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is our 5th issue, and we have touched 50 thousand readers. Such overwhelming response is a huge inspiration for us, on our mission to take Indian literature to new heights. In this month’s cover story, meet Piyush Jha, the best selling thriller novelist of our time. A man who has made his life’s mission to give Crime thrillers, its due recognition in the Indian literature space. This genre, which he says is “criminally neglected”. We have captured Piyush’s thoughts and passion in this issue’s cover story. We have also had a tête-à-tête with another best selling author in the crime thriller genre, Oswald Pereira, who has brought the (in)famous Mumbai Editor under-world to our drawing rooms, or perhaps more Victor Basu precisely to our bed side tables. In our Interview Sub Editors section, Pereira has shared his thoughts on his new Sudipa Chakraborty book “Revenge of the Naked Princess” and much Mukesh Rijhwani more in a very candid conversation. We have featured Harper Collin’s Commissioning Sumantra Chowdhury Editor, Neelini Sarkar, in our Publishing Perspective. Trainee Sub Editor It gives us fresh, extremely interesting and helpful Nidhi Mathur insights into the nitty-gritty of publishing industry. Copy Editors Also, Dos and Donts for the aspiring as well as pubAsmita Sarkar lished authors. Saurabh Chawla We promise to bring you more interesting articles in our forthcoming issues. Do help us in this matter by Photo Editor clicking the survey link on the last page. Enjoy this Neloy Bandyopadhyay issue.


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On Sunday the 18th of August, The Tollygunge Club Calcutta had invited author Jash Sen for a reading of her debut novel, The Wordkeepers and a subsequent interview by author Trisha Ray. Trisha is the author of the bestseller, The Guns behind the Gunfire. There was also a cover reveal and a sneak preview of Skyserpents, the sequel to The Wordkeepers, which is to be released in October 2013. The author answered questions on her book and its characters, Dhoomavati and Anya being the crowd favourites. Other questions came up, whether one would need to know the Mahabharata to enjoy the book (no) or whether this was a mythology or a fantasy (it is an out and out fantasy, with some mythological characters, just to make things more interesting, said the author). | September 2013 | 10

There were about 80 guests, all very involved and fully participating in the interview - but then, all you need to make Kolkatans smile is to invite them to a book event. There were no film stars or celebrities. | September 2013 | 11

Comic Con Express Hyderabad saw the launch of over 10 titles at this convention. One of India’s best comic book publishers Campfire publishing, released their graphic novelization of “Pride & Prejudice.” Also, the famous graphic novel titled “ODAYAN” written by Suhas Sundar, which went out of Print, was relaunched by Pop Culture Publishing in partnership with Level 10 comics. Holy Cow Publishing launched their finale comic to their best selling series, “Ravanayan Finale” & Pop Culture publishing launched “Satya Police” - A graphic novel by the the winners of the first Comic Con India grant given at 1st Comic Con India Awards!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

We don’t have enough crime thrillers, really good ones – that’s a genre that’s really become big in the post Steig Larsson years, though mass market thrillers were always big in America. We also need more fiction that’s read widely by both literary and mass market readers. Too much of our fiction is slotted into one or the other, and I think a lot of readers miss out on a really good book because it’s seemingly inaccessible.

I began my career with HarperCollins India, five years ago, joining as an editorial assistant then becoming copy editor, senior copy and then commissioning. My job requires me to read and assess manuscripts, commission new books, do structural edits on all my books and line edits on some of them. For the second part of my job I look after rights for our Indian list – selling of Indian Do you see the quality of manlanguage and foreign rights, audio, uscripts have improved or defilm, etc.

graded over the last couple of How did you become a Com- years? missioning Editor with HCl?

They have definitely improved. I love looking at our slush pile because it gives a great idea of the market at the moment. When I joined HCI I read a lot of campus novels and chick-lit – now the trend is towards thrillers, mythology and romance. The quality of the writing itself has improved, without a doubt.

When I started out at HCI, I would read manuscripts for our publisher and give her feedback. I was trained to slowly start taking responsibility for those writers and books myself, sometimes we would discuss an idea and I would be asked to follow it through. Later my own network expanded and I sought out writers How long you look at the manand commissioned books myself.

uscript? before you accept or Is there any one genre that you reject, personally want Indian writers Sometimes it grabs you – or not to explore that’s missing from – from the very first page, at oth(or you want to see more of in) er times you have to read several Indian English Literature? chapters before deciding, especially

if the writing in itself is decent. I think in fiction it takes a little longer when you have to read through to see if the plot works. Non-fiction I find easier to ‘skim’.

How many manuscripts that you receive in a year and how many books does Harper publish in a year? I think the slush pile alone gives us at least 200 manuscripts or more in a year. And each editor probably gets between 2-5 manuscripts from agents, writers, etc every week. HarperCollins India publishes 150 books a year.

dations from Literary agents? Yes of course, there are still relatively few literary agents in india – that is, we publish many books that don’t come from agents – but I think they have an increasingly important role to play in publishing. A good agent is keyed into what the publishing house and a particular editor are looking for; he or she makes a good pitch; and when the book has been accepted, the agent acts as mediator, negotiator, ensuring that the relationship between the author and editor is smooth and that the expectations of both sides are met.

What role has Chetan Bhagat What are the three most com- played in the Indian publishmon mistakes that you find in ing ecosystem? manuscripts? 1. Sometimes first novels tend to lean a little too heavily on real life experience, and sometimes the reader can tell that the writer has just put something in because ‘it happened to them’. 2. A lot of manuscripts are just too long – when it can very easily be made a lot crisper and tighter. 3. Basic grammar – you needn’t be an expert but if you’re choosing to write a book in English, you need to have your grammar and spellings right.

Do you entertain | September 2013 | 16

Well, he has taken the average print run of a bestselling mass market novel from 5000 to 30,40…100,000. He’s become a celebrity and taken his books to a whole new market. Even international markets have heard of him, and there were hardly any mass market writers who were known outside India before that. Having said that, I don’t think he has contributed to Indian publishing beyond the mass market novel. At one time, especially after Ravinder Singh became a bestseller too, I hoped that the new, young Indian reader would progress to reading other books – but all we see are

increased sales of the same kinds of atively say that it’s just not good books. enough. Because really, that’s the only reason why something is rejectDo you also look at the blog ed. But more seriously, if the pubor social media following of a lisher feels that feedback would be wannabe author while decid- constructive, or if there is a specific reason why the book doesn’t work, ing? they would always convey this to the writer. Depends on the nature of the book, but yes, it has become increasingly important. Author driven marketing Is English writing, a viable is important, and the digital space profession in India? is the easiest way to reach out to an author’s fans. Not that I would reject I think it helps to have a day job until a good book just because the au- your books start selling in hundred thousands. thor isn’t on Twitter!

Do you recommend that a wannabe author should get his/her manuscript professionally edited before submitting?

Which new generation Indian authors you like? Anuja Chauhan, PG Bhaskar, Manu Joseph, Tabish Khair, Amrita Tripathi, Chandrahas Chowdhury, Devapriya Roy

If it is well written, I don’t see why it needs to be edited professionally. Words of wisdom for wannabe The editor would be happy to work with the author on the book, and it’s authors? the two of them who should shape Think about who you are writing for, the book together. why you are writing, what you hope to achieve, and then start. And of Why do publishers don’t excourse, read - not just your favourplain their rejections? ites, but explore new books, so that it helps you grow as a writer. n Sometimes it’s a little hard to creNeelini Sarkar has worked in Indian publishing for five years. She is a graduate of Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford. | September 2013 | 17


novel, The Newsroom Mafia. I was ell us about your ex and the first journalist to write the inside story on the media-mafia-governcurrent careers? ment nexus, which is what the novel After spending more than 30 years is about. in journalism, communication and teaching, I have now set up my own Tell us how readers have reeditorial consultancy. In journalism, acted to this book? I wrote about the power plays in the underworld, politics and business. I have earned a decent fan followIn communication, I built brands and ing of young journalists, students, images of companies. In teaching, I young working persons, authors, honed the writing skills of aspiring and many others, who said they journalists and taught them how to loved the book. Older people too write clean, clear and crisp copy, so liked the novel, but I think it is the that readers would understand what younger generation, which is still they are trying to convey. My edito- idealistic, that comprised a major rial firm, named Confident Editors, chunk of the readership. Newspaper now helps corporate, multilateral reviewers too praised the book. The agencies, NGOs, publishing hous- Telegraph said that there is a ‘chilles, authors and professionals write ing ring of truth’ to the story. Mid right. Day, which devoted a full page to the book, said that it ‘exposed the What prompted you to write ugly underbelly of journalism.’ Sociyour first novel, The News- ety magazine did a six-page interview with me, highlighting the book. room Mafia? Some top Bollywood directors have expressed interest in adapting the After writing exposés, I thought it book into a film, and I hope that one was time to expose the truth behind of them soon signs for the movie some of the exposés. As journalists, rights. we point fingers at politicians, ministers, bureaucrats, businessmen, police officers, underworld dons and And tell us about your latest celebrities. But have you read about book? journalists pointing fingers at themselves? The itch to write the truth The desire to write my second novabout the story behind stories print- el, Revenge of the Naked Princess: ed in newspapers and magazines is A Dark Tale on Forced Conversions, what prompted me to write my first was born, again, out of the itch | September 2013 | 19

to tell the truth … behind (forced) religious conversions by Christian missionaries in the 16th century in India. It is a story about how missionaries preached love and compassion, but — with the help of the army — practised rape, murder, loot and vandalism, in order to build big conversion figures and earn a place in heaven. Sadly, missionaries have not learnt from the gory past, for conversions by missionaries in the tribal areas of India, still happen, not with physical force, but with inducements, psychological and material.

tino’s contribution to the film world with his movie Inglourious Basterds. The Times of India’s The Speaking Tree termed the novel as ‘macabre, brilliant, enjoyable and thoroughly readable.’ Best-selling author Ashwin Sanghi said the novel is ‘Incredible, extremely gripping and gut wrenching and moved me to tears.’ Surprisingly, many prominent Christians, including social activists and even religious people have loved the book and said that forced conversions, one of the darkest chapters in the history of Christianity, was a story that needed to be told.

