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A Rose, by any other name . . . . would smell as sweet!Gairik BanerjeeReich Von Habsburg-Rothschild
     
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BOOKS

I fell in love with books when still a little boy.  My dad initially introduced me to a few children's authors (in both English, and in Bengalee, the local language where I was located at that time of my life). 

Some of the Bengalee authors were absolutely phenomenal -- Sukumar Roy, Parashuram (Rajshekhar Basu), Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray, Shibram Chakrabarty, Syed Mustafa Ali, Sarat Chandra Chatterjee, Bibhutibhusan Banerjee and more.  I enjoyed reading about 'Pagla Dashu', 'Lalima Pal (pung)', and Satyajit Roy's 'Feluda'.  Bibhutibhusan's 'Satyacharan', or Sarat Chandra's 'Devdas' were very memorable and characters who impacted my conciousness and my imagination in very deep ways. 

But I guess there was always something in my DNA that compelled me to be more drawn, as a moth to a flame, magnetically, inexorably and meteorically -- to the English language and also to Western Culture and the Christian Faith, in contrast to anything more conventionally and excusably mainstream Indian in context. 

The iconic authors and literary characters who/which most impacted me, as a little boy, were children's authors like Enid Blyton, Franklin W. Dixon, Anthony Buckeridge, Laura Lee Hope, Carolyn Keene, Robert Arthur, Jr., Frank Richards ...  I wallowed vicariously, daily and with religious fervor in the juvenile adventures of The Secret Seven, the Bobbsey Twins, The Famous Five, The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Billy Bunter, Jennings and Darbyshire, Jupiter Jones and the Three Investigators, comic heroes Tintin and Asterix, and later -- detectives Sherloch Holmes and Hercule Poirot, to name but a few, graduating still later to P.G. Wodehouse and Nevil Shute (Click Here to borrow a few Nevil Shute novels from OpenLibrary). 

And with these humble beginnings -- started my lifelong love affair with the English language, the language of Great Brittain and America.  This is what opened doors for me and led me over time to imbibe the sublime oratory, rhetoric and prosody of Shakepeare and Shelley and Milton and Edmund Burke and Abraham Lincoln and Sir Winston Churchill and Mohandas Gandhi and Jawharlal Nehru and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and Martin Luther King, Jr, and John F. Kennedy and Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton and Nirad C. Chaudhuri and Barack Obama and ... Jhumpa Lahiri and Dr. Sashi Tharoor!  The mighty and sublime English language. 

A few of my teachers also had a very big influence on me in this journey to English.  Subhas Basu, Indranath Guha, and Kavita Mitra (Oxonians, I believe, all of whom taught me English at South Point School) were but a few of the great teachers who not only stoked the fires of my love of English and of English books, but also my overall well-being as a scholsar and as a human being. 

       Some of the other great teachers / proto-teachers who influenced me include Ms. Yashodhara Hanafi, Father Joris (St. Xavier's), Father Joseph Maliyekal, (also St.Xavier's), Neil O'Brien & John Mason (from the Indian Quiz circuit, these last 2 were not my school-teachers, but were in my life in other contexts, and influenced me significantly), and later Dr. Dub Ashton and Prof. Thomas Jensen in my American scholastic journey. 
   
  On an unrelated note (of advocacy for the English language), I have this to say.  Growing up around Indians, I was often ridiculed for being such an unmitigated Anglophone and Occidentophile -- with no feelings of Indian Nationalism/Patriotism whatsoever, and an unusual attraction for the British Raj narrative. So today, it is a fond pearl of empirical wisdom that I cast before nationalist swine, in India and elsewhere -- that the single largest ethnic group of English-speakers in the world today, are Indians (albeit including Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Srilankans, Nepalese, Afghans, and their ilk). Although English is spoken only by a small and select section of Indians -- generally the educated, erudite and moneyed, the Aristocracy / Intelligentsia of these societies -- globally, there are more English-speakers whose roots are from the Indian Subcontinent, than the entire combined populations of the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand! And increasingly, many of the greatest contemporary writers in the English language, worldwide, are turning out to be from this select group, Indo-Anglophones' (of which species, I am a card-carrying member)! Irrationally no doubt, this thought fills me with great pride and joy! 

