The book case this week is a delight for those who love a good story.
1. The Good Muslim of Jackson Heights;
Written by Jaysinh Birjepatil; Published by Penguin-India; Price: Rs.275
In Jackson Heights, New York's little India, hard working honest-to-goodness
traders rub shoulders with ruthless entrepreneurs, reclusive antiques dealers, homeless nobodies, larger-than-life merchant princes, lawyers, doctors and IT specialists.
Secterain violence in a central Indian town throws Siraj and Shabnam to Jackson Heights. Siraj makes peace with his new surroundings, but his secular moorings dislodges with the banning of "The Satanic Verses" and the storming of the Babri Masjid. He is falsely charged with a plot to blow up Brooklyn Bridge - only to be rudely yanked back to the primal darkness of 9/11.
2. City of the Lion; Written by Carl Muller; Published by Penguin India; Price: Rs.199
For many centuries, Sri Lanka was referred to as Sihaladipa - the island of Sihala, the people of the lion. The book narrates the magnificent story of Anuradhapura - the greatest Asian Buddhist city of ancient times and the proud capital of the lion kings of Lanka. "City of the Lion", the second in the series of of Muller's chronicle of ancient Lanka, carries forward the story of the Sinhala race. The book recreates the return of the lion people to Anuradhapura after prince Duttha Gamani slays rival Damila king Elara.
3. Night in Bombay; Written by Louis Bromfield; Published by Penguin-India; Price: Rs.399
An instant best-seller when it was published in 1940, "Night in Bombay" deftly traces the destinies of three individuals whose lives are inextricably linked together by chance - Bill Wainright, a rich American businessman, Buck Merill, Bill's ailing friend who was devoted to a life of philanthrophy and Carol Halma, a former beauty queen who was once married to Bill. This is a trinagular love story of greed, corruption and passion set against bustle of the 1930s Mumbai, from the splendour of the Taj Mahal Hotel to the grime of the mill workers' quarters.
4. The Wandering Falcon; Written by Jamil Ahmad; Published by Penguin-India; Price: Rs.399
Set in a forbidding area that straddles the border of Paksitan, Afghanistan and Iran, it is the story of a boy, Tor Baz, or the black falcon, as he wanders among the tribes. He meets men fighting under different flags and women who risk everything if they break their society's code of honour. The writer, who was once posted at the border, tells the destiny defying story of Tor Baz and his land - steeped in customs, cruelty, love and gentleness.
5. Curry: The Story of Britain's Favourite Dish; Written by Shrabani Basu; Published by Rupa & Co; Price: Rs.221
In 1810, an enterprising Indian called Sake Deen Mahomed opened the Hindostanee Coffee House in London, laying the foundation of a unique British institution - the curry house.
The curry industry has grown rapidly over the years. There are over 8,500 Indian restaurants in Britain today and London claims to be the curry capital of the world. While chicken tikka masala has been has been officially recognised as a British dish, Britons eat their way through 200 million poppadums and 50,000 tons of rice a year.
The industry has an annual turnover of over 2.5 billion pounds and employs over 56,000 workers. The taste for Indian food is continually evolving. The popularity of curry continues to soar and its future looks bright. The book traces the genesis and evolution of the curry industry, and pays tribute to those who put curry on the British map and made it a universal favourite.
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