Asia’s rising stars
Reviewed by Uttam Sengupta
India China: Neighbours Strangers
Edited by Ira Pande.
HarperCollins (a joint venture with India Today Group & India International Centre).
Pages 455. Rs 699.
THE anthology is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature on the relationship between India and China. Will the Chinese dragon and the Indian elephant dance together or will they remain rivals and destroy one or each other is the fascinating question that is sought to be addressed in this anthology of over 30 essays. The volume, by coincidence or design, has been published on the 60th anniversary this year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Books received

Nariman point
Reviewed by V. Eshwar Anand
Before Memory Fades: An Autobiography
Fali S. Nariman
Hay House India. Pages 459. Rs 599
No country is perhaps as lucky as India in having a galaxy of legal luminaries. If C.K. Daphtary, H.M. Seervai and Nani A. Palkhivala were all jurists par excellence in their lifetime, Fali S. Nariman is no less. He has proven his legal acumen and scholarship over the past four decades.

Remarkable odyssey
Reviewed by Nonika Singh
Made in India: Adventures of a Lifetime
By Biddu. HarperCollins. Pages 252. Rs 399.
REMEMBER the lilting song Aap jaisa koi meri zindagi mein aaye that had the whole nation rocking or the equally delightful Made in India sung by the original Indipop singer Alisha Chinai. Well, now meet the man behind the music—Biddu. Today Biddu may not exactly be a household name in India, yet at least these two songs have ensured why you should read about him. Certainly, there are many more reasons why his delectable autobiography deserves your attention—it is written in engaging, racy and enchantingly simple and readable manner. In fact, the story of Biddu and his ride to success almost coincides with India’s coming of age.

Courtroom humour
Reviewed by Rajbir Deswal
Tales from the Bench and the Bar
By Vicaji J. Taraporevala
Penguin Books. Pages 168. Rs 350.
THE present compilation by octogenarian advocate of Bombay High Court Vicaji J. Taraporevala is a treasure house of wit, humour and repartee, tickling funny bone material, sizzling satire and naughty commentary on the otherwise perceived dull ambience in the courts of law. The drabness of the transactions in courts has in this handy volume been projected as enlivened, to be experienced with a punch of honest to the core quibbling; sometimes by the judges and at others, the lawyers; sometimes by the litigants and at others, the accused.

The saint of saints
Reviewed by Kuldip Dhiman
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa: The Sadhaka of Dakshineswar
By Amiya P. Sen.
Penguin/Viking. Pages 178. Rs 325.
THERE are many paths to God realisation, such as the path of bhakti (devotion), jnana (knowledge), karma (action), etc., and Hinduism does not favour any particular path. The idea is the seeker ought to choose the path according to his own nature and disposition. The irony is that the follower of one particular path often finds other paths worthless or even harmful, that is because he just cannot appreciate the other viewpoint. And this is the cause of all the religious strife the world over.

Addictive memoir
Reviewed by Julian Hall
Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man
By Bill Clegg.
Cape. Pages 240. £312.99.
EVEN if you consider many accounts of middle-class drug addiction as tending towards a self-imposed mess, you’d be hard pressed not to be captivated by the prose of Bill Clegg, a fallen angel (now redeemed—not least by this book) of the New York literary scene. Clegg’s memoir of his crack-fuelled fall from grace, which has seen him momentarily rotate through 180 degrees from agent to author, is beautifully measured and adroitly paced (thanks in small part to the simple ploy of generous space between paragraphs), mixing a matter-of-fact eye for detail with just enough emotion to unsettle and engross.

Hit and miss
S. Raghunath
suspect that every newspaper editor or a magazine and book publisher receives a large volume of mail from disappointed contributors whose last "piece" has been brusquely rejected.

Back of the book
Mystery, miracles and masters
The Begum's Secret
by A.K. Srikumar Penguin. Rs.299.
For Lucknow, the year 1784 might have passed as its predecessor, unsung and cheerless, but for a significant piece of news. A messenger from Calcutta announced the arrival of the Laat Sahib, or the British Viceroy of India. The people of the fetid capital of Awadh by the Gomti river were invigorated. It meant employment.

  • Serious Men
    by Manu Joseph
    HarperCollins. Rs 499.

  • A Masterful Spirit
    by Homi J.Bhabha Penguin. Rs.1,299.

  • Extreme American Makeover
    by Mitali Perkins HarperCollins. Rs.199.

  • Illicit
    by Dibyendu Palit Penguin. Rs.150.

  • Aftertaste
    by Namita Devidayal Random House. Rs.399.

  • Miracle on the 17th Green
    by James Patterson
    Hachette Books. Rs.1,161.

  • Ambition's Curse
    by Kishore Pillai
    Indialog Publications. Rs.195.