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Tamarind City: Where Modern India Began (English)

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Language: English
Length: 344 Pages
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Tamarind City: Where Modern India Began (English) By GHOSH BISHWANATH
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Tamarind City: Where Modern India Began (English) (Paperback) Price: Rs.170

?While in other big cities tradition stays mothballed in trunks, taken out only during festivals and weddings, tradition here is worn round the year.?

This is just one of the author?s many keen observations of Chennai. With mordant wit, this biography of a city spares neither half of its split-personality: from moody, magical Madras to bursting-at-the-seams, tech-savvy Chennai. And, a minute into the book, the reader knows they are inseparable-and Bishwanath Ghosh refuses to take sides.

And yet, he tells us, while Chennai is usually known as conservative and orthodox, almost every modern institution in India-from the army to the judiciary, from medicine to engineering-traces its roots to Madras?s Fort St George, which was built when Delhi had only just become the capital of the Mughal Empire, and Calcutta and Bombay weren?t even born. Today, the city once again figures prominently on the global map as ?India?s Detroit?, a manufacturing giant, and a hub of medical tourism. There have been sweeping changes since pre-Independent India, but even as Chennai embraces change, its people hold its age-old customs and traditions close to their heart. ?This is what makes Chennai unique,? says Ghosh, ?the marriage of tradition and technology?.

Bishwanath Ghosh wears a reporter?s cap and explores the city he has made his home, delving into its past, roaming its historic sites and neighbourhoods, and meeting a wide variety of people-from a top vocalist to a top sexologist, from a yoga teacher to a hip transsexual, from a yesteryear film star to his own eighty-five-year-old neighbour, from the ghosts of Clive, Wellesley, Hastings and Yale to those of Periyar and MGR, two people who redefined the political skyline of Tamil Nadu.

What emerges is an evocative portrait of this unique city, drawn without reservation-sometimes with humour, sometimes with irony-but always with love.

About the Author
Bishwanath Ghosh was born on 26 December 1970 in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, where he began his career as a journalist before moving to New Delhi to work with Press Trust of India and The Asian Age. In 2001 he relocated to Chennai where he spent seven years at The New Sunday Express and three at The Times of India. He is currently a deputy editor with The Hindu. In 2009 he wrote the bestselling travel book, Chai, Chai: Travels in Places Where You Stop But Never Get Off, also published by Tranquebar.

Specifications of Tamarind City: Where Modern India Began (English) (Paperback)

Contributors
Author GHOSH BISHWANATH
Book Details
Publisher Tranquebar
Publication Year 2012
ISBN-13 9789381626337
ISBN-10 9381626337
Language English
Binding Paperback
Number of Pages 344 Pages
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Book Reviews of Tamarind City: Where Modern India Began (English)

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TOP REVIEWS View All Top Reviews (10)

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★★★★★
★★★★★
16 May 2012
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certified buyer
A Treat!

I like Bishwanath Ghosh for 2 reasons ??? his writing is simple and straight from the heart- he does not pretend to be someone else and never tries to impress with complex words or ornamental sentences. That said, there is always a touch of poignancy in his observations that do not preach, but leave the reader with questions to ponder over.

As someone who has enjoyed his columns in newspapers immensely, I found 'Tamarind City' a treat ??? almost visual, as Bishwanath paints Chennai in varied colours - tracing its history, delving into it???s heritage, interviewing celebrities from vario...
()

I like Bishwanath Ghosh for 2 reasons ??? his writing is simple and straight from the heart- he does not pretend to be someone else and never tries to impress with complex words or ornamental sentences. That said, there is always a touch of poignancy in his observations that do not preach, but leave the reader with questions to ponder over.

As someone who has enjoyed his columns in newspapers immensely, I found 'Tamarind City' a treat ??? almost visual, as Bishwanath paints Chennai in varied colours - tracing its history, delving into it???s heritage, interviewing celebrities from vario...
I like Bishwanath Ghosh for 2 reasons ??? his writing is simple and straight from the heart- he does not pretend to be someone else and never tries to impress with complex words or ornamental sentences. That said, there is always a touch of poignancy in his observations that do not preach, but leave the reader with questions to ponder over.

