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The Internet’s Effect on Deep Thinking: Insights from iParent

Parenting in today’s digital age is undeniably challenging. With technology, the internet, and social media dominating our lives, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the constant stream of notifications and updates. So how do we guide our children through the digital world’s maze without a map? Neha J Hiranandani‘s iParent is a friendly companion for parents navigating the complexities of raising kids in a digital age. Packed with practical advice and a dash of humor, it’s the go-to resource for fostering cyber-savvy kids without the stress.

Read this exclusive excerpt to know more!

iParent || Neha J Hiranandani


I remember reading about the Flynn effect in college. Buried neck-deep in books and classes, it was heartening to read that improved access to nutrition and better schools had made humans smarter in the twentieth century. Perfect grades seemed more achievable—after all, we had all become collectively smarter! That buoyancy, however, lasted just a few short decades. As things stand, the world is experiencing a reversal of the Flynn effect, and global IQ scores have dropped precipitously by six points. The truth is, we’re all turning a bit doltish. As one expert puts it, ‘People are getting dumber. That’s not a judgment; it’s a global fact.’


Most of us experience this doltishness every day. It’s getting harder to remember the names of colleagues, words stay permanently suspended on the tips of our tongues, and really, who can remember anyone’s birthday anymore? The Internet has fundamentally altered the way we process information, and as a result, we’re all struggling to focus. Every time we go online, our brains get subtly rewired. And since we are online so much, our brains are constantly adapting to accommodate the Internet’s deluge of small, shallow fragments of information.


Nicholas Carr, one of the most influential thinkers of our times, Is the author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, which went on to become a Pulitzer Prize finalist. ‘I’m not thinking the way I used to think,’ says Carr. The Internet, he says, ‘is chipping away [the] capacity for concentration and contemplation.’ Online activity, especially when we’re restlessly ping ponging from one activity to another makes us lose focus. Jumping from text to email, opening one tab and then quickly clicking on another, switching frantically back and forth between news and notifications—all of this destroys the calm brain and creates a new kind of mind, one that becomes comfortable processing information in quick, fragmented bursts. The faster, the better.


As Carr’s book title implies, over time our brains lose the ability to go deep. We start living in the shallows. ‘Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now, I zip along the surface like a guy on a jetski,’ he says. Admittedly, living life on a jetski sounds like great fun but you are likely to encounter a few problems. With all that wind in your hair, salt in your eyes and the world whizzing by, it’s difficult to make thoughtful decisions. It’s tough to stop and deeply appreciate beauty on a jetski or to meaningfully engage with an intractable problem. Given that our circuitry is so malleable, the more we stay online, the more we train our brains to be distracted. We can rapidly process snippets of information, but sustained attention becomes massively challenging. The longer we are on the jetski, the more challenging it is to get off it.


It’s not just Carr; scores of experts agree that the human brain simply wasn’t built for the endless game of ping-pong tantalizingly offered by our phones. The consequences seem especially disturbing for iGen which is growing up with easy and immediate access to information which ultimately has an effect on how the kids function, both emotionally and otherwise. Experts suggest that this generation will have ‘a thirst for instant gratification and quick fixes, a loss of patience and a lack of deep-thinking ability.’ Screenagers’ are not the only ones affected. Nine and ten-year-olds indulging in over two hours of screen time per day scored lower on thinking and language tests. Some kids saw a premature thinning of the cerebral cortex as they spent time on screens—their grey matter was disappearing.


Disappearing grey matter or not, it’s hard to stop! Regardless of which generation we belong to, none of us can stop pinging. Every notification, every distraction is a little dopamine nugget in disguise and it’s challenging to focus on something when you’re used to getting a reward hit every few seconds. Drunk on dopamine, we start liking the distractions. We seek them out. The more we seek them, the more we click and the more we click— bullseye!—the more accurately the algorithm can place irresistible links directly in our fields of vision. Think about the last time that you went to a shopping mall. You likely had a salesperson come up and ask you to try a product. It’s usually not a big deal because you’re likely to only encounter a couple of pushy salespeople per mall visit. But when you’re online, the push and pulls come at you from all directions!


‘Have you tried this new recipe?’ Potatoes, green onions and a touch of mustard.’

‘Are you looking to lose ten kilos in twenty days?’

‘Have you checked out the season’s hottest filter?’

‘Become a millionaire overnight. Join our mailing list for just Rs 199’

‘Join our community to always feel happy.’

‘Free shipping on this summer’s hottest perfume that will make you smell like Italian lemons.’

‘Are you bored? Lonely? Depressed?’ Here are fourteen essential oils that you need right now.’

‘Looking for love? There’s a big surprise waiting for you.’

‘Get discounted Diwali hampers when you order in March.’


The sales push doesn’t end because whether it’s essential oils or real estate, the algorithm knows what we want better than anyone else. So, we click on these irresistible links, breaking our attention, disrupting our concentration and creating an avalanche of lost focus, which in turn, overtaxes our brains. And wouldn’t you know it, an overtaxed brain finds distractions more distracting, and there it is: a self-perpetuating dependence loop. We click and lose focus, which makes us want to click all the more. Clickety-click we go all day, tappity tap we go all night, leaking data and losing focus all the while.


Get your copy of iParent by Neha J Hiranandani wherever books are sold.

Fool Me Twice: A Birthday Surprise Like No Other but Was it Worth the Risk?

Ever wondered what happens when teenage romance collides with life’s unexpected curveballs? In Fool Me Twice by Nona Uppal, the answer unfolds amidst the bustling streets of New Delhi. Brace yourself for a whirlwind of emotions as we delve into Sana’s journey of love, loss, and the resilience that follows.

Read this exclusive excerpt to know more!

Fool Me Twice
Fool Me Twice || Nona Uppal


‘Ashish, can you cut it out, please? You’re going to get us arrested.’ Bani had been game for Ashish’s plan in theory, which meant she, half-drunk on a pint of beer, had nodded furiously when he had explained it. Now that they were mid-execution, it seemed at least slightly criminal.

‘I’m too young and pretty to go to jail.’ Ashish turned around to glare at Bani.

‘I’ve got this,’ he hissed back.

