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Were the teachings of Osho as radical as you think?

The rebel is one who lives according to his own light, moves according to his own intelligence. He creates his path by walking on it.’ 

– Osho


In The Rebellious Spirit, Osho addresses the spirit that dwells beneath our societal conditioning and fans a flame powerful enough to burn through layers of debris, allowing us to see with the enlightened being’s crystal-clear vision. This is a novel that will captivate you, make you laugh out loud, and give you the confidence to live your authentic life in the modern world.

Read this insightful excerpt from The Rebellious Spirit, a book in which Osho helps you become an enlightened being.

The Rebellious Spirit
The Rebellious Spirit || Osho


I do not have any teaching. My life is that of a rebel. I do not have a doctrine, a philosophy, a theology to teach you. I have only my own experience of rebellion to share, to infect you with rebelliousness. And when you are a rebel, you will not be a copy of me, you will be a unique phenomenon in yourself.


All Buddhists are trying to be carbon copies of Gautama Buddha. He has a teaching: ‘If you follow this certain discipline, you will become just like me.’ All Christians are carbon copies—the original is Jesus Christ.


I don’t have any teaching, any doctrine, any discipline to give to you. My whole effort is to wake you up. It is not a teaching; it is just cold water thrown into your eyes. When you wake up, you will not find that you are like me, a carbon copy of me. You will just be yourself, neither Christian, nor Hindu, nor Mohammedan—a unique flower. There are no two persons alike. How can there be so many Christians? How can there be so many Buddhists? The whole of history is proof of what I am saying.


For twenty-five centuries, millions of people in the East have tried the discipline and the teaching of Gautama Buddha. But not a single one has been able to become a Gautama Buddha. Nature does not allow two persons to be the same. Nature is not an assembly line where cars are produced, so you can see hundreds and thousands of Fords coming off the assembly line; the same, exactly the same. Nature is very creative, very innovative. It always creates a new man. It has created millions and millions of people, but never two people the same. You cannot even find two leaves on a tree exactly the same, or two pebbles on the seashore exactly the same. Each has his own individuality.


I don’t have a teaching. But whatever I have experienced is a living phenomenon I share with you—not words, not theories, not hypotheses. I can give you as much closeness as you need. Just as when you bring an unlit candle close to a candle that is burning, there is a point where suddenly the fire jumps from the lit candle to the unlit candle. The lit candle loses nothing, and there has not been a transfer of any teaching, but a transfer of fire.


I would like to say that I don’t have any teaching, but I have a great fire in my heart, and whoever comes close to me becomes aflame. These people here are not my followers. They are just friends who are sharing in an experience that can burn all that is false in them, and can purify that which is their essential individuality, their authentic potential. This is an alchemical school, a school of mystery. I am not a teacher, I don’t have any ideas, concepts. But I have a life to share, I have a love to share, and to those who are ready, I am ready to give all that I have. And in no way will they be enslaved. The closer they come to me, the more they understand me, the more they will be themselves. That is the miracle.


I don’t believe that walking on water is a miracle—it is sheer stupidity. The real miracle is to wake you up, to bring the message of freedom to you—freedom from all fetters. I do not replace your imprisonment with new fetters and new chains, I simply leave you in the open sky. I fly with you for a little while so that you can gather courage.


Get your copy of The Rebellious Spirit by Osho on Amazon.

What makes organizations successful? Here’s Piyush Pandey’s take

What makes organizations successful in the long run? 

Is it money, projects, or growth? 

According to Piyush Pandey, the advertising legend of India, emphasizes the importance of building an organization where every single member is aligned to the same extraordinary goal of creativity. Community building, an integrated audience, and an environment that fosters and promotes individual creativity without compromising on the essence and ideals of the company is crucial for success in the long run. Read this excerpt from Open House with Piyush Pandey to know more! 

Open House Book Cover
Open House||Piyush Pandey

“I must say that while Apple, indeed, is extraordinary, there are many other companies that have done reasonably well in building a company, products, brands and communities. Off the top of my head, I could name Nike, Coke, Burger King, Mondelez and, closer home, Pidilite and Asian Paints. Perhaps Google would be another. 

In each of these instances, the principles are the same.  

Apple’s employees, anecdotally, love going to the office. They seem free to express themselves, and seem unhampered by rules and structures. 

And yet there is a system; it’s not that it’s free for all. They have created an environment of creativity seemingly freed from constraints to express oneself. In most companies, for example in network agencies and other communication companies, rules and procedures are created to prevent chaos or the unpredictable. Apple, from the time they began with the 1984 release of the Mac to the second journey under Steve Jobs, was unsatisfied with the normal or the staid – they wanted extraordinary products and took extraordinary punts in the quest for the extraordinary products.  

The success with the iPod gave them the courage to invest more in experiments and risks and the products that followed ensured that success. 

Companies such as Apple spend an extraordinary amount of time – and money – in creating the culture that fosters out-of-the-box thinking. We admire the company because of the successive successes that they’ve had. And we will continue to admire them till they continue to succeed. 