As someone who has enjoyed his columns in newspapers immensely, I found 'Tamarind City' a treat ??? almost visual, as Bishwanath paints Chennai in varied colours - tracing its history, delving into it???s heritage, interviewing celebrities from various fields, chatting with people like you and me, wandering it???s streets, visiting landmarks ??? some known and others forgotten, taking a peek into the Brahmin culture and psyche, ambling on the Marina, eating at Ratna Cafe, even listening to a kutchery.

When most of us move into a new city for greener pastures and brighter prospects or due to domestic compulsions, it is fascinating to learn the reasons for Bishwanath???s move to Chennai from Delhi ??? to a place where he neither knew the language nor had family.

'Tamarind City' has many snippets that are surprising even for long term residents of Chennai. When we have lived in a city most of our lives, speaking the local language, we take many things for granted ??? we seldom observe, question or analyse. That???s what dawned on me when I read the book ??? that we Tamilians balance tradition and technology, culture and modernity unconsciously, as if it were the most natural thing to do!

The fact that Bishwanath never once adopts a condescending tone and understands the Tamil psyche for what it really is, makes the book immensely appealing. When you put down the book, you can???t help feeling that you have got to know Chennai better through a man you just met, who has endeared himself to you with his genuine interest, healthy curiosity and amazing candour.



1 of 1 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
18 Apr 2012
first to review
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Bringing a city to life

One would expect a book such as this to cater to a very select audience, because books on a particular city either end up doing a deep dive into the history and geography of the place, or take us on a picture postcard tour across the ???places to see???, functioning as virtual tour guide.

In Tamarind City too, there is history ??? lots of it, there is politics, there is religion, there is tradition, and of course, something that Chennai would be incomplete without ??? Movies. What makes Tamarind City different is that Chennai is treated like a person who grows and matures, and changes over...
()

One would expect a book such as this to cater to a very select audience, because books on a particular city either end up doing a deep dive into the history and geography of the place, or take us on a picture postcard tour across the ???places to see???, functioning as virtual tour guide.

In Tamarind City too, there is history ??? lots of it, there is politics, there is religion, there is tradition, and of course, something that Chennai would be incomplete without ??? Movies. What makes Tamarind City different is that Chennai is treated like a person who grows and matures, and changes over...
One would expect a book such as this to cater to a very select audience, because books on a particular city either end up doing a deep dive into the history and geography of the place, or take us on a picture postcard tour across the ???places to see???, functioning as virtual tour guide.

In Tamarind City too, there is history ??? lots of it, there is politics, there is religion, there is tradition, and of course, something that Chennai would be incomplete without ??? Movies. What makes Tamarind City different is that Chennai is treated like a person who grows and matures, and changes over time. One does not see the city through Bishwanath Ghosh???s eyes alone, but also through the eyes of many people, some famous, other not, who have seen the city grow, and transform into what it is today.

I like history, although my school curriculum and history teachers tried their best to make me hate it. I have always used the example of Manohar Malogonkar???s historical books as an example of how history can be made fascinating and exciting. I can now add Tamarind City to the list. Mind you, this is not a historical novel in the classic sense, because history here is used more like a flashback in a movie to connect to the present day events and places.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable read, because you can see Chennai as it is today, and also what forces worked (and are still working) to make it as it is.

1 of 1 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
26 Jun 2014
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certified buyer
keeps you hooked!

travel writing is surely an interesting genre!
having read Maximum city by Suketu Mehta earlier [ which was about mumbai]....i was intrigued by the title of this book!
and i have no regrets picking it up!
a thoroughly interesting read that keeps you hooked without any boring lines! though I've been to Chennai only a couple of times- reading this book made Chennai a really interesting city for me now!
Ghosh is certainly a terrific writer- the way he described the city with different adjectives at different times is interesting!
next time i visit Chennai i'm surely going to look at it from...
()

