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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category


Arvind Krishna Mehrotra: Collected Poems
Introduction by Amit Chaudhuri | Penguin | Rs 350

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 8.29.21 PMIt’s a delight to see Penguin bring out a collection of poems by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra covering the period from 1960s to the present. It includes not only his own poems but also his translation of Prakrit love poetry, Kabir’s ‘dohas’ and string of Hindi, Bengali and Gujarati contemporary poets such as Nirala, Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh, Adil Mansuri and Shakti Chattopadhyay. Wish there was more – as Mehrotra invokes Kabir, “There is enough ink/To fill the seven seas,/Enough paper/To cover the hills,/It won’t even do/For the first verse, says Kabir.”

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When Google Met Wikileaks
Julian Assange | Navanya | Rs 295

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 8.28.49 PM“Nobody wants to acknowledge that Google has grown big and bad. But it has. The firm’s geopolitical aspirations are firmly enmeshed within the foreign policy agenda of the world’s largest superpower,” warns a blurb on the back flap. Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, knows a thing or two about this having met Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt while living under house arrest in London. He says people, “Don’t appreciate how much large technology firms can threaten the liberty of individuals” and they don’t really understand what Google can do, if it turns rogue. Frightening.

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Young Turks
Shareen Bhan & Syna Dehnugara | Random House | Rs 599

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 8.29.08 PMAnchor and series editor of ‘Young Turks’ on CNBC-TV18, Shareen Bhan, says that in the last 15 years she has met people who have the ‘courage and tenacity to think differently, think big, and challenge the status quo’. In this book she selects 13 such entrepreneurs. The list includes a mobile data base company, bus ticketing firm, online retailers, internet marriage bureau and digital asset managers. There is not a single woman entrepreneur among them. The tech industry in India, it seems , is driven by the same fund traditional businesses are. Men invest in men.

(The above reviews appeared in Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 14 December 2014.)

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Eating God
Ed. by Arundhathi Subramaniam | Penguin | Rs 599

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 7.48.47 PMThere is no better way to introduce this anthology of Bhakti poetry than to hear the editor, Arundhathi Subramaniam, brief us about it, “Bhakti poems offer sanctuary, companionship, illumination – signposts on what often is turbulent and uncertain journey. They are reminders of the human struggle to give utterance to that strange hunger for something that we seem perennially on the verge of apprehending – the mystery that…is totally foreign to us, but [with which] we are completely at home.” You’ll find many voices here – geographical, social, linguistic, psychological and historical. Each one sings a song.

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Sardarji & Other Stories
Khwaja Ahmad Abbas | Om Books | Rs 295

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 7.48.33 PM“The strength of your short stories my dear Abbas, lies in the fact that you have grasped the weakness of your characters amid their strengths,” wrote Mulk Raj Anand, the late doyen of Indian fiction in English, in the introduction to one of Abbas’ short story collections. Writer, journalist & screenwriter Khwaja Ahamd Abbas (1914-1987) is best remembered for his story, “Sardarji” and film scripts that include Naya Sansar, Jagte Raho, Neecha Nagar, Awara and Bobby to name a few. His short stories are being re-discovered now. This slim volume will entrance and move you.

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Powers of Two
Joshua Wolf Shenk | John Murray & Hachette India | Rs 499

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 7.48.18 PMJoshua Wolf Shenk, an essayist, author and curator based in Los Angeles, USA, makes a persuasive argument that most creative individuals work in pairs. The idea of solitary genius or locating creativity in networks, he says is only one part of the story. The other less discussed and accepted reality is that John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Picasso and Matisse and many others worked or engaged as pairs to create the world most memorable, life altering and incredible things. There is power in collaborations. Time we acknowledged this.

(The above reviews appeared in Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 23 November 2014.)

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