Posts Tagged ‘Parsi’

My Experience in Governance
Dr MA Ibrahimi | Har Anand Publications | Rs 595

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 8.03.39 PM In this entertaining memoir, the former chief secretary to Bihar government, Dr M.A. Ibrahimi, describes his years as government servant in some of Bihar’s most notorious districts. In late-1980s Dhanbad, he says, coal mafia ruled the district and many mafia dons were former labour union leaders. In Bhagalpur he describes the communal killings that followed the transportation of bricks, called Sheel Raths, to Ayodhya. He also talks of caste, regional and religious affiliations among the bureaucrats, police and in some cases, the judiciary. These things need to change, he says. We agree.


The Fuss About Queens And Other Stories
Darius Cooper | Om Books | Rs 225

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 8.04.21 PM“Every story worth telling has to begin from some extraordinary premise or thesis. The ordinary just has no place in any good story,” says Darius Cooper in his introduction to 11 short stories presented in this book. He says he has written these stories to understand the sense of ‘daily homelessness’ that he has experienced as a member of Parsi community in India. In his first story ‘The Metaphorical Spot’ he writes, “These days Socrates swims in Neelkantha’s bloodstream,” cleverly using the image of Shiva having swallowed the poison just as Socrates or more obliquely, Parsis have done.


Think Like A Freak
Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner | Allan Lane | Rs 499

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 8.04.05 PMIn their first book ‘Freakonomics!’ economist, Steven D Levitt and journalist, Stephen J Dubner pushed for thinking out of the box, in this book, they tell us that people are more self-interested than they admit and that they don’t mean what they say. If you want to quit, do it. Don’t wait. Quitting is not about failure. It’s a choice. “The two of us have had more luck and fun writing books together than we could have imagined,” they write, though at one point, they could not imagine quitting what they did before.

(The above reviews appeared in Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 30 November 2014.)

Read Full Post »

Freddie Mercury
Lesley-Ann Jones| Hachette India| 374 pp, Rs 595

Born in Zanzibar, modern day Tanzania, to Bomi and Jer Bulsara on a Parsi New Year’s Day in 1946, Forrokh never considered himself to be an Indian. It could be because music fans of the 1970s were not ready for a rock star with African and Indian roots, says his biographer Lesley-Ann Jones. Queen’s Indian fans may feel let down. But it is obvious from Jones’ tactfully written biography that for Freddie, music and performance came first and that’s the way it stayed till his death from AIDS in 1991. As the front man of the hugely successful rock band, Queen, Freddie Mercury’s electrical performance at Wembley’s Live Aid concert 30 years ago is still remembered as one the greatest rock acts ever. Jones captures those heady days and paints a vulnerable picture of a deeply troubled artist. The book includes extensive bibliography, discography and some candid pictures. Pick it up.


Euphoria: The Story of Palash Sen
Ashish Kate| Harper| 249 pp, Rs 499

For some reason, artist biographies are given a short shrift in India. The publishers ignore the time and cost that research may entail and the writers fawn over their subjects rather than take trouble to mine for information and discover who they really are.  Euphoria – The Story of Palash Sen falls somewhere between the two stools. “It’s my tribute to some of the greatest rock books ever written – Dylan on Dylan for example, or Bono on Bono,” says Ashish Kate. Drawn from series of interviews the author had with the pop singer, the book is short on insights and effusive in praise. The book comes with the band’s latest album, Item, stuck clumsily on inside cover.


The Reverse Journey| Vivek Kumar Singh| Frog Books| 122 pp, Rs 95

If you are a Hindi speaker, hail from Bihar and end up at IIT you are a ‘desi’ and if you come from a metro you’re a dude. But it all evens out when you land in USA, where every Indian is a desi trying to achieve the American dream. “I never did want to settle down in USA though I had been part of its workforce for five long years,” says Singh who worked his way up from government school in Netarhat in Jharkhand to Patna, IIT Kanpur and finally, New York. In telling his story, Singh slips into laboured monologue skipping plot, context and characters. Which gets a tad tedious.  Had he followed his own advice on how “authors should engage in dialogue” we might have been spared the ennui.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of Mail Today, New Delhi, 6 November 2011)

Read Full Post »