‘Bhaiya, in sabka kitna (How much for these)?’ Ashish asked the man handling the roadside bird shop, pointing to all the birds on display. ‘And the ones at the
back too.’

The shop, called ‘Flying Dreemz’—a five-minute walk from our school, Horizon High International, in Hauz Khas—adorned the streets with the pastel hues of pink, blue and green cages that could only do so much to hide the sad faces of the birds trapped in them. The shopkeeper was understandably suspicious. Was he being recorded for a prank on TV?


‘Sab? Fifty ke fifty? Pakka?’ he confirmed. The deal was one of those too-good-to-be-true kinds.

‘Haan, pakka. All birds, no discount. Kitna?’

Ashish had no way to determine if the price the shopkeeper quoted was a steal or a loot. When his father had handed him the stack of notes, he’d been ultra-generous. ‘Make sure you get her something nice,’ he had said, patting Ashish on the back.

Handing the shopkeeper the money warily, Ashish wondered if this was going to be a disaster.

‘Badiya sir,’ the shopkeeper said, comically bobbing his head as he retrieved the notes from Ashish.

Having successfully completed the transaction, Ashish looked at Bani with his ‘Are you game?’ eyes.

‘This could either be epic or an epic blunder,’ she blurted out, her hands fixed on her phone camera, with Ashish positioned in the centre of the shaky frame.
‘Lekar kaise jaayenge aap inhe (How will you take these)?’ The guy asked Ashish, eyeing his i10. ‘Truckwruck ka kuch arrangement?’
But carrying the birds home was not what Ashish had in mind.

One by one, he unlocked the cages that weren’t really locked in the first place. Having been born and bred in captivity, it took a few seconds for the birds to
realize what an open cage meant. Only when one of them dared to flap its wings and fly into the blue sky did the others realize they could do it too.


‘Yeh kya kar rahe hain aap?’ the shopkeeper shrieked, finally looking up from counting his earnings.

‘Saala paagal!’ he scrambled to lock the leftover cages, yelling profanities at Ashish and Bani, but it was too late. The last bird had already flown away.


Ashish hadn’t gone mad, though. Far from it. Every day for the past two years, Ashish, Bani and I had walked out of our school’s main gate soon after the final school bell for a quick ice cream before heading back home. Our trusted Kwality Walls cart was usually parked right next to this bird shop, the ownership of which had been passed down to many different men over the years. Despite looking forward to my Cola bar all day, my skin burning from the sweltering heat, one look at the birds would make me lose all my appetite. I admit that it was mostly silly. But I couldn’t drown it out. All those pretty birds locked away in pastel-coloured cages, waiting for someone to set them free. Instead, they were bought by rich people and carried in cars to jazz up their maximalist homes.


It was one of those things I thought no one was noticing, a two-second glitch on my face that the most attentive of eyes could miss. Here’s where I got it wrong—Ashish was always looking. So, for my eighteenth birthday, when his consistent pleading for me to tell him what he could gift me failed, he rejigged his strategy. What could he do that would mean more than buying me a pair of shoes I would ditch for my Bata chappals or a bag to fill with stuff I would much rather carry in my hands?


After capturing the rainbow colours in the sky as the birds flew away, Bani panned the camera towards Ashish’s face. ‘Look here,’ Bani signalled.
Ashish faced the camera. ‘I don’t know if this is stupid,’ he said. ‘Umm, it probably is. But, fuck it. It fits because I’m stupidly in love with you. Happy birthday, Sana.’


Bani turned the camera around to record herself.
‘If you think it’s stupid, it was all his idea,’ she said, laughing. ‘But I love you too, munchkin.’


The end was a lot choppier than the rest—the camera being stuffed, while still on, in Bani’s bag, as they escaped in Ashish’s i10 that drove like it was always in second gear. I saw the video and heard the entire story a week later, on the night of my birthday, as Ashish and Bani sat next to me and played it on Bani’s laptop. Scrunching up the fabric of my loose t-shirt to wipe the fat tears trickling down my cheeks, I broke out laughing as the end scenes rolled. This kind of luck and love, I realized, might just be illegal to possess.



Curios to know what happened next?
Get your copy of Fool Me Twice by Nona Uppal wherever books are sold.

Babur’s Secret Weapon: Not Swords, But… Stones?

Embark on a journey through the tumultuous life of Babur, the visionary founder of the Timurid Empire in Hindustan, with Aabhas Maldahiyar‘s latest book, Babur: The Chessboard King. From his early struggles to his relentless pursuit of power, this highly researched biography paints a poignant picture of a multifaceted ruler known as ‘the chessboard king.’

Ready to unravel history?

Babur || Aabhas Maldahiyar


On 8 July of ad 1499, commissaries were sent galloping off at once—a few to call the troops of horse riders and on foot in the nearby districts, and others to urge Qambar Ali to return, and the important ones who were away at home. The available warriors were told to arrange their weapons—shovels, axes and the best of war materials in the store. The horse riders and foot soldiers from the nearby districts made their way to Andijān. As they reached, those already in the district
and those who barged in were gathered. On 25 August of that year, Babur, relying on Allah, went to Hafiz Beg’s Charbagh and stayed there for four days to ensure perfect equipment arrangements for the battle ahead. Once that was done, an array of right, left and centre was formed which included the van, horse and foot. On 30 August, the army led by Babur began to march for Osh. He was determined to get Tambal. As the news of Babur approaching with such a might
reached Tambal, he rode towards Rabat-i-Sarhang, a sub-district in the north. That very night, Babur along with his troop dismounted in Lat-kint. The next day, when they were passing through Osh, news came that Tambal had gone to Andijān. Babur decided to march on for Auzkint. The men of Tambal reached in Andijān but the moats prevented their ladders from entering the fort from working. Babur’s raiders on the other hand retired after having overrun the area around Auzkint laying their hands on anything worth their trouble.


