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Love, Hope and Utmost Happiness – Quotes from Arundhati Roy

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy is an incredible follow-up to her The God of Small Things. We meet a host of characters­—Anjum, who runs a guest house in an Old Delhi graveyard, Tilo, an architect, who, although she is loved by three men, lives in a ‘country of her own skin’. But when Tilo claims an abandoned baby as her own, her destiny and that of Anjum becomes entangled as a tale that sweeps across the years and a teeming continent takes flight. . .

Here are a few quotes about love, hope and happiness from the book:


7 Unputdownable Books We Got to Read in 2017

The year 2017 gave us some remarkable reads. From thriller to young adult, self-help to professional, we got ‘em all! So, if you are looking to round-up the year, here are 7 books out of those magnificent reads.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

The year 2017 saw the return of the Man Booker Prize Winner Arundhati Roy into the fiction genre with The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. This ravishing, magnificent book reinvents what a novel can do and can be. And it demonstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy’s storytelling gifts.

The House That Spoke

The House that Spoke marks the debut of fifteen-year-old author Zuni Chopra. It tells the story of Zoon Razdan and the fantastical house she lives in. She can talk to everything in it, but Zoon doesn’t know that her beloved house once contained a terrible force of darkness. When the dark force returns, more powerful than ever, it is up to her to take her rightful place as the Guardian of the house and subsequently, Kashmir.


With 1600 electrifying visuals for hot-hearted adults- Vyasa sets in motion the battlefield of Kurukshetra. From the birth of the Pandavas and Kauravas to the interpenetration of life instincts and death instincts, this first book in this graphic book series rolls out the beginning of interplay of lust and violence which gives to the tale of war, revenge and peace the unmatched regal look.

The Case That Shook India

On 12 June 1975, for the first time in independent India’s history, the election of a prime minister was set aside by a High Court judgment. The watershed case, Indira Gandhi v. Raj Narain, acted as the catalyst for the imposition of the Emergency. Prashant Bhushan in The Case That Shook India provides a blow-by-blow account and offers the reader a front-row seat to watch one of India’s most important legal dramas unfold.

Friend of my Youth

Amit Chaudhuri in Friend of My Youth tells the story of a writer in Bombay for a book-related visit and finds himself in search of the city he grew up in and barely knows. Friend of My Youth is at once an unexpected exploration and a concentrated reminiscence woven around a series of visits to a city that was never really home.

Aurangzeb: The Man and the Myth

Aurangzeb reveals the untold side of a ruler who has been peddled as a Hindu-loathing bigot, murderer, and religious zealot. In this bold and captivating biography, Audrey Truschke enters the public debate with a fresh look at the controversial Mughal emperor.

Padmini: The Spirited Queen of Chittor

Mridula Behari’s Padmini is narrated from Padmini’s perspective and is a moving retelling of the famed legend that brings to life the atmosphere and intrigue of medieval Rajput courts. You cannot help but be engrossed as Padmini grapples with the matter of her own life and death, even as she attempts to figure out what it means to be a woman in a man’s world.
So, which was your favourite read of 2017?

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness with Arundhati Roy — Opening Day at Penguin Fever 2017

“One of the great risks of success and fame in the arts is that you could become domesticated or domesticate yourself by wanting to replicate or…reward people’s expectations,” said the inimitable Arundhati Roy in her lucid voice, enrapturing a packed auditorium as she opened this year’s Penguin Fever, a special edition of the Spring Fever, celebrating 30 years of Penguin in India.
As the autumn chill in the air slowly descended upon an enthusiastic audience queueing up at the gates of the India Habitat Centre in Delhi on October 26, the hall inside warmed up to the lilting voice of Arundhati Roy reading pages from The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.
In conversation with professor and documentary filmmaker, Shohini Ghosh, Roy reflected upon her journey through the years as an author and more.

The God of Small Things blew my life apart, in good and bad ways,” she said, on being asked the question of her 20-year-long sabbatical from fiction writing.
This led Ghosh to ask the writer about the connections between her two works of fiction, especially the curious question — “Where do old birds go to die?” that took off from the pages of The God of Small Things two decades ago and flew all the way into the pages of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Some connections were deliberate, while some others were not, came the reply.

