turinese Pine, that I would find my comfort zone? But perhaps the reasoning is not so obscure: A childhood fantasy was being a tree fairy, living among mossy evergreens, luminous enchantments crackling from my fingertips. It’s a fantasy that lingers yet.

Buddha holding Lotus

That Progressively Luminous Clarity

I am a devotee of dream interpretation, a gaga-brained, cymbal-clanging, dancing-and-clapping Hare Krishna singing its praises in the streets, oblivious as to whether anyone thinks I’m a fool. If you know how to read dreams, if you track them diligently, if you learn how to interact with them, they offer a perspective into your current state of being like nothing else. And, provided you don’t have a personality disorder or other mental issue that requires professional guidance, if you do it right you can conduct your own psychotherapy right from the comfort of your bed.

Scarlett Rouge

SCARLETT’S LETTERS: Tarts! Frocks! Democracy!

Dear James —

I’ve been meaning to write you. There’s so much I’ve wanted to share, but my head has been so topsy-turvy with all these hats I wear: the chef cap coupled with visual-merchandizer visor topped by a filmmaker’s baseball cap. There are days I feel like a circus acrobat juggling while spinning, suspended in air; I stop for a moment’s reflection, amazed that I have the energy to grow so many arms. I am utterly grateful to have so many delicious ingredients to create the sweet-and-spicy dish that is ma vie.

Phoenix Rising

SCARLETT’S LETTERS: Phoenix Rising

Dear James —

I’m sharing a comment someone made about my last piece, in which I was being a little hazy about my love life. Mopey Reader wrote:

Firstly, thank you for thinking of me. I do have some questions. Sometimes, if people use a number of metaphors and/or similes, or if they confuse the two the same way many mistakeningly [sic] use the term ironic in place of coincidental, I get confused and miss the main point. Is there a new lover or is this a metaphor for the art fairs? At first I thought the article was about a new person that you met but then it turned out to be about other things so I don’t know if that person is real or not.”