Discover the magic of December through the eyes of your little ones with our latest children’s books! Dive into enchanting stories that will make them giggle, learn, and dream. Join us in exploring the newest releases that are sure to fill your family time with joy and wonder!
Shubha wants to learn Chhau. But her father wants to only teach her brother Shayon. How will Shubha persuade him that she too deserves a chance?
Abir Maqsood is angry.
She has things to do: a career to carve, money to earn, and, in the small stuff, a dining table to fix. But there are many obstacles in the way: lack of money, her parents’ over-protective attitude, and a most annoying distraction in class called Arsalan.
When her mother is not paid her dues for her henna service, Abir resolves to help her by creating a henna app. Her college is also running a programme for student start-ups so things look most fortuitous. But the path to getting funding is littered with more thorns than roses.
As Abir navigates through college, friendships and social pressures with determination, will she find the freedom that she is truly looking for?
Enjoy reading masterfully crafted stories for children by four all-time favourite authors. Dive into extraordinary landscapes, meet evergreen characters and get immersed in the magic of these classic tales that is sure to spark a love for reading and literature!
Why brave the winter chill when you can craft your own perfect December day?
Imagine a sunny balcony, a comfy blanket, and, of course, a good book. These new releases are like warm hugs for the cold days ahead, making your December delightful. So, forget the plans, grab a book, and make your own perfect December day with these fantastic reads!
In Breaking the Mould, the authors explain how we can accelerate economic development by investing in our people’s human capital, expanding opportunities in high-skilled services and manufacturing centred on innovative new products, and making India a ferment of ideas and creativity. India’s democratic traditions will support this path, helped further by governance reforms, including strengthening our democratic institutions and greater decentralization.
Getting Dressed and Parking Cars captures the minute-to-minute, event-by-event, nail-biting business adventure of Alok Kejriwal’s fourth entrepreneurial venture—Games2win. The Walt Disney Company acquired
Alok’s previous company.
Games2win has been creating car parking and dress-up games online with the aim of becoming India’s most successful casual gaming start-up in the global market.
Ayingbi Mayengbam, a well-meaning primary school teacher, wants to take on some part-time work over the summer, ideally a job through which she can help people. When her first day as a volunteer at a suicide hotline ends in her finding a dead body, she is done with this line of work. But soon, she is approached by the winsome Dr Rastogi, a man who runs another suicide hotline with a more altruistic approach, and she is unable to say no.
Goa’s magnetism and its promise of a relaxed, almost bohemian lifestyle, have always attracted admirers and colonizers. Before the locals could make up their minds about such interlopers, Covid-19 brought hordes of them to town—Michelle Mendonça Bambawale was one of them. In June 2020, Michelle found herself moving to the 160-year-old house she had inherited in Siolim, a village in North Goa, with her human and canine family.
Becoming Goan is a heartfelt and charming story of Michelle’s love for this land that her grandparents left her. She cares deeply about Goa’s biodiversity and is distraught about the environmental impact of tourism, construction and mining. Her devotion to Mother Earth deepens as she learns more about her roots, steeped as they are in syncretic traditions.
Deeply personal and intimate, this absolutely magical culinary memoir by Tabinda Jalil-Burney combines recipes and memories from the idyllic summers of her childhood which she spent with her grandparents in Aligarh. There, presided over by Amma—her formidable grandmother—the extended clan gathered and as the women concocted delicious dishes, they exchanged family stories and lore, embroidered, knitted and crocheted, while the children played games free of distractions.
With the help of twenty-five stories from the Ramayana, this book offers essential life lessons for a happy family life. Throwing light on challenging real-life scenarios that often perplex us, Teachings from the Ramayana offers simple ways to negotiate those challenges. From how to effectively deal with negative company to the value of meaningful friendship and the importance of a good guide—this book is packed with ideas, drawn from the great epic, that you can put to use in your day-to-day life. Through this personal engagement with the Ramayana you can find solutions to life’s many problems.
In 1929, Bhagat Singh surrenders after a daring bomb attack in the heart of Delhi’s assembly. Behind bars, he prepares for an ideological battle against the empire. However, a shocking betrayal shatters his world.
Phanindra Nath Ghosh, a trusted comrade, becomes a British approver, revealing every secret of the HSRA. His damning testimony leads to multiple arrests, and then the British hang Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdeo. Popularly known as the ‘king’s witness’, he had singlehandedly brought on an armed revolution.
But with their leaders gone and British oppression at its peak, surviving HSRA members rally around one burning desire: revenge. Their target is the man who dismantled their life’s work. But with limited resources, their hopes rest on a lone figure.
India’s journey to Independence was filled with deeds of forgotten heroes. This is one such story of sacrifice and revenge—of a patriot against a traitor, a common man against the empire.
Subverting an ableist India’s expectations from a disabled person to be ‘inspirational’ and an ‘underdog who made it’ despite their illness, Abhishek Anicca writes about everyday stories of living with disability and chronic illness in this memoir-in-essays.
