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Interpreter of Maladies 


In the realm of literature, there are stories that entertain, stories that inspire, and then there are stories that do something more—they resonate with our everyday experiences, illuminating the profound within the ordinary. Jhumpa Lahiri’s book, ‘The Interpreter of Maladies,’ is a literary gem that belongs to this latter category. Published in late 1999, this collection of short stories weaves a tapestry of emotions, relationships, and human struggles, offering readers a glimpse into the lives of characters who may seem ordinary but leave an indelible mark.

The Emigrant Experience

Lahiri, known for her exquisite prose and keen observation, delves into the lives of people who have emigrated from West Bengal, India, to foreign lands. One particularly poignant story takes place during the India-Bangladesh war, offering a heart-wrenching portrayal of people caught in the throes of conflict. Through this narrative, Lahiri masterfully explores the complexities of identity, belonging, and the enduring bonds of shared culture and language.

The Child’s Perspective

One of the most touching stories in the collection revolves around a child’s perspective on a seemingly ordinary neighbor. As the child befriends an elderly man who brings candies, a heartwarming bond forms. However, as the grown-ups’ conversations turn serious, the child discovers that the neighbor, despite being from Bangladesh, shares customs and traditions with their Indian family. This revelation challenges the child’s perception of foreigners and underscores the power of shared humanity even in foreign lands.

The Human Connection

Lahiri’s stories are a testament to the enduring strength of human connection. They depict the integrity between Indian and Bangladeshi families in a foreign land, highlighting the emotional struggles of those living far from their loved ones. The child’s innocent prayers for the elderly neighbor’s family convey the deep empathy that transcends boundaries.

Westernization and Its Impact

One of the stories in ‘The Interpreter of Maladies’ explores the impact of westernization on the lives of ordinary people in Kolkata. It portrays a woman who, left with no place to stay, becomes an apartment building’s caretaker. Her job primarily involves cleaning the stairs, but her life takes an unexpected turn when tensions among the residents escalate due to the introduction of a new wash basin. Lahiri’s narrative paints a vivid picture of the uncertain lives of people we encounter daily and emphasizes the importance of compassion and humanity.

Modernization’s Consequences

The book also delves into the consequences of modernization and the displacement of labor. It sheds light on how machines have replaced people, resulting in job losses and the erosion of traditional livelihoods. The impact of television on human relationships is explored, particularly in the context of domestic helpers.

Family and Solitude

Through various stories, Lahiri underscores the themes of family, solitude, and the essential role of human connections. The book includes narratives that beautifully depict the struggles of individuals who live abroad, away from their homeland and families. It captures the inherent human need for family support and connection, even in the face of solitude and foreign landscapes.

Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘The Interpreter of Maladies’ is a literary masterpiece that captures the essence of ordinary lives in an extraordinary way. It celebrates the intricacies of human relationships, the impact of cultural displacement, and the enduring bonds that connect us all. As readers, we find ourselves empathizing with the characters and their journeys, discovering that the ordinary can be profoundly moving. This collection serves as a reminder that in the tapestry of life, it is the threads of everyday experiences that often leave the deepest impressions.

If you haven’t already experienced the magic of Jhumpa Lahiri’s storytelling, ‘The Interpreter of Maladies’ is a compelling read that invites you to explore the rich tapestry of humanity and the profound connections that bind us all. So, why not embark on this literary journey and discover the extraordinary within the ordinary?

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Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho 


As the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, and the world welcomes the promise of a new year, there’s a palpable sense of joy and celebration in the air. It’s a time for reflection, hope, and setting new intentions for the future. In such moments of celebration, the choice of music can profoundly impact the mood. However, imagine someone playing the song ‘Nee paartha paarvaikkoru Nandri’ amid this jubilation. It might seem out of sync, much like reading a book without being in the right frame of mind. Paulo Coelho’s ‘Like the Flowing River’ is one such book that demands the reader’s emotional resonance and receptivity.

A Unique Journey:

‘Like the Flowing River’ is not a typical novel with a linear storyline. Instead, it offers a collection of narrations about entrancing events and bewildering incidents that occurred during Paulo Coelho’s life journey. It’s akin to a personal podcast episode, much like the author’s ‘Rough Note’ series on Spotify, where he shares moments of amazement from his life.

Life’s Parallels in Gardening:

Throughout the book, Coelho draws intriguing parallels between life and gardening. He highlights the importance of weeding out unwanted influences, similar to how we remove weeds to keep our plants healthy. He emphasizes the resilience of weeds, which have also undertaken journeys to reach where they are. This analogy prompts readers to contemplate life’s purpose, journeys, and how they treat both.

Emotional Connection through Markings:

For those who lend their books to others, the presence of highlighted passages, notes, or personal touches can create a special connection between the reader and the author. Coelho expresses his thoughts on readers and the admiration he has for the books he encounters in libraries. This connection transcends time, allowing future readers to feel a sense of intimacy with those who have come before.

