Living Easy As A Celiac

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.

Manjrekar’s Imperfections

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.

Old Paper And Coffee

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.

A Collection Of Sacred Art

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.

The Evolving Politics Of Odissi

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.

A Caretaker Of Feelings

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.

Dan Brown In India

Dan Brown probably had no idea of the consequences that his books, Angels and Demons among them, would have apart from an author’s expectation that they would sell well, and earn him a fair amount of money. They did that in spades; but they did more than that. They spawned a cult, a new genre of novels that were, if anything, as successful as Brown’s own books in the regions where they were marketed.

Crime, Suspense and Elegant Writing

Murder in Seven Acts: Lalli Mysteries by Kalpana Swaminathan is a collection of seven crime stories, where all the cases are solved by Swaminathan’s popular detective character, Lalli. The collection derives its name from the sixth story, ‘Murder in Seven Acts’, in which history combines with modern technology in the commitment of a crime and in solving it. The stories are narrated in the first person by Sita—Lalli’s niece and the Dr. Watson of the Lalli mysteries—and most of them feature Lalli’s usual collaborators: Savio, a police officer; Inspector Shukla, the local police officer; and Dr. Qureshi, the forensic expert.

Journey Of A Restless Soul

Nabaneeta Dev Sen is a highly acclaimed writer in Bengali literary circles, with her prolific writing across various genres like poetry, short stories, novels, essays, memoirs, and travelogues. She is also a very popular children’s author. On A Truck Alone, to McMahon is the translation of Dev Sen’s travelogue of her journey from Jorhat in Assam to the McMahon Line at the Indo-Tibetan border. It is a trip that is taken on an impulse, a journey of a restless soul who feels the entire universe is accessible to those who dare to be reckless.

A Spiritual Thriller

There is something about a spiritual thriller that keeps us glued to the pages of a fast-paced story. Hemis is a unique novel in this less explored genre of Indian Writing in English. One may remember Arun Joshi’s ‘strange case’, a narrative delving into tribal lore, but Madhu Tandan takes us to the picturesque, mystical landscape of Ladakh, to a small monastery in the Hemis sanctuary. Imagine being walked through dark corridors, up creaking stairs to be met by an abbot who says nonchalantly, ‘What took you so long?’ Ajay, the corporate honcho from Delhi gets goose pimples—so would any of us—when such familiarity with our secrets is expressed by a stranger in a remote spot. Who then writes the design of your life—you or some other force?