Conversational and informal, truthful and unflinching, Anicca’s wry and urgent essays in The Grammar of My Body compel the reader to become at once distant from and proximate to their inner experiences.
A kaleidoscopic view of Banaras, Varanasi charts a narrative that spans from the city’s present day, to its origins as Kashi, and the fin de siècle of the eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, which witnessed Varanasi’s inclusionary development as a cultural and pilgrimage centre, an opulent trading hub, and a basilica of political power.
Weaving facts, interesting anecdotes and untold stories to make a rich tapestry, this book is an insider’s account and an unparalleled portrait of the city.
All He Left Me Was a Recipe is a book of part-fact, part-fiction essays by actor and travel vlogger Shenaz Treasury about all the men who have been a part of, or influenced, her life in some way. The men whose roles have morphed between her best friends, lovers, teachers, fathers, sons and boyfriends. From when she was 3 to this very moment. The men she’s laughed with, cried with, shared food with, had adventures with, travelled the world with. The men who made her laugh, the men who made her lunch, the men who took her to dinner, the men who later unfriended her on Facebook. Ranging from funny to heartbreaking to profound, the book is a candid and funny collection of pages out of her (very personal) diary, from her first kiss to her first breakup and all the awkward moments in-between.
Madame Pandit, as she was widely known, moved easily in global aristocratic circles, even as she worked tirelessly to improve the lives of suffering millions. She traded barbs and quips with Winston Churchill, out-debated Jan Smuts and garnered more attention than James Cagney. She was arrested for the attempted assassination of Benito Mussolini and later told John F. Kennedy not to go to Dallas. At the end of her career, she came out of retirement to battle her own niece, Indira Gandhi, in an epic clash of democracy vs. authoritarianism.
Based on eight years of research and using material in five languages from seven countries and over forty archives, Manu Bhagavan has written the definitive biography of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit.
Have you woken up one day and noticed that your knee is suddenly hurting? Do you go through days managing spasms and sprains that you can’t really explain? All of this, even though you exercise regularly and have a fitness schedule?
The problem might be in how you move or how you sit, says popular rehab and movement coach, Shikha Puri Arora. In this practical and timely book, the Mumbai-based expert argues that the way we move, sit, stand, walk and carry ourselves reveals a lot about the quality of our health.
A spicy meet-cute that will delight your rom-com palate!
Wedding planner Tanvi Bedi is all fired up about her latest project, the $100 million wedding of a media heiress. The only hitch is her high-profile client’s wishlist chef, Nik Shankar. Weddings are a complete no-no for Nik, but there must be something—or someone—he can’t resist.
Nik Shankar’s lifelong dream of inheriting his ancestral home is in jeopardy due to his estranged grandfather’s absurd caveat—Nik must get married to claim the property. When Tanvi storms into his office, an inconceivable solution presents itself: Nik will craft the wedding if Tanvi pretends to be his fiancée.
What starts as a recipe for disaster whips up into a delectable feast of simmering chemistry and fiery passion. But as the line between fake and real blurs, Tanvi and Nik must confront their inner demons before their charade goes up in smoke.
Ever wondered what it’s like to chase down a killer in the blistering Delhi heat while wrestling with your own inner demons? Meet Simone Singh, the fearless CBI investigator from The Girl with Broken Dreams by Devashish Sardana.
As she battles the sweltering sun and mandatory therapy sessions, her journey unfolds in a gripping tale where justice and personal struggles collide.
Read this excerpt to know more, but be sure to grab an icy glass of water or a comforting pillow—you might just need it for the thrilling ride ahead.
Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Simone Singh flicks away beads of sweat streaming down her bald, squishy scalp, watching the clock on the Jeep’s dashboard flip over to 10:10. She is now ten minutes late for her appointment with the therapist.
Simone had arrived five minutes before her scheduled appointment, but she has been sitting in the crumbling, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)-issued Jeep without air conditioning since. A dry, sultry breeze rushes in through the fully open window, smacking her sweat-speckled face. She detests the summers in Delhi. Even more, she detests the heat crawling up her back and the sweat seeping down her spine.
Simone is parked in front of a plush red-brick bungalow in Delhi’s posh Lutyens Zone. The bungalow stands well back from the pavement behind lush jamun trees. Probably explains the sweetness in the searing breeze.
Her hands grip the steering wheel, knuckles white. Simone is thinking, wondering if she wants to keep her job with the Indian Police Service (IPS). Her boss, Superintendent of Police (SP) Vijesh Jaiswal, had given her a simple choice after the ‘incident’ last month: meet the CBI-appointed therapist or get suspended. Simone would have happily gotten suspended—it wouldn’t be the first time anyway—rather than lie on a sofa and discuss her private affairs with a sham doctor, a stranger. But she knows it isn’t a choice. It is a direct order from a superior. And she isn’t one to break the chain of command. Orders ought to be followed. Period.