The quaint, haunting world of the Jannat guest house, as built by her character Anjum in the middle of a graveyard, (in The Ministry of Utmost Happiness) houses “social, sexual and political dissidents”, Ghosh remarked. She went on to ask what inspired the writer to sketch these wonderfully unique characters, only to interrupt her own question and ask “Are they around?” to a delighted Arundhati Roy and an amused audience.
“They are here, can’t you see them? They are always around,” quipped Roy as she continued, “They moved in and they are not moving out. They are not going anywhere.”
The author revealed how her early days as a student (and a topper) of architecture had a rather heavy influence on her love for structuring a story. She went on to say, “One of the joys of writing fiction for me, is the joy of being able to describe landscape.” This explains her lavish descriptions of the lands her characters lived in, evoking sparkling images of flowing rivers and animals that can think out loud.

Roy dwelled upon how her stories may have initially seemed to her like cities — concrete, urban jungles, but in reality, they turned out to be “underwater cities”.
On writing, the author said that she does not approve of labels being put on them — “I want to write something that I can’t describe. I want to write something on the air we breathe,” she insisted.

As the floor was opened for the eager, enthralled audience, questions one and many came in from every corner of the auditorium.
To one such query about how she decided to zero down on certain “issues” while writing The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Roy said she refuses to treat anything as an “issue”.
“It’s a very impersonal thing,” she remarked. To her, “it’s a way of seeing the world,” it’s about the “air we breathe”.

The evening seemed to have passed in the blink of an eye as Roy, on a closing note, left her audience to ponder over a few words — “A novel is a universe I create for a person I love to walk through. I never write for one person.”
As she read a few more lines from her newest book and drew the curtains for the evening, Arundhati Roy’s session set the perfect premise for the festival of words to prepare for the coming five days of Penguin Fever, in the heart of the capital.

Penguin Fever Schedule

It’s that time of the year again but this time it’s under the autumn sky. Six days of literature extravaganza is going to start from October 26, with numerous literary icons as panelists.
Here are the dates you should mark on your calendar.
October 26, 7PM: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – Arundhati Roy in conversation with Shohini Ghosh
October 27, 7PM: Zara sa jhoom loo main – Shobhaa De on turning seventy – and having a blast! In conversation with Vidya Balan. Sonia Singh to moderate
October 28, 5PM: Inconvenient Truths: Are we heading for an environmental disaster – Sunita Narain, Prerna Bindra, and Pradip Krishen
October 28, 7PM: The Heart of the Matter – Ravinder Singh, Durjoy Datta, and Sudeep Nagarkar in conversation with RJ Ginnie
October 29, 5PM: The Man from the Hills – Ruskin Bond on life, writing, and his love for lemon cheesecake!
October 29, 7PM: Criminal Minds – Brijesh Singh, Ravi Subramanian, Novoneel Chakraborty. Poonam Saxena will moderate the session
October 30, 7PM: The Line of Beauty – Perumal Murugan, Kannan Sundaram, Bibek Debroy, Rana Safvi, Namita Gokhale as moderator
October 31, 7PM: The Rise of the Elephant – Shashi Tharoor, Gurcharan Das, Sonu Bhasin, Shireen Bhan as moderator
Open Air Library: October 26–31, 11AM onwards
If you haven’t already, register for the Penguin Fever here:
See you there!

Mayank Austen Soofi talks about the cover photograph of ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’

Mayank Austen Soofi, the renowned photojournalist, gets candid about behind the scenes of the cover and author picture shoot for Arundhati Roy’s much awaited novel – The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Tell us about the photo used on the cover of Arundhati Roy’s new novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.
I’m a devotee of The God of Small Things. I’m also very attached to its cover, a picture of the surface of water with flowers and leaves and the sky reflected in it. I love it because you can keep looking at it. It is so particular and yet elusive, and you can never get enough. And that is exactly how the novel is. I think and I hope that this cover for The Ministry of Utmost Happiness will stir the same feelings in the reader. It’s a photograph of stone, which is the complete opposite of water. Yet I think the cover has that same quality of being particular as well as elusive.
How did you come about taking these photos?
She asked me to. She was very clear about what she wanted. I was nervous, but I tried to follow the brief as closely as I could.
Why did she choose you to take these photos?
That’s a question you must ask her. All I can say is that I cannot believe this is happening to me. That my photograph will be on the cover of the second novel of the writer who wrote The God of Small Things!
What is she smiling about in that author photo?
She was thinking some very private thought, I think.
Your blog is called ‘The Delhi Walla: Your gateway to alternate Delhi, the city of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya and Arundhati Roy’. When did you start it and why is it called that?
I started my blog ten years ago, many years before I actually met Arundhati Roy. Delhi is where I live and work. There are two people here, who have shaped me and my way of thinking. One is her, a writer who seems to speak directly to me. The other one is the Sufi Saint Hazrat Nizammudin Auliya.


The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Arundhati Roy’s first novel in twenty years, is set to release in June 2017.


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