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Paperback Pickings

Growing up with Madhuri

The Girl With The Golden Parasol (Penguin, Rs 250) by Uday Prakash has been translated from the Hindi, Peeli Chatari Wali Larki, by Jason Grunebaum. The slim novel unfolds like an art house Bollywood film, with the young hero, Rahul, dreaming of a girl friend made in the cast of Madhuri Dixit, of biceps like Salman Khan’s, then reluctantly getting embroiled in college politics, falling in love, and being confronted with real life as a result. Witty, irreverent and serious in turns, this is an entertaining, albeit a bit clichéd, coming-of-age novel. Grunebaum deserves credit for the excellent translation, which is seamless, free-flowing, without the jerks that commonly mar Indian English. The cover illustration by Ajanta Guhathakurta makes this a beautiful book visually as well.

Crows and Other Stories (Rupa, Rs 295) by K.K. Mohapatra is a collection of Oriya short- stories translated into English by Leelawati Mohapatra and Paul St-Pierre. The stories capture the unhurried rhythm of life in Indian villages and small towns before globalization transformed them. The eternal emotions of the human heart are played out against the backdrop of lush green fields,dingy police stations, hostel terraces filled with cigarette smoke and flooded village roads. The connection between the seven stories is a boy called Sasank, who is initiated into the mysteries of life as he tos and fros between town and village. Strewn with expletives and yet poignant and lyrical, the language of the stories makes the spoken voice of the people come alive.

Jesus on Leadership: Discovering The Secrets Of Servant Leadership from The Life of Christ (Jaico, Rs 275) by C. Gene Wilkes is a unique book in the sense that it is written by one who feels God’s spirit moving inside his heart at every turn of events. If you are wondering what “servant leadership” means, well, it consists in attacking everyone you feel indebted to with a basin full of water and a towel, with the intention of washing his feet in imitation of Christ. And what is the greatest test of servant leadership? It is “to wash the feet of those who have the ability to ask for [your] resignation”. Tough job, but with an inspired servant of God by his side, you might just learn to perform the impossible. So if you want to become an “informed and capable leader”, start loving Jesus, as the author of this book does.

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