Short Story Reads: A Bond with the Mountains by Ruskin Bond

It is one thing to dream of living a simple, content life in the mountains. But to live the life one writes about, especially of a lifetime spent in deep communion with nature, well, that is something rare and profound.  A Bond with the Mountains is a 1998 slim collection of stories, poems and thoughts by Landour’s … Read more

Short Story Reads: The Visitor by Roald Dahl

How exciting would it be to receive an wooden crate from nowhere at your doorstep?  What would it contain? Who is it from, you would wonder, your hands tingling to rip open its contents.   The Visitor begins with the arrival of one such mysterious crate at the narrator’s doorstep.  Much to his astonishment, the crate is … Read more

Comic Book Reads: The Phantom by Lee Falk

The Phantom: Fighting crime since 1936 Before Superman and Batman, arrived the Phantom… Did the creators of Superman and Batman borrow from Phantom’s heroic features?  May be they did, by the likes of it.     Zero superpowers, full of grit, clearly wealthy, outlandish costumes, moral code, just like Batman.  The ghost who walks… Man who … Read more

Short Story Reads: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Gifted with an elegance remeniscient of Anita Desai and glowingly compassionate, Jhumpa Lahiri’s debut collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies (1999) still eminates with delicate, beautifully carved keen insights.  Indians living overseas are pivotal to most of the gathered tales.   A Temporary Matter is about five days of a one-hour power cut and how … Read more

Non-Fiction Reads: Sholay: The Making of a Classic by Anupama Chopra

The first time I saw Sholay (1975) was on national television in the late nineties. It was also the first time the movie was telecast on Indian television, I found out later.  Sholay never felt four-odd hours long on that first viewing. I mourned a major character’s death way past the end credits, and an … Read more

Non-Fiction Reads: Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored with Meena Iyer

Acting was in my blood and there was simply no escaping it. When I say this, I am thinking of not just the Kapoors but also the Malhotras, my mother’s side of the family, who were just as volatile as my father and his relatives. Rishi Kapoor (1952 – 2020), the legendary spontaneous actor, was … Read more

Non-Fiction Reads: Ten Best Books: A Selection of Memorable Book Condensations from The Reader’s Digest

My not-yet-battered secondhand copy  The Reader’s Digest monthly magazine editions from the early 1970’s to the mid-1990’s are a treasure trove of superlative, crisply edited, extremely engaging, relevant content.  I have never been a fan of their condensed books editions though, especially the abridged novels, but this 1992 edition is classic RD for the amazing … Read more

Graphic Novel Reads: Batman: Year One by Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli, Richmond Lewis

The darker, edgier Batman origin story that inspired the superhero crossover from frivolous teenage stuff to grim adult themes, Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One (1987) remains a kickass, gold standard graphic novel, an ultra-engaging retelling of Batman/Bruce Wayne’s error prone, almost fatal first steps to becoming Gotham’s vigilante no.1. Miller sticks to the fabulous story … Read more

Non-Fiction Reads: The Lonely Tiger by Hugh Allen

If not for a friend’s recommendation, wouldn’t have known of The Lonely Tiger (1960).  Out of print for more than 50 years before Rupa Publications (Rainlight) released the work in hardcover (2014), this episodic collection of true and thrilling wildlife encounter stories is an exceptional, evergreen page turner.  Probably pushed to near-oblivion by the looming popularity … Read more

Short Story Reads: Night in Tunisia and Other Stories by Neil Jordan

Over the years my shepherd like attitude to books has waned. No longer does my heart bleed if a page has a dog-ear. Placing a book under a heap of dozen other books to straighten out the dog-ear, applying steam iron on the page, binding books with cardboard hardcover, designing a separate book cover with … Read more