Of love, migrant labour and UP’s search for Ram Rajya (IANS Books This Weekend)

Flick through a story about mature romance for the new age; read about the captivating tale of countless Indians and other Southeast Asian migrant labourers; change the way we discuss politics in the 21st century far beyond caste calculations, dynastic ambitions and family feuds through an eye-opening novel about Uttar Pradesh. Also, read to let go of everything that — literally and metaphorically — weighs you down.

The IANS bookshelf has nice variety to offer to its readers this weekend.

1. Book: Served With Love; Author: Priyanka Menon; Publisher: HarperCollins; Pages: 167; Price: Rs 199

Abhimanyu Dev, orphaned early and brought up by a doting grandfather, has his life chalked out. He is 42 and single and intends to stay that way. And he runs a hotel with all the care he might have devoted to a home. In walks Pakhi, taking charge of the hotel kitchen.

A guardian to her niece Abhithi, Pakhi is passionate and opinionated and focused on the little girl and on work. Abhi and Pakhi rarely see eye-to-eye. Sparks fly and tempers fray. Yet there are two things that bind them: Gourmet meals and their love for Abhithi. The little girl’s affection and innocence draws Abhi out of his shell in a manner he had never anticipated. As for Pakhi, her niece is the very centre of her life.

When Abhithi is kidnapped, Abhi and Pakhi together follow her trail to Mumbai. Will they find Abhithi and each other in time’ “Served with Love” is a mature romance for a new age.

2. Book: The 365 Days; Author: Nikhil Ramteke; Publisher: Write India; Pages: 178; Price: Rs 175

This is a story that falls through the crevices of pitiless anonymity, yet miraculously waits to be told.

Shijukutty, a Malayali fisherman, leaves his tiny lodging of abject poverty in the coastal village of Vizhinjam on the outskirts of Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram, that picturesque vignette of searing beauty on the southwestern coast of India. Like millions of other Malayalis, Shiju seeks his destiny in Dubai, that gleaming global hub of fortune on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf. What unfolds is a stirring story of distilled hardship, exploitation, identity, friendship and the heartbreaking choices Shiju is often forced to make.

So what he sees is not what he experiences when he lands in a world of glimmering towers, fast-paced life and unabashed opulence. What he was not prepared for was the dark underbelly of Dubai beyond the shimmering mirage. Shiju’s life is no more the same. But he holds his ground, drawing on ancient instincts of his seafaring ancestry. As things settle down around him, he is inexorably pulled into the canyon of recession. Will Shiju be able to hold on to his dreams’ Will he able to pull himself out of the whirlpool’ Will he survive against all odds’ Will he redeem himself’

“The 365 Days” weaves a captivating tale about the countless Indians and other Southeast Asian migrant laborers, who, in seeking to forge their destinies on that gleaming promontory of dreams, end up colliding with forces beyond their reckoning. Nikhil Ramteke unfolds an extraordinary saga about Indian expatriates, their struggles, their alienation, and their dreams. “The 365 Days” is more than just a story of a year in Shijukutty’s life.

3. Book: In Search of Ram Rajya; Author: Manjula Lal; Publisher: Readomania; Pages: 254; Price: Rs 399

Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha, giving it more say in national affairs than any other state. No less than eight of its politicians became Prime Ministers, as if leadership was in the very air they breathed.

The state stands at the brink of breaking its shackles of communalism and casteism. To get there, it must understand its own political history, evaluate its present leadership and vote for a better future. “In Search of Ram Rajya” is a political history of Uttar Pradesh that has never been attempted before, certainly not by historians.

Crafted through a mix of academic research papers and ground reportage, the book brings alive the colourful characters who shaped its psyche and takes a non-partisan look at the events in the state for the last six centuries. It is an eye-opener that can change the way we discuss politics in the 21st century far beyond caste calculations, dynastic ambitions and family feuds.

4. Book: The Body Nirvana; Author: Garima; Publisher: Harper Collins; Pages: 235; Price: Rs 299

The body listens, remembers and speaks to us. We receive the body’s messages all the time, although we seldom recognise them. Our body expresses its unmet needs and calls for attention in many ways. And so it is with weight. This is a puzzling matter only because some pieces of the puzzle are not in the box you were handed.

Your weight is not a body issue. Excess weight is really a multi-dimensional problem showing up as an oversized body.

Popular media is still full of advice on diet and exercise that is based on sacrifice and punishment. Too few books use this research to show how weight can be reduced in a happier and healthier way. “The Body Nirvana” is about gradually letting go of everything that literally and metaphorically weighs you down. It is time to rejoice in your body’s vitality and its capacity to take you towards your life’s goals.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.