The product basket, thanks to the near monopoly market that they enjoy in the early stages, sees them enjoying high margins – which in turn allows them to invest in the next big idea. 

Such companies are almost like close-knit families. The rules exist but are unwritten and unsaid. However, the ‘ecosystem’, the family, is, as a collective, aware of problems and unhappiness and challenges that particular members of the family might be experiencing.  

A critical party of the ecosystem is the partners of the business; they’re also family and need to be treated as such. The role that Lee Clow and TBWA Chiat Day played in the success of Apple has been described many times by Jobs himself. Apple has worked with Lee’s team literally since inception.  

These are unusual, but visionaries like Jobs chase their dreams and not bow to the pressures of the stock market. That allows them to take a long-term view of their product portfolio and their brand – something very few have the courage to do. 

I’ve had the pleasure of working with some brands for over 20, 30, 40 years. The ones that easily come to mind are Fevicol, Asian Paints, Cadbury Dairy Milk, many HUL brands. Other companies who have invested in their partners becoming long-term ‘family members’ include Amul. 

The performance of these brands is there for all to see.  

Can another Apple be born? Only if we see another Steve Jobs. Is Tim Cook the new Steve Jobs? That answer will help us understand if there is indeed an ecosystem that can win every time, or whether it was the vision of Steve Jobs. Apple’s performance post the passing of Steve Jobs suggests that there is, indeed, an ecosystem that works.” 


Get your hands on this honest, irreverent and informative read now! 

About Anirudh’s dream and the adventures that follow

Here’s an excerpt from Deepak Dalal’s Sahyadri Adventure: Anirudh’s Dream, the first part of the riveting series. It’s about Anirudh’s dream and the strange events that unfolded in Pune, Mumbai, and the splendid hills of Sahyadri.


Sahyadri Adventure: Anirudh’s Dream
Sahyadri Adventure: Anirudh’s Dream || Deepak Dalal

Anirudh’s face was tense an hour later when Vikram and his father escorted him to the jetties. Commander Dongre watched critically as they rigged their boat. They were almost done when Chitra turned up.

‘Is this your friend, Anirudh?’ she asked, halting beside them.

The droop suddenly vanished from Anirudh’s shoulders. He shook hands with Chitra when Vikram introduced him. ‘This is Commander Dongre,’ continued Vikram, turning to Anirudh’s father. ‘He is our host, and this wonderful bay and the sailing facilities are run by him.’

Chitra’s eyes lit up. ‘Wow!  All these boats and your father in charge of them. Anirudh, you are a lucky man.’

‘He’s making use of the opportunity.’ Commander Dongre smiled, covering smoothly for his son. ‘Vikram and Aditya have spoken a lot about you, Chitra. My wife wants to meet you too. She wants to invite you to join us for dinner tonight. She’s at the spectator tent. Shall we go there? We can watch the last race together.’

Anirudh’s eyes weren’t dull anymore. Vikram didn’t try figuring out what had brought about the change; he was simply thankful for having a sunny, helpful partner. Aditya and Kiran’s boat pulled away from the jetty. Anirudh yelled and waved at them. Vikram cast off and they followed, their sail fluttering and hull creaking as their boat cut through the dark waters of the bay.

A tongue of land jutted like a breakwater to starboard, sheltering the waters of the bay, and though the lake was only gently ruffled where they sailed,  ahead, beyond the protective barrier,  there were waves and a deep swell.  A strong wind was sweeping the lake and dark clouds were mobbing the sky.

‘Prepare yourself,’ hollered Vikram.  ‘Action stations! The wind is going to belt us when we hit open water.’

The lake turned restless and suddenly,  like a howling express train, the wind was upon them. The boat shuddered, listing sharply to port.

‘Hike out!’ screamed Vikram, as he pulled the rudder and trimmed the sail.

Sahyadri Adventure: Koleshwar’s Secret
Sahyadri Adventure: Koleshwar’s Secret || Deepak Dalal

Anirudh leaned out across the water, his eyes closed. The competition had elevated  Vikram’s skill at the helm several fold and a delicious thrill of accomplishment coursed through him as his  Enterprise-class sailboat shot forward. The speed of the vessel was heady, the fastest he had ever achieved on a boat. They were scything forward as if jet-propelled.

The upper half of  Anirudh’s body was hiked out across the water.  The brilliant orange of his life jacket contrasted brightly against the asphalt-black water. His long hair was wet and his face seemed calm, exhibiting no sign of fear.

The white wake of their Enterprise boat was one of several streaking the lake. Sails flapped noisily everywhere and whoops of exhilaration reverberated across the lake.  Amongst sailors, there is only one climatic condition that stokes wild enthusiasm and excitement: the wind. This was a genuine wind, and its tumultuous presence was conjuring a grand setting for the regatta’s final race.

It wasn’t long before their boat neared the far shore of the lake. Vikram tacked around and Anirudh responded like a seasoned professional, shifting smoothly to the opposite sideboard and adjusting his body weight perfectly.

