After living in the shadow of nuclear weapons for over 75 years, the insatiable thirst for power has found some countries in a perilous race to create an even more cataclysmic arsenal, almost pushing us towards the edge of a black hole, staring at extinction. Author Sundeep Waslekar examines the history and politics of war and offers solutions for achieving world peace by ending the arms race. He argues that war is a matter of choice and that peace is essential for human beings to realise their true potential. He says people might survive terrorist attacks, pandemics or climate change, but cannot survive a global war involving nuclear weapons.
A walking tour in Bengal led author Moitrayee Bhaduri to put together the story of India’s first known serial killer, Troilokya Tarini Debi. A dramatised account of her life and times, ‘Trinoyoni: The Slaughterer of Sonagachi’ retells the story of the fraudster who also killed several women in Calcutta in the 1870s. A sea of changes had been ushered in by the relatively new British Raj, leading to migrants from all over India filling up the city. As corpses of sex-workers start turning up at ponds and in the bylanes of Sonagachi, Calcutta’s famed pleasure district, fear grips the city. This is the story of a sensuous seductress who transforms from a child widow to a famed courtesan and merciless murderer.
There is more to Goa than sun-kissed beaches, printed shirts, cameras, seafood and holidaymakers. Twenty-seven stories in ‘Greatest Goan Stories Ever Told’, edited by Manohar Shetty, cover diverse and absorbing subjects. The stories featured include the best of short fiction that has emerged from the pens of Goans living in India and abroad over the last century — ranging from iron ore mining to the picking of mushrooms, from migration to racism in England and Australia, and from football to caste and class. The storytellers include eminent writers such as Laxmanrao Sardessai and Vimala Devi to contemporary writers like Damodar Mauzo, Jessica Faleiro and Derek Mascarenhas.
One might assume that Kolkata’s present food habits and choices happened because Bengali elites of the 18th and 19th centuries simply chose to live their firangi dreams and accept European tastes. However, that was not the case. Nilosree Biswas takes you through the long journey of tastes, innovations, acceptance, indulgences and celebrations. From the kitchens of an exiled king and the homes of a handful of upper-class Bengalis, the book tells how some dishes became so popular. With influences of English and Mughlai-Awadhi cooking styles, aided by contributions of the Portuguese and a pre-existing food habit from the medieval times, Calcutta’s foodscape underwent a sea change.
Between what is meant and what is said, between what is said and what is not conveyed, between what is conveyed and what is understood and between what is understood and what is actually meant — there are, always, ellipses. The title of the book itself suggests that the book contains poems that were written between the spaces, or conveys the idea of things that the poetess could not have expressed loud. Some poems manifest angst, while others peace. Some are like prayers, while others are like documentaries of bitter truths. Some come across as manifestoes of new dreams, while others are just coffins for unfulfilled desires. These poems unravel the poetry at the heart of a woman’s life.
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