Book Review – The Courtesan, the Mahatma and the Italian Brahmin: Tales from Indian History by Manu.S.Pillai

As E. P Thompson rightly said, ” There is not a thought that is being thought in the West or East that is not active in some Indian mind”, Manu S Pillai’s latest book ” The Courtesan, the Mahatma and the Italian Brahmin: Tales from Indian History” is full of such wonderful people and their magnificent stories.

Whether its Nangeli in 1800s or Meerabai in 1500s, or many other lives thats been chronicled in the book, all are fascinating and sometimes inspiring. The book brings into life how wonderful and diverse the Indian heritage was. The many characters who shaped it, the Heroes and the Villains. The reformers and the rebels. Its a must read if you are a student of history and also if you are ready to get surprised and occasionally shocked.  

Dean Jones’ Cricket Tips

“I really don’t care what stance a batsman has as long as he gets into a boxer’s position at ball release. Think of great Muhammad Ali’s stance in the ring..”

“Dean Jones’ Cricket Tips”, the things they don’t teach you at the academy’ is a wonderful read, full of wit and great tips. Illustrations by John Spooner is the added attraction.

The book is packed with advices from the cricketing greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Wasim Akram, Sourav Ganguly, Michael Clarke, Rahul Dravid and Waqar Younis, to name a few.

The book has various sections like Batting Tips, Bowling Tips, Fielding Tips, Wicket-keeping Tips, tips on Strategy, mindset, tactics, fitness, and diet.

Interesting quotes

Throughout the book you would come across interesting quotes by well known players and coaches.

“You watch the bowlers for the first 15 minutes and then the bowlers can watch you for the rest of the day”. Ramakant Achrekar, Sachin Tendulkar’s coach.

“I always tried to keep the pitch clean of any debris when i batted. It’s my office, so I tried to keep it as neat as I could.” V V S Laxman

“The key to success when bowling the yorker was to have your eyes level at ball-release. I would usually aim just below the manufacturer’s or sponsor’s logo.” Wasim Akram

Ricky Ponting’s Checklist

Ricky Ponting, the former Australian skipper had a strange routine. He used to make a checklist the night before the match, the checklist looked something like this,

  1. Watch the ball
  2. Play straight
  3. Loud calls
  4. Be patient
  5. Make 100
  6. Be man of the match
  7. Visualise how are the bowlers going to get me out
  8. Then sleep

The book also offers some general tips on how to handle media pressure, how to practise, how to handle the cricketing equipments. Overall, its a wonderful read and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. So if you are a great fan of the game, its a must read.