Tambal had stationed his younger brother, Khalil in Madu, with around 300 men. Madu was one of the forts of Osh, renowned for its strength. Babur and his men decided to turn to Khalil and see this strongest of the forts. The northern face of the Madu fort stood very high above the bed of a torrent. The arrows shot from this bed could barely reach the ramparts. On this very side was a water-thief, crafted like a lane with ramparts on both sides that ran from the fort to the water. On the other side, was the rising ground with its circumference surrounded by a big ditch. The torrent had helped those occupying the fort in carrying stones the size of mortars. As per Babur’s knowledge, no fort of such class was ever defended with stones of such large size as those taken into Madu. A large stone was dropped on Kitta Beg’s elder brother, Abdul Qasim Kohbur as he went under the ramparts. He came down rolling, without once getting to his feet, from that great height down to the foot of the glacis. And then a stone flung from a double waterway hit Yar Ali Balal in his head leaving it trepanned. The wrath of falling stones spelled disaster for Babur’s men. Many of them perished. However, Babur’s men made a great comeback by facing the showering stones. The assault began with the next dawn, and they kept fighting till the evening. They had lost the water-thief and hence could not continue the fight the next morning. They came out and sought to agree on the terms. Babur took around four scores of Khalil’s men and sent them to Andijān for safekeeping as some of his begs and household were prisoners in their hands. The Madu affair turned out very well for Babur.


After having finished this campaign successfully, Babur and his men went to Unju Tupa, a village in Osh, and dismounted there. On the other hand, unsuccessful Tambal retired from Andijān and went to sub-district Rabat-i-Sarhang. He dismounted in the village called Ab-i-Khān. Now, Babur and Tambal were merely five miles away from each other. But despite such proximity, there was no war or battle for around six weeks. But peace is not eternal.
The foragers on both sides were at play with each passing day. While the people of Tambal could see Babur’s camp, ditches were dug all around as a sign of precaution. Babur also made his soldiers go out in their mail along the ditch. Despite such watchfulness, a night alarm was given every two or three days, and the cry to keep arms up. But one eventful day, when Sayyidi Beg Taghai had gone out with the foragers, the foe (Tambal’s forces) came up suddenly in massive
strength taking him a prisoner.


Get your copy of Babur by Aabhas Maldahiyar wherever books are sold.

Hanuman Schools a Temple Looter (the Hard Way)

Join Hanuman, the legendary monkey-god, on an extraordinary quest in The Later Adventures of Hanuman by Amit Majumdar. Follow along as Hanuman embarks on thrilling adventures to uphold sacred traditions, confront oppressive rulers, and safeguard the timeless legacy of the Ramayana.

The Later Adventures of Hanuman
The Later Adventures of Hanuman || Amit Majumdar


Hanuman grew more pious with age. Like many a worldly grandfather, he turned his mind to higher things. Mountaintop temples, pilgrim trails, sacred groves and rivers, libraries honeycombed with sacred scrolls, roadside Goddess shrines, holy cities—these drew him as never before. Maybe it was because he had stayed so close to the sacred by simply staying at Rama’s side. Or maybe he was just thinking more about mortality (even though he himself was immortal) and sickness (even though he was healthy) and old age (even though he could still touch his toes and none of his joints crackled).


One day, Hanuman visited a Shiva temple in Kashmir. A lingam made of light had ruptured the earth there, and a temple had been built around it. He was surprised to find the temple in disrepair, the grounds overgrown with weeds and the priests unusually skinny and haggard looking. Noon would see the bells ring and the lingam washed in milk, according to the ancient rite, but the chief priest, with a forlorn look, was adding water to the milk. This puzzled Hanuman. The temple was very crowded, and he saw visitors stuffing plenty of money into the donation box.


‘What’s all this?’ demanded Hanuman. ‘The temple is thriving, but it looks like it’s abandoned. I can’t even accuse you priests of embezzlement since you all look like you haven’t eaten a proper meal in years.’


The chief priest joined his hands before the talking monkey. The monkey hadn’t said he was Hanuman— Shiva incarnate, many said—but who else could it be?

‘It’s the king’s tax collector,’ the chief priest explained. ‘There’s more than enough money for the temple’s upkeep and for our own modest needs. We could even feed thousands of people a day if only we kept what we take in. But we don’t. Every day, the king sends a bureaucrat to our temple. He collects the temple tax, which is twenty-seven per cent right there, and then he adds the tax calculation surcharge, reimbursement for his commute, a coin-sorting fee, a coin-counting fee, and a per-hour rate for the whole process. By the end of all those assessments, sir, we barely have enough to buy a bottle of milk to mix with water for our noon rite.’


Hanuman frowned in righteous indignation. ‘By what right does the king take a cut of what belongs to Shiva? If it goes from Shiva’s devotees to Shiva, there’s
no need for a middleman. You say this bureaucrat dumps the donation box into his bag?’

‘He is very formal about it. He reaches in and helps himself.’

‘I promise you,’ Hanuman said, ‘today is the last time he’ll try collecting.’


That night, a fellow as portly as the priests were skinny had himself carried up the temple steps in a litter, like a little emperor. This was Rupianath, the bureaucrat in the service of the king.

The priests looked everywhere, wondering when Hanuman would sweep down with his gada and knock this collector to the ground. Rupianath would need to
be carried then, wouldn’t he? But the mysterious talking monkey was nowhere to be found. His promise had been words and nothing more, it seemed.


The priests lined up with their hands joined as usual— for they knew that Rupianath could take even more than he took if he sensed disrespect. They performed the other ritual of the temple, which involved praising the king’s piety, his generous police protection and his wise administrative skill.


Rupianath spat bright red betel-nut juice to one side (he demanded respect but showed none to the temple) and stuck his hand in the donation box. He grabbed his first handful of coins and raised his eyebrows in shock. With a yelp, he snatched his hand away. Torchlight revealed a bite mark.


‘There’s some kind of rat in there!’ shouted Rupianath, looking accusingly at the equally surprised priests.


‘Let’s take a look. Those are flat teeth that bit you,’ said the chief priest, getting a sense of what was going on. ‘So, this is a man’s bite?’

‘Or a monkey’s . . . or a God’s.’

Rupianath pointed at the box. ‘Stick your hand in there and take out a handful of coins.

The chief priest’s hand felt around in the bin for some time or seemed to do so. ‘I don’t feel any coins in here, sir.’

‘There were heaps of them! I felt them!’

‘Give it a try again,’ said the chief priest.

