Books of the Month: May 2016


Feasts and Fasts

A History of Food in India

Colleen Taylor Sen


House Spirit

Drinking in India–Stories, Essays, Poems

Palash Krishna Mehrotra (ed.)

ISBN: 9789385755347 | Price: ₹699


ISBN: 9789385755910 | Price: ₹399

Also available as e-Book: 9789385755934

‘A fascinating book about the subcontinent’s culinary and gastronomic heritage—from the Indus Valley civilization to the modern day. It overturns many of our most commonly held beliefs about Indian food and, indeed, Indian history.’

—Vir Sanghvi

India has always been part of the global economy. For thousands of years, the subcontinent was the centre of a vast network of land and sea trade routes—conduits for plants, ingredients, dishes and cooking techniques to and from the rest of the world. Today, Indian food in its many incarnations has become a world cuisine.

Yet what is it that makes Indian food so recognizably Indian, and how did it get that way? Feasts and Fasts: A History of Food in India is an exploration of Indian cuisine in the context of the country’s religious, moral, social and philosophical development. It addresses topics such as dietary prescriptions and proscriptions, the origins of vegetarianism, culinary borrowings and innovations, the use of spices and the inseparable links between diet, health and medicine. It also looks at special foods for festivals, street foods and the splendour of Mughal feasts. This lavishly illustrated book gives a mouth-watering tour of India’s regional cuisines, containing numerous recipes to interest and excite readers.


In this one-of-a-kind anthology, Indrajit Hazra introduces you to booze jabberwocky in an essay brimming over with linguistic playfulness; Sidharth Bhatia writes about drinking in Hindi cinema—from ‘permit rooms’ and Prem Chopra’s close relationship with Vat 69, to Honey Singh and Deepika Padukone’s Cocktail, while Sandip Roy mulls over India’s enduring obsession with whisky—has anything changed?

Gautam Bhatia’s haunting story about a father’s hidden alcoholism and Vijay Nambisan’s painfully honest account about being in rehab take one to the darker sides of drinking; while in a lighter vein, Jairaj Singh talks about drinking in 4S, the legendary bar in Delhi’s ‘Def Col’, Kanika Gahlaut is in confessional mode about her drinking days, and Manohar Shetty writes about quitting feni. Palash Mehrotra says ‘eff off, single malt snobs’ as he takes you on a tour of cheap whisky brands, and Soumya Bhattacharya tells you all about drinking in Prohibition Gujarat. Hang out in the country liquor bars of Colaba with poet Adil Jussawalla, drink at a Bangalore highway bar with Zac O’Yeah, or attend a party with the teetotalling Amit Chaudhuri.

All this and more in a collection of thirty-one essays, stories and poems that you will savour to the last drop.


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ISBN: 9789385755941

Price: ₹299

Also available as e-Book: 9789385755989


A Little Book of Happiness

Ruskin Bond

‘To find happiness, look halfway between too little and too much.’

—Ruskin Bond

• Why be happy and how, and why not to worry if you think you are not.

• Why it is easy to be happy, and how you can miss happiness even if it stands before you.

• How a bird can fill you with joy and how a stranger’s smile can soothe you.

• Why happiness may not even be the word for what we really need.

India’s beloved sage and writer brings together his own pithy observations and those by artists and thinkers he admires in this beautiful little anthology. A Little Book of Happiness is a miscellany for all seasons, one to cherish and to share.

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ISBN: 9789385755835

Price: ₹299

Also available as e-Book: 9789385755842



Made in Singapore, Destroyed in Dubai

Kavita Daswani

A dazzling, high-octane story that will entertain and enlighten you.

‘The illicit yet profoundly alluring business of counterfeit was a bit like carrying on an extramarital affair: the underhandedness of it all was thrilling.’

Anil Raichand was once the kind of man you might see in the pages of your favourite society magazine—the handsome high-flying industrialist with the rich father, the Ferrari, the clubs, the cigars and the secret peccadilloes. At twenty-six he was society’s most soughtafter bachelor. Educated, charismatic and heir to his father’s wealth, Anil decided he needed two things: to become a business tycoon in his own right by any means, and the perfect wife to help him get there.

But, nearly fifty, Anil looks back at a devastated business empire, a pulverized marriage, an estranged daughter and embittered parents. He pushed himself to amass fabulous wealth but found everything crumbling around him. And now he is compelled to confront the cost of his ambition even as he desperately holds on to the memory of a woman he once turned his back on.

Unfolding over four decades—from Anil’s boyhood in Singapore, his foray into the Bombay marriage market, falling in love with the wrong woman in Hong Kong, to his meteoric rise and fall in Dubai—Kingpin is a dazzling, high-octane story that will entertain and enlighten you.

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ISBN: 9789385755699

Price: ₹499



Empire of Tea

The Asian Leaf that Conquered the World

Markman Ellis, Richard Coulton and Matthew Mauger

Tea has a rich and well-documented past. The beverage originated in Asia long before making its way to seventeenth-century London, where it became an exotic, highly sought-after commodity. Over the subsequent two centuries, tea’s powerful psychoactive properties seduced British society, and it became popular across the nation from castle to cottage. Now the world’s most popular drink after water, tea was one of the first truly global products to find a mass market, with tea-drinking now stereotypically associated with British identity.

Imported by the East India Company in increasing quantities across the eighteenth century, tea inaugurated the first regular exchange between China and Britain, both commercial and cultural. While European scientists struggled to make sense of its natural history and medicinal properties, the delicate flavour profile and hot preparation of tea inspired poets, artists and satirists.

Becoming central to everyday life, tea was embroiled in controversy, from the gossip of the domestic tea table to the civil disorder occasioned by smuggling, and from the political scandal of the Boston Tea Party to the violent conflict of the Anglo-Chinese Opium War. Such stories shaped the contexts for the imperial tea industry that later developed across India and Sri Lanka.

Empire of Tea is based on extensive original research, providing a rich cultural history that explores how the British ‘way of tea’ became the norm across the erstwhile British Empire.

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