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First Published: Sat, Feb 02 2008. 12 31 AM IST

Updated: Sat, Feb 02 2008. 12 31 AM IST
The Indian Family in Transition; Edited by Sanjukta Dasgupta and Malashri Lal; Pages 380; Price Rs650; Sage Publications
We all know that the Indian family is in transition and has been so ever since women began to have a stronger say in society, politics and their own families. While anthropological data provides sufficient pointers, an attempt to use cultural and literary representations adds an interesting element to this process.
The book provides an authentic account of the way the Indian family has evolved from colonial times to the modern period.
The feminist critiques that track vulnerabilities of women and the perspectives on women’s changing role in the Indian familial context are easily relatable. It is this relevance that makes it an absorbing read even for the non researcher, scholar or student of gender studies.
There are detailed accounts that provide insights into the Indian family structure, both in India and abroad; within the urban and rural milieu along with specific patterns that might prevail in certain communities.
Using plays, books, cinema, folk theatre and poetry to peel off layers from the archetypal Indian family, there are contributions from a host of writers, and while much of it is an updated version from earlier volumes, there is a good amount of fresh writing. The concluding piece is an interview with Amartaya Sen.
Ram Kumar, the Face and other Stories; Pages 282; Price Rs300; Vadhera Art Gallery
Ram Kumar the painter turning into a short story writer comes with the bonus of his pencil sketches that are liberally peppered through the 12 short stories.
Ably translated from Hindi by accomplished writers, the tales are simple and very Indian. This is not his first attempt at writing. The artist from Shimla, wrote his first novel, Ghar Bane Ghar Toote post partition in 1953 and has had eight collections of short stories to his credit.
Much like his art, the stories too seek inspiration from the small things that inhabit his world or the big events that shape his world view. Sensitive and expressive, his writings reflect an honesty that can come only to an artist, who can effortlessly take you on an inward journey - his as well as your own.
Based essentially on the fraility of human relationships, the themes of his stories touch upon nameless spaces between tradition and modernity, convention and rebellion, desire and defeat.
The Power of Humour at the Workplace; By K Sathyanarayana; Pages 283; PriceRs295; Sage Publications
To have an Indian writing on humour and that too at the workplace is a sign that amplifies the changing dynamics of our office spaces.
Using jokes and anecdotes to highlight a skill that can be acquired, the author builds a case for using humour to enhance productivity, ease stressful situations, motivate people, resolve issues and interestingly to provide perspective and context to critical discussions.
It scores in the fact that it draws even the non reader into a friendly dialogue, helping you to see similar situations, providing options and helping you gauge your own individual style. The fonts and illustrations are easy on the eye.
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First Published: Sat, Feb 02 2008. 12 31 AM IST