Rupianath stuck his hand in the box, and, this time, he yelped twice as loud. He held up a hand that was missing the tips of the index and middle fingers. The stumps were bleeding. With a furious set of kicks and blows from his cane, he smashed the box to splinters. When he did so, the world’s tiniest monkey—whose head the chief priest had been petting—became the world’s biggest monkey and sat cross-legged with his teeth bared and hissing.


The bureaucrat, unlike a conventional demon, required no violence from Hanuman to be vanquished. Rupianath’s terror and disbelief sent him shuffling
backwards to the steps, and he tumbled down cracking so many ribs that every breath for four months felt like being stabbed with seven knives. He ran howling from that vision of Hanuman resplendent and hostile, and he never dared visit that temple again.



Get your copy of The Later Adventures of Hanuman by Amit Majumdar wherever books are sold.

5 Sherpa Recipes That Will Take Your Palate to New Heights…Literally!

Buckle up and prepare for a mouthwatering journey with The Nepal Cookbook by Rohini Rana. From Kur flatbread to Rilduk potato soup, savor the flavors of these 5 Sherpa recipes (and more) and elevate your dining experience with each delicious bite.
Get ready to soar to culinary heights like never before!


The Nepal Cookbook
The Nepal Cookbook || Rohini Rana


The famous Sherpa community hails from the mountainous region in Tibet and even further, in Mongolia, migrating to settle in the Sagarmatha (Everest) area of the Solukhumbu valley. Sherpa means, people from the east. From their traditional home, they spread out over the eastern hill districts and have earned a glorious name in the history of global mountaineering as the most hardy and resilient people. After the epic scaling of Mt Everest by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary in 1953, the Sherpa community has catapulted into prominence as mountaineers and guides and their economy has been vastly uplifted thanks to their skills. Having lived in this mountainous region for years, they are naturally acclimatized to great physical feats at high altitudes, carrying heavy loads and scaling high mountains without the use of oxygen. Pasang Lhamu Sherpa became the first Nepali woman to scale Mt Everest in 1993; she unfortunately died on the slopes during her descent.


The Sherpas retain much from their Tibetan heritage but have integrated well into the Nepali mainstream. They are devout Buddhists and have built beautiful monasteries all over the Khumbu region. The most famous being Tengboche, nestling in the oldest Sherpa village in Nepal, one of the highest monasteries in the world, resplendent with beautiful paintings and thangkas. Lhosar, Tibetan New Year, is celebrated with singing, dancing and copious amounts of feasting.


One of the Sherpas’ main occupations is animal husbandry of yak, mountain sheep and cattle, grazing them on the alpine grassland slopes. They engage in sporadic farming, growing cereals like maize, barley and wheat, vegetables like potato, radish and beans–these are the staple foods of the Sherpas. Their food culture is similar to Tibet’s, but they have assimilated their own traditional dishes such as fresh and dried yak meat, hand pulled noodles, potato preparations, steaming radish and bean stews, which are delicious and keep them snug and warm during the cold climate of their region.


Sherpa Flat Bread

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 8


  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tbsp. salt
  • water

Mix all the ingredients and knead into a smooth dough, cover and let it rest for ½ hour.
Divide into equal-sized balls and roll out into 1⁄4-inch thick discs.
Cook in a warm pan on both sides until they turn golden brown.
Serve topped with yak butter.


Sherpa Potato Soup

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 8


  • 2 tbsp. ghee
  • 6 boiled potatoes
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 2-3 chopped tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 red chillies
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 20 timur seeds
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • Salt to taste


Boil and grate the potatoes, place in a large wooden mortar, keep pounding till their elasticity is seen, keep aside.
Heat oil and sauté the onions till a light golden brown.
Crush the timur seeds, garlic and red chillies in a mortar and pestle to a coarse consistency.
Add this ground mixture to the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan and stir for 2 minutes.
Add salt, water and chopped green onions to the soup and cook till it boils.
Make small balls of the potato mixture and add to the boiling soup.
Cook till the balls float on top of the liquid.
Add the grated cheese, let it melt, serve hot!


Aaloo Phing
Potato Curry with Glass Noodles

This recipe was originally prepared with yak meat, now buff is more commonly used

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6


  • 1 cup meat cubes with bones (optional)
  • 2 cups potatoes cut into cubes
  • 1 cup carrots cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp. chopped onions
  • 25 g phing noodles
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • ½ tsp. chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • Salt to taste


Soak the noodles in hot water for 15 minutes.
Heat the oil in a pan and add chopped onions, garlic and ginger paste, sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the meat, chopped potatoes and carrots and dry spices, stir for 2 minutes till the vegetables are well coated with the oil and spices.
Add 2 cups of water and cover and cook on medium heat till the meat and potatoes are cooked.
Add the noodles, cook for a further 5 minutes, serve hot, garnished with chopped green onions.
Any meat of your choice like yak, beef, chicken or mutton can be used.



Sherpa Soup

Shyakpa and thukpa are Sherpa soups, very similar in taste and ingredients.
The main difference between them being that shyakpa is made out of thick hand-pulled noodles of different shapes, while thukpa is spicier and made out of long and thin spaghetti-like noodles.
This hot, wholesome soup is perfect on a cold, wintry evening.

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6-8


  • 2 cups refined flour
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • Water


  • 2 cups yak sukuti or fresh yak/mutton meat
  • 1 cup potatoes
  • ½ cup carrots
  • ½ cup radish
  • 1 bunch bak choy
  • ½ cup sliced onions
  • 2 tbsp. coarsely ground ginger
  • 4 tbsp. coarsely ground garlic
  • 1 tbsp. coarsely ground red chillies
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • Salt to taste



  • Green onions
  • Chilli oil
  • Timur Chope



Make smooth dough out of the fl our, water and oil, like one would for momos; keep aside.
Chop the meat and vegetables into 1 inch cubes. Heat oil and sauté the roughly crushed garlic and ginger, add the sliced onions with a pinch of turmeric powder. Once the onions are translucent, add the sukuti or meat and cook till it is brown. Add all the vegetables, except the bak choy and cook for a few minutes.
Add water or stock and cook till meat and vegetables are half-cooked, add the handmade noodles, breaking off pieces of the rolled out dough to your preferred size.
Just before serving, add the bak choy and cook for 2 minutes. Garnish with chilli oil and green onions.


