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Nation’s most loved romance novel – #WhenIAmWithYou by Durjoy Datta

Dhiren is completely absorbed by how animatedly she is laying out her theory. Not just with her words, but also her eyes, her hands, her body, like she’s doing a puppet show with characters, voices, songs. She becomes a sabre-toothed tiger by flashing her canines and a giant sloth by lumbering on the table menacingly. When she mentions wars, she swings her hand around and grunts as if she’s a medieval warrior, and looks around scared when she’s on the Silk Route.

She can go on the entire night and he will be right here, listening, bewitched by this gorgeous storytelling gypsy who knows everything.

‘You’re suggesting genocide. But if that’s so obvious, why didn’t it happen till now?’

‘Men are clever. They realised their need would be limited in the future. So, the ancient ones—kings, nobles, religious men, traders—all the powerful men came together, worried, scared, and in a moment of brilliance, they invented the rules of monogamy. One man, one woman. Suddenly, all men were needed. Every single man was important. Legends of love were told, romantic books were written, movies were made, Hallmark cards were printed, weddings were celebrated, pregnancies were made important, and women were told that they should want these things—love, wedding, romance, families. But it’s the men who need these. If you’re genetically ungifted, the only way to survive is romance. Without romance, only the strong, the disease-resistant, the tall will survive.’

Her storytelling is wizardry. She can move her large pupils around and put a man into a hypnotic trance. Dhiren hangs on to every word of hers. He feels he has to agree with what she’s saying. How can her eyes lie? Dhiren wonders if this is how a religion comes into being—a ravishing person with a great story.

‘Romance is a conspiracy?’ asks Dhiren.

‘Romance, once strictly optional, was now mandatory. Romantic love didn’t make women whole, it saved men from oblivion and extinction. Children were now meant to be god’s gift, brought into the world after the blissful union of a man and a woman. But it’s all a lie concocted by ancient rishis, priests and prophets—all men! Think about it, why not get children off the assembly line? Why not make sure they get the best of genes from a man and mix them up with a little bit of the woman who carries them and raises them as truly their own?’

‘I mean . . .’ Dhiren can’t finish the sentence.

She continues. ‘Think climate-wise too. We waste precious food in sustaining bigger bodies of men, with higher metabolism rates for the same contribution to society. How much can we save by not having so many men? We already do that with cattle, thirty cows to one bull. We only keep the best bull.’ The three whistles and two minutes on low flame are up.

‘Wow,’ mumbles Dhiren.

She breaks out of her own train of thought. ‘Sorry, I’m talking too much, no?’

‘I mean . . . you did call me a bull and most men useless cattle, worthy of slaughter, and keeping the good ones in a cage.’

Aishwarya giggles. Dhiren unlocks the pressure cooker. He serves them on two plates with raita and pickle. They move to the sofa.

‘When did you make the raita?’ asks Aishwarya.

‘You were talking at length. I had time.’

Aishwarya lifts the plate to her nose, takes in a deep breath like a coke addict and asks, ‘Do you want a review?’

‘I’m sure it’s great, MasterChef Aishwarya.’

Aishwarya takes a bite and closes her eyes. ‘Your overconfidence is not misplaced. It’s like my tongue’s wrapped in flavours. It’s amazing. Let’s be quiet and eat this.

 

Will Dhiren and Aishwarya, recognise the love for each other. Get your copy of When I Am With You by Durjoy Datta today!

 

An iconic journey of fathers and sons

Amidst the giant business empires that run the globe today and the ceaseless power struggle that flows through them, sometimes, when the human race is particularly lucky, we’re able to witness the rise of a business family which works like a family, which rises to incredible successes and finds unique ways of tackling entrepreneurial complications.

 

One such story is that of the Bajaj family business, which rose to enormous success, where fathers taught their sons valuable lessons of business and sons chose to apply those creatively. Rahul Bajaj, the icon who was not only an entrepreneur, but a change-maker, shares in this excerpt from his biography written by Gita Parimal, the unmatched personality that his own father was.

 

Read on!

Rahul Bajaj by Gita Parimal
Rahul Bajaj || Gita Parimal

 

‘‘My father did not only act by his instincts,’ Bajaj (Rahul) recalls those moments stoically. ‘He would apply his intelligence rationally and objectivity to every issue, and yet with a touch of humanism. He had great faith in his analytical skills. He did believe in God, but his logical way of thinking ensured that he never sought the refuge of fate. He used to say that those who rely on fate achieve little; whatever one acquires is possible only through a scientific and objective approach.’

