Come along on a deeply personal journey as we delve into the pages of Aisha Sarwari‘s Heart Tantrums. In this touching story, explore the complexities of forgiveness and love all in the shadow of a cancer diagnosis. Aisha’s words will prompt you to reflect on the profound depths of our own relationships and the strength of the human spirit.
Don’t miss this emotional excerpt – scroll to read and be moved by the power of love and forgiveness.
Is it possible to forgive someone who has cancer? To permit yourself anger against a brain tumour cancer patient in the first place.
It is ghastly the way ugly and messy parts of life happened to us when we should have still been in the rainbows-and-butterflies phase of our youth.
Then again, why should we be exempt from the games nature and fate play by interchanging wrath and gifts?
It was a winter’s day and we were on our way home from a dinner at a journalist friend’s place where an ex-PM and three former ministers were also present. We had been sitting around the fire, talking about how messed up their political party is.
It was almost midnight and the moon was missing. This was Yasser’s chemo week and his anti-seizure meds were three hours late. I noticed he started behaving oddly. On our car window, the flower sellers’ roses and jasmine bracelets were wilted. They were imploring us to buy the last of their stock for the night, in exchange for a prayer, of course. They said, May your marriage last a million years. We didn’t buy anything from them, but they stood there pressing their faces against our car window, beseechingly.
Distracted, I stopped the car a bit too close to the one ahead of me at the traffic light.
Yasser looked like he was trying to not say something. Then he said it: ‘There should be a distance of one car between us and the car ahead of ours,’ said Yasser, looking apprehensive and also half-ready for my mood. I hate that he still doesn’t trust me behind the wheel. Just the other day, we had had another fight about teaching Zoe to drive an old car rather than a new car. He obviously wanted her to learn in an older car and I felt she should have an automatic gear car with power steering.
‘I’ve been driving for twenty-five years, I think I’m okay,’ I rolled my eyes.
‘But look, it’s dangerously close to that car’s bumper,’ Yasser replied.
‘That’s because neither car is moving,’ I countered. ‘Can you please just drive carefully?’
‘Is the car all you care about?’ I snapped, my heart already heavy with dread and anger.
‘The car is at risk this way,’ he said.
‘The car is at risk. You are such an amazing husband, to the car!’ I half-accused, half-vindicated.
‘You can do whatever you want to the car when I’m gone,’ he said flatly.
‘Can you not?’ I pleaded. (Pause)
I wanted to kick myself for always fighting about the car.
Things got real very fast. I wanted to retract my anger.
The lights turned green and I drove on, slower than usual, a wide berth between our vehicle and the car ahead.
‘You have to be prepared, Aishi,’ he said quietly.
I wanted to say so much, but instead I held his hand. There was cold sweat on it. Yasser has cold sweat on his hands when he’s unwell or when he has an emotional seizure.
His hand got colder and he refused to open it for mine.
‘Can you please drive with both hands, thank you?’ he said finally.
I felt a cocktail of anger and fear shooting up inside me again—almost grief. Yet I held my peace.
He moved his hand away from mine—clammy fingers peeling away from my soft, warm ones, trying to convey a meaning.
My hand lay unreciprocated on his lap, like a damp squib—a letter in a bottle smashed against the cliffs. I put my hand where it belonged, gripping the steering wheel with both hands.
‘I forgive you, Yasser, and I hope you forgive me too. I really thought love would be enough,’ I said to the road ahead of me.
Get your copy of Heart Tantrums by Aisha Sarwari wherever books are sold.
As soon as February begins, there’s a nip in the air, something that the weatherman can’t quite comprehend. Cities turn into the sets of La La Land and romance brews in every café. Some people have even speculated to witness moonlight during the day.
For those who detest this month of love and hibernate their way through it or for those who are hopeless romantics, we have a pile of new and fresh, off-the-press, beautiful books releasing that all of us can hold in our hands this February! This pile has fiction, adventure, culture, biographies, music and more! A bit of everything to fill each day of your month with something extraordinary!
Looking for a home in your bookshelves and hearts, here they are:
Translated from the Bengali by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay
Aranyak, written in 1939, is a famous Bengali novel by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay based on his long and arduous years in northern Bihar. There he came into contact with a part of the world that, even now, remains unknown to most of us. ‘Aranyak’ literally means ‘Of the Forest’. This novel explores the simple and heart-warming story of a man who gets a job as an estate manager in Bihar, and slowly falls in love with the beautiful and tranquil forest around him. The dichotomy of urban and rural life comes alive, reflecting the great love that human beings and nature can share, one that Bandyopadhyay experienced in his heart. Written by one of the greatest Bengali authors, this haunting novel is rooted in guilt and sadness but also tremendous beauty.
