Category Archives: books

A note on my first BYOB (Bring your own book) meet up.

After a long time, I enjoyed being in the same room (or terrace) with a bunch of people. On the verge of becoming a sociopath, I avoid meeting people in big groups but was quite relieved that I can stand or sit with strangers and enjoy myself.

Meeting the right kind of people in Mumbai is quite impossible nowadays. Most are too busy working on weekdays and spending time with their family on weekends.

The event at peacock store, which is about 3 minutes from my house. To be very honest I was more curious about the store than the event. However, I felt a few bibliophiles can’t do much damage, so I went along.

The event was well attended, and the venue ran out of chairs. Sitting right to me was an IIT researcher from Bangalore who is now in Powai a very soft-spoken and a sci-fi fan. The person on the left was from Goa and also into sci-fi. A little further to left was a guy from thane, who said he doesn’t read Indian authors, but hasn’t really figured out why.

Everyone was supposed to talk about the one or two books they were reading or recently read. What I realised was most of them were shy and spoke so softly that I could barely hear them. Additionally, the people said sorry to many times for any discomfort they might have caused.

I wondered why a lady who had a strong demeanor was so much into reading tragedy. I was a bit apprehensive that I would be judged for reading Indian authors like Kiran Nagarkar, but most of them were very positive. Jerry pinto seemed a favorite among Indian authors in this meet. People were raving about “Cobalt blue”.

Among the foreign authors, a couple of them were reading or read Neil Gaiman, but no one really liked his work. It seems he is popular, so he gets read.

Sci-fi author called Alan Moore, who I haven’t read at all seemed to be also very popular.

Anyway, that’s all I remember about my first BYOB meet.

 

Jen Beek / 500px

THE KING IN EXILE Sudha Shah.

The king in exile is a book about the last king of Burma Thibaw Min who was exiled with his family of 4 daughters and two wives in Ratnagiri from 1885 to 1916.

Why I bought this book – 

I have lived in Ratnagiri where my father used to live, and I used to go there and work in the factory , in the evening to socialise i used to hang out with my only local friend, and we would pass by this beautiful bungalow (almost palatial) called Thibaw palace. I was around 17/18. When I asked him about this, he told me that the Burma King was exiled here, I couldn’t believe it. My life was miserable in Ratnagiri as I couldn’t make a single friend, how could a king survive here?

About the Book :

The book is a grand tale of a family spanning across 3 generations, its melancholily sad to see a family which were the rulers being exiled for 30 years in Ratnagiri and after then thibaw children and grandchildren to live on government pensions till British independence.

The story is told in extremely non-judgemental way as it should be, the story is about decisions and choices we make as well as about how the political and social environment shapes our lives and futures of our children’s and grandchildren’s.

One of most important question for me it raised was how the entire Thibhaw clan was a spendthrift as shown in the book, like were they were genetically disposed to living over their means?? and always had to beg and plead with British Government for the money.

It a simple book without any literary trappings, also told in a diplomatic way as to not offend the Burmese and care seems to have been taken as to not throw muck. Do read it, if what I wrote interests you.

The long haul: The Bombay textile workers strike of 1982-83 – Rajni Bakshi

Image source: http://libcom.org/history/long-haul-bombay-textile-workers-strike-1982-83-rajni-bakshi
Image source: http://libcom.org/history/long-haul-bombay-textile-workers-strike-1982-83-rajni-bakshi

I have always been intrigued by the strikes and unions, growing up, Dad had problems with Shivsena union in his factory and I remember him telling me, “thank GOD its not a Datta Samant union”. After closing his factories in Mumbai due to unions issue pretext , he moved his manufacturing to Ratnagiri.

Nevertheless the name Datta Samant is etched on my consciousness, I also had consistent union problems in 1999-2001 until I closed one of manufacturing unit. But compared to the “Bombay textile workers strike on 82-83”, mine and dads issue with unions looks rather trivial.

Here is book which does a indepth analysis of the same strike, which is superbly referenced and researched by Rajni bakshi , I am glad I found this book in a free format on the internet here ,since its out of print and circulation. One of the most enigmatic figure Dutta Samant has been demystified, his style and methodology explained, what made him so popular and subsequently why his popularity vaned is put forth objectively.

Looking forward to read Rajni Bakshi‘s other books.

Here and there – Collected Travel Writings

Here and There: Collected Travel WritingHere and There: Collected Travel Writing by A Gill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a terrific read! The book was funny all the way with A A Gill smart and sauve dry humour , this is a must read if you dream about travelling or a avid traveller already, A A Gill breaks all those traditional prejudices with this travelogue or travel memoir of his. He has travelled to every darned place in the world including Iceland or Greenland!

A A Gill is essentially a renowned food critic and is dyslexic (I Did some research) , he actually dictates and technically doesnt write. But this British author is just brilliant, I want to read all his other books now!

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