 

‘Kakaji founded and built upon the edifice of our business almost from ground up,’ Bajaj recounts. ‘He never involved himself or spent time in the minutiae of day-to-day activities, but he had a great grasp of business matters. If the need arose, he could give such insightful ideas and solutions that none of us could have ever thought of. It is because of such inputs that the Bajaj Group could rise to such heights within such a short span of time.’

 

‘True to his nature, he was never bothered about success or failure,’ continues Bajaj. ‘He believed only in action. He believed that a person ought to try his best to complete a task that has been taken up, irrespective of how difficult it might be. He felt that the line dividing success and failure is a very thin one.’ Bajaj adopted his father’s credo.’

 

If you’re intrigued to know more about Rahul Bajaj and the legend who transformed the face of the Indian automobile industry and more, get your copy now!

Why does losing someone hurt so much?

All of us, at some point in our lives have gone through the loss of a loved one. Most of all, we never quite know how to deal with these experiences and that’s where The Millennial Yogi steps in.

 

Here is an excerpt from the incredible book written by Deepam Chatterjee, where he explores the idea of death and loss.

 

~

TMY cover
The Millennial Yogi||DeepamChatterjee

‘Speak to us of loss. Why does losing someone hurt so much?’ a man at the majlis asked Vini.

‘Loss isn’t such a bad thing. When we are attached to things, we don’t want them to change. But the reality is, deep in our hearts we already know that nothing will last forever, and we hope against hope that things won’t change. When someone we really love is taken from us, we are saddened. Although we know that we cannot bring back the past, we ache and hurt because we want their comforting presence in our lives forever. It is very important to grieve when we lose someone. Grieving makes us tender and brings us close to our heart. Different people grieve differently.’

 

‘Some people think that grieving makes them weak. They suppress their pain and become hardened,’ someone at the majlis observed.

 

Vini nodded in agreement. ‘Sometimes loss can make us hateful and bitter. We can either grow into beautiful people through loss, or we can become bitter and angry. It is a choice we have to make ourselves,’

 

Vini explained gently. ‘Ash had gone through so much loss in his life, and it changed him. But as time passed, old patterns began surfacing. Ash was at a crucial juncture of his life . . .’

 

There were subtle signs that only an awakened soul could read. The old man knew that time was short. Ash was at a crucial juncture of his life. He was on the verge of falling back into the vagaries of the material world. But, if pushed in the right direction, he could attain great spiritual heights.

 

The old man knew that the push wasn’t going to be pleasant for Ash.

 

The next time the man came for his beedis, Ash told him that he was ready to work for him, as he wanted to save some money and begin a business. The old man nodded slowly and told him to head back to the forest with him that evening.

 

‘But remember, Ashwini, you will have to do exactly what I tell you.’

 

‘I am sure I will manage, Babaji. Your work can’t be too tough. Let me go and collect my things,’ Ash said.

 

The man smiled gently and left for the gathering. When he finished, Ash was waiting with a duffle bag in his hand. He was quite proud of the fact that he had been able to fit all his worldly possessions into one bag. Mangal stood slightly behind him with folded hands. He was happy for Ash. The old man saw them and nodded. He gave his ektara to Ash to carry and began shuffling back towards the forest.

 

Ash slung his bag over his shoulder and followed him. They walked quietly for some time, and all Ash could hear was the sound of their feet and the old man’s laboured breathing.

 

‘May I know your name?’ Ash asked the man.

 

‘Eh?’ The man stopped and turned his head to hear better. Ash realized that he was probably a bit hard of hearing.

 

‘Your name. I mean, it cannot be Baba. You must have a name,’ Ash said.

 

‘Oh,’ the man wheezed. ‘Call me anything you want to. It hardly matters what you call me.’

 

‘But I am sure you have a name, Baba,’ Ash persisted.

 

The old man sighed and said, ‘Ajaat. Call me Ajaat. That is a good name.’ His face crinkled into a smile.

 

‘Ajaat. That’s an unusual name. What does it mean?’

 

‘It means “the Unborn”. We all are Ajaat, beta. No one’s ever born, no one ever dies,’ he said as he sat down on a rock to catch his breath.

~

To know more about life and death and all that plays out in between and gather the energy to deal with all of it, get your copy of The Millennial Yogi now.

 

 

 

Five Traditional Morning Routines to Optimize Your Energy

Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda Cover
Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda||Janesh Vaidya

In a post-pandemic era, your immunity is your only savior. The following five traditional routines to optimize your energy can help you feel energized not just physically, but also mentally. According to Janesh Vaidya’s Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda, the morning is the best time to start a good habit. This is because when we choose good thoughts in the morning, it sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. Moreover, following this, every day can bring in positivity for the rest of the week, and eventually, your entire life will be a cycle of positive energy.

