Publish with us

Follow Penguin

Follow Penguinsters

Follow Penguin Swadesh

Meet Homi- 7 Unique Characteristics of Sangeeta Bandhopadhyay’s Heroine

Homi is a modern young woman who has her days split between a passionate marriage and a high-octane television studio job. Life, for her, goes on as usual until one day she is approached by a yogi on the street. This mysterious figure, visible only to her, begins to follow her everywhere and Homi finds him both frightening and inexplicably arousing.

In the book The Yogini, Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay tells the story of Homi as she embarks on a journey with this mysterious figure stalking her constantly.

Read to know more about the protagonist of this book: She is intelligent and interesting to talk to

“Can you tell me the difference between literature and news?” the CEO of the media company had asked

Homi when interviewing her three years ago.

“If news is the rain, literature is the water that gathers underground,” she’d replied. “The rainwater falls on the earth and seeps slowly through each of the layers underground before eventually becoming pure. News is what happened a moment ago – it has to pass through layers of time before it can become literature. When time and philosophy are added to news, what you get is literature.”

Housework is not her cup of tea

Homi and Lalit didn’t go shopping regularly. And when they did, they ended up with precisely what they didn’t need. Instead of detergent, Homi bought gardening tools. Or other things she liked: clothes, perfume, jewellery. Every time Lalit bought mushrooms, they had to be thrown away, because no one had remembered to cook them.

She likes her own company

Homi had no real friends of her own. She was on good terms with everyone, but couldn’t progress beyond a certain level of intimacy. She knew that people became demanding when friendship turned into a relationship, and she didn’t care for commitments. But then how did she manage her job? She did manage it, and she could, by projecting an image of herself as a creative type, so that no one interfered with her work.

 She doesn’t let anyone sway her

”As I said, the influence that most people exert is missing from your life, madam. You consider no one close or distant, good or evil. You love no one, but nor do you respect or hate them. You simply don’t acknowledge the existence of others. You are the only person in your world.” (page 76)

 She is followed by a hermit, visible only to her

Again, she retreated as he approached her, holding out a hand with tongs in it. A hermit’s usual paraphernalia. It was obvious no one else could see him, since it was impossible for such a frightening man to advance towards a lone woman, especially at this hour of the night, without anyone intervening.

The hermit is a manifestation of her fate

”You don’t recognise me, Empress,” he said after a brief silence. ”I am your fate,” he continued – and disappeared at once.

Is he my fate? Homi asked herself. Suddenly she wanted to vomit. Her body felt violated, desiring numbness, as though it had assumed all this time that she could never have been subject to fate. Never, it was impossible! 


To find out how Homi’s battle with the yogi plays out, grab your copy of The Yogini today

On the Run: 10 Interesting Things about Pablo Escobar from ‘Mrs. Escobar’

The story of Pablo Escobar, one of the wealthiest, most powerful and violent criminals of all time, has fascinated the world. Yet the one person closest to him has never spoken out – until now. Maria Victoria Henao met Pablo when she was 13, eloped with him at 15, and despite his numerous infidelities and violence, stayed by his side for the following 16 years until his death. At the same time, she urged him to make peace with his enemies and managed to negotiate her and her children’s freedom after Pablo’s demise.

Moulded by Pablo Escobar to be his obedient wife and a loving mother to his children, Victoria Eugenia Henao is often seen as a continuation of her husband’s evil. In Mrs. Escobar, she leads us into her world and reveals the real man behind the notorious drug lord’s legend.

Born to Dona Hermilda Gaviria, a school teacher, and Abel, a farmer, Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria was the youngest of seven children. In contrast to his humble beginnings, Pablo Escobar’s aspirations became evident early in life when in 1974, he was arrested for driving a stolen Renault 4.


Pablo’s involvement in trafficking narcotics first came to light when he was arrested in 1976 for possession of 26 kilos of coca-paste.


The decade after 1978 marked Escobar’s meteoric economic rise. The young man once arrested for driving a stolen car now had the financial power to venture into the world of automobile racing. Pablo Escobar participated in the Renault Cup series of 1979 and 1980.


