Shringara, India, Karachi on weekend book cart

New Delhi: Enjoy a lazy autumn weekend with a shelf of gripping new titles... Browse with IANS.

1. Book: "Shringara: The Many Faces of Indian Beauty"; Written by Alka Pande; Published by Rupa & Co; Priced at Rs.2,500

In Indian mythology, shringara is a metaphor for love in its various expressions including the spiritual dimension. It is equally an aesthetic that explores the pleasure of being the lover and exuberance for the beloved - who is also manifestly the divine.

The volume, opulently illustrated with visuals - mostly Rajput and Pahadi miniatures and stunning photographs of the medieval Hindu sculptures, is a journey through the evolution of the `Shringara`, known as the king of `rasas`.

It interprets the emotion through multi-disciplinary formats of poetry, painting, architecture and visual arts.

2. Book: "Non-Stop India"; Written by Mark Tully; Published by Penguin-India; Priced at Rs.499

"Jugaad" can loosely be translated as muddling through, or making do. This is undoubtedly a valuable talent and has seen India through numerous crises which could have destabilized a country that is less adaptable - the four wars, for example.

But while "jugaad" can be seen to have served India well in the past, it has a downside.

It has led to a dangerous complacency, the belief that as India has muddled through so many times before, there is no need for urgency in tackling the problems it faces.

The writer draws on his unmatched knowledge of India, garnered from thirty years of living in, and reporting from the country, to examine how this approach impacts on India`s much-touted prospects of becoming an economic super-power.

3. Book: "Euphoria: The Story of Palash Sen"; Written by Ashish Kate; Published by HarperCollins-India; Priced at Rs.499

A compilation of conversations between Palash Sen of the enormously popular contemporary Indi-pop music band Euphoria, and Pune-based visual artist Ashish Kate, this book acts as the official biography of Palash.

It is the first rock-book to come out of India.

Palash muses about his life and music, his childhood and school days and shares his life for another generation of musicians and doctors.

The engaging tête-à-tête covers almost every subject under the sun - the Indian music industry, education, politics, life and art.

It also includes the views of Palash`s friends and peers from the industry such as Shubha Mudgal, Vidya Balan, Pradeep Sarkar, Shaan, and many more, which provide a fascinating insight into the life and outlook of India`s best known pop singers.

4. Book: "Calcutta Exile"; Written by Bunny Suraiya; Published by HarperCollins-India; Priced at Rs.299

Calcutta, 1959... a time when the city`s social and cultural mosaic included Indians, the British and Anglo-Indians, who belonged to neither community but claimed kinship with the English.

The Ryans are a typical middle-class Anglo-Indian family.

The head of the family Robert, a senior executive with a managing agency, has dreams of going `home` to England as soon as he can. His wife, the beautiful Grace, however, is unsure about leaving her comfortable life in India.

Their two daughters, Shirley and Paddy, are meanwhile discovering new emotions and relationships which will make them cross invisible but inflexible boundaries.

Also working in the same agency house as Robert is Ronen Mookerjee, the anglicized misfit son of a barrister who belongs to the Bengali landed gentry.

The book explores the magic of a bygone era of one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world.

5. Book: "Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi"; Written by Steve Inskeep; Published by Penguin Books; Priced at Rs.599

The book is an incisive portrait of Pakistan`s Karachi, a city that illuminates the perils and possibilities of rapidly-growing metropolises all around the world.

In recent decades, the world has seen an unprecedented shift of people from the countryside to the cities.

As the writer says, "We are now living in the age of the `instant city`, when new megacities can emerge practically overnight, creating a host of unique pressures surrounding land use, energy, housing, and the environment."

Karachi has exploded from a colonial port town of 350,000 in 1941 to a sprawling metropolis of at least 13 million today.



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