Rise of a pharmaceutical giant
Nirmal Sandhu
The Ranbaxy Story
by Bhupesh Bhandari.
Penguin, Viking. Pages 240. Rs 450.
THE first suspicion a book of this sort arouses is:"Is it company sponsored?" The sedond is : "Is it a PR job?" The answer to both is: not exactly. The writer does view Ranbaxy and its founders more often in praise than an impartial narrator should, but the company’s rise from its humble origins to its present status does evoke admiration.

When the past haunts
Rajdeep Bains
by Shonali Bose. Penguin. Pages 142. Rs 200.
Pictures in words: this is what comes to mind on reading Amu. A novel based on a movie is in itself rare, what is rarer still is the pure emotion that comes across both mediums to envelop you till you are one of the characters yourself. Shonali Bose first wrote the screenplay for her debut film Amu and then rewrote it as a novel.

Bhaji and Bharjaiji in Birmingham
Nirupama Dutt
Melting Moments
A collection of Punjabi short stories
by Raghbir Dhand, translated and edited by Rana Nayar Unistar Publishers, Chandigarh. Pages 220. Rs 295.
"JUST look at Ms Dilshad, the way she pretends all the time. You know, I went to her house in Amritsar. My gosh! What a house it was? Full of houseflies. They ordered some Fanta from the bazaar and forced the bottles in our hands. Of course, my husband drank it out of sheer politeness. But you know, how I hate such cheap stuff. I just gave away my bottle to the chauffer…"

In a sorry state
R. L. Singal
Eyewitness Kashmir
by Arun Joshi. Marshall Covendish Academic. Pages 260. $ 19.
Kashmir today is a nuclear flashpoint after tests by India and Pakistan in 1998, rise in Islamic fundamentalism and the consequent terrorism post 9/11, and the extremely belligerent stance of the Pakistani leaders bordering on insanity. This is a media observer’s perceptive of the vicissitudes through which the unfortunate people of the state have passed during the past more than 57 years.

Stages in history
Archana Shastri
Performing Artistes in Ancient India
by Dr Iravati D.K. Printworld Pages: 292. Price: Rs. 950.
IN absence of the Vedas for certain sections of the society, Brahma created the fifth Veda- the Natyaveda. Combining recitation from Rigveda, songs from the Samaveda, histrionic expression from the Yajurveda and sentiments from the Atharvaveda, the responsibility of creating itihas was vested with sage Bharata.

Fire and ice on the Roof of the World
Vera Rule
Duel in the Snows
by Charles Allen Pages:350. £9.99
THE British invasion of Tibet in 1903 was an imperial afterthought, a last expansion hatched by Indian Viceroy Lord Curzon, who is always present at the distant end of a beeline of just-erected telegraph poles, in this book. When young he had approached the mystic East via neighbour states of the Raj, and saw his charge as defending India from Russian adventuring in Central Asia.

Comic genius
P.G. Wodehouse continues to hold sway over readers even 30 years after his death on Valentine’s Day in 1975. R.C. Rajamani on the phenomenon.
HE fans of P G Wodehouse can never forget Lord Emsworth of the Blandings Castle, nor Freddie Threepwodd, the happy-go-lucky uncle Fred. In Blandings Castle, Freddie Threepwood’s future father-in-law is telling Lord Emsworth that he is a millionaire, the owner of Donaldson’s dog biscuits and that he proposes to offer Freddie a steady and lucrative job in his firm.

short takes
Living legends
Randeep Wadehra
The Luminous Sparks
by APJ Abdul Kalam Punya Publishing, Bangalore. Pages: 65. Rs 345
HE has risen literally from India’s backwaters to the most exalted status that the polity can offer. By dint of sheer merit he has become a national icon and role model for India’s youth. APJ Abdul Kalam gained national esteem as a scientist, and was entrusted with the completion of some extremely sensitive military projects; but this is only one facet of his persona.

Volumes that speak
Sarah Cassidy
avid Bell, the chief inspector of schools, UK, warned that bad behaviour was becoming an increasing problem in schools in the UK and his latest comments round off a series of negative reports on the state of the education system. Mr Bell said lack of space had forced many schools to have their "library" in an entrance hall or corridor, making it impossible for children to use it properly to help with their schoolwork.