Shimmying Shammi Kapoor Vs Clear Thinking @ Talking Terrace Book Club in April 2015 (Part 2)



You can read Part 1 here.

Jaya is stuck on Kiran Nagarkar—this time it’s Ravan and Eddie. She was not sure if she wanted to replace her idea of the grand sweep of Nagarkar in the historical fiction of Cuckold and the allegory of God’s Little Soldier with the humor of two slum kids, one Hindu and the other Catholic, in Mumbai. “Nagarkar’s irreverence is so refreshing. That is a universal theme in all his books,” Jaya said, relieved that she loved this book as well. She read us some interesting passages.

The unstable tyrant of the family in the CWD chawls is the man of the manor. Drunk, sober, employed, jobless, taciturn or gibbering, his word is law. His wife sustains and not infrequently supports the family and is more than happy to give her husband all the credit for it if only he will allow her to carry on with her work. But despite the boss-man’s pretensions and the wife’s sacrifice and self-effacement, the prime mover of life is water. You snapped out of anaesthesia, interrupted coitus, stopped your prayers, postponed your son’s engagement, developed incontinence, took casual leave to go down and stand up at the common tap, cancelled going to church because water, present or absent, is more powerful than the Almighty.

The actor Shammi Kapoor is worth writing about and Nagarkar has made the most of the opportunity.


Shammi never needed a pretext to be outlandish but he really came into his own in song sequences and his films were strewn with them. He threw a tantrum in mid-air, he landed on his butt and thrashed his legs. He flung his head back, he yelled ‘ya-hoo’, he rolled in the snow, he went stiff as a flamenco dancer, he sank to his knees, he dislocated and fractured his body in a dozen places. He walked mincingly, dropped in a dead faint, his narrow mouth went all over his face – all in the course of one song.

Jaya is still reading The History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell. It’s the sort of book that never ends and that can not be read at a stretch unless of course you are a student of philosophy. Philosophy needs a dose of humor and that came with a reference to an unlikely Youtube video of a Hindi actor Rajendra Kumar conversing with Bertrand Russell (Bollywood seems to have extended her tentacles to the most unlikely quarters).

For someone like me (who likes art and poetry), a book like The Art of thinking Clearly is an unfair choice. Rolf Dobelli is an extremely clear-headed writer—he created ‘a compilation of pitfalls’, a list that would benefit not just him, but others as well. That is how a bunch of anecdotes turned into a best-selling book.

Book club April

His book is interesting. Just read the TOC:

  1. Why You should Visit Cemeteries: Surviorship Bias
  2. Does Harvard Make You Smarter?: Swimmer’s Body Illusion
  3. Why You See Shapes in the Clouds: Clustering Illusion

You get the idea.

Some of the ideas in the book can make an irrational person sad. Suppose you think of X and X calls you at precisely that moment? An irrational you would bring it all down to synchronicity. However, if you analyze the number of times that a person calls you when you think of him or her, it isn’t all that often.

So poof goes synchronicity.

I recommend this book to all irrational souls of the world. It gives you an insight into the other side. You must know this to survive.

What books have you been reading lately?


  1. Pingback: Of Translations and Memoirs@Talking Terrace Book Club – April, 2015 (Part 1) | InstaScribe

  2. Pingback: Quotes Wednesday | InstaScribe

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: