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Volume 2 Issue 7


When In Doubt

September 2011 For limited circulation A JustBooks Publication

Pg 10 Quiz

Pg 14 Just Kids

Pg 15 Anindita Sengupta A recent interview of Amitav Ghosh contains what many consider gaffes on the writer's part. Perhaps the fault lies in interview overdose says, Anindita Sengupta.


ndia offers untrammeled freedom. I'm not certain about this but writer Amitav Ghosh seems to be. "That's one of the wonderfully liberating things about India; it lets you be exactly who you want to be," he said in a recent interview with Lila Azam Zanganeh for Guernica magazine. Predictably, this roused some rants, especially on Facebook where it was hotly discussed in some circles. Being 'exactly who you want to be' can be thorny in India unless you are upper class, upper caste and male. Women across most classes are not acquainted

with this brand of clear, refreshing freedom. Neither are Dalits. The difficulty of this is not that somebody, just anybody, has made the statement but that the person is one of our finest writers and intellectuals. His words carry weight. People who don't know better may, on reading this, think cheerily that India is indeed a place of amazing liberty or liberation. As blunders go, this one gains prickliness because it's also a reminder of the accusation that Indians writing in English often face. Elitism. Ensconced in privilege, out of touch with reality and unable to write about universes outside their own—these are the charges. Some of Ghosh's statements in this interview help the perception. (Elsewhere, he talks about how "almost everyone" he knows "constantly" travels between continents and nation-states.) I'm pained in a personal way. This is the

Author Profile

person who wrote The Shadow Lines, a deeply affecting saga which examined among other things, the identity issues of Bangladeshi refugees. Why is he spouting clichĂŠs that sit better in the mouths of India-shining political campaigners? More importantly, this makes me think of the writer as celebrity, and the perils of this. Writers have always been expected to be articulate and thoughtful, intellectual (and moral) beacons. Whether this expectation is fair or not is another debate. Many of us look to writers for that rare and strange quality, wisdom. Frequently, they provide this not just in the books they write but also via articles, essays and interviews. With

contd on pg 2...


JustBooks Connect - September 2011

From the Editor’s Desk


ow many times you have wanted to write and you did write but felt the thoughts that were so clear in your mind, you have not been able to capture them in words. Then you chided yourself that everyone cannot be a writer. How does one become a writer? Should one be born with the writing talent or can one acquire it? Similar questions come up when one talks about reading as a habit. What makes one a reader? How can we encourage reading and help people acquire this habit? In our quest to find answers to such questions, we at JustBooks came to a conclusion that perhaps if we can bring out the various facets of our literary, publishing and printing industry and people involved in them, in form of interesting stories, feature articles, interviews, etc. and put them together in a magazine format, it might inspire people to take up a book. We have been working on such a literary magazine and will share more details with you soon. So watch out for this space! Now coming to this edition, our lead article focuses on why famous and well-established writers, whom we believe to represent our intelligentsia, make statements that not just create controversy but changes our opinion about them. Sometimes the statements are misconstrued or said in haste but sometimes they are meant to be what they are! We also have an interview with three promising multi faceted personalities, who share their journey as a writer with us. Some of the questions raised at the beginning of this column will have an answer in their reply. We hope that reading about these writers will prompt our members to start writing and sending in their contributions to us. As usual, do tell us what you think of this edition and send us your feedback to 

contd from pg 1... Internet magazines mushrooming like a bad case of acne, opportunities have multiplied. Celebrity writers are barraged by requests from small and big journals and what was once driven by an urgent need to say something has devolved into a weekly task to be ticked off the to-do list. We can agree solemnly over chai that writers should know better than to air their views when tired, drunk, sleepy, brain-dead, zoned, distracted or numb. But publicity is tempting. Email interviews make things even easier. Shout into the void and someone will reply. If the shout's not always lucid, it will hopefully be buried under twenty other interviews. It's impossible for anyone to be wise on tap, all the time. The answer, it would seem, is to say no more often. When in doubt, shut up. Reclusiveness may be considered a psychological negative, a symptom of anxiety, fear or paranoia, but in this case it's in order. J.M. Coetzee didn't show to collect his Nobel prize and sent a recorded acceptance speech instead. More recently at the Jaipur Literary Festival, he refused to talk before reading, letting the words in his book suffice. This may be an extreme-and let's face it, we readers love our celebrities just as much as Hollywood junkies love theirsbut restraint can be sexy. We have the opposite of that in Sir Vidia who unfailingly entertains us year after year. Lately, he made an equine animal of himself while speaking at the

Royal Geographical Society. And I don't mean horse. Women writers, he said, had a "narrow view of the world" and were too "sentimental". This is because a woman was "not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too". Journalist and critic Nilanjana Roy points out that this should not shock anyone because "a list of Sir Vidia's targets over the decades includes Africans, Muslim invaders in India, infies (inferior people) of all colours and races, Indian women writers, his wives, his lovers, his friends, his editors, including the nonagenarian Diana Athill, the issuers of worthless degrees (Oxbridge), foolish people, people who do not serve him his vegetables in separate dishes…". His arrogance is certainly apparent. On any women writer being equal to him, Sir Vidia said: "I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me." From all hearsay and based on the couple of times I've met him in person, Ghosh is not anything like Sir Vidia. Perhaps, he didn't quite mean what he said. Or didn't mean it like that. Or something. Maybe I'm off the mark by miles. Maybe he meant every word. Let's hope not. Source Credits: /interviews/2674/ghosh_5_15_11/ http://akhondofswat.blogspot. com/2011/06/speaking-volumessome-notes-on-sir.html  /books/article2071298 .ece

JustBooks Connect - September 2011




Jonathan Franzen 4th Series Press

Gauri Deshpande, Translated by Shashi Deshpande Women Unlimited

Anindita Sengupta


Dr. Rajeshwari Ghose


bia. Patty is humble to the point to self deprecation, remembers people's birthdays and knows where to recycle batteries. Walter is well-meaning and gentle. But there are several chinks in this middle class bliss: Patty loves their younger child Joey too much, at least one neighbour finds her condescending and men find her too charming. More surprising is the fact that Joey is having sex at 12 with his 13year-old neighbour and soon decides to move in next door. 

his novella was originally written in 1987 in Marathi and recently translated into English by Shashi Deshpande. The fact that it was written in a regional Indian language and that too well over two decades ago has a special significance. Certain subjects were not openly discussed then and we, in India, had a number of 'sacred cows' that we did not address in an open forum. The Indian notion of motherhood was one such sacrosanct image. Gauri Deshpande clinically examines a mother-daughter relationship, a family dynamic that is volatile and full of its own unresolved issues. 

