Mints for the Mind

A Review of ‘Polyticks, DeMockrazy & MumboJumbo’ by Avay Shukla

I don’t really have a sweet tooth and will happily give jabelis, burfis and other diabetes-inducing foods a go-by. There are, however, a couple of items of exception. Chocolate mints being one. The favourite is, not unexpectedly, an ‘After Eight’. The taste that emerges from its little green sachet is pleasant, sometimes piquant, sometimes provocative and it leaves an aftertaste for the tongue to examine at leisure. Avay Shukla’s ‘Polyticks, DeMockrazy & MumboJumbo’ is somewhat like a cerebral version of the edible ‘After Eight.’ You can gorge on it, or you take it in little bits. Either way, it is enough to provoke comment and hopefully, some thought.

This book is a collection of blogs that I and several others have been assiduously following and enjoying for several years. The subjects vary from politics and administrative foibles to the great love of Shukla’s life, nature. This is nature that is both majestic and sublime; this is nature that is life-giving and which we, in our great wisdom, have repeatedly ignored to our peril. Almost seamlessly, satire, humour and serious commentary fuse together in this set of short and highly readable pieces. With no holds barred, he takes on political masters and minions with equal aplomb; socialites and ‘wanna-be’ socialites who have yet to master the art of air-kissing around the aura of the kissee, may be able to recognise themselves in these pages. Some of the finest pieces come from his own years as an officer of the Indian Administrative Service.

Over years of meeting each other socially (without the air being kissed or otherwise polluted), and occasionally, professionally (where a handshake would suffice), we have become friends of sorts. More lightly than not, considering that Shukla has spent much of his life moving one heavy file after another, one may say that he has found his true calling after retiring from Government. His pen has found a purpose past a file noting, howsoever weighty that may have been.

It is appropriate to mention that this is the first book to be published by Pippa Rann Books & Media, a Member of the Independent Publishers Guild. As they say, ‘…the Group is dedicated to publishing material which nurtures human values around the world. These values are, in our perception, being attacked, subverted and suborned – with a resulting decline in the quality of life for most people.’ They could not have chosen a better person than Avay Shukla to begin this mission.

Author, historian and journalist. He has published seven books on the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and its capital Shimla and is a recognised authority on both. He has handled assignments for television, including for the BBC, and for the Indian Institute of Advanced Study and various departments of the Indian Government. He writes regularly for magazines and papers in India and elsewhere. He is the state Co-convenor of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.