My 2018 Year in Books

The end of a calendar year is a time for retrospection, and it results in many year-end lists by journalists across the spectrum of fashion, movies, tech, music, political news and my favourite genre - books. Reading a blog by Sunil Sethi and an article by Seema Goswami (both of whom I follow to get…

The best bookshelf of 2018

Long ago (before the social media deluge), I used to watch Sunil Sethi’s show on NDTV Just Books for his recommendations and this year-end blog is just that.

Sunil Sethi

2018 was a commendable year for offerings in fiction, history and biography.

Column in Business Standard, December 29, 2018

In a long-held tradition the last column of the year is dedicated to some of the best reading of the year across genres. If fiction, in Albert Camus’s words, is the lie by which writers tell the truth, then three novels by accomplished Indian practitioners stood out for the intricacy and innovation of the form.

Amitabha Bagchi’s earlier works, Above Average and The Householder, are deft explorations of middle-class life but his latest, Half the Night Is Gone (Juggernaut; Rs 599), is altogether more ambitious. Part epistolary novel, part family chronicle spanning the 20th century, its fiction-within-fiction layering is an exhumation of a battling personal demons as he spins out his narrative.

True to its title, award-winning Anuradha Roy’s All the Lives We Never Lived (Hachette; Rs…

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A Biography of Cancer

I have been meaning to read Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies ever since it was released in 2010. However, the morbid subject matter made me pushing it back on my reading list. But over the years, I have come to hear about a new cancer case atleast once a week on an average,…

Mahalaya Ritual

It is an annual ritual in our house to get up early on Mahalaya morning and listen to Mahisasuramardini. The tradition started probably with my maternal Grandmother who was a devotee of Goddess Durga and lived in Patna surrounded by Bengali households, and it continued even when she moved to Banaras and then with my mother…

I wrote this last year, but in view of recent judgements by Supreme Court of India, reposting it. via We, the People of India

Ask Questions…

What's the Big Idea? - An often asked question by marketeers before any presentation. This and many such questions can lead to more creativity, however, asking the right questions to encourage creativity and innovative solutions is an art to be learnt and practised. Unfortunately many of us don't do the same, and often even asking…

Breaking bread together

An iftar invitation had remained elusive till now - this last week of the holy month I attended my first iftar party. Last weekend amidst thunderous showers a family in Noida with a group of ladies hosted an inter-faith iftar party. The group consisting of Rana Safvi - an author and  historian, Nazia Erum -…

102 Not Out

I am no movie buff - but an Amitabh Bachchan movie is a different experience altogether. So the very next day after its release the Sodhi family, on a rare outing, went to watch 102 Not Out. The promos had looked promising, with an exuberant centurion Gujrati father and his relationship with his old, morose son.…

Rāmā Kātha

During my final exams for Masters, Banaras Hindu University hosted a festival of Rāmāyana from other South-east Asian countries; everyday in the evening one country or the other presented a retelling of their version of the story in dance drama format. That was my first initiation to various versions of the epic Rāmāyana. AK Ramanujan…

Swan Lake – a ballet experience

A birthday-anniversary weekend in September last year also turned out to be a musical weekend - an evening of classical music and another of classical ballet. The Royal Russian Ballet had flown in with their swans for a treat for Delhi audience. For me, this was a maiden experience of watching a ballet live -…