She pulls out her phone and flicks through her photos. Simone stops at a photo of her grandma, where she is beaming at the camera, waving a knife, about to blow out the candles on her eightieth birthday.
You see what I have to do because of you, Grams,’ she says aloud. ‘You had one job. One. To stay . . . alive.’ Her voice breaks.
Simone waits, hoping grandma would answer back, calling Simone ‘bachchu’ again in her sing-song voice. Sigh. If only photos could talk.
Let’s get this over with. Simone pockets the phone, puts on an N95 mask, tucks her police cap underneath her arm, and jumps out of the Jeep. She marches to the front gate of the bungalow.
A constable on sentry duty watches her approach, his gaze jammed on her shaved head. Her gleaming baldness has always invited glares. But she is used to the stares and the furtive glances. This is a choice. She had cut her locks two years ago when she had a run-in with the chief minister’s son in Bhopal and was wrongfully suspended. She has shaved her head ever since. Initially, as an act of defiance, now as a proud battle scar.
The constable sees the IPS insignia on her shoulder flash and salutes her immediately. ‘Good morning, madam ji!’
‘What’s the point of wearing a face mask that covers your mouth, but not your nose?’ Simone admonishes the constable, whose face mask has conveniently slipped to his chin. The pandemic might have fizzled out, but good hygiene shouldn’t. And neither should common sense.
The constable flashes a broad grin, his tobacco-stained teeth on full display. ‘Sorry, sorry.’ He hastily pulls up his mask, covering his hideous teeth. ‘How are you, madam ji?’
Simone recoils. She doesn’t have the patience for greetings or small talk. Simone has never understood why people do it. She comes to the point. ‘I have an appointment with Dr Dia Sengupta.’
‘Oh, minister sahab’s daughter?’ Simone narrows her eyes. Granted that the bungalow belongs to one of the cabinet ministers. But how does being the daughter of that minister define a grown, accomplished woman’s identity?
‘No, I’m not here to meet the minister’s daughter. I’m here to meet Dr Dia Sengupta, one of the leading therapists in Delhi,’ Simone corrects him.
The constable scrunches his forehead, confused. ‘Yes, madam ji. They are the same person. Same to same.’ She wants to thump the constable on the head because they are not the same.
But it’ll mean prolonging a conversation that she didn’t want in the first place. Abruptly, she turns away from the constable and strides to the unbolted front gate.
‘Wait, madam ji, you must sign the entry register,’ he calls after her.
Simone stops. Like it or not, she believes that rules must always be followed unless they contradict her values and ethics. She sighs. Turns around. The constable runs to her with an open register and a pen. She scribbles briskly and hands back the register.
The constable squints at what Simone has written. ‘Vijay Singh’s daughter?’ he reads aloud and looks up, confused. ‘Who is Vijay Singh? Your father?’
He chuckles. ‘Madam ji, you had to write your name, not your father’s name.’
Simone nods in agreement. ‘As you said, they are the same person. Same to same, right?’ Simone swivels on her feet and marches to the front gate without another word.
Get your copy of The Girl with Broken Dreams by Devashish Sardana wherever books are sold.
Ever wondered, “Am I getting this parenting gig right?” In Mansi Zaveri’sThe Parents I Met, take a stroll through chats with successful parents, picking up timeless tips for navigating the tricky path of raising kids. This book is like a friendly guide, saying, “Hey, in the middle of life’s chaos, what matters most is your love and commitment to your kids.” It’s an easy read, full of stories and advice that any parent can relate to, giving you a bit of comfort and a lot of insights along the way.
Initially, I had arranged to speak with Dr Madhu Chopra via Zoom, but after our conversation, I knew I had to meet her in person. She never made her career, marriage or the proper upbringing of her children a lower priority simply because she became a mother.
Despite her initial doubts about whether her parenting practices from nearly three decades ago would still be relevant, she welcomed me with open arms and was happy to talk. Friendly as always, she paused to ask her assistant Zarin for a green tea in Gujarati, all the while considering which chai flavour would best prepare her for this exchange. She then took a sip and said,
‘Mansi, what was important is that I didn’t back down—that gave me immense confidence. That confidence emanates power and brings me respect from my kids even to this day. If they respect you, it becomes easy.’
She has fond memories of working night shifts at the army hospital, which were always a family affair because she had to bring her two children along, Priyanka and her brother Siddharth. ‘I turned it into a game by telling Priyanka, “Mom’s on night duty, baby’s on night duty,” as she carried her toy backpack and squealed with excitement. I didn’t fall into the trap of feeling guilty because my work gave me immense joy. The guilt crept in only once when she talked back to my father and that made me wonder, “Is it because I am working?” Even the fancy well-planned tiffins of other kids who had stay-at-home moms couldn’t make me feel guilty as I sent the same tiffins every day, like a paratha roll or jam sandwich. I taught her to not compare these tiffins or feel deprived.Parenting is not a day’s job. It starts the day your baby is conceived and continues forever.’
