In My Hands Today…

A South Indian Journey: The Smile of Murugan – Michael Wood

Some time in the future you will come back here to Chindambaram and you will make a pilgrimage, said the astrologer to Michael Wood as they sat in a small airless house in Tamil Nadu. It is the most important thing you will do. Four years later Michael found himself on a pilgrim bus heading southwards on a journey of more than a thousand miles through the temples and holy shrines of Southern India. The bone-shaking bus, its aisle crammed with passengers on folding chairs and its video showing glimpses of old films through a blaring snowstorm of white static, would transport him into another world and time where the rituals at the spiritual heart of India are still observed as they were a thousand years ago, existing side by side with all the trappings of the modern world. As his many admirers know, Michael Wood is the perfect travelling companion, eyes and ears wide open, knowledgeable yet eager to learn. His touching and humorous account of this inner and outer journey captures both the life-enhancing spirit of Hinduism and the essence of India itself.

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In My Hands Today…

Butter Chicken in Ludhiana: Travels in Small Town India – Pankaj Mishra

In Butter Chicken in Ludhiana, Pankaj Mishra captures an India which has shrugged off its sleepy, socialist air and has become instead kitschy, clamorous and ostentatious. From a convent educated beauty pageant aspirant to small shopkeepers planning their vacation in London, Pankaj Mishra paints a vivid picture of a people rushing headlong to their tryst with modernity. An absolute classic, this is a witty and insightful account of India’s aspirational middle class.

Small and short conversations with different people about their mindset and living style are described in this book. The people includes young women from Jhansi, with dreams of winning a beauty pageant, and naxalites in Bihar trying to initiate a revolution, and a young man from Gujarat speaking of killing Muslims in public. The author has shared all his experiences through this book. Butter Chicken In Ludhiana: Travels In Small Town India is an interesting read with a rich variety of languages and cultures. The stories in this book are full of irony, humour, and violence. There are so many characters portrayed in this book, and Mr Sharma from Ambala stands out.

The lifestyles of both village and city folk are depicted by the author, in this book which narrates the differences between the dreams and psychology of these people. In Butter Chicken In Ludhiana, the author talks about the reason of unemployment, which is caused by small fast food chains in small towns.

In My Hands Today…

From the Holy Mountain: A Journey among the Christians of the Middle East – William Dalrymple

In the spring of A.D. 587, John Moschos and his pupil Sophronius the Sophist embarked on a remarkable expedition across the entire Byzantine world, traveling from the shores of Bosphorus to the sand dunes of Egypt. On the way John Moschos and his pupil Sophronius the Sophist stayed in caves, monasteries, and remote hermitages, collecting the wisdom of the stylites and the desert fathers before their fragile world finally shattered under the great eruption of Islam.

Using Moscho’s writings as his guide and inspiration, the acclaimed travel writer William Dalrymple retraces the footsteps of these two monks, providing along the way a moving elgy to the slowly dying civilization of Eastern Christianity and to the people who are struggling to keep its flame alive. The result is Dalrymple’s unsurpassed masterpiece: a beautifully written travelogue, at once rice and scholarly, moving and courageous, overflowing with vivid characters and hugely topical insights into the history, spirituality and fractured politics of the Middle East.

In My Hands Today…

The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die (Dr. Siri Paiboun #9) – Colin Cotterill

In a small Lao village, a very strange thing has happened. A woman was shot and killed in her bed during a burglary; she was given a funeral and everyone in the village saw her body burned. Then, three days later, she was back in her house as if she’d never been dead at all. But now she’s clairvoyant, and can speak to the dead. That’s why the long-dead brother of a Lao general has enlisted her to help his brother uncover his remains, which have been lost at the bottom of a river for many years.

Lao national coroner Dr. Siri Paiboun and his wife, Madame Daeng, are sent along to supervise the excavation. It could be a kind of relaxing vacation for them, maybe, except Siri is obsessed with the pretty undead medium’s special abilities, and Madame Daeng might be a little jealous. She doesn’t trust the woman for some reason─is her hunch right? What is the group really digging for at the bottom of this remote river on the Thai border? What war secrets are being covered up?

In My Hands Today…

The Wedding Wallah – Farahad Zama

Mr Ali’s flourishing marriage bureau seems to have chalked up another success when his ward, Pari, receives a surprise proposal from a rich, handsome aristocrat. But why is the boy’s family so keen to get him married to Pari – an orphan, a widow, and now a single mother? Meanwhile Communist insurgents on the warpath in India’s rural hinterland, and gays on the march for their rights in the big cities of Bombay and Delhi seem from another world. But soon these threatening forces invade the peaceful lives of Mr and Mrs Ali, their son Rehman and their able assistant Aruna…

In My Hands Today…

A Calamitous Chinese Killing (Inspector Singh Investigates #6) – Shamini Flint

Inspector Singh’s expertise is required in China in his sixth adventure, as he battles political intrigue to get to the bottom of a very murky and complex crime Inspector Singh is on a mission to China, against his better judgment. The son of a bigwig at the Singapore Embassy has been bludgeoned to death in a back alley in Beijing. The Chinese security insist that he was the victim of a robbery gone wrong, but the young man’s mother demands that Singapore’s finest (in his own opinion) rides to the rescue. But solving a murder in a country that practices socialism “with Chinese characteristics” is a dangerous business, and it soon becomes apparent that getting to the bottom of this calamitous killing will be his toughest case yet.

Inspector Singh Investigates