Evening is the Whole Day

Burnt Shadows

irst, the Berglunds. Patty and Walter are ideal neighbours, loving parents and upstanding members of American subur-

Preeta Samarasan HarperCollins

Anindita Sengupta


Kamila Shamsie Picador

Anindita Sengupta


et in post-independence Malaysia, Preeta Samarasan's impressive debut novel explores how the coils of family can bind and strangle. The British have left and Malaysia is a tumultuous land heaving with the struggles and competitions of its three primary races. In the midst of political turmoil, a Tamilian family manages their equally tumultuous (though less obviously bloody) relationships, and tries to remain sane. For the most part, Samarasan exercises considerable control over her prose, unleashing torrential description when required and switching to a sparer register at moments of keen tension or menace. There is quite a bit of humour here as well. Samarasan has crafted a novel that is dark and honest, and one that holds much meaning to ponder. 

urnt Shadows treads ambitiously across a lot of terrain-cities and language, turmoil, loss, survival, and love-and in doing so, manages to move, bruise and heal. The story begins with a prologue: a man in a prison cell wonders "How did it come to this". In four separate, intricately drawn sections about Nagasaki, Delhi, Karachi and New York, Shamsie unravels the answer to that question. Knowing the trajectory, one might imagine that the rest is predictable but it's not really. There is enough unexpectedness and nuance to carry the story beyond the severity of war polemic. And yet, the larger histories that inform and affect these individual lives are always there, barely hidden away like the bird-shaped burns on Hiroko's back. 

Crucial Confrontations: Tools for resolving broken promises, violated expectations and bad behavior

The Big Questions

Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler Tata McGraw-Hill Manjula Sundharam


Steven E. Landsburg Pocket Books Dr. Rajagopalan


he big philosophical questions are rucial Confrontations talks about how grouped into four categories by we can express our disappointments and Landsburg: What is reality? What is the expectations. nature of our beliefs? How do we gain knowlThe authors teach us with relevant examples, edge? What is right and wrong? Ideas and what we need to do before, during and after methods of mathematics, physics and ecoholding a crucial confrontation. nomics are used to understand these big quesThe book provides useful strategies for corpotions more rigorously. rate executives to hold people accountable for Landsburg, who earlier gave us The Armchair Economist their non performance. and More Sex is Safer Sex, has done it again: provoking us Though there are no guarantees that confrontation would magically transform people around us, the authors offer many with big questions, novel explanations and leaving us to wreseasy to understand strategies for leaders to act as facilitators, tle with more questions. Over all this is a fantastic travel-read:  enablers and supporters.  short, witty and important. For detailed reviews check out


In the hills

JustBooks Connect - September 2011

A Paean to Love

The Folded Earth Anuradha Roy MacLehose Press

Geetanjali Singh Chanda


nuradha Roy's second novel The Folded Earth is a deeply evocative and compassionate love story. Love is an overused word that has been reduced to banality and yet there is no other word that so aptly conveys the essence of this book. This multi layered and complex story explores love in the very real and deep sense of the word. It is not only about the love between people but every character, the flora and fauna and the place itself are imbued with love. Ranikhet particularly is gently drawn more as character than a place where the story unfolds. At one level the novel could be read as an elegy for both Ranikhet (and other such hill stations) and for Diwan Sahib. Diwan Sahib, the gently ageing, ex-finance minister of the Nawab of Surajgarh is a central figure and the grand old man of Ranikhet. The story unfolds in Ranikhet where a young widow Maya has been living and working at Saint Hilda's school. Maya's marriage to a young Christian Michael Secuira so outraged her father that he disowns and refuses to see her again. A few short years after their marriage though Michael is tragically killed at 1500-feet during a trekking expedition. Maya flees Hyderabad for Ranikhet to be closer, at least in spirit, to Michael. She joins St. Hilda's school as a teacher and creates an alternate family. There is Diwan Sahib —her landlord — an irascible old man who loves his drink, is fabled to have the secret letters of Edwina Mountbatten and Jawaharlal Nehru and has been working on a biography of Jim Corbett for the past many years. He initiates Maya into the life and ways

of hill dwellers. There is Charu, Maya's student who is still unable to read or write despite Maya's best efforts. She falls in love with a half Nepali waiter and Maya is a sort of intermediary and spectator of their blossoming love story. Finally there is Veer, Diwan Sahib's nephew. Maya is guiltily drawn to him but he is a mysterious character who has his own secrets to hide and discover. Each character has their particular story and yet together they form the rich tapestry of Maya's world. Ranikhet, Diwan Sahib and his crumbling old house referred to as the Light House provide Maya a refuge and a loving space for healing. And together they succeed in seducing a plains-dwelling Maya into becoming a hillperson.

She notes the moment of her transformation, "Though I cannot know precisely when it happened, a time had come when I had become a hill-person who was only at peace where the earth rose and fell in waves like the sea." The novel also follows the standard and more usual love stories, although each is unique. The elusive love letters between the last Vicerine Edwina Mountbatten and India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru frame and permeate the other stories with a mix of desperate longing and a melancholic nostalgia. The

“Though I cannot know precisely when it happened, a time had come when I had become a hillperson who was only at peace where the earth rose and fell in waves like the sea." young Charu, for example, compelled by the necessity of a distant love learns finally to read and write. And more astonishingly she, who has never even ventured to the next village, recklessly heads off to Delhi by bus on her own to find her love Kundan Singh. The thought of what could and almost did happen to her is chilling. Sheer innocence and guts though have a chance of being rewarded - at least in fiction. Roy's prose is sheer poetry. It is elegant, lyrical, chiseled and polished to perfection. The images are imaginative and unforgettable. Charu's Grandmother, known to all as 'Ama' for instance is described thus, "Her eyes had a quiverful of lines at their corners." But aside from this particularly striking image we also know her by her loud voice "that could carry across several valleys." though not all the characters are hill people. There are also cameo appearances by well known urban scholars such as Ramachandra Guha - "a tall distracted-looking man in glasses" who comes to visit Diwan Sahib to cull out information about the NehruEdwina letters that he is supposed to possess. The single damning fact about Guha in Diwan Sahib's book is that "he didn't have a single drink." It is these insightful and precise details that form vivid word portraits that bring alive both major and minor characters. The Folded Earth is not just a pastoral or hill romance. Roy's concern for the environment, the destruction of the hillside by a rampaging and heedless urbanization, consumerism, the manipulation of people by cynical politicians and the inroads made by strident fundamentalisms simmer just below the surface. Although this is a quiet novel it is deeply centered and grounded in a core philosophic conception of the meaning of an ethical life that is in harmony with nature and people. 