Tell us how readers have reWhat are your two cents for acted to your book? wannabe authors? This book has earned a niche among the serious readers, with more literary tastes. Some reviewers think that this book shows my progress as a writer. compared my contribution to the literary world by writing Revenge of the Naked Princess to Hollywood stalwart Taran- | September 2013 | 20

My two cents for wannabe authors is: Keep writing, make writing a daily habit and never give up. There’s always one publisher and readers for your book, waiting to grab and read your masterpiece. n

You can hear crisp footsteps some-

where behind! It is dark, it is dangerous; late in the night, it is just you all alone walking through the dim sinister alleys! Amidst seething silence, just out of the blue, piercing through the eerie stillness of the night, it goes “boom”, an ear-splitting gunshot ripping through your ears! You are stunned to silence, frozen to even react, for a long time! “It’s a murder” goes the shrill cry! Pause… So! What happens next? “Who died and who did it?” Aren’t you just nudged out of your comfort zone, pushed to the edge of the seat, itching and inquisitive to peel through the layers of the murder mystery; to know it more, and to know it all? Yes, this is what is called the ‘strange ap-

peal of crime fiction’! As author and artist Jess C Scott says, “The whole thing becomes like this evil enchantment from a fairy tale, but you’re made to believe the spell can never be broken.” Call it an obnoxious attraction for vicarious violence or an unapologetic hunger for sensation or just plain curiosity; almost most of us are nothing less than enchanted by the fascinating facets of crime fiction. And, who can explain this incurable case of fascination better than someone who is himself a prolific writer of crime fiction in India, Piyush Jha. Jha sums up his love for crime fiction, “I enjoyed crime fiction right through my growing up years and even today if you give me a choice between a book and a film in any genre, chances are that I will choose crime fiction. I am simply fascinated by the myriad ways that a crime story unfolds, even if it is set in the most unassuming surroundings.” Author of best-selling novels like Mumbaistan and Compass Box Killer, Piyush Jha may not be the biggest name in the world of crime fiction today, but, we could

I am actually a filmmaker. But writing is an extension of creative storytelling, just like the movies.

argue him to be one of the most promising and ambitious crime fiction writers in Indian English literature. Readers and critics often use expressions like “cracker of a thriller”, “un-put-down-able” and “fantastic” to define his works. Thus, when Jha’s debut, Mumbaistan, a novella, made it to the Crossword | September 2013 | 24

Best of 2012 list, Flipkart Editor’s Choice Best of 2012 list, Financial Express Best of 2012 list and begged a nomination for the Tata First Book Award; it came as no surprise to us. His second offering, Compass Box Killer, a gritty crime thriller which was released early this year has already received great reviews by

Truth is stranger than fiction so there is no escaping from reality. But, when you tell stories, you make reality more bearable.

media and his readers. With the right concoction of thrill, suspense, macabre murders, thick plot and gritty characters, Jha’s books turn out to be great recipes for readers with an appetite for hardboiled crime fiction. A short tête-à-tête with Piyush Jha convinces us that he believes in the wide and enduring appeal of crime fiction. And, it greatly distresses him that even though there is a tremendous surge of serious writers of this genre both in international and regional book markets in India, there are only few writers to explore this genre in Indian English literature. His love for crime fiction has made him a man with a mission now. He says, “I’m working really hard in getting the criminally ignored English language crime-fiction genre off the ground in India. I’ve met with some success and a lot of hurdles, and I’d like to share my experiences with other writers who may want to venture into this genre.” Jha clearly understands the Indian English literature scene where there is a steep demand for crime fiction. “There’s definitely an audience for it considering how successful TV serials like CID and Crime Patrol have been,” he adds. “So did you always aspire to be-

come an author, even as a child?” we ask Jha. “No, it happened almost by accident. I am actually a filmmaker. But writing is an extension of creative storytelling, just like the movies,” he quickly responds. We go back in time to unravel the incident that brought out the author in Piyush Jha by accident. “It was just another day in college in 1983. As I stood outside Elphinstone College (where I studied), I heard a piercing gunshot from inside the Sessions Court in Mumbai. It was gangster Amirzada Khan who was shot dead by a Dawood’s hit man. Amirzada had earlier killed Dawood’s brother!” Jha narrates this story with vivid details. The menacing story stayed in the inner recesses of his mind for years together, until one day, when he penned a short story. It was exactly at that time, when Jha met his to-be-wife, Priyanka. “I showed her the stories. I wanted to impress her. She liked them and suggested me to complete them as short stories and novellas, so I did. Those three stories then eventually came together as Mumbaistan. Also, somewhere between my finishing the Mumbaistan and getting it published, we got married.” We notice a vague smile across Jha’s face as he | September 2013 | 25

I welcome my readers like new visitors to Mumbai and want to tell them the little known secrets, the unknown and forgotten little things. narrates a snippet of this interesting story. Jha definitely has a distinctive talent for writing crime fiction. During one of his interviews for the launch of Mumbaistan, he said, “I was surprised at how smoothly a crime thriller was occurring to me.” Most of Jha’s stories are rooted in reality, “Truth is stranger than fiction so there is no escaping from reality. But, when you tell stories, you make reality more bearable,” he says. His stories are, quite often, a reflection of the times we live in; about the crimes | September 2013 | 26

that happen in cities, the stories that get reported in newspapers, of ordinary middle-class people who get caught in sometimes ordinary and sometimes, not-so-ordinary crime situations. To quote Jha, “There is so much of crime around us today. You pick up a newspaper in the morning and all that grabs headlines are stories of murder and death. It is almost like crime is entering our homes today. In fact, I often sanitize the stories in my book, what we see in reality is too much to sum up in a fictional book.

True crime is more deadly than fictional”. For ‘Injectionwala’, one of his short stories in Mumbaistan, he borrows a lot from the multi-million rupee Kidney Scandal involving Amit Kumar in Gurgaon. “I twist and bend facts to suit fiction,” Jha points out. Slick plot twists and high adrenaline action are the principal ingredients of both Mumbaistan and Compass Box Killer. You can find hard boiled criminals there, the femme fatales, suspense, thrill, intrigue and a pace that never falters: all packed into one! While Mumbaistan is a collection of three explosive novellas, Compass Box Killer marks the beginning of series–adventures of Inspector Virkar who was a protagonist in Injectionwalla, the second novella in Mumbaistan. The charac-

ter of inspector Ramesh Virkar grew on Jha so much so that he decided ‘to have a life of Virkar’s own’ in Compass Box Killer. Virkar is sharp, gritty and noir too; in his pursuit for justice, he wields through the murky layers of crime to finally nab the equally adroit ‘compass box killer’. There is something very obvious in all of Jha’s stories; one can hardly miss the obvious setting of Mumbai in all its different hues: sometimes cruel, sometimes magical and sometimes incredible! Originally from Bihar , Piyush Jha moved to Mumbai at the tender age of eight. From then on, this city has never failed to fascinate him. That’s why he calls Mumbai his muse. “I have grown up on Mumbai and the stories it is crammed with, which always find its way into | September 2013 | 27 | September 2013 | 28

I’m working really hard in getting the criminally ignored English language crime-fiction genre off the ground in India. I’ve met with some success and a lot of hurdles, and I’d like to share my experiences with other writers my writing,” he says. To give a voice to his love for Mumbai, Jha further adds, “I welcome my readers like new visitors to Mumbai and want to tell them the little known secrets, the unknown and forgotten little things about Mumbai”. Mumbaistan’s three crime novellas unravel the subterranean secrets of maximum city- from the teeming maw of Dharavi and the wanton streets of Kamathipura to the swanky high-rises of Bandra. “Bollywood on paper”, many a times, book reviewers have termed his works as ‘the typical-Bollywood movie’. We sense a scent of disapproval there, or not? We rather ask Jha to respond. “I actually am a little puzzled by that. Because my stories follow an international crime-thriller structure and are extremely Noir in nature. Many writers around the world write like this. But, I think it’s because my characters are Indian and my setting is Mumbai, people call my writing ‘Bollywood on Paper’,” Jha exclaims. But, Jha hardly gets perturbed with such a comment. The warmth in his voice hardly takes

a beating. He shrugs his shoulders and says, “So be it. I shall wear it as a badge of honour. One thing I was very clear about was that, like Bollywood films, my writing should be very accessible for the readers even those who are new to English”. It is interesting to know that Piyush Jha was first a filmmaker who later veered to writing, something contrary to the standard practice where writing usually precedes filmmaking. (He is the director of highly acclaimed movies like acclaimed Chalo America, King of Bollywood and Sikandar). We quiz him on this too. “I always aspired to become a film director since my college days,” he says. “But, I took up advertising as my career after finishing my MBA,” he adds. A successful advertising career paved his way for filmmaking and it was the year 2000 when Jha finally took a plunge into film direction with his first film Chalo America. “I realized that I had to write the script for the film too. Not being confident of myself, I brought | September 2013 | 29

in a co-writer to help me during Chalo America and my second film King of Bollywood. It was only during my third film, Sikandar that I gained confidence to write the script of my own film,” he explains. Scriptwriting was something Jha thoroughly enjoyed. And, he soon decided to extend this creative process to the realms of books. Jha quips, “I can safely say that writing came to me as a by-product of a strong desire to direct films.” As a child, Jha remembers growing up reading the Just William | September 2013 | 30

ous short stories of Richmal Crompton Lamburn. He talks about some of his absolute favourite authors of crime fiction. The names of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Frederick Forsyth and Stephen King appear right on top of his list. And, American novelist, Gillian Flynn, author of best-selling novel Gone Girl is the latest addition to this list. “Each brings a sense of mastery that makes me realize that I can learn so much if I just pick up any one of their works. But, there is something about Stephen King that always inspires me,” he adds.