If you’re struggling to find a good morning routine to help you get started, don’t fret! Here are five traditional Ayurveda practices to help you start your day with healthy habits. The following morning routines have been practiced by the traditional Ayurveda practitioners in India, known as Vaidyas. No matter what your presently dominating elements are, you can incorporate them into your morning routine and optimize your energy, both mentally and physically!

 

 

Clear your mind

Physical Practice: When your mind wakes from sleep in the morning, instead of rising, stay in your bed for a couple of minutes, lying in savasana and breathing gently, with eyes closed.

Note: Savasana is the corpse pose in yoga.

Mental Practice: Be grateful for being alive today. Cultivate affirmative thoughts and connect with your positive feelings, contemplating what you would love to do today to fulfill your heart’s wishes.

 

Clean your mouth and your mind

Physical Practice: Brush your teeth and tongue and massage your gums with your index fingers. (If you are following a clean, plant-based diet and you brush your teeth with toothpaste in the evening, you only need to use warm water to clean your teeth in the morning.) If you have any Kapha symptoms, such as mucus congestion in the throat, gargle with warm saline water.

Mental Practice: Look in the mirror with a smile from your heart, seeing a reflection of your good sides. Plan how you can invest your positive energies in the coming hours of the day to find joy and peace in your life, and prepare to greet the people you meet with a smile.

 

Cleanse your esophagus, stomach, and mind

Physical Practice: Practice water therapy or drink herbal tea as prescribed for your Pre-Dominant Element or PDE. For more information on water therapy, you can consult Janesh Vaidya’s website here.

Mental Practice: Sit in a comfortable position, with a focused mind leading to affirmative thoughts. Drink slowly, as if you are eating the water/tea.

 

Eliminate waste particles and toxins from your intestines, and release tension from your belly

Physical Practice: Make a habit of sitting on the toilet for a few minutes in the morning after drinking the water/herbal tea. This routine helps the brain program the excretory organs to eliminate waste matter from the intestines every morning, even for people who have difficulty emptying the bowels regularly

Mental Practice: While sitting on the toilet, try to connect your mind to the bottom of your abdomen by placing your palms over your belly. Inhale, filling the diaphragm until the belly expands to its maximum, then exhale, gently drawing the belly toward the spine.

 

Vitalize your body and mind

Physical Practice: Follow your daily morning exercise/yoga therapy program. You can find specialized yoga programs for your PDE in Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda by Janesh Vaidya.

Mental Practice: When you are on the yoga mat, keep your complete focus inward and observe your body from head to toe while making a rhythmic flow of breath through your inhalations and exhalations.

The morning often brings with itself a set of new opportunities, and according to ancient health practices, the early morning sun rays can heal many illnesses in our system. The sunlight improves Agni, the fire element, which controls the immune power in the body, and the morning sun rejuvenates the brain and supports the production of hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which are essential for our mental function.

Follow these five traditional morning routines to optimize your energy throughout the day. For more insights into ayurvedic practices and how they can help your immune system, grab a copy of Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda today!

Sleep Deprivation Is Your Child’s Secret Enemy

In recent times, we have become more attentive to conversations about immunity and long-term health. However, these maintenance tips often exclude the more natural litmus test for human health: sleep. 

Especially when it comes to our children, sleep deprivation is gravely underestimated with troubling consequences. We focus more on nurturing independence in our infants, often refusing to bedshare or, help babies and toddlers get age-appropriate naps by staying close or holding them, which lengthens their sleep by offering them safety and warmth of your body. From the perspective of baby sleep experts, it is absurd to consider these ‘bad habits’. Not only are these the very basic needs that children outgrow at their own pace, but the lack of parental management of a sleep routine and a proper sleep environment is also detrimental to their physiological and psychological development.  

Sleeping Like a Baby || Neha Bhatt & Himani Dalmia

 

This short excerpt from Sleeping Like a Baby talks about the ties between sleep and your baby’s immunity.  

* 

What exactly is the connection between immunity and sleep? Studies have repeatedly proved that loss of sleep impairs our immune function. This is because when we sleep, our body is busy recovering, repairing and processing the stress and information absorbed through the day. Sleep charges us up to full strength for the next day.   

We know that babies need to be fed right for good immunity. But sleep is just as important to build immunity in babies right from birth.   

With immature immune systems, young children often fall ill with bouts of fever, cough and cold, especially once they enter school life or come in frequent contact with other children who may be carriers of infection. But age-appropriate sleep can act as a major deterrent to frequent illness. The first few years of life are crucial in developing a strong internal system and robust gut health, and restful sleep is the key. Important hormones are released for growth and development during the time that children are asleep. 

A report by the US-based Sleep Foundation states: 

‘Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, causing a double whammy if you skimp on shut-eye. Chronic sleep loss even makes the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to respond.’  