Singing in the Dark
K. Satchidanandan, Nishi Chawla
Singing in the Dark brings together the finest of poetic responses to the coronavirus pandemic. More than a hundred of the world’s most esteemed poets reflect upon a crisis that has dramatically altered our lives, and laid bare our vulnerabilities. The poems capture all its dimensions: the trauma of solitude, the unexpected transformation in the expression of interpersonal relationships, the even sharper visibility of the class divide, the marvellous revival of nature and the profound realization of the transience of human existence. The moods vary from quiet contemplation and choking anguish to suppressed rage and cautious celebration in an anthology that serves as an aesthetic archive of a strange era in human history.
Also known as the ‘Poet of the East’, Allama Muhammad Iqbal earned a doctorate in philosophy from the Ludwig-Maximillian University at Munich, and wrote his most evocative poems in Urdu, a language that was not his mother tongue. His funeral was attended by 70,000 people, which included colonialists and freedom fighters, socialist atheists and Islamic fundamentalists, Indian nationalists and Muslim Leaguers, reflecting his ability to defy categorization.The book is a relatively short volume that introduces Iqbal to the millennial generation. It is written in a relatively contemporary language, similar to Ghalib: A Thousand Desires. A bulk of the book will comprise a temporal and intellectual biography of Iqbal, while the rest will include a detailed discussion of one of Iqbal’s poems, a translation of some of his well-known poems, and a sampling of some of his famous verses.
The Queen of Indian Pop
Vikas Kumar Jha
In this vivid biography, which was originally written in Hindi, Vikas Kumar Jha captures the entire arc of Uthup’s career in music. From her childhood days in Mumbai and her first gigs singing with jazz bands in Chennai’s glitzy nightclubs to her meteoric rise as India’s musical sensation and her philanthropic work, Jha covers it all and manages to weave a narrative that is colourful, inspiring and bound to keep any reader engrossed till the end. This pitch-perfect English translation, by Srishti Jha, offers the reader a front-row seat to the life and times of the inimitable Usha Uthup.
Annus Horribilis is concerned with the violence of thinking, alone. The voices in these poems move through relationships, family, friendship, external disintegration, the labour of loving, being loved and of caring, where they are constantly confronted with the familiar turning foreign, the quotidian becoming a scene of absolute hostility, and where a word otherwise spoken easily becomes incommunicable. The book grapples with a (habitually futile) desire to communicate what should only be communicable-looking for some friend in language-that won’t lead to misunderstanding or, worse, silence. It searches for a language in which thought might survive and perhaps even reach out towards others.
A true story, Beguiled starts with Gitanjali meeting Randeep Singh Taneja at a farm party in Delhi. He called himself ‘Randy’. He flirted with her; she resisted. She was a single mother, a divorcee, and Randy was five years younger. They became friends, went for walks in Lodhi Garden, had coffee in Khan Market, and he asked her hand in marriage. She refused, he beguiled her, they fell in love, and she said yes.
The couple moved to London and this is where the first signs of trouble began. Away from all that was familiar to her, Gitanjali began to notice that Randy was not all that declared to be. Random phone calls from women who claimed to either be his wife or his girlfriend, a child who called him ‘Papa’, photographs of Randy with other women, multiple cell phones…and for all this he had reasonable explanations that left her with no room for doubt. Gitanjali thought she knew her husband. That is until she hadn’t opened his cell phone and found out about the many lives he was leading across the world.
Beguiled is a dark and gripping story about a marriage gone wrong.
The Hidden Hindu
Prithvi, a twenty-one-year-old, is searching for a mysterious middle-aged aghori (Shiva devotee), Om Shastri, who was traced more than 200 years ago before he was captured and transported to a high-tech facility on an isolated Indian island. When the aghori was drugged and hypnotized for interrogation by a team of specialists, he claimed to have witnessed all four yugas (the epochs in Hinduism) and even participated in both Ramayana and Mahabharata. Om’s revelations of his incredible past that defied the nature of mortality left everyone baffled. The team also discovers that Om had been in search of the other immortals from every yuga. These bizarre secrets could shake up the ancient beliefs of the present and alter the course of the future. So who is Om Shastri? Why was he captured? Board the boat of Om Shastri’s secrets, Prithvi’s pursuit and adventures of other enigmatic immortals of Hindu mythology in this exciting and revealing journey.
Raghu Palat, Pushpa Palat
This is an intimate account of the extraordinary life of Parukutty Nethyaramma, who went on to become one of the most powerful rulers of the Kingdom of Cochin.
