Khushwant Singh wrote this book about the events that took place in the year 2009, seen through the eyes of three old friends who make it a point to meet every evening in Lodhi Garden. There is Pandit Preetam Sharma, an Oxford Graduate, retired from Civil Services, a bachelor who lives in Khan Market with his sister. There is Nawab Barkatullah Baig Dehlavi an affluent businessman who lives in Nizamuddin with his devoted wife. Last but not the least there is Sardar Boota Singh, a widower and a retired newspaperman (ahem!) who lives close to Sharma. These three men like taking a walk in Lodhi Garden every evening and have taken to congregating on a bench right opposite the Bara Gumbad. In their honor the bench has been renamed as 'Boodha Binch'.
There is one chapter for each month which recounts the political happenings, weather, and whatever going on in the lives of the three men. The men talk, argue and reminiscence about their lives. They talk about politics, love, women, nature and of course, their ailments. The book starts on 26th January 2009 and ends, a bit sadly, on 26th January 2010. (For this reason, it is fortuitous that I am writing this on 26th January as well.) There is not really much happening here, but the events are an interesting mishmash of the political scene and weather during the year 2009. Khushwant Singh throws in a bit of religion, some lovely poetry and nice descriptions of trees and flowers. In fact, the book is quite like his column.
I enjoyed his book Delhi very much which I reviewed on mouthshut.com. I have pasted the writing onto my blog here. This book is not a patch on Delhi, but yet, if you compare it with the kind of stuff being printed these days, it is miles ahead. KS's language is pretty non-decorative, but has the advantage of being direct and functional. The poetry he has picked to describe seasons is lovely.