“The Royal typewriter I used was my maternal grandfather’s gift to my parents. Bought second-hand in Simla from an Englishman who was selling his effects prior to leaving the country, it was a portable model that had the weight of a saddle quern and came in a high black case. When I thought I had accumulated enough poems to fit a small volume, I typed them up and took the pages to the nearest bindery. Two days later the mournful-looking cloth-bound object I held in my hand was narrower than a paperback and barely possessed a spine, it had neither jacket nor publisher’s imprint, and yet bore some resemblance to a book of poems. I brought it home and hid it between the college textbooks on economics and geography.”
A passage from ‘Partial Recall’ by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, published in the first edition of the journal Civil Lines: New Writing from India. As this iconic journal is no longer in circulation, Penguin Viking brought out a ‘best of’ anthology of sorts brought together by its original editor, Rukun Advani. Had been looking for it and got it yesterday from the Sahitya Academy library. The volume is titled, ‘Written For Ever’ The Best of Civil Lines and the introduction by Advani, ‘Civility, Civilization, and Chivas Regal’ itself sets the tone nicely for things to come. This first piece by Mehrotra was an absolute gem and am eager about the treasures that lie ahead.
The other stuff am reading these days:
- The Science Of Happiness by Stefan Klein, (taken from my Strategic Planning Director at the office- this is a highly recommended book on the inside story of our brain and its powers to make us, keep us happy),
- The Norton Anthology of Poetry- Fourth Edition (have had a renewed interest in it recently), and
- whole lot of short prose and verse (Hindi, English and translations) as and when the gut craves 🙂
Wish me happy reading!