Rakhshanda Jalil is a writer, translator and a critic. Her collection of short stories, Release and Other Stories, was recently published.

What are you reading these days? A biography of the thumri singer, Naina Devi, by her disciple, Vidya Rao.

Which books are on your bedside table? There is always a dog-eared P. G. Wodehouse which I pick up from the middle and read most days. There is a small book of duas which I dip into most nights and books related to whichever (academic) paper I happen to be currently working on; for the past several weeks my bedside table has been overflowing with stuff on Urdu barahmasas.

Which titles are on your bucket list of books? In no particular order: collected works of Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Qurratulain Hyder, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Marquez, The Children of Gebelawi by Naguib Mahfouz and The Portable Dorothy Parker.

What is the one book/author you feel everyone must read? I’d say Jane Austen — for her simple, elegant, polished prose.

What are you planning to reread? Marmaduke Pickthall’s translation of the Quran.

What is the one book you read because you thought it would make you appear smarter? Two books actually — the first Harry Potter book and the first of the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. In both cases, I could not go beyond a few pages. In both cases, I was trying to read them to appear smarter in the eyes of my two teenage daughters. Evidently, I didn’t succeed!

What is the one book you started reading but could not finish? Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy.

What is your favourite childhood book or story? The Nancy Drew series; they were about freedom, fun and fearlessness.



08 Dec 2021

PDM’s lack of strategy

Ever since the PDM’s whimpering end to its first campaign, it has hardly given any reason for the govt to have sleepless nights.
08 Dec 2021

Undertrials’ escape

IN any country with respect for the law an incident such as Monday’s escape of undertrials from a lock-up in ...
08 Dec 2021

Suu Kyi’s sentence

THE military junta that holds sway in Myanmar clearly wants to ensure that Aung San Suu Kyi does not participate in...
07 Dec 2021

Losing fiscal discipline

ONE of the several changes proposed in the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act of 2005, seeking major...
07 Dec 2021

Taliban brutality

LAST WEEK, the US, the Western countries and other allies joined hands to condemn the Afghan Taliban for the alleged...
Dangerous justification
Updated 07 Dec 2021

Dangerous justification

AT a time when millions worldwide are consumed with anger and despair over the barbaric lynching of a Sri Lankan...