Of longing, friendships, Buddha and desire

Books This Weekend

 

IANS

Read a compelling translation of a masterpiece by Rabindranath Tagore, delve into the friendship of three flatmates in London, enjoy the thrills that an obsessed seductress unleashes on a perfect couple, and finally take a look at the world of godmen, spiritual seekers, and the men and women whose lives are ruled by the sex market and its overlords.

 

The IANS bookshelf offers a diverse range this weekend, some of which may make their way to your shelves:

 

My Reminiscences

Author: Rabindranath Tagore, translated by Devabrata Mukherjee; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Price: Rs 395; Pages: 258

It is not possible to surmise when exactly Tagore started writing “Jibonsmriti” (My Reminiscences). It is generally believed that he was going through its first draft after the publication of the play “Raja” (King, 1910). “Jibonsmriti” was translated into English by Tagore’s nephew, Surendranath Tagore, though retouched and slightly changed by the author himself. It was serialised in Ramananda Chattopadhyay’s The Modern Review under the title “My Reminiscences” from January to December 1916.

 

To thwart the attempt by any foreign publisher to publish it, all the issues of The Modern Review carried the declaration, ‘All Rights Reserved. Copyrighted in the United States of America’.

 

Interestingly, Tagore himself advised Ramananda Chattopadhyay to mail one copy each of the issues of The Modern Review carrying “My Reminiscences” to W. B. Yeats and Ernest Rhys. In April 1917, it was published as a book by MacMillan, New York, with a colour portrait by Sasi Kumar Hesh as the frontispiece, apart from 12 paintings by Gagnendranath Tagore. The latest translation is by Devabrata Mukherjee and carries an introduction by Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee.

 

Love Curry

Author: Pankaj Dubey; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 250; Pages: 202

 

Three flatmates in London begin to see how different their lives are and at the same time how similar their backgrounds. And when life begins to deal its rough cards, how easy things become when they are all together!
Ali is a Pakistani chef with the dream of setting up his own nihari restaurant. Shehzad is a cool tattoo artist from Bangladesh with a broken past and Rishi is an Indian with nondescript skills and trying to hide himself from the world.

 

They all make one mistake — that of falling in love with the same girl. They become arch-rivals. But when their worlds turn topsy-turvy, they have no one but each other to turn to, learning that love is as much about letting go as it is about possessing. Equally thoughtful as it is entertaining, sensitive as it is quirky, “Love Curry” is a glimpse of life truly at its fullest!

 

The Buddha of the Brothel

 

Author: Kris Advaya; Publisher: Fingerprint; Price: Rs 299; Pages: 336

 

When Kris made a trip to India to study Ayurvedic massage, he never thought he would find love, adventure — and heartbreak. Traumatised by the loss of his friend and army brutality, Kris came to India to practise meditation and chastity, but both efforts were turned head-over-heels when he caught sight of Radha, a sex worker in Pune’s notorious red-light district. Before he knew it, Kris was wrapped up in the world of pimps and crime lords, losing his hold on the life he had been pursuing and all the dreams of stability he had once built in his head. To be with the woman who had stolen his heart, a life-altering decision awaited.

 

A true story, “The Buddha of the Brothel” is a poignant look into the world of godmen, spiritual seekers, and the men and women whose lives are ruled by the sex market and its overlords. The account, written in refreshingly sparkling prose, is by turns anguished, humorous, hopeful, and bewildered, as the writer wades through a world he had never expected to encounter.

 

It is sure to appeal to readers of Gregory Roberts’ Shantaram with its less than glittering setting.This is a literary memoir that opens readers’ eyes and minds and will not let go easily of their imaginations.

 

Rasia

Author: Koral Dasgupta; Publisher: Rupa; Price: Rs 295; Pp: 238

 

Two women wait for him at two different sides of the crossroads. He knows which path is his, but he can’t walk that path till he has attended to the other. One perfect couple. An obsessed seductress. A Bharatanatyam show in Manhattan, New York. One hell of a love story.

 

Raj Shekhar Subramanian and Manasi, both Bharatanatyam dancers, are made for each other. Till an obsessed fan, Vatsala Pandit, enters their lives, testing the man’s character and his wife’s patience. But then why does Manasi invite Vatsala to her Bharatanatyam show, for a dance of passion with her husband — the very man Vatsala wants to take from her? Why did Shekhar agree to take in Vatsala as his student in the first place?

 

This singular love story deftly explores the many facets of love — mutual trust, obsessiveness, the arrogance of passion, the need for self-fulfilment, the yearning for the beloved and the complexity of modern relationships.

 

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