Ruminations: Morning-Show by Thriveni C Mysore

In this personal essay, Thriveni C Mysore gives us a glimpse of her life spent close to nature.

I never knew that a day had so many long hours to be spent (at one’s leisure) until I was jobless. I have started to enjoy my seven-Sunday’s week so much that I now secretly fear to pick-up a job and have completely stopped job-hunting.

I start my quick-day cleaning the terrace, filling fresh water to three colorful tumblers, filling a tray with a spoonful each of foxtail millet, finger millet, barnyard millet, little millet and green gram. Then, I  hide myself behind a half opened door to see through the slit between the door frame and jamb.

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Book Review: The Sharp Knife of Memory By Kondapalli Koteswaramma (Translated by Sowmya V.B.)

Anamika Das reviews Kondapalli Koteswaramma’s memoir, The Sharp Knife ( Published by Zubaan books, 2015) telling us how the author’s tone throughout the book unsettles the readers deeply with its sheer honesty.

(Zubaan Books, 2015)

Originally written and published in 2012 in the Telugu language, Nirjana Vaaradhi, is a memoir by Kondapalli Koteswaramma. Sowmya V.B. translated this book in English, and ‘The Sharp Knife of Memory’ was published and released in 2015 by Zubaan books, to reach a much wider circle of readers, beyond the boundaries of the two Telugu speaking states of India.   

Koteswaramma left her school education at a very young age on her own terms, despite her mother’s protests, to work as a nationalist freedom fighter. Over the years, she also became a part of the Telangana movement and the Communist movement, which shaped her life in many ways, all of which has been beautifully laid down in this memoir. Social activist and author, Gita Ramaswamy, in a detailed introduction of the book tells us how the book shook the very foundation of the Telugu literary circles. People ordered for several copies, many wanted to speak to Koteswaramma desperately after reading this book, and many even had episodes of break down while reading it. Gita also gives brief accounts of the challenges faced by political activists, especially women, in various stages of their lives. The introduction promises readers, a journey filled with memories they will cherish in the pages ahead.

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The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 QUESTIONS WITH Salil Desai

Salil Desai is an author, columnist and film-maker based in Pune.

Murder Milestone (2020) is the fourth book of his much-acclaimed Inspector Saralkar Mystery Series, on the heels of 3 and a Half Murders (2017), The Murder of Sonia Raikkonen (2015) and Killing Ashish Karve (2014).

The Inspector Saralkar Mystery series has been optioned by Times Studio Originals (now Junglee Pictures) for adaptation into a web series. Salil’s other popular books are Murder on a Side Street (2011), Lost Libido and Other Gulp Fiction (2012), as well as The Sane Psychopath (2018), the screen rights of which have been picked up by Endemol India recently. Over the years, Salil’s books have received good reviews in The Hindu, New Indian Express, The Pioneer, Bangalore Mirror, DNA, First City, The Tribune, etc.

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Book Excerpt: The Ordinary Chaos of Being Human- Tales from Many Muslim Worlds – Edited by Marguerite Richards

An exclusive excerpt from The Ordinary Chaos of Being Human- Tales from many Muslim worlds, edited by Marguerite Richards. (Published by Penguin SEA in November 2020)

Excerpt from the Foreword by Bina Shah

What we see in this collection of stories are people, in an echo of the Hidden Treasure concept, considering their own lives and experiences as hidden treasures that they love and long to make known. The writing in this anthology, then, is deeply spiritual even without an overt claim to religion, because it fulfils one of the strongest precepts of humanity: knowing and recognition. Each story is a glimpse into a constructed or reconstructed world that is completely authentic and true; it offers the opportunity for a kind of witnessing into the life of an individual and the circumstances of that human’s ecosystem. And in turn, to set off the recognition of universal human experience.

Just like humans, no story is quite like any other. These tales purport to reveal something about the Muslim world or worlds; take away the word ‘Muslim’ though, and couldn’t these stories come from anywhere? Couldn’t these people be any people, in any land or time? Or is it that these people, these stories, can only be produced by these particular times, in these particular circumstances? Picking up this collection is like lifting a gem to the light and examining it this way and that so the light reflects its different facets, to shine on a universal truth: that no matter what the condition or circumstances, every person is a human treasure longing to be known.

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Short Story: Leap Day by Utkarsh Sharma

Winter had worn off like an old sock, and an urgent, prickly summer under the garb of spring had creeped in. February had grown like a welt that year. Amin did not know if it was the sun’s temperate gaze or the flames from the shops underneath that were causing this rise in temperature. He, and the six members of his family, were perched at the roof of a two-storey house - the Trivedi Villa, a two storey building of a grossly utilitarian fashion; they were tenants on the first floor.

