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Fathering a novel

If one can father a novel, I claim to have fathered Bhaichand Patel's first novel Mothers Lovers & Other Strangers (Pan books). It happened a few years ago that Bhaichand moved into a ground floor flat two blocks away from mine. I asked him what he was up to. Khushwant Singh writes.
By Khushwant Singh | None
UPDATED ON MAY 27, 2013 12:32 AM IST

If one can father a novel, I claim to have fathered Bhaichand Patel's first novel Mothers Lovers & Other Strangers (Pan books). It happened a few years ago that Bhaichand moved into a ground floor flat two blocks away from mine. I asked him what he was up to.

"Trying to write a novel but I am stuck," he replied. I asked him to tell me what it was about. He told me it was largely based on his own life. "But I am stuck," he repeated. Every day he dropped in, I asked him the same question. And he gave me the same reply. I began to prod him. He repeated, "I am stuck".

I nagged him and extracted more information from him. Slowly the novel began to take shape till he finished it. This was how his first work of fiction Mothers Lovers & Other Strangers (Pan Books) came into being. It proved an instant hit. Bhaichand never had to look back and there was one novel after another. He is now an established writer of fiction in India.

Rape and its aftermath
Kishwar Desai's new novel The Sea of Innocence, deals with the very topical of issue of rape and its aftermath. Coming so soon after the horrific Nirbhaya case, this racy novel is a reminder that we, as a society, need to do more - because often the victim or rape survivor does not get justice.

As in her last two novels, Kishwar has based the book on real life cases - but integrated the different narratives into a fast-paced crime novel. In this book, the action takes lace on the beaches of Goa. A young British teenager goes missing - and Simran Singh ( the spunky Punjabi social worker-cum-detective that we memorably encountered in Kishwar's first novel about gendercide, Witness the Night) - is asked to investigate the case to find out what actually happened to her.

Simran discovers that there is a widespread conspiracy to suppress the truth about the missing girl. The only clues she receives are through mysterious videos which appear on Simran's mobile phone indicating that the girl might have been gang raped. Though her own life is endangered - Simran does not give up till she reaches the truth. I cannot give away the whole story as I want you to read this book - but I will tell you one thing: Once you start reading it, you won't be able to put it down.

Quotes on politics
Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich - by promising to protect each from the other.
- Oscar Ameringer "The Mark Twain of American Socialism"

I offered my opponents a deal: "If they stop telling lies about me,

I will stop telling the truth about them."
- Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech 1952

A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.
- Texas Guinan, 19th century American businessman.

I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
- Charles de Gaulle, French general & politician

Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.
- Doug Larson (English middle-distance runner who won gold medals at the 1924 olympic Games in Paris (1902-1981)

We hang petty thieves and appoint the bigger thieves to public office.
- Aesop, Green slave & fable author

Those who are too smart to enage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.
- Plato, ancient Greem philosopher

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river
- Nikita Khrushchev, Russian Soviet politician

When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become PM. I'm beginning to believe it.
- quoted in 'Clarence Darrow for the Defense' by Irving Stone

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.
- John Quinton, American actor/writer.

What happened if a politician drowns in a river?

That is pollution

What happens if all of them drown? That is solution.

(Compiled by Vijendra Gupta, New Delhi)

Charity
A beggar woman was sitting on the roadside, holding a child and weeping.

Passer-by: "What is the matter. Why are you crying?"

Woman: The baby and I are both starving. We have not eaten for two days because I have no money.

The man searched in his pockets and brought out a R500 note. "I only have this note. You take it and go buy milk for your child and food for yourself, sufficient for the next two days. Return me the change. I'll stay here and look after your child," said the passer-by. The woman did as instructed, and returned the man R280 change.

Passer-by ( to himself): Charity is truly a wonderful thing. The baby has got milk, the woman has got food and I have got rid of that fake R500 note.

(Contributed by Rajeshwari Singh, New Delhi)

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