I asked her if Priyanka had ever asked, ‘Why can’t you sit at home or why do you need to work?’ and she said, ‘No. She didn’t know any other way andtook this as normal.’ Family was a huge support, with both sets of parents and relatives chipping in at every stage.
Dr Chopra continued, ‘Both kids used to tag along. If mom had night duty, baby had night duty. She would pack her little bag to carry to the hospital because she knew she had to keep herself busy while I was away on duty. You see, we didn’t give them choices that didn’t exist.’
Dr Chopra then unapologetically admitted, ‘I am a great parent.’ To see a parent be so self-assured was refreshing. Especially when parents today second guess most of their decisions.
When Priyanka was preparing for Miss India, her entire family pooled their resources to buy her new footwear, wardrobe and cosmetics. No one ever questioned who she was or why she would want to compete in a Miss India pageant. Some parents hope their children will follow in their footsteps and go into business with them or pursue a similar line of work, but Priyanka knew at the tender age of three that she did not want to become a doctor because she did not like the smell of hospitals and did not want to leave her child at home.’
She added, ‘When your path is different from your kids, there is no tantrum and shouting but there is a conversation. You convince me or I convince you.’ The one time that we did push our wishes on a child who was a topper in her academics and extracurriculars, was when we asked her to sing and dance both. When her grades dipped, I backed off, but being a committed, competitive learner, she persevered.Her habit of seeking perfection in everything that she did was most evident when she helped her younger brother Siddharth learn his speech on Chacha Nehru. She corrected his work and sat all night rehearsing with him till he didn’t even miss a single word.’
She continued, ‘I think this is the temperament that has got her here and is keeping her here. Ours was a democratic house, and questions and curiosity were rewarded promptly. When Priyanka was in kindergarten and questioned why her name was missing from the name plate outside her house, her father, Dr Ashok Chopra, got it changed the next day and added “Priyanka Chopra-UKG”.’
Dr Chopra went on to say, ‘Dinner table conversations were animated ones, where you could pour your heart out and no one would be judged.No one raised their voices or banged plates—it was not allowed in my household. Our kids never saw us yell, fight or be violent—it started and ended in the bedroom, but even that was a discussion.’
‘I was heartbroken when I sent her to boarding school at seven years old after she had talked back to my dad,’ she confessed, ‘but the end result of that decision was a polished, responsible pre-teen who could even parent me. She became so disciplined, much better than I could have ever done. Each leap of faith was made with my family as a safety net.’
When I asked her if she had had any indication that Priyanka was exceptional before she turned eighteen, she said, ‘I knew my child was focused and never frivolous. She would make the most of every opportunity that was presented to her. You cannot be a great parent if you don’t have a receptive child.’
When I asked her how she managed to instil such a sense of hunger and determination in her children despite their privileged upbringing, she told me that teaching them to say ‘no’ was crucial, as was making them work for what they want.
She said, ‘Don’t be afraid to be that “bad parent”.The word “no” carried great weight in the Chopra household. One parent’s “no” would never be followed by a “yes” from the other. Their “whys”, however, were never shunned but addressed with discussions and explanations of the consequences early on. My children knew from day one that their every action had a consequence and that would be theirs alone.’
Intrigued to know more?
Get your copy of The Parents I Met by Mansi Zaveri wherever books are sold.
Ever thought about how jobs used to be and how they are now? Abhijit Bhaduri’s ‘Career 3.0’ shows us the way careers are changing. It’s like going from having just one skill for a job to juggling three or more skills in different places. So let’s take a peek into this shift in the work world and find out which career path suits you best.
Career 1.0: Monetizing a Single Skill in one Ecosystem
In Career 1.0, individuals are focused on monetizing a single skill that they have developed through training or experience. This may be a skill that they have formally studied or learned through on-the-job experience. Stable workplaces with relatively few changes offer opportunities for a person to continue pursuing a career with a single employer or doing the same work for different employers. Professional sports is a good example of Career 1.0 where a single skill is monetized in one ecosystem as the rules of a game don’t really change. A professional singer spends a lifetime using one skill in one ecosystem.
Career 2.0: Monetizing a Second Skill in Two Ecosystems
In Career 2.0, individuals are monetizing a second skill, in a distinctly different ecosystem. This second skill may be something that they have formally studied or trained in, or it may be a skill that they have developed through personal interests or hobbies. A college professor who writes a bestselling book or the CEO who serves on the board of a start-up is operating in a second ecosystem.
The skills gained in an ecosystem may not be useful to succeed in the second ecosystem. That is no different from the accountant who performs as a stand-up comedian on weekends or the coder who drives an Uber to make a few extra bucks. They are all using a second skill, in a new ecosystem in a Career 2.0 model. Earning money from a skill shows how much it is worth. Having another way to make money and growing it makes people feel good about their abilities. They can do both or choose one.