Pablo Escobar’s estate Hacienda Napoles, was named in honour of American gangster Al Capone, whose parents had been from Naples. Pablo admired Capone and was often seen reading books or articles about him.


The most fascinating part of Pablo Escobar’s estate was the zoo which was a testimony of his love for the beauty of exotic animals. Pablo spent US $ 2 million in cash to buy giraffes, kangaroos and elephants ,among other animals, for the zoo in Napoles which he opened for families to visit without any fee so they could enjoy the spectacle of nature in the heart of Colombia.


Escobar gained popularity with his social programmes designed to improve lives of the poverty stricken in impoverished areas of Medellin, Envigado and other towns of Aburra valley. He encouraged sports by building dozens of football fields, led tree planting drives and mingled with people as one of their own.


In April 1983, a national media outlet labelled a delighted Pablo ‘An Antioquian Robin Hood’ for his work such as his project Medellin without Slums- which offered homes to families living in impoverished areas.


During his short-lived political career which began in 1982, Pablo Escobar, as a representative with parliamentary immunity, waged a war against the extradition of Colombian citizens to the United States.


His political aspirations were squashed in October 1983, when the House of Representatives, by majority vote, lifted Pablo Escobar’s parliamentary immunity on suspicions of his involvement in drug trafficking and other crimes.


The unrelenting hunt for Pablo Escobar, the once indomitable head of the Medellin Cartel, came to an end on 2 December 1993 when he was killed on the roof of his hiding place in Medellin.

In stark contrast to his formidable image as a drug lord, Mrs. Escobar creates a portrait of a man who shares moments of raw emotion with his loved ones even as he fights to bolster his crumbling empire of crime.

Why Should you Read this Beautifully Written yet Utterly Haunting book by Stina Jackson?

Stina Jackson’s new book The Silver Road, follows Lelle and Meja, two characters whose lives are intertwined in ways, both haunting and tragic, that they could never have imagined.

Three years ago, Lelle’s daughter went missing in a remote part of Northern Sweden. Lelle has spent the intervening summers driving the Silver Road under the midnight sun, frantically searching for his lost daughter, for himself and for redemption.

Meanwhile, seventeen-year-old Meja arrives in town hoping for a fresh start. She is the same age as Lelle’s daughter was – a girl on the brink of adulthood. But for Meja, there are dangers to be found in this isolated place.

Intrigued? Here are 5 reasons to read the book.

 Lelle isn’t a naive protagonist. He suspects and questions everyone

“…The guy’s fallen apart worse than I have in the years since Lina disappeared.’

‘Perhaps he misses her?’

‘Maybe. Or else his conscience is giving him trouble.’ ”


The story doesn’t shy away from getting inside the mind of a hostage

 “She didn’t fight any more. She couldn’t be bothered. Her veins were swollen under her loose skin as if she had aged too early, as if the very life was seeping out of her.”


It sheds light on how society helps people deal with loss ( or does it?)

 “All one thousand and twenty-four contributors to the Flashback forum seemed touchingly unanimous in their belief that Lina had been picked up and abducted by someone driving a vehicle before the bus arrived.”


Seasons affect the psychology of people, especially in a place where the sun doesn’t set

“Lelle didn’t sleep in the summertime. Not any more. He blamed the light, the sun that never set, that filtered through the black weave of the roller blind…He blamed everything apart from what was really keeping him awake.”


The book has its precious moments and doesn’t focus only on loss but also love 

“‘Have you told them about me?’

Of course.’
‘What did you say?’
‘Nothing special.Just that you’re the best person I’ve ever met.’”

The Silver Road is a stunning read that is beautifully written and utterly haunting.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf – an excerpt

In the stunning first novel in Marlon James’s Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child.

The child is dead. There is nothing left to know.