Lack of sleep also deprives kids (and adults) of natural killer cells and proper immune response, weakening the system. Research has shown that children who do not get adequate naps or who sleep less at night are more susceptible to picking up infections than those who get enough sleep and are well-rested.  

As the sun sets our bodies are biologically designed to wind down, which is why it’s important to have an early bedtime for children—to allow the body to follow its natural circadian rhythm. When children are not put to bed at the appropriate hour, their body releases cortisol, the stress hormone, putting the immune function in peril.   

* 

Neha Bhatt and Himani Dalmia have made baby sleep easy to understand and remember. Get your own copy of Sleeping Like a Baby from your nearest bookstore. 

The river of evergreen classics is revived!

India is nothing but a plethora of stories and voices telling those stories. While new stories take birth in our country every day, there are some that have been passed down to us since decades. Some that introduced us to the idea of freedom, while some freed us with poetry. Some spoke about religion and some against it. Some spoke about kings and some about the coolies and postmen that worked for them. The launch of the Penguin India Classics store is that secret door in the closet that brings you to the world of Manto and Tagore, Nehru and Kalidasa, all waiting to be explored by you, yet again in this day and age.

 

The Arthashastra by Kautilya
The Arthashastra || Kautilya

 

Arthashastra by Kautilya

A master strategist who was well-versed in the Vedas and adept at creating intrigues and devising political stratagems; Kautilya’s genius is reflected in his Arthashastra which is the most comprehensive treatise of statecraft of classical times. The text contains fifteen books which cover numerous topics viz.; the King; a complete code of law; foreign policy; secret and occult practices and so on. While  written mainly in prose. Arthashastra also incorporates 380 shlokas.

 

 

 

 

 

The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru
The Discovery of India || Jawaharlal Nehru

 

Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru

The book started from ancient history, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote at length of Vedas, Upanishads and textbooks on ancient time and ends during the British raj. It is a broad view of Indian history, culture and philosophy. The book is considered as one of the finest writing om Indian History and was written by Nehru during his imprisonment at Ahmednagar fort for participating in the Quit India Movement (1942-1946), paying a homage to his beloved country and its rich culture.

 

 

 

 

Coolie by Mulk Raj Anand
Coolie || Mulk Raj Anand

 

Coolie by Mulk Raj Anand

Coolie portrays the picaresque adventures of Munoo, a young boy forced to leave his hill village to fend for himself and discover the world. His journey takes him far from home to towns and cities, to Bombay and Simla, sweating as servant, factory-worker and rickshaw driver. It is a fight for the survival that illuminates, with raw immediacy, the grim fate of the masses in pre-Partition India. Together with Untouchable, Coolie places Mulk Raj Anand among this century’s finest Indian novelists writing in English.

 

 

 

 

Loom of Time by Kalidasa
Loom of Time || Kalidasa

 

Loom of Time by Kalidasa

Kalidasa is the greatest poet and playwright in classical Sanskrit literature and one of the greatest in world literature. Kalidasa is said to have lived and composed his work at the close of the first millennium BC though his dates have not been conclusively established. In a brilliant new translation, this volume offers his two most famous works, the play Sakuntala, a beautiful blend of romance and fairy tale with elements of comedy; and Meghadutam (The Cloud Messenger), the many-layered poem of longing and separation. Also included is Rtusamharam (The Gathering of the Seasons), a much-neglected poem that celebrates the fulfillment of love and deserves to be known better.

 

 

Babur Nama by Dilip Hiro
Babur Nama || Dilip Hiro

 

Babur Nama by Dilip Hiro

The Babur Nama, a journal kept by Zahir Uddin Muhammad Babur (1483–1530), the founder of the Mughal Empire, is the earliest example of autobiographical writing in world literature, and one of the finest. Against the turbulent backdrop of medieval history, it paints a precise and vivid picture of life in Central Asia and Afghanistan—where Babur ruled in Samarkand and Kabul—and in the Indian subcontinent, where his dazzling military career culminated in the founding of a dynasty that lasted three centuries. Babur was far more than a skilled, often ruthless, warrior and master strategist. In this abridged and edited version of a 1921 English translation of his memoirs, he also emerges as a sensitive aesthete, naturalist, poet and lover. Writer, journalist and internationally acclaimed Middle eastern and Central asian expert, Dilip Hiro breathes new life into a unique historical document that is at once objective and intensely personal—for, in Babur’s words, ‘the truth should be reached in every matter’.