JustBooks Connect - September 2011

Building blocks

Last Man Standing

Last Man in Tower Aravind Adiga Fourth Estate

Reshmi Chakraborty



ravind Adiga's Last Man in Tower is a quick paced, entertaining read about the battle for real estate in Mumbai, told from the perspectives of various protagonists, the main being Yogesh Murthy or Masterji. The residents of Vishram Society, Tower A, know they live on the wrong side of the tracks, in Vakola. It is in fact a neighbourhood so questionable that many of them, like 'Communist Aunty' Mrs. Rego, whose sister lives in Bandra (West), are not quite sure how to pronounce it -- 'Va-KHOla or VAA-k'-la?' In the Mumbai of shiny highrises with foreign names and increasing slums, Vishram is a rundown, could-crumble-anytime mansion that was established in 1959 as an example of 'good housing for good Indians'. You need to climb up the dingy stairwell, though 'an Otis lift exists, but unreliably so'. The building itself, once pink in colour, is now 'a rainwater-stained, funguslicked grey,' says Adiga, describing Mumbai's scores of decrepit housing societies in one very visual sentence. Last Man in Tower is full of descriptions like these, of Vishram and its residents, of Vakola and its slums and of Mumbai, the ultimate mix of muck, money and middle class ambition. Into this mire steps real estate developer Dharmen Shah, who makes the residents an offer of redevelopment they cannot refuse. Most of them don't, as the offer spells the chance to move to a better apartment in a better location. In other words, an overall better life. Few people refuse. The social worker Mrs. Rego, who has a deep distrust of builders and an abiding attachment to any cause, the elderly Mr. and Mrs. Pinto

and Masterji, who starts by refusing in solidarity with his friends and then on principle. If the premise of the book is a tad predictable — a simple man challenging a more powerful one — what saves it from being so is Adiga's approach towards each character. He spares no effort in meticulously drawing out each one of them and plumbing hidden depths. The disgruntled yet hopeful Mrs. Puri dreams of a better life with her son Ramu, who suffers from Down's Syndrome; the 'battleship' Mrs. Rego constantly tries to trump

her sister who has so far trumped her in marriage and area of residence; the ineffectual secretary Kothari longs to see the pink flamingos of his African youth and the blind Mrs. Pinto who finds her way by instinct through the dingy stairwells of Vishram and cannot think of moving anywhere else. hile retired schoolteacher Yogesh Murthy or Masterji remains the central character, he isn't exactly the hero either. His rival Dharmen Shah has all the characteristics of the unscrupulous builder (bribery, coercion, mistress half his age) but is also a self-made man who never quite forgets his struggles and leaves behind a twenty rupee note as a


'surprise' for a construction worker's family on a site visit. asterji is morally upright and true to his belief to the end but also comes across as a tight-fisted man unable to empathise with anyone else's plight. Adiga's brilliant writing ensures that we shift our sympathies from character to character as we read along. We empathise with Masterji, the old man who has lost his daughter to a freak accident, wife to old age and ailment and is somewhat estranged from his only son. But we also understand Mrs. Puri and her desire to have a better house and a bit more money so that she doesn't have to spend her life washing her son's bottom. Adiga is excellent in creating this dilemma. For most part, our sympathies lie with Masterji, especially as his once kindly neighbours take turns in making him feel like an outsider and his own son turns his back on him. You appreciate him for staying true to his cause but also wonder what is the true reason behind his refusal to sign on the dotted line when the building, as the author doesn't fail to remind us, is almost crumbling anyway? Is it simply to save the place where he has the maximum memories or a stubborn ego massage? Adiga remains ambiguous, giving us something to be frustrated about and mull on. His Masterji is a wonderful characterisation, peppered with comic and serious notes, from his idealistic beliefs to his refusal to ever step on a scrap of the Times of India because an ex-student of his writes for the paper. An ex-student who doesn't bother to answer his letters later in the book. Adiga extends the comic tone to most of the characters, giving the sinister turn of events in the book a lighter touch. Ultimately, this is a 'Bombay' book that anyone who has ever battled the local train crowds or waded through knee deep dirty water during the incessant monsoon or set their times by the tap would be able to identify with. It is also a reflection of the city itself, indeed of most cities across the country, where rampant construction is pushing lesser privileged citizens to a corner of no choice and where it seems corruption can conquer anything. ď Ž



JustBooks Connect - September 2011

In conversation

A tete-e-tete on writing

Pushpa Achanta

How many times have you wondered- I wish I could write. The ones who can write are wondering who will publish my work and those you get published are worried about who will read their writing! Pushpa Achanta tried to find answers to these questions from some established and some emerging writers. She talked to Zafar Anjum (ZA), who is a journalist, poet, novelist, film maker; Cyril Wong (CW) a poet, author, journal editor, arts centre manager and to M. C. Raj (MCR), who is a rights campaigner, community leader, and an author. Here they share their stories on what got them to start writing, how they published their first work and the disappointments and accolades they received in their writing journey. How and when did you start writing? ZA: I began penning Urdu essays, early on. Prizes in school and college competitions encouraged me. Essays distilled my thoughts on specific topics; cogent presentation was an art. I dabbled in poetry too-I never attempted short stories originally. I'm not into poetry nowadays. CW: With authenticity and artistic commitment, I started writing during university. Many suppressed emotions and ideas about growing up, school and national service experiences figured in my poems. MCR: I began writing in 1984. When my wife Jyothi and I initiated work among Tumkur's rural poor, I authored an unpublished book called Tumkur At a Glance. After two years, I collated our experiences and successes into another unpublished work named The Beginnings. Which was your first published work and when? How did that occur? ZA: My first publication: in class VI, a

respected journal from Aligarh featured my essay on sustainable energy that one of my teachers sent to them, unknown to me. My first novel (or novella, published in 2000), outrageously titled Of Seminal Fluids rebelled against myself, my friends and the publishing world's norms. After my short stories appeared in Webzines, I took them seriously. CW: Year 2000 heralded my first poetry collection Squatting Quietly from Firstfruits Publications - an earnest book fructified through my desire to write differently into a literary scene that felt monotonous and repressed. The self is highly neutered in our local literature; and my poetry highlights the nudity of a self living through intense feelings (god forbid deep feelings or individualism in Singapore). MCR: My first published book was in 1997 about Foucault's analysis of the dominant society. I disagreed with his conclusion that problematizing is enough. A writer must also express what he or she thinks as strategies to address problems. Critical acclaim for my book From Periphery to Centre - An Analysis of the Paradigms of Globalization, Casteism and Dalitism encouraged me to write more. What was the response to your initial writing? Did any specific recognition, appreciation, criticism affect you? ZA: My initial fiction work's criticism taught me much. I won a short story contest to represent India at a SAARC Writers Conference in Colombo in 2002. Little Magazine publishing and choosing my short story as a finalist for a new writer award in 2006 was honourable and unexpected. CW: Terrible. Media and some readers loved the book. But many older folks in the "establishment" disapproved my nonsocial, too-personal poetry. That only made me to continue writing. MCR: Launching a series on Dalit literature, Sage Books said that my book would be the first. But despite appreciating it, they could not publish it. Shocked, I started publishing my books myself.