Career 3.0: Monetizing Three or More Skills in Different Ecosystems
In Career 3.0, individuals are monetizing three or more skills in different ecosystems. I once met an accountant who works for a large multinational corporation (MNC). He spends his weekends cooking for a restaurant in the neighbourhood whose customers love his curries and cakes. He also plays the keyboard and drums and used to play for a band when he was a student.
The band were so successful that for a while he thought of doing that fulltime. Laughing, he adds, ‘My problem is that I enjoy being an accountant as much as I enjoy being a chef and a musician. Why limit myself?’
Paychex, an American firm providing human resources services, found in a survey that 40 per cent of workers in the US have multiple jobs, and half of Gen Z workers are splitting their time between three or more employers. They call it ‘polyworking’. Meanwhile, 33 per cent of millennials are holding down three or more jobs, compared to 28 per cent of baby boomers and 23 per cent of Gen X professionals.
There are a few key characteristics that define Career 3.0:
Curiosity: Career 3.0 comes naturally to people who are curious. They will often experiment and learn something new just to be able to figure it out. They teach themselves by watching videos, listening to experts, finding apprenticeships and attending classes. Most of all the learning by being unafraid of failure. When an opportunity comes their way, they are often prepared to grab it. These are people who are comfortable with skills that are often seen to be at two ends of a spectrum—e.g., science and coding both demand logic and are polar opposites of fields like humanities and languages. Curious people often enjoy learning something even though there is no apparent use for it. Quiz contests often bring together people who are curious about everything from Greek mythology to astronomy to sports.
Adaptability: Monetizing multiple skills requires adaptability, as individuals may need to shift between different areas of work depending on the demands of each skill. Being comfortable with ambiguity and being flexible go together. An unpredictable world that is constantly evolving needs people who are comfortable with uncertainty. It is much like driving through thick fog. The driver navigates the road ahead one metre at a time.
Mindset: Career 3.0 needs the mindset of a VC who has to quickly figure out whether the idea being pitched is a big idea that has potential—an opportunity they must not miss, or if it is a passing fad. It often means that the VC has to place multiple bets knowing that the majority of the investments will fail but that the one that succeeds will more than make up for the rest. It needs the ability to take risks and walk on a path less travelled.
Overall, the three career archetypes—Career 1.0, Career 2.0, and Career 3.0—represent different approaches to monetizing skills and building a career. While each approach has its own benefits and drawbacks, the key is to find the right balance that works for an individual’s unique strengths and goals.
Get your copy of Career 3.0 by Abhijit Bhaduri wherever books are sold.
Are you ready to light up your taste buds and celebrate the flavors of Diwali? In this handpicked collection of 7 must-have cookbooks, we’re bringing you the essence of this joyous festival through delicious recipes, rich traditions, and a sprinkle of spice. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, these books are your guide to creating a feast that will make this Diwali truly unforgettable!
Masala Lab by Krish Ashok is a scientific exploration of Indian cooking aimed at inquisitive chefs who want to turn their kitchens into joyful, creative playgrounds for gastronomic experimentation. In this special edition, Meghna Menon’s vibrant illustrations effortlessly complement Krish Ashok’s lighthearted approach to the demystification of culinary science, making it the perfect vehicle to absorb the exhaustive testing, groundbreaking research and scientific rigour that went into the making of this revolutionary book.
Few have championed the cuisine of Kerala like Mrs K.M. Mathew (1922-2003), who authored many a column and twenty-three cookbooks, introducing an entire generation to the culinary culture of the state. A true master of the craft, she travelled across the length and breadth of Kerala, visiting homes and restaurants, noting down recipes, before going back home to experiment with dishes repeatedly until they were perfect. Eventually, she ushered in a shift from the oral telling of recipes to written instructions, and before long, due to her innovative and easy step-by-step approach to cooking, her cookbooks were being
gifted to newly married couples. Even today, her books not only serve as a treasure chest of unforgettable recipes but also inspire new readers to rush to the kitchen.
Mrs K.M. Mathew’s Finest Recipes brings a definitive compilation of her all-time top recipes, which have been enjoyed around the world, to a new generation of readers.
Eating the Present, Tasting the Future ventures ‘off the plate’ to journey through India’s contemporary foodscape to discover the myriad forces transforming what, how and where Indians are producing, trading and eating their food. At a time when food and our relationship with it are topics of increasing global interest, this is a timely, and important, work, offering unique insight into a complex society.
In this book, Monish Gujral brings together a collection of 100 pickles to start you on your journey of pickling. These recipes are not only simple and easy to make, each also has health benefits. From the Italian Giardiniera (pickled vegetables) to the Israeli Torshi Left (white turnip pickle), from the Gari(Japanese ginger pickle) to the Cebollas Encurtidas (pickled onions from Ecuador), this book is a treasure trove of some of the best pickles from around the world. Start your lip-smacking journey today!
Pratibha Karan, in The Book of Dals, takes you on an incredible journey to different regions of the country and shows how locally available spices and herbs, vegetables and fruit impact the food of that region. The variety of dals and dal-based dishes that you can make with these are phenomenal and mind-boggling.
