Night Train Sounds
What's the best smell, asked Intelligent Life (from The Economist stable). And author and journalist Ian Jack, whose new collection of essays, Mofussil Junction, Indian Encounters 1977-2012, is just out, wrote: "My historical favourites would include Indian railway junctions 30-odd years ago.... Coal smoke, engine oil, sweet milky tea, cooking fires made from dried cowpats...." Now, this has got the twitterati all abuzz. The only smell nowadays on Indian railway stations is urine, shit, vomit, alcohol, drugs is one comment. "The Ian Jack award for the most backward-looking column about India goes to..." tweets Mihir Sharma. Well, it's a lot of buzz for an article Jack wrote about 30 years ago.
The master blaster's magic endures. Sachin Tendulkar released Yuvraj Singh's book The Test of My Life: From Cricket to Cancer and Back. Normally for sports book releases the publisher would plead with critics and books editors to please, please come. But this one was jam-packed. In fact, if someone asked Random House if it was ok to bring a friend along, came their terse reply: we are a bit pushed on numbers, could you come alone?
Dancing With Dahs
Great honour for India's venerable travel writing couple Hugh and Colleen Gantzer. Their two travel books, The Alluring North and The Vibrant West, got the national tourism award for excellence from President Pranab Mukherjee. They're part of a series by Niyogi Books called Intriguing India—The Historic South and The Colourful East are the other two. Who were the gods who danced with the Dahs in Ladakh? Why were Ajanta caves carved? Where did the warrior Nagas come from? It's all there in the books.