An imaginary line between two buoys was the starting zone for the race and boats were already massing there. Their colourful sails seemed butterfly-like as they clustered about the invisible line. The race was to start at 3.30 p.m. and Vikram’s watch indicated it was time to join the butterflies and hover between the starting posts.

Loud voices greeted them as they fell in with the boats prowling the start zone.

‘We’re going to thrash you, Vikram!’

‘Give yourself a break, Anirudh, you’re shaking like the sails.’

‘You’re a crummy sailor, Vikram. The wind is going to sink you.’

‘Best of luck, buddy.’Though the banter sometimes sounded coarse, it was always conducted in good spirit.

Dive into the world of tales

Geeta Ramanujam’s Tales from the World will take you on a long journey and introduce you to many fascinating characters. Collected from storytellers on snow-capped mountains, and in eerie forests, opulent palaces and countries near and far, the captivating folk tales in Tales from the World have mesmerized old and young alike. Travel along with this imaginative storyteller and author as she shares peculiar myths and incredible trivia from around the world in this beautifully illustrated volume of twenty tales from Russia, Japan, France, Tibet, India, Korea, Scotland and more.

Let’s read an excerpt from the book about a story from Russia.


Tales from the World
Tales from the World || Geeta Ramanujam

Just after the world was created, filled with its trees and mountains and birds, God created a young maiden called Lindu, and left all the birds in her charge. She lived with her father Uko at the very edge of the world, between the sky and Earth. Lindu had the powers to recognize the song of each bird and sing them too. She knew where the birds had flown in autumn, and sent each flock on its way.

Lindu cared for the birds tenderly; she was a godmother to them. She knew how to direct winds to assist the birds as they flew to their destinations. She set fierce dust storms upon hunters who tried to kill her birds or hunt them down. It was not surprising that all the world loved her, those who dwelt in the sky most of all.

The North Star wished to marry Lindu and drove up to her father’s palace in a dusky coach drawn by six black horses. Adorned in a silver cloak and crown in shades of silver, he came bearing ten fine presents for Lindu and drove gracefully through the gates of Uko’s palace to ask for her hand.

However, Lindu was not very fond of the North Star. ‘Why don’t you want to marry me?’ inquired the disappointed North Star. ‘Well, I like to move and travel whereas you just stay fixed in one place in the sky. You are the watchtower of heaven.

Please, sir, return to your place, for I cannot accompany you there.’ Now, the moon decided to take his chances and drove to the palace in a beautiful coach of silver with six grey horses made of clouds. Dressed in white robes and a crown filled with white dewdrops, he presented her with twenty presents and said, ‘Lindu, will you be my wife?’

‘You change your face too often, moon, and that does not suit me,’ she said. The moon waned and returned to the night sky.

‘Well,’ thought the sun, ‘perhaps Lindu might like my bright gold face.’

The sun arrived in a beautiful coach of gold, led by gold and red horses, and rode through dusk to the forest where Lindu was taking care of her birds. Lindu walked up to him, bowed her head and said, ‘I know what you are thinking. I am sorry, but I love change. I love the changing seasons, the climate, the winds and anything that is not constant. You are so precious and graceful, but you have to be vigilant and cannot change at all. That might not suit me, sir.’

The sun too rode away into the purple-pink sky, disappointed and sad. Now, the Northern Light had been watching each suitor drive away disappointed and decided to ask for Lindu’s hand himself, confident that he’d be triumphant. He emerged from his home at midnight, his beautiful colours lighting up the night sky. He’d crafted a coach with diamonds, which was drawn by a thousand white horses. He wore a rainbow cloak and a crown made of gems from the sea. Behind him was another coach filled with gold, silver, pearls and gifts for Lindu. He looked radiant as he left an indigo, purple, blue and pink trail across the sky on his way to Uko’s palace.

‘Lindu,’ he called out, ‘if you marry me, you will not have to follow me like a shadow. You will not have to travel the same path as the others. You can set out anytime you wish and rest when it pleases you. Would you like to be my bride?’ He bent down on his knees to ask for Lindu’s hand.

So, what do you think Lindu said? Lindu’s choice was made.

It was agreed that the wedding would take place when the birds flew south. The wedding day was announced, and guests from the four corners of the sky and Earth arrived to bless the couple.

The torrential winds brought Lindu her silvery bridal veil and the Frost King wove her laces so fine, they had to be stored in cold blocks of ice for safekeeping. Birds from all over brought her robes the colours of butterfly wings. For her feet, she got sandals made of thick clouds and decorated with petals fallen from flowers. The weaver birds stitched them together and hid them under the cotton tree. Back to his home in the midnight land went the Northern Light, knowing that Lindu loved him best.

Mapping the ascendance of the BJP

In The Rise of the BJP, co-authors Bhupender Yadav and Ila Patnaik chart the journey of how BJP came into existence and established itself as one of the most powerful political parties. It delves into the political strategies and the organizational design that made the party successful and drove the transformation.

