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Monday, May 19, 2014

Leela's Book by Alice Albinia: First Page Mondays


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I know it's been ages I updated the first page part on Mondays.....very bad of me but I was really really swamped with work and two kids (one a newly crawling infant) and lots of stuff at home!

So, without wasting any more time, here is the first page from this very interesting book called Leela's Book by Alice Albinia. If the cover looks like something of a religious book, let me tell you it isn't. Instead, it is a great spin on Indian mythology and modern day.....very very interesting storytelling I must say!

So, here it is:

'o elephant-headed god, son of lord shiva and parvati, scribe who wrote down the mahabharata from the seer vyasa's dictation: lord ganesh, look favourably on this endeavour.'

professor ved vyasa chaturvedi paused, looked out across his audience, and smiled. 'the god invoked at the start of all compositions. what better way to begin?'


 a ripple of laughter, fruity and indulgent, washed pleasantly through the room - and vyasa knew at once that the audience was going to give him an easy time. at home, in india, he was equally familiar with adulation and denigration. his work was always coming under attack - from apoplectic hindus, jealous colleagues, upstart young students, all of whom fired darts that fell harmlessly from him, as if he was bhishma, invincible warrior of the mahabharata. it was just such a missile - an egg, splatting against vyasa's shoulder, leaving its bright trickle of photogenic yellow down his starched white kurta - that had first put his face on the front of every delhi newspaper, and first linked his name with iconoclasm and controversy.

 but these people - these coiffed and pressed, impeccably opinionated, yet traumatised new yorkers - were not going to put up their hands at the end of his talk and ask complicated questions.........'


- Debolina Raja Gupta