A bouquet of myriad hues
Reviewed by Pooja Dadwal

atna Rao Shekar’s
debut novel, The Purple Lotus and Other Stories, is a bouquet of carefully delved-into emotions which have been arranged together in the shape of 13 stories. The book brings forth an interesting, well-crafted and eclectic lot of short stories that are artfully spun around the recurring themes of love, dissatisfaction, longing, desire and doubt. In this aptly titled novel Ratna presents vignettes of sentiments on a backdrop of time that seems to be ebbing away... This juxtaposition, which appears to stand true for mostly all of her stories, lends a very tangible and poignant quality to the narrative.

A Queen’s Gambit 
Reviewed by Balwinder Kaur
ITH knowledge comes understanding and it is interesting to revisit the past with this advantageous perspective that endows us with the ability to appreciate the causes, effects and consequences of the choices made by history’s chosen ones. The Feast of Roses recreates the turbulent times of 17th Century India under Mughal rule. Following up her well received debut novel The Twentieth Wife, Indu Sundaresan continues the fascinating tale of one of history’s most intriguing women. Following her marriage to Emperor Jahangir, Mehrunnisa is now the Light of the World: Nur Jahan. 

Spoonful of sugar did not help
Reviewed by Adam Sherwin 
HE fractious relationship between Walt Disney and PL Travers, the author and her magical nanny, will be dramatised in a new film starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.

Mosaic of life on the street
Reviewed by Deepti
on the streets can be dangerous but it can be exciting too. Seeking not just the adventure but to gain an insight into the inhabitants of the streets, the author takes the readers into the bylanes of Mumbai and its various red-light districts with houses in a shambles but human spirits concrete, colourful and rich as reflected in clothes, loud makeup and cat calls. 

Short takes
Tales of love and adolescence 
Reviewed by Randeep Wadehra
a bit of literature is being churned out on matters that are not merely spiritual but introspective and aspirational too. At some stage in life, one confronts certain fundamental questions, viz., who am I, what is the purpose of my life, etc. This book takes a comprehensive look at various physical, metaphysical and social aspects of human existence. The burden of its arguments may be reflected in these excerpted words, “Most of the people we know simply do not care to know what life signifies…We have become compulsive materialists…

Woman who made folk rock
Nonika Singh 

is no one word that can describe Ila Arun. Certainly, she is a special voice. Sure enough, she has made raunchy acceptable. The woman who decades ago reinvented folk and tradition and breathed life into songs like Choli Ke Peechey and, more recently, Raing Raing is much more than just a singer-performer. Ila, who was in Chandigarh to stage her play Mareechika, smiles and says, “Actually few people know that I am an actor.”

He made nonsense popular
Nivedita Ganguli
HE iconic British novelist Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth. To mark the occasion, bicentennial celebrations were held across the globe. In comparison, the bicentennial celebrations of nonsense writer Lear (1812-1888) are a subdued affair. 

The minister and the muse
N what can be a double-edged sword, Kapil Sibal’s political role is the reason for the focus on his poetic self. This can lead to either adulation or unsparing scrutiny that ignores the fact that he is merely dabbling in it to nurture his creative self and is not a pro.

And the prize for great literature goes to nobody
John Walsh 
OR the first time in 35 years, the Pulitzer Prize board recently announced that there’s no fiction prize for 2012. US publishers are in uproar: the prize board announced there’s no Christmas this year.