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6 January 2008

Best of Just Books

It was the logo that caught my attention when it was launched and the first episode was aired.

The spectacle frame forming the double 'o' in the word books was simply unusual. I did find the programme engaging but somewhere along the way lost interest as it seemed sometimes really good- sometimes average and I could never know what to expect. But it filled a gap and still is, I think, one of its kind. I do not think there is any other book oriented show on any other channel. So, channel surfing, when I caught the 2007 round-up of Just Books on NDTV , I think it was almost over. But I paused as it was showing celebrities discussing their book collections and favorite books.

They were women celebrities, so I was even more interested and it was simply too good to have first of all Lola Kutty discuss how the Malayalam Manorama is her favorite book. I simbly love Lola Kutty you see. If there is a DVD of her programme, I will buy the entire set, as she is one who has greatly entertained and educated me. In this clip, after educating us on her choice of Malayalam Manorama, she went on to say why she does not read John Grisham, 'Why does that man write a novel when anyway it will be made into a fillim? He should write screen play directly no?'. Yes indeed. Whatever you say ma'am.

From Lola kutty to Vandana Shiva, the environment activist. Dr. Shiva pulled the three books that she wanted to highlight including World is Flat, and 'Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid' which got her acerbic comment about how the farmers suicides happen because they borrowed beyond their means to purchase costly seeds and fertilizers. I had not heard this perspective before so it was a 'wrinkled brow' moment for me.

Kiran Bedi displayed her collection of books and audio books/tapes/CDs on topics of philosophy. After all, Kiran Bedi did introduce the Vipasanna meditation in Prisons as part of the prison reform programme.

Just as I was settling down to enjoy some more, horror - it went on to politicians and though my better judgement wanted to change channels, it was only a few minutes so I sat through Montek Singh A, Jairam Ramesh and Renuka Chowdhury. I was not happy with myself. I broke my self set rule when it comes to politicians. Ignore them. Or pay attention to them at your own peril.

It then had a round up of eminent authors, one of whom was Paulo Coelho. When the anchor gushed, nine out of ten people have read The Alchemist, I grimaced. The odd one out/minority label pinched. The author spoke about how he is very keen to visit India. 'Not for just one week though , as my publisher would like me to do. I wish to stay for a month at least and get to know India deeper', he said. Yes, I thought to myself. The world famous author of topics to do with mysticism so enamoured like many others about our spiritual heritage- we should really show him the 'real' India. Maybe he should stay at the JW Marriot in Mumbai. We could put up a sign and make it an 'Incredible India" tourist spot. Molestation Point. (Like Echo Point, Sunset Point and such?)

Changing channels got me-Best of Big Fight- another NDTV prog, of which I caught - one, are we a racist country? which kept discussing fair and lovely cream ( ! ) and another on women empowerment and a debate/discussion on item numbers with Rakhi Sawant, Shaina Chudasama, Diya mirza et al. I remembered I had seen it earlier so I decided it was time to call it a day.

I wish I see more of Lola Kutty on TV this year. But please, not Upen Patel as her guest.

P.S. Just as I am about to click the 'publish' button here, my cell phone beeps. I almost fall off my chair- it is a SMS from the Muncipal Commissioner of Mumbai with a message, Clean up Mumbai. But I didn't fall of my chair cos a new mass sms campaign seems to be flavour of the season. Last week, I received one from Aamir Khan inviting me (?) for TZP special pass/contest or such. I wonder, what sms next? Do go for the late night party. Mumbai is safe for women. From Citizens Group Forum/Police Commissioner? As 'Under Honey's hat' from HT would say, Life is such Dearies.

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