‘Wait!’Lalli’s voice rang out. ‘You’re here for news, so let me give it to you. Last evening some of you watched me drag the body of Parikshit Joshi from the fire. I was too late. He was dead already. You will read in the papers tomorrow that his blood was full of a drug that made him lose his balance and fall into the flames.’
Since Kalpana Swaminathan’s first whodunit, The Page 3 Murders, was published ten years ago, Lalli—stylish, sixty and silver-haired—has been one of the most memorable detectives in Indian fiction. Lalli returns in this brilliant page-turner, a collection of seven stories, to solve some of the strangest, most complex cases of her career.
Heart of India. Set in UP in the mid and late 1980s, this is a brilliant collection—marked by warmth, wisdom, wit and an effortless understanding of the social and political realities of life in the villages of northern India at a time of change that preceded the economic liberalization of 1991.
Wendy Doniger’s new book offers a riveting cross-cultural history of jewellery and its role in seduction, romance and infidelity. Few writers could begin with personal family anecdotes, shift to Sanskrit and Greek epics and the plays of Kalidasa and Shakespeare, return to Hollywood films, make detours to folklore and pop songs and still maintain a coherent and supremely entertaining discussion. Yet that is precisely what Wendy Doniger accomplishes in this lively and penetrating examination of the enduring power of myth as revealed through stories about jewels, sex and clever women.
‘So here I was. And what was I, anyway? English, like my father? Or Anglo-Indian, like my mother? Or Punjabi Indian, like my half-brothers and sister?…
Well, I was back in India and this was home; of that I was sure. I had no intention of going elsewhere ever again, and as the land was full of all kinds of people of diverse origins, I decided I’d just be myself, all-Indian, even if it meant being a minority of one.
In his 81st year, India’s most beloved writer finally agreed to do what he had resisted for a long time: write his autobiography. The result is a book of understated, quiet magic, like Ruskin Bond himself. Full of anecdote, charm, wit and compassion, it is destined to become a classic.
Born into an eminent merchant family in Ladakh in 1918, Khwaja Abdul Wahid Radhu, often described as ‘the last caravaneer of Tibet and Central Asia’, led an unusual life of adventure, inspiration and enlightenment. His ancestors and elders, and later he, had the honour of leading the biannual caravan between Ladakh and Tibet, which carried the Ladakhi kings’ tribute and homage to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government. His memoir is an unparalleled narrative about trans-Himalayan trade—the riches, the politics and protocol, the challenging yet ‘magnificent natural landscape’, altitude sickness, snow storms, bandits and raiders, monks and soldiers. The book also contains rare and fascinating details about the close connection between Ladakh, Tibet and Kashmir, the centuries-old interplay between Buddhism and Islam in the region, the Chinese occupation of Tibet, and life in Lhasa before and after its takeover by China.