 

 

Selected Stories by Saadat Hassan Manto
Selected Stories || Saadat Hassan Manto

 

Selected Stories by Saadat Hassan Manto

This collection brings together some of Manto’s finest stories, ranging from his chilling recounting of the horrors of Partition to his portrayal of the underworld. Writing with great feeling and empathy about the fallen and the rejects of society, Manto the supreme humanist shows how the essential goodness of people does not die even in the face of unimaginable suffering. Powerful and deeply moving, these stories remain as relevant today as they were when they were first published more than half a century ago.

 

 

 

 

Laws of Manu
Laws of Manu

Laws of Manu

The several Brahmin hands who wrote the Laws of Manu drew on jurisprudence, philosophy and religion to create an extraordinary, encyclopedic model of how life should be lived, in public and in private, by Untouchables as well as by priests and kings, by women as well as by men. The Sanskrit text was first translated into English in 1794, and translations into other European languages swiftly followed.  No understanding of modern India is possible without it, and in the richness of its ideas, its aphoristic profundity and its relevance to universal human dilemmas, Manu stands beside the great epics, the Mahãbhãrata and the Rãmãyana. Many commentators find Manu contradictory and ambiguous; others perceive a clear thematic integrity; and the argument is renewed by Wendy Doniger and Brian K. Smith in their illuminating introduction. Wendy Doniger provides a landmark translation, the first authoritative English rendering this century. It is also the first to set the unadulterated text in narrative form, making it accessible and enjoyable both to specialist scholars and to a wider audience.

 

And these three wonderful books by the Nobel Prize-winner Rabindranath Tagore add a sparkling shine to our classics store!

 

Selected Poems by Rabindranath Tagore
Selected Poems by Rabindranath Tagore

 

Selected poems by Rabindranath Tagore

The poems of Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) are among the most haunting and tender in Indian and in world literature, expressing a profound and passionate human yearning. His ceaselessly inventive works deal with such subjects as the interplay between God and the world, the eternal and transient, and with the paradox of an endlessly changing universe that is in tune with unchanging harmonies. Exuberant works such as ‘New Rain’ and ‘Grandfather’s Holiday’ describe Tagore’s sheer joy at the glories of nature or simply in watching a grandchild play.

 

 

 

 

 

The Postmaster by Rabindranath Tagore
The Postmaster by Rabindranath Tagore

 

The Postmaster (Selected Stories) by Rabindranath Tagore

Poet, novelist, painter and musician Rabindranath Tagore created the modern short story in India. Written in the 1890s, during a period of relative isolation, his best stories—included in this selection—recreate vivid images of life and landscapes. They depict the human condition in its many forms: innocence and childhood; love and loss; the city and the village; the natural and the supernatural.

 

 

Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore
Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore

 

Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore

Set against the backdrop of the Partition of Bengal by the British in 1905, Home and the World (Ghare Baire) is the story of a young liberal-minded zamindar Nikhilesh, his educated and sensitive wife Bimala, and Nikhilesh’s friend Sandip, a charismatic nationalist leader whom Bimala finds herself attracted to. A perceptive exposition of the difficulties surrounding women’s emancipation in pre-modern India, and a telling portrayal of the chasms inherent in the nationalist movement, Home and the World has generated endless debate and discussion. This classic novel by Nobel Prize-winner Rabindranath Tagore, first published in Bengali in 1916, is now available in a lucid new translation.

 

 

 

What are you waiting for? Head over the classics store and indulge in the love for classics to your heart’s content!

Leadership or Management? Both. Transform explains why!

Leadership and Management. What comes to your mind when you think about these concepts?

We often read about being successful, but how often do we really think about making the people around us successful? That is exactly what Transform, Chandramouli Venkatesan’s latest and final book talks. It also aims at helping people navigate people management and how intricately it’s connected to being successful professionally, as well as flourishing socially.

The word ‘management’ often has a one-dimensional approach for a majority of people However, Chandramouli explains how it’s irrevocably connected with another aspect of success: good leadership. They are both different sides of the same coin. Managing is the art of impacting people while being involved directly, and leading is the art of impacting people without being directly involved. They are mutually inclusive and even though they can be executed independently, the best results can only be achieved when they are practiced simultaneously.

Catalyst by Chandramouli Venkatesan
Catalyst||Chandramouli Venkatesan

In Catalyst, Chandramouli’s first novel, there was a great emphasis on career management and life management. It had crucial insights about the important strategies and decisions people take to move forward in their respective careers. Catalyst focused on helping people win where it matters- the second half of their careers. Moreover, it also took into account life management, and how success is not limited to professional boundaries. Excelling both personally and professionally is possible.

 

 

 

front cover Get Better at Getting Better
Get Better at Getting Better|| Chandramouli Venkatesan

Get Better at Getting better was the sequel and the second guide in this series, and eloquently talked about improving consistently. While it’s great to be good, you can always be better, and even hack the process of getting better. With a heavy emphasis on improving one’s skills, capabilities, judgements, communication, and decision-making abilities effectively, it talked about how to grow rapidly as a professional and remain relevant.

