Mind your manners, please
Reviewed by Roopinder Singh
Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door
By Lynne Truss.
Fourth Estate, London. Pages 214. Rs 199.
PLEASE, thank you, excuse me, sorry — expressions that smoothen human interaction and become a way to get out of millions of awkward encounters every day. In our public schools, children are told that these are "magic words", which they are, indeed. Manners matter. That’s a fact. Some time ago, I held open the door and stepped aside to allow a lady following me to precede us while entering a building. Out poured three young men without so much as by-your-leave or a "Thank you", sweeping us aside, confident in their swagger and unconcerned in their manner.

Compelling visual narratives
Review by Rachna Singh
Class Power and Consciousness in Indian
Cinema and Television
By Anirudh Deshpande.
Primus Books. Pages 169. Rs 549.
NO one can dispute the fact that visual narratives wield an inherent power over the viewers, so much so that characters like Pratigya or the Sethi sisters in tele-soaps become a part of our day-to-day existence. ‘Rancho’ of The 3 Idiots or ‘Indu’ of Rajneeti become the flavour of the season. Even micro-narratives like commercials influence the market forces in an economy.

India’s IT success story
Reviewed by D. S.Cheema
The Long Revolution: The Birth and Growth of India’s IT Industry
By Dinesh C. Sharma.
HarperCollins. Pages 488. Rs 595.
THIS book is a fascinating account of how the tapestry of information technology (IT) in India has been woven by the hand of history in the past four decades. This objective record is a fitting tribute to the industry, which contributes maximum to the Indian economy, and also to the exceptional contribution of men like Mahalanobis, Bhabha, Bhatnagar, Naval B. Tata, M.G.K. Menon, Sam Pitroda, Naren Patni, Azim Premji, Narayna Murthy and many others who nurtured the industry during its formative years.


Inside human brain
Reviewed by Jayanti Roy
Phantoms in the Brain
By V.S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee.
Fourth Estate. Pages 328. Rs 299.
THE human brain is one of the most complex and least understood parts of the human body and even in Biology textbooks there are huge gaps in the information regarding functions and structure of brain. The descriptions given are rather sketchy and vague. Reading them one hardly gets a clear understanding of the organ. In popular science writings too, we scarcely find articles tacking this grave and intricate topic of how the brain functions. This book gives the common reader a rare opportunity not only to venture on a journey through the surrealistic landscape of the brain but also to explore the rich and stimulating virgin areas of a higher order concerned with self-image, consciousness, illusions and spirituality, etc.

Unravelling the politics of identity
Reviewed by Randeep Wadehra
Identity Politics in Jammu and Kashmir 
ed by Rekha Chowdhary.
Vitasta. Pages: x+470. Rs. 695
Like every state and region in India, J&K, too, is stratified on the basis of caste, religion, ethnicity etc. The reorganisation of states on the basis of language had ensured that the citizens’ natural aspiration for identity/sub-national-identity would be fulfilled. To a substantial extent, this proved to be the case. However, J&K remained an exception. The fact that it is a border state, with huge chunks of its territory occupied by Pakistan, only exacerbates the identity issues. Religion is a dominant factor in its quest for identity; however, the more than five thousand years old Kashmiri identity – which has remained largely intact even after the advent of Islam – has been asserting itself frequently.

Tales of treaties
Humra Quraishi
Author of The Tryst Betrayed, former diplomat Jagat S. Mehta talks of wars and writings
Eightynine-year-old Jagat S. Mehta is, perhaps, India’s senior- most diplomat, who joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1947. During a career spanning several decades, he was charge d'affaires in China between 1963-66, launched the Foreign Ministry’s policy planning division in 1966, was high commissioner to Tanzania between 1970-74, become Foreign Secretary in 1976, a post he held till 1979.

The dream within
Nonika Singh
Make no mistake; he lets his works do the talking. Gentle, reticent and self-effacing, Chandigarh-based gifted artist Madan Lal once even spoke through his poetry. But today, it’s his poetic images, at once evocative, lyrical, vibrant and redolent with multi-layered meaning, which communicate to viewers. As he puts it “rang udde han bina khamab de, rang bolde han bina shabdan de.”(Colours fly without wings and speak without words).