Let’s read this excerpt to understand BJP’s position in the government, starting from 1996 and how it eventually rose to becoming the single-largest party.


The Rise of the BJP
The Rise of the BJP || Bhupender Yadav, Ila Patnaik

After the fall of the Vajpayee government, thirteen parties came together as the ‘United Front’ to form a government with the support of the Congress from the outside. The new administration started with H.D. Deve Gowda as the Prime Minister, on 1 June 1996. The coalition depended on Congress support. However, the Congress began to soon feel uncomfortable with the decisions of the Deve Gowda administration. For one, Gowda showed a lack of interest in post-poll adjustments in the run-up to the 1996 UP state elections. Further, he announced the creation of Uttarakhand as a separate state in his Red Fort speech on 15 August 1996, without consulting the Congress. He was also unhelpful towards the Congress leaders who had pending cases against them with the agencies. Issues such as these led to a change of heart in the Congress and the party withdrew its support to the Deve Gowda government.

On 11 April 1997, Gowda had to face a floor test after the Congress withdrew support. When Gowda spoke during the floor debate, he referred to Kesari’s prime ministerial ambitions, describing the Congress president Sita Ram Kesari as an ‘old man in a hurry’. As expected, the Gowda government lost the trust vote by 292 to 158 votes.

After Gowda was voted out, Congress supported another coalition, and a new Prime Minister was sworn in. Inder Kumar Gujral, who was foreign minister in Gowda’s government, became the Prime Minister, again with outside support of the Congress. However, Gujral’s term was also short-lived. Following a hung Assembly in the Uttar Pradesh elections of 1996, a powersharing agreement had been reached between the BJP and BSP in April 1997. It was decided that for the first six months, BSP leader Mayawati would be the state’s chief minister and for the next six months, Kalyan Singh from the BJP would head the state.

However, during Kalyan Singh’s tenure, the BSP decided to withdraw its support due to disagreement over certain issues. This led to considerable friction and some violence in the streets, which prompted the BJP government led by Kalyan Singh to call for a vote of confidence. In response to BSP’s decision, BJP state leader Rajnath Singh announced that if the BSP wanted to withdraw its support, it could do so. He was optimistic about the BJP winning the vote of confidence as it was the single-largest party in the state.

Prime Minister Gujral responded to this by recommending the imposition of President’s Rule in the state. In a rare act of autonomous decision-making by the office of the President, President K.R. Narayanan did not act on this; he asked the government to review its recommendation. To avoid a confrontation with the President, the United Front government was forced to reverse its decision to dismiss the Kalyan Singh government. While most allies in the United Front agreed that a confrontation was best avoided, the Congress wanted the BJP government to go. The Congress felt that the BJP was gaining ground in Uttar Pradesh and could become the major force in the state. In stark opposition to the Congress party, prime minister Gujral did not want President’s Rule to be imposed in UP. However, as his government was in place with the Congress’s support, his decision not to dismiss the BJP government in UP made the collapse of his government imminent.

It was, however, the investigation into Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination that brought the coalition government led by I.K. Gujral to a premature end. The inquiry commission’s report on the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, led by Justice Milap Chandra Jain, said that the conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi had a connection to the DMK. The Jain Commission report concluded that the DMK had provided sanctuary to the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE) and was thus an accomplice in the assassination. These explosive findings triggered a chain reaction that shattered reputations, forced realignments and brought down Gujral’s fragile government. When the Gujral government did not dismiss the DMK from the Cabinet, despite these allegations, Congress president Sita Ram Kesari announced the withdrawal of support from the government. Gujral’s time as prime minister lasted eleven months.

In his resignation letter, Gujral wrote, ‘. . . My Council of Ministers and I hereby submit our resignation from my Government. In my communication to the Congress President [Kesari], I have said that it is unfair and unethical to tarnish the fair name of a party only because the Jain Commission’s Interim Report—without any substantiated data—has chosen to blame the party and, I say with sadness, the entire Tamil people . . . My Council of Ministers and I hereby submit our resignation.’

Mid-term Lok Sabha elections were held in 1998. The BJP built on its growing success in elections and scaled up its methods. A large-scale mobilization of voters had been accomplished through numerous yatras at the national stage and within many states. By this time, measurement of the populace through polls had become an important activity, both within the media and as an information system to support decision making in election campaigns. The BJP brought in greater professionalism to do the number crunching in order to chalk out winning strategies.


The results were consistent with the long journey of the BJP towards growing influence.

A Delightful Glimpse into the Beautiful World of Chamor

Chamor Book Cover
Chamor||Sheba Jose

Do you crave nostalgia in this sultry weather? Chamor is our most heartfelt novel of 2021. This gritty novel, while offering the reader delightful glimpses of daily life in the two regions of southern India that form its setting, also brings them face to face with the less savoury and disturbing aspects of the human condition. The mostly lovable characters, who are at the mercy of a universe that does not discriminate between good and evil, cannot take anything for granted. Whether man, beast or bird, each must deal with their destiny according to their nature and instincts. Here’s an excerpt to give you a taste of this beautiful novel!


