Sunday, March 15, 2020

Reading in

Less going out of the house (which I do reluctantly at the best of times) means more reading. Over the last few weeks, between deadlines, at airports, and through sleepless nights, I've read a fair bit.

Ali Khan Mahmudabad's 'Poetry of Belonging' was special, not just because it was about poetry and belonging, but also because it includes references to my dear departed grandfather's work (which I have yet to read!). It also makes me wonder at how much we don't know. Like about the Urdu poets working in what is now Haryana. How was the poetry of a 'Faridabadi' poet different from that of a Dehlavi? What was the sub-regional flavour like? Don't we wish we knew?

'Blue is Like Blue', a selection of stories written by Vinod Kumar Shukla and translated by Sara Rai and Arvind Krishna Mehrotra. None of these names need any introduction to readers familiar with the Indian literary landscape. All I can say is, buy and read, all ye who haven't, and especially all ye who would write.

I read Asiya Zahoor's 'Serpents Under My Veil', a book of poems that bring together many difficult themes - gender, literary engagement, Kashmir, violence, love.

I also read and enjoyed Saif Mahmood's 'Beloved Delhi', another book based on place and Urdu poetry. It offers the background and context to the writing of some of the most brilliant poetry written by Delhi's most famous poets, and the translations made it easier to understand and enjoy the original works.

Please buy all these books asap. You know you want to. I am helpfully attaching purchase links: 

I've also just finished a beautiful book called 'Calligraphies of Love' by Hasan Massoudy. It is, as the title suggests, a book combining text and art. Try getting the print edition rather than the kindle one. It is lovely. Something to hold with affection and a wonderful gift for all your beloveds. 

I'm taking the liberty of sharing a couple of snapshots from between its covers. The Gandhi page, of course. Because, you know... 





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