Monday, January 03, 2005

Simult. reading again, and bhagidari

On to something more serious (I know, I know, anything would be): I’m Stressed, again. Just when I thought I’d finally got around to Reading For Pleasure, I’ve had to put aside Pamuk’s Snow again; now have two new books to get through fast, because I’m meeting both authors for profiles. I’m around halfway through each book; some quick observations:

Rana Dasgupta’s Tokyo Cancelled: 13 stories, set in different places, and told by a group of passengers stranded at an airport. Absorbing, full of good ideas, very well written for the most part, but so far I find the linking device tenuous and forced (unless there’s some grand thematic connection that emerges at the end, this could, with much less fuss, have simply been a book of short stories). Let’s see how it turns out.

Swati Kaushal’s Piece of Cake: from the chick-lit genre (though I find that classification a bit lazy). Wasn’t expecting much but have been pleasantly surprised so far by the facility of the writing, and the jibes at the advertising world are very funny; there’s definite natural talent here.

So back in Simultaneous Reading Mode: there’s Snow, Piece of Cake, Tokyo Cancelled and, uh, Six Years of Changing Delhi: A Working Report by the Delhi Government. The last needs some explanation. I’m working on what threatens to be a larger-than-life story on the grand plans for turning Delhi into a Megapolis – roadworks and flyovers, increased gas and water supply, building schemes. Etc Etc. Hence this 70-page booklet with its diarrhoea of words like "consolidation", "development" and "bhagidari".

My immediate boss thinks this story should be right up my street (he was reading my blog around the time of the plagiarism flare-up, and maybe he saw some of my musings on the changing face of Delhi – flyovers and so on) but I haven’t been able to cobble together much enthusiasm so far. That’s partly because of a disgruntling visit to the New Secretariat the other day, where I was first chewed up by red tape and then unceremoniously disgorged, with only the aforementioned booklet to show for my pains.

Anyway, hope things improve. Will report on that, and on Rana D and Swati K, later.

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