travel writing is surely an interesting genre!
having read Maximum city by Suketu Mehta earlier [ which was about mumbai]....i was intrigued by the title of this book!
and i have no regrets picking it up!
a thoroughly interesting read that keeps you hooked without any boring lines! though I've been to Chennai only a couple of times- reading this book made Chennai a really interesting city for me now!
Ghosh is certainly a terrific writer- the way he described the city with different adjectives at different times is interesting!
next time i visit Chennai i'm surely going to look at it from...
travel writing is surely an interesting genre!
having read Maximum city by Suketu Mehta earlier [ which was about mumbai]....i was intrigued by the title of this book!
and i have no regrets picking it up!
a thoroughly interesting read that keeps you hooked without any boring lines! though I've been to Chennai only a couple of times- reading this book made Chennai a really interesting city for me now!
Ghosh is certainly a terrific writer- the way he described the city with different adjectives at different times is interesting!
next time i visit Chennai i'm surely going to look at it from a different point of view!
do pick it up if u want to have a different reading experience!

0 of 0 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
29 Jan 2014
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
Great Read

This book provided a good insight about Chennai and its rich history. Loved the narrative style and the layout of the book. Looking forward to reading more works of this author.

0 of 0 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
26 Jan 2013
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
Not a Travel Guide!

A very nicely written book. The book talks about Chennai and its evolution and its philosophy, and also about eminent personalities of Madras upbringing.
Art, Culture, Music, Movies, Food, Technology, Healthcare, Education, Economy, Politics, Romance and Sex all are given proportionate weight-age and written in a brilliant manner to get me thinking..whoa Chennai does stand for this...and pretty more...
The author takes the readers through a journey of his life in Chennai, thereby, subtly introducing facts about Life in Madras ...and thereby successfully beseeches the curiosity in me to come...
()

A very nicely written book. The book talks about Chennai and its evolution and its philosophy, and also about eminent personalities of Madras upbringing.
Art, Culture, Music, Movies, Food, Technology, Healthcare, Education, Economy, Politics, Romance and Sex all are given proportionate weight-age and written in a brilliant manner to get me thinking..whoa Chennai does stand for this...and pretty more...
The author takes the readers through a journey of his life in Chennai, thereby, subtly introducing facts about Life in Madras ...and thereby successfully beseeches the curiosity in me to come...
A very nicely written book. The book talks about Chennai and its evolution and its philosophy, and also about eminent personalities of Madras upbringing.
Art, Culture, Music, Movies, Food, Technology, Healthcare, Education, Economy, Politics, Romance and Sex all are given proportionate weight-age and written in a brilliant manner to get me thinking..whoa Chennai does stand for this...and pretty more...
The author takes the readers through a journey of his life in Chennai, thereby, subtly introducing facts about Life in Madras ...and thereby successfully beseeches the curiosity in me to come out and think hard about what I have been missing-having lived so many years in Chennai-and not knowing what it stands for.
Not a travel guide surely!

0 of 0 users found this review helpful.

Recent Top Reviews

View all
★★★★★
★★★★★
26 Jun 2014
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
keeps you hooked!

travel writing is surely an interesting genre!
having read Maximum city by Suketu Mehta earlier [ which was about mumbai]....i was intrigued by the title of this book!
and i have no regrets picking it up!
a thoroughly interesting read that keeps you hooked without any boring lines! though I've b...
(View complete review)

★★★★★
★★★★★
29 Jan 2014
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
Great Read

This book provided a good insight about Chennai and its rich history. Loved the narrative style and the layout of the book. Looking forward to reading more works of this author. (View complete review)

★★★★★
★★★★★
26 Jan 2013
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
Not a Travel Guide!

A very nicely written book. The book talks about Chennai and its evolution and its philosophy, and also about eminent personalities of Madras upbringing.
Art, Culture, Music, Movies, Food, Technology, Healthcare, Education, Economy, Politics, Romance and Sex all are given proportionate weight-age...
(View complete review)

★★★★★
★★★★★
23 Jan 2013
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
Not just abt history

Doesn't bog you down with too much of history/geography. It does help if you have bit of an idea about chennai though. Easy read and nice selection of characters to view chennai from their perspective(including the author's). History abt the December music season was interesting and surprised to... (View complete review)

    Book: Tamarind City: Where Modern India Began (English) by GHOSH BISHWANATH
    ISBN Number: 9381626337, 9789381626337, 978-9381626337

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