Jha remains an ardent aficionado of the school of fiction established by Frederick Forsyth, the author of the international bestseller The Day of the Jackal, which is one of his favourite books. “Story, subject, plot, characterization, narration, languageeach of them is an important ingredient of a good book. Each complements the other, so you cannot develop one at the cost of another without weakening the structure. However, as a crime-fiction author, the importance that I give to plot is paramount,” Jha clarifies. And, that perhaps explains his admiration for Forsyth, who is a master of ‘meticulous plotting’. In spite of having a smooth ride with words, Jha gets stuck at times, infected by the proverbial writer’s block. “I do face writer’s block occasionally. In fact, I am facing one right now. But, it could be primarily because there are too many stories in my head and I don’t know which one I should work on first,” he tells. Jha’s swift fingers are often

in perfect coordination with his fertile mind teeming with stories; just like the way pace never falters in his novels, he is swift too. He takes about three months to write his novels. So, what can we expect from the creative condo of Piyush Jha next? “You can expect both: a movie and a book, one will follow close on other’s heels. Both are crime-thrillers. The next novel is another Inspector Virkar thriller under the Mumbaistan series. The film will be a gritty, Noir, youth-oriented, slice-of-knife film,” he answers. Jha further adds, “I may diversify into Horror soon. That’s another genre I love”. Jha loves to go for long walks along the crowded streets of Mumbai, his muse. Mumbai is ‘alive and kicking’ all the time. And, just like the way this ‘maximum’ city never slows down, we know, Jha will not slow down either, both as a writer and a film maker, not for a long time to come! Because, as English Novelist, John Fowles said, we are “talking about the general psychological health of the species, man. He needs the existence of mysteries…” So, keep the ball rolling Piyush Jha! We are just waiting for the mystery to unfold… somewhere nearby…somewhere in the realm of your chilling, mysterious book! Who knows, it may be just around the corner! n | September 2013 | 31

After a real long time I read a book that kept me thinking and smiling. Our ex-President does it right again. He journeys through our heart. ‘My Journey’ is a book that has different stories from A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s life weaved together. Written very simply, the stories are deeply humane and poignant as a boy from a far off village in Rameshwarm goes to become the President of a nation of one billion.

The first story is about his father and his morning walk titled ‘The Morning Walk’. Kalam begins the book in a time when India was slow and still under the British Raj. His father Jainulabdeen owed a patch of land with few coconut trees and later on to support his large family he started a ferry business. Kalam talks about the serenity the walks brought to his father which he himself continues. is father was not a priest but there would always be people around asking him to say a prayer for them or share their agonies and everyday life with him. In his father Kalam reminds us of the good ole man, in corners of our hearts and streets. The next story is one of the most beautiful one. It talks of the time his father builds a boat to start the fer-

ry business. His cousin joined in to help. Everyday Kalam would watch the long pieces of woods taking shape and later in years it ignites him to build missiles and rockets for the country. The most profound moment in this book is in this story, when one night a storm blew and the boat was left in shreds; yet his father remained calm. This lesson stayed with Kalam. Years later when he was giving shape to missiles and rain disrupted the count-down, he remained calm thinking of the undisturbed face of his father. The next story, ‘A working boy at eight,’ is when he was 8 years old. He becomes a newspaper delivery boy to just be an add-on to his family income. It did involve hard work, but definitely taught him the disciple of work life. The following story, ‘Three great hearts resolves a problem,’ is something that needs to be taught in today’s India where we are becoming more and more intolerant each day. It talks of Kalam who was not allowed to sit next to his best friend, who was a Pandit by his new teacher. Without creating much of a hue and cry his father, the Pandit of the village and the Bishop of the church explained it to the | September 2013 | 33

teacher that this kind of discrimination is completely unacceptable in their village. What could have created communal disharmony was solved with just a conversation. This is something modern India needs to imbibe.

Kalam adds that his being a Muslim never mattered to Swami ji. The next story is about his love for books. Though a scientist it is fascinating to see how the Quran or the Gita were the books that inspired him to sail along with life. The following story, ‘A brush with fire,’ is his first hand rendezvous with death, when he was almost caught by fire in the lab, but saved by his dear friend. This story also includes the incident when eight men lose their lives at the Aarokoram crash. After that he went to meet the bereaved families where one widow asked him, “why did you do this to us?’ He recounts later even within the walls of the Rastrapati Bhawan the wails of the widows and children stayed with him.

The next story, ‘My mother and my sister,’ is his description of his closeness with his mother and his eldest sister. It reminds me of an India where most women went through life in the four walls of their house. All their dreams and aspirations were either tied to their brothers or husbands. The following story is about Jalaluddin, his distant cousin and brother-in law who gave him wings to his dreams. It was Jalaluddin who persuaded him to do his high school outside his village and later was a key reason for him to join MIT in Chennai. The in next one he talks of his mentor, ’Vikram Sarabhai’. This anecJalaluddin also died young, but dote is an amazing insight to the what strikes the most was the con- man Sarabhai was and why India versation he has with his father, who owes him so much. The following inspite of the heartbreak accepts it story is ‘A life in science,’ is a beauas will of God. The following story tiful description on his experiences is, ‘When I failed.’ It is an honest with science, spirituality, hard work, analysis of his failures and learning success and most importantly his in life without trying to be defensive failures. The last story is ‘Miles to or philosophical about it. When he go’. The title itself says that he befailed to make through the interview lieves that he still has miles to cover of Air Force Selection Board, he even after such an eventful life after makes a trip to Haridwar and takes meeting and inspiring so many peoa dip at the holy Ganges. There he ple specially the youth. meets Swami Sivananda himself, who tell him to accept it as destiny. | September 2013 | 34

As a reviewer for the first time, it is difficult for me to find real flaws in this book. It is so impactful that I am sitting down to find a place I can find the dent. May be all I can say, we wish the book was thicker with more stories that could inspire in days like today. I recommend this book to every Indian and especially to students. It

will remind what society needs, and a vision of an India we can definitely proud of. I can vouch that A.P.J Abdul Kalam will leave imprints on the hearts of people even after he is no more. Through his books generations will learn from and call him a hero. n

At 8, she was inspired to write her first poem, trying to copy her sister. Two decades later she is a writer by profession who writes for herself but the editors’ end up publishing her, to her utter surprise. She reviews books for the top notch publishing houses in India and these days, she is trying to scribble poetry. To raise a voice she has co-founded a theatre group ‘Aatish’ with her old Miranda House friends. She is almost obsessed with Hindu mythology, philosophy, Rumi, Gibran and Karna from Mahabharata. | September 2013 | 35

Similar to her previous work, La-

hiri’s story starts from the shores of Kolkata, India and travels to the United States. But the backdrop of the story is set in the 60’s and 70’s, highlighting the Naxalite Movement. The story is about two brothers, Subhash and Udayan, their similarities, differences and the bond between them. It traces the journey from their shared childhood to adulthood. The different paths forged by them later in their lives, the path, which entwines at some point and then forms a new dimension in the story, through Gauri and Bela The storyline is not uncommon. The Lowland takes the reader through the by lanes of Tollygunge, where Subhash and Udayan grows up. Just 15 months apart in age they are but two sides of the same coin, one dominating and wild the other accommodating and gentle. Both good students, Subhash ventures out to further his career in Rhode Island while wild Udayan plunges himself deep into the naxalite movement. Their paths meet with Gauri forming a fulcrum between them. What is perhaps the most gripping feature of this novel is the style of narration. In a single word, the story is extremely intense. It leaves the

reader gasping for breath as the author describes the emotions of Gauri struggling with motherhood, an unhappy marriage and the grief of losing her love. However the highlight is how fantastically the author sketches Gauri’s lack of love towards her daughter, Bela and makes that feeling not at all absurd. Lahiri sketches the emotions of each of her character immaculately, at times they are so minutely observed that one tends to share some common solidarity with them. The reader can easily envision some shared attributes or emotions, whether its Gauri’s inner turbulence, Subhash’s need for love or Bela’s desperate feeling of being rootless. Lahiri’s signature style of total precision makes all the characters relatable and identifiable in real life. All the characters have strong elements of sadness in them. At times the mental agony is too much, in that aspect the storyline is tragic, mostly. However the conclusion brings peace and acceptance, which helps the reader to unwind from the turbulent journey Lahiri takes us through. The Naxalbari movement is crucial not for the ideals it propounded but for the twist in the tale which carries the story forward and allows the characters to develop. | September 2013 | 37

It allows Udayan to venture on a path and gives the title its due importance. Lahiri’s measured descriptions and settings gives the reader glimpses of Calcutta, as it was known before and Rhode Island. Her attention to detail is so astonishing that one can actually visualize the story unfolding in front of their eyes. Whether it is visiting Tolly club in Kolkata or taking to the beach in Rhode Island. The lowland in Tollygunge, from which the story derives its title, is so meticulously described that one can feel surreal about it.

