Alright! So Chetan Bhagat is stealing the show – online, offline and even on rail lines. Matters not! Here we are to present to you 6 amazing books by Indian authors which are relatively unheard of but surely worth a read. PS – Non-fiction alert!
6. EM and the Big HOOM (Jerry Pinto):
Pinto’s narrative moves from extremely funny bits to profoundly moving parts as it depicts the life of a Goan family in a one-bedroom-hall-kitchen setting, with the mother’s mental illness as the fulcrum to the family’s everyday lives, as well as the spine of the story. As the son looks back and tries to understand his mother, a multitude of emotions – raw anger, heart-breaking sadness, reckless laughter – fight to take their place page-after-page, leaving you deeply touched and moved by the power of the narrative. Read it to see love and family relationships in a new light.
5. The Indians; Portrait of a People (Sudhir Kakar, Katharina Kakar):
In this readable study, after three decades of original research, Sudhir and Katharina investigate the idea of ‘Indian-ness”. What makes an Indian recognizably so to the rest of the world? What does being Indian mean? The book draws from various sources like the Mahabharata, Kamasutra, the writings of Gandhi and even Bollywood movies to paint this portrait. The discovery? That despite ethnic differences there exists an underlying unity in the great diversity of India that needs to be recognized. A wonderful study by India’s foremost psychoanalyst and his anthropologist wife, and a must read.
4. Once Upon a Time in Doon (Ed. Ruskin Bond):
The book is an anthology of writings, by eminent authors and those writing out of love, about the Doon Valley – where the old world charm meets the newer characteristics acquired in the last decade. The contributors are connected with this beautiful place in some way or the other as their stories and vignettes take us on a journey that unravels the many facets that make up this ‘retirement destination’. See how a place can shape a person and then how the place takes shape in the person’s writings. A lovely anthology!
3. Would You Like Some Bread With That Book? (Veena Venugopal):
This 100-page book contains 14 evocative and laugh-out-loud funny essays about books and reading. As you flip through the pages of the author’s life, get charmed by the easy flow of narrative and what it contains – from falling in love with men in bookshops to the love of books itself. Peppered with excellent anecdotes, the journey through this writer’s life is complete with engaging and amusing moments that speak to anyone who sees a book as more than just pages.
2. Raga ‘n Josh (Sheila Dhar):
Sheila Dhar’s autobiographical book is a delightful read, especially if Indian classical music interests you. As she weaves chapter after chapter from her musical life, the world she inhabited as a little girl and then an accomplished singer unfolds before your eyes in all its glory. At times funny, other times deeply perceptive, Dhar’s account of her life comes beautifully dotted resplendent with observations about music celebrities, visits to old Delhi’s bungalows and sprinkled with a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era of music and maestros. This book is sure to hit the right note with you.
1. Eunuch Park (Palash Krishna Mehrotra):
This is a collection of 15 short stories by a ‘most exciting’ debutant author, Palash Mehrotra. The stories are set in the dark underbellies of cities and towns, rented rooms and college hostels – where prostitutes, drug addicts, stalkers and murderers roam easy. While perversions are portrayed, vulnerabilities of the characters are beautifully portrayed too. Read these stories for a candid view of depravity which is a part of India that most are aware of, but few want to acknowledge.