At the age of fourteen, her marriage thrust her into a hostile world. Taking on her detractors, Parukutty stubbornly and fearlessly forged ahead to become a voice none could gainsay. Despite a seventeen-year age gap, she had built a special, unshakable bond with her husband. When he was crowned the sovereign ruler of Cochin, she vowed to support and protect his position throughout her life. Theirs was an enviable partnership of two incredible equals who together went on to break many traditional norms. At a time when women were relegated to the shadows, Parukutty travelled with her husband, participated in important discussions, and even went on to rule as his proxy. She became a force to be reckoned with in her own right.
The Millennial Yogi
‘How do I fight? I see failure at every juncture,’ said Jay.
‘If we divide our life the way we sort laundry, we will never find peace,’ replied Vini.
Jayshankar Prasad, or Jay, has had a shady-yet-mercurial rise in his journey as an entrepreneur, but he has little idea as to what is around the corner. On the other hand, Vini, a mystic monk, has already been there, and knows what it is like to have it all and then lose it in an instant. Greed . . . power . . . money . . . are all transitory.
In a serendipitous twist of fate, Jay crosses paths with the enigmatic Vini and thus begins a cathartic and transformative journey. The Millennial Yogi is the zeitgeist parable for anyone searching for meaning and purpose in life. With prose that is both photographic and profound, Deepam Chatterjee has crafted an extraordinary tale of loss, redemption and the fight for one’s soul in an increasingly materialistic world.
Savarkar: A Contested Legacy from A Forgotten Past
The Complete 2-Volume Biography of Savarkar
As the intellectual fountainhead of the ideology of Hindutva, which is in political ascendancy in India today, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar is undoubtedly one of the most contentious political thinkers and leaders of the twentieth century. From the heady days of revolution and generating international support for the cause of India’s freedom as a law student in London, Savarkar found himself arrested, unfairly tried for sedition, transported and incarcerated at the Cellular Jail, in the Andamans, for over a decade, where he underwent unimaginable torture.
Decades after his death, Savarkar continues to uniquely influence India’s political scenario. An optimistic advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity in his treatise on the 1857 War of Independence, what was it that transformed him into a proponent of ‘Hindutva’? What was it that transformed him in the Cellular Jail to a proponent of ‘Hindutva’, which viewed Muslims with suspicion?
This two-volume biography series, exploring a vast range of original archival documents from across India and outside it, in English and several Indian languages, historian Vikram Sampath brings to light his life and works.
Something I’m Waiting To Tell You
After nearly losing the love of his life to a terrible accident, Ronnie realizes how much he loves Adira and what an idiot he had been to hurt her. What’s more, her overprotective mother now takes care of her, and does not like Ronnie being anywhere near her daughter.
He’s going through hell-unable to go back in time and fix things, unable to say what he missed saying to her, ‘I love you . . .’
All he wants now is a second chance, to trace his steps back into a loving relationship and win Adira over. It will not be easy because life is tough; love, even tougher.
The Game of Dice
Sibaji Bandyopadhyay, Sankha Banerjee
A fascinating illustrated rendition of the all-consuming Mahabharata … A spectacular show of words and images dealing with love and death, loyalty and duplicity, conflict and concord, and much more …
Impelled by elemental forces of death, destruction and creation, Panchali, with electrifying visuals cinematically construed, reaches its climax: two consecutive games of dice. Marred by deceit, treachery and trickery, and fuelled by obsession, passion and rage, the gambling episode provides the preface to the coming, all-consuming Mahabharata war.
The Tiger’s Pause
The Untold Story of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Peace Efforts in Sri Lanka
As the fourth phase of the twenty-six-year-long civil war in Sri Lanka was about to begin, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living, visited the island nation with a singular aim: to bring peace to its citizens while trying to mediate between Prabhakaran, leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and the government. The Tiger’s Pause chronicles Gurudev’s time in a highly strung country and also offers an exclusive look into the final chapters of Sri Lanka’s deadly conflict.
Swami Virupaksha, who spent nine years in the country expounding the Art of Living courses and organizing Gurudev’s visits, expertly charts the enormous hope of the Tamil and Sinhalese people against overwhelming misery. In prose that is both concise and empathetic, Swami Virupaksha gives readers a sweeping view of Gurudev’s endeavours towards a ceasefire agreement, and the ups and downs of a country’s quest for peace. The Tiger’s Pause is the narrative of the Sri Lankan people, and gives us a sense of what it takes to understand and address a shared trauma.
