Life | Love, Life, et al

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Love, Life, et al
Published: Volume 19, Issue 2, February, 2011

Dramatic tales, adorable fables and fascinating stories, laced with love and affection.... Verve lays out a lavish spread of reads this month

The Last Pretence
Sarayu Srivatsa

Harper Collins, India
This work of fiction successfully manages to maintain a constant tempo throughout the novel. From the moment you pick it up till you finish it and perhaps much after that, certain eeriness lingers on. What adds to the inimitability of the novel is the theme of gender and sexuality that is omnipresent all through. Definitely, a bold read!




Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro
Jai Arjun Singh
Harper Collins, India
Kundan Shahís namesake cult movie has been an epitome for absurdist, satirical humour that Bollywood hasnít witnessed much of. The book goes back in time, tracing the story of how the movie came about, despite incredible odds. It narrates the making of the film and the cult following it which makes for an incredibly entertaining read just like the movie itself.




With Or Without You
Partha Sarathi Basu
Penguin, India
Stressed at work? This is just the novel you need to chew on during a quick lunch break. From betraying his colleagues to abandoning his wife, the very ambitious protagonist of this fast paced novel will do anything to get to the top of his organisation. In the bargain, the reader gets an absorbingly witty tale that may seem very similar to reality itself.




Mice in Men
Anirban Bose
Harper Collins, India
This breezy read is a collection of short, snappy stories that range from being unexpected to sometimes slightly bizarre. The stories revolve around people living an ordinary life and how extraordinary events change their lives forever. All ten stories are simple, heart warming and witty, bringing characters from everyday life come alive.




Chinese Whiskers
Pallavi Aiyar
Harper Collins, India
Purely for feline lovers, this endearing novel is a contemporary fable set in the streets of Beijing as seen through the eyes of two cats - Tofu and Soyabean. Interweaving real episodes in recent Chinese history with a colourfully rich imaginary world, this novel is bound to make you laugh, cry, and reflect on corruption in modern times and the ideals of traditions.



All And Nothing
Raksha Bharadia
Rupa & Co
The story is a tale of five individuals: a talented artist desperately in love, a fashion designer who is successful but tormented, a socialite truly discontented, a struggling copy writer and a willing victim of domestic violence. The novel brings them together as they tell their familiar yet touching tales of love, friendship, betrayal and life in general.



Q & A
Televisionís best-loved chef Jamie Oliver gets candid with Verve

So whatís Jamie Oliver cooking tonight?
Iím working from home todayÖ so Iíll have some time to make a really great stew with some beef leftover from yesterdayís lunch.

Whatís the most romantic meal you have ever cooked for someone? Was it an elaborate one or one of the 30-minute-meal kinds?
Iím always cooking romantic meals for my wife Jools and often theyíre quick because she loves simple, delicious food like fresh pasta.? The most memorable one was once when I was trying to do a romantic meal for Valentineís Day a few years ago (before we had kids and I was cooking naked), as I opened the oven, a jet of hot steam shot out and burnt me in a very delicate area and I spent the rest of the evening with a bag of frozen peas over it.

Is there anything that Jamie Oliver finds challenging?
Not really. But Iíve never really tried things like molecular gastronomy so Iíd probably find that challenging.

Whatís the most astonishing thing you have found in your garden?
You find all kinds of things in my garden but I donít know of anything astonishing.?Quite often youíll look behind a bush and find some chickens because I keep about a hundred free-range birds.
His latest book ĎJamieís 30-minute mealí is a perfect handbook to create romantic meals for your loved one.

Mari, a sensitive tale of love, war and love during the times of war is a story that needed to be told says the author Easterine Kire

Can one fall in love during wartime?
Love can happen anywhere, at anytime, perhaps more during wartime because the desperation of the times makes people feel more intense about living every experience of life in the face of death. It becomes more meaningful to experience love, especially if you were likely to die soon.

What was it like to bring to life the authentic voice of Naga people amidst the horror of WWII for the first time?
Itís fulfilling to tell the stories of the insiders through the story of one. Editing a book called Battle of Kohima - Memories of Naga Survivors in 2007 made me see the urgency of telling Mariís story which was more detailed and would appeal to different age groups. The Naga contribution to repulsing the Japanese invasion, the trauma of evacuation and seeing their homes bombed and loved ones die ó these are stories that need to be remembered because it is part of my peopleís history.
It saddened me that the whole of the Burmese sector and the war being fought on that border was ignored for a long time by war historians because they were more interested in highlighting the war in Europe. So, perhaps it is up to us to tell our stories.

You have brought to life a simpler time in a forgotten place that was torn apart by war. How much of that life is restored?
As much as possible, the life of Kohima society before the war has been reconstructed. For details, I consulted a few oral narrators, Mari and my mother ó they were my informants on the activities of the time ó things they learned at school, massive road-building and digging of trenches, music they listened to (a lot of Bing Crosby, incidentally) and the connection between the town-dwellers and the main village of Kohima.

The story brings out how the protagonist lives passionately and loves unconditionally ó is that true of most Naga girls?
I think a careless answer to this question faces the risk of creating a stereotype of Naga girls. Isnít it true of individuals of any culture, race or region that they live their lives passionately and when they find love, they love well? I donít have the authority to apply it to Naga girls as such. I know many Naga girls who are serious about their studies and careers and prioritise that over finding love. There is nothing wrong with that. Very sadly, there are Indian men who have no qualms about indulging in criminal behaviour towards girls from the North-East acting on false stereotyped images of them.

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