Getting Better Continuously, Career Management, and Life Management are three out of the four of the author’s pillars when it comes to effective management. They focus on bettering themselves to excel and have an inward approach. However, management and leadership are functions that involve people. Hence these three pillars and their success depend on the fourth and final concept: People Management.

 

Transform book cover
Transform||Chandramouli Venkatesan

Transform, the ultimate guide to lead and manage, is an insightful and interactive read for anyone struggling or striving to be better at being a good leader and manager. By keeping leading and managing as pre-conditions instead of mutually exclusive alternatives, Transform puts into perspective the importance of being good at both. With revelations and key learnings in all four sections, it helps managers who aren’t leaders and leaders who are struggling to be good managers understand how the two are connected through their own experiences.

Transform stands out from the long list of books on people management by facilitating two-way communication instead of a jargon-rich monologue. With exercises to improve self-awareness and steps to create practical action plans, it also takes into account that different things can work for different people. People management is the pillar that supports the other three, and according to Chandramouli, “It is not important whether you are a leader or a manager, what is important is whether you are leading and managing.”

Renew the way you approach success at the workplace and in life and evolve into a more self-aware professional with Transform!

Golden tribute to the 1971 war heroes

In the midst of the humdrum of daily life, we forget that this December is possible because of all the Decembers that came before this one. How 50 years ago, our brave heroes fought a war and kept us safe.  So, today and forever, let’s not forget the people who form the spine of that flag. Let’s never forget the ones who leave their families to protect our borders, those who shed real blood from their bodies and who fight so bravely that they safeguard a nation of a billion people.

On the 50th anniversary of the Indo-Pak war, we bring to you four books to pay homage to the soldiers who fought that reality, the families they left behind and their stories of strength, resilience, and love for the country.

 

 

The Lone Wolf by Neha Dwiwedi
The Lone Wolf || Neha Dwiwedi

 

The Lone Wolf

The Untold Story of the Rescue of Sheikh Hasina

Neha Dwivedi

The Bangladesh Liberation War was nearing its bloody end when Colonel Ashok Tara, then a twenty-nine-year-old major, was assigned the task of rescuing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s family which was being held hostage by the Pakistani Army. Ashok Tara, unarmed, entered the lion’s den, and negotiated with the hostile soldiers for the release of Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation and his family that included a young Sheikh Hasina. The Lone Wolf is Ashok Tara’s story, charting the course of his celebrated yet quiet life as a member of the armed forces.

 

 

The Burning Chaffees by B.S. Mehta
The Burning Chaffees || B.S. Mehta

 

The Burning Chaffees

A Soldier’s First-Hand Account of the 1971 War

Balram Singh Mehta

In 1971, India waged a momentous war against Pakistan. But before all-out war, an even more significant tank battle was fought on 21 November 1971 by the C Squadron 45 Cavalry, which demolished the Pakistani General A.A.K. Niazi’s plans of victory and set the stage for the utter routing of the Pakistani Army.

This battle was a victory and a decisive one at that. It was a trumpet call to the rest of the world of India’s intent to stand up for human liberty and dignity in this war of liberation.

On 3 December 1971, Pakistan declared war. The rest is history.

The Burning Chaffees is a thrilling account of the pivotal battle of 21 November by Brigadier B.S. Mehta.

 

 

1971 by Rachna Bisht Rawat
1971 || Rachna Bisht Rawat

 

1971

Charge of the Gorkhas and Other Stories

Rachna Bisht Rawat

Why do the Gorkha soldiers of 4/5 GR attack a heavily defended enemy post with just naked khukris in their hands?

Does Pakistan find out the real identity of the young pilot who, after having ejected from a burning plane, calls himself Flt Lt Mansoor Ali Khan?

Why is a twenty-one-year-old Sikh paratrooper being taught to jump off a stool in a deserted hangar at Dum Dum airport with a Packet aircraft waiting nearby?

 

1971 is a deeply researched collection of true stories of extraordinary human grit and courage that shows you a side to war that few military histories do.

 

 

The Force Behind the Forces by Swapnil Pandey
The Force Behind the Forces by Swapnil Pandey

 

The Force Behind the Forces Stories of Brave Indian Army Wives

Swapnil Pandey

Who continues to pay the costs of war long after our soldiers are gone?

There are many stories of courageous heroes at the borders, but how much do we know about the women standing strong behind them?

The Force behind the Forces is a collection of seven true stories of eternal love, courage and sacrifice. Written by an army wife, Swapnil Pandey, this book proves that bullets and bombs can only pierce the bodies of our soldiers, for their stories will live on in the hearts of these brave women forever, women who have dedicated their lives to the nation, without even a uniform to call their own.