The Stone Tower
A path traversed by caravans laden with silk, spices and much more besides, the old Silk Road influenced trade, religions, cultures and economies across Europe, Asia and far beyond.
In his latest book, Riaz Dean blends the best of this region’s history and geography with ancient cartography to solve a 2,000-year-old riddle that has perplexed scholars for centuries: Where was the Stone Tower that the great geographer Claudius Ptolemy had written about? This highly significant but now-lost landmark represented the midpoint and thumping heart of the Silk Road, as merchant caravans plied their wares between the Occident and the Orient.
The $Ten Trillion Dream
The State of the Indian Economy and the Policy Reforms Agenda
Subhash Chandra Garg
India rightly aspires to be an upper-middle-income economy with its vast workforce gainfully employed
to have a decent standard of living. This, however, is a challenging proposition as India continues to
grapple with major economic policy issues. This book discusses the present state of India’s economy. It thematically explores the critical policy issues India faces today and suggests reforms for India to become a $10-trillion economy by the mid-2030s. The book presents a wide-angled and comprehensive view of the state of the Indian economy. It analyses India’s macroeconomy in the light of its evolution since Independence and covers the performance of the Indian economy on macro parameters of growth, inflation, monetary management, credit management, foreign capital inflows, fiscal management and other important macroeconomic fundamentals. Covering major sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, industry and services, the book also captures India’s progress towards becoming a digital economy.
Achieving Meaningful Success
Unleash the Power of Me!
Vivek Mansingh, Rachna Thakurdas
This book will be an adept lifetime mentor faithfully by your side to guide you through various stages of life. It guides you in achieving meaningful success including tremendous professional success through multidimensional and balanced life goals, which are the key to happiness and fulfilment. The book first focuses on defining the person you aspire to be through a step-by-step process to define your aspirational life goals. Then it guides you in becoming the best version of yourself and worthy of realizing your aspirations. The ideas shared are relevant to people of ages fifteen years onwards, from high school students to early and senior professionals to CEOs. It also includes insights from exclusive interviews with Ratan Tata, Narayan Murthy, Kiran Majumdar-Shaw, Sadhguru, John Chambers, Dr Devi Shetty, Rahul Dravid, Prakash Padukone, Vinita Bali, Vani Kola, and more. These distinguished people have achieved amazing success by passionately pursuing their goal-based journeys and have underlined the ideas shared in the book.
There are not many Indian heroes whose lives have been as dramatic and adventurous as that of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. That, however, is an assessment of his life based on what is widely known about him. These often revolve around his resignation from the Indian Civil Service, joining the freedom movement, to be exiled twice for over seven years, throwing a challenge to the Gandhian leadership in the Congress, taking up an extremist position against the British Raj, evading the famed intelligence network to travel to Europe and then to Southeast Asia, forming two Governments and raising two armies and then disappearing into the unknown. All this in a span of just two decades.
Now, new information throws light on Bose’s intense political activities surrounding the revolutionary groups in Bengal, Punjab, Maharashtra and United Provinces, his efforts to bridge the increasing communal divide and his influence among the splintered political landscape; his outlook and relations with women; his plunge into the depths of spirituality; his penchant for covert operations and his efforts to engineer a rebellion among the Indian armed forces. With this new information, what appeared to be dramatic now becomes more intense with plots and subplots under one man’s single-minded focus on freeing the motherland and envisioning its development in a new era.
Pacey, thought-provoking and absolutely unputdownable, Bose: The Untold Story of an Inconvenient Nationalist will open a window to many hitherto untold and unknown stories of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
Master on Masters
Amjad Ali Khan
Veteran musician and sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan writes a deeply personal book about the lives and times of some of the greatest icons of Indian classical music. Having known these stalwarts personally, he recalls anecdotes and details about their individual musical styles, bringing them alive.
Twelve eminent musicians of the twentieth century appear in the book – Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Amir Khan, Begum Akhtar, Alla Rakha, Kesarbai Kerkar, Kumar Gandharva, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Bhimsen Joshi, Bismillah Khan, Ravi Shankar, Vilayat Khan and Kishan Maharaj. In writing about them, Amjad Ali Khan transcends the Gharana and north-south divide, and presents portraits of these great artists that are drawn with affection, humour and warmth.
The Stock Market Guide That Makes You Rich
Are you inspired by billionaires around the world but think becoming a billionaire is too far out of your reach?
Are you confused about the behaviour of the stock market and the implications of investing in it?
