Ben Macintyre’s The Spy and The Traitor is a true story of a Russian defector, Oleg Gordievsky, who changes the course of the Cold War by spying for the British. His defection to Britain’s MI6, his eventual detention by the KGB, and his subsequent extraction from Moscow is edge-of-the-seat stuff that will definitely find its way to the TV screen.
My job to the outside world is a little like Chandler’s job from the TV show Friends; I’m a data transponster. I often struggle to explain what I do to people who do not belong to this industry, and hence I leave it at business development. With time, Ruki has learned what I do and is now able to explain to anyone who asks what RFPs and RFIs are… Her world is fundamentally different from mine, and it was difficult to explain work calls late into the night or early in the morning. Having worked for close to eight years in a role that requires me to coordinate and collaborate with stakeholders from different nationalities and cultures, I can relate to almost every aspect that Erin Meyer covers in her book, The Culture Map. Continue reading
I began reading How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates just as India was entering its second wave of the Covid 19 pandemic. In the weeks that followed, the onslaught of bad news pouring in from every part of the country was, to say the least, relentless. In hindsight, reading a book about the bleak future we face, while oscillating between pandemic-induced fear and fatalism, wasn’t a very good idea… It was almost as if the mere act of distancing myself from the reality of climate change and the contents of the book, would somehow make them less true… Less worrisome… Continue reading
The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a fictional account of Nuri and Afra’s journey from their home in war-torn Syria to the UK. The story is narrated by Nuri, a former beekeeper, who struggles to accept the reality of the loss they experienced in Aleppo, forcing them to flee. Moving and tender, it throws into focus the plight and hardship of a people representing the biggest displacement event in the modern world.
Christy Lefteri manages to create powerful and poignant characters loosely based on real-life heroes, such as this bee professor from Damascus. The story itself is a product of the time she spent at a refugee center in Athens and is built around themes of love, loss and light. She writes without commoditizing suffering and pain, and in doing so, she provokes the reader to experience the tenderness and vulnerability between Nuri and Afra. Moments such as Nuri caressing Afra’s head, touching her chest before he falls asleep feel familiar.
It is a story that deserves to be read, not just because of the context in which it exists, but also because of the way in which its protagonists’ quest ends, in them finally finding each other. It has a rating of 4.2 on Goodreads.