Use thin noodles and chop the vegetables small, use minced meat instead of meat cubes or sukuti.
This soup is spicier than Shyakpa so add chillies and timur chope (sichuan pepper powder) according to your taste.



Butter Tea

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 200 grams Chinese tea
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 250 grams butter
  • 1 tsp. salt



Boil tea in water for 10-15 minutes, strain and add milk, butter and salt. Place in a blender or dhongmu (wooden vessel to make tea), blend and serve hot.


Get your copy of The Nepal Cookbook by Rohini Rana wherever books are sold.

O.P. Singh’s Incredible Journey from Books to Badges!

Ever wondered what it takes to transform from a student of theory to a leader in action? From the lecture halls of Delhi University to cracking the civil services exam, explore the milestones that define O.P.Singh’s inspiring ascent. Are you ready to be inspired by the story of ambition, dedication, and the pursuit of excellence?

Read on for a glimpse into the extraordinary!

Crime, Grime and Gumption
Crime, Grime and Gumption || O.P Singh


The academic scene at the DU campus was competitive. I mean, you could really feel it, the sense and the urge to learn, to grow big. I found my years at DU intellectually most satisfying. I cannot escape the mention of some of my professors with whom I had the privilege to cover a distance. Randhir Singh, the master of political theory and thought, was an exceptional professor. His oratory skills had the audience eating out of his hands and he was quite popular among the students too. Prof. Manoranjan Mohanty, another exceptional mind, handled comparative politics. International relations was the domain of Prof. Mahendra Kumar, while Prof. Susheela Kaushik talked about Indian politics. Last but not the least, Prof. M.P. Singh and Prof. R.B. Jain professed political theory and public administration, respectively. It was one august line-up and I immersed myself in the holy waters of Delhi academics.


Besides looking forward to the edifying lectures of eminent faculty members, I used to have after-dinner talks with Shekhar Singh, my senior in academics and also a lecturer at Kirori Mal College, till midnight. We would often discuss threadbare Western political thought, Indian political thought of leaders such as B.R. Ambedkar and M.N. Roy, and politics of representation and participation along with discussions on changing international political order. Shekhar Singh joined the IAS and retired as chief secretary of Telangana. The Central Library offered a refuge of a different kind. Innumerable boys and girls, research scholars and professors from different departments would converge and recreate a sangam, a confluence of varied interests. I, too, became part of the furniture in the library, and I could smell the aspiration for the civil services around me. I was convinced I had come to the right place. My preparation for the exam of my lifetime began in earnest.


I visited my mother and Gaya during the long breaks, especially during the summers. The train journey across the Gangetic plain held an unparalleled charm. In the company of friends and friends of friends, we travelled in a spirit of camaraderie. Second-class journey, reservation or no reservation, crowded platforms— nothing dissuaded our spirits of adventure. I still remember Gaya Station and its crazy, cacophonous milieu of coolies in red shirts, with their golden brassards in place, the shouting brigade of vendors and the lone shout of ‘chai-chai’ resounding even after one had left the premises of the rail station.


After my master’s with distinguished honours, I rested my eyes and hope on my MPhil programme in political science. My dream of clearing the civil services exam was still on. Deshbandhu College of Delhi University offered me a lectureship and I grabbed the opportunity. Thus began a small yet significant start to my career. Though my heart lay elsewhere, I was lucky to keep myself and my mind on course. The year was 1982. The urge and the thirst to do something big was alive and I knew it was just a matter of time.


Dates hold a strange fascination for me, and 19 May 1983 became another such landmark. No, it wasn’t the day of the results of the UPSC examination but the day I appeared for the selection interview. As I stepped out of the cool confines of the imposing UPSC building and on to Shahjahan Road, I exuded a certain confidence, the confidence of having arrived. The forty-five-minute interview had been a breeze. I was grilled by the chairperson of the interview board, R.O. Dhan. She was possibly the vice chancellor of some university and had real pointed questions in her armoury. Former IPS officer John Lobo, another board member, carried the legacy of having investigated the famous homicide case of Admiral K.M. Nanavati. From the United Nations to the Chauri Chaura incident, the interviewers were thorough in their approach.


The UPSC interview was held in the month of May. The news of my selection came through in June. Life has its own way of springing surprises. At times I think back on my journey to academic success, a candidate who cracked one of the toughest examinations in the country, in fact in the world. There is always a trigger that catapults one from a modest follower to a fiery leader. Fifth standard had been mine. I had started believing in myself and taking myself more seriously when I stood first then. This precisely was a moment when I reinvented myself afresh and a sense of competition was instilled in my young mind.


My training and induction were fixed to commence in the first week of December. For me, the ultimate had happened. God had blessed me with his indulgent embrace. My mother was with me in the momentous occasion, so were my sisters and brother Shree Prakash. Babuji was missing in the picture and that stung me.


And then, out of nowhere, the love of my life tiptoed into the family and straight to my heart.


Get your copy of Crime, Grime, and Gumption by O.P. Singh wherever books are sold.

The Descendants – Will Jay Succeed in Finding the Key to Immortality?

Ever wondered what happens when a mysterious meteor lands, carrying a powerful black element with supernatural possibilities? Join Jay, the CEO of Vantra Labs, in Laksh Maheshwari and Ashish Kavi’s The Descendants, as he embarks on a modern-day adventure where science collides with ancient prophecies. Does history repeat itself, and can Jay navigate the intricate blend of family, science, and destiny?

Find out in this exclusive excerpt!

The Descendants
The Descendants || Laksh Maheshwari, Ashish Kavi


The sudden flash of a lightning bolt reflected on the glass panes of the city’s skyscrapers intimidated Jay, pulling him out of his trance as he walked towards the parking lot. He moved gingerly towards his car, clad in his impeccable Vanquish II suit and carrying a leather laptop bag in his right hand, drenched from head to toe.  


Dhananjay Somvanshi, the rightful heir to Vantra Technologies, had been brutally dethroned. Two days ago, he was on the path to saving the world and now here he was, discarded like a piece of scrap by his own family.  


With each step he took, he mulled over a single question— how could this happen?  