In recent times, the coconut-flavoured cuisine of the Malayalis has gained immense popularity. Appam and Istoo, Avial and Olan, Irachi Biryani and Pathiri, all these and more are now served in restaurants and homes all over India. As the author explains in his introduction to the book, the ancient association of food with religion, the influence of foreign trade and the intermingling of different communities have all combined to make Kerala cuisine what it is today. Interestingly, even though a variety of spices grow literally in their backyards, Malayalis abstain from an overpowering use of these, rendering their cuisine different from other Asian cuisines. Instead, there is a range of delicately spiced dishes, harmoniously balanced and simple to prepare, neither too rich nor too bland, and always delicious. The recipes in this volume cover the entire range of vegetables, meat, seafood, pickles, sweets and snacks, served both as daily fare and as part of the sadya on festive occasions, taking in the specialities of the different regions and communities of the state.
A home baker for over 20 years, food stylist and photographer Deeba Rajpal put her passion to the test when she decided to blog about her adventures in the kitchen. Soon, her simple yet delectable dessert recipes accompanied by beautiful, evocative imagery struck a chord with people across the globe, turning her blog, Passionate about Baking, into one of the most popular blogs in the country.
Inspired by her blog, this book is a collection of some of her most loved chocolate dessert recipes for every kind of indulgence. With healthy, tasty yet easy-to-make chocolate delights — from tarts, tea cakes and cupcakes to cookies, traybakes and cakes for special occasions — and simple tips and tricks, Deeba shows you how working with chocolate can be oh so fun!
What does it mean to understand ourselves and become more compassionate? In this excerpt from Another Sort of Freedom by Gurcharan Das, we explore these deep questions. Let’s think about who we are, how our identity changes, and how we can live with more kindness and empathy beyond the confines of egotism.
‘When God is gone, how do you give meaning to your life?’ my mother had once asked. I had failed to give her a satisfactory answer. But I had an inkling that meaning emerges from pursuing something bigger than yourself. I had experienced it as a spirit of lightness. It usually happened when I was deeply absorbed in my writing. I wasn’t even there – the fingers just kept hitting the keys of my laptop and words kept appearing on the screen. Tendulkar had described the same feeling when he was approaching his last double century. He said the cricket ball had become so big that the bat just had to hit the ball. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the psychologist, calls it ‘flow’. The problem with this feeling is that it is temporary. The big question was: could I extend it to the rest of the day, to the rest of my life? Could self-forgetting become an enduring attitude of living lightly?
Such questions emerged early in my life when I first encountered David Hume’s Treatise on Human Nature at Harvard. I became aware of the stream of thoughts in my head. A decade later, the voices first appeared involuntarily in my early thirties. These mental experiments continued over the years, and they have convinced me that I could only be sure of the existence of momentary thoughts, not who was having them. Like Hume, I looked for an author but I could not find him. Was I then merely a fictional composite of my momentary selves? If so, how was I able to negotiate from one thought to the next one? What provided continuity between my individual moments, I concluded, were my memories, my desires, and my beliefs. But these mental entities also depended on the temporary roles I was playing, the masks I was wearing. They were, thus, not reliable sources of my permanent existence.
All this led to growing scepticism about my permanent identity. I concluded that my I-ness was a fraud of sorts, a sort of fictional narrator that held the story of my life together. I have been much influenced by Donald J, and by Nagarjuna’s Buddhist idea of anatta, ‘no-self’. When the ‘I’ got busted, I was hugely unnerved. I could not live without a concept of personhood. But I still needed to get on with my life. Of all the emotions I possessed, the most overwhelming was a deep concern for my own survival. I still needed an author, an object of my self-concern. If it didn’t exist, how would I be responsible for my actions? Not just in a courtroom but in my conscience. For all practical purposes, I needed a stable concept of a person.
As time went by, I gradually became resigned to the absence of a permanent ‘I’ and I underwent a subtle change. I began to view my identity as a useful fiction, a practical necessity, a minimal self. I became a little more detached, seeing through the many roles I was playing in my daily life. My day to day life, however, did not change. I did not suddenly become selfless or philanthropic. Self-concern still defined my attitude towards myself. But I felt less and less at the centre of the universe – I was just one amongst others. My minimal self, in other words, was able to extend the same concern a little more easily to others. As a result, I began to feel a continuum or sameness with other selves. I did not hanker constantly after premium treatment for myself.