Are you actually scared of investing in the stock market? If yes, then Investonomy is a must-read for you! Investonomy not only explains modern value investing principles but also unveils certain secrets of the stock market. It busts popular myths and misconceptions as well. A thorough reading of this book will enable you to chart your own investment plans, and soon, you’ll be all set for your personal wealth-creation journey through equity investment. Investonomy is an initiative to empower existing, as well as potential, investors like you.
Why I Failed
Lessons from Leaders
Fail! And we are stamped for life. Don’t we try and run from failure all our lives? But, ‘spontaneous doing has to go through failures’. Acknowledging failure is singularly the most difficult thing to do. It takes tremendous courage to come out and say, yes, I failed. Shweta Punj chronicles sixteen leaders who have celebrated their failure as much as their success. Each story is an anatomy of failure. So whether it was the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’ that led Abhinav Bindra to miss that winning shot, or whether it was a suicide attempt that pushed Sabyasachi Mukherjee into fully realizing his potential-these stories will encourage you to look at failure differently.
How Cancer Gave Me a New Life
Healed is the powerful, moving and deeply personal story of actor Manisha Koirala’s battle against ovarian cancer. From her treatment in the US and the wonderful care provided by the oncologists there to how she rebuilt her life once she returned home, the book takes us on an emotional roller-coaster ride through her many fears and struggles and shows how she eventually came out triumphant.
Today, as she completes six years of being cancer-free, she shares her story-one marked by apprehensions, disappointments and uncertainties-and the lessons she learnt along the way. Through her journey, she unravels cancer for us and inspires us to not buckle under its fear, but emerge alive, kicking and victorious.
A Book of Joyous Awakenings
Nithya Shanti, Nandini Sen Mehra
Playful Principles for Conscious Living
What if, to lead our most fulfilling life, there was nothing to acquire, nothing to accomplish, nothing to master? What if we are already home, already whole, already complete? What if, all that is needed, is to gently set down the burden?
Unburden is an invitation to examine ideas, identities and concepts that bind and limit us. We begin to access the power and potency that comes from trusting the silence underlying all thoughts and experiences.
In Nithya Shanti’s inimitable voice, discover profound teachings, simply told. Nithya shares anecdotes, exercises for self-discovery and pointers for awakening, through a distillation of timeless wisdom and contemporary discoveries, along with his own innovations from decades of intensive teaching and practice.
Disrupt and Conquer
How TTK Prestige Became a Billion Dollar Company
T.T. Jagannathan, Sandhya Mendonca
The TTK Group was founded in 1928 in Chennai (then Madras) by T.T. Krishnamachari, who later became a Union minister and held the portfolios of finance, industry and commerce for close to fifteen years.
In this book, the current chairman T.T. Jagannathan, along with Sandhya Mendonca, takes us through the journey of this extraordinary company which fought off bankruptcy and rose like a phoenix to become a highly profitable, successful entity.
Like a phoenix, the group and its constituent companies, have risen from the ashes, many times over, to stand tall and proud. This is the story of a journey that began with early success and experienced catastrophic disasters, and set about turning its fortunes around in stunning comebacks, time and again.
With invaluable business lessons, decades of experience and innovation distilled in these pages, Disrupt and Conquer is a must-read for aspiring entrepreneurs, executives and business leaders.
Everything Is Out of Syllabus
An Instruction Manual for Life
Life seldom comes with an instruction manual or a guidebook. It’s often messy and unpredictable too. While our education may prepare us for situations covered within its set syllabus, most of life happens outside this realm and this leaves us grappling with questions around work, life and everything in between.
Hence, this book.
Varun Duggirala has survived and thrived in a system that throws curveballs at us without the tools to actually overcome them. In Everything Is Out of Syllabus, he offers answers to important questions like:
What is the true meaning of success? How can one become more creative and think outside the box?
How can we connect with people, including ourselves? And much more.
Most importantly, he tells readers what are the skills one needs to master to live a more fulfilled life that is optimized for happiness.
When Coal Turned Gold
The Making of a Maharatna Company
Partha Sarathi Bhattacharyya
Coal India Ltd (CIL) contributes to about 82 per cent of India’s coal production. In When Coal Turned Gold, former chairman and managing director of CIL, Partha Sarathi Bhattacharyya, tells the story, warts and all, of how he dealt with the Dhanbad coal mafia, how he changed the way the industry was perceived, how he dealt with the trade unions and the government and, most importantly, how he was able to script one of the greatest success stories the country had ever seen.
With this immense list, our love for books seems like one that’ll last forever. The perfect love story, what do you think?
Philomena Sequeira knows what she wants by the time she turns fourteen. Her father wants something else. Her neighbours deal with adultery, abandonment and abuse, by hoping for a place in heaven.
