HT Picks; New Reads
On the reading list this week is a book on one of Mumbai’s most baffling crimes, a volume that uses patachitra and comics toexplore the impact of famine on Indians, and a handbook for those looking for a way to sell everything from washing powder to fintech
The Incredible True Story of Baby Patankar
Call her a police informant, a slumlord, a successful businesswoman, a caring grandmother-but do not call Shashikala “Baby” Patankar a drug dealer.
On 9 March 2015, a constable in the Mumbai Police force, Dharmaraj Kalokhe, was arrested by the local police for possession of a white powder believed to be the synthetic drug Mephedrone. His partner, Shashikala “Baby” Patankar, was the informant. Later she was arrested by the police, too.
In the days that followed, the Maharashtra Police declared her a criminal and the media labelled her “drug queen”, but Baby always considered herself an innocent. Unearthing new facts about the case, this book is a blow-by-blow account of Baby’s capture and the investigation that followed. It is also the story of Mephedrone – better known as Meow Meow – which, when it entered the schools, colleges and pubs of Mumbai, changed the rules of the game and the enforcement of narcotics laws in the city.
Fast and pacy, Meow Meow is the tale of one of Mumbai’s most baffling crime and the intriguing life that Baby Patankar led.*
A graphic anthology
This graphic anthology brings to light a selection of stories of famine from both India and Britain, presented through the work of two teams of artists. It offers two versions of each famine tale – one retold by patachitrakars from the Naya village and another by modern comics artists.The Naya artists from Medinipur, West Bengal, tell the tales in their traditional style of scroll painting. Their scrolls are based on original narrative poems composed by the legendary patachitrakar, the late Dukhushyam Chitrakar. A second team of artists adapted and illustrated the same historical narratives of famine in the form of comics. Ranging between depictions of dearth in Bengali oral poetry, famine in the time of Shakespeare, the merchant Peter Mundy’s travels to Surat and Agra, the Midlands Rising of 1607 and finally, the harrowing famine of Bengal in 1770, the artwork in this path breaking collection is an extraordinary and vivid reimagination of the intertwined histories of food security and dearth in India and Britain. With its use of patachitra and comics, Famine Tales offers a thought-provoking and poignant exploration of the impact of famine on the cultural memories and politics of Indian people, and the long-standing effects on the Indian economy and socio-economic structures.*
Help in a changing marketing environment
Deceptively simple and full of illustrations, this book is a product of 30 years of the author’s forays into brand building at Xebec, a strategic branding and digital marketing company. With chapters that focus on everything from how to use Instagram and how to build a D2C brand to helping new agencies, copywriters, visualisers, social media executives and writers to crack a brief, this slim volume works as a handbook for those looking for a way to sell everything from washing powder to fintech. It will be especially useful to young executives trying to find their way in a perpetually-changing marketing environment.
*Copy from book flap.