In 13,000 words this book should be considered a novella more than a novel. Yet, its theme and outlook might have brought it within the tag - novel. T In 13,000 words this book should be considered a novella more than a novel. Yet, its theme and outlook might have brought it within the tag - novel. The story moves along a dysfunctional family which still holds together because for the sake of money. Each family member is afraid of the other and no one ever voice their inner thoughts for the fear of losing the balance of survival and continuity, a shaky precipice on which the tomb of the family is built. Any long conversation is more prone to bring the deep scum out and hence it is avoided. Each marriage - the husband and wife; the daughter and her husband; the son and his wife - fails, and none of them ever makes an effort to make the things straight. And all the evil flows from the primary sin, the sudden inflow of money from the newly floated company - Sona Masala.
Vivek Shanbhag is able to bring the memories of a reader, if she ever had lived a middle-class lifestyle. Every penny spent is accounted; Outings are restricted; the unassuming mothers and fathers who are happy to give away their pleasures for the sake of their children; a small, compact house, and a petty lifestyle. The author invokes such memories vividly to prove that life is much better as a 'middle class' than a life where each person of a family gets a room for oneself. The culprit, money, intervenes to disrupt the peacefulness of a home and wrecks the relationship amongst its members.
I thought that this story would leave a kafkaesque terribleness towards the end but it just left me with a prick of a sharp needle. The style is infelicitous and runs dry yet there are moments of genuine joy portrayed such as the day when the whole family wakes up to have an account balanced or the Sundays when they go out for the masala dosa and a cup of coffee shared. But, for all the reviews this book fetched, I expected much more to come.
Somewhere in the middle, I was left with a Deja Vu of watching an 80's Tamil move (especially that of Visu's movie), for the moral undertone of the evilness of money is sensed throughout and every failure of the characters is connected with it.
Srinath Perur, as a translator, has done an excellent job, and he has even left the familiarity of a South Indian cultural mark in his English. And, the cover should be praised for its beauty, melancholy, and inventiveness.
This is a book which I wished to like. And, that wish has remained a wish in the end....more
Ordinary moments make the life. This was what she knew to be trustworthy, and this was what I learned, eventually, from those years we spent together
Ordinary moments make the life. This was what she knew to be trustworthy, and this was what I learned, eventually, from those years we spent together. No leaps or falls. I inhale the little drizzly details of the past, and know who I am. What I failed to know before is clearer now, filtered up through time, an experience belonging to no one else, not remotely, no one, anyone, ever. I watch her use the roller to remove lint from her cloth coat. Define “lint,” I tell myself. Define “time,” define “space.”
Lovely little story. The style of the author brought immediate intimacy and kept me hooked with a serene melancholy and longing.
Define 'melancholy'. Define 'Defining'.
And, I judged this book by its cover (it is minimalistic and impactful). Have I sinned?
A splendid collection of essays written by Ms.Roy over the span of her career. The profile of each author is neither exhaustive nor based on a pattern A splendid collection of essays written by Ms.Roy over the span of her career. The profile of each author is neither exhaustive nor based on a pattern. Each essay is the author's interaction with the writer either on their newly released book or their opinions on specific issue. Some came totally as a personal musing and reminiscences of the author on a writer. Yet, this is a delectable collection which could act as a primer for someone who wants to get into the thoughts of the leading contemporary Indian writers. Came across as a light read and an interesting one. The book could effortlessly turn into a book reader's chum.
My favorite essays: Arundhati Roy, Pico Iyer, Rohinton Mistry, Booklove: The Pavement Booksellers, and Hold Your Tongue. ...more
I have a long relationship with the magazine Outlook, only next to the daily The Hindu without which - as the cliche goes, quite rightly - that no mid I have a long relationship with the magazine Outlook, only next to the daily The Hindu without which - as the cliche goes, quite rightly - that no middle class educated Tamilian begin his day. I was introduced to the magazine by a friend from my school when I wanted to know updates on the recently published books (he guaranteed that the reviews in Outlook were nothing short of 'fantastic'). Also, he told me that it is the best magazine to carry the most eye-catchy photographs, which we can use in our school projects (so simple were our needs, then). This was in the year 2004, I remember.
Fast forward to 2016, I still read Outlook, not on every week but quite regularly. In my school days, I read the magazine with awe ('they use a lot of new words, you know', I remember telling my friend). I still read them, but not with the awe. If I have to name Indian magazines which I now enjoy reading much, Outlook may not be in the top five slots (I like Caravan, Fountain INk more). Yet, what hooks me to this weekly magazine is the bewitching Letters To The Editor Column. Perhaps, this is the only Indian Magazine where the letters published are not stale, dodgy, full of heavy praise, and appears like a letter written by the editor to himself. All the letters published by Outlook are irreverent, succinct, AK47 compressed in words, direct, pointed, hurting, multidimensional, and most of the times, close to the truth. Yours Truly has herself got published with seven letters in Outlook, and in none of it I praised the magazine or its editor or the reporter. Herein comes the role of Vinod Mehta, Editor of Outlook.