Life is unyielding for the tenants of the rundown Obrigado Mansion in Orlem, a Roman Catholic parish in suburban Bombay. They grapple with love, loss and sin, surrounded by abused wives and repressed widows, alcoholic husbands and dubious evangelists, angry teenagers and ambivalent priests, all struggling to make sense of circumstances they have no control over.
Gods and Ends takes up multiple threads of individual stories to create a larger picture of darkness beneath a seemingly placid surface. It is about intersecting lives struggling to accept change as homes turn into prisons. This is a book about invisible people in a city of millions, and the claustrophobia they rarely manage to escape from.
The well appeared to have been there forever, sunk into the earth at a time when there couldn’t have been too many people around to use it. And yet, as any careful observer might have noticed, it had once been cared for, its sides carefully scoured, solid stone steps marking circles as they disappeared into its gloomy depths. Until the outer wall collapsed, sliding slowly into the murky green water, there may have been a few informal meetings held nearby. Some of the early residents of Orlem may well have stopped to chat around it on sunny mornings, to discuss dissolute husbands or the latest scandal from the goan villages they came from, while stooping down to draw water.
On the night of 24 December, only one voice was heard. It was between 1 and 2 a.m., and the water lay undisturbed, its opaque surface broken only by lethargic leaves slipping, sliding, gliding down from laburnum trees looming darkly above and around the well. The only other sound came from an unsteady stream of urine pattering down, over the ruined edge, through a space where the wall once stood.
‘Come from England, come from Scotland, come from Ireland,’ the voice slurred tunelessly. ‘Looking out for a pleasant holiday? Come to Bombay, meri hai.’
Jude Sequeira pissed his cares away. He was dimly aware about urinating into a source of drinking water for some of his neighbours, but was too drunk to care. The half bottle of cheap whisky he had consumed lay volatile in his stomach, warming him, while making his head swim ever so gently. The song he was singing continued to pour out of him, its lyrics a jumble. After singing it twice, he looked up and stopped in awe. Above him, in a hole cut out through the trees that formed a canopy, a few stars twinkled brightly. He couldn’t remember the last time he had seen stars.
Smiling to himself, he shook his penis half-heartedly, the last few drops wetting his toes. As he tried to zip up, something caught his eye. A mouse? A cat? Swaying slightly, he turned. There was a sudden moment of clarity when he recognized the figure standing before him. His lips moved as he struggled to articulate something that seemed to be just out of reach. Teetering for a few seconds, suddenly on the brink of sobriety, he slipped. The splash echoed briefly before receding into the night. The waters closed over, stifling a scream before it reached his throat. As he went down, Jude found the name he was looking for.
On the ground above, all that remained were his slippers: a pair of grimy Bata chappals, their blue straps long faded. In time, a milky sun rose, its appearance heralded by noisy sparrows.
Twenty years later, three people are looking for you.
One is dying to meet you again.
The other wishes you had never met them.
The third wishes they could have met you at least once.
You are one person. Aren’t you? But you are not the same person to each of them.
In You Only Live Once, find the answers about your own life in this story about searching for love and discovering yourself. Join a broken but rising YouTube star Alara, a struggling but hopeful stand-up comedian Aarav, and a zany but zen beach shack owner Ricky as they undertake a journey to find the truth behind the disappearance of Elisha.
Here’s an excerpt from the book that throws light on the quandaries in Alara’s heart and her longing for love.
Irena, my stepmother, is a new-age fashion influencer and helped me set up my YouTube channel. She isn’t really talented, but she married a wealthy guy, and fancy social media accounts are part of the assets you create if you have a lot of money. After all, rich people can afford to buy new clothes for every post they make.
Having said that, she is a nice person at heart. I don’t really hold anything against her.
I’m not close to anyone at home. Not really. I’m close to my guitar. It’s because it always meets my expectations. People? They often fail to do so. Unfulfilled expectations lead to unfulfilled relationships.
‘Hey! Alara,’ says my step-aunt Betty as I enter La Epicurean.
‘You’ve grown up to be a beautiful woman,’ she continues.
‘Thank you,’ I respond. I don’t talk a lot when it comes to Irena’s siblings. They’re five women, full of gossip and unnecessary banter. Also, here in Czech, women outnumber men, so they’re on a constant lookout for a foreigner to settle down with. Betty is the youngest one and I heard her own siblings discuss her relationship with a guy from New York who is half her age. He is the one who gave her the name Betty too. Living the American Dream has fascinated the world since the 1960s.
‘Which song are you performing tonight?’ she asks.
