This week’s reading list includes a book on Parsis, another on one of the most fascinating women in Indian mythology, and a murder mystery out at sea. (HT Team)
This week’s reading list includes a book on Parsis, another on one of the most fascinating women in Indian mythology, and a murder mystery out at sea. (HT Team)

HT Picks; New Reads

A community that’s dwindling in numbers but not in influence, one of the fieriest women in Indian mythology, and a mystery set on a liner out at sea -- all that on this week’s list of interesting reads
By HT Team
PUBLISHED ON JUL 23, 2021 06:14 PM IST

An Intimate History of the Parsis

308pp, ₹699; Westland
308pp, ₹699; Westland

The Parsis are fast disappearing. There are now fewer than 60,000 in all of India. But since their arrival in India from Central Asia, somewhere between the eight and tenth centuries, the community’s contribution to their adopted home has been extraordinary. The history of India over the last century or so is filigreed by the contributions of Parsis in every field, from nuclear physics to rock and roll, by such names as Dadabhai Naoroji, Dinshaw Petit, Homi Bhabha, Sam Manekshaw, Jamsetji Tata, Ardeshir Godrej, Cyrus Poonawalla, Zubin Mehta and Farrokh Bulsara (aka Freddie Mercury).

In this engaging, accessible, intimate history of the Parsis, the senior journalist and columnist Coomi Kapoor, herself a Parsi, pores through the names, stories, achievements and the continuing success of this tiny but extraordinary minority. She delves deep into both the question of what it means to be Parsi in India, and how integral the community’s contributions — from tanchoi silk to chikoos —became to what it meant to be Indian.

In Kapoor’s hands, the story of the Parsis becomes a rip-roaring, incident-filled adventure: from dominating the trade with China to becoming synonymous with Bombay, once, arguably, a city defined by its Parsis; from the business success of the Tatas, the Mistrys, the Godrejs and the Wadias, to such current contributions as the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines by the Parsi-founded Serum Institute of India.*

Mystery on the liner

₹199; Zorba Books
₹199; Zorba Books

When Eleanor and William first board the Little Noah, they do not expect to run into each other. Time seems to stand still, but all is not well. They have a history of love, violence, and betrayal. The other passengers include a rich businessman and a journalist. Eleanor had been hoping for a quiet vacation but only a couple of days after the ship starts sailing, one of the passengers is found murdered. And not only does he seem to have been murdered quite skilfully, the stabs on his body are mysteriously shaped like a triangle. All the passengers appear to have a motive and everyone is a suspect! Eleanor is asked to take on the case but she must race against time and find the murderer before the ship reaches the shore. Will Eleanor be able to solve the mystery? Will she succeed in her mission? A closed-door mystery, The Golden Triangle is a children’s book written by a 12-year-old.*

Exceptional women

312pp, ₹699; Aleph
312pp, ₹699; Aleph

The Mahabharata is renowned for its great battles, heroic men, and gods walking the pathways of mortals. However, the beating heart of the epic is often forgotten—the stories of its women. Many of these exceptional women appear in Song of Draupadi — the indomitable Satyavati, the otherworldly Ganga, the indestructible Kunti, and the tenacious Gandhari — but the passionate and fiery Draupadi rises above them all to grip the imagination of the reader.

Born of a dangerous sacrifice, Draupadi and her brother Drishtadumna are called forth to avenge Drona’s insult to their father. While Drishtadumna is expected to kill Drona on the battlefield, Draupadi’s role is not set out, but she dreams of fire and blood. From beloved daughter and princess of Panchala to wife of the brave Pandavas and queen of Indraprastha, Draupadi finds herself exiled to the forest, humiliated and determined on vengeance. The novel, Mukhoty’s first, is a symphony, in several keys, of her voice and those of the other women around her — arguing, pleading, reasoning, and often raised in righteous anger.*

Copy from press releases and promotional material.

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