Zafar Anjum Hearteningly, some Bangalore colleges organized seminars on my first work. My next book Dalitology, released before 6,000 people (from across India) in Bangalore sold 2,000 copies quickly. Being recognized as Dalitology's author thrills me. Disappointingly, some friends disassociated with me after Dalitology. I like Rajiv Malhotra's critical analysis of Dalitology. I want to know if readers shatter my views with their understanding. What makes you write now? Which are your favourite themes? ZA: Underdogs, injustice and systemic coercion move me. Perhaps, I seek worldly moral balance through my writings. Apparently, my stories explore the pathology of modernity. I've no favourite themes but unjust acts always provoke me. And love and human relationships. Nowadays, I am interested in chronicling lives of people touched by the global financial meltdown. CW: Favourite themes-love; our conflicted relationships to the hole at the centre of all our lives.

JustBooks Connect - September 2011

7 CW: Read more than you write. MCR: I avoid advising. I want to be a butterfly attaining absolute freedom when mature. Harming none, butterflies drinks nature's nectar and die unnoticed. People can be butterflies maturing in their own space and time. Have your family members or friends contributed to your writing? ZA: My family and friends support me, though I don't show them my work. My wife's backing keeps me going.

M. C. Raj

CW: My family and

MCR: Frequently, I discuss my writings with my family for their reflection. I validate my fiction with my children as they know the taste of modern youth. I value my family's support. Do you enjoy or dislike reading any particular authors, poets and genres? ZA: I won't read someone because he or she is a bestseller. Writers can barely captivate me for 300 pages. I enjoy my favourite Urdu poets' verses and different genres except horror. I love biographies, letters and diaries of great writers and thinkers. CW: I hate any poem that does not reflect the soul (or anything defined as "soul"). Many male poets are painful to read (or women trying to imitate men) because they probably prioritize accomplishments over great emotional urgency. I find novels tedious. I love everything else. MCR: I love deep philosophy. Habermas, Foucault, Chomsky and Radhakrishnan were my favourites. I like Faranz Fannon. I dislike light topics and rhetoric.

MCR: Writing is my habit. I write at night. Recently, I began penning fiction. This year I have two published novels (Raachi and Yokiana) and some non-fiction works. My third novel is ready - I'm intensively authoring another. My favourite theme is philosophy. But I also write on Psychology and Spirituality. Lately, I've entered love, sexuality and relationship through fiction.

Would you like to add anything? ZA: I don't take my writing seriously. I wonder if my writing is worth anything. The talent and precocity of the masters is awe inspiring. I've a long way to go.

Any advice for new and emerging writers? ZA: Fundamentally, understand your reason for writing. You are probably wasting your time if you write for money or fame. Read and write much without hope and despair. Be very critical about your work. Interact and learn from other writers. And when sure of writing, continue; although realizing your dream might take decades.

past lovers often inspire my poems. The pain and the heartache.

CW: Nah.

Cyril wong

MCR: Having extremely poor, unlettered parents, I'm content at rising from burning ashes. I'm rebellious, enjoy oratory and solitude. My books are apparently tough to understand. I load my words with meaning. I've tried writing lucidly. Perhaps, after my death many will read my writing. ď Ž

Zafar Anjum

Cyril Wong

M. C. Raj

Zafar is a cineaste, an avid blogger ( and editor of and, websites dedicated to Asian writing in English. He is an award-winning journalist and fiction writer. An Indian who now lives in Singapore, Zafar considers himself a film maker too.

Wong is called Singapore's first confessional poet. He is an author of nine volumes of poetry. He is also the poetry journal editor ( and an operations manager at The Substation, Singapore’s first independent arts centre. A featured poet of several Literary and Writers Festival, Wong recently completed his doctoral degree in English literature.

Based in Tumkur, Karnataka, Raj is a community leader, novelist, non-fiction writer and campaigner for electoral reforms in India. He has more than 15 published books to his name. He writes on philosophy, psychology, spirituality, politics etc. He generally writes on Dalit issues and is an international opinion leader. He leads a powerful Dalit Movement in Karnataka.


Reader’s Voice


have been a member of JustBooks for the past 10 months. At first, I had thought it was a shop for books. I asked my friend if he knew anything about it. He said that he was a member and that it was a library which had all the books that had been released in India and also some other foreign books. I kept pestering my parents until they got me a membership there. When I got my membership, there were so many books to choose from. There were many books that I borrowed from JustBooks, mostly from the 'Alex Rider' series by Anthony Horowitz and the 'Eragon' series by Christopher Paolini. Reading is a lot of fun. I think many more people should take JustBooks membership.

JustBooks Connect - September 2011

Reader’s contribution Healthy milk from the farm So delicious and nice.

Kushii H Khushii has a farm house on Kanakapura Road, which she often visits. There they have animals like cows, dog, sheep and lot of hens. Coconut, Guava and Chikoo trees and some vegetables too. A caretaker family stays there (farmer). Khushii wrote this poem in her school's creative writing book and the topic was given by her teacher. She wants to share this with other JustBooks' members. THE FARM Do you want to go to a farm? So green, so beautiful and nice

Fruits so delicious Yummy apples, bananas and mangoes too Till my tummy is full of fruits. And there are animals Cats, cows and horses too Which keep you on your toes. Farmer Penny and the whole gang Pond you see looks so nice And you can make paper boats and Leave it on the water. Do you want to go to a farm? To jump, yell and shriek The whole day long With loads of fun for all!

Syamanthak Srikrishnan, 13 years JP Nagar - Dollar's Colony  Bangalore

Khushii is a very talkative and energetic 7-year old girl, who was born on 6th May, which happens to be the birthday of poet Rabindranath Tagore too! She loves drawing and colouring, colouring rangoli, reading comics like Amar Chitra Katha, Chandmama and Tinkle. Khushii also loves elderly people a lot. Presently she is studying at National Hill View Public School at RR Nagar. 

