Sunday, September 5, 2010

Canine capers

The story of a bond that became an obsession between a man and his best friend…

The cover picture says it all. A man standing at a doorway and gazing at his dog. The man, sixtyish, is in silhouette against the bright light of a garden and the dog, looking the other way, is small, white and fluffy. The reader may be pardoned for anticipating a maudlin account of a man-and-beast love story and in doing so would be fully justified. Love story it is, and with huge dollops of unabashed sentimentality but with a lot of other elements that go into making this book a hugely interesting read.

A Home for Gori by Habib Rehman (co-authored by Kishore Singh) is not just an ode to all things canine but also, incongruously, to art, architecture, cuisine and the rich cultural heritage of places like Delhi, Lucknow and Hyderabad. A secondary thread weaves inconspicuously through the tapestry of the author's deep and abiding love for dogs, one that traces the career of Rehman from ex-army man to hotelier and from hotelier to an iconic visionary of the hospitality industry. To the reader, Rehman, a well-known social figure, is synonymous with the ITC-Welcome group of hotels and some charming lesser known facts about the author are revealed here. These include the fact that the Major's foray into the field of hospitality was entirely accidental and the outcome of an inexpert stint of ice-cream making at a garden party!

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