Lahiri is definitely numero uno when it comes to portrayal of her characters and bringing forth all shades of emotions. The reader is provided with a complete understanding of all the flaws and frailties of human nature. Her level of detailing and precision is completely unmatched. Her capability to turn an ordinary story into an extraordinary one is superb. So if one is looking for an extremely good read then this is definitely the book of this season. It is an unforgettable journey into the human mind. n

Suparna Rijhwani is just an avid reader. Reading and writing gives her a true sense of self. Blogging gives her an outlet to express herself and pen her experiences. | September 2013 | 38


Impacting! The soil color is characteristic or suggestive of mud of the countryside. Rural and Rugged issue seems to be captured well enough with the cracks in the soil, on the hard bound cover page. Blurb— This one puts up clearly that it is a story which revolves around farmer’s suicide cases and aims to brings out the stark truth of our rural India which the people of the cities are so indifferent to. One word : Truth-seeking !!! In One Sentence: A riveting political novel that brings out the truth of the ways of working of local bodies and failed governance of our country, India. ROUND UP: The story revolves | September 2013 | 40

around Mityala region. Sudhakar Bhadhra has no money to look after his children. His crops have failed and he is roughly treated by the moneylenders, thus he opts for suicide. His widow is denied compensation due to the corrupt nexus within the local committee appointed to look into these kinds of distress issues. His brother Gangiri, decides on to fight for the real cause to help other widows and curb the suicides. He confronts the members of the committee and demands truth from them. The governance at the center remains indifferent to the plight of the poverty of farmers and schemes their own designs to get over with it. There are politicians who have power due to nepotism. One such person is Keyur Kashinath, the politician who had won the elections by siding with the scrupulous money-lenders. Thus he uses the same means to fight out Gangiri, but this man of conviction and patience ensures that he gives a hard time to the MP. Later the story unfolds with various twists and turns. Journalist Nazar Prakash plays a key and revolutionary role by writing articles highlighting the truth and supporting the poor people. It is not a story of revenge but of seeking justice. REVIEW : Generally the stories from

rural India are not very attractive but this one has been dealt with great elan. The fictitious story delves into the real issues of our country touching upon almost all the reasons for political turmoil and despair. Indifferent political governance at the centre, rural ignorance, corruption at every hierarchy, personal interests, money making greed, misuse of power and forceful influence in the media thrives in India. It brings out the real issue of farmer suicides and how nepotism leads to transfer of power in wrong hands. We are just left hopeless with no means to fight with the powerful except giving up on our lives. The harshness and vagaries of life have been put together impressively. The deepest emotions have been worded very well making the reader connect with the story. THUMPS UP: I liked the theme and central focus of the book. The social media, role of journalism has been portrayed in the rightful way, it must function. The one- on- one discussion of the farmer and the politician

is the USP of the book. Its inspiring to read that men like Gangiri can avert the decisions of the ruling bodies and the poor have the courage to bring revolutions, however, the loss is always on their side. This time both sides lose and justice is done for some. :) A LITTLE MORE: I am never fond of the villains- Durga Das Mahajan and Maha Sarpanch Lamboda but then without them the story would never have taken shape. I was not quite convinced with the end. I know this is what is happening but then truth must win some day without the sacrifices. A few typo errors here and there, though they were brushed away the moment they appeared in the book. Why the author could not name the people who helped her put up this story? LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST: The writing style of the author made the book unputdownable and classy. This gripping tale makes a great read. Go for it for sure!! n

Manjulika loves to review books, blogging, painting and travelling. She calls herself ABC by profession, Artist, Blogger and a Creative one. | September 2013 | 41

this place. Personal equations, professional jealousy, supremacy and what not and to build the gaps between personal and professional lives, bridges are built over various get togethers, parties and swinging clubs. Yes, swinging where people exchange partners willingly to sleep around and aid their professional growth in some or other other way. The story also comprises of a murder and child abuse and various other things.


contacted me over e-mail some time back and asked me if I would be interested in reading and reviewing her upcoming book, Jacob Hills. After reading the blurb, I thought it is going to be one bizarre story and it actually turned out to be one though not in a bad way. I liked reading it. Though, I don’t know if some of the things she has mentioned in the book are coming from the real world because they were really bizarre. Jacob Hills is a war station that houses army college. Apart from all the studies and strictness around, there are too many undercurrents flourish and die from time to time at | September 2013 | 42

What I liked about the book is the story flows from different character’s perspective. Eva and George Chandy, who are transferred to Jacob Hills because of George’s leg injury. Gary and Pam, the flamboyant Punjabi couple staying at Jacob Hills, Vikram and Heena, Saryu and a lot of other characters. Each of them carry forward the plot through their own stories and which is what worked for me with this book. Some 264 odd pages, I managed to finish this book is straight 4 hours.

Also, Ismita’s writing is simple and she knows her craft really well. The caricatures drawn for the each of the characters explains a lot about them and add a new dimension to the story. If you like reading suspense, then Jacob Hills is worth giving a shot. Gripping, riveting, shocking and dis-

gusting, Jacob Hills is a book that will take you to a roller coaster ride of events and revelations that would shake you from within. n

Yatin Gupta had always loved reading but recently he realised how much he is passionate about it. A marketing person by profession, he reads 3-4 books in a week. | September 2013 | 43

Books are very synonymous with Kolkata. Well known as Art and Culture Capital of India, Bengalis are acknowledged as avid book lovers. This photo was taken during a street shoot at the Esplanade area. I have seen this area getting transformed with time, but changes have hardly touched this shop and the proprietor. | September 2013 | 44 | September 2013 | 45

“Anil Book Corner�, a used book seller I came upon while wandering the streets of New Delhi. | September 2013 | 46 | September 2013 | 47

Photo of a Bookstore in Auroville. Auroville is an experimental township in Viluppuram district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, near Puducherry, In South India. | September 2013 | 48 | September 2013 | 49

Opened in 1954 by owner N.K. Chaudhary’s father, the densely packed space offers a wide range of topics in depth. This tiny, world-class book store offers an amazing selection of of spiritual and mystical publications. Books are stacked 3 deep floor to ceiling. Fortunately, Mr. Chaudhary knows where every book is piled.

Poonam Parihar She is a traveling photographer and writer from New York who specializes in social and environmental photography. Her latest book “Kumbh� captures the unique experience of maha kumbh mela 2013 as the story of the ongoers, in the work of fine art.

Richard Beck In his won word, Travel is my passion and I have been traveling and photographing for over 40 years - trying to see and experience the world as it is and pushing back any pre-conceived notions.

Pradipta Basu A Software Engineer by profession, my camera is always my free time companion. My shots encompasses capturing the day to day city life to framing the serene beauty of nature or just trying my hand to capture the human expressions. I am Getty Images and National Geographic Stock Photography contributor.

Alan Morgan In his own words : I am always surprised and happy when others enjoy my photographs because when I take the picture it is for my own enjoyment and memories. My photographs have appeared in publications as diverse as (ai), Army Times, High Times, Hope, International Cable, NMH News, Readers Digest, and Sarika.

When I decided to step into the

difficult-to-penetrate realm of fiction in America, I knew it would be a serious challenge. The American fiction scene is brimming with talented writers in every possible genre, and the cut-throat competition can be intimidating to a beginner. Besides, I was fifty years old when I took up writing in 2002, and I had never written anything more creative than my thesis for my master’s degree. Nonetheless I began by writing articles about the Indian-American immigrant experience. Much to my amazement, between 2002 and 2004, I successfully got over thirty articles published in some wellknown publications in the United States. After that modest taste of success, I started crafting short stories with Indian heroes and heroines. But while my fiction was suitable for ethnic Asian publications, the question was whether the mainstream American establishment would be willing accept stories that hinged on arranged marriage, dowry abuse, virgin brides and grooms, and male dominance. Would they even consider characters like obedient wives and mothers who, despite advanced degrees and flourishing careers of their own, catered happily to the men in their lives? As I explored the possibility of getting my work published I discovered that the publishing industry in the

U.S. has a ninety-eight percent rejection rate - a depressing statistic to any novice writer. However, notwithstanding the odds, three of my short stories won awards and honours in nationwide competitions, so I began working on a full-length novel. But crafting the novel was not half as difficult as finding an agent who would take on an unknown author. My pile of agent rejections grew painfully high. And yet I refused to give up. Along the way I noticed something interesting. Almost every South Asian writer in the U.S. was putting out serious literary novels despite the large market for mainstream and romantic fiction. I wondered if the market was ripe for Indian romances. Could I possibly be the one to blaze a new trail, or was that presumptuous of me? Romance constitutes more than fifty percent of total book sales in America (more than one billion dollars each year), therefore I decided to take a calculated risk by writing romantic fiction, a sub-genre that I branded as “Bollywood-in-a-Book.� I wanted to reach the readership that buys books mainly for entertainment. I also wanted to introduce serious social issues like dowry, female-foetus abortion, and the caste system in contemporary India by weaving them into fun, absorbing, and entertaining tales. Naturally I was hesitant to submit my work to agents, who would likely | September 2013 | 53

scoff at fiction that was entirely different from the sombre Asian stereotype. But then I had noticed that American agents and publishers appreciated unique new voices and were sometimes willing to consider novels that stood apart from the rest. In addition, an author who happened to be in an old-fashioned arranged marriage was of interest to some editors at publishing houses. American publishers view a potential author as a package deal - someone who not only shows a talent for writing but can also speak articulately in public and bring an interesting personal life to the table. All these facts were very heartening to me because I could easily fulfil most of those expectations. After a long search for a reputable agent I finally landed a top-rated one, Elaine Koster (recently deceased), a woman who had published literary giants like Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Erica Jong, and Khaled Hosseini of The Kite Runner fame. She sold my debut book, The Dowry Bride, to Kensington Publishing in New York, in a two-book deal in