I hear there is a queen in the south who kills the man who brings her bad news. So when I give word of the boy’s death, do I write my own death with it? Truth eats lies just as the crocodile eats the moon, and yet my witness is the same today as it will be tomorrow. No, I did not kill him. Though I may have wanted him dead. Craved for it the way a glutton craves goat flesh. Oh, to draw a bow and fire it through his black heart and watch it explode black blood, and to watch his eyes for when they stop blinking, when they look but stop seeing, and to listen for his voice croaking and hear his chest heave in a death rattle saying, Look, my wretched spirit leaves this most wretched of bodies, and to smile at such tidings and dance at such a loss. Yes, I glut at the conceit of it. But no, I did not kill him.

Bi oju ri enu a pamo.

Not everything the eye sees should be spoken by the mouth.

This cell is larger than the one before. I smell the dried blood of executed men; I hear their ghosts still screaming. Your bread carries weevils, and your water carries the piss of ten and two guards and the goat they fuck for sport.
Shall I give you a story?

I am just a man who some have called a wolf. The child is dead. I know the old woman brings you different news. Call him murderer, she says. Even though my only sorrow is that I did not kill her. The redheaded one said the child’s head was infested with devils. If you believe in devils. I believe in bad blood. You look like a man who has never shed blood. And yet blood sticks between your fingers. A boy you circumcised, a young girl too small for your big… Look how that thrills you. Look at you.

I will give you a story.

It begins with a Leopard.

And a witch.

Grand Inquisitor.

Fetish priest.

No, you will not call for the guards.

My mouth might say too much before they club it shut.

Regard yourself. A man with two hundred cows who delights in a patch of boy skin and the koo of a girl who should be no man’s woman. Because that is what you seek, is it not? A dark little thing that cannot be found in thirty sacks of gold or two hundred cows or two hundred wives. Something that you have lost— no, it was taken from you. That light, you see it and you want it— not light from the sun, or from the thunder god in the night sky, but light with no blemish, light in a boy who has no knowledge of women, a girl you bought for marriage, not because you need a wife, for you have two hundred cows, but a wife you can tear open, because you search for it in holes, black holes, wet holes, undergrown holes for the light that vampires look for, and you will have it, you will dress it up in ceremony, circumcision for the boy, consummation for the girl, and when they shed blood, and spit, and sperm and piss you leave it all on your skin, to go to the iroko tree and use any hole you find.

The child is dead, and so is everyone.

I walked for days, through swarms of flies in the Blood Swamp and skinslicing rocks in salt plains, through day and night. I walked as far south as Omororo and did not know or care. Men detained me as a beggar, took me for a thief, tortured me as a traitor, and when news of the dead child reached your kingdom, arrested me as a murderer. Did you know there were five men in my cell? Four nights ago. The scarf around my neck belongs to the only man who left on two feet. He might even see from his right eye again one day.

Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.

Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds – An Excerpt

A mysterious lab. A sinister scientist. A secret history. If you think you know the truth behind Eleven’s mother, prepare to have your mind turned Upside Down in this thrilling prequel to the hit show Stranger Things.

It’s the summer of 1969, and the shock of conflict reverberates through the youth of America, both at home and abroad. As a student at a quiet college campus in the heartland of Indiana, Terry Ives couldn’t be farther from the front lines of Vietnam or the incendiary protests in Washington.

But the world is changing, and Terry isn’t content to watch from the sidelines.

Here is an exclusive excerpt from the book:

Dr. Martin Brenner wished he could see inside the minds of the subjects. No messy conversation to extract what they might or might not have seen, how effective the hypnotic tech­niques had been. No unreliable witnesses of their own experi­ence.

No lies unless he told them.

The young woman in front of him, Theresa Ives, had piqued his curiosity. Rare enough these days, especially in adult sub­jects. The way she’d sensed an opportunity and shown up sug­gested potential – hers would not be an easy mind to crack. The challenge would make their findings more meaningful. She didn’t seem afraid of him. He approved of that quality… at least when it wasn’t in a young charge who didn’t know how to take no for an answer.

“Better?” he asked as she sipped the water his aide had pro­vided.

She nodded and handed the glass back, smoothing soaked hair away from a cheek shiny with moisture. Tears and sweat both. Extremely susceptible to the drug cocktail, by all appearances.

