Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Book review: It`s a Wonderful Life by Ruskin Bond

IT`S A WONDERFUL LIFE: Roads to Happiness by Ruskin Bond, Aleph Books. So, before the cynics (and yes, there are a few about) go into a spasm of eye-rolls at this latest offering from the Ruskin Bond factory, I need to say this: so, yes, not all the short pieces featured in this book are…

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Book review: Which Of Us Are Aryans, essays by Romila Thapar, Michael Witzel, Jaya Menon, Kai Frieze, Razib Khan

My Wednesday review (because life must follow some kind of routine even in these terrible times):   WHICH OF US ARE ARYANS? Rethinking the Concept of our Origins. Romila Thapar, Michael Witzel, Jaya Menon, Kai Frieze, Razib Khan. Aleph Books.   This book ventures into that thorny thicket of (our) Aryan identity which, as one…

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Book review: Prelude to a Riot by Annie Zaidi

PRELUDE TO A RIOT by Annie Zaidi, Aleph Books.   Zaidi throws out a taut line which the reader grasps, holds on to, and never lets go till the last page is turned.   The book is an elegy — in prose — to communal hatred, to the damage wrought by communal hatred.   This…

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Book review: Coming Out As Dalit by Yashica Dutt

COMING OUT AS DALIT by Yashica Dutt, Aleph Books. I have just one word to describe this book: eviscerating. Dutt`s account of going through her early life hiding the fact that she belonged to the Bhangi caste, adopting a non-specific surname like Dutt, learning to quickly cover any traceable trace of her origins with a…

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Book review: The Book of Indian Kings

Royal characters A spotlight shone on a select set of Indian kings through the ages This slim volume is part of Aleph Books`  Olio series,  which trains focus on India`s great cities, culture, civilisations and suchlike. The theme here is Indian kings, a chapter each on  the likes of Raja Raja Chozhar, the Mauryas, Ashoka,…

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Book review: How I Became A Tree by Sumana Roy

So enjoyed what I term the Matryoshka Tree book, Sumana Roy`s HOW I BECAME A TREE  (Aleph Books). The book, which focuses on tree-love, aims for that intersection between the spot a tree stands in and the spot a human stands in, and reveals the Matryoshka effect as it segues from tree story to tree…

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Book review: Beyond the Boulevards by Aditi Sriram

Beyond the Boulevards, Aleph Books. A monograph on Pondicherry by Aditi Sriram, this was a nice enough read but all through, it had the reader…well, this reader at least …forever searching between the words for something more, je ne sais quoi. For the ardent Pondyphile, and there are so many of us, it`s all there:…

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Book review: This Unquiet Land by Barkha Dutt

          This Unquiet Land by Barkha Dutt (Aleph Books). The title line says `Stories from India’s fault lines,` and indeed this autobiography from arguably one of the country`s best TV news-journalists,  is just that: a klieg light shone on the disquieting things we would rather not dwell too much upon. Dutt…

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Book review: A Clutch of Indian Masterpieces

 Briefly, but with feeling First, the good news. They are all here: Tagore, Premchand, Manto, Chughtai. R K Narayan, Amrita Pritam, Ruskin Bond, Gulzar, Anita Desai. Thakazhi, Basheer, Paul Zacharia, Mahasweta Devi, Ambai, U R Ananthamurthy. Vikram Seth, Irwin Allan Sealy, Cyrus Mistry, Shashi Tharoor, Vikram Chandra. And the cherry on the icing? This compilation…

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