An Exercise in Self-Indulgence or a Supremely Intellectual Modern Satire
While going through a spate of reading mythological literature and fiction, I came across Amazon’s recommendation to read Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel. Curiosity made me purchase the novel and few pages into the book I was recommending it to all readers with similar book interests. The intricacies of word play and the liberal usage of intelligent pun made this a humorous and enthralling read. It stands high on the pedestal of a modern satire and is impressive.
Mothering a Muslim by Nazia Erum is an important book in our times. As the world embraces Islamophobia in daily rhetoric and our own nation walks a thin line of communal irrationality, Muslims are increasingly living threatened lives. The fear embeds in the minds and hearts of mothers, who face simple but difficult choices even in selecting a socially-acceptable name, when a child is born into a Muslim family. Do all mothers face this diabolical question – would the child be bullied and socially ostracized if the child’s name connects it to a community? Not all but a Muslim mother, surely, be it in any part of the globe.
The Window Seat is a collection of articles by journalist Supriya Sharma as she undertakes a 2,500-kilometer train journey across India. The compilation is available on the scroll.in site and is aptly complemented by photos from this vast stretch of land as it readies itself to vote in the 2015 Indian elections. In this blog piece, I look at a few key elements that emerge after reading the compilation. It is a satisfying and insightful read but most importantly it is a compelling work.
Arshia Sattar‘s collection of 18 stories from Hindu mythology is written in the genre of retelling of the myths, as popularized by Devdutt Pattanaik. When I got Garuda and the Serpents from Juggernaut publishers, I was elated to see the beautifully illustrated cover page. The inside of the book revealed more beautiful renditions in bright colors by talented illustrator, Ishan Trivedi, who loves to bring the mythologies to life on canvas. My 11-year old son, an avid reader, was also attracted by the vibrant book cover.
When you don’t feel belonged, you are isolated, lonely, and then the voices in the head become larger than life, and the fine line between the real and the perceived diminishes.
The short story is a strong but difficult medium. In many ways it is more potent than a novel because it can leave an impact with few words, consuming little time. An observant writer can concoct many stories using everyday themes and images, telling extraordinary tales about ordinary people, evoking emotions and reactions from a diverse readership. In the preface to The Goat Thief, prolific Tamil short story writer, Perumal Murugan, talks about his own tryst with the skill of story writing and how he came to evolve his own style and rendition.