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Khushwant Singh releases The Sunset Club

books Updated: Dec 02, 2010 09:20 IST

Associated Press
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[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="295" caption="Khushwant"][/caption]

Veteran author-columnist Khushwant Singh on Tuesday unveiled his latest work of fiction which chronicles the twilight years of three elderly friends while simultaneously giving an insight into life in India.

The Sunset Club by the 96-year-old writer was released by Gursharan Kaur, wife of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

"This is going to be my last book," said Singh after the launch. "Now I am 96 and I don't know how long I can carry on... I am now trying to learn how to do nothing, to meditate... If I make a century I 'll be lucky...," added the author.

Gursharan Kaur, said, "It is an honour to release the book. It is indeed a privilege for me to be in his good books."

"Khushwant Singh tried hard to convert me into an author but who has the time and the will to write. I think his talent is inborn, who cannot put his pen down," said Kaur adding, "our middle daughter is going to write a book on us... she is currently working on it."

Kaur said she had read a few chapters of the book which is a narrative of three men, now in their eighties who every evening at sunset sit together on a bench in Lodhi Gardens to exchange news and views on the events of the day, talking about everything from love, lust, sex and scandal to religion and politics.

"It is typical Kushwant Singh, hilarious, open and scandalous. I enjoyed it as I enjoyed his columns that were informative, refreshing, honest and very transparent....," said Kaur.

"Every time I had a book launch I found her (Kaur ) there, sometimes uninvited. I found she was a crowd puller much more than any Bollywood star," reminisced Singh who was seated in a wheelchair.

The release was preceded by a short video film that portrayed short recorded clips from journalists, editors, writers, activists and also his cook, tailor and typist speaking about their interactions with the author.

While journalist M J Akbar talked about how Singh brought youth with completely fresh ideas into journalism, poet-author Vikram Seth talked about his self discipline and his love of cats and others revealed Singh to be a gracious host never refusing to meet anybody.

"At any period of time you can find about 20 cats around him in his house," said Seth who read out a small poem on Singh.

A member of the audience which gathered in a local five star hotel to witness the launch said,"What many people don't know about Singh is that he had written a beautiful book on the birds of Delhi."

The Sunset Club is Singh's second book this year. Previously this year his book Absolute Khushwant: The Low-Down on Life, Death and Most Things In-Between was brought out.

His autobiography, Truth, Love and a Little Malice, was published in 2002.

Singh has been founder–editor of Yojana, and editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, the National Herald and the Hindustan Times. His non-fiction includes the two-volume "A History of the Sikhs" a number of translations and works on Sikh religion and culture, Delhi, nature, current affairs and Urdu poetry.

(PTI)