The car that my father drove was an old one—a grey Morris Minor. It looked weird to me, like a bug, but its colour reminded me of a certain grey, syrup-filled toffee that used to be a favourite of mine as well as of my school friends. The car had belonged to my father’s brother, who had arrived in it with a friend, but when they tried to drive it back to Kerala it would not go. Uncle did not care to have it returned to him, and between the mechanic, Raju, and my father, they managed to keep it running, though it could not be taken for long trips. As dinnertime approached, my mother would still be busy with her books, and Jency could be seen bustling about, clinking utensils in the kitchen as she hurried to finish making the last dish. With both of them wanting me out of the way, I would go looking for my father and find him lying on his wheeled plank under ‘the Morris’, as he called it, tinkering with its wires and nuts and bolts. The sound of wrenches and spanners being put aside is, in my memory, associated with the urgent cawing of crows and the plaintive cry of the cuckoo as late afternoon merged into the evening. Clouds of sparrows kept swooping in and bursting out of the thorny acacia shrubs that were their home, and a flock of tiny silverbills, with their distinctive, black-tipped tails that looked like wet paintbrushes to me, sat in a long row on an overhead cable, waiting for the right moment to dive together into their home, which too made for a pretty thorny dig—a jujube tree. A stout, old date palm inside the park thronged with colourful bee-eaters, the two needle-like feathers sticking straight out of their tails making them recognizable in flight, while species of parrots and other birds fought angrily for holes and hollows on the cycads and coral trees. Sadly, at this time, inside the houses, too, feelings ran high as students suffered corporal punishment over mere homework. I would have a brush with this medley of sights and sounds as I hung about my father, kicking my heels. Sometimes, I would lie beside him under the car, shining a torchlight up at its brown, metal underbody. After the job was done, I would be rewarded for my help with a ride around the block, at the end of which we stopped at Mr Nair’s thatched establishment. While my father waited at the wheel, I took the rupee note that he gave me and went inside the lantern-lit shop, which was reputed for its quality goods and hygienic tea stall. Jency and I were regulars there as it was the only shop near us that

sold our breakfast staple of Nendran bananas. As I entered, I found that there were no other customers, and Mr Nair and his wife were busy arranging the stock. Bhavani Auntie cast a glance outside, concerned that I had come alone until she saw my father, and fished out from her mixed candy jar the two specific ones I wanted—the round orange-flavoured coconut bonbon for Jency and the aforementioned grey confection for myself. As per the slip that I had handed in, Auntie gave me a slab of wax paper-wrapped burfi, which was for my mother, and some change. This indulgence was a rare thing, as my father was strictly against ‘putting rubbish in the mouth’.


Poignant and perceptive, Chamor will haunt you for a long time. Get your copy and explore vulnerability and honestly like never before!

What happens when the force behind the Forces shatters?

The term ‘widow’ is said to have its roots in the Sanskrit word vidhuh meaning lonely, bereft and solitary. Widowhood marks a drastic shift, characterised by an air of despondency and melancholia. The weight this word carries pulls down the spirits and hopes of a living body until it burns down into ashes, literally and figuratively. The ripples of widowhood reverberate through the rest of the women’s life.

However, many women find their way back to life. They don’t give up, even when they’re shattered.


Here’s an excerpt from Swapnil Pandey’s The Force Behind the Forces about Priya, whose world, as she had known, had collapsed.


The Force Behind the Forces
The Force Behind the Forces || Swapnil Pandey

A crushed and grieving Priya sat at an awkward angle, jammed into a small corner of the room. She was forcing herself to face the people around. There was an ocean of them. It was the funeral of a soldier killed in action after all. And many of his companions regarded him with feeling, almost religious devotion. Naik Amit Sharma, the lad who had been killed in action, was the pride of the family. A few children ran around, but Priya could not see her five-year-old daughter—Khwaish. She did not bother to locate her either. Her world, as she had known it, had just collapsed. The atmosphere was mournful. Female relatives were howling and tearing their hair. There was also deep silence during mealtime in the house of mourning. Nothing mattered now, not even her existence. It was confusing.


She wanted to lie down and mourn in silence, away from all the people, but it was not possible. She had to sit there and be tagged as a ‘bechari’. Her mother reached out to embrace her. She didn’t know whether to console her or to cry on her shoulder herself. Priya looked at her wrinkled face. Her mother had begun to look several years older within a span of a few days.


The voices grew in intensity; the incessant whispers swung between viciousness and apathy:

Ma-beti dono widhwa hai. Kya naseeb leke aayi hai bechari. [Mother and daughter both are widows. What horrible destiny.]’

Paise kisko milne hain? Biwi ko ya ladke ki ma ko? [Who will get the money? The wife or the boy’s mother?]’

Widhwa ho gayi bechari, ab kya karegi paison ka?

[The poor woman is a widow now. What will she do with the money?]’

