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Showing posts from April, 2017

Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows - Balli Kaur Jaswal

I was on the lookout for immigrant literature that is entertaining yet enlightening at the same time and ‘Erotic stories for Punjabi Widows’ came along. Now, before you snigger, the title of the book maybe considered a bit bold but the themes that it addresses are very real and sometimes quite hard hitting.

Nikki, a Sikh girl in her early twenties lands a job at a Gurudwara in Southall, England to conduct English classes and her students happen to be“elderly” widows from her own community. The description of Southall and its predominantly Sikh community is spot on right from the vegetable vendors to shops selling Indian wear and other trinkets. The importance of preserving one’s (and one’s family’s) honour or “izzat” stands out as a driving force behind a lot of the behaviour that is seen in the different characters and their stories.

The cohesiveness that develops during the course of Nikki’s classes which in fact turn out to be story telling sessions amongst the group has been beautif…

Ghachar Ghochar - Vivek Shanbhag (Translated by Srinath Perur)

Translated works from the regional languages of India have always fascinated me as they resonate a sense of simplicity that speaks to the soul. ‘Ghachar Ghochar’ by Vivek Shanbhag was originally written in Kannada and has been translated to English by Srinath Perur. There were two characteristics that drew me to this book. First, the title – Ghachar Ghochar as it reminded me of “gibberish” that my brother and I came up with in childhood but it meant something only to us. Second, I have always had a special affinity to Karnataka, particularly to Bangalore and Mangalore owing to deep ancestral and cultural roots.

The beauty about this book is that even though it is a novella, it manages to effectively communicate a powerful message about the impact of ‘new money’ on a family based in Bangalore. The story is narrated in the voice of the son of the family who is never named. The characters in the narrative include his parents, sister Malati, wife Anita and uncle Chikappa (father’s younger…