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Archive for the ‘Chick Lit – India’ Category


If Truth Be Told: A Monk Memoir
Om Swami | Harper Element | Rs 499

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.56.54 PMAmit Sharma grew up in Patiala and flew to Australia to study and eventually work in the IT software industry. Then one day, he decided to renounce his family, wealth (including a Porsche) and friends in Sydney to embark on a spiritual journey because he says, he “wanted to devote his life to the search of Truth”. He returned to India, sought out Kashi, gurus, tantric yoga and wisdom. He says he attained “enlightenment” in a forest and that ‘tantra’ is not about tantric sex but realizing the self. Today, he runs an ashram in Uttaranchal and seeks followers.

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Item Girl
Richa Lakhera | Rupa| Rs 195

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.56.39 PMThe story hidden between the pages of this thriller – set in the underbelly of Bollywood studios – zeros on rape, blackmail and ‘ma-behen’ invectives to paint what the blurb at the back of the book announces as “the dark side of showbiz”. It’s a tedious read – the ramble, the hectoring, the sloth of thought and the language of tired clichés (the plants were rotting alive; feet sounding brittle and hard on scratchy shabby grass; her first film turned out to be a stellar hit). Rupa needs to tighten its editing skills and Lakhera her story telling abilities.

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For Tibet, With Love
Isabel Losada | Bloomsbury | Rs 299

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.56.25 PMIsabel Losada, a journalist from Battersea, England, travels to China, India and London to decipher how Tibet can win autonomy from Chinese rule. Along the way, she learns that world can’t be changed by staging world concerts or by calling the Chinese evil. Aptly subtitled as a “beginners guide for changing the world”, Losada in this book finally reaches out to Dalai Lama asking him what she and others who felt like her could do? He tells her to continue writing, learn from Gandhi’s ‘constructive determination’ and accept the ‘humanism’ of the Tibetan culture. Wise.

(The above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 15 February 2015)

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Kamadeva: The God Of Desire
Anuja Chandramouli | Rupa | Rs 295

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 5.47.22 PMIn telling the story of Kamadeva, Anuja Chandramouli picks up stories from the Atharva Veda, the Puranas and the Bhagwad Gita to draw a linear narrative of the life and times of the God of Love. In her tale, women talk of equal rights but accept that they need to be ‘protected’. There is also a passage that describes a royal feast that includes: biryanis and kababs (delicacies that arrived in India with the Mughals). And then there is the written language – Queen’s English peppered with British sit-com gags like ‘don’t get your underwear in a bunch’ and the Indian English favourite, ‘bloody good’. Oh!

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Consiglieri: Leading From The Shadows
Richard Hytner | Profile Books | Rs 399

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 5.47.36 PMRichard Hytner was the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi. Then he chose to be Deputy Chairman in the company. Why? He says he decided to become a deputy because he was rarely happy making the big, ugly decisions he had to make as the top man. In the hierarchy of numbers the importance of being an alpha male in a company can be self-destructive. “Other than in communist idylls and Hot Chocolate lyrics, not everyone can be a winner all the time,” he says. It’s time, Hytner asserts, to give due to the second rung in command.

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One Hundred Days
Shweta Modgil | Tara | Rs 199

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 5.47.48 PMIf you want a lesson in how India’s rich young adults live and dream, this book will give you one. Neel gives up her job to find her ‘dream’. Her friend decides to chronicle her ‘search’. They have set 100 days to achieve the target. There is no struggle here, just vapid self-absorption, aided by mollycoddling family members. Neel wants to learn acting. Rich doctor brother in USA enables it. In between the girls dine in upscale South Delhi restaurants and swim in boutique hotel in the hills and encourage each other to ‘dream’.

(The above reviews appeared in Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 12 October 2014.)

 

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The Man Who Tried to Remember
Markand Sathe | Penguin | Rs 399

The book starts with the protagonist, an economist of repute, Achyut Athavale finding himself in an institution – ‘manorangashram’ – that’s neither a prison nor a mental asylum. Athavale doesn’t like it. He wants to return to his prison cell. But his jailors and the society that wishes to protect him won’t let him. The story unveils through Athavale’s ruminations as he navigates his way through labyrinth of human memory, thought and action, “What is cognizance?” he asks at one point. If reality is constructed by collective beliefs and ritualistic practices, how does one accommodate individual memory? Isn’t your memory different from mine? Beautifully written. Wise.

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Sweet Sixteen
Vibha Batra | Penguin Young Adult | Rs 199

It won’t be an exaggeration to admit, that Indian English teenage fiction promoted by Indian publishers differs little from what is being dished out by writers in England or the US. The only difference is probably the setting and of course, the characters. In Sweet Sixteen, Batra tells the story of 16-year-old Rinki Tripathi who finds herself separated from her best friends, uprooted from Delhi and shifted to not New York or London, but Chennai. Fortunately, nothing is a tragedy for long. And nothing can stop Rinki from falling in love with a new place either.

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The Shrink and the Sage
Julian Baggini & Antonia Macaro | Icon Books | Rs 399

In this unusual self-help book, philosopher Julian Baggini and therapist Antonia Macaro encourage readers to scrutinize 20 potentially tricky spheres of life such as happiness, goals, emotions, self-love, status and regret. They do this with the help of Aristotle. “His work is a rare find when it comes to questions of how to live,” say the authors in the introduction to this cerebral book adding that “Although he wrote two thousand years ago…his understanding of being human is more insightful and relevant than many modern theories.” The book is written in two voices, that of a philosopher and a shrink.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 22 July 2012)

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