He reached his Mercedes and sat in the backseat. Water dripped from his pants and began to pool on the car’s floor as he closed the door with a loud thud. With a thousand thoughts whirling through his head, he first took off his shoes and socks, and then his soaked jacket which he folded neatly beside him. He felt another wave of fury boiling through him. Clenching his jaw, he started throwing punches at the car seat and took his laptop and smashed it repeatedly against the window till it was completely destroyed.  


The man sitting in a white uniform in the driver’s seat remained unfazed. 

‘Let’s go home, Kaka. There’s nothing left for me here,’ Dhananjay said.  


‘Letting anger steep within is no better than diluting your blood with poison and expecting it to kill the other person,’ the man in the driver’s seat spoke without looking behind.  




‘Whenever you feel rage bubbling inside you, think of the consequences; where would the decisions you make under such a cloud lead you? Anger never creates, Jay, it only destroys.’ Kaka smiled pensively.  


Jay’s eyes scanned the seat and the floor which was now dusted with the laptop’s parts and realized the futility of his actions. He looked outside the window and noticed that it had stopped raining.  


A sadhu wrapped in saffron from head to toe walked by their car. He was strangely dry and seemed unbothered by the muddy puddles or the bits of litter floating out of the clogged gutters along the sidewalks.  


‘I wish I could go somewhere far away from all this hideousness, to live a quiet life of peace and solitude.’ He sighed. ‘I feel lost now. All my efforts over the past months have been in vain and I feel defeated by the ones I call my flesh and blood.’  


There is no peace without conflict;  


no joy without sadness;  


no virtue without sin;  


and son, there is no sannyasa (renunciation) without karma.  


‘What do you mean, Kaka?’  


‘I mean no learning without burning!’ Kaka joked and laughed. 


A slight smile broke out on Jay’s lips and he felt calmer. Kaka had had this impact on him ever since he was a child. He had always been an anchor and a friend whenever Jay needed support or advice. Kaka was like a father when Jay needed love and a guru when he needed direction. ‘Follow your own path and leave the rest to Hari (Lord),’ he would always say.  


‘What happened, Jay?’ Kaka asked with concern.  


Kaka had been driving, and it was only now that Jay noticed that they were not heading home.  


‘Kaka, where are we?’ He looked out, trying to recognize the area which looked like an uninhabited clifftop.  


‘We are just making a pit stop,’ Kaka said with his constant gentle smile. He got out of the car and stood at the edge of the cliff, whistling a beautiful melody.  


Jay stepped out of the car and looked around. The view was amazing. He could see the whole city spread out in front of him. In the distance, he could see the majestic building with a ‘V’ on it, towering over the other buildings.  


‘Now tell me, what happened in there?’ Kaka stopped his whistling and asked.  


‘Arindam Chachu is on a wretched path that can only lead to havoc. You always knew this would happen, but I still couldn’t believe that he’s capable of such despicable actions.’ Jay shook his head.  


‘Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power,’ Kaka said. 



Get your copy of The Descendants by Laksh Maheshwari and Ashish Kavi wherever books are sold.

Why Lakshmi is More Than Just the Goddess of Prosperity

Explore Hindu mythology like never before with Namita Gokhale’s Treasures of Lakshmi. In this book, Gokhale unfolds the stories of ancient deities, exploring their evolution from the Rig Vedic era to the post-Buddha period. Against the historical backdrop of events like Alexander’s arrival in India, the book delves into the tales of gods and goddesses, with a special focus on Lakshmi’s story of prosperity from the Vishnu Purana.


The Treasures of Lakshmi
The Treasures of Lakshmi || Namita Gokhale


THERE ARE MANY gods and goddesses in the Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism is a newer word, proposed as recently as the nineteenth century). Aldous Huxley translated it as ‘the perennial philosophy’. In the Rig Veda, the gods which feature in the hymns are Indra, Agni, Varuna and Surya, who become minor gods by the time of post-Buddha India. It is said that when Alexander arrived in the Indian subcontinent in the fourth century bce, there was worship of a god similar to Heracles, who has been later identified as Krishna.


The Vishnu Purana is dated by its most recent translator, Professor Bibek Debroy, as being from the period 450 bce to 300 bce, definitely a post-Buddha document. You see immediately that the Vishnu Purana is post-Vedic and even post-Vedantic. Vishnu replaces the abstract universal principle of Brahman: ‘He is the supreme Brahman.’ The irresistible conjecture is that faced with the concrete persona of Buddha and the rapid spread of Buddhism, the Sanatan Dharmists retaliated with a personal but immensely powerful god: Vishnu.


So, sometime in the second half of the last millennium bce, there is a shift to the modern Trimurti structure with Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The old Rig Vedic gods are demoted and a new set emerges which takes over. The Vishnu Purana has stories about all three deities but constantly reiterates the supreme position of Vishnu.


Then, Brahma somehow gets displaced. (We need not go into this episode.) There are few, if any, temples dedicated to him, relative to the other two male gods. Somewhere, then, the mother goddess, Durga/Kali/Amba, becomes as important in the Trinity as Vishnu and Shiva. There is some discussion of Durga being a pre-Aryan goddess, but this may be controverted. Saraswati is the only other goddess worshipped in her own right and not as the consort of a male god.


The point is that while the pantheon of deities is crowded, there are only three at the top—two male gods and one female goddess. (Of course, attributing gender to gods and goddesses is tricky. Shiva doubles up as Ardhanareeshwar.) Lakshmi, the subject of this essay, is not in the top Trinity. She appears as the consort of Vishnu and is worshipped especially on the thirteenth night of the waning moon cycle, two nights before Diwali. The occasion is called Dhanteras in Gujarati, being the one night dedicated to the goddess of prosperity. No other goddess has a Diwali slot.


But as Shri, Lakshmi is ubiquitous. We append the labels ‘Shri’, ‘Shriman’, ‘Shrimati’, indicating someone favoured or due to be favoured by the goddess Lakshmi. Widows (in Gujarati at least) are addressed as ‘Gangaswaroop’, definitely not Shrimati. Fortune for a woman resides in having a husband around.


It is in the Vishnu Purana—a massive document running to almost 600 pages in Bibek Debroy’s book—that we encounter Lakshmi’s story. Purana storytelling is, of course, not straightforward or linear. It wanders, often telling the same story more than once with different nuances. You are supposed to listen and retain the details.