2006. More contracts by Kensington followed in quick succession, making it a total of six novels in six years. More than 120,000 copies of the combined books have sold worldwide to date. Book clubs, library groups, women’s organizations, and literary societies frequently invite me to speak about my books and my experiences with publishing. In 2011, an Indian agent approached me and offered to sell the rights to my six novels to Fingerprint Publishing, a new yet highly dynamic and successful publisher based in New Delhi. It was very exciting to have my books available in India and the subcontinent, so I agreed to sign on. Fingerprint has released three of my novels to date. The latest release is The Unexpected Son. So far the reviews for all three books have been very promising. What I have learned from my experience is that in the end, writing a compelling story that will attract an agent and publisher, is what fiction publishing is all about. n

Shobhan Bantwal is the author of six novels and co-author of two anthologies. Her books combine contemporary women’s issues with romantic elements. Her articles have appeared in The Writer, Romantic Times, India Abroad, Little India, New Woman, and India Currents. Her short fiction has won honours/awards in contests sponsored by Writer’s Digest, New York Stories, and New Woman magazines. Her debut book, THE DOWRY BRIDE, won the 2008 Golden Leaf Award. THE UNEXPECTED SON won the 2012 National Indie Excellence Award. Shobhan lives in Arizona, USA. | September 2013 | 54

Dr. Phil always says that you should

say your self affirmations aloud and loudly. ‘I am a writer. I will get published. If not today, then someday’ I didn’t follow Dr. Phil’s instruction to the T. I didn’t always want to be a writer. But I have always wanted to be a researcher, a scientist or a spy. Because in my warped head, and its twisted logic, being a spy and a scientist are pretty similar. So as a kid, I spent hours at end, playing commando-commando or went about breaking things wondering how things worked so that I could be youngest recipient of Nobel Prize for Physics. Einstein was not being his usual self when he said, ‘God doesn’t play dice with the universe’. Of course he was wrong. We all know that life is one big joke. Either you are laughing with it or it is laughing at you. And this is the story of how I got published. For once, I am laughing along with life. My father always used to say ‘Be good at studies and you will be amazed at how everybody wants to be friends with you’. I never took his advice and I still scoff at his reasoning. I have always been a teller of tall tales. I reckon so is the rest of the nation. We thrive on tales. And I knew early on that all you needed was to have fun for others to want to join in. I think I got addicted to story telling way back, when I was in kindergar-

ten. Where my mates and I used to concoct fan-fiction for Superman and He-Man. Whoever told the most interesting story won the popularity contest for the day. Hearing the audience respond with ‘phir?’, ‘and then?’ is a high which can seldom be surpassed. After I finished my graduation, I realized two things: A) I was not Neo from Matrix. B) I didn’t fancy myself feeding reams of code to a computer. I most definitely didn’t want to be the reason machines took over the world. So, I found a job which was all about telling people’s stories, understanding why people did what they did. I got to travel, stay in fancy hotels and abuse the company expense account. In 2008, I quit my job. I went back to my basics. I naively went back to chasing the high of being the centre of attention. I wanted to hold people’s attention. I wanted to manipulate the images which moved inside their mind. And just like that I went back to being a little kid in kindergarten. But I had also grown older. I recognized emotions which weren’t just ‘whoa!’ when then things went BOOM! So, I wrote about this autistic boy and the world through his eyes. I chanced upon Legend Press Bursary. I still had bills to pay. So I submitted the long short story (about 7000 odd words) about the autistic boy, titled ‘Adam’. But | September 2013 | 57

LegendPress passed. It was my first form reject. And I didn’t know that there was something called a form reject. So I continued writing, (Lesson: You have to be delusional to some extent. You have to delude yourself and repeat the self affirmation). I mailed the story to couple of friends. I had wanted the reader of that story to feel strong emotions. I wanted them to cry and marvel at what an utter genius I was. While some people reacted the way I wanted them to. I was chuffed to bits. But there were others who felt that the story was “Too dark... Too intense...” And I was miffed with the readers. And I was angry at myself. So, I took up the gauntlet and yelled ‘REVENGE!’ And proceeded to write the most masala filled story I could conjure up. Never forgetting the joy of making up stories. It was dark, it was creepy and it was oodles of fun to write. I used to wake up at eight, nine in the morning, make myself a cup of coffee, check mail, browse twitter, facebook. Pour myself my first glass of rum and coke at around eleven and start writing. Occasionally tweeting utter nonsense, things which were funny or gross and inconsequential to the story, just to get it out of my system. By evening, I would be done with a chapter. I would mail that day’s chapter to my now fiancé and wait for her feedback. We were in a long distance relationship back then and I sort of | September 2013 | 58

blackmailed her with cold silence till she didn’t finish reading what I had written so far. After three long, alcohol fuelled months, I finished the story and I mailed it to the now BIG-5, but back then BIG-6 publishing houses. I tried reaching out to agents. Movies have sort of spoiled the way I view the world of publishing (Agents, big fat pay cheque, parties, Page-3 parties and oodles of attention) and my sense of morality in general. Nothing emerged, till I chanced upon this new publisher called Fingerprint, who had just published this dope story called ‘Marathon Baba’. The commissioning editor at Fingerprint back then, Arcopol (a good friend now), had read ‘Amul’ and had quite liked it. Or at least that’s what he claimed. And he quite liked the premise of conjoined Sherlock/Watson, Byomkesh/Ajit tracking down a Joker like villain. I had thrown Nazis and cannibalistic clowns just to ensure that the story was, you know, fullon masala. Gayatri, my editor, (who I am greatly surprised by her still being alive) came on board sometime during the beginning of 2013. And by August, 2013, the book was out. I suppose you are wondering, how does any of this help me get my book published? Well, the answer is simple. Hemmingway was an idiot, write sober and edit sober, unless you have a fabulous editor. Ensure that you have some semblance of a social, emotional, moral support

system, somebody who will indulge your delusions of being a published writer with an iron glove. Who will also ensure that you are actually writing and not just getting supremely drunk. And have patience, heaps of patience. Rumour has it that Big Bazaar on Wednesdays has a mas-

sive sale on patience. Invest in it. And yes, before I forget, read. Like a lot. And write. Like I always say, a good first step to a brilliant start to a day begins by managing to open your eyes and get up from bed. n

Athul DeMarco’s debut novel An.Al - The Origins has just hits book stores. He is known for his absolute dislike for pants. He is currently engaged in research for his next book. | September 2013 | 59

It’s rightly said that till the time the

right chords are not hit, the melody doesn’t come out of an instrument. Being a writer was one of my least thought paths to be in. Poetry came to me naturally at a very early age. Many of my poems were published in The Times of India Sub Editions back then in 2004. I did not give that much importance to it and just continued writing. Soon enough I had a collection of 400 + poems and one fine day I decided to get it published. I approached many publishers, went through many deals that were not feasible for me to go with and then I finally tied up with Leadstart Publishing. This was how my journey began in literature industry. 'Silent Voices' was the first and then came the series of four books titled 'Breaking silence' was published by First Step Publishing also I was a part of three anthologies i.e. 'Colors', 'Minds@work' and 'Project Humming Bird' within a year. I have always been a net savvy person. I initially had no intentions in approaching the India Book Of Records, but landed on their website. To my surprise I found no record in the field of poetries. It clicked in my mind and the very next instance I checked their online submission form. After sharing a series of mail conversations with them I finally got the India Book Of Records Certificate in my hand that mentioned I i.e. Rohit Shetty was now a part of India

Book of Records for making the record of getting his most poem books published in a year. This followed the Mulund Festival in the month of December 2012 where I was felicitated. It was a great day for me as I was climbing up the ladder of the literary world I was filled with new ideas and topics to write on. The topic for 'Murdered to Moksha' came to me some two years back. I was studying this topic since then. I had researched and found that this was a very controversial topic to write a novel on and hence was untouched till date. My research landed me to a point of shock when I was enlightened by the facts on the topic world-over. The topic had been prevailing in our society since ages but was untouched and unspoken for it invited assured controversy. Say it a good or a bad. And there was also a need of a new topic to hit the shelves that were full of college life and regular moral-less love stories. This was when I fixed it in my mind to have this theme for my 1st debut novel. It was a dream, now to be accomplished soon. I was working with my father in our family business and could hardly take out time to start up a new project in writing. It was surprisingly brought to the light again after a long time while casually speaking to Ketki. She was a good friend and I often read her poetries and articles on her facebook and blog. She was trying her hand in writing | September 2013 | 61

short-stories as well. Aware of this fact I happened to share my thoughts, my dream of this topic with her. To which she had replied as, ‘Sure, it’s a lovely topic to write on. I will try to build up a story outline on this topic and mail it to you. See if you like it.’ I was happy to see her equal amount of interest and liking for the topic. Not under a blue moon night had I thought I would find my co-author in her. I received her mail that read – Story Outline, Tentatively Titled : Murdered To Moksha. The name triggered my visualisation and the outline she had send me caught my mind and gave me a far clearer picture as too what I wanted to shape this topic to. That very moment I gave her a call and presented to her the motto behind why I had asked her to write that story on the topic. Initially she had given me a straight NO on my face. She said

it sounded like a nightmare to her. I wondered why…? I was finally successful in understanding her reasons behind a NO and convinced her by building up her confidence and a ‘little motivation’. Her major concern was the command on the language which she felt she lacked in but it was something one can always learn. Saying this, I still remember the hilarious time we had editing our first draft of the novel. She says the editing sessions was a great learning classes for her but for me they were like a realisation that I can also have my part time carrier as a language tutor. But she was good at her narration styles and keeping the grip in the story. The book is a team effort and a great learning process for both of us. Our weakness was compensated by the strength of each other.” n

Academically a Chemical Engineer, Rohit Shetty is an author of 5 Poetry books and an India Book of Record Holder for most poems books published in a year. His latest book, Murdered To Moksha, has hit the book stores across the country. | September 2013 | 62

and we gave our 100% to accomplish it. The journey of writing this book was a great learning experihat evening when I got a call from ence and so much fun. Rohit I was on my desk framing a I still remember how we had dis new piece of poetry for my blog. And I heard him say: ‘We are writing cussed the scenes on phone and this book together.’ Oh God!!! That then sat to write them down at night. was like a nightmare to me. Even af- Though it was a fiction we had a ter my infinite NOs he succeeded in gala time narrating some of our or hearing a YES from me. our friend’s true life situations and


I was so not sure what I have agreed to. I was not a great story writer and was learning it hard way. I had never imagined myself to be a co-author to an India Book of Record Holding Poet. I never could stand so much patience for my stories to reach the end. I liked to start and finish things faster than lingering with the same story in head for days and weeks and months on a go.

making them the part of our book. It was fun until it came to writing some serious stuff for the story about the most controversial topic. I was worried because it had to be handled with care.

