AGluten Free Life:My Celiac Story lives up to its title. It is the story of Jeeva and her life as a celiac. Anyone from an urban, metropolitan background can relate to the story. In an easygoing narrative, she brings forth the issues persons diagnosed with celiac would encounter. Questions regarding its manifestation, whether it is genetic, what can a person eat, as also thoughts that normally ail any patient once diagnosed—why me, why now—are dealt with in the book.
If a baby is born small and thin, you would want to feed it so it would catch up to a more normal size, right? An infant is a small, brainless git who has to be toilet trained and fed forcibly because it does not know how much food it needs, right? A child who looks short compared to class-mates is not getting enough to eat, and must be force-fed to enable proper growth, right?
In the annals of Indian cricket writing, autobiographies or authorized biographies of cricketers have tended to be boring and boastful accounts. Former cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar’s Imperfect is not one of these. It has two essential qualities—honesty and self-criticism. The book’s tonal integrity—especially about sportsmen on their own lives, careers, and their equations with their peers and managers—is rare in Indian sports writing. In a book peppered with anecdotes and some knockout moments from the Indian cricket ring of the 1980s and 1990s, Manjrekar pulls only a few punches.
I consider myself a lucky person to have grown up in one of those rare towns of North India where the Indian Coffee House survives and flourishes. The Indian Coffee House, which is a worker run cooperative, still functions in about twenty cities of India and has most of its branches in the State of Kerala.
This beautifully presented photo book is a tribute to this institution, which in the post-Independence years had come to symbolize the austere leisure space of the thinking Indian. Not only this, its emergence as an institution that snatched its administration from its owners, who first, were British, and then an Indian elite, itself is a story of India’s emergence from colonial rule looking towards Nehruvian socialism.
Thanjavur’s Gilded Gods is a beautifully illustrated volume on the Thanjavur and its allied Mysuru schools of painting, with twelve meticulously researched papers that provide a wealth of information and new insights. The volume is based on the paintings in the private collection of Kuldip Singh.
In the first chapter, Nayanjot Lahiri introduces the reader to the collector, Kuldip Singh, a professional architect who began collecting Thanjavur paintings 40 years ago, and who, since his first two nearly accidental acquisitions, became interested in this school of art. In the next chapter, Kuldip Singh himself provides an overview of Thanjavur and Mysuru paintings, describing how they were executed, the range of themes covered, the patrons of such paintings, the purposes for which they were commissioned and how these paintings were transformed into icons for ritual worship.
Nandini Sikand’s book, Languid Bodies, Grounded Stances: The Curving Pathways of Neoclassical Odissi Dance, is yet another important contribution to the growing attempts at re-visiting the ‘classical’ (in this case, the author describes it, for very strong reasons, as neoclassical) dances and music of India. Bharata Natyam and Kathak and to an extent, Kathakali already have definitive accounts of their respective evolutionary histories. The book under review is one of the first scholarly accounts of Odissi. It attempts to approach Odissi not as an exotic and spiritual/mystic temple art that is unique to its place of origin, rather, it presents Odissi as a part of the larger human endeavour to engage in artistic expression.
Jaydeep Sarangi has always been a prolific poet; Faithfully I Wait, is his sixth poetry collection. Sarangi lays open his soul in this collection of poems. Reading through the catalogue of his works would enlighten a reader of Sarangi’s oeuvre—a long list of collections, edited anthologies, translations and critiques. Be it poetry as an art form, translation, anthology or critique, this poet is bound to the genre of verse. The collection is sequential, with the wordplay on ‘faithful’ or ‘faithfully’ functioning as a motif, reinforcing Sarangi’s faith in poetry.
Kalidasa, the Sanskrit poet, is famous for his imagery. When translating his works, the difficulty for the translator would lie in trying to retain the imagery more than finding the equivalent word. In a simple and unassuming manner, AND Haksar manages just that. He successfully creates the mood all over again in the 21st century for English speaking readers.