Saturday, November 16, 2013

Books to be read Before I wind up this year

It is already November. But I am nowhere near my reading challenge. But I am happy to say that this has been a year I delved into reading with utmost sincerity and passion. I read many good books and I am reading many including classics.

But before I wind up my reading challenge this year, I would like to complete certain books. Of course, it would not help me reach close to the reading challenge. But at least I will have a satisfaction that I read some most beautiful works this year.

Any two Agatha Christie' works
Any two Mary Higgins Clark works
I am Malala  - Malala Yousafzai
Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri
The Cuckoos Calling – Robert Galbraith
Every light in the house burning – Andrea Levy

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Grandmother's Tale by R K Narayan

There was a time when grandiloquent writings gave me sleepless nights. How I wished I could use such words while writing. It was then I accidentally chanced upon R K Narayan's books which thankfully broke all my misconceptions. I knew at once that a story could be told beautifully with simple words too. My all time favourites are ' The Guide ' and ' The English Teacher'. But there are several more to explore.

Coming to Grandmother's tale, I did have a different picture before reading it. I was associating the title of the book with so many things such as pickles, Tairu saadam, the mischief of Swamy and many tales told by his grandmother. But it was not so. The book was about Bala and Vishwa, RK's great grandparents and their life from marriage until their death. Though I could read this book at a stretch, I could not relish it as I have done many of his other books.

RK's  grandparents tied the knot when they were little children. Unlike today, the husband and wife could not be together until the young wife Bala attains puberty. Once in a while, they were left alone only for a few minutes to talk to each other. Many of their such meetings went awry as they could not muster the courage to talk to themselves. But eventually, in one of such meeting, Bala somehow manages to talk to him. All she did was to point out to Vishwa, a dark patch under one of his ear. To this, he replies “ This is a lucky sign and my mother says I would be a king,” which became true.  He becomes rich but at the cost of Bala. 

 The story is all about how Bala manages to bring back his husband who left her and got married to another woman. As the story was completely told only from the point of Bala, there were many questions unanswered. Why did Vishwa become ready to desert his second wife though he loves her and come back to his first wife whom he hardly knows? What happened to Surma, his second wife when she was abandoned by Vishwa. Though he prospered after coming back to his village why didn't he make any effort to search Surma?

I grabbed this book as I was quite lured by the picture of the book where a small boy was seen sitting with his grandmother with inquisitive eyes on a swing.

- Shalet Jimmy

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Riot by Shashi Tharoor

I read this book around 10 years ago. Ever since Lakshman and Priscilla Hart remained with me. Ten years after, I thought of re-reading it again. Just because I felt I can understand the emotions portrayed in the book much better.

When the story starts, Priscilla Hart, a 24-year-old American24-year-oldad. Why did she die? Was she murdered or was she at the wrong place at the wrong time?
Though there is the element of ‘ Who dunnit?’, the story is not said through the shrewd eyes of a sleuth but with a heart full of emotions.

Priscilla came to India when she was a little girl. Her dad was a Coco Cola executive. Though she had to leave India after some time, she left her heart and soul in the country only to return after a couple of years. She volunteered a population control programme in Zalilgarh in Uttar Pradesh, a place completely marred by the riots. She gets acquainted with the District Magistrate Lakshman and slowly the acquaintance blossoms to love. An abandoned ‘Kotli’ in the district is the witness of all their romantic trysts.

But Lakshman is married and could not leave his wife ( though he knew that he was not in love with her) and his little daughter. But he knew that Priscilla is the love of his life – with whom his life again bloomed. On top of that, he is in charge of a city marred by riots.

Putting an end to Lakshman’s dilemma, Priscillia was about to leave India when the fate struck its hardest blow. In the riots that broke out in Zalilgarh, there were eight people killed and her name was one among them. She is found dead in the same Kotli where she used to love Lakshman. The story slowly unravels the mystery of her death.

Tharoor has written a beautiful love -story in the backdrop of a riot-torn city.

- Shalet Jimmy