Bhari jawani me widhwa, baap bhi nahi hai. Beti bhi hai. Bhagwan na dikhaye aise din kisi jo. Bechari. [She’s been widowed so young. She has no father to turn to either. An she has a little daughter besides. Nobody should have such a fate. Poor woman.]’

Iski ma ko dekh, kya karegi aab? Natini bhi itni choti hai. [Look at her mother. What will she do now? Her granddaughter too is so young.]’


She swallowed every remark and rubbed her hands in her lap—desperately. Her eyes were bloodshot; she looked as tired as she felt—dishevelled hair and dark circles beneath her blazing black eyes. She had not just lost her husband—the one she loved with all her heart—but her existence as well. It was a brutal realization that left her devastated, and pushed her from hope to despair within thirteen days.


The ‘Terahvin’ marks the end of the mourning period which lasts thirteen days from the day of the cremation of the deceased. Those thirteen days are meant for the rituals performed for the sake of salvation of the departed soul. These thirteen days provided a lot of time to Priya to mourn. She felt alone and depressed, and even howled at nights remembering Amit—who had promised to walk beside her for the next seven lives.


Priya knew this was not salvation. Shattered, she would lie down on the bed and stare at the flame in the lantern. Sometimes she looked in the mirror, scrubbed her face vigorously, panicked, and wondered in utter dismay—why her? Sometimes she would wake up panting in her damp sari, from the nightmares of her dead husband. But what troubled her the most was the consistent taunts from the people that shrunk her dignity. People forgot she was not just a widow, but a flesh-and-blood person. Suddenly, not only her own identity but the identities of her mother and her daughter were also forgotten. They were not persons any more, but rather a bunch of weak, meaningless women, not eligible for a respectable social status.


The women did not see a grieving young woman, rather a widow, a ‘bechari’ who had almost lost the right to live as a free citizen. Priya lived in a society surrounded by endless myths and stigmas. She certainly did not belong to the progressive class, but came from a conservative background where women lived in shackles and under limitations. Her resources were also limited, and so was her financial condition.


Cruel remarks thrown casually at her made her life miserable, and the mourning almost intolerable. There was also a point when she felt she was losing the will to live, but her beautiful five-year-old daughter, Khwaish, whom the couple had named with hope and happiness when she was born three years after their marriage, on 16 July 2007, helped her cope. It was as if all their wishes had been fulfilled with her arrival, and their life was complete.


Read The Force Behind the Forces to find out if Priya succumbed to her destiny and grief or she decided not to give up.

Will Supersleuths be able to solve this mystery?

Rachita and Aarti have a nemesis who is out to destroy them. Garbage vandals are defacing walls of residential societies. Aarti’s birthday presents include miniature coasters. Rachita starts having egg-themed nightmares. Are these happenings related to the mysterious time-travelling detective gang that is challenging the Superlative Supersleuths? We’re all eager to find out!

Here’s an intriguing excerpt from the third book in the Superlative Super Sleuths series titled The Case of the Nosy Time Travellers.


The Case of the Nosy
The Case of the Nosy || Archit Taneja

Our sleuthing services had been in high demand since we got semi-famous last winter. I’d thought that having Vipul and Ashwin as official Supersleuths would help us manage the load, but the number of cases just kept growing. Aarti had come up with the idea of creating a website during the summer vacations. It’s been a great success: anyone can anonymously request us to solve a mystery. We encourage others to solve them too. It reduces our workload, and we feel good about keeping the spirit of sleuthing alive. Jyoti and Shilpa from our class formed a team and claimed that they’ll solve one before us one of these days. They’ve been failing miserably so far.


We had got a request two days earlier. Someone was vandalizing walls in Aarti’s apartment complex, the Shobhana Hillside View. One of the boundary walls had been smeared with garbage from the dustbins. This had been happening for just under a week. The adults didn’t seem to care much since the wall wasn’t visible during their evening walks or early morning yoga classes, but it stank up the area where the kids played football. Aarti hadn’t noticed it either—she had been busy pet-proofing her home for the last five days.


We had scouted the boundary wall before the party began. It was already dark by then, but my phone’s flashlight was enough to make some initial observations. The garbage patterns on the wall looked random. If the vandals were human, I’d expect them to leave some sort of message behind. Vandals leave messages because it made them look cool. They’d have made some art out of the garbage or arranged it to form curse words or something like that.


Interestingly, smearing trash on the walls seemed a nice way to segregate it. The wet waste remained stuck on the walls, while the dry waste slowly fell down. Could it be that the vandals understood the importance of recycling and wanted the people in the society to segregate their waste better? I noticed a glum-looking eggshell and a banana peel on the ground. I picked them up and smeared them on the wall again so that they could be back with their wet-waste brothers and sisters.


I tried to convince the security guards to show me the CCTV footage. They didn’t take me seriously, even when I tried to bribe them. I put them on the suspect list. My hunch was that the criminal was an animal, one that was really fond of playing with garbage. I’ve heard of pet owners complain about that. We couldn’t spot any strays in the society, so it was likely to be someone’s pet.


