It's Wednesday, 3 pm in the afternoon and we just had a team lunch at a pretty cool restaurant, I am sleepy and trying really really hard to look alert even as I slump in front of the monitor. I am not kidding! Remember that Tom 'n' Jerry cartoon where Tom keeps his eyes stretched open with the help of match sticks? I probably need crowbars instead! My only hope of getting out of office without the embarrassment of falling off the chair while drowsing is completing this post somehow!
Anyhoo. Moving on to the post. Point is, I always had this thing against Indian authors. Probably because they write much too complicated stuff, not at all to my liking. I like things clean, simple, straightforward.(Not as simple as Chetan Bhagat though!) Basically, I  have too many judgement criteria! Surprisingly, over the past few months, I have come across some really impressive books by Indian authors. I figured, if I can write posts to criticize these guys, I can also write posts to praise them, nuh? Makes sense. So, here we go:

The Music Room by Namita Devidayal: Are you one of those people who carries around this guilt on your head for not paying attention in music class when you were a kid? I am! The after-school music class was spent in utter tense moments, with random thoughts like, "What will my friends say? I skipped the Pithoo game for THIS!!" Shuddering, terrified, my Thalam would go all screwed up at times! Nine years after I stopped learning music, I often feel the urge to go back in time and kick my younger self. If only I had known! Namita Devidayal's book is a masterpiece read for all music buffoons like me, and for anyone who has any interest in music at all. The book is an absorbing memoir of a music lover, the Jaipur Gharana through the eye of a maestro and a walk through the history of Hindustani music, littered with the most interesting anecdotes. Recommended read! I must say, if all Indian authors wrote about the good Indian things, who wouldn't like them? :P

Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar: A brilliant piece of "Indian" fiction, with extreme emphasis on the word Indian! This man is a master story teller. Hang on tight, as he leads you through the dark intimate world of the very lovable Maharaj Kumar, the less known husband of Saint Meerabai. The book is a revelation about the life and times of the early sixteenth century Mewar prince, who asks a simple question, "What does it feel like to have your spouse wedded to a God?" In a roller coaster ride of emotions, you travel with the Maharaj as he fights his biggest enemy, his wife's lover, Lord Krishna, his enemies inside the house and his enemies outside the house! I'll give your money back, if you don't fall in love with the Maharaj!
Not only is the story sheer brilliance, but the author takes you to an era when India was the Golden Bird, an era which boasts of magnificence! In all it's glory, it was the India that lured foreigners to herself!

Johny Gone Down by Karan Bajaj: I picked up this book out of sheer curiosity caused by the name! And besides, the price was very alluring! I must confess, I was enthralled from Page 1. This book is a page turner about Nikhil Arya, an Ivy League Scholar, now 40 and on the verge of ending his life in a mad game. His life was a medley, a series of twists and turns, all thanks to a small innocent vacation on the Convocation Day. From a military regime prisoner in Cambodia, to a Vipassana monk, a mafia don to master programmer, Nikhil Arya has done it all, till he lands in his homeland and becomes a part of a deadly game. My reasons for liking the book are simple: Despite all that happens, the author has treated the story with such optimism, it is almost an inspiration. "Almost" because fairy tales never come true! But it is touching nonetheless.

Dork, The Incredible Adventures of Robin 'Einstein' Varghese by Sidin Vadukut
I have been a fan of Sidin's humour for about as long as I remember using the Internet to browse through blogs. This guy has always cracked me up, whether in his Whatay blog, his Mint articles or his Twitter one-liners! So, no surprise that when his book was released, just two days later, I was at Crosswords, footing the bill for my copy. Is it worth reading? Most definitely, yes! 200 pages filled with office humour, taking potshots at characters eerily similar to your manager and top management, vending machines and photocopiers can never be disappointing. The book is a diary entry of Robin Verghese, a naive but talented young MBA graduate, just entering the Corporate world and learning the hard way about love, life and a lot more! Blunders, accidents, tragic love stories, it has all the Masala you want from an un-putdownable book! Go buy! ;)

