22 October, 2020

To Run A Mammothon

Keeps you turning the pages rapidly, chuckling all the while, painlessly teaching you a great deal about Indian elephants and their increasingly troubled lives.

To Run A Mammothon

I have for long grumbled about the absence of accessible, entertaining and instructive 'nature-writing' in India—the sort of writing that may make the lay person, usually more interested in the nearest shopping mall lace up his/her hiking boots and set off for the nearest wild blue yonder. We've had a few great writers in the past—people like Corbett, EHA, Anderson, M. Krishnan and Salim Ali, of course—but they've been few and far between; mostly nature writing in India has remained either dry and scholarly, or drab and too often terminally doomsday-ridden (no fault of the writers, really). So it was with some trepidation that I opened Choudhury's Trunk Full of Tales and peered inside. And was immediately entranced. Here was a book that you couldn't leave alone till you finished—and then started all over again. And each time it left a quirky smile on your face.

Choudhury's seventy-year old 'magnificent obsession' with elephants began in childhood—a childhood many of us would think of as idyllic—in the Mymensingh district of East Bengal (now...



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