It was this awakening that raised a hope. If my minimal self could more easily identify with the selves of others, could I become more empathetic, a more compassionate person? Could I overcome some of the worst, egotistical defects in my character, and liberate myself from bondages that had nagged me all my life? I had lived my life in the constant belief that my interests trumped everyone else’s. And my behaviour had been consistently egocentric. There were exceptions from time to time — a few early moments of awakening! The obvious one being the pencil box incident in kindergarten. When Ayan was about to be wrongly punished for stealing the rich kid’s pencil box, he had cried out, appealed to me. I remained silent. My feeling of shame was followed by profound concern for Ayan, which has never left me. A few months later, I had experienced this in a different way during the Partition violence. On this occasion, I felt a wave of empathy for the handsome Muslim policeman on the railway platform just as he was stabbed to death by two Sikh boys. I bumped first into Ayan and then into the Partition, both without warning, and they pulled me out of my egocentric self, at least for a while.
Get your copy of Another Sort of Freedom by Gurcharan Das wherever books are sold.
Discover the fascinating journey of modern Bengali literature in this exclusive excerpt from Soul and Swordby Hindol Sengupta. Explore the profound influence of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s renowned work, ‘Ananda Math,’ on the socio-political landscape and its role in shaping the term ‘Hindutva,’ marking a pivotal moment in India’s cultural and political evolution.
The arrival of the printing press in Bengal in 1777 created a new genre of popular literature in the Bengali language by men who had been educated in British-founded institutions and trained to embrace ideas in English. The classic example was Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, now considered the father of modern Bengali literature. Chattopadhyay was among the earliest students at Presidency College and the University of Calcutta, both explicitly set up to impart English language education among the locals by the British.
Chattopadhyay went on to become a civil servant in the British administration, rising not only to the high rank of deputy magistrate but also receiving major honours such as the Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire (CMEOIE) in 1894 and the ultimate social prize of that time, the title of Rai Bahadur in 1891.
But it was Chattopadhyay who wrote the book that in a sense started what is now known as agni yug or the age of fire where the British consistently faced armed revolt and rebellion led usually by young men and women who had been trained in the best British institutions, many of them even in higher education in England. Ananda Math, which can be loosely translated as the ‘shrine of happiness’, was set against a real-life famine in Bengal caused by administrative malpractice and corruption under Company rule.
It told the story of a band of warrior monks fighting a guerrilla warfare from the forests of Bengal against the East India Company (and their puppet, the Muslim nawab) and its usurious taxes, and robbing the Company and the Nawab to feed the desperately hungry. Ananda Math had an anthem sung by the ascetics in praise of their motherland called ‘Vande Mataram’ (All Hail the Mother). It quickly became the war cry for the nationalistic stirrings that were emerging as the age of fire dawned. Revolutionaries cried ‘Vande Mataram’ as they bombed British vehicles and buildings while fighting pitched gun battles with the colonial police, and sang it loudly while marching up the gallows. It was a favourite of Mahatma Gandhi and was adopted as the national song of independent India.
Little commented upon or studied, though, is one major fact about Ananda Math. It is the earliest text to mention the word ‘Hindutva’.5 Tucked away somewhere in the middle of the story, there is a sentence in the third part of the book that, translated, reads, ‘Because Hindu dharma was disappearing, many Hindus were eager to reestablish Hindutva.’ There could be many reasons why this has not been commented upon earlier. First, even though Bankim is known to have increasingly worked on Hindu identity in his writing in this period, he never really returned to explore this word in detail, preferring instead to talk in terms of dharma, or the Hindu term for the moral law of the universe. His treatise on the subject published in 1888 is called Dharmatattva, which seeks to answer questions on the fundamentals of Hindu ethics. Second, one of the best-known translations of Ananda Math, by the Cambridge professor of Hinduism Julius Lipner, translates this sentence without using the word ‘Hindutva’, or for that matter ‘Hindu dharma’. In Lipner’s translation, it reads, ‘Because the Hindu rule of life had disappeared, many Hindus were keen to establish a sense of Hindu identity.’ Lipner prefers to give a rough translation of the phrase ‘Hindu dharma’, which is used by Chattopadhyay and translates Hindutva as ‘Hindu identity’, possibly to explain these terms lucidly to non-Indian audiences. Since the word ‘Hindutva’ is politically loaded, Lipner may have avoided its use too, preferring to offer an expanded translation.
Lipner, though, has written about the kind of vision Chattopadhyay offered in Ananda Math, and otherwise, about the Hindu world view and politics.
‘This was not the traditional Hinduism that tends to be studied in scholarly introductions to Hinduism, nor indeed the kind of popular Hinduism practised by ordinary people in the towns and villages. It was rather a reinvented model, taking its cue from the thinking of the Hindu elite of the time who had been involved for a considerable period— outstandingly from the time of Rammohan Roy in the first decades of the 19th century—in a kind of ideological dialectic with tendentious British reconstructions of Hindu religious culture. As Bankim formulated his model, he played an important role in imparting new dimensions and facets to the neo-Hinduism of the age. At the core of Bankim’s thinking in this regard was the concept of the Eternal Code, or sanatana dharma. The idea was that there is an eternal Hindu dharma or way of righteous living which governs all aspects of existence—cultural, social, political, religious—in terms of which the Hindus would flourish in the modern age. This dharma is the fruit of the discipline of what he calls the inward knowledge: an introspective mode of awareness Hindu philosophers and savants, especially Vedantins, have distinctively and expertly developed from time immemorial. But this inward knowledge had been lost through neglect and the vagaries of time. As a result, Hindu civilization has suffered decline, and Hindus have been subjugated by outsiders for a long period. The advent of the British—their mastery of the world of sense experience, which for Bankim was the fruit of the outward knowledge—provided Hindus with the opportunity to access anew the inward knowledge. For a judicious grasp of the former led to an understanding of the latter. After all, the inward knowledge was to establish the conditions externally on which a new Hindu civilization, adapted to modern times, was
to be constructed.’