For someone who judges Chetan Bhagat for his pathetic English and Kiran  Desai for her complicated writing style, I think I did an impressive job, finally managing to find good Indian authors. That said, I must say, it is quite disappointing the way most Indian authors find stories from the abject poverty and wretched living styles of a section of the Indian population, a section which they haven't interacted with, and never will. I genuinely feel authors like Kiran Nagarkar and Namita Devidayal should be the pillars of Indian literati, guiding young people to write more about the India that makes us proud, not the India that makes us shudder! Of course, then you have to make peace with the fact that you won't get a Booker! ;)

It's 4:45. I managed to stay awake! Yippeeee! 
What books have you been reading? Any reccos?

Signing Out,


  1. Silent Raaga - Ameen Merchant
    The spaces between us - Thrity Umrigar
    Palace of Illusions - Chitra Banerjee
    Zoya Factor - Anuja Chauhan

    I started Indian Authors with a very tough Amitav Ghosh, but then I found these awesome awesome people! Try em! I think you read Illusions, no?

  2. Second :)

    Books! sigh..long time since I picked up and finished one.. I have gotten lazy and esp with so many series to catch up with :(

    Nice review.. you are tempting me to go back to them!.. especially liked your review of Cuckold.. it sounds really interesting.

  3. know wat i luv reading indian authors..wanna know y??indian authors r the best romantic novel writers..thats y..and i'm not talking abt the hi fi indian authors..jst the normal ones like chetan bahgat..
    try checking out the book called "That thing called luv","lil things in luv and life","right fit wrong shoe"..and so on..the list is endless..!!
    try checking out my blog and commenting on my posts..would luv to see my posts from ur point of view..am following u from a long tym so will hope that u too return the favour..

  4. I havent read much of Indian authors actually. But yeah, do wanna read the music room actually.

  5. was wondering about Einstein book,... thanks for the review will buy it :)

  6. Thanks for the recommendations. I haven't read too many Indian authors except Chetan Bhagat and couple of those chick-flick writers. Wouldn't recommend any of them :-|

  7. Thanks Preeti. Most obliged! :)

  8. I had the same kind of experiences some time back. And I didnt go back to reading any of them again. Inlucding chetan bhagat and arundhati roy. My main problem is that I expect hard core twists from each book that i cant enjoy a normal book. But trying to change...Great reviews. I will pick these next time. You will hear from me If I dont like them :))

  9. @DI: Thanks for the reccos! Have heard a LOT about Silent Raaga and The spaces between us. Will catch up with these soon! POI I have bought. Have to read!
    And yeah, you were first! :s

  10. @arbitthoughts: Thanks! :a
    Do read Cuckold! It's damn good!

  11. @Harini: I am sure you'll like Music Room! Its a fabulous read! Lemme know how you fuond it! :a

  12. @Rajlakshmi: Hehe! The author of the book commented somewhere below you on this blog! Do read it! :a

  13. @Rechrsitened: I know what you mean! I have read some of them myself. Pathetic language. The good part is, they make me believe I can write too! :d

  14. @Sidin: The author commented on MY Blog!!
    MY Blog! My Blog! My Blog!
    *Shouts running around in small circles*
    Thanks for dropping by! :a
    I am honoured! :a

  15. @dil..: Your choice seems similar to mine! You have to read these books then! Will be glad to hear from you even if you don't like 'em!

  16. Well I am lil biased towards by indian authors or book based in india or asia. Cuckold is good?

    I think Rohinton Mistry has written some nice books (I haven't read them tho).. btw you can try 'Almost Single' not bad at all. I even liked 'That Thing Called Love' (not a popular one).

    Din like 'Keep off the grass' by karan so lil skeptical to read 'johny gone down'. Is it good?

    And I love chetan bhagat books.

