Review: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

I am was propped on a bed at my maternal grandfather’s place. I struck a lottery when I found for novels stowed away in a corner of a cupboard.

There’s Arthur Hailey & Sidney Sheldon apart from Mitch Albom. Unfortunately, the edges of the first fifty pages or so of Hailey’s first novel (guess which one?) have been munched away.

But that’s okay. I still have the others. I feel like hugging all these old books with their yellowing pages and cracking spines with all the strength in my arms. Books are such absurd things; they enchant despite shoddiness that time slaps from cover to cover.

Mitch Albom has a way with words.

Continue reading


TOI vs. The Hindu plus Book Review: India Unbound, Gurcharan Das

A question on Quora recently turned into TOI bashing and apparently, for sound reasons.

I have been reading TOI since I was small. I have loved their hold on the English language. To me, they once personified good journalism: the last time I read a copy, they would report *and* they actively initiate campaigns to mobilise the society in response to developments in the country and local initiatives, a recent one being the iLead campaign. There are countless instances where I would read of action being taken on local matters on account of it having been reported on the front page of the national daily.
The editorials have been interesting: Swaminathan Aiyer’s Swaminomics, Jug Suraiya’s Jugular Vein, Bachi Karkaria’s articles which always ended in an incomprehensible Smart Alec joke, the inimitable Gurcharan Das and MJ Akbar were always a pleasure to read. I love reading while I eat and while I am home, I pore over every page of the paper, invariably the longest on the editorial.
The view/counter view section picks current debatable situations and presents two sides to the coins/ One side would be endorsed by the Times called the Times View. An individual would give the counter view. This section would allow me to reflect on both banks of the river and pick the greener one (note to self: improve on metaphors)
Times View was a familiar sight on every other page. In matters where decisions would disappoint the public, the newspaper would add a Times View with suggested steps and/or their take on the issue.
While I was interning at a firm this summer, a fellow intern was telling me how boring The Hindu could get.
Why read it, then? I asked.
That’s because my teacher at <insert MBA prep class’ name> asked me to read it everyday.
I gave it a try and while there was content, the paper seemed like an insipid, monotonous drone.
Moreover, Times’ supplements were one thing about weekends I would look forward too, especially Times Life. Did I while away my time reading about the Kardashians? You bet I did. I even sang Miley Cyrus songs while I read that stuff and twerked religiously because that is what the Times of India has taught me. That I have been writing since I was small and am becoming increasingly conscious of what titles I spend my time reading, it makes sense I pick the trashiest newspaper in town.
Click to read the article

Click to read the article

This article stopped me in the tracks. Before I read this guy’s account, TOI was unassailable to my eyes. Does the Times really indulge in Continue reading

Book Review: Delirious Delhi

Anyone new to Delhi will have their understanding of it magnified by this book. And anyone who already knows Delhi will appreciate this candid tribute to a city that’s everything to everyone at the same time.

Delirious Delhi follows Dave and Jenny as they look to settle in Delhi.

Wait, settle? Not just yet.

Most expats have spiritual undertones/overkill when it comes to India. A journey of revelatory self discoveries and bindis, India is like the Ganga of the phoren: people from across the seven seas come to the land of shoe-throwing parliament sessions and caved roads to look for a greater meaning to life and a longer credit card bill.

An obligatory personal journey where at first they hate India, but then they ‘learn to love it’ : from the land of elephants and snake charmers to someplace you’ve got  to go and experience the life that India is.

Dave Prager sits down and regales you with his stories and experiences with Delhi that go far beyond his sacred copy of the Lonely Planet in a crisp 390 leaves. This is not a wide-eyed account of the dirty beggars on the road crossings or the fab sarees you tried on for some umpteenth expat-ish event and eventually finding inner peace and spirituality in every trash can worth its flies.

DD is a candid travel account. It is a love story with its loves and hates and follows the two as they swing from one trait to the other, decoding Delhi and discovering that there was an India outside the tents of the polite, swept version all foreigners were handed.

On a day when the more well known titles were on a 50% sale, what did me in for this one? The Eastman Colour style posters, baby.


For the love of old school cinema

Prager breaks down his Delhi stint into twelve chapters that delve into the finer aspects of his Yorker struggle in India. It all begins with waking up to calls of a street vendor selling paella. Paella? Yap.

As you move through this book, and I say move, not read, the narration strikes you as a Slumdog Millionaire in reverse because here, you get to peak from the other side and experience the gora life. The idea of a foreigner chronicling his experiences and tracking progress: be it the language or the customs or the small talk at work or the boss who believes that smoke breaks are really where all the business takes place, or the spleen-ripping traffic jams, where the author digs into his humble pie. Continue reading