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Palash Krishna Mehrotra (ed.) Listings

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1 Palash Krishna Mehrotra (ed.)
Recess: The Penguin Book of Schooldays
Penguin; New Delhi, India; 2008; 0143100114 / 9780143100119; First Edition; Paperback; New; 
Whatever else we forget in our lives, memories of our schooldays stay on forever. We may think of them with longing or wish that we could forget about them, but there’s no getting away from them. That crucial winning run scored in an inter-class match will act as a salve for all future failures; that prefectship denied in high school will fester despite the progress one may have made in life thereafter. Recess: The Penguin Book of Schooldays brings together over fifty moving and human accounts of school, covering a period of around 200 years, as seen through the eyes of some of the finest minds India has produced—from Lal Behari Dey and Dayananda Saraswati to Premchand and Harivansh Rai Bachchan; from André Béteille and Nirad Chaudhuri to Vikram Seth and Amit Chaudhuri; from Ismat Chughtai and Sheila Dhar to Dilip Simeon and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. The poems, essays and stories in Recess take us to the heart of the Indian school experience covering missionary, religious, residential, municipal, village and refugee schools; and reflect on the different emotions that this institution evokes: indifference, rage, fond nostalgia. While Satyajit Ray remembers participating in an event called ‘musical drawing’ and writing with ‘nibs that had to be dipped into the inkwells built into our desks’, Ved Mehta writes about learning Braille for the first time and taking part in a variety of races: Biscuit Race, Leapfrog Race. Mihir Bose reminisces about his days at St. Xavier’s High School, Bombay, and its sports master Father Fritz who predicted Sunil Gavaskar’s rise to greatness as a cricketer even as P.T. Usha shares her experiences at the Cannanore Sports Division, training for future glory while coming to terms with eating eggs and meat. Farrukh Dhondy’s delightful take on the eternal conflict between day scholars and boarders contrasts with Omprakash Valmiki’s sombre account of the obstacles he faced as an untouchable in order to become the first high school graduate of his neighbourhood. This magnificent collection casts a clear and mostly unsentimental eye over a familiar childhood battleground, making us recall and re-examine our own schooldays. Palash Krishna Mehrotra’s delightfully irreverent introduction sets the tone for what is the most comprehensive anthology on the subject to date. Subversive and honest, Recess will remain the definitive record of the Indian experience of school for years to come. Printed Pages: 376. 026652

Price: 11.00 USD
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