Any word or fact goes wrong and it would turn back on us. Rohit then enlightened me with his deep research done on the topic which made our life simpler to write the story ahead. We were lucky to magically have the I was a BMM Graduate and was same flow of story running in our working with an event management heads and hence never faced macompany back then. jor differences of opinions in moving The very first thought that came to ahead. my mind was how long this novel has to be? In college I had a tough We are very content and satisfied time writing an assignment of short with the output of our hard work and story of 4000 words and to my hor- those sleepless nights when we see ror Rohit told me a novel goes from the book today. We healed the sigh 60,000 to 1,00,000 words. of relief when we had our first few And I was doomed. But with all encouragements, guidance and push by Rohit, I transformed my weakness into a vision to achieve. Now we shared a common dream

reviews for our book. It was a great journey in bringing our dream to life. Then came the final stage of publishing the book. We didn’t have to pitch-in for | September 2013 | 65

publishes as Rohit is one of the founder members of First Step Publishing. The concept was of Rohit and with the help of the entire First Step Publishing Team we were able to frame this title ‘Murdered To Moksha’.

that stage I didn’t ask for any assistance from my friends. Post the core idea was discussed, we, i.e. Rohit and I used to sit at night over video conference and discussed the scenes and dialogues. That was it. n

As I was not prepared for a novel at

KetkiBorgaonkar, a BMM Graduate, has worked as a Marketing Executive at an Event Management Company based in Mumbai. She is now pursing her Post Graduation in Advertising from MET-Bandra. She writes poems, short stories and articles. Murdered To Moksha is her Debut novel. | September 2013 | 66

When you have a story to tell, it in-

advertently finds an expression. Be it in a song, or in a photograph, or simply in a look. We chose the easiest way out, the moment Vidur and I realized that there were stories to be written and tales to be told, we sat down to write them. We wrote even if there was nobody to read them out to, for the belief was strong, that the more we wrote the better we’ll get. A casually made list of yearnings, a friend with interests not uncommon from mine and a conversation in a coffee shop on a hot summer afternoon, resulted in The Degenerate tales of Decadent minds. It started when a streak of inspiration from a Whoopie Goldberg movie got me to sit down and pen 25 things to do before I turned 25, I laboriously put together a jumble of things ranging from buying a Car to trekking to Gomukh, and at the end of that fateful list I carelessly added the words – write a book. Seven months later with the self-assigned deadline approaching rapidly and with only a couple of months of precious time left to me, when Vidur Moudgil, a senior from back when we were in college(and an old friend),, floated the idea of collaborating on an e-book project- I thanked my stars and jumped at the opportunity. There was however a more deep seated problem that had to be resolved before we could go any fur-

ther. For a very long time I’d struggled with finishing my stories (which of course does not mean that I’m past the struggle now, just that I’ve learned to deal with it). I’d start out with an idea in my head, begin with a faint story line, and try to build on it as I wrote. A push and a few pulls would help me scramble to an end but it often resulted in weakly matured plot and ugly prose which was hardly satisfying. Then on a fateful summer afternoon, a twist of fate brought me face to face with Samit Basu (a veteran of five novels, numerous Comics, a master of fantasy and a writer beyond reproach) in GK2, and over a cup of coffee he gave me three bits of advice that helped me get my act together – to take it easy, drink good coffee and read a book on Screenwriting to hone my plot building skills. Vidur, in the meantime, was busy trying to bring his Novella into shape while flying between Indianapolis and Houston (we know jobs are over-rated, but what can you do!!). There were uncountable moments of uncertainties, and even until the day that we went live – the possibility of pushing the impending release forward was at the back of our minds. Getting our edits in place was a mad scramble and in all honesty there was no way we could be sure of finishing in time. What made things worse was our over optimistic promotion across the web, where | September 2013 | 69

we had enthusiastically plastered the date of the release in more places than we could count. Our fears went unfounded* as in the wee hours of 8th September 2013, the e-book edition of The Degenerate tales of Decadent minds was released for purchase on Amazon. We exchanged a quick message as I was about to click on ‘Save and Publish’- waiting until we could pinpoint the exact moment that we stopped from being people-thatwrite and became (E)published writers- and then clicked on the button that sent our first literary work out on the virtual shelves of the biggest book retailer in the world(on earth at least!!). Life is a hundred coincidences waiting to fall into place, had it not been for that bedevilled list (It almost got me killed, but that is a story for another day), had Vidur Moudgil not

come up with the ingenious plan, had Mr Basu not disclosed the secret to building stories in that coffee shop, this may not have happened. But the fact that it all did happen the way that it did is a matter of great pride and greater fortune for both of us. Now that we’ve carefully catalogued everything that we did wrong the first time, we are working to bring out our second book together. More than anything else we’d try to plan better this time around, if only to be able to avoid the mad frenzy at the end. Or maybe not, we kinda liked the madness; sanity hasn’t served us very well anyway. Cheerio. *Most of our fears pertaining to publishing were unfounded; all of our post-publishing nightmares are coming true. n

In his own words, Atul says I’m a software developer, an occasional writer and a sporadic photographer. I spent an inordinately large amount of my childhood reading books, to write a few stories myself was a natural progression. I’m currently working on two e-book projects, as well as working to establish a Bob Marley themed coffee house in New Delhi. I love to travel whenever an opportunity presents itself. | September 2013 | 70


looks really cute in this pic. Doesn’t he? Oh, how can you tell, when I have no means to show you what I am staring at. I wish you could see through the page into my life and onto my computer screen. Perhaps, then you would have truly realised why I fell for this guy. It’s not that I have been browsing though his facebook pics since morning. I have been doing it for the past 6 months, or rather for the past 6 months, 7 days (or rather, for the past 6 months, 7 days and 13 hours). But I haven’t found courage to send him a request. We don’t know each other at all (or rather he doesn’t know me at all). He must be knowing me by sight, since we have shared a common classroom for the past one and a half year. But he just saw me, he never noticed me ( if you know what i mean). So, sending him an outright friend request would be inappropriate. He may not accept it at all, or he may get the impression that I am a despo craving for his at-

tention, or he may accept but with an indifference of the kind I won’t be able to endure. It’s not that I fell in love with him 6 months, 7 days and 13 hours ago. I felt drawn towards him in our 1st year itself. As a medical student fresh into the college, I thought that it would be those heavy books which would be heavy on my mind. But a few weeks into the college and I accepted that it is his heavy charm which was heavy on my heart. There are many other guys in our class, and, truth be told, some of them are devastatingly handsome. But heart is a complicated thing (it is also my second favourite organ). At a time when all the girls in the campus were drooling after the likes of Varun (that handsome dude), Divyansh (that smiling assassin) and Chiraag (that super stylish guy with the long hair), my heart chose to give me aches for this Aakash who had moderate looks and was relatively less popular. But like I said, the heart has its own complicated way of working things out. You can never understand it truly even though you

spend your entire life with it. Initially, I felt it was just a crush which would fade, if not altogether disappear, with time. You know na how it is with 19-year olds. They develop crushes as easily as Ranbir Kapoor finds girlfriends, and as frequently as Ranbir Kapoor changes them. So, I tried to suppress my feeling for a few weeks, mistaking it to be a harmless infatuation which it was not. By the time, I realised I was in love with him, he had already gotten a bit too friendly with some of the coquettish girls of the class. By the time, I realised I couldn’t live without him, he was already recuperating to their flirtatious advances. By the time I knew that I must approach him, we had already moved into our 2nd year. One day I tried to catch his eye in the hope that he would flicker a smile and present me with an opportunity to wave my arms and say ‘hi’. Our eyes did cross each other on a few occasions, but while mine continued to rest on his, his would simply move away. I hated such an indifference. It was as if I didn’t exist. On one occasion, which occurred just last month, I caught a girl pass

ing her hand over his cheeks. He loved that caressing, I could tell. And the girl loved the fact that he loved that caressing, I could tell. My heart must have broken into thousand pieces at that sight. But it never made any sound, for it had learnt to be soft on me in all these years. It knew that I was destined for pain, for isolation; I was the chosen one. But when there is a heart, there is also a hope. So i hoped (and still do) that he would look at me, and not just as a classmate or as a potential friend, but in a way in which he looks at Aparna, Kruti, Nimisha and Pooja. Deep down, I also realise that he will never accept me as someone who can be more than a friend. My heart will always remain a lonely hunter. I must log out of Facebook now, and out of my bittersweet memories. For I need to pick my dress and groom myself for tomorrow’s college. I will log in again tomorrow evening, hoping to get a friend request from him, or looking for the courage to send him one. But now I must iron my shirt and shave my face. I don’t look too good in a stubble. n

Ritesh Agarwal is a freelance writer, a zealous blogger, a book reviewer and a voracious reader. He literally reveres Edgar Allan Poe, the master of gothic horror, who also happens to be his 2nd favorite author of all time. His short horror & love stories can be read on his blog. | September 2013 | 73

