Home

Mother Pious Lady: Harper Collins India, 380 pages, Rs399

Mother Pious Lady

Making sense of Everyday India

by Santosh Desai

A new India is visibly emerging from within the folds of its many pasts. This new India needs to be seen with new eyes, free from the baggage of yesterdays characterizations. This is exactly what Santosh Desai, one of India’s best-known social commentators, does in this warm, affectionate and deliciously witty look at the changing urban Indian middle class.

Read More About the Book

“This is a rare and captivating book, wise and witty, on the inner lives of middle class Indians. Desai both enlightens and entertains.”

Sudhir Kakar

  • Book Reviews

    The Hindu : Literary Review

    We are like this only ANVAR ALIKHAN A collection of delightful essays on India, and Indian-ness. Mother Pious Lady, Santosh Desai, HarperCollins, p. 380, Rs. 399. What is it that defines our Indian-ness? What is it, exactly, that unites us — variously Punjabi, Malayali, Gujarati, Bengali or whatever — into a single nation-state? A difficult… Read more »

    Ahmedabad Mirror Review

    Indefinable middle class Market researchers attempt to ‘crack’ this inscrutable constituency of an India whose consumption potential can redefine the economic world order By Rita Kothari Posted On Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 02:36:20 AM Those of us who have grown up in the India of the seventies and eighties would know what it is… Read more »

    Deccan Herald Review

    Many days in the life of middle-class India MEERA RAJENDRAN Mother Pious Lady: making sense of everyday india Santosh Desai. Mother Pious Lady, Making Sense of Everyday India, provides a fantastic insight into the daily life of the middle-class Indian. ‘Where Do We Come From’, the first section, a collection of pieces on our ‘Indian’… Read more »

    Amazon US Review

    A cheat-sheet for dealing with Gen-X Indians (several variants of the truth exist), June 28, 2010 By S.Yogendra  This is an amusing yet thought-provoking, insightful yet confounding, and relentlessly introspective, with hints of self-flagellation, book. The title is a nod to the specialised language used in the very specialised Indian area of matrimonial ads that… Read more »

    Mail Today Review

    Beyond the Age of Paisa Vasool By Shiv Visvanathan Desai traces India’s move from asocialist republic of scarcity to astate of bounty The study of popular culture as a genre has produced some wonderfully creative writers. One thinks of Ashis Nandy, Patricia Uberoi and Vijay Pershad. Probably the most playful of them is Santosh Desai…. Read more »

    And Then There Was Ma

    A 30-year survey of the urban Indian charts our ‘progress’ from the days of Chitrahaar to the present Raja Menon   Articles strung together into a book are generally avoidable but Santosh Desai has put together his weekly ‘City City Bang Bang’ columns into a hilarious chronicle of urban India, and the way we Indians… Read more »

  • Recent Columns

    Aboard the Nostalgia Express

    According to newspaper reports, the railway reservation chart is now history. And for generations of Indians, the meaning of rail travel has been altered. Bit by bit, railway travel as we once knew it is being changed. We get our tea and coffee in thermos flasks. The kullad-chai, is now increasingly a thing of nostalgia… Read more »

    An ecosystem of fear?

    The arrest of several rights activists across the country on charges of having Maoist links has created deep disquiet among many commentators. Accompanied as it is, by a new label- ‘Urban Naxals’, it is being seen as a sign that this government is determined to act against all signs of dissent and build a narrative… Read more »

    The pleasures of bargaining

    Growing up, going shopping with older female relatives was always a nightmare. They took inordinately long, visiting at least a dozen shops before even thinking about buying something. They seemed most interested in the least important things- hair clips being particular favourites. They fussed about things that were exceedingly trivial- choosing the colour of a… Read more »

    Re-negotiating our freedoms?

    Is WhatsApp to blame for the lynchings that have taken place in the country recently? There is no doubt that WhatsApp messages have played a key role in some of the incidents, but how valid is it to place the blame on and acting against what is after all, a medium of circulating information? The… Read more »

    The new public spaces

    Using paper towels in a toilet at an Indian airport feels surreal to those who have grown up in another India. There is a wholly unfamiliar sense of crisp hygiene that accompanies its use and one can only imagine how many illnesses have been prevented by this one simple facility. The filthy communal towels of… Read more »

    The decline of collective trust?

    Across the world, we have stumbled upon a truly vexing and quite a fundamental problem- we can’t seem to able to authoritatively separate the real from the fake, fact from opinion, expertise from motivated opinion. The world appears different depending on our belief system and every erstwhile fact is now merely someone’s opinion, and all… Read more »