The Right Words - Selected Essays

The Right Words - Selected Essays

Product ID: 22014

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Author: Shama Futehally
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2006
Language: English
Pages: 303
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0143062182


Shama Futehally (1952-2004) was a writer’s writer, unique among contemporary Indian authors for the sophistication and integrity of her work. This posthumous collection of her non-fiction writing provides a rare and rewarding insight into the literary life; into the art of observation and creation. In these essays, Futehally writes on a variety of subjects, ranging from the complexities of translation and her discovery of Meera, Premchand and Naguib Mahfouz, among others, to her early experiences as a teacher and the pleasures of bird watching. Apparent in each essay in her effortless scholarship, refined sensibility and craftsmanship of the highest order.


Shama Futehally’s lifelong involvement with finding the right words made her a fine prose stylist. Whether writing about Meera’s bhajans, or a contemporary novel, or an unexpected glimpse of beauty in ordinary life, she wrote with clarity, insight and pose-and humility.
–Githa Hariharan

Her prose, seemingly delicate and fragile, is nevertheless marked by unflinching accuracy and total control, a very special writer who never spoke loudly, never tried to be sensational, but handled important themes of our time with subtlety and grace.
-Meenakshi Mukherjee

There is grace in Futehally’s prose, so much that is apposite, poetic and unpretentious.
-India Today




1. Listening to Meera
2. My Experiences as a Translator
3. In the Dark of the Heart: Translator’s Introduction
4. Slivers of a Mirror: Translator’s Introduction
5. On Ramanujan’s Translation
6. Hymns for the Drowning
7. A Conversation with A K Ramanujan
8. Bridging The Great Cultural Divide
9. Reclaiming the Ghazal
10. Going Back to Ismat Chughtai
11. The human History of Partition
12. Translating Tagore’s Love Poems
13. Qurratulain Hyder’s River of Fire
14. Sara Akash: An English Translation
15. The Devotional Songs of Narsi Mehta
16. A Bengali Bablu
17. The Worth of Literal Translation
18. Depicting the Gitagovinda
19. Discovering Naguib Mahfouz
20. Mirrors of Truth: Intizar Hussain’s Stories
21. Half a Tale
22. Presenting Premchand
23. Lucknow: Glory Days
24. On the Annual of Urdu Stories
25. The Bride’s Mirror
26. Translation as Discovery
27. Na Muthuswamy’s Neermai
28. A Rag Called Happiness
29. Anandi Gopal: A Heroic Struggle remembered
30. Naipaul at this best
31. Some Thoughts on the Fantastical in Girish Karnad’s Hayavadana
32. A second Look at Badal Sircar
33. The Collected plays of Mahesh Dattani
34. On Midnight’s Children
35. Indian English
36. Bombay Ka Language
37. Sujata Bhatt’s Poetry of Disparate Worlds
38. A Tale of Two Travellers
39. Liberalized Literature
40. Knowing Nissim Ezekiel
41. Busybee’s Stray thoughts
42. Nasreen Mohamedi in Retrospect
43. The Fall of a Sparrow By Salim Ali
44. Things that have Affected Me
45. The Countryside of My Childhood
46. The Idea of India
47. Faith
48. Deprivation
49. On Teaching
50. On Writing
51. A Clutch of Laburnum
52. A Glimpse of Possibility
53. When the Monsoon Came
54. March
55. Birding in Pudukkottai
56. A Week in Bharatpur
57. Birding in Kumaon
58. A Non-Trek in Sikkim
59. Kasauli- A Little High
60. Revisiting Kihim

AFTERWORD: Speaking to Shama by Suguna Ramanathan