The Fall of the Kingdom of the Punjab by Khushwant Singh

We are familiar with the Koh-i-Noor diamond coming to the possession of the British Crown under the Last Treaty of Lahore (29th March 1849) after the fall of the Kingdom of Punjab. But we may not have read much about the events that led to the fall of the powerful Sikh Empire. The famous writer and Padma Vibhushan awardee Mr Khushwant Singh in his book titled “The Fall of the Kingdom of the Punjab” addresses this gap by taking us on a whirlwind tour of the turbulent period in India’s…

Do you know the Guinea Pigs are not Pigs?

Three Guinea Pigs

I learned something new today about Guinea Pigs. I had assumed that the “Pigs” in the popular English phrase “Guinea Pigs” referred to the actual (mammal) animal and it originated from the West African country Guinea. It is neither. Yes, English is a funny language, as my favourite writer the American-Britisher Mr Bill Bryson emphasises in his book “The Mother Tongue“. What are they, then? Guinea Pigs originate from the Andes of South America, and they are rodents from the cavy family. They were (probably) easier to breed so were…

Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)

In Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) the King Arthur of Britain, shown as incompetent and resourceless goes in search of the Holy Grail in 932AD. The story in Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979) happens millennia earlier in Jerusalem, narrating the story of a “Brian” who is born next door to Jesus Christ. From the three wise men, many confuse Brian as the son of God.  And this confusion is used to deliver a satirical comedy. If you can enjoy this type of comedy without being offended, check…

The Dig (2021)

The Dig (2021) is a fictional account of the unearthing of Sutton Hoo Royal Burial Ground treasures in England in 1939. Director Simon Stone has given an engaging film. Available on Netflix. Not sure what is with periodic films, that too those made around the two world wars, there is an alluring charm. This one is no different. Britain is getting ready to go to war with Germany when in a quiet country farm in Suffolk, a landowner Edith Pretty engages an amateur excavator Basil Brown to dig (what appears…

Carry On at Your Convenience (1971)

Carry On at Your Convenience (1971) follows the series of “Carry On” films (22nd out of the 31), produced by Peter Rogers and written by Talbot Rothwell. Earlier I had seen the Carry on Doctor (1967) which I liked as it was a fresh style for me. Following the same template this one certainly feels stale and uninteresting. Carry On at Your Convenience – The story follows the workers at a British Bathroom fittings manufacturing company W.C.Boggs and Son. There exist a love and hate relationship with the incompetent union leader Vic Spanner…