“On a scale of one to ten, how strongly do you feel you’re still experiencing the effects of the medicine?”

Her eyes were clear for the answer she gave. “Eight.”

“Can you tell me what you saw?” he asked, keeping his voice kind.

A hesitation. But a brief one. “My parents’ funeral. In the church before it.”

“Yes, good. Do you remember anything else significant? How do you feel emotionally?”

She adjusted the hospital gown to more fully cover her legs. “I feel…” she hesitated. “Lighter somehow. Does that make sense?”

Brenner nodded. He’d taken a great pain from her, locked it away. She’d feel much lighter. The first stage to creating a mind susceptible to greater manipulations. And he’d have a tool to use for leverage in the future if he needed it. The key was to make sure she wasn’t aware of the change until then.

“And you don’t know why?”

“No.” She eyed him nervously. “Can I ask you something?”

He nodded again. “Of course.”

“What’s the purpose of this? Is it as important as I think? What do you want me to say?”

Before he could formulate a response to her three questions, she surprised him by shaking her head and giving a dry husk of a laugh. “Never mind, I’m sure that would violate the experiment rules. Like us talking on the way over here.”

“What do you mean?”

“He told us not to talk about the experiment.”

He looked at his aide, who studied the floor. That hadn’t been any direction of his. As long as the man took careful note of what was said, the participants could say anything and everything that popped into their minds.

“You should talk about whatever you want on the drive,” he said.

The aide nodded acknowledgment but didn’t look at him.

“Did you experience anything else of note in your trance state?” Dr. Brenner asked.

Terry heaved a breath. “All kinds of crazy shit. I’m so tired. I’ve never done that before.”

Ah, that explains some of the strong response.

“But when you answered your questionnaire…?” He waited.

This time, she had the grace to look guilty. “I said I had dropped acid several times. I thought you might want that.”

Potential. She was bursting with it.

Get your copy of Strangers Things: Suspicious Minds today!


9 Amazing Facts On Bilal Siddiqi You Should Know

Bilal Siddiqi, a shining star among the young authors has authored three novels till date and is embarking on his fourth.
Siddiqi is a fan of the world of espionage and thriller. Currently, Siddiqi is working as a screenwriter for Red Chillies Entertainment headed by Shahrukh Khan and Gauri Khan.
His new novel The Stardust Affair will transport you into an adrenaline-filled world of danger and deceit.
Here are some facts about the intrepid author.
His first novel was called The Bard of Blood

Personal interest evoked his instincts to pick up the pen



B-town’s creative child

Siddiqi, the magician with a pen

We hope to see the magic on the big screen soon

Like master, like protege

How many of these facts did you know about?