JustBooks Connect - September 2011


Readers’s contribution

When in Rome.. The First Man in Rome Colleen McCullough Avon

Gita Subramanian


his book was first published in 1990 and though historical fiction is close to my heart, I could never pick up this dauntingly long (nearly 900 pages) book and start reading it. Recently I did. And I am glad I did it, for Colleen McCullough's painstaking scholarship and eye for details have really brought to life the characters and the historical events of the period. The year is 110 B.C. The story is set around two men, Gaius Marius, a rich ambitious man, who does not have the rights of birth to political position in the Republic and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, a poor aristocrat with ambition who has till the start of the novel led an indolent, hedonistic amoral existence. Gaius Marius is seen at the start as an 'Italian hayseed with no Greek'. Not being Roman-born was a big deficiency in the class-conscious Rome of that time and Greek was the language that every aristocrat was supposed to speak fluently. Fortune seeks them out and a series of circumstances propel Marius to the position of First Man in Rome and Sulla is also well on his way to the political prominence which he achieves in the second book of the series. Around them is a whole plethora of characters from various walks of life that draws the reader into a world as real as the one we live in. There are political intrigues, there is massive corruption including vote-buying, tall election promises and so on. Does that not sound like today's India rather than Rome at the end of the second century B.C.? Marius's rise begins when he marries

Julia, a girl of powerful political lineage, whose illustrious family, though aristocratic, has fallen on relatively hard times. It suits Gaius Julius Caesar, the father, to marry his daughter to a rich ambitious man as he has high hopes for his sons' futures that can only be fulfilled if he acquires financial clout. Marius gains the family connection required to set him off on his path to achieve his dream. Caesar's younger daughter is married to Sulla.

Though this is not based on historic evidence, in her Author's Note McCullough cites her reasons quite convincingly for presuming this. This brings the two men together and they become close allies. The absorbing story of the rise of these two protagonists is set against a background of magnificent scenes of epic magnitude - the Jugurthine War, the invasion of the Germanic tribes and a grain crisis leading to a revolt that is crushed just in time. The battle scenes are vividly graphic and there are detailed accounts of Marius's plans in his

fight to push back the Germanic hordes. Ms. McCullough's maps are of great help in bringing out the dimensions of the events. I particularly liked the maps showing Rome's idea of the world and map of the town of Rome. Also included are some interesting illustrations from the busts of prominent people of the period. Scenes of domestic life, conversations that bring out the mores of the time, their election processes and so on are all seamlessly woven into the story without turning them into history lessons. Did you know, for example, that there were large several-storied apartment blocks in Rome at that time? Also that women rarely drank and had to sit in straight chairs to dine while the men lounged in couches. Colleen McCullough's scholarship is evident but does not intrude. She has appended about a hundred pages of glossary explaining the Latin terms, the social context and some explanation as to her sources. As she herself says in her note at the end of the novel, it would have been impossible to include a full bibliography given the extensive nature of her research. I would fault the book only for its intimidating length; perhaps she could have published this in two volumes instead of one. This one is very difficult to lift and read in bed!

Gita Subramanian worked for many years in International schools in Hong Kong, where she also ran a book club. She is an avid reader and a published writer as well. She has translated three Tamil novels and won an award in 2010 for one of them for best translation from Tamil to English. She is a member of ď Ž JustBooks, JP Nagar.

JustBooks Connect - September 2011


1. “An idiot child screaming in a hospital.” H. G. Wells on George Bernard Shaw Lord Byron on John Keats Martin Amis on Miguel Cervantes 2. “There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope.” John Keats on Alexander Pope Lord Byron on on Alexander Pope Oscar Wilde on Alexander Pope

4. Who said, "Everything’s wrong on Wikipedia." V.S. Naipaul Gore Vidal Taslima Nasrin 5. “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” William Faulkner on Ernest Hemingway Vladimir Nabokov on Ernest Hemingway Dylan Thomas on Rudyard Kipling

3."The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages." Salman Rushdie Virginia Woolf Rohinton Mistry H. G. Wells on George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde on Alexander Pope, Virginia Woolf, Gore Vidal, William Faulkner on Ernest Hemingway


1. Leela’s Book by Alice Albinia 2. One Summer by David Baldacci 3. The Secret Of The Nagas by Amish Tripathi 4. Does He Know A Mother’s Heart? by Arun Shourie 5. 24 Akbar Road by Rasheed Kidwai

R ECOMMENDED 1. The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon 2. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger 3. Tamarind Mem by Anita Rau Badami 4. The Lost River by Michel Danino 5. The Master Switch by Timothy Wu R ENTALS 1. Only Time Will Tell by Jeffery Archer 2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Book 2) by Jeff Kinney 3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Book 4, 5 and 1) by Jeff Kinney 4. 2 States: The Story Of My Marriage by Chetan Bhagat 5. The Secret Of The Nagas by Amish Tripathi

Hindustan ke Shaan


ur new JustBooks Powai branch continues to be featured in the news media.

The Hindustan Times, Mumbai Edition, carries an article titled 'Community based libraries open in City' "Book aficionados now have another reason to cheer. In yet another attempt to boost and encourage the reading habit among Mumbaikars, a Bangalore-based venture is opening community-based reading libraries titled JustBooks CLC across the city." Our plans for Mumbai continue unabated. In this context, they say, "The venture also plans to open more outlets along the city's Western Railway route by the year-end. "We have a community-centric model with a physical shop that offers members access to books that they can rent, read and return," says D Ravi Kumar, Senior Manager - Franchise Development, JustBooks CLC. He, however, adds that they want to focus on offline activities that encourage people to visit the library rather than simply choosing the books from the e-catalogue.”