Friday – 10:20 pm

‘Hey guys, how about watching a movie tomorrow?’ Guy 1: No man, its weekend and I wanna take rest. I’m not coming. Guy 2: Movie? I don’t wanna watch any movie. Guy 3: Lets watch it here in our house. ‘Damn it, you people are just machines. Lazy idiots,’ he looked quite frustrated as he said this, ‘okay, I’m gonna go myself to the multiplex and watch the movie tomorrow.’ --Site opened--select movie---select seats---payment gateway--ticket generated---sms received-‘What’s the name of the movie you are gonna watch tomorrow? Asked guy 3. ‘What does that have to do with you? I ain’t gonna tell you the name.’ Bipin, a software engineer, lives with his friends Varun, Akshay and John at an apartment in a metropolitan city. Bipin being a die hard fan of Christopher Nolan couldn’t resist himself from watching the movie ‘Inception’ which hit the screens on Friday. As Friday was a working day, Bipin decided to watch it as early as possible | September 2013 | 74

on Saturday. He booked the special morning show which starts at 9.00 am at a popular multiplex in the city. Varun, even though he likes Christopher Nolan, did not wish to accompany Bipin as the show was early in the morning and he wanted to sleep till noon. Akshay was not interested in movies and John always prefer to watch movies in his laptop rather than heading to a theatre. Finally Bipin decided to head to theatre by himself to watch his favorite director’s movie. Saturday – 6:30 am ‘Good morning, you’re up so early today,’ John asked Bipin who saw him walk towards the bathroom. ‘Good morning John. I’ve a movie to watch,’ said Bipin who then took the toothbrush in his hand and headed to the wash basin that lay outside the bathroom. ‘Inception, right?’ John said as he put his blanket aside. ‘Yes it is,’ Bipin replied as he put the toothbrush into his mouth. John got up and went into the bathroom. After spending ten minutes, he got out and it was Bipin’s turn. Before entering the bathroom, Bipin realized that he had no towel.

He went back to the room to get the towel and by the time he arrived at the bathroom the door was locked from inside. Somebody went into it and Bipin went back to the bedroom to find out who it was. He saw Varun and John lying on bed and it was Akshay who was in the bathroom. ‘Akshay, buddy, make it fast,’ said Bipin standing outside the bathroom. 7:15 am Bipin sat at the hall watching TV while Akshay was still inside the bathroom. After few minutes he heard the bathroom door getting unlocked. ‘You moron, what took you so long?’ asked Bipin out of frustration. ‘Don’t worry, I made it clean,’ Akshay replied and went to the hall. Bipin got into the bathroom and locked it from inside. He hanged the towel and clothes on the hook. He then turned on the tap. There was no water coming out of the tap. ‘What the hell!’ Bipin exclaimed. 7:30 am Bipin has to go down two floors to fetch water. He had no time to wait until the water gets filled up in tank. He took a bucket and walked down two floors. He filled it with water from the pump and carried it back to the room. He repeated the same process again for the second bucket. He placed those two buckets on the bathroom floor and then locked the door from inside.

8:00 am Bipin wore his casual half sleeved shirt and a jean pant. He sprayed the perfume on his shirt and wore a belt that suited his shirt color. He applied cologne on his face and gel to his hair. He wore his shoes and was ready to leave. ‘Hey buddy, I’ll be back by lunch time,’ Bipin said this to Akshay who was watching TV sitting in the hall. ‘Enjoy the movie,’ said Akshay. 8:05 am Bipin got down the two floors and reached the gate. To his surprise the gate still remained locked and the owners were still asleep. The time was running and instead of getting the keys he decided to jump off the compound wall. As he lifted his leg he heard some bizarre sound. His pant got torn. His face turned palish. He rushed back to his room. 8:10 am ‘What? Have you changed your mind?’ asked Akshay who saw Bipin entering the house. ‘Damn it, my pant got torn,’ said a frustrated Bipin as he walked to his room. ‘Awesome, awesome,’ Akshay chuckled as he said this. Bipin changed his pant and before he stepped out of the house, he took the gate keys along with him. ‘I’m taking the keys,’ he said to Akshay and left the house. 8:20 am – 40 minutes left Forty minutes were left for the show | September 2013 | 75

and Bipin was waiting for the bus. There was no sign of anything on the road as it appeared deserted on a weekend morning. His heart beat started to beat faster whenever he looked at his watch. Ten minutes passed and there was no sign of anything. To his rescue an auto rickshaw arrived there in few minutes. 8:45 am – 15 minutes left Bipin reached the multiplex 15 minutes before the show began. He went to the ticket counter to get the ticket by giving the booking details. ‘Sir, can I have the booking number?’ the guy at the ticket counter asked Bipin. Bipin thoroughly searched his pockets and found his cell phone missing. He then realized that he left the cell phone at his house. The pant which he changed had the cell phone and he did not notice it while leaving. He was frustrated once again. ‘Sorry, I left my phone at my house,’ Bipin sadly said this to the guy at the ticket counter. ‘It’s okay sir, just give me your contact number and I can generate the ticket.’ Bipin got his ticket and verified the details --- Movie: Inception, Show: 9.00 am, Seat: C 16, Screen 2. 8:50 am – 10 minutes left Bipin got into the multiplex. The movie was not yet started and people were waiting for the door to be opened. Meanwhile Bipin spotted someone familiar at the multiplex. He saw a girl standing all alone near | September 2013 | 76

the food counter. Her face appeared familiar and he went to her. ‘You are... Pooja, right?’ Bipin asked the girl who was staring at his face. ‘Yes, how do you know my name?’ asked the girl. ‘Hey Pooja, I’m Bipin. Remember me? We studied together till 9th class,’ said Bipin whose face appeared excited after all the frustrations he faced from the morning. ‘Oh my god! Bipin, how are you? It’s been a long time,’ said Pooja who then hugged him. ‘Inception?’ asked Bipin. ‘Yes, and your seat number?’ asked Pooja. ‘C 16...’ Bipin looked at Pooja’s ticket. It was printed B 14. He then said, ‘cool, you sit right behind me. We can sort out the seating arrangement after we get inside.’ Pointing to the food counter Bipin asked Pooja, ‘you wanna have something?’ ‘Sure...’ Pooja said as he looked around, ‘my friends...’ she spotted two girls waving their hands at her and then continued, ‘yeah, there they are.’ The door was opened. Pooja signaled her friends to proceed inside as she went to the food counter with Bipin. ‘One medium combo, two black forest and a cold coffee,’ Bipin said this to the guy at the food counter. ‘So, you like Nolan?’ asked Pooja who was standing next to him. ‘I love Nolan. He is a creative genius. He is my all time favorite,’ said Bipin

who was very much excited to watch the movie. ‘Did you book in advance? We struggled a lot to get tickets. The weekend shows were totally filled up,’ said Pooja. ‘Well, it was a luck. I checked into the website yesterday and found two tickets left. I grabbed one and...’ 8:55 am – 5 minutes left Bipin was interrupted by the guy at the food counter. He handed over the tray filled with snacks to Pooja and paid the amount. The guy in turn gave a bill to Bipin. Bipin threw the bill in the garbage can as he walked to the screen along with Pooja. ‘Ticket please,’ the guy at the door asked Pooja. Pooja then went inside the screen. ‘Ticket please,’ the guy asked Bipin and Bipin gave the ticket he held in his hand. ‘Sir, give me the ticket,’ the guy said returning the one Bipin gave. Bipin was shocked to see the food

counter bill in his hand. The one he threw in the garbage can was his ticket. It was too late for him to retrieve the ticket from the garbage can as the cleaning guy cleared the contents of the can as soon as he dropped the ticket in it. ‘Sorry sir, without ticket you will not be admitted into the screen,’ said the guy. ‘But I reserved it online,’ said Bipin. ‘Sorry sir, you should either carry the confirmation message or the ticket stub.’ ‘Is there any way to regenerate the ticket stub?’ Bipin asked the guy. ‘No way sir, you should have been careful.’ The show began and Bipin sadly headed to the ticket counter to try his luck for the next show. Unfortunately it did not happen as all the shows for that particular day were filled up leaving him no chance to watch the movie. n

Ashwin shares, I’m an engineer by profession and writer by passion. I believe that with my writings I could take the readers into my world and entertain them to the fullest. I love to experiment with fast paced action and thriller short stories. Apart from writing, my interest lies in photography. I also love cooking and traveling to hilly areas. | September 2013 | 77

Saurabh Chawla Love is remarkable, love is adore Between the lovers, emotions galore Up towards the eternity, it lures Tempted deeply by the lovers, the love is allure Slowly it rises, never turning back Beyond the mortal’s imagination, magnifies the knack Two unknown souls unite, fame taken aback It may be slow, but rapidly it can hack In his words - “I had a passion for writing since my childhood days but was very much waiting for the right time and right platform. The day I started my blog was the time and the correct platform which helped me a lot to evolve my writing skills. I love reading and writing suspense/thrillers alongwith some poetry that reflects my inner self and my surroundings.”

The tiny droplets, as pure as pearls You can’t imagine, how much are the earls A nice feeling even though one is in a swirl This is love, one will surely love the curls Looking beyond the horizon, tough to redeem To elude was bliss, love is supreme The desires so hot, no, let them steam To love forever, is every lover’s dream | September 2013 | 78

Saravana Kumar Murugan Whose code this is, full of bugs? Why would I fix this at this time of the night? Is it because of, who I am or the D-word? Which window this is, hangs at half past noon? When life sleeps, I sit like an owl pressing ctrl and f9, to fix the bugs, and save changes. My phone blinks, now and then, That says my lovely wife is waiting, Deadline or Dinner I ponder, and I go back to C# to save my ass. Bed and she would be waiting, soft and deep, but I have a call to report: if I fixed the bug or not? And much to do before I go home.