‘How many pets are left?’ I whispered into the mic. ‘Around a dozen, I guess. Over,’ Ashwin responded. ‘Make it quick, people will start to leave soon,’ I said. I’ve explained to Ashwin several times that he doesn’t need to use ‘Over’ when he finishes a message. We’re not in the 1950s any more, when only one person could speak on the radio channel at a time. But he insists on doing it because that’s how he’s seen it being done in movies.


I’d asked Aarti to invite everyone in the society who had pets, even if she didn’t know them well. She didn’t have a problem with that. For her, it just meant more gifts and more pets to cuddle with. Uncle and Aunty weren’t pleased, but they couldn’t say no. Our school counsellor must have recommended to our parents that they be extra nice to us after what we had been through.


To find out more about the spying adventures of Rachita and Aarti, read The Case of the Nosy Time Travellers.

How did the ICS evolve into the IAS?

Alok Ranjan’s Making a Difference provides an insider’s unique perspective on the IAS and the role it plays in public administration and development. Here’s an excerpt from the book about how this service evolved over a period of time.


Making a Difference
Making a Difference || Alok Ranjan

I often hear people talk about the Indian Civil Service (ICS) and compare the IAS unfavourably with it. It is important to understand in this context that the nature of the job, responsibility, working environment and expectations of the people from the IAS differed hugely from that of the ICS in the colonial days. It is, undoubtedly, the successor service to the ICS but it is not the same and cannot be the same.


For those who are unstinted in their praise for the ICS, it is a sobering thought to be told that this hallowed service was considered neither Indian nor Civil nor a service by the great leaders of the nationalist movement. Yet it would be interesting to trace the journey of the ICS, its origins and contribution, and then try to understand how it evolved into the IAS. It would be relevant to examine how the IAS itself is evolving and undergoing change in its character, nature, diversity and reputation.


In the eighteenth century, the East India Company gradually spread its tentacles through most of India and from a professed trading company, it became an agency of governance on behalf of Britain. Naturally, administering such a huge country needed the Army and the Civil Service. Teenaged men were recruited into the East India Company Civil Service and they spent their time in India collecting revenue for the company and maintaining law and order. In 1800, Governor-General Lord Wellesley decided that teenaged recruits would have to undergo special training in India. For this, he decided to set up the college of Fort William in Calcutta, but this proposal had not been approved by the company’s Directors in London.


The Directors did however establish a college in Hertford Castle in England in 1806 and then moved to Haileybury three years later. The selection of candidates to Haileybury was by a process of nomination by the Directors. They had to be seventeen years old and come from distinguished families. There was no question of selection based on merit; family pedigree was considered the most important attribute. People joined the civil service for adventure and with a spirit of altruism. The salaries and the pensions offered were very attractive. After nomination and before joining Haileybury, the candidates had to take some kind of a written and oral exam where they were tested in history and mathematics as well as language. The foundational course at Haileybury was for two years and the candidate studied mathematics, philosophy, literature, law, history, general economics as well as Indian languages. Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic were also taught. It is a different matter that these languages were not of much use when the civil servant landed in India. They had to administer in the vernacular languages and learn them as soon as they were posted to the field. The educational atmosphere at Haileybury was not very demanding and most candidates focused on just clearing the exams. There were lectures for about two hours everyday and a lot of free time was available to socialize and indulge themselves in drink. There was, however, the minority who studied hard and were known as ‘Steadies’, much like the ‘Keen Type Probationers (KTP)’ of our time who took the training at the Mussoorie academy very seriously. Though discipline was lax at Haileybury, a feeling of esprit de corps was very visible and close friendships were formed which lasted for a long time. Haileybury continued till 1857 when the British Government took over the governance of India from the East India Company, and introduced a system of selection into the ICS on merit, through a competitive examination.


The British Government made this change as they felt that selection by patronage would no longer meet the needs of governance and that meritorious candidates were required. Initially, the ICS drew a majority of its entrants from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge but this soon changed. The Macaulay Committee laid out the guidelines of the selection which prescribed the maximum age limit initially as twenty-three but subsequently brought it down to twenty one. The committee designed an exam that demanded strong factual memory and a concentrated study of academic texts. The graduates had to study beyond their university syllabi to prepare for the exam and much like today, establishments like Crammer came up to prepare candidates for the exam.


There was a lot of criticism of this ‘Crammer’ system and many felt that unsuitable candidates were being selected just by preparing some questions that happened to appear in the examination paper. Still, many were of the view that the selection system provided better candidates than the earlier system that was based on patronage. This was followed by the Lord Salisbury Reforms which decided that candidates would take the exam at the school leaving age (seventeen to nineteen years) and then they would be on probation, studying in a university for two years. This system lasted from 1879–1892 but some leaders were of the opinion that candidates were being selected at too raw an age and they did not take their probation period in the university seriously. Another criticism was that it deterred Indian candidates from taking the exam.