Lakshmi is first mentioned along with the story of Sati (Parvati) in Chapter 1 (8) titled ‘Rudra’s Account’. In the Vishnu Purana, Parashara is talking to Maitreya and telling him the long story of Vishnu. Rudra occurs in the Rig Veda and is called Shiva later on. Rudra marries Sati. But then Daksha’s anger comes in the way and Sati gives up her body. However, she is born again as the daughter of Himavat and Mena as Uma. ‘In this form, the illustrious Hara married her again.’


The first casual mention of Lakshmi follows. ‘Bhrigu’s wife Khyati gave birth to the divinities, Dhatri and Vidhatri, and to Shri, the wife of Narayana, the god of the gods.’ Maitreya asks how that can be, since Lakshmi emerged from the churning of the ocean. So, in a way, Lakshmi’s story is presumed to be known, but of course given the style of a Purana it has to be told again. Parashara launches into a laudatory description of Shri, but more so of Vishnu, whose female companion Shri is. Vishnu is praised to the utmost, while Lakshmi has glory as Vishnu’s other.


Chapter 1 (9) is devoted to the story of the emergence of Lakshmi from the churning of the ocean, Samudramanthan.It is a fascinating account as to how Shri emerges from the ocean churning process. The story starts in somewhat dramatic fashion with the sage Durvasa ‘observing the vow of acting like a lunatic’. He has a divine garland made of santanaka flowers, which grow in Indra’s gardens. The sage throws the garland at Indra, who is riding the Airavata. Indra puts it on the Airavata, who throws it off. Durvasa is enraged by this disrespect and curses Indra and the gods that they will lose their prosperity. He says, ‘All mobile and immobile entities dread the arousal of Lakshmi’s wrath. But because you take yourself to be the king of the gods, in your pride, you have slighted her and me.’ In this way, the story of Lakshmi is laid out. (Though she is first mentioned in ‘Rudra’s Account’, that is a passing reference in which Lakshmi is included along with other characters.)


Get your copy of Treasures of Lakshmi by Namita Gokhale wherever books are sold.

Why Saving Money Isn’t Sexy, but Absolutely Necessary

Ever wondered why saving money feels like a snooze-fest? Ankur Warikoo’s Make Epic Money has the answer!
In this no-nonsense guide, Warikoo breaks through the boredom, offering a blueprint to make your savings hustle just as hard as you do.

Get ready for a learning experience that’s not just about saving but about discovering the power to walk away from the mundane and live life on your own epic terms!


Make Epic Money
Make Epic Money || Ankur Warikoo


“Life will throw everything but the kitchen sink in your path, and then it will throw
the kitchen sink. It’s your job to avoid the obstacles.”
– Andre Agassi, Open


Saving isn’t sexy.
We should save. We get it.
For the future, for our marriage, for our kids, for retirement.
Blah, Blah, blah. Heard it all before.


Yet, we don’t.
Because saving isn’t sexy. Or fun. Or exciting.
It’s boring.


The future seems so far off.
Our goals seem so far off.
“Retirement? I haven’t even started earning properly yet!”


AND we’re not making enough money…
AND we’ll miss out on life…
Our friends are putting up reels of sundowners in Goa.

Why should WE save?
So, we postpone saving.
We’ll start tomorrow. Next month. Next year.
Just not today.


But we should save.
Because. Life. Is. Crazy.
Almost like a Bollywood movie.
One moment, we’re happily dancing around a tree. Next moment, we’re hit by a flying coconut.
Plot twists and drama.
Just not as entertaining when it happens to us.


Medical emergencies. Job losses.
Lawsuits. Unexpected death in the family.
All horrible things to think about.
We hope (fingers crossed) they’ll never happen.
But we know that they might.
The absolute last thing we want to worry about in such times is whether we have sufficient funds to cover
us, and see us through.


Savings give you the ultimate F*** You Power
The power to walk away from a job you hate.
The power to handle a medical emergency without depleting your reserves.
The power to get a better interest rate on a loan.
The power to move into your own place.
The power to live life on your terms.


You don’t have to give up what you love.
Saving does not equal stopping spending. Sitting at home. Being miserable.
Once you’ve decided how much you want to save, spend the rest on whatever you want.
With no guilt.


Here are 13 tips to help you save more
→ Budget – boring but effective!
You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
Minimum 20% of your income has to be saved, every month/year.


→ Automate your savings
If we have money in the bank, we tend to spend it.
It’s not always easy to do the right thing.
So, make the right thing easy!


Sign up for as much EPF deduction as you can, so it never reaches you.
Do monthly SIPs (and don’t stop them!).
Open a separate investment account.
As soon as your salary hits, sweep your investment amount to that account.
Park your emergency fund, your SIP instalments, your lump sum investments in the new account.


→ 30-day rule
If you really want to buy something big, wait for 30 days.
Chances are you’ll decide you won’t need it.


→ Try a fortnightly money ‘fast’
Once a week or fortnight, don’t spend on anything. Anything.
Spoiler: This will require some advance preparation.
Food? Take food from home.
Ride to work? Carpool.
Coffee? Your office coffee machine was made for this non-spending day.


→ Choose debit/UPI over credit cards
Debit/UPI is money you actually have.
Credit cards give you the illusion of money that you may not actually have.
If you don’t have it, you can’t spend it. Ha!
The best part? It’s free (a lot of places still charge a surcharge on credit cards)!


→ Use credit cards, ONLY if you have 100% of the money
Credit cards can be a good thing:
● 30 to 45 days of an interest-free loan.
● Improved credit rating (if you make the full payment every month)
● Rewards and vouchers – who doesn’t want those?
But ONLY IF you have the full amount.


→ Make shopping lists and stick to them
It’s a fact – a list makes us stick to it.
Do this even if you’re buying online.


→ Rent, if you’re not a frequent user
Nowadays, everything is on rent – be it cars, gadgets or gowns!
So, don’t buy things you won’t use frequently.
In our parents’ time, renting was shocking.
Today, the mantra is ‘reduce, reuse’. Do that.
P.S. I rent my camera lens. The ones I like are insanely expensive and I pay peanuts to use them for 7
days a year at most!


