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Footnotes : Babus do books

books Updated: Feb 26, 2010 23:03 IST
Soumya Bhattacharya
Soumya Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
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Babus do books

Bureaucracy, my bureaucrat uncle was right in saying, leaves you with a lot of time to pursue more meaningful things in life. Like writing books. Last week saw two mandarins from Delhi come out with their latest creative fare. Last Saturday, the Home Ministry’s Upamanyu Chatterjee launched his novel, Way To Go. Yesterday, our man in Bhutan, Pavan Varma unveiled his book, Becoming Indian. Go back a few weeks and you have new books from ex-Foreign Secretary Jagat Mehta, ex-Planning Commission member N.K. Singh and ex-Chairman of PowerGrid R.P. Singh. Who said bureaucracy was only about pushing files and cutting through red tape?

Opium of the masses

My bureaucrat uncle also told me that the best thing to do before an exam is to keep the mind relaxed by reading a good novel. It seems that his look-alike, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee also believes in this. The evening before presenting the Budget, he was engrossed in reading Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies. Finance Ministry officials said that Mukherjee was reading Ghosh well into 2 a.m. No wonder he seemed happy in Parliament the next day.