To me Vinod Mehta belonged to few of the dying clan of Journalists and Editors who do not toe the lines made by those in power. He respected each of his reader more than those who paid his salary. He even answered some of the letters of the readers, although not directly, but in his regular column titled 'Delhi Diary'. When he died last year, I really felt heavy at heart.
This autobiography of Vinod Mehta confirms the image I had of him, only with much greater details and a roaring humour sense. Like he always remained, the book flows with mischief, irreverence, equal-opportunity offence thrown at each and everyone, and complete honesty. His sketch of the years he spent in his hometown, Lucknow, is so vivid that any Indian reader would definitely grow a wanderlust to visit the city at least once. More, it makes one realize that the multiculturalism and Secularism is a part of all Indian towns and cities which cannot be stripped or isolated away. His days spent in Britain and how it affected his growth is effortlessly rendered with brutal honesty, and it reiterates the importance of self-education. I never know before that he edited the nude magazine Debanoir, although it didn't come so much as a shock given his natural dispositions and character. The days of Pioneer were the only pages where I felt that Mehta got little emotional but understandable given the tough days he met with the owner and the eventual unemployment (He resigned from four publications in one-decade time span).
The book grows with lively anecdotes and even lovely portrayal of the much unknown sides of politicians, writers, bureaucrats, editors, ambassadors, and almost everyone (Mehta spares no one). He offends equally the writers William Dalrymple and Ramachandra Guha; Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Samir Jain; Amitabh Bhachan and Shobha De. In Mehta's books, any near perfect man is a myth, which if insisted to be true would propel him to search for a gun. Yet, there is one person who would remain as his Achilles heal, the Congress party leader, Sonia Gandhi. It was Outlook, perhaps the only magazine in 2014, to run two cover stories on Rahul Gandhi, Congress Party's Prime Ministerial Candidate, praising his achievements and his nature (During the general elections 2014, I came across a website which said that it enlists all of Rahul Gandhi achievements reached by him, until then. When I clicked it open, it went blank). To call Vinod Mehta as Congress Chamcha would be an understatement. The man who broke all idols revered Sonia Gandhi and his family (he even have a separate chapter for Sonia in this book too. No prize for guesses on what he would have written there).
Ideally, appraising the book for a review and for our coveted stars in Goodreads, it should fetch not more than four stars. Yet, I have added another one because of the following reasons:
1. George Orwell: For a book which ends with the word 'Editor', it begins with a quote by Orwell. And, throughout the book, Mehta talks about Orwell as if he is talking about a lover (Orwell is my favorite writers. Touche).
2. For The chapter titled 'Sweeper's Wisdom': What are those ideas Mehta offer to a budding Journo? What should a Journalist prepare himself for a fulfilling career? Is this devil's trade all worth the risk and struggle? What makes a Journo great? Can a Journo be a friend with politicans? Should they carry a resignation letter always in their pockets? Mehta has beautiful, realistic and caring answers for each of the question. He is kind enough to add this separate chapter in his autobio.
3. His dog 'Editor'
Vinod Mehta belongs to that category of Indians (the increasingly becoming a minority category) who came up to the top all by their sheer effort and by choosing a path where their heart lies. He was one of those great men who was motivated not by awards, fame, or money but by the boistorous joy and adventure a job would throw. Men like Mehta are not-so-easily-spotted, and relatively less celebrated. As a reader one can call Vinod Mehta as anything they want; a chumcha, pseudo secular, biased etc (many of which he did gladly publish in his 'Letters' columns). But, he was one of those men who kept up their charm till the end; wrote their own retirement with grace; was brave and bold enough to stand to his convictions; and most importantly never lived as a hypocrite (at least in their profession). Such humans, my dear, are rare, few and worth remembering....more
Perhaps, this is the most readable and accessible language guide available today. The authors are succinct in their explanation of each topic, there i Perhaps, this is the most readable and accessible language guide available today. The authors are succinct in their explanation of each topic, there is a lace of humor flowing through the whole writing, and the examples are adequate enough to remember.
There are too many references and praises for this book - quite rightly- by too many English authors (notables like Stephen King and Kurt Vonnegut are included). Yet, there are some critics who seems to be disappointed with this work. Maybe, they misconstrued that any work of greatness should run for a multitude of pages or any great work could never ever be so much easy and understandable. This is not a proper grammar book, but as the title goes it is a style 'guide'. Once again, the instructions here are general and the style of the author which she one wants to develop could only be perfected with time and practice.
The instructions and lessons cannot be inculcated immediately by any student or writer yet the instructions are worth following. They are aimed at making the writing of an author much simple, direct, vigorous and lovable.
A much interesting place to begin the lessons on writing. And a book that has too much to learn from, throughout one's life. ...more