From JustBooks blog -

JustBooks Connect - September 2011


Food on the road

Not a lot on their plate

Highway On My Plate - The Indian Guide To Roadside Eating Rocky Singh & Mayur Sharma Random House India Aradhana Janga


n a road trip? Wondering what to eat and where? Like to try different authentic cuisines but not really sure where to find them? On a stringent budget or feel like splurging on good food? Highway on My Plate by Rocky Singh and Mayur Sharma might just be the answer to all your gastronomic questions. Rocky and Mayur are well known for their food show on NDTV Good Times, where they take viewers on food journeys across the length and breadth of India. The book covers 25 states and on an average about 3-5 places in each state. With about 3-5 food joints in each of these places, the book is a good collection for your travel library! Every eatery comes with a detailed description of the setting, food specialty, contact information, price range and a rating on taste, ambience, service, and value for money. For a traveler, it is of interest to know the Punjabi dhaba and the idli-dosa joint in the middle of

Rajasthan, or the unique Egg Factory and drink-serving, arty crowd at Koshy's in Bangalore. While you simply cannot dismiss a 300 page food guide, the book seems to lack something. The strapline on the cover calls the book: The Indian Guide To Roadside Eating; but what it covers mostly are the restaurants and hotels in the cities. An extended Lonely Planet at best is what the book turns out to be. The duo of Rocky and Mayur miss to discov-

er the biryani haven in Tamil Nadu Ambur which is literally on the Bangalore-Chennai highway and supplies thousands of biryani packets daily to Chennai. Or the North Karnataka cuisine (corn rotis with brinjal and lentil curries made with their unusual blend of spices), which is so unique that one cannot find any similarities between that and the Bangalore or the coastal (better known as Udupi) cuisine. They also skipped the Kamat Lokaruchi on the busy BangaloreMysore highway that causes quite a traffic snarl with its multitude of customers. Some drive all the way just to eat the special South and North Karnataka thalis and all-you-can-eat breakfast buf-

fets with the choicest of dishes! Udupi food boasts of unique dishes made from jackfruit, as well as the local buns and 'Neer' dosas. And talking about street food, surely the food stalls around Sajjan Rao circle in Bangalore deserve a mention for their steaming hot idlis, dosas and Badam (almond) milk served every evening to its big fan-following that enjoys and comes back for more. Food is more than a basic need; it is a way of life, it is part of tradition, culture, economics and natural environment. There is a reason why South Indian states are mostly rice-eating ones while North Indian ones are wheat-eating, just like there is there is a very good reason why coastal regions use a lot of coconut in their food preparation than the rest of the country. A brief history of food of a state might have made Highway on My Plate more interesting. And though it might be interesting to find different cuisines in the most unlikely of places, for a real foodie, authentic food is probably of more interest than a pasta and pizza joint in the middle of South India! 'Gatte ki Sabji' in Rajasthan and Ragi dishes in Karnataka are as local as one can get, but Rocky and Mayur miss out on these delights. While Chinese food might be popular in Kolkata, wouldn't a tourist be interested in typical Bengali food at 6 Ballygunge Place or Bhojohori Manna or the biryani at Arsalan? And it's disappointing to note that 'Saravana Bhavan', a local favourite does not feature at all in the Chennai listing. For someone who is clueless about Indian food, this book will be helpful, but if you are out sleuthing for authentic, traditional food, you are better off doing your bit of detective work and asking the locals. ď Ž


JustBooks Connect - September 2011


Reading in an Age of Distraction

Ram Mohan Susarla


e are living in times where digital ubiquity is the order of the day and most of us are constantly switching between checking email, surfing the web for the latest headlines and sports updates, answering the telephone and attending to the mobile calls (and SMSes). In fact, there are some among us who have the omnipotent Blackberry's and IPhone's to keep us busy. With all this electronic "chatter" drowning out the voice of reflection, we hardly have time to take a book and read it from cover to cover. Indeed, the "Age of Distraction" where the attention spans are in minutes and seconds means that we hardly have time to breathe, let alone read. There are many authors like Nicholas Carr who have pointed to the "shallows" that inhabit our minds in this electronic age. There are others who have drawn attention to the "fragmentation" of our selves because of so much digital "noise" that assaults us from all directions. Studies done in recent years have shown that the average time spent on a task has come down to 11 minutes and the need for constant switching back and forth between tasks means that our "e-personalities" might take over our "offline" selves and there can be a morphing of both. Increasingly, many behavioural experts are calling upon people to meditate or sit still in contemplation if we do not want this to happen. So, what better way to "logout" from the e-world than to pick a book and read it at leisure? Of course, there are many who would willingly give up the TV remote or put their mobiles on discreet to sit down and read. But for those who find it hard to tear themselves away from their gadgets, there is some advice coming your way. Reading a book is like sipping wine and it grows on you. Hence, the best thing to do when you get the time is to sit down and reach for that book that you have always wanted and get going. Never mind the incessant buzz of the messages or the temptation to check the movements of shares and the urge to scroll through the updates on the internet. A book is worth reading not only for the pleasure that the joy of reading gives us but also for the moments of

always read the eBooks on your PC (during breaks at work). Mind you, I do not have anything against eBooks (I like my Kindle very much!). The point that I am trying to convey is that I have personally experienced the "shortened" attention spans when I read stuff on electronic devices. There is nothing to beat the joy of reading a printed book. eading in this electronic age is not only about reading the "right" books (personally, I don't think there are any "right" books. All books are books, period.), but also about reading just for the "heck" of it. The objective should be to embark on a journey with the book as the companion and discover the sights and sounds of delight in the process. Many of us take books along with us on journeys. Why not read a book sitting at home and transport ourselves into the world of the characters of the book and experience their stories in the same way we reflect on our other experiences. Reading a book is the perfect antidote to the lack of focus and concentration for extended durations that seems to be the malaise afflicting many of us. The pleasures of reading are such that once you start reading; the rest follows much like a musician finds the right notes after the initial prelude. Finally, reading as a habit for children should be taken seriously by parents if they want their kids to discover a world other than TV and Video games and there are titles galore on all subjects that interest kids. There cannot be a better way to ensure that your kid does not grow up on gadgets alone if you initiate them to the wonders of reading.


quiet beauty that reading offers as a reward. And those moments of quietude and reflection are well worth the time and effort spent in reading the book. f you are wondering, "Why not read an eBook on a Kindle or a Nook?" The answer is that while reading eBooks is certainly catching on, nothing can beat the pleasure of plonking oneself on the favourite armchair and reading a printed book. There are many reasons for doing so. For starters, an eBook is again a book that is read on a gadget, when the objective clearly is to "disconnect" from the virtual world. Next, not many books are available in the electronic format (as of now) even though their popularity is increasing. Finally, you can


Writer's Note: There are many books on the topic that I have written about and in fact, the topic was inspired by the recent publication of a book, from which I have borrowed the title. ď Ž

JustBooks Connect - September 2011

Venturing out


Friends with a franchise

Sapana Rawat Meet Mr. Vinod Shankar, one of the partners of Trupti Ventures that runs JustBooks Malleshwaram franchise. Vinod also leads Strata Retail's Marketing department. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your partners. I am a typical Bengaluru boy, who recently married a typical Bengaluru girl. I was born here and have lived all my life here. Travel and food interests me a lot, and if the place is breathtaking and food is great I dabble with my camera to capture the best of both. Trupti Ventures has four partners: Rahul (a software engineer), Shajin Serine (a financial analyst), Sabari (a chemical engineer) and myself. We all have been friends for years, right from our school and college days. What were you doing before joining JustBooks as an employee? In my previous avatar I worked for four years as a Digital Signal Processing engineer in a large communication company. I still find technology interesting for it simplifies tasks in everyday life like issue and return of books at JustBooks. How has your experience been on working full time and taking care of the franchise? Working at JustBooks has been fun and a learning experience. The best part is you get to meet varied and interesting people every day. Being a part of organization that's moving from start-up to its growth phase is valuable. I always wanted to learn and experience how organization are built and scaled up. JustBooks has provided this wonderful opportunity to me, and I get paid to do what I love to do. After joining JustBooks the time spent at the outlet has reduced to some extent, though I hope to make up for that soon. Why and how did this franchise option happen? I always wanted to start something on my own as the entrepreneurial bug had bit me. It was only matter of time before we four friends started something.