Since the 1830s, Indians had joined the Government of India (GOI) in the capacity of Deputy Collectors, Deputy Magistrates and bore the burden of governance supervised by a handful of British ICS men. Lord Cornwallis in the eighteenth century had excluded Indians from high positions in the government. The 1853 Act opened up the service to all natural-born subjects of the crown. However, it was near impossible for Indians to compete as it was expensive and there were religious considerations which did not allow Indians to go to London to attempt the exam. Satyendra Nath Tagore was the first Indian to have been selected. In 1869, four Indians qualified, including Surendra Nath Banerjee and Romesh Chandra Dutt. The Indian National Congress in 1885 appealed for a simultaneous exam at a centre in India. In 1886, the government appointed a Public Service Commission which raised the age limit for the ICS to twenty-three years, enabling more Indians to write the exam. Even then, till 1910, only 6 percent of the ICS were Indians.

A video resume—A game changer?

Every corporate employee, or prospective employee has at some point had a traditional text resume. However, video resumes may be the little sprinkles on the cake that you need in order to spruce up your job application and get an edge over the competition. It’s not only a visually interesting, unique and innovative way of presenting your personal information and professional aspirations to recruiters, but is also a great method of showing off your personality and soft skills by using technology in the shortest possible time.

Sagarika Verma and Subir Verma explain in their book, Job Search Secrets, how video resumes are serious game changers in today’s competitive world, and they also share useful tips for making a video resume. Here’s an excerpt from the book that will help all the active job seekers.


Job Search Secrets
Job Search Secrets || Sagarika Verma, Subir Verma

A video resume (commonly known as visumé or video CV) is a new way to present your abilities. You can also use this to force-apply, by sharing your short video resume with some recruiters and people in your networks.

Most companies are adapting to the virtual way of working. Employees’ physical presence at work is reducing day by day. Interviewing candidates over the virtual medium is a low-cost hiring method for employers. As employers are becoming more comfortable with video technologies, job seekers should use them to impress prospective employers even before any actual interview. One of the best ways to do this is by making a video resume, and we recommend early adoption of technology by you to make one for yourself.

A video resume is a 60- to 120-second long video in which you, as a job seeker, can highlight your qualifications, skills, accomplishments, experience, soft skills and other relevant key points about yourself, which will encourage companies to call you for an interview.

Today, the competition for jobs being fierce, it is very difficult for your resume to get noticed during the screening process from among thousands of applications that any company receives. Just crafting a professional three-page resume will not make you stand out from the crowd.

You have to use multiple channels to reach out and get noticed by companies so that you get an interview call.

Many recruiters today prefer these resumes to the traditional paper resume, as they are able to see and hear you. Their task of initial shortlisting becomes easier. Many job sites are adopting this trend and have incorporated changes to accept video resumes.

While video resumes can be used by every job seeker, it is particularly recommended for direct customer-facing job profiles in industries like hotel and hospitality, retail, call centres, media, public relations, event management and other customer-facing roles. A video resume is a better way to showcase your charming personality and your communication and presentation skills. This can be the easiest way for you to get an interview call from a company.

A video resume should be unique, creative and professionally made. It is easy to make and can also be created at home. You also can hire a professional to make it. If you are making a video resume for the first time, then the most important thing is to prepare and practise for it. Here are some tips:


  1. Write a short, simple and straightforward script

Your script should be like an interesting story that anyone would like to hear. Write down your educational details, key achievements, work experience, projects and competencies that are relevant for the job in question. Keep your focus on the requirements of the job and pay more attention to the company requirements than yourself, and talk about why the company should hire you. Use simple and easy-to-understand language without any jargon. Your video must end with why you want to join the company and why the company should select you.

Ideally, the duration of your video resume should be one minute, but it can go up to two minutes.


  1. Look natural and do not read the resume while recording

Memorize the script, look natural, and record. If you are targeting multiple roles, then record more videos, mentioning the skills and experience relevant to the different positions you are considering. Do not be afraid to talk about your passions. Be creative and different, within professional boundaries.


  1. Watch out for light, background, voice speed and volume

Your background, and the light in the room, should be good so that the video is clear and looks professional. Speak slowly and clearly, and be audible. Speak just as you do in formal conversations. Look into the camera of the phone, and avoid excessive hand and eye movement. This will produce an impression that you are quite confident. The best camera angle for this would cover your face and chest while you are sitting in a chair. This position will also make you look calmer.


  1. Look presentable and wear formal attire

You must be presentable and well groomed. Do not wear loud clothes for the video. Muted blue is a good colour and always turns out looking good.


  1. How to edit your final video resume

If your video does not meet your expectation, then editing is an option. You can check the quality of your video as well as the content. If your recorded video has some fillers like ‘ok’, ‘right’, ‘ummm . . . ’, ‘ahhh . . . ’, ‘like’, you can edit them out and properly adjust the volume.


  1. Get feedback from your friends

Share your final video resume with a few of your friends and seniors and ask for their feedback. You might have overlooked some silly errors while making the video. Getting feedback from other people is a very important step. You can make edits and changes based on their suggestions.


Read Job Search Secrets to gain more insights on finding the right job and how to prepare for it.

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