‘Time,’ I say, wondering if she would even understand the depth of the concept. Time it is, the one thing that has never been on my side. Time is what ruined my game early on. Time is what I challenge as I hope to find my mom, or perhaps, an answer.
‘You have not published a new song in months. What keeps you busy these days?’ she inquires. ‘You don’t even have a day job,’ she adds.
Yes, this is where I draw the line. Relatives can get so unbearable at times. I am facing a writer’s block, I write my own songs after all. What would she know of it? She is the kind who would seek Irena’s help to write even an email.
‘Soon,’ I smile wide. Curt. Short. Sweet. She deserves to know that much.
It’s been quite some time since I last published a song on YouTube. I wish to release my first album. But I have run out of ideas, literally. I know deep within my heart that leaving this place would help me ideate and write songs. Here, I am consumed with much more than writing and performing at cafes. I have to attend customary functions like today. My dad is respected in the community, and that’s the thing about rich people. They never get bored of partying and socializing. Me? I told you, right? I struggle with a sense of belonging.
I long to be myself sans all the responsibilities and sensibilities I find myself compelled to fit into. I long to meet you, mom. Let me tell you, your mother would perhaps be the most overlooked person by you, trust me. You might not even appreciate the food that she cooks with all the love. But there are people like me who don’t even know what food cooked with love tastes like.
The Squirrel’s greatest joy is dancing in the forest with the Rabbit – her beloved friend and equal of heart. While the duo is inseparable, fate has other ideas: the feisty Squirrel is forcibly married to a wealthy boar and the solitary Rabbit enlists in a monastery.
Years later, a brief, tragic reunion finds them both transformed by personal defeats. And yet, to each other, they are unchanged, and their private world-where sorrow registered as rapture and wit concealed loss-is just how they had left it.
From Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi’snew book, The Rabbit and the Squirrel we extract three unique lessons.
With a true friend, there is no pressure to perform; you can be yourself.
“They were both usually playing out lines, hamming it up over a drink, tap-dancing in taverns. But when they were together, alone, they felt no need for this.”
Spending time with friends has immense value
“The only real gift you might give, or receive, was presence. So she had hunted out the Rabbit—to go dancing with him one last time.”
You must live every moment you can and without regret
“But this is also what he learned from her: that one must inhabit the present moment without regret, and to embrace the ordinary as truly spectacular: everything, after all, was only life’s invitation to live.”
A story of thwarted love, and an ode to the enduring pleasures of friendship, The Rabbit and the Squirrel is a charmed fable for grown-ups, in which one life, against all odds, is fated for the other. For more posts like this one, follow Penguin India on Facebook!
An epic film based on one of the most famous tragic romances of all time- Heer-Ranjha, serves as the surprising backdrop to this rollicking romantic comedy of heroes, heroines and happily-ever afters in Tinseltown.
Saranya Rai brings to you Love,Take Two. When Vicky Behl and Kritika Vadukut meet on the sets of Ranjha Ranjha they find it hard not to give in to their attraction to each other amidst all the romantic numbers and their undeniable onscreen and off-screen chemistry. But will the pressure and scrutiny of Bollywood allow them a happy ending or will there be a twist in the tale?
The gorgeous model/badminton player turned successful actress, who through sheer hard-work and perseverance is trying to prove that not every former Miss India is jinxed in Bollywood. Having once had her heart broken by the poster-boy for Bollywood nepotism -Raunak Rajput, can she trust her heart to another star with a player’s reputation again?
Charming, goofy and good-looking, Vicky is everybody’s favourite scandalous leading man and all-round Bollywood heartthrob, with a (partly) undeserved tharki reputation and a taste for outlandish clothes. When he is cast as Ranjha opposite Kritika’s Heer, he must navigate rumour-mongering reporters and well-intentioned family and friends to reach his stunning co-stars heart.
Vicky’s long-suffering best friend and confidante. He is also a popular star and the critics’ darling for his stellar performances and his hard-earned abs.
21, chubby and shy, Mini would be the classic girl next door if your average girl next door had India’s scandalous sweetheart, Vicky Behl, for an overprotective older brother. Add to that her long-term crush on yet another famous star and her brother’s best friend-Jahan Malek who insists on seeing her as a little sister, and you have no shortage of growing pains!
Incredibly smart and accomplished, as a veteran of eighteen films with a taste for plenty of opulent, baroque grandeur, Sudarshana has the dubious joy of directing the incorrigible Vicky Behl who sees this impossible taskmaster as the female version of his principal, and Kritika in the period drama Ranjha Ranjha. All this while also dealing with her annoyingly attractive DoP who has a way of getting under her skin with his radically different ideas on cinematography.