→ Buy bigger sizes
Bigger sizes tend to be cheaper, per unit.
If you have the storage space, buy larger packs, particularly non-perishable items.


→ Use deal/discount sites
Use deals and discount sites as much as you can. There’s no shame in it.
It just means that you respect your money.
Your money will start to respect you back.


→ Pay off your loans faster
Just because you have a 25-year home loan, doesn’t mean you take 25 years to repay it.
Repayment initially goes more towards the interest and less towards repaying the principal.
Repay early, save!

E.g: Pay 1 extra EMI/year (13 instead of 12). Increase that EMI by 10% every year.
A 25-year loan reduces to 10 years. And you save 60% on your interest amount!


→ Buy life insurance when you’re young.
You pay a lower premium and get longer coverage.
Why wouldn’t you save on something so fundamental?
E.g., If you buy insurance when you’re 25 till you’re 65, you get 40 years of cover and STILL end up
paying a lesser premium, than if you were to buy the same cover at age 35 (and only get cover for 30


→ Shop online in incognito mode
Prices keep increasing when you keep searching for items online – flight tickets, hotels or even products.
Switch to incognito mode.
You’ll get a price that is given to a new user.
This is usually the lowest price, because they want the new user to convert.


This can’t work on apps, so do your buying on your desktop or laptop.
Disclaimer: I have no way to prove this.
Use these hacks as a smart way to save more money, without compromising on your desires and needs.


Save as a gift to your future self:
The gift of security.
The ability to meet your life-goals.
A safety net for unpredictability.
Freedom to live life on your own terms.




DON’T go through life focusing only on a savings mindset.
There’s a limit to how much you can save.
But remember there’s no limit on how much you can earn.
Keep finding ways to increase your income.
That will help you build wealth much faster than saving will.



Want to manage your hard-earned money like a pro?

Get your copy of Make Epic Money by Ankur Warikoo wherever books are sold.

Healthy. Unhealthy. Toxic. What’s Your Relationship Spectrum?

Ever wondered what happens when a girl falls for a guy nicknamed ‘Frankenstein,’ despite all the warning bells ringing around her? Join Shenaz Treasury in All He Left Me Was a Recipe, a rollercoaster of love, laughter, and life lessons, as she spills the beans on relationships, awkward moments, and recipes that turn out to be more than just ingredients on paper.


All He Left Me Was a Recipe
All He Left Me Was a Recipe || Shenaz Treasury


They called him Frankenstein.
Her friends, Malini and Jarna, were wary of him.
‘He’s shady.’
‘He parties too much.’
‘He cheated on his ex.’
‘He lies.’


Their warnings rang in her ears, but she ignored them all.
There was just something about him. He was smooth, charming and made her laugh and giggle.
He loved strawberry ice cream. They often found themselves in Naturals licking ice cream together, giggling at his jokes.


She travelled for the first time in her life to Europe.
A solo backpacking trip. But after a few weeks he started missing her and showed up at her dorm.


They went to Italy and Switzerland. And while she wanted to see everything, he just wanted to chill, but somehow they found a balance and giggled all the way about how different they were. They laughed a lot.


All his jokes were funny until a year later, when the feel-good hormones and brain chemicals were starting to return to normal, and she suddenly began to notice little things. He drank way too much and his drunk rambling, which was once adorable, had become increasingly confusing. He had a myriad other habits that she couldn’t help noticing. It was a broad spectrum that ranged from blatantly flirting with girls in front of her to fights instigated by him on Fridays that lasted the weekend after which they’d find their way back to this bubble of infatuation by Sunday. In this bubble, he was still so attractive, still made her laugh and they still travelled, ate a lot of strawberry ice cream and had a lot of fun together.


And that’s the thing about attraction; it can blind you to everything else and throw caution to the wind.


She was in the studio hosting her 1000th episode on MTV. It was a big day and a great number of people had tuned in. She was on the couch, taking questions. She called on a girl from the live audience who had raised her hand.


‘Hi, I’m Jugnoo. Don’t you think it’s still a maledominated world out here in India?’

She considered the question.

With a deep breath she replied, ‘Hi Jugnoo. Well, um . . . Yes. I think that it’s a male-dominated world if we let it be. I mean, the world is the world we let it be, but we can make it the world we want it to be.’


Meanwhile, on the other end of the screen, her best friends were watching her from a beauty parlour. Jarna was getting a head massage and munching on potato wedges drenched in mayo with her big belly (she was pregnant at the time), and a very sad, tired looking Yogi, who had just broken up with her boyfriend, was getting her legs waxed.


‘Indian women face challenges, we all know that. We may feel boxed in by customs and fears and expectations. But we should be allowed to reject those things if they aren’t . . . right for us.’ In the beauty parlour, Yogi yelped as a strip of wax was pulled from her leg.


At the same time, in her living room, her parents, sister and a group of aunties were watching too.


The aunties all beamed with pride when they heard her say, ‘My own loving, beautiful mother looks at my world, my choices and my possibilities, and it’s a world she doesn’t even recognize. Our generation of women have the opportunity to create a world that isn’t, as you say, male dominated. And I believe we can.’


On hearing her speak, one of the aunties was compelled to share her own pearl of wisdom: ‘She sounds like she’s lost weight.’
The live audience clapped, and the switchboard lit up. It was time. ‘All right, let’s go to a call. We’re on with . . .’ she announced as she read from the screen. A muffled voice responded on the other end, the words not quite audible. She looked over at the control booth. The confused engineer held his hands up behind the glass panel.

‘Hi, you are on air.’ Suddenly, the muffled voice responded. It was positively female, and it said, ‘TV GIRL, stop seeing him.’
Her eyes widened.


Confused and wary, she ventured in an amiable voice, ‘Sorry? Do you have a question for me?’
The muffled female voice on the other end hesitated. ‘He . . . is with you and me, and God knows how many others for God knows how many months.’

In her home living room, her parents, sister and the aunties were all shocked.
‘Frankenstein?’ her sister screeched.


Curious to know what happened next?
Get your copy of All He Left Me Was a Recipe by Shenaz Treasury wherever books are sold.

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