“Who knew,” Amin thought to himself. “Those were all stories back then.” That which he saw seemed to him truer than the stories that his family - his parents, their parents, his aunts and uncles - had muffled with sibilant utterances at dinner tables and family unions at Eid. The reverberating screeches held up in those voids of conversation seemed anticipatory or rather a product of years of one who has listened to them and realised their incomprehensibility. Amin had been following the news about student presence on the streets since December; he had even participated a couple of times himself without his family’s knowledge but after a photograph of him protesting appeared on the family group, his movements were greatly restricted.

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Ruminations: My Wardrobe’s Memories By Sekhar Banerjee

In this personal essay Sekhar Banerjee seeks to explore the emotional history of an individual and a country through Bollywood – the Hindi film industry in India.

Wardrobes are always a secret place, much like the hideout that you used to build with your Ma’s or aunts’ sarees below the largest table in the house. Those were the days of large joint families in India with uncles, aunts, cousins, parents and grandparents, and also of ornate, mostly black, wooden wardrobes in respective families under one roof. It was an ecosystem in itself. 

Seeking and building a hideout then, wherever that might be – in the unused attic or beneath the healthy shade of a household tree, was not a pastime for the children but a desideratum for them to be alone for some time somewhere. Much like the adults in the family. Wardrobes, too, smelt of privacy, some mystery back then.  And they enclosed a sense of calm and timelessness wrapped up in perfumes and naphthalene balls. But, wardrobes are never large enough to hide for the children or for the adults or a family. They never were. The dark insides of wardrobes can only shelter our small parts.

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Short Story: The Elephant Ride by Arunima Hoskote

“Elephant!” Gautam shrieked, raising his voice by a few decibels, stretching his seven-year vocal cords to the maximum they could reach. His joy knew no bounds as he saw this huge pachyderm come out of the corner, magnanimously waving his royal trunk to and fro.

Megha and Rishi knew there was no controlling him with an iron fist anymore. They must get him an elephant ride before their picnic at the children’s park was over, or else they would be subject to a wailing that would break all previous decibel records. There was no escaping this one, they thought, as they rolled their eyes at the magnificent animal in front of them, carrying a bunch of excited schoolchildren and gently ambling his way around the park.

Elephants are liked for many reasons, one of them being that they are a rare sight, even in India, which is a famed destination for elephant rides and elephant trunk baths. They are usually a favourite among young children, who like everything about them, including listening to their favourite stories of the elephant-headed god Ganesha. Their huge, paunchy bodies and frivolously swaying trunks add to the curiosity and intrigue they pique in young children, especially the ones like Gautam, who have grown up on their fair share of their favourite Lord Ganesha stories. 

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Organized by Bhopal-based Rabindranath Tagore University in collaboration with the Tagore International Centre for Arts & Culture, Bhopal , Vishwarang is a unique literature, art and music festival in India. The festival focuses on art and literature in English and Hindi along with many other regional languages as well.

This year, due to the pandemic, it will be held online from 20th November to 29th November

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Book Review: The Four Colors By Ankur

Rakhi Dalal reviews The Four Colors – a poetry collection by Ankur and tells us how through these poems the poet ruminates over the images nestled in memories – streaked with hues embodying the essence of life. 

The four colours

Hawakal Publishers, July 2020

Our thoughts and emotions, like things around us, seem to be carrying colours of different hues. Even words that we use for their portrayal are tinged with shades of colours. Though, they are not as stark as colours in Guthrie’s Four Color theorem since they don’t map the territories of the world. Instead, they sketch the contours of mind – places where confined realms don’t exist, where porous spheres make the occurrence of feelings and ideas more circinate due to their tendency to turn up when recalled or encountered again. In any art form, the illustration of these notions corroborates the contemplations occupying a mind in a particular instant. And since their appearance may perhaps be not linear, they might get imbued with various tints.

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Bookmarked: The great Indian novel- An epic Blunder By Ramlal Agarwal

In this literary essay, Ramlal Agarwal talks about Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel and how text of the epic is twisted beyond recognition turning it into a disappointing experience for the reader.

Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel has come in for high praise in India and abroad, and is already in its fifth edition. Khushwant Singh called it one of the most significant books in recent times. Washington Port reviewed it on its front page and the Times London, called it a tour de force

Tharoor humbly explains why he calls his novel The Great Indian Novel. He further states, his primary source of inspiration is the Mahabharata. Since Maha means Great, and Bharat means India, he calls this novel The Great Indian Novel

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