Arun Jadhav Ranjha Ranjha’s Director of Photography who is as thoroughly intrigued by Sudarshana’s intelligence as by her gentle curves and quiet beauty, even if his minimalist and raw approach to cinematography is at odds with her more grandiose visions.
Kritika’s best friend and stylist, a single mother and accomplished designer in her own right, she takes her job of saving her stunning but sartorially insecure friend from fashion purgatory very seriously.
Sneaky entertainment reporter who is not above using dubious tactics and manipulating perfectly mundane statements for a fresh scoop of juicy scandal.
Jojo Moyes- the author of bestsellers- Me Before You and After You brings the third Lou Clark novel- Still Me. The third book sees Lou arrive in New York to start a new life. She is quickly hurled into the world of the super-rich Gopniks: Leonard and his second wife, Agnes. Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. Here are 7 quotes from the book, Still Me that will make you fall in love all over again.
Ravinder Singh is the bestselling author of I Too Had a Love Story, Can Love Happen Twice?, Like It Happened Yesterday, Your Dreams Are Mine Now and This Love That Feels Right . His new book, Will You Still Love Me is deeply moving, disturbingly close to reality, and love at its worst and its best. Here’s an excerpt. _______________________
Rajveer sat down on his seat and looked at her with newfound feelings. The spectacle of a sleeping beauty kindled a variety of emotions in his heart. Now that he could look at her without feeling self-conscious, Rajveer realized how attractive a woman Lavanya was! His eyes rested on the glowing skin of her face and her neck before they slid down to her waist, to the skin visible between the blouse and the long skirt she wore. He watched the rhythmic rise and fall of her chest as she slept. The tiny sleeves of her blouse clung to her elegantly shaped arms.
Rajveer took in the details of her beauty—her jet-black silky hair that lay softly on her shoulders, her not so long fingers that ended in shapely nails. She possessed a well-toned body many women only craved for. Lavanya wasn’t tall, yet her average frame possessed more than enough charm to be considered quite striking. Then suddenly she turned her head in her sleep. It made Rajveer immediately retract his gaze. He thanked god that she hadn’t abruptly opened her eyes and caught him staring at her. He then looked around self-consciously to check if anybody else had noticed him doing so. He was safe, he realized. To distract himself, Rajveer pulled out the Hello 6E from the seat pocket in front of him and began flipping through it. He occasionally checked on Lavanya too, who remained deep in sleep. More than half an hour passed this way. By then, Rajveer had also pulled out his laptop from his luggage and had begun working on it. Just then he heard the captain’s voice letting passengers know that he had initiated the descent of the plane. This woke up Lavanya from her sleep. ‘Slept well?’ Rajveer asked. There was a sense of familiarity as he spoke and a certain softness. She rubbed her palms over her face and then looked at him, ‘Yes. I feel so fresh now!’ She smiled. Then reacting to the announcement that the use of lavatories was not allowed as they had begun descent, Lavanya quickly unbuckled her seat belt. She wanted to use the loo as soon as possible. Caught by surprise, Rajveer had to quickly close his laptop, place the in-flight magazine on the middle seat, close the tray table, and then unbuckle himself, all in a rush. Lavanya didn’t have much time. She tried to manoeuvre through the narrow space between Rajveer’s legs and the seat in front. In the process, Rajveer’s knees rubbed against her skirt. Her touch and proximity felt like a jolt of electricity to him. Briefly he found himself staring straight at her bare, slender waist. Gosh! How much he wanted to feel that dewy skin on the tips of his fingers. He got a whiff of her perfume and he inadvertently took in a deep breath. ‘Sorry,’ Lavanya apologized for the discomfort to Rajveer. You are welcome, he said in his mind.
After a gamut of jobs, Usha Narayanan pursued a career in writing. The author of 5 successful novels, Narayanan experiments with various genres, ranging from suspense thriller to light-hearted office romance. Her new novel Prem Purana is a delightful anthology of three stories of love and devotion. Here are a few things you should know about the author.
How many of these facts did you know about the author?
Celebrated author Usha Narayanan’s new book, Prem Purana, is a chronicle of love, longing, and the unexpected trials and tribulations one takes on in the journey of love. The book explores how even the mightiest of Gods and Goddesses have not remained untouched by love — with Ganesha taking on the challenge to please his wives, Ravana sharing an unbreakable bond with Mandodari, and Nala and Damayanti’s love withstanding the test of time. Here are a few times the Gods surprised us with their deeds in love. Myriad of stories