Jan 18, 2008


I’ve acquired a new routine when I visit the local library. After meticulous search for the latest DVD’s (yep…not member of BlockBuster or Netflix!) I move onto the ‘latest non-fiction’ book section.
Why just the non-fiction. Well, since I’ve invested in variety of investment clubs, its supposed to be mandatory to have finance skills.
Anyway coming back, I usually read the title, then pick up the book and read the summary and finally decide to pick it up.

Last month I picked up these two books—

1. Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan:
I confess, picked this up just for this flashy cover (marketing works!) and it promised (?) to uncover the mind of people we call ABCD!

This is a novel revolves around 3 daughters (born and brought up in USA) and their mothers. Their story(ies) of battles and compromises against their conscious, tradition, people around them and most of all with the people they love.
It also contains good recpices. Just like our culture, its food (with the right amount of spieces) that we Indians treasure.
The beautiful part I liked about the book along with recipes and stories was how each character is given a chance to express thier story (creating home away from home, building new relationships while trying to preserve the old ones).

But it was irritating to read subtle things like explainations on what ‘Ganesha’ is or what ‘Bindi’ means. Guess, the book was meant for global readers.
But the abrupt end does not do any justice to the book, unless
Monica is planning to write a Part2!

2. Almond Eyes Louts Feet:Indian Traditions in Beauty and Health by by Sharanda Dwivedi and Shalini Devi Holkar.
I passed this book the first time when it was displayed on the rack last week since the summary said it was mostly about beauty rituals followed in India.
However, curiosity overpowered me this week and before I knew it was on my nightstand.

The book is more than Mulanti-mitti face packs and papaya-mint tea.

It starts off with introduction of our storyteller who is a child-bride (which is still rampant in rural India, but somehow shocking to digest when seen in print!) who is being prepared for the wedding. But she is also a Rajput princess, so there are more customsthe tradition has heaved upon her. After the joy of wedding story takes us to life at the in-laws place (imagine having three mil’s but forntualely as she puts it—it’s a Palace!) .

The book captures all those beauty traditions which are orally passed onto to us---the sunday morning oil bath ritual; taking tulsi water everyday after its pooja; home remedies for cold/cough like drinking tumeric and black pepper with milk; neem leaves and cloves for tooth ache emergines; cream of milk with turmeric for winter skin;.........list goes on!

I especially enjoyed reading about her later part of life (after marriage and three children)—it was just the Sex and City but different circumstances and a different place!
Women need to socialize, to talk about their troubles, seek advice and ofcourse gossip. So instead of trendiest place in New York City, we are given a peek into harems; where ladies indulge in taking care of themselves and TALK!

And oh..I liked few of the pictures in the book; especially the old Lux, Pears ad posters and oblivious the gold, silver antiques!

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