Get a copy of Soul and Sword by Hindol Sengupta wherever books are sold.
Explore the world of poetic creation with Gulzar as he brings forth his latest masterpiece, Triveni. Just like the meeting point of three rivers reveals hidden secrets, his Triveni poems bring a twist to each couplet, making it a captivating journey. But that’s not all – discover Neha R. Krishna‘s unique attempt to transform Triveni into Japanese Tanka poetry.
Get ready to be spellbound!
I was rowing in words and meters of poetry when I happened to invent the form of Triveni. It’s a short poem of three lines. The first two lines make a complete thought, like a couplet of a ghazal. But the third line adds an extra dimension, which is hidden or out of sight in the first two lines.
Triveni ends revealing the hidden thought, which changes the perspective or extends the thought of the couplet. The name Triveni refers to the confluence of three distinct streams or rivers at Prayag. The deep green water of Jamuna, meet the golden Ganga, and hidden from view is the mythical Sarswati, flowing quietly beneath.
‘Triveni’ is to reveal ‘Saraswati’, poetically.
देर तक आस्माँ पे उड़ते रहे
इक परिन्दे के बाल-व-पर सारे
बाज़ अपना शिकार ले के गया !
All the fur and feathers of a bird
Kept flying in the sky for a long time
The falcon swooped away with its prey!
Neha, a young competent poet, was rowing in Triveni. She wished to translate Triveni in a Japanese form of poetry called Tanka. I felt inquisitive. She has explained it in her translator’s note. I hope you too feel as inquisitive while reading it. I found it very interesting.
Tanka is a short lyric poem. Various poetic elements like mood, theme, nature, characters, etc., are posed in a particular structure that give Tanka its body and soul. With this concept note, I am addressing the fundamental techniques of writing a Tanka, this will also assist the readers to comprehend and appreciate the structure.
What Is Tanka?
Tanka is a lyrical poem, a short verse, a short song. It is one of the oldest forms, originating in Japan, in the seventh century. A traditional Japanese Tanka has thirty-one morae or sounds that follow a 5-7-5-7-7 sound structure.
The Difference between Traditional Tanka and Contemporary Tanka Tanka in contemporary English is more flexible and does not adhere to the traditional 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic structure or the pattern of short/long/short/long/long line format.
Why Transcreating Triveni into Tanka?
The aesthetic sense, the grace of cadence and the rich imagery of Tanka appear inclined to Triveni. Even in Triveni, images are juxtaposed with the technique of link and shift. Just like any lyrical Tanka poem, Triveni can also be composed and sung. The length of images of Triveni fits well in Tanka as it gives more space to retain the multi-layered essence. Triveni’s L3 strongly adds to or changes the narration of L1 and L2. In the same way, Tanka has a very strong and unexpected L5.
There is musicality in these short poems even though they never rhyme, which allows them to be enriched with a rustic edge, conjuring up a magical and musical image.
उड़ के जाते हुए पंछी ने बस इतना देखा
देर तक हाथ हिलाती रही वह शाख़ फ़िज़ा में
अलविदा कहती थी या पास बुलाती थी उसे?
while the branch sways
in the wind—
urging it to come back
or bidding a goodbye?
साँवले साहिल पे गुलमोहर का पेड़
जैसे लैला की माँग में सिन्दूर
धरम बदल गया बेचारी का
a gulmohar tree
as Laila wears vermilion
सब पे आती है, सब की बारी है
मौत मुनसिफ़ है, कम-ओ-बेश नहीं
ज़िन्दगी सब पे क्यों नही क्यों आती?
to all it comes
everyone has their turn,
death is just
neither less nor more—
why doesn’t life happen to all?
काश आये कोई शायर की सुने
शे’र के दर्द से मर जायेगा यह
चाँदनी फाँक रहा था शब भर!
wishing . . . someone
to come listen to the poet
he will die
from the pain of a couplet—
all night was grazing moonlight
रात, परेशां सड़को पर इक डोलत साया
खम् से टकर बे ा के गिरा और फ़ौत हुआ
अंधेरे की नाजायज़ औलाद थी कोई!
a wiggly shadow
upset on the street at night
hits a pole, falls and dies—
must be an illicit
offspring of the darkness
Get your copy of Triveni by Gulzar wherever books are sold
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.