Pickles From Home: The Worlds of A Bilingual

The Worlds Of A Bilingual
PICKLES FROM HOME - THE WORLD OF A BILINGUAL is a book of essays that deals throughout with two linguistic worlds and the perennial gliding that takes place between them. Of the two, what is embedded and constant is the author's native world. It moves inside him and he compares it to the borderless travel of pickles.

Pickles follow recipes handed down across generations in a family, and they are prepared in pristine and ritualistic environments. That's the secret of their longevity and our palate often remembers and seeks the formulas we have been used to since our very early days. This is the book’s grand metaphor. To whatever the author perceives in the wider world, the native view is like a homemade pickle that adds a tangy, sharp tickle. In the multi-course meal of experience, the pickle is the most unassuming, yet essential and defining accompaniment. Tasted along with a finely cooked dish, it is a raw delight. Moreover, for what are seemingly a collection of assorted essays, the binding of this book is like a pickle jar that holds them together.

Among the plethora of books being written and published on India currently, this book represents an alternate narrative. It does not try to make sense of the country's diversity and complexity by travelling over a wide terrain and skimming the surface. Instead, it digs deep into one culture, or one particular cultural transaction, to assimilate and clarify the confounding mass.  
The phrase ‘local knowledge’ tends to suggest that non-local knowledge is somehow superior. But what does the non-local amount to other than airline timetables? Sugata is firmly embedded in his locality, which turns out to hold as many human complexities as an entire continent. His clarity and sympathy make him a wise guide to the intricate individuality of modern Indian life.
IAN JACK, British writer, editor and a columnist for the Guardian
Whenever and wherever I find Sugata’s writings I read it with great interest and care. He is doing a very important job by working on Indian languages, particularly Kannada, which is not only his mother-tongue, but also the centre of his world of thoughts. He captures the cultural and social complexity of issues he writes on with a refined ease. I think this book is a delightful success.
SUNIL GANGOPADHYAY, Bengali poet, novelist and journalist
Sugata's essays provide a nuanced response to the bewildering linguistic situation of contemporary Indians, torn between the pressures of moving towards a cosmopolitan lifestyle and the deep craving for preserving what is perceived as 'one's own culture.' His essays bring home the truth that 'local' and ‘global’ can both be 'universal' and 'particular.' Their dynamics is to be read not in terms of displacements or replacements, but in terms of entanglement and mutual colouring. These essays should be a must for everybody who speaks a language that feels threatened even remotely.
G N DEVY, literary critic, linguist and activist


Popular posts from this blog

Free Download: SRIRAJU unicode type family with four weights

Curtains down, but rehearsals will go on

The Vinod Mehta Diary