Thursday, 21 May 2015

Penguin Guide to Punctuation

For most of you reading this post, I know you're think I'm absolutely bonkers: reviewing a grammar book. However, there's a reason why they say 'don't judge a book by its cover'. This book is absolutely raving mad. I mean it the good sense. Of course, Mr R.L. Trask explains punctuation rules and quite succinctly and effortlessly, at that. When I say 'this book is raving mad' is because Mr Trask has an insane sense of humour, which I suppose is a lot like mine.

For instance, on the very first page, the author's bio states that '[Mr Trask] is tired of reading poorly punctuated work, and hopes this book will help.' His way of writing is fresh, humourous in a caustic way and absolutely honest and that's what makes this book brilliant. This is also, what makes the book seem less stuffy even though he is talking about grammar rules!

At one point, I rushed to read a bit, of the book, out to my mother who laughed just the way I had moments ago. The part which was on abbreviations read like this- 'If you do find yourself using etc., for heaven's sake spell it out correctly. This is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase et cetera `and other things', and it is pronounced ET SETRA, and not *EK SETRA. Do not write ghastly things like *ect. or *e.t.c. Such monstrosities make your writing look hopelessly illiterate.'

Isn't he fabulously honest?

Besides that, it is very easy to understand and a damn sight better than those god awful school textbooks. After all, who doesn't want to have fun when learning.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Capital : A Portrait of Twenty-First Century Delhi - Rana Dasgupta

Rana Dasgupta: ‘It’s Blatantly Obvious That This Is A Traumatised City’

Capital is Rana Dasgupta's first non-fiction. It is an interview-based analysis of the effect of globalization on Delhi through the eyes of several individuals coming from the inner recesses of Delhi itself.

The journey begins slowly through the partition and unlike many of the other books it does not talk about 'what happened' as in the sequence of events. It talks, instead, of the mindset, the mental transformation and the physical transformations in the body of people that remained behind and in the refugees that flooded the city. Not only that, we see how 'New Delhi' came about.

Dasgupta, himself, was born abroad, in Canterbury, and only came to live in India for his then girlfriend, now wife, who lived in Delhi. He expected to convince her to move to New York with him but Delhi convinced him to stay.

Capital is not about politics, it's not even about the economics, no; it is about anything and everything that makes Delhi. The people, the history, the language, the culture, the infrastructure, the I said, it's about everything.

The chapter that touched me the most was chapter eight in which he interviewed Sadia Delhvi and she lamented the loss of Delhi's saleeqa.

'How do you expect Delhi to care about its own history when no one can read the language it is written in?...Urdu had nothing to do with religion: it was the language of Delhi, of everyone in Delhi.' - Sadia Dehlvi, page 160, Chapter Eight 

Capital's tone varies from sad to hopeful to nostalgic as the story changes view point to view point. The writing could have been better but it successfully conveys the author's meaning coherently. William Dalrymple has talked highly of this book, sure that it is the book he 'should hate' as he feels it is bound to replace his book 'The City of Djinns',which is also about Delhi, on the desks of people.

If you love Delhi as much as I do, it is a must-read. It is a must-read because it a good book. It is a must-read because it almost as all-accepting as Delhi.

Other books: Tokyo Cancelled, Solo
Must-read (article): Mumbai Boss with Rana Dasgupta