 

 

These books and stories shall always honour the lives of those who fought for a cause that meant more to them than their own lives and remind us of the blood that was spent for us, lest we forget the bodies who shed it.

The Lawyer and the Lizard by Vivaan Shah

All of us have had awkward and uncanny encounters that almost always amount to nothing or make up for lukewarm, ‘only to be told at a party’ stories. Here’s something out of the ordinary, penned down by Vivaan Shah, the author of Living Hell and Midnight Freeway, that is definitely a treat for mystery lovers!

***

I flipped my phone around to five missed calls from the office once I got off the Sea Link. A high-alert police check-post was set up on the Worli sea-face, which I thought irregular given their general preference of time and place. Whether they were wrapping up for the night or starting the day I couldn’t rightly tell. Two armored cars stood tilted diagonally to the barricade, a squad of four RTO cops and two khaki-uniformed 2-star officers inspecting every vehicle that passed by, peering into the passenger seats and checking every number plate.

A navy blue police van, with its caged backdoor open, stood parked behind a hauled up-tempo and a scooterist without a helmet humoring one of the junior constables. From ahead, I saw this creature walk out of a bright red Honda city—thin, furtive, practically bent double with the way he was arching his shoulders. He sashayed right past the police ‘Dabba’ towards the barricade, his arms dangling from the pectoral girdle like strings of wire attached to an electricity pole—his head leftwards and right as he expanded his chest before the senior-most constable, clicking open his jeep door with one hand, and gently holding it out with the other.

He whistled out to a passing havaldar, one of those squeaky mawaali catcalls you’d hear out on Band Stand or in the Complex. He caught my eye not because he was particularly distinctive looking, but because he was the only one who stood a chance of distracting the officers while I crossed the check-post.

As I attempted delicately to steer on past the zig-zagging yellow barriers, one of the cops caught hold of my open window and stalled me before I could get the gear back into third. He had a sling-on sten gun hanging from his right shoulder, and a slight slouch defeating an otherwise pretty stiff posture. He looked first at my number plate and then at my fingers spread out over the wheel.

‘License and identification please!’ he asked, from behind a pair of the darkest aviators on the force. I keenly obliged, handing him the necessary particulars.

‘So…Pranav…?’ he asked, reading from my license. ‘What do you do?’

‘Lawyer.’ I said.

Tallying the information on my PAN card with my license, he leaned forward on the half-open window and lowered his aviators to initiate eye contact. I looked away as his elbows squeaked on the polish.

‘Come here.’ he wagged one of his index fingers at me.

‘What happened?’

‘Come here! What’s that smell?’

‘What smell?’

‘You been uhh….doing a bit of eh-eh?’ he clenched his fingers into a fist and stuck his thumb out to demonstrate the neck of a bottle. ‘Huh?’ he inquired, shaking his fist to elaborate on his half-hearted pantomime.

‘Ohh no-no! No! I don’t drink sir!’ I promised him.

He semi-circled the bonnet and got into the front seat displacing my briefcase to the back.

‘Excuse me, sir!’ I coughed.

He mumbled something out in Marathi on his walkie-talkie and placed his sub-machine gun under the seat by his feet.

‘You know what the penalty for drinking and driving is?’ he asked, turning towards me.

‘As a matter of fact, I do.’

‘Five to ten years!’ he spat.

‘For drinking? Since when?’ I laughed.

‘Yup! Those are regulations!’

Just then, a vague tapping at his window dulled his enthusiasm. It was the same creature from before beckoning assistance. The cop slouched in his seat on noticing him, raising up his collar to cover his face.

‘Get in the back!’ He swung his thumb around demandingly at him.

‘Who is this guy?’ I asked as the wastrel reached for the door just behind the cop.

‘No one. He’s a lizard.’

‘A what?’

I slowly started the car, it seemed I was taking them both for a little spin.

‘Pranav Paleja!’ I tipped a half-hearted salute at him from the rearview mirror. ‘Pleased to meet you.’

He nodded, looked aside and then out the window, neglecting to give me his name.

‘That’s Nadeem.’ The cop took the trouble to introduce us.

The guy in the backseat still didn’t acknowledge the name was his.

‘Take a U-turn.’ the cop instructed me. I did so at the approaching roundabout, without as much as flinching from the order.

‘Okay, let’s make this quick, how much we got?’

‘I’m sorry sir?’

‘How much cash you got?’

‘Well, actually sir…’ I said. ‘Absolutely nothing! At present, I’m broke! I spent all my money on the petrol!’