I have been a voracious reader all my life.  As a boy, I could not fall asleep at night unless I was reading a book, a habit that persisted into my 20s and even my 30s, when the pressures of business worries in my head and the pleasures of a girl-friend or wife in my bed finally weaned me off my lifelong bedtime heroine fix. 

But since the 2000s (particularly after I started functioning as the CEO of a large Green Energy company across Central and Eastern Europe) -- as a conscientious objector to the killing of trees to make paper -- I have largely given up reading paper publications, preferring instead to do all my reading on electronic media, such as e-books, for instance. 

And lately, I have discovered the joys of Audio-Books, particularly really great books which have a dramatized reading either by the author or by a great voice-actor / orator / speaker, e.g.,

Political / Patriotic

Although too vast and unmanageable a tally to enumerate, I list hereinbelow a (very small) few of my favorite books/readings, in no particular order. 

  • Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend - Robert James Waller
  • The Bridges of Madison County - Robert James Waller
  • Zemindar -- Valerie Fitzgerald
  • The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian - Nirad C. Chaudhuri
  • The Gift of the Magi - O. Henry
  • The Bible - Saint Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria (328 A.D.) and Roman Emperor Constantine's Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.)
  • The Purpose-Driven Life - Pastor Rick Warren
  • Дядя Ваня (Uncle Vanya: EN) - Anton Chekov
  • Три сeстры́ (Three Sisters: EN) - Anton Chekov
  • Вишнёвый сад (The Cherry Orchard: EN) - Anton Chekov
  • Чайка сад (The Seagull: EN) - Anton Chekov
  • Дама с собачкой (The Lady with the Dog: EN) - Anton Chekov
  • Попрыгунья (The Grasshopper: EN) - Anton Chekov
  • Мужики (Peasants: EN) - Anton Chekov
  • City of Love | Wiki - Rimi B. Chatterjee
  • 1984 - George Orwell
  • Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
  • Also Sprach Zarathustra (DE; 'Thus Spake Zarathustra' in English) - Friedriech Nietzche
  • Caballo de Troya (Español; 'Trojan Horse; in English) - Juan José Benítez
  • Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
  • The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway
  • El alquimista (Portuguesa; 'The Alchemist' in English) - Paulo Coelho
  • The Da Vinci Code - Dan Browne
  • The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis
  • The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Vinland The Good - Nevil Shute
  • Secret of Chimneys -- Agatha Christie
  • The Discovery of India - Jawaharlal Nehru
  • The Bhagavad Geeta - Krishna Dvaipayana (Veda-Vyasa Deva)
  • The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
  • Cien años de soledad (Español; 'One Hundred Years Of Solitude' in English) - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Amor en el tiempo de colera (Español; Love in the Time of Cholera in English) - Gabriel García Márquez
  • Crónica de una muerte anunciada (Español; Chronicle of a Death Foretold in English) - Gabriel García Márquez
  • The Celestine Prophesy - James Redfield
  • The Secret - Rhonda Byrne
  • Wings of Fire (An Autobiography of APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India) - Dr. Kalam & Arun Tiwari
  • Il nome della rosa (Italian; 'The Name of the Rose' in English) - Umberto Eco
  • La Divina Comedia (Italian; 'The Divine Comedy' in English) - Dante Alighieri
  • The Iliad - Homer
  • The Odyssey - Homer
  • Swami Vivekananda in the West: New Discoveries - Marie Louise Burke
  • Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
  • This Present Darkness - Frank Moretti
  • Christ of the Indian Road - E. Stanley Jones
  • Lord of the Flies - William Golding
  • The Prince - Nicolo_Machiavelli

Below are links to a few excerpts from my eBook stash, organized by Collection

Asterix & Tintin:
FULL Collections
        
P.G. Wodehouse:
a few good books
        
Nevil Shute:
a few novels

 

Below are the places I would recommend, to seek, or to research, books to read. 

AudioBook Source
E-Book Source
Traditional
 
 
 
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