There were a lot of other ideas that we had considered — express car wash, travel & holidays or a millet-only restaurant. I had become a member of JustBooks, Whitefield and around the same time Sabari and I were attending start-up event at IIMB, where we came across JustBooks as a possible opportunity to start our entrepreneurial journey. How has been the customer response to JustBooks as a concept & your library, in particular? The customers are delighted to have a library like JustBooks at Malleshwaram, which is one of the oldest areas of Bengaluru. The use of technology for issue and return, the vast collection of books and universal access across branches has enabled kids and seniors citizens alike to appreciate JustBooks as a noble concept. What do you think will be a great addition in terms of value to your existing members? Through JustBooks we provide a service that means a lot to our members. To enrich it further, we are looking into providing literary consultants once a week to help our members choose books and organize creative events for children. How much of your time do you spend at the JustBooks outlet personally? How rewarding is the experience of interacting with your members? I'm there at the outlet over the week-

ends, some days I spend my evenings interacting with our members. Every member has a unique taste in books, and the satisfaction of helping them find a particular book is immense. The members come from varied backgrounds, there are dancers, techies and homemakers and not to forget ever bubbling energetic kids! Interacting with kids, knowing that they are reading has been insightful. What kind of books do you read personally? Who are your favourite authors? I love autobiography and biographies along with books related to Indian medieval history though I used to read Sidney Sheldon, Dan Brown, Paulo Coelo and likes in my college days. I like Indian writers like Ramachandra Guha and Subroto Bagchi. What is your advice to book lovers who would like to turn entrepreneurs through JustBooks? If you are a book lover looking for a simple business, with decent returns on your investment, then JustBooks is the place for you. Along with the profits, the satisfaction that you get by setting up a JustBooks franchise in your community adds intangible value to your own life. With presence across five cities, it's only a matter of time before JustBooks makes its presence across India and becomes a synonym for Library. ď Ž


Just Kids

The Amulet of Samarkand Jonathan Stroud Age group: 12-18 yrs Pages: 492 Doubleday

Jayanthi Harsha


here are two worlds in this universe - the human world and the Other Place. The latter is where the demons reside. Demons are divided into five classes in order of increasing power - the marid, afrit, djinn, foliot and imps. The demons of the Other Place do not take any form, but exist as essences, mingling freely and at peace with each other. Things don't stay peaceful for long, for the humans know of the demons' presence and frequently summon them to do their bidding, which involve taking revenge on other wizards. As a result of these human feudal disputes throughout the ages, the demons are kept busy. Our story begins when a 12-year old wizard, Nathaniel summons 5000-year old middle ranking djinn Bartimaeus to get back at a much older wizard Simon Lovelace, who has humiliated him. Nathaniel is an apprentice who has not even "formally" summoned his first imp. His master is a mediocre wizard who can barely summon a foliot, let alone a major demon like Bartimaeus. So it's no mean achievement that Nathaniel manages to summon the demon, unsupervised.

However, even though his powers are strong, his mind is still young and immature, which leads to him to send Bartimaeus on a reckless mission to recover a powerful item, the Amulet of Samarkand from Simon Lovelace. Along the way, Nathaniel makes several mistakes, the worst being letting Bartimaeus discover his birth name. The birth names hold great power and demons aren't particularly fond of the humans so they wait for any opportunity to get back at them. Bartimaeus, a crafty demon grabs it with zeal. However, with Lovelace seeking to recover his amulet, the duo get into deep trouble and are soon running for their lives. Questions are aplenty on the course of the quest: What exactly is the Resistance and why do they hate the wizards? Why is Lovelace so desperate to regain the possession of the amulet and what sinister use he has envisioned for it? Read on to find out!

JustBooks Connect - September 2011

The book was written and published in 2003 and is the first book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy. The other two books in this trilogy are: The Golem's Eye and Ptolemy's Gate. This book as a whole is unique in its way of approaching the subject. Instead of the conventional style of writing which involves making heroes out of the human characters, here the story is told from the eyes of the summoned demon, Bartimaeus. He is a demon and has radically different notions on humanity; still the readers are drawn to him and think of him as the real hero. Whereas Nathaniel, the young wizard and Bartimaeus' master, whose story is also told through Bartimaeus's point of view is seen as the sidekick. The reader finds it much easier to sympathize with the demon's view as the writer makes it possible, mostly by using humor. There are some weak points in the story, for instance, its general lack of direction. The reader tends to get lost in the heat of action due to confusing descriptions during battle. Furthermore, the flow of the story is very predictable; everyone knows who the bad guy is from the start with no real 'wrenching' surprises in store. However, all this is made up by the excellent way the author shapes the demon, Bartimaeus' character. Overall, this is an amazing read with new and interesting features like Bartimaeus' footnotes about his past life and thoughts of the situation on hand. It also proves that anyone can be a hero, even an irascible djinn Bartimaeus who doesn't have many 'noble' feelings. ď Ž

JustBooks Picks for Young Readers Mmm Cookies! by Robert Munsch Look, The Moon! by Sandhya Rao Aunty Mouse by Kunzang Choden