Orhan Pamuk’s ‘A Red-Haired Woman’: An Excerpt

Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk’s tenth book ‘The Red-Haired Woman’ is a mysterious story of a well-digger and his protégé near Istanbul, excavating stretches of barren earth only to find an unusual oasis in the form of a red-haired woman, who ultimately becomes the cause of their estrangement.
Here is an excerpt from the novel:
I had wanted to be a writer. But after the events I am about to describe, I studied engineering geology and became a building contractor. Even so, readers shouldn’t conclude from my telling the story now that it is over, that I’ve put it all behind me. The more I remember, the deeper I fall into it. Perhaps you, too, will follow, lured by the enigma of fathers and sons.
In 1984, we lived in a small apartment deep in Beşiktaş, near the nineteenth- century Ottoman Ihlamur Palace. My father had a little pharmacy called Hayat, meaning “Life.” Once a week, it stayed open all night, and my father took the late shift. On those evenings, I’d bring him his dinner. I liked to spend time there, breathing in the medicinal smells while my father, a tall, slim, handsome figure, had his meal by the cash register. Almost thirty years have passed, but even at forty-five I still love the smell of those old pharmacies lined with wooden drawers and cupboards.
The Life Pharmacy wasn’t particularly busy. My father would while away the nights with one of those small portable television sets so popular back then. Sometimes his leftist friends would stop by, and I would arrive to find them talking in low tones. They always changed the subject at the sight of me, remarking how I was just as handsome and charming as he was, asking what year was I in, whether I liked school, what I wanted to be when I grew up.
My father was obviously uncomfortable when I ran into his political friends, so I never stayed too long when they dropped by. At the first chance, I’d take his empty dinner box and walk back home under the plane trees and the pale streetlights. I learned never to tell my mother about seeing Father’s leftist friends at the shop. That would only get her angry at the lot of them and worried that my father might be getting into trouble and about to disappear once again.
But my parents’ quarrels were not all about politics. They used to go through long periods when they barely said a word to each other. Perhaps they didn’t love each other. I suspected that my father was attracted to other women, and that many other women were attracted to him. Sometimes my mother hinted openly at the existence of a mistress, so that even I understood. My parents’ squabbles were so upsetting that I willed myself not to remember or think about them.
It was an ordinary autumn evening the last time I brought my father his dinner at the pharmacy. I had just started high school. I found him watching the news on TV. While he ate at the counter, I served a customer who needed aspirin, and another who bought vitamin- C tablets and antibiotics. I put the money in the old- fashioned till, whose drawer shut with a pleasant tinkling sound. After he’d eaten, on the way out, I took one last glance back at my father; he smiled and waved at me, standing in the doorway.
He never came home the next morning. My mother told me when I got back from school that afternoon, her eyes still puffy from crying. Had my father been picked up at the pharmacy and taken to the Political Affairs Bureau? They’d have tortured him there with bastinado and electric shocks. It wouldn’t have been the first time.
Years ago, soldiers had first come for him the night after the military coup. My mother was devastated. She told me that my father was a hero, that I should be proud of him; and until his release, she took over the night shifts, together with his assistant Macit. Sometimes I’d wear Macit’s white coat myself— though at the time I was of course planning to be a scientist when I grew up, as my father had wanted, not some pharmacist’s assistant.
When my father again disappeared seven or eight years after that, it was different. Upon his return, after almost two years, my mother seemed not to care that he had been taken away, interrogated, and tortured. She was furious at him. “What did he expect?” she said.
So, too, after my father’s final disappearance, my mother seemed resigned, made no mention of Macit, or of what was to become of the pharmacy. That’s what made me think that my father didn’t always disappear for the same reason. But what is this thing we call thinking, anyway?
By then I’d already learned that thoughts sometimes come to us in words, and sometimes in images. There were some thoughts— such as a memory of running under the pouring rain, and how it felt— that I couldn’t even begin to put into words . . . Yet their image was clear in my mind. And there were other things that I could describe in words but were otherwise impossible to visualize: black light, my mother’s death, infinity.
Perhaps I was still a child, and so able to dispel unwanted thoughts. But sometimes it was the other way around, and I would find myself with an image or a word that I could not get out of my head.
My father didn’t contact us for a long time. There were moments when I couldn’t remember what he looked like. It felt as if the lights had gone out and everything around me had vanished. One night, I walked alone toward the Ihlamur Palace. The Life Pharmacy was bolted shut with a heavy black padlock, as if closed forever. A mist drifted out from the gardens of the palace.
Grab your copy of ‘The Red-Haired Woman’ here today.
image1 (2).jpg

Journey to the Circuit House: ‘The Adventures of Feluda: The Golden Fortress’ — An Excerpt