Reflections on Life’s Uncertainties:

Coelho delves into the uncertainty of life using everyday examples like seeing oneself in a mirror, retracing the streets walked, and recalling books read. His parables evoke a sense of wonder and introspection, making readers pause to ponder the complexities of existence.

Personal Connection and Acts of Kindness:

The book also explores the emotional impact of seemingly insignificant actions. A forgotten piece of trash by the roadside leads the author on a journey to correct his minor lapse, highlighting the satisfaction that comes from fulfilling long-held intentions.

Traveller’s Insights:

‘Like the Flowing River’ is more than just a collection of anecdotes. Coelho offers valuable insights for travel enthusiasts. He advises against solely visiting museums and instead encourages engaging with the present and connecting with locals. He advocates for immersing oneself in a new culture, language, and people, shedding the baggage of the past and detaching from social media. He also emphasizes the importance of seeking out authentic experiences and interacting with the people who call a place home.

In a world where we are constantly rushing from one task to another, Paulo Coelho’s ‘Like the Flowing River’ serves as a reminder to pause, reflect, and appreciate life’s small but profound moments. This book may not resonate with everyone, but for those in the mood for self-reflection, travel inspiration, and a deeper connection with the world around them, it is a treasure trove of wisdom and inspiration.

So, as you prepare for your next journey or find yourself in a contemplative mood, consider picking up ‘Like the Flowing River’ and let Paulo Coelho’s words carry you on a unique voyage of self-discovery and inspiration. After all, as Coelho himself suggests, some books are best enjoyed when you are in the right phase of your life to fully connect with their message.

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Wise and Otherwise


In a world filled with stories of ambition, success, and fame, there are often those hidden narratives that touch our hearts, reminding us of the essence of humanity. “Wise and Otherwise,” a book by Sudha Murty, is a collection of narratives that shed light on the beauty of compassion, kindness, and the power of education. Through these anecdotes, Sudha Murty takes us on a heartfelt journey, intertwining her own experiences with those she encountered along the way. This article delves into the touching stories and lessons from “Wise and Otherwise” and explores the profound impact of these tales.

  1. The Power of Education: One of the central themes of Sudha Murty’s book is the transformative power of education. She eloquently narrates how her own father overcame significant obstacles to ensure she received a proper education. Her journey from a small-town girl to a merit student at a prestigious college is a testament to the sacrifices made by her parents. The book serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of education in breaking the cycle of poverty and providing individuals with opportunities for a better future.
  2. Acts of Compassion: Sudha Murty’s book is filled with stories of compassion and selflessness. One particular tale highlights the generosity of a stationery shop owner who, despite facing financial hardships himself, chose to help his sister in her time of need. This act of kindness resonates deeply, emphasizing that even in the face of adversity, people can find the strength to help others. Sudha Murty’s own decision to assist this man financially underscores the ripple effect of compassion.
  3. The Value of Grace: Another insightful lesson from “Wise and Otherwise” is the importance of gracefully accepting help and acknowledging the kindness of others. Sudha Murty recounts a story involving a tribal community that insisted on giving her a gift in return for her assistance. This simple yet powerful gesture illustrates the reciprocity of grace and how receiving help can be as meaningful as giving it. In a world often focused on individualism, this narrative encourages us to embrace the beauty of mutual support.
  4. Standing Up for Justice: The book also features stories where individuals stood up for justice, regardless of the consequences. A brave nurse’s refusal to compromise on patient safety during surgery is a striking example. Sudha Murty emphasizes that speaking out against injustice, regardless of the other person’s influence, is a moral imperative. This message serves as a reminder that our actions can have a profound impact, even in the face of adversity.

“Wise and Otherwise” by Sudha Murty is a compelling collection of stories that celebrate the human spirit’s resilience, compassion, and quest for justice. Through her poignant narratives, Sudha Murty invites readers to reflect on the significance of education, kindness, and the courage to stand up for what is right. In a world that can often seem chaotic and self-centred, this book serves as a poignant reminder that acts of goodness and empathy can change lives and inspire us all to be better, kinder, and wiser human beings. It encourages us to be wise in our actions and embrace the beauty of grace, compassion, and justice in our own lives.

In a time when the world often focuses on the rapid pace of technological advancement and material pursuits, “Wise and Otherwise” provides a refreshing perspective on what truly matters in life: our connections with one another and the impact of our actions. Sudha Murty’s narratives resonate with readers of all backgrounds, transcending cultural boundaries and reminding us that the essence of humanity lies in our capacity for empathy and selflessness. This book is a heartfelt testament to the idea that every individual, regardless of their circumstances, has the potential to make a positive difference in the world. “Wise and Otherwise” encourages us not only to appreciate the wisdom in these stories but also to apply these valuable lessons in our own lives, fostering a more compassionate and just society for future generations.