NEW DELHI

Rolling out the best of Khushwant Singh

New edition: Suhel Seth reading from the book ‘Not a Nice Man to Know' in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: R. V. Moorthy

New edition: Suhel Seth reading from the book ‘Not a Nice Man to Know' in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: R. V. Moorthy  

Now in the twilight years of his life, Khushwant Singh was sorely missed at an event organised here over the weekend to celebrate the publication of a new edition of “Not a Nice Man to Know: The Best of Khushwant Singh”.

Singing hosannas of the author and bibliophile, Nandini Mehta of Penguin Books India said that in 1992, when she was preparing the first edition of “Not a Nice Man to Know”, Khushwant Singh said that his life's work was done and that he was living on borrowed times. He said that apart from his autobiography he was unlikely to write anything more of substance. “However, over the past two decades he has had to eat those words many times over,” she quipped.

His works since 1992 include new collection of essays, translations and short stories and no fewer than three novels, the last one, “The Sunset Club”, being printed when he was 95.

Later on, a dramatised reading of the play “Tyger Tyger Burning Bright” by the former editor of Illustrated Weekly of India was performed by ad man Suhel Seth.

Before reading out the play, Mr. Seth told the gathering that T-shirts emblazoned with “Train to Pakistan” (Khushwant Singh's famous novel) were available.

Noting that he was missing the company of the prolific writer, Mr. Seth said: “In 1982 when I. S. Johar's play was to be staged, in which I happened to enact Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Khushwant Singh narrated to me his experiences with the Pakistani leader.”

After the reading session concluded, Rahul Singh said his 96-year-old father was not confined to a wheel chair and still walks around the house. But he has stopped going for walks to Lodhi Gardens.

“He is full of energy. He gets up at 4-30 a.m. and starts reading. Among the newspapers he reads include The Hindu . Every day he gets five to seven books, mostly from Penguin. He selects which book he wants to write about… Sometimes people drop by uninvited.”

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