Book ends

Who: Sarita Alurkar-Sriram, 47 (left), freelance writer and marketing professional and arts administrator at the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society.

She recently co-edited a book, Kala Manjari - 50 years Of Indian Classical Music And Dance In Singapore.

The 208-page book documents the development of Indian arts here and the four major institutions that support it - the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society, Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society/ Bhaskar's Arts Academy, Apsaras Arts as well as the Temple of Fine Arts.

What are you reading now?

This past year, I have been busy with research and writing Kala Manjari, but I did get a chance to read a book of short stories, Batik Rain And Other Stories by Singapore-based author Ashwini Devare.

This book, set in places as diverse as Washington DC, Bali and Pune, India, deals with the theme of displacement and the search for roots and identity, which are relevant topics today.

The author beautifully brings out the catharsis of the protagonists' experiences when they reach their "destination".

What books would you save from a burning house?

I would probably pick up an old favourite, Anne Frank - The Diary Of A Young Girl. I think it captures some very profound thoughts about humanity through the seemingly innocent thoughts of a teen. There are several thought- provoking life lessons, including the simple truth that adversity brings out the best and the worst in people. The book is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Also, the fact that Anne Frank ultimately achieved her dream of becoming a writer, though not in the way that she wanted, appeals to the eternal optimist in me.

Another book I would pick up is Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, a satirical war novel and one of the funniest books I have ever read and one that can be re-read, in parts or in its entirety.

The author's style is very clever and the humour is wacky as he holds his reader in his comic grip. It's crazy, but its undefeatable logic leaves you both stupefied and amused.

  • Batik Rain And Other Stories ($16, 2014, Haranand Publications) is available from Books Kinokuniya. Anne Frank – The Diary Of A Young Girl ($4.71, 1993, Bantam Books) and Catch-22 ($6.20, 1995, Simon & Schuster) are available from
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 26, 2015, with the headline '(No headline) - BOOKENDS26'. Subscribe