Tag Archives: Namita Gokhale

Jaipur Journals by Namita Gokhale

Jaipur Journals by Namita Gokhale Title: Jaipur Journals
Author: Namita Gokhale
Publisher: Penguin Viking
ISBN: 978-0670093557
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 208
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

Jaipur Journals is the kind of book that will work its way to your heart – bit by bit. It is the kind of book that will make you chuckle in several places, even if you haven’t been to the Jaipur Literature Festival (where the book is set) and will also make you want to pack your bags and go there. Jaipur Journals is a melting pot of a book, I think, and more. You will notice characters and at once you know them – they could be anyone you have met or heard of, and yet seem new and delightful. What I loved the most about the book is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Ms. Gokhale has the knack of telling you all (or making it seem like that) and then showing only what she wants to.

From a septuagenarian who has completed her semi-fictional novel (over and over again) but does not want to publish it, to people who are receiving threat letters at the festival, from lost lovers meeting at the festival, to a young girl who has found her way to the greatest literary show on earth through a blogging contest, to a cat-burglar who is now a poet, Jaipur Journals promises all of this, in all its eccentricities and more.

The book goes back and forth in almost every characters’ life and yet doesn’t feel too long or overwhelming. In fact, if anything I thought it ended too soon. Also, it is such a light read that you do not even know when time flies, and that too me is the greatest quality of a good book – readability and engagement, which Jaipur Journals manages spot on.

Jaipur Journals is that friend you speak with about books, the publishing industry, and how perhaps the culture of reading is either dying or not. It is about what happens at literary festivals – the usual sessions, the controversial ones, the times when love is forged, people bumping into people, and some latent hidden bitterness rearing its ugly head once in a while.

If I haven’t said it enough already in so many words, then here it is again: Read Jaipur Journals. Read it because it will make you smile, guffaw, and perhaps even let your guard down. Read it because it literally is an ode to aspiring writers, to writers who have written but do not want their work to be published, to writers who want to be published and are hesitant, to writers who shine and come into their own nonetheless.

 

Book Review: The Habit of Love by Namita Gokhale

Title: The Habit of Love
Author: Namita Gokhale
Publisher: Penguin India
ISBN: 978-0-143-41772-9
Genre: Short Stories
Pages: 184
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

The Habit of Love by Namita Gokhale is a collection of thirteen stories that reflect and internalize the lives of women. Of course one cannot generalize anything basis these stories, however yes they provide the necessary framework needed to understand the environment around us. Some women do not belong to the present, some are parts of today and now and some are just wanderers.

Namita Gokhale speaks to you through her characters and stories. She wants you to believe and there are times you do, only wanting more. I wished at times, that may be the stories would continue and lengthen to a novella or so, because some of them had that potential. The women in these stories are not extraordinary. They do not take life-changing decisions, or change the world. What they do instead is connect with the reader and make them see things and situations a little differently.

The stories are well laid out. From an older woman’s infatuation with a younger man to the messenger swan narrating a story of doomed lovers, Nala and Damayanti, the stories capture the essence without becoming pedantic or superficial. The profundity of the stories are revealed through what goes on in the minds of the women, the not-so-quiet lives lead and the uneasiness with which their lives go haywire sometimes and sometimes are in control.

My favourite story in the entire collection has to be the three-parts, “Grand Hotel”, where each part is unique and different, like a quilt of different patches and merging in the end. The Habit of Love is different from her earlier books, which were flippant and funny. This one is serious and makes you think a little. The woman’s heart is not laid bare and at the same time there is enough and more of a glimpse to make readers wonder. The writing strikes you in a couple of places and in some it seems a little hurried, however it is a great read for a summer afternoon.

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Book Review: The Popcorn Essayists: What movies do to writers: Edited by Jai Arjun Singh

Title: The Popcorn Essayists: What Movies do to Writers
Editor: Jai Arjun Singh
Publisher: Tranquebar Press
ISBN: 9789380658353
PP: 227 Pages
Price: Rs. 395
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

Thirteen different genre writing and thinking writers all come together to contribute to this collection of essays – as the title suggests, about movies. If you are a film aficionado and also love reading about movies, then this book is sure meant for you. The Popcorn Essayists is a compilation of 13 essays centred around films, the way they are made and how they are perceived by the audience – in this case the writers.

The contributing writers include Manjula Padmanabhan, Manil Suri, Kamila Shamssie, Anjum Hasan, Amitava Kumar, Namita Gokhale, Jai Arjun Singh (the editor of this collection), Musharraf Ali Farooqi, Madhulika Liddle, Sidin Vadukut, Rajoshri Chakraborti, Sumana Roy and Jaishree Misra. The reason I have mentioned all names is for you to understand the variety that this book provides and the themes it touches – from Art House Cinema (as it was termed in the days gone by) to a day in the life of a writer as a Helen Cabaret Dancer to a writer’s experience about watching Satya, this book has it all.

What I loved about the book while reading it was that I immediately wanted to see all the movies recommended by the writers, even if I had seen some of them some time ago, I still wanted a re-viewing and only to understand the essays better.  When a group of writers come together to contribute to any collection, it is so important to see that the ideas merge and the flow is consistent, and it is with this precision that the editor delivers on this book. The writing is crisp and sharp and to the point, without forcing any opinions down the readers’ throat. At some point though some essays do get technical, but I guess that could not have been avoided, considering the topic.

Movies are magic and we are all aware of that fact. The book attempts I think to introduce us to different genres of movies, like I said without sounding condescending or patronizing. It is about the nuances that are noticed while watching a loud Punjabi Masala Movie or at the same time about the experiences of another author while viewing the works of Finland’s Kaurismäki Brothers and their impact and contribution to world cinema.

All in all, The Popcorn Essayists is a book that must be read for the love of cinema or for the joy of reading and in the process, discovering some great cinema.

You can buy the book here on Flipkart