Fake baba, a mysterious murder, love and heartbreak


New Delhi– In the times of stories about fake ashrams, flick through an interesting book about a so-called guru and his blinded followers, among whom is one who eventually discovers the truth about criminal charges against him; read a mysterious tale that revolves around a woman who searches for evidence to know the truth about her sister’s death; wade through a story of heartbreak and things left unsaid; and get an access to mouth-watering recipes of traditional dishes from the subcontinent that make for a delightful read.

The IANS bookshelf has a varied interest for readers this weekend.

1. Book: The Guru Who Came Down from the Mountain; Author: Roshen Dalal; Publisher: Tiger; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 286

Dev, charismatic and powerful, a guru with thousands of followers around the world, and a string of ashrams fuelled by a flourishing business in drugs and gun-running. Ashrams that bring him the power and wealth, he craves and fulfils his desire for women.

But of all the women, he knows, there are three who play a pivotal role in his life — his wife, Gita, whose death is shrouded in mystery, and Cynthia and Madge, who unwittingly launch him into his career as a guru.

Nitya is Dev’s complete antithesis — pure of heart and deeply spiritual. He comes to Dev as a disciple, and for years his devotion to his guru makes him blind to his failings. But when the truth can no longer be ignored, he is disillusioned.

Though he escapes charges of rape and murder, Dev does finally receive a death sentence — he is fatally afflicted with AIDS.

As he lies on his deathbed in Rishikesh, Nitya comes to see him, unable to turn away from him completely. Dev tells him his story, and what compelled him to make the choices he did. Nitya also uncovers the truth about Gita’s death.

When the end finally comes, Nitya has a deeper understanding of the man he once loved so blindly, and realizes how, ultimately, the quest for perfection can be marred by human frailty.

2. Book: My Sister’s Grave; Author: Robert Dugoni; Publisher: Thomas and Mercer; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 410

Tracy Crosswhite has spent 20 years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House, a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder, is the guilty party.

Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy becomes a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicates her life to tracking down the killers.

When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking.

As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past — and open the door to deadly danger.

3. Book: Letters to My Ex; Author: Nikita Singh; Publisher: Harper Collins; Price: Rs 199; Pages: 137

“It feels like I’m on autopilot. I have no control over anything. The pain of losing you is so crippling that I can barely hold pieces of myself together. The slightest nudge could break me. But somehow, my possessed brain knows what I need. It’s telling me to stick to my choice, to stay away from you, to open a word document and bleed on paper, try to throw up all my jumbled thoughts in form of words, collect all disconnected facts, try to make sense of it all.”

From the author of “Like a Love Song” and “Every Time It Rains”, a story of heartbreak and things left unsaid…

4. Book: Feast With a Taste of Amir Khusro; Author: Bisma Tirmizi; Publisher: Rupa; Price: Rs 295; Pages: 208

“Stories and food remain the same, only faces change and those too only vaguely. The same faces keep coming back every few generations to eat the same food and live out the same stories.”

When Ayesha understands that her relationship with food has made her obese, she embarks upon a journey of self discovery which leads her to discovering the fascinating journey of regional cuisine — the food she loves.

Interestingly told, the narrative shifts from present to an imagined past and back again, erasing lines that define time and space.

Laced with mouth watering recipes from the subcontinent and details of traditional preparations, this book is as much for the gastronome as it is for one who loves a tale well told.


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