The Mumbai Chuzzlewits

bookshelves: summer-2014, play-dramatisation, published-2012, fanfic-writeback, roman-catholic, india, radio-4x, fradio, filthy-lucre

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from July 12 to 22, 2014

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b018w867

Description: Sony award-winning writer Ayeesha Menon reworks Charles Dickens ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’ and sets it amongst the Catholic community in modern-day Mumbai, India.

Convinced his relatives are after his money, miserly old recluse Martin Chuzzlewit (Roshan Seth), adopts orphan girl, Mary (Nimrat Kaur), to be his carer. As she will inherit nothing upon his death, he believes she will do her utmost to keep him in good health. But when his grandson Mickey (Zafar Karachiwala) falls in love with her, Martin’s plans are thrown into disarray. Disinheriting him, Martin triggers a complex web of deceit, betrayal and manipulation as the extended family and hangers-on close in, in pursuit of his fortune.

Told from the point of view of orphan Thomas (Karan Pandit), an observer into the world of the Chuzzlewits, this is a fast-paced drama full of intrigue, romance, suspense and murder…

Thomas, an orphan, is apprentice to the scheming architect Pinto, a cousin to miserly old Martin Chuzzlewit, the richest landlord in Bandra. Drawn into the world of the Chuzzlewits, he forms a close friendship with the spirited Mickey, grandson of Martin and heir to the family fortune. When old Martin gets ill, Thomas witnesses attempts by family members to worm their way into his life and secure his fortune, while Mickey gives up everything in pursuit of love…

Ayeesha Menon is an award-winning writer who works extensively in film and radio. For BBC Radio 4 she has written several outstanding adaptations including: Q & A (Slumdog Millionaire) which won Gold for Best Drama at the Sony Radio Academy Awards; THE Cairo Trilogy, starring Omar Sharif, which won a Bronze at the Sony Awards; My Name is Red from the novel by Orhan Pamuk; and Six Suspects from the novel by Vikas Swarup.

Cast:
Martin ….. Roshan Seth
Thomas ….. Karan Pandit
Mickey ….. Zafar Karachiwala
Pinto ….. Rajit Kapur
Mercy ….. Preetika Chawla
Charity ….. Ayeesha Menon
Anthony ….. Sohrab Ardeshir
Joseph ….. Nadir Khan
Mary ….. Nimrat Kaur
Mrs. Gomes ….. Radhika Mital
Louis ….. Rohit Malkani
Doctor ….. Shernaz Patel
Monty ….. Arghya Lahiri
Manek ….. Vivek Madan
Young Mickey ….. Zaal Madon
Young Thomas ….. Nominath Ginsburg
Sound Recordist: Ayush Ahuja
Sound Design: David Chilton
Music: Sacha Puttnam
Producer and Casting: Nadir Khan
Producer: John Dryden
A Goldhawk Essential Production for BBC Radio 4

1/3 Orphan Thomas befriends Mickey, grandson and heir of rich old miser Martin Chuzzlewit.

2/3 Disinherited by his grandfather, Mickey escapes India to try and make his fortune in Dubai

3/3 Mickey returns to India, determined to marry Mary and prove himself to Martin.

Three tree-climbing boys.

4* Undercover Mumbai
2.5* Q & A (think Slumdog Millionaire)
3* The Mumbai Chuzzlewits

The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas

bookshelves: spring-2014, britain-wales, fraudio, india, newtome-author, published-2011, adventure, travel

Read from April 26 to 28, 2014

 

Read by Nerys Hughes

Description: Spanning decades and moving from the stark beauty of the Welsh landscape to the Himalayas and Kashmir, this is a story of bravery, courage and love.Within one exotic land lie the secrets of a lifetime…Newlywed Nerys Watkins leaves rural Wales for the first time in her life, to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India. Travelling from lonely Ladakh, high up in the Himalayas, Nerys discovers a new world in the lakeside city of Srinagar. Here, in the exquisite heart of Kashmir, the British live on carved wooden houseboats and dance, flirt and gossip as if there is no war.But the battles draw ever closer, and life in Srinagar becomes less frivolous when the men are sent away to fight. Nerys is caught up in a dangerous friendship, and by the time she is reunited with her husband, the innocent Welsh bride has become a different woman.Years later, when Mair Ellis clears out her father’s house, she finds an exquisite antique shawl, woven from the finest yarns and embroidered in the shades of lake water and mountain skies. Wrapped within its folds is a lock of child’s hair. Tracing her grandparents’ roots back to Kashmir, Mair embarks on a quest that will change her life forever.

