The Most Awaited Reads

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New Delhi– Don’t let the weather dampen your spirits and weigh you down, pick up one of these books and dive head first into a great read. Here’s our list for the month.

The Wait And Other Stories (From the 2022 Jnanpith Award winner): Damodar Mauzo

Publisher: Penguin India

A cab driver, who assumes the identity of whoever his clients want him to be, finds himself in a tricky situation with a passenger. A late-night call leads a doctor down a path of lust and desire, but with unexpected results. A writer acquaints himself with a thief who had broken into his house. A migrant worker falls in love but wonders how he can present himself as a suitor. A young man, having lost the love of his life, takes it upon himself to resolve another couple’s dilemmas.

Konkani writer Damodar Mauzo’s sometimes bizarre, sometimes tender stories, set largely in Goa, create a world far removed from the sun and sand and the holiday resorts. Here you find villagers facing moral choices, children waking up to the realities of adult lives, men who dwell on remorse, women who live a life of regret and communities whose bonds are growing tenuous in an age of religious polarization. Probing the deepest corners of the human psyche with tongue-in-cheek humour, Mauzo’s stories reveal the many threads that connect us to others and the ease with which they can be broken. Written in simple prose and yet layered in nuances, The Wait is a collection that brings to the anglophone world one of the doyens of Konkani literature.

Nireeswaran (Vayalar and Kerala Sahitya Akademi winner): V.J. James

Publisher: Penguin India

Is it possible for society to exist without religion? Nireeswaran, the most celebrated of Malayalam novelist V.J. James’ works, uses incisive humour and satire to question blind faith and give an insight into what true spirituality is.

Three atheists, Antony, Sahir, and Bhaskaran, embark on an elaborate prank to establish that God is nothing but a superstition. They install a mutilated idol of Nireeswaran, literally anti-god, to show people how hollow their religion is. Their plan starts turning awry when miracles start being attributed to Nireeswaran, a man waking up from coma after 24 years, a jobless man ineligible for government employment getting a contract, a prostitute turning into a saint-leading hordes to turn up to worship the fake deity.

The trio is put in a quandary. Will they fight their own creation? Is their intractable minds an indication that atheism is a religion in itself? Belief and disbelief, it is possible, are two sides of the same coin.

I am Onir and I am gay : Onir with Irene Dhar Malik

Publisher: Penguin India

The award-winning filmmaker Onir, whose directorial debut, ‘My Brother Nikhil’ (2005), broke new ground in LGBT representation on the Indian silver screen, opens up fully for the first time. From his childhood days in Bhutan to when he was a young man with no connections in the Hindi film industry who dreamt big and fought to carve a niche for himself, Onir takes the reader through his struggles and triumphs to offer an intimate glimpse of his fascinating journey to success. Now one of the few openly gay directors in Bollywood, Onir remains fearless about his identity and passionate about his role as a filmmaker in opening up the road to difficult conversations about identity and resilience.

Written with his sister Irene Dhar Malik, I Am Onir and I Am Gay is an emotionally gritty and unabashedly honest personal story is a pathbreaking narrative of hope, love and the pursuit of dreams.

Generation XL (Dr. Sanjay Borude)

Publisher: Penguin India

India has a paradox of malnourishment as well as morbid obesity. While children have fewer weight-related health and medical problems than adults, overweight children are at high risk of becoming overweight adolescents and adults, placing them at risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes later in life. They are also more prone to develop stress, sadness, and low self-esteem.

The contributing factors could be many, besides genetic makeup and medical factors like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s Syndrome. Children today spend far more time on screens than playing games outdoors, more so in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Energy-dense foods and drinks are more readily available now than before. Psychological factors like stress also lead to overeating and increase the risk for obesity in childhood.

The book is a comprehensive roadmap for prevention and management of childhood obesity by one of India’s top bariatric surgeons. With real life case studies and examples, the book helps parents and children chart a roadmap to recovery and a fitter, healthier life. Without corrective action, there could be serious implications for future generations.

Open House with Piyush Pandey (Piyush Pandey)

Publisher: Penguin India

In Open House, Piyush Pandey takes the readers on a journey into his mind-his work, thoughts and experiences. He answers questions posed to him by people over the decades. Serious questions, incisive questions and frivolous questions. Is advertising a good career option? Should ad agencies work for political parties? Why does Ogilvy work for the BJP? Should citizens take the law into their own hands if they don’t like the advertising? Is Ogilvy a lala company? What is the future of advertising? Is Piyush Pandey too old to be in this business?

Honest, irreverent and informative, this is a roller-coaster ride with Piyush Pandey and Anant Rangaswami who has skilfully curated the book. With its practical wisdom and deep insights, Open House will both entertain and enlighten you. (IANS)


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