Same And Different by Manjula Padmanabhan

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

My Grandfather Aajoba by Taruja Parande

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

The Mystery Of Blue by Muriel Kakani

Museum Of Thieves by Lian Tanner

JustBooks Connect - September 2011

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Anindita Sengupta


hinking of Fyodor Dostoevsky immediately conjures a sort of darkness in the mind, an appealing darkness that gathers weight from what one knows of the Russian genius's life and takes its sheen from the dramatic tides of his books. A darkness like a deluge. Because reading the writer whom many call the 'father of existentialism' is to step into a vortex of primal emotions, hate and love at their most brutal and naked. There are many stories about Dostoevsky's life and one can conjecture endlessly about his relationship with his alcoholic father Mikhael—loving or disturbed?—and how is it exactly that he finally died? Did Mikhael, in fact, drown in vodka poured down his throat by enraged serfs? What is more important is what remains of him, a legacy that has become something of universal relevance and value and yes, perhaps his own troubled and tumultuous life led him to understand human follies and failings better. Dostoevsky is known as one of the best psychologists in world literature. His stories and characters are constantly revealing of what human beings are capable of, their deepest loves and darkest fears, their soul. As Woolf once put it, in Dostoevsky's stories, "Out it tumbles

upon us, hot, scalding, mixed, marvelous, terrible, oppressive-the human soul." Rich or poor, tramp or criminal, the men and women in Dostoevsky's books grapple with questions of morality in surprising, difficult and terrible ways. In Crime and Punishment, even while exploring the possibility of murdering an old woman, Raskolnikov judges the meanness of his sister's prospective husband and how wrong it is that she should sacrifice herself for her family. In The Idiot, the epileptic Prince Myshkin becomes a symbol of all that is good, a Christ figure, and his attacks are symptomatic of the effect that society has on the best of men. "Man is tormented by no greater anxiety than to find someone quickly to whom he can hand over that great gift of freedom with which the ill-fated creature is born," says Ivan in The Brothers Karamazov, voicing what many feel about freedom but cannot admit. Naturally, because his books explore the meaning of morality—the question of how to be good—they also deal with the spiritual. Reams have been written about the allegorical nature of The Brothers Karamazov in which each brother represents a different attitude to faith, ranging from atheism to monasticism. In contemplating The Idiot, Dostoyevsky wrote in a letter to AN Maikov that he hoped to focus the work around a question "with which I have been tormented, consciously or unconsciously all my life-that is, the existence of God". And if Dostoevsky is concerned with our ways of approaching and understanding God, he is no less concerned with the love of fellow human beings. Love in all its forms powers through his pages. Not only romantic love with all its attendant vile and pleasing faces but also love between male friends or brothers. Intense. Often exuberantly expressed. One might expect books crammed with such weighty concerns to be slow but Dostoevsky was a master story-teller, a djinn of the tale-spinning art. Cushions in place, tea mug in hand, one enters his world and within minutes, there is a sense of stepping into a universe gone


awry. Dreadful things happen. People fight, curse, drink and gamble. Loves are sealed, lost or set afloat in a matter of a few pages. Epic events happen in the lives of his characters and then they are undone. And yet, one cannot read his works at the pure level of the story because they are layered with multiple meanings, allegory, a larger exploration of psyche or society. In fact, some scholars have said that his stories cannot be read at the level of story at all. As a lay reader, I disagree. To me, it seems that Dostoevsky is convincing at multiple levels. Within the universe of the novel, he inspires trust. One may not always be sure of why a character is behaving in a particular way but one is willing to go along with it because of the sheer vitality, the aliveness of the character. One is compelled to go along with it. It has the thrill of addiction.

IN A NUTSHELL Born On: November 11, 1821. Born In: Moscow, Russia. Educated At: Saint Petersburg Institute of Military Engineering. First Book: Poor Folk (1846). Major Works: Notes from Underground (1864), Crime and Punishment (1866), The Gambler (1867), The Idiot (1869), Demons (1872), The Brothers Karamazov (1880). Day Job: Served in the army; became a literary celebrity at 24. Incarcerated on 23 April 1849 for being part of liberal intellectual group the Petrashevsky Circle; faced a mock execution and spent six years in prison after which he served in the Siberian regiment. From 1873 to 1881 he published the Writer's Diary, a successful monthly journal of short stories, sketches, and articles on current events. Married: Maria Dmitrievna Isayeva in 1857 who died in 1864; married Anna Grigorevna Snitkina, in 1867. Suffered From: Epilepsy and a gambling addiction. 


JustBooks Connect - September 2011

JustBooks Events

Sparkling away Lavanya


hy should a child or anyone else for that matter be taught how to think? Don't we do that naturally? Sadly, no! JustBooks, Kalyan Nagar is currently conducting. a "thinking skills" program for children of the age groups 5-7 and 8-13 years based on NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and Multiple Intelligences organized by Sparkling Mindz. The "thinking skills" program has three modules, namely Creative and Critical Thinking, Communication and Interpersonal Skills and Decision Making and Values. Each module is 15 weeks in duration and classes are conducted on weekends for 2 hours. The module currently in progress is Creative and Critical Thinking and will be followed by Communication and Interpersonal Skills. Sparkling Mindz builds thinking skills in children through activities, games, experiential learning, reflective thinking and team work. The program helps expand a child's brain to the fullest creative capacity and gives him or her the essential decision making tools to become a confident thinker and learner.

Lavanya runs the JustBooks Kalyan Nagar franchise. A commerce graduate, she worked with Motorola in their HR department before starting her own venture. Apart from books and reading, Lavanya loves to travel the world, conjure up some sizzling dishes and watch ď Ž movies.

For franchise inquiries contact:

AECS Layout 65470141 Bellandur 25740710, 42118813 Banashankari 41637052, 9535854732 Frazer Town 41644449 HSR Layout 22587430, 7259974251 Indira Nagar 65831547, 42044157 Jayanagar 5th Block 9740894014, 42068676 JP Nagar-Dollar's Colony 42228168 JP Nagar 42106418 Kalyan Nagar 42084394, 9986072204 Koramangala 40982460 Koramangala 8th Block 25702799 Langford Road 9845171670 Malleshwaram 41280649 Rajarajeshwari Nagar 28607751, 9535854732 RMV II Stage 23410800 Sahakar Nagar 41713941 Sarjapur Road 42129279 Vidyaranyapura 23644501, 8095854950 Vijaya Bank Layout 41645690 Vijaynagar 42117539 Whitefield 42053027, 32999406 Yelahanka 42138080 Hyderabad 04030560660 Mysore 9742264738 Mumbai - Powai 02240158408, 08971512111 Mumbai - Nerul 02227729788, 09004819059 Mumbai - Dombivli 02516505544 Pune - Aundh 02025896016, 7385022201 Pune-Magarpatta City 9561550003 Pune-Viman Nagar 9561550002 Pune - Wanowarie 02030116811, 7385022202

Interview with Zafar Anjum  

Pushpa Achanta interviews Zafar Anjum, along with two other writers, in JustBooks Connect journal (Sept. 2011)

Interview with Zafar Anjum  

Pushpa Achanta interviews Zafar Anjum, along with two other writers, in JustBooks Connect journal (Sept. 2011)