Ever since I first came to India in 1968, I’ve enjoyed reading books about India and by Indian authors. Some of the first books that I remember reading then were Khushwant Singh’s "Train to Pakistan" and V.S. Naipaul’s "An Area of Darkness," both admittedly somewhat depressing. I also read some of Nayantara Sahgal’s fiction. In the last 30 years or so there has been a proliferation of Indian authors writing in English and I’ve read quite a few of them. I bought too many books during my working years and have been trying to read the books I already own before buying more. But when I was in Delhi last week I went into two bookstores in Khan Market and succumbed. I’ve finished "The Hindi-Bindi Club" by Monica Pradhan, the story of three daughters of Indian immigrant mothers growing up in America (with good recipes as an extra treat). Another is "Wicked Women of the Raj" by Coralie Younger, interesting vignettes of 20 western women who married Indian princes. I’ve also recently read two excellent books – "White Tiger" by Aravind Adiga, which won the Man Booker prize last year and "Sea of Poppies" by Amitav Ghosh. "White Tiger" is somewhat depressing, but has a strong ring of truth and is very funny much of the time. "Sea of Poppies" is the first of a trilogy about the opium trade, bringing together a most interesting cast of characters who finally meet on a ship leaving Calcutta.
Evidence of my dual life – when I first typed the title for this post, it read “Reading Indiana Authors.”