‘Hmmm…petrol huh?’ he murmured, putting on the A.C and rotating its knob till he was satisfied.

‘Sir…..’ I mumbled. ‘I’m sorry but I don’t usually use that!

‘Aaaaahhh!’ he exhaled, enjoying the soft fragrant breeze of the A.C.

‘Sirr….’

‘Let’s go for a ride!’ he barked, turning the A.C all the way up.

We skimmed past a redlight without him as much as noticing.

‘Take a left.’ he asked me to pull into a one-way.

‘It’s a no-entry.’

‘Doesn’t matter.’

The tyres squealed when I turned left and nearly grazed a stationery vehicle at the curve whose driver was mercifully missing. Two ATMs stood facing each other in the empty lane, one an Axis Bank Branch and the other an outlet of HDFC.

‘What about you Chipkali?’ he asked the guy seated at the back.

The guy just nodded his head. ‘I told you, I’m out!’

Turns out I had to pay his fine too, he had not a rupee to his name, not even the most rudimentary debit card of any sort. He promised he’d pay me back, but I had nothing more than his phone number to go on. I’d had only two pegs from the night before that were probably still swimming about in my system, but this Nadeem Chipkali had been on an all-night bender, emerging periodically out of every late-night dive this side of the Sea Link. We had to roam around Worli with the cop for around half an hour before we could collectively get him to settle on five thousand between us plus breakfast.

Once we paid him off, he took a ride with a passing patrol bike outside City Bakery, and that was the last we ever saw of him. Nadeem and I  just stared at each other from the rear view mirror.

I pushed the front seat back to broaden leg space for him, but he didn’t budge from the backseat, half-expecting me perhaps to play driver to his esteemed rear-end. As I let go of the lever, something pointy and metallic cooled my hand from below the seat—a jagged touch of something entirely alien to my possessions—then came the ruffled cloth of a strap, and soon the rusty perforations constellated over a barrel.

Just as Nadeem finally creaked open the passenger seat door, which I in this revelation had disregarded to reach for, the muzzle of the stun gun stared me back in the face from below the folds of the floor mat.

We both looked at each other, our mouths agape, and our eyes bulging wide. I immediately reversed back to the signal and spun the steering wheel around furiously to cut across the three or four cars that swept by. From afar on Worli sea-face I could faintly perceive, some of the junior constables beginning to pick up the traffic cones and wheel out the metallic Mumbai Police barriers toward the pavement.

Scarcely had we made it to the second red light when, from a clearing in the traffic, we caught the remains of the barricade being speedily disbanded. By the time we were crossing the same spot we had been pulled over at, there wasn’t a cop in sight. We were stuck with the policeman’s submachine gun, which he had irretrievably forgotten, and had no means by which to return it, without of course being thought of as perhaps dangerously insane.

Written by Vivaan Shah

Midnight Freeway Cover
Midnight Freeway by Vivaan Shah
Living Hell Cover
Living Hell by Vivaan Shah

Busting investment myths for Indian savers!

Watch out for these wealth-eroding investment errors! Four of the most damaging myths that persist in Indian investing:

 

1. Allocating funds in investments such as gold in the erroneous belief that gold will help us protect our wealth.

‘If we consider returns from gold in each of the three decades separately over the last thirty years, we see that gold has underperformed the Sensex by a wide margin.’

 

Diamonds in the dust by Saurabh Mukherjea, Rakshit Ranjan, Salil Desai
Diamonds in the dust || Saurabh Mukherjea, Rakshit Ranjan, Salil Desai

 

2. Investing hard-earned money in real estate believing it will help you grow your wealth

‘ In the last five years, if one were to look at the return rate from real estate in metropolitan cities in India such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, one would see that returns have been around 3–4 per cent per annum; i.e., house prices have at best kept pace with consumer inflation. ‘

 

3. Falling for the myth that debt mutual funds offer decent returns with low volatility

‘In spite of the repeated high-profile reverses suffered by prominent mutual fund houses who have high-risk, low-quality paper in their debt funds, the intermediary community continues to sell such products. ‘

 

 

4. Thinking you can time the stock market by timing the economic cycle, i can time the stock market on the belief that GDP growth drives the stock market!

‘More generally, across the world there tends to be low or no correlation between stock markets and GDP growth, implying that timing the stock market is not possible on a systematic basis.’

 

Did you just realize you’ve been making a few or all of these errors? Never fear, for the experts—-Saurabh Mukherjea, Rakshit Ranjan and Salil Desai, are here! Based on in-depth research conducted by the award-winning team at Marcellus Investment Managers, Diamonds in the Dust offers Indian savers a simple, yet highly effective, investment technique to identify clean, well-managed Indian companies that have consistently generated outsized returns for investors.

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