  17. @allthecrap: Oh! Glad to know you like Chetan Bhagat! Sorry if I was mean to him in my post, I kinda hate him! :i
    I have also heard of Mistry. Is he good? Keep off the grass had a bad storyline. So I didn't bother, but Johny Gone Down is different. Must read!

  18. Hey, trying reading Vikram Seth, Shashi Tharoor. Also, Indu Sundaresan's Feast of Roses and The Twentieth Wife!

  19. @Chinkurli: Thanks for the Reccos! I have read Vikram Seth - Suitable Boy, long time back! Will need to reaad his other books! Good you reminded..

  20. You've read A Suitable Boy!! *bows* Kitne din lagey? :a I shudder at the sight of book's thickness. Now please write a review of it. I've heard a lot about it but don't know what's there in it.

    Now coming to your post. Nice reviews. Cuckold seems interesting. Chetan Bhagat! He writes trash. People who praise him highly simply haven't read good books. The last line is spot-on. Take Slumdog Millionaire. They made millions by showing India's filth and squalor which was disgusting to watch. Have you read Midnight's Children? I couldn't go beyond first chapter and gave up. Found it beyond my intellect. I recently read three books and I'd strongly recommend them:
    1. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
    2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (DO NOT MISS IT in case you haven't read it)
    3. Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss.
    After reading your reviews, I'm tempted to write one of my own :a Oh, and sorry for this long comment :a

  21. @Ajay: Na-uh! I love long comments, shows that people are reading what I wrote! :c
    Took a long time to read Suitable Boy, but it was a long time back too, so would not be able to do justice to the review!
    I agree about Slumdog and Midnight's Children, infact, add Inheritance of Loss and The White Tiger to this list! Pathetic way of showcasing India.
    Murakami's books are high on priority list! Lot of people talking about them!
    I have read Kite Runner, it's a pretty good read!
    And please do write your reviews too! Would love to know what you thought of the books you read! :a
    Phew! Was my comment longer or what? :j

  22. I was big on trying to read Indian authors a couple of years back and I was not too happy about the selection. It is like they are trying to write about things they think people in the west would like to read. It is as you said writing about stuff they have no experience with like poverty and slums or mystic and magic.

    Heard so much about Chetan Bhagat. Picked out 5 point something. Oh God, I gave up.

    But have been reading good reviews of a few of the authors so will be sure to try them out.

  23. Have you tried Rohinton Mistry? He's an old favourite of mine.

    Also, not Indian writing at all, but I'll just giving a shout-out for the Millenium trilogy if you haven't read it yet. Such fun!

  24. @Comfy: Glad you agree on my view of Indian authors, especially, on Chetan Bhagat! :i
    There are some good authors out there, though! You should totally read them! :a

  25. @Ramya: Mistry! Everyone's telling me to read him. Will give it a shot!
    And most definitely will try Millenium Trilogy! Thanks for the reccos! :a

  26. Well the Maharaj Kumar (Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar) was Bhojraj... and I do not think he was monogamous.

    After his demise @ at battlefield... Meerabai's brother-in-law as well as father-in-law (the legendary Maharana Sanga aka Sangram Singh) tried to evict her from the palace... on the pretext that she had brought disgrace to the family/clan... Ultimately she left the palace... and became a wandering saint.

    You could check out:

    1. Ruskin Bond - Book of Humour
    2. Ruskin Bond - Book of Nature
    3. Arnab Ray - May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss

  27. PS: Will buy "Dork" the next time I'm @ Crosswords... which is in 2 days time...

  28. @Roshmi: Yeah, Bhojraj was not monogamous. But what is truly enthralling about this book is the way the author built a fiction story on the basis of the few facts we know about this man! Like da Vinci Code, only 100 tinmes more exciting! :a
    Thanks for the recos! Ruskin Bond is always on the top!
    I heard May I Hebb your Attention Pliss is not that good? Will try it anyway. :a


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