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8 Interesting Reads Based On Delhi Everyone Should Crack Open While Self-Isolating

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Prageet Goel 27 Mar 2020

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Disclaimer: Bearing in mind the current health crisis befalling the city and the world at large, we're tweaking our content policy and recommendations. Stay positive, keep hygiene levels up and don't fall prey to panic and misinformation.

“That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.” We swear by this quote by Jhumpa Lahiri from her book ‘The Namesake’ and we truly believe that books can transport you to different lands while sitting at a comfy couch at your home. So, we’ve compiled a list of 10 reads based on Delhi that’ll keep you engrossed while you’re caged inside your home in these grave times. 

1. The City Of Djinns : A Year In Delhi By William Dalrymple

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Picture Credits: the_ron_man

This part memoir and part travelogue written by British author William Dalrymple as the result of a year-long stay in New Delhi is about the historical capital and its stories floating at every nook and corner. In this fascinating book, released in the year 1993, Dalrymple takes you through the little stories and people behind the making of Delhi throughout history spanning over five centuries. 

2. A City Happens In Love (Ishq Mein Shahar Hona) By Ravish Kumar

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Picture Credits: writerly_life

This one’s by one of our favourite journalists and a ‎Ramon Magsaysay Awardee, Ravish Kumar. Originally written in Hindi, this is an engaging read with micro-stories of love and dreams set in the capital city of Delhi. It beautifully explores how love and city spaces shape each other and is a tribute to the modern Indian city, its capaciousness, and to the power of love.

3. The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness By Arundhati Roy

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Picture Credits: _nature.and.literature

A beautifully strung together story of individual experiences through modern Indian history, with characters ranging from a Muslim eunuch to militants fighting for azadi in Kashmir, this book is as stirring as it gets. The narrative spans across decades and locations but primarily takes place in Delhi and Kashmir. Roy's activism and politics is evident in every page as is her craft. 

4. Delhi OMG! By Vinod Nair

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Picture Credits: insiyasyed

Delhi OMG! traces the journey of Dinesh, a middle-class man as he meanders through life and the city of Dilli in his struggle for survival. The book takes one through several hot-spots of the city while encountering various characters from all walks of life. At once humorous and hard-hitting, the story presents the vibrant as well as the dark side of life in Delhi. Give this one a read and we’re sure you’ll be gripped till the end.

5. The White Tiger By Aravind Adiga

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This 2008 Man Booker Prize winner is a hilarious yet blunt take on the relationship between a master and a servant - Ashok and Munna, while also throwing light on varying economic conditions in the country. The story paints a rather captivating picture of a power play between the two men who hail from the same village but where the latter becomes the servant and driver to the former, in Delhi.

6. Delhi : A Novel By Khushwant Singh

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This is the story of a journalist and his relationship with a hijra navigated through a larger history of Delhi. Through the eyes of a protagonist who has returned from England, the city of Delhi becomes an appealing character. This critical work that took its writer 25 years to complete will disappoint no reader. 

7. Corridor By Sarnath Banerjee

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This one’s different from the rest, for this one’s a graphic novel set in Lutyens’ Delhi. It revolves around Jehangir Rangoonwalla, chai-wallah and his everyday interactions with some of his amusing customers. The story brilliantly captures the alienation and fragmented reality of contemporary urban Indian life through a combination of text and imagery. It surely makes for a compelling read!

8. The Forgotten Cities Of Delhi By Rana Safvi 

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Picture Credits: literatureandotherdrugs

In book two of her historical trilogy, Where Stones Speak, Safvi covers historical trails in Siri, Jahanpanah, Tughlaqabad, Firozabad, Din Panah, Shergarh and Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. Safvi, a Delhi based historian, brings alive the landscape of old Delhi by combining narrative history with Sufi couplets. She takes you on a walk to uncover the secrets of Delhi’s rich archaeological history and is sure to pique your interest. 

So, stop cribbing about being stuck at home and the current situation, and instead take this opportunity to expand your mind. Pick up one of these brilliant books and thank us later because we are certain you’ll thoroughly enjoy reading them. Stay safe and read on!

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