Favorite Authors

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In an article that I wrote for a magazine some time back I had shared how I got hooked on the reading and why books continues being such an internal part of my life. https://dsukhadia.com/2016/01/09/have-we-stopped-reading

This article is about five of my favorite authors:

  1. Jeffrey Archer – He was one of my first fiction authors that I read and loved. His books are fast paced doesn’t beat around the bush and keeps the reader hooked. I must have read all his books starting and some of them still find place in my library albeit on the topmost shelf hidden behind the more recent ones.
  1. Arundhati Roy: Her first book- The God of Small Things was published when I was in college and reams of newspaper were filled with amazing reviews of this book. It took me sleepless night to know the reason why. This is the only book that I have read more than once and whose copy I have on all three formats i.e. Paperback, Hardback and on my Kindle. It took her years to come out with a second one which is another masterpiece and I had a fan moment when I received a signed copy of this latest one.
  1. Rohinton Mistry – Having lived in Mumbai for seven years and a brief period as a paying guest with an old Parsi Lady. The Parsi community notwithstanding the caricatured version in Bollywood, has always fascinated me. His books brings out the humane side of this very community will all their traits and customs. A Fine Balance stands out amongst all his other works. This books is how Emergency and its aftermath brings people of different backgrounds to form a bond and navigate those troubled times.
  1. Shivaji Sawant – He primarily writes in Marathi, a language that I never managed to go beyond इकडे-तिकडे but his translated versions are available. I read the Hindi version of Mrityunjay and was completely blown away. This book brings out the depth and pain of Karan – the eldest of son of Kunti and how his character pans out in Mahabharata. Another is Yugandhar – on the life and times of Lord Krishna. Both these books bring out facets of Mahabharata I was never aware of. The story, the back story and the compulsions of each character is laid out in great details.
  1. Atul Gawande – Once upon a time I was very fascinated by medical professionals and wanted to become a doctor but खैर वोह हो न सका. But the urge to know how things work continued and was fulfilled by Dr. Atul Gawande. He is an American surgeon, writer, and public health researcher. His books bring out the functioning of health professionals to non-medicos in a language that is both interesting and uncomplicated.

Besides these there are others such as Erich Segal, Malcom Gladwell, Julian Barnes, William Dalrymple and likes. My only regret is that I do not read Hindi books because few are available as e-books and those that are my Kindle doesn’t support.

Happy Reading in the Lockdown !!

Mrs. Patrawala

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As one of the wealthiest community in India: The Parsi’s celebrate their New Year this 21st March I can’t but think about my Parsi landlady in Mumbai: Mrs Patrawala.

Having lived in Mumbai for around seven years ending with the millennium, was lucky to have stayed most of those years in an amazing hostel a stone’s throw away from the magnificent Queen’s Necklace.

It was during the intervening period after my graduation and before I enrolled myself for Post-Graduation that I had to vacate the hostel and look for a suitable place that had to be close to my place of work as I was doing my CA Articleship then with Delloite’s and also within budget. My search ended rather grudgingly with the iconic Paying Guest accommodation of the octogenarian Mrs. Patrawala. She was the owner of two adjoining ground floor flats at Marine Drive, a widow living alone in one and renting out the other to college students and executives.

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She was a typical Parsi lady speaking highly accented Mumbaiya Hindi, wearing a head scarf and a dress, sitting on her wooden Recliner. At a first glance she reminded me of my great Grandmother and then she started talking. All the emotions that had started building up were soon consigned in the depths of the dirty waters of Arabian Sea.

Rules of the House were to be followed in both letter and spirit for she didn’t bat an eyelid before throwing the inmates out. No wasting of electricity, conservation of water, no drinking, no smoking and no noise. And in return we got a bed to sleep on whose bug infested mattress had never seen the sun since being put to use and I think our suitcases was the only place where our belongings were safe. Late nights were something that needed advance planning to ensure one of us was inside to open the flat door or else the Churchgate Station was to be our refuge. In order to conserve water or at least to keep up the pretence the clothes had to be washed in the dead of the night for fear of her waking up to the sound of running water.

With the rosary in her hand she was figure always on the move these flats were her empire and she ruled with an iron fist. We were her subjects; subjugated/ tormented but happy to find a shelter in her kingdom in the city that never slept. She did have a weakness for chocolates and we tried using that for our advantage alas the success depended only on her mood.

So Mrs. Patrawala wishing you a very Happy Navroze and thanking you for providing me with a place in your home, irrespective of how much I may have grudged and cursed you then, now on hindsight these were the very experiences that make me who I am today !!