Category Archives: 2020

A Book of Simple Living: Brief Notes from the Hills by Ruskin Bond

Zeeshan Husain reviews Ruskin Bond’s A Book of Simple Living (Speaking Tiger, 2015), a book which touched him in ways more than one.

Publisher : Speaking Tiger Books LLP

Ruskin Bond is a popular name in urban middle class India. Each one of us has read at least a short story or two by him during our school days. A Book of Simple Living (2015) is a feather in his crown. If following the conventions of one’s society is a sign of adulthood, then better be a child. This is what Ruskin Bond’s argument is. To paraphrase the title- the book conveys that simplicity is ultimate sophistication. In A Book of Simple Living as well as many other works, he remains steadfast to this belief, which is also his philosophy of life.

Read more

New Release: Expat Photographer launches “Daily Singapore” Book to honor Everyday Singaporeans

Through this book, French expat photographer Marie Dailey hopes to show that there’s more to Singapore than what was filmed in Crazy Rich Asians.

Recently French expat photographer Marie Dailey launched a photobook that portrays the authentic lives of Singapore citizens. Captured in unique snapshots, the photos tell their stories in universal but different perspectives.

Daily Singapore is composed exclusively of “street photographs” featuring images captured in the immediacy of a fleeting moment, without any kind of staging. “As a street photographer, I never ask subjects to pose, nor the authorization to take a picture but I don’t hide either and if people don’t want to be photographed, they usually let me know right away and then I go on my way and respect their choice,” she says.

“This theme is one that is very important to me because it is a side of Singapore that I really want to value to show that Singapore has a lot of different facets.”

Marie Dailey ( Author of Daily Singapore)
Read more

New Releases from Asia – November 2020

Loss by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi

  • Publisher : HarperCollins India
  • Year of Publishing: November, 2020
  • Pages: 112 pages
  • Price: INR 399/-

Book Blurb

What does it mean to lose someone? To answer this timeless question, bestselling author Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi draws on a string of devastating personal losses – of his mother, of his father and of a beloved pet – to craft a moving memoir of death and grief. With surgical detachment and subtle feeling, Shanghvi charts the landscape of Bereavement as he takes the reader down the dark, winding path to healing. Clear-eyed and intimate, loss is the first volume of non-fiction by one of India’s most beloved writer of life experience.

Read more

Short Story: The Blue Umbrella by Anindita Das

Piyali had long pictured herself to be draped in a blue benarasi silk on her wedding reception. Ever since she had seen the photographs of her neighbour Tumpa di, she fell in love with the rich colour of the weave the bride wore. The fine meena work in scarlet and teal and gold had intrigued her. So, when given a choice, she had not dithered a bit in opting for blue. She specified it to be royal blue. Just like Tumpa di’s, she had recalled studiously. Her mother-in-law had other plans though. Driven by mores, the sexagenarian chose a hue two shades darker than Piyali’s wedding saree, a vermilion red, not blue. 

Motifs of boughs in gold twined through the length of the weave. Blossoms hung at the end of each twig, so intricate in detail that guests could not stop gushing how resplendent the bride looked. But it was red. Not blue. Much to Piyali’s consternation.

Read more

Short Story: Into the Void By Muddasir Ramzan

Ghazali craved to see his wife’s calm face and his son’s youthful gaze again before he was finally awake. 

The mixed raw metals dissolved by the raging temperature have made a thick surface on the Martian crust. Underneath, where humans live to escape from the aggressive climate, Ghazali felt, more warmly, that there was still a possibility for his return to life – to Earth. Residing beneath the ground on this new planet, with all the modern types of equipment humans could think of, has made him aware of his nature and those surrounding him. Such as, no matter how much people dump their dark side, it’ll emerge again, more rigorously, as if taking its revenge; also, it’s only the desire for new experiences that offer pleasure, not getting what you actually desire. He still has a will to die on the land where he was born, which he considers his home, despite having a separate house of his own on this new planet. He thinks of himself as a robot, but he is more than a machine because of his emotions, dreams, and nostalgia. Perhaps living among robots was not giving him the feeling of home. But how would travelling back to Earth be possible for him? He was conscious of surveillance satellites wheeling through the human-made Sky. This play of escaping from an escape is obliging him from living in his new world.

Read more

Short Story: Heartbeat by Shreya Dasgupta

The faces, hair, and bodies in the humid metro train capsule are all a blur. But Arijit is here somewhere, according to the app.

My ears register the wails of two distinct babies, and the soft cooing of a third. I move forward, keeping my right hand firmly inside my bag’s front pocket where my phone and wallet are lodged. The metro is notorious for its pickpockets. 

All the babies I can spot look at least a couple of months old. Arijit was stolen from Pinewood hospital in Kolkata right after he was born, so he would be less than three weeks old now, and just beginning to pack on some pounds, if his newborn photos are anything to go by. 

Arijit’s parents are understandably distraught. Pinewood is a private hospital with high-resolution CCTVs and door locks linked to individual iris scans. But sophisticated technology needs sophisticated maintenance. You would expect Pinewood’s inflated hospital bills to pay for the security upkeep, but that the money funds only its board members’ pockets is a public secret.   

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more
« Older Entries