Saravana Kumar Murugan is a senior software engineer by profession, a blogger by passion, and a photographer by choice. One of his short stories ‘The Last Date’ is published in a book: Kaleidoscope, an initiative by Springtide. He is currently working on his first novel, which he is hoping publishing before this year end.

Balance in life is what I want, But ass on fire is what I catch, on call for hours, and in chat I live a life, without any life. | September 2013 | 79

Ketki Borgaonkar I sat reading my Diary by the river bank. pages filled with words, rhymes & memories of people, moments, places, things I loved. but, its final page remained blank. Giggles of children downstream by the bridge made my past events flowing in my head were abridged their faces reminding me of the lost innocence Of the lost time, of the empty presence KetkiBorgaonkar, a BMM Graduate, has worked as a Marketing Executive at an Event Management Company based in Mumbai. She is now pursing her Post Graduation in Advertising from MET-Bandra. She writes poems, short stories and articles. Murdered To Moksha is her Debut novel.

I tore the first page of my diary and folded it shaping it into a paper boat that page with my name, now was set on the downstream to float it bobbed down the river reaching a lonesome toddler he stretched his hand and pulled it over and looked at me with a smile for more i tore the second page to make another one more kids caught the sight and made a run i gently pushed the paper boat in their direction it glided down towards their breathless anticipation pages filled with words, rhymes & memories of people, moments, places, things I loved were now transformed into paper boats not in waste though, joy to those kids it served. broken, hollow, empty but light felt my heart watching that sight Then i saw that toddler making his way to me he came and handed me a Beautiful Blank Diary we spoke nothing just shared a smile “keep writing” he said. promptly i replied, “I WILL” | September 2013 | 80

Ronita Maitra Bhandari Worn out tables Writhing chairs An old lamp Sweetly damp Flickering dimly But with grace Windows wrecked Spider’s web Walls engraved Heart’s content Need an ear Just to hear Papers float Diaries choked Shabby room Flowers bloom A poet’s dwelling place

Coffee mug Shabby but snug Some sluggish tales A poet’s dwelling place Soulful lines joyous vibes Some cherished tales Yet to be told… That’s the beauty Of the place An eye for it An ear to hear A heart to embrace Poet’s dwelling place

Ronita-Maitra Bhandari loves to weave words and juggle imaginations. Writing is a passion, be it a melancholic mood or a joyous outburst, she finds it best to jot down her musings through writings. Otherwise an introvert she can be quite expressive if she has the mighty pen.

Smell of verse Rhythm of word s Soulful lines Smothered with wine Beauty within Life goes in Source of joy A poet’s dwelling place | September 2013 | 81

To express one’s views, feelings, and experiences to the world is an essential pillar on which the world of art and communication stands on. Expressing oneself is an important exercise, which helps to connect the person with the subject being expressed and also helps to put forth to the world a different view. It is an exercise which not only liberates but at the same time makes you aware about the responsibility that comes with expressing. One such faculty of expression employed by humans and developed to the degree of an art is - Story Telling. The art of story telling has blossomed since ancient times. In today’s age, writing a story is a more widely accepted and successful form of story telling. People write to express themselves, their views, experiences, feelings on various subjects. How the world takes this bowl of expression depends completely on each individual that comes in contact with the work of an expressionist. One cannot have any control as to how the world might perceive the words employed, to express the thoughts. But one can and must, certainly make an effort, to ensure that they be simple, to the point and should do justice to the subject.

Story telling comprises of the story teller, the medium one chooses and the manner employed to communicate the story. Any message that one wants to put forth to the world travels extensively through these mediums. One must ensure that none of these mediums are used in a corrupt way or to further personal agendas as it will not only end up in corrupting the message and its aspects, but also do a disservice to the interest of those who wish to learn and experience the craft of the artist. Story telling is an art which weaves initself important faculties such as the characteristics, imagination, experience and intent of the wordsmith. But, the most important faculty of a story teller is to remain true to the story tellers’ responsibility towards the society. A story should not only be a set of words employed to put forth to the society the skills of a writer; but they should act like the source of knowledge from which the world can learn from. Expression achieved by the act of story telling, should be a selfless one. It should be aimed ateducating the society and at the same, if possible, then entertain them too. The gift of story telling should not be corrupted by using it to further

the glories of the writer. An artist has an undeclared but natural obligation towards the society he lives in. It is his responsibility to ensure that his art enriches the society and does not degrade it. If an artist gives preference to his personal agenda and selfish actions over his art and his obligation towards the society, then he ends up corrupting all the three elements – himself, his art and the society of which he is a part of. Results of which can never be escaped. A story told in its true form will enrich the story teller, the medium used and the audience. A story without a moral is like a temple without an idol. While telling a story, celebrate the trials and tribulations within it in a way that will encourage the readers, to enthusiastically endure those difficulties and not shy away from them. Tell the story in a manner that will inspire them to face and conquer their inner demons. Let your story liberate the readers from their dilemmas. A story teller must decide whether he wants to give priority to the moral of the story, which should be aimed at enriching the lives, or to highlight the heroics of the writer in him. Let

the story and the moral it carries, be like the ray of sun which illuminates and energises the lives of all. A story teller has to be aware and responsible to the fact that his art is meant for the purpose of story telling and should not prevent the readers from experiencing the true glory of the story. A story teller should only be an element that transmits the story and not the story itself. Allow the story to reach the readers in its purest form. Every individual is an artist. Every artist can become a story teller. Every unfolding moment in our lives is a spark which can fuel some of the greatest stories ever told. The answer to the question - ‘How we wish to put forth our stories to the world?’ lies within the voice of our conscience. Let your story free a soul to embrace its true potential. Let your story act like a guiding light in the dark of a treacherous night. Let your story inspire others to believe in themselves and to guide their lives for the betterment of themselves and also of the society they live in. Story telling is more than art, it is a heavenly gift. It ought to be treated with the respect it deserves. n

Sumukh Naik is an author of Age of Hiblisk. He’s a Hotel Management graduate from IHM - Goa, Post Graduate in Human Resources & holds a Diploma in IATA. He is a Human Resources professional and stays in Mumbai.

Kerala and of Meenachal river that flows along the heart of the story, left me mesmerized as a reader.” n

Renu Sethi Housewife/blogger, Mumbai

Swami and friends: By R.K.Narayan Meghaditya Roy My all time favourite Indian novel is Software Professional, Bangalore Swami and friends written by my favourite author R.K.Narayan. In the God of Small Things: present day world where everything By Arundhati Roy is fast-paced be it life or a fiction, this book gives me a slowing-downOne of the finest books I’ve ever read. and-smelling-the roses kind of exMuch has already been told about perience. This book is set in british this booker prize-winning marvelous India in a fictional town malgudi. work and I can only reaffirm that all The story is about a 10 year old boy, the good things I had heard about Swaminathan and his friends Rathis book are true indeed. I very jam and Mani. The book is written in much related to the world that the episodes about the the gang’s adauthor visualized through the eyes ventures and their respective lives. of the two-egg twins Esthappen Swaminathan can easily be said as and Rahel. Those childhood days the better indian version of Dennis of imagination, ignorance and won- the Menace. Unlike most of the writder, I miss them dearly. I felt the au- ers today, the author’s style of writthor colored my mind’s canvas with ing was very simple but extremely words she created that fit into those humorous. It’s a must read for all situations perfectly. The elaborate irrespective of their age groups. details of beautiful scenic beauty of Cheers n | September 2013 | 84

Smitha Shetty Business Support Manager/ Author, Preston, Lancashire

the best contemporary Indian clasic I’ve read. Although I’d quietly congratulated myself having read the book in record time, I was saddened when I’d finished it. I am hoping Seth’s sequel to this beautiful riveting book, ‘A Suitable Girl’, doesn’t keep us waiting for too long. n

A Suitable Boy: By Vikram Seth If you are looking for the world’s slowest reader, look no further. You’ve just found her. Grudgingly, I admit it takes me a while to finish a book from the time I pick it up. So when I was given Vikram Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy’ (the size of a London Bus) by a friend, I had momentarily scoffed and thought I’ll never finish this, at least not in this lifetime. Surprising this book kept me ‘suitably’ engaged with its potpourri of well etched and relatable characters. Set in post-Independence and post-partition India, the book centres around four families. Setting the tone, the book kick starts with a wedding where some of the central characters quietly make their appearance. As you melt away into each of their lives, you begin to marvel at Seth’s faultless research and his ability to superbly craft this fictional epic as he effortlessly flits from politics to social issues Indians faced at the time. ‘A Suitable Boy’ undoubtedly

Bindya Kuppathil Software Professional, Bangalore

Ashwin Sanghi: Of all the contemporary Indian writers, I will choose Ashwin Sanghi as my favorite. Amount of research that he does for each of his writings are praiseworthy. Whether it is “The Rozabal Line”, “Chanakya’s Chant” or “The Krishna Key, he intervenes the past with the present political and social scenarios to come up with racy and edgy thrillers. I got a chance to interact with him personally where he covered the ideation process, refinement process, the trials and tribulations of an aspiring writer. His enthusiasm, his ebullience and his sense of humor made the meet up quite exuberant. According to him the treatment for any “creative blocks” is just a peg of whisky! n | September 2013 | 85

Sept 2013  

Piyush Jha, Suparna Rijhwani, Oswald Pereira, Neelini Sarkar, Jhumpa Lahiri, Yatin Gupta, Manjulika Pramod, Ismita Tandon Dhankher, Athul De...

Sept 2013  

Piyush Jha, Suparna Rijhwani, Oswald Pereira, Neelini Sarkar, Jhumpa Lahiri, Yatin Gupta, Manjulika Pramod, Ismita Tandon Dhankher, Athul De...