Satyajit Ray’s much celebrated Bengali detective — Feluda, is now on a mission in the royal sands of Rajasthan!
In ‘The Adventures of Feluda: The Golden Fortress’, the detective dodges impostors, deadly scorpions and bullets to rescue young Mukul, a boy who can recall his past life.
Here’s a peek into Feluda’s spine-chilling chase to the end of the mystery.
The train started. Feluda took out the book on Rajasthan from his shoulder bag. I took out Newman’s Bradshaw timetable and began looking up the stations we would stop at. Each place had a strange name: Galota, Tilonia, Makrera, Vesana, Sendra. Where had these names come from? Feluda had told me once that a lot of local history was always hidden in the name given to a place. But who was going to look for the history behind these names?
The train continued to chug on its way. Suddenly, I could feel someone tugging at my shirt. I turned to find that Lalmohan Babu had gone visibly pale. When he caught my eye, he swallowed and whispered, ‘Blood!’
Blood? What was the man talking about?
Lalmohan Babu’s eyes turned to the Rajasthani. The latter was fast asleep. His head was flung back, his mouth slightly open. My eyes fell on the foot on the bench. The skin around the big toe was badly grazed. It had obviously been bleeding, but now the blood had dried. Then I realized something else. The dark stains on his clothes, which appeared to be mud stains, were, in fact, patches of dried blood.
I looked quickly at Feluda. He was reading his book, quite unconcerned. Lalmohan Babu found his nonchalance too much to bear. He spoke again, in the same choked voice, ‘Mr Mitter, suspicious blood marks on our new co-passenger!’
Feluda looked up, glanced once at the Rajasthani and said, ‘Probably caused by bugs.’
The thought that the blood was simply the result of bites from bed bugs made Lalmohan Babu look like a pricked balloon. Even so, he could not relax. He continued to sit stiffly and frown and cast the Rajasthani sidelong glances from time to time.
The train reached Marwar Junction at half past two. We had lunch in the refreshment room, and spent almost an hour walking about on the platform. When we climbed into another train at half past three to go to Jodhpur, there was no sign of that Rajasthani wearing a red shirt.
Our journey to Jodhpur lasted for two-and-a-half hours. On the way, we saw several groups of camels. Each time that happened, Lalmohan Babu grew most excited. By the time we reached Jodhpur, it was ten past six. Our train was delayed by twenty minutes. If we were still in Calcutta, the sun would have set by now, but as we were in the western part of the country, it was still shining brightly.
We had booked rooms at the Circuit House. Lalmohan Babu said he would stay at the New Bombay Lodge. ‘I’ll join you early tomorrow morning, we can all go together to see the fort,’ he said and went off towards the tongas that were standing in a row.
We found ourselves a taxi and left the station. The Circuit House wasn’t far, we were told. As we drove through the streets, I noticed a huge wall—visible through the gaps between houses—that seemed as high as a two-storeyed house. There was a time, Feluda told me, when the whole of Jodhpur was surrounded by that wall. There were gates in seven different places. If they heard of anyone coming to attack Jodhpur, all seven gates were closed.
Our car went round a bend. Feluda said at once, ‘Look, on your left!’
In the far distance, high above all the buildings in the city, stood a sprawling, sombre-looking fort—the famous fort of Jodhpur. Its rulers had once fought for the Mughals.
I was still wondering how soon I’d get to see the fort at close quarters, when we reached the Circuit House. Our taxi passed through the gate, drove up the driveway, past a garden, and stopped under a portico. We got out, collected our luggage and paid the driver.
A gentleman emerged from the building and asked us if we were from Calcutta, and whether Feluda was called Pradosh Mitter.
‘Yes, that’s right,’ Feluda acknowledged.
‘There is a double room booked in your name on the ground floor,’ the man replied.
We were handed the Visitors’ Book to sign. Only a few lines above our own names, we saw two entries: Dr H.B. Hajra and Master M. Dhar.
The Circuit House was built on a simple plan. There was a large open space as one entered. To its left were the reception and the manager’s room. In front of it was a staircase going up to the first floor, and on both sides, there were wide corridors along which stood rows of rooms. There were wicker chairs in the corridors.
A bearer came and picked up our luggage, and we followed him down the right-hand corridor to find room number 3. A middle-aged man, sporting an impressive moustache, was seated on one of the wicker chairs, chatting with a man in a Rajasthani cap. As we walked past them, the first man said, ‘Are you Bengalis?’ Feluda smiled and said, ‘Yes.’ We were then shown into our room.
We bet you can’t wait to find out what happens next! Grab your copy of ‘The Adventures of Feluda: The Golden Fortress’ today!
The Adventures of Feluda Footer Puffin.jpg

error: Content is protected !!