HT Picks: The most interesting books of the week
This week’s good reads include a memoir by one of India’s first supermodels, a study of matriliny among the Khasis, and a centenary edition of a revered poet’s work
CLOSE TO THE BONE BY LISA RAY
One of India’s first supermodels. Actor. Cancer survivor. Mother of twins through surrogacy. Woman of no fixed address.
This is the story of Lisa Ray. An unflinching, deeply moving account of her nomadic existence: her entry into the Indian entertainment industry at sixteen: her relationship with her Bengali father and Polish mother; life on the movie sets and her brush with the Oscars; her battle with eating disorders; being diagnosed with multiple myeloma at thirty seven; her spiritual quest; lovers and traitors, mentors and dream-makers; and the heartaches and triumphs along the way. It is also about Lisa’s quest for love.
Funny, charming, and gut-wrenchingly honest all at once, Close to the Bone is Lisa Ray’s brave and inspiring story of a life lived on her terms.*
MATRILINY AMONG THE KHASIS BY M SASIKUMAR
Women in matrilineal societies are seen as empowered to face the challenges of innovations compared to their counterparts in patrilineal societies. But no matrilineal society, at least in India, can be found where women enjoy absolute authority and power. There is a general notion that all the matrilineal societies are matriarchal as well. But matriliny and matriarchy are not synonymous. Matriarchy implies the dominance of women in decision making. Authority is vested in her. Both in theory and in practice. She is the channel not merely for inheritance, but also for succession to positions of authority in the family. But there are several instances where lineality is not necessarily associated with power. Though the matrilineal system was much more widely distributed in India, the matrilineal communities and the communities bearing matrilineal elements are chiefly found in the north east and south west parts of India. The Khasi of Meghalaya is an important tribal group who follow the matrilineal system in the north east part of India. The Nair of Kerala was a classic example for matrilineal society in south India. Though both the Khasi and the Nair communities fall in the wider category of matrilineal societies they differ widely in its structure, function, and components. Still, a few parallels are observable. Differences are more than similarities. The present study discusses the social systems of the Khasi in detail from both historical and present perspectives. It also tries to understand the role, power and function of both men and women in a social system where the position of women has been said to be more comfortable due the matrilineal system.*
KAIFI AZMI; POEMS/NAZMS INTRODUCED AND CO-TRANSLATED BY SUDEEP SEN
Kaifi Azmi: Poems/Nazms is a perfect gift and homage to the great poet’s 100th birth centenary celebrations. This specially curated volume contains 50 carefully chosen poems from his lifetime’s immense oeuvre. It brings together some of the finest translators , poets scholars, filmmakers as a team to produce this stunning bilingual English-Hindi collection. In addition, the book contains a selection of rare archival photographs of the life and times of Kaifi Azmi going back to his childhood. This centenary bilingual English-Hindi volume is a collector’s edition.*
*All text from book flap