A lovely story about searching for roots, and includes just about everything you would ever need to know about kasmiri yarn, cashmere, from goat to shawl. Missionary work is a horrible idea isn’t it – imagine having a bible black, fire and brimstone Chapel minister ramming a harsh God down your throat: oh! those colonial ideas. **shudder**

The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice

bookshelves: essays, fraudio, published-1995, spring-2014, roman-catholic, nonfiction, christian, history, religion, tbr-busting-2014, politics, philosophy, india, calcutta, lifestyles-deathstyles

Read from March 04 to 05, 2014

 

Written by: Christopher Hitchens, Thomas Mallon (foreword)
Narrated by: Simon Prebble
Length: 2 hrs and 11 mins
Format: Unabridged

Description: A Nobel Peace Prize recipient beatified by the Catholic Church in 2003, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was celebrated by heads of state and adored by millions for her work on behalf of the poor. In his measured critique, Hitchens asks only that Mother Teresa’s reputation be judged by her actions-not the other way around.

Among his many books, perhaps none have sparked more outrage than The Missionary Position, Christopher Hitchens’s meticulous study of the life and deeds of Mother Teresa.

A Nobel Peace Prize recipient beatified by the Catholic Church in 2003, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was celebrated by heads of state and adored by millions for her work on behalf of the poor. In his measured critique, Hitchens asks only that Mother Teresa’s reputation be judged by her actions-not the other way around.

With characteristic elan and rhetorical dexterity, Hitchens eviscerates the fawning cult of Teresa, recasting the Albanian missionary as a spurious, despotic, and megalomaniacal operative of the wealthy who long opposed measures to end poverty, and fraternized, for financial gain, with tyrants and white-collar criminals throughout the world.

Somewhat a redundant read given the year that I have finally got around to this and there was nothing in it that any intelligent person hadn’t sussed out about the disservice she did to the Culcutta poor. Far better would have been if she could hand out dunkies and pain killers instead of telling them that pain brings you nearer to God, and it is everyone’s duty (except hers, of course) to bring children to Christ. Powerful writing as always.

4* The Portable Atheist
TR God Is Not Great
TR Mortality
4* Arguably
TR Letters To A Young Contrarian
4* The Missionary Position

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For All the Tea in China: Espionage, Empire and the Secret Formula for the World’s Favourite Drink

bookshelves: nonfiction, autumn-2012, history, published-2009, biography, colonial-overlords, victorian, recreational-drugs, war, fraudio, china, india, gardening, pirates-smugglers-wreckers

Read on November 05, 2012

Read by the author herself.

Blurb – A dramatic historical narrative of the man who stole the secret of tea from China.

In 1848, the British East India Company, having lost its monopoly on the tea trade, engaged Robert Fortune, a Scottish gardener, botanist, and plant hunter, to make a clandestine trip into the interior of China’s territory forbidden to foreigners,to steal the closely guarded secrets of tea horticulture and manufacturing. For All the Tea in China is the remarkable account of Fortune’s journeys into China; a thrilling narrative that combines history, geography, botany, natural science, and old-fashioned adventure.

Disguised in Mandarin robes, Fortune ventured deep into the country, confronting pirates, hostile climate, and his own untrustworthy men as he made his way to the epicenter of tea production, the remote Wu Yi Shan hills. One of the most daring acts of corporate espionage in history, Fortune’s pursuit of China’s ancient secret makes for a classic nineteenth-century adventure tale, one in which the fate of empires hinges on the feats of one extraordinary man.

Camellia sinensis:

Robert Fortune, the tea thief. From wiki: Robert Fortune (16 September 1812 – 13 April 1880) was a Scottish botanist, plant hunter and traveller, best known for introducing tea plants from China to India. Robert Fortune was born in Britain on 16 September 1812, at Kelloe, Berwickshire.

This does have the tang of ‘must publish my dissertation or bust’, feeling; the author delivers this in rather a dramatic and staccato’d fashion.

Can’t fault the historical research and it is enjoyable enough for a solid 3*