Home India News On bookshelf: Water, food, love and Ruskin Bond’s ‘Secrets’

On bookshelf: Water, food, love and Ruskin Bond’s ‘Secrets’


New Delhi : A study of the murky water politics in Asia, a compilation of gastronomic delights, Pakistani author Mohammed Hanif’s story of a Catholic choohra and a short-story collection by Ruskin Bond — the book-cart this week is excitingly distinct.

1. “Water: Asia’s New Battleground”; Written by Brahma Chellaney; Published by Harper Collins; Priced at Rs.699

The battles of yesterday were fought over land. Those of today are over energy. But the battles of tomorrow may be over water. Nowhere is the danger greater than in water-distressed Asia. Water stress is set to become Asia’s defining crisis of the 21st century — creating obstacles to continued economic growth, and stoking interstate tensions over shared resources.

The potential for conflict in India is underscored by China’s unrivalled global status as the source of a number of trans-boundary rivers that flow through the largest number of countries, including India.

The book is a study of the murky water politics that is powerful enough to throw the Asian power balance out of gear

2. “Good Food, Good Living”; Written by Karen Anand; Published by Harper Collins; Priced at Rs.250

Food needs a guide to take the gourmand through the maze of cuisines in the world. The writer, through a series of articles, opens the door to exciting new culinary territories — from Australia’s new experimental cuisine, vegetarian platters to the Parisian gastronomic chic. And one must not forget the beverages – alcoholic and fruity – that pair with the dishes and are used as kitchen ingredients as well.

Like a dish of figs poached in red wine and tea. The book, a chatty bag of kitchen tips, combines gastronomy with personal experiences and … a fair share of easy-to-cook recipes.

3. “When Time Is Right”; Written by Buddhadeva Bose/Translated by Arunava Sinha; Published by Penguin India; Priced at Rs.450

Published in 1949, the Bengali bestseller is a tale of a family saga and the journey of post-Independence India.

Rajen Mitra has five daughters. The youngest and the most beautiful is Swati, an intelligent girl who is the father’s darling. As she grows from an impetuous and spirited child into a lonely young woman, Swati sees India tumble into the inevitability of war and civic chaos with the raging freedom struggle as the family blunders through ebbs and swell.

Boorish businessman Prabir Mazumdar thinks Swati will make him a fitting wife, but she finds herself drawn to the sensitive Satyen … who brings to Swati the fragrance of poetry and freedom. A tale of complex love.

4. “Secrets”; Written by Ruskin Bond; Published by Penguin India; Priced at Rs.250

A surprising new collection of short stories by one of the country’s greatest story-tellers evokes the quaint old world nostalgia and the spooky landscape of Dehra Dun of the 1940s with its crumbling cinema halls, villas, modest chaat shops and the tongas — the horse buggy of the hills.

But young Bond soon discovers that behind the placid façade, heavy with the scent of the British Raj, is a cast of queer people — from possible murderers, plucky old women, heroes and losers. The characters come alive in Bond’s gripping prose.

5. Book: “Our Lady of Alice Bhatti”; Written by Mohammed Hanif; Published by Random House India; Priced at Rs.499

Alice Bhatti has just come out of prison and is looking for a second chance. She’s hungry, tough, and full of fight, but being a Catholic choohra in Karachi means she also needs good luck. A lot of it. Alice’s prayers are answered when she gets a job as junior nurse at the Sacred Heart Hospital, a squalid public hospital full of shoot-out victims and homeless drug addicts.

There she meets Teddy Butt, a trigger happy, ex-body builder and a part-time goon for the police. The two could not be further apart and that’s why they fall in love — Teddy with sudden violence, Alice in cautious hope.

Written with savage humour and in sizzling prose, “Our Lady of Alice Bhatti” is an unlikely romance from the writer of “A Case of Exploding Mangoes”.