Friday, April 30, 2021

Of Epilepsy Butterflies: Flying beyond stigmas by Preeti Singh (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!


16th Book of 2021


It is always a pleasure getting back to reading an author whom you had read many years ago. I am talking about Preeti Singh here. I had read her first book in 2012 named “Flirting with Fate” when I was really very new to the reading world. I had liked that book and given it a good rating of 4 out of 5. It has taken almost 9 years that I have again got a chance of reading her latest work named “Of Epilepsy Butterflies” which also comes with a tagline that says “Flying beyond stigmas”. This is an anthology-kind of a book which has been compiled very nicely by the authoress. The book is written with a very good purpose of giving motivation to the people who are affected by epilepsy and guiding others to not treat PWE (people with epilepsy) as criminals or untouchables. The book tries its best to break this stigma and taboo from the society.


To make it easier for everyone to understand, epilepsy is popularly known as “mirgi” or “mirgi ke daure” in India. Personally, I have never encountered any PWE in my life hence I didn’t know the problems they have to suffer themselves as well as the situations their family members have to go through because of societal approach towards them when they come to know about such patients. Whenever there is any seizure attack that happens in a public place, the person is seen differently. People start distancing themselves from the person and almost boycott him/her. Reading about such stories in this book made my heart felt so weak and exploited that even when I don’t suffer from it or don’t have anyone in my family, I could still feel the plight of the people who go through it.


Preeti Singh, the authoress, is herself a PWE and has been suffering the disease since she was 2 years old. She has seen enough in her life because of the continuous seizure attacks she has been getting since then. She has been very good in letting us understand through her personal account in one of the chapters in detail about what she went through at every stage of her life. Her note was so horrific to read that I couldn’t comprehend what goes in people’s mind to think ugly for a girl/woman suffering from PWE that they go further to physically abuse and molest her. She also tells how her beautiful marriage failed just for this reason as her in-laws couldn’t accept this daily trouble. Her challenge in school, college, office, relationships, pregnancy etc. makes us understand that how less educated we are about epilepsy and the people who go through it.


This anthology includes many personal accounts of people suffering with PWE and how they conquered it without losing themselves and their willpower with the challenges and obstacles that comes up with this disease. Ketaki Chitale, the actress, tells us how doctors misguided her which took her 19 years to accept her condition. Jitendra Gunti's story is one of the most effective accounts on how he suffered in school due to his seizure attacks and still being a good student, he ended up failing regularly till his Master's course. I liked how spirituality helped him accept his situation. But reading about how an NGO expelled him for being PWE was really heart-breaking to read.


Harsheen, Preeti Singh’s daughter’s version-  of how the authoress used to get seizure attacks during sleep sounds so scary but the way she handled it knowing that epilepsy needs to be dealt calmly tells us about the bravery of PWE’s family members even when they are a child themselves who needs to be taken care of. All the other accounts are equally impactful and leaves a mark in your thought process for the kind of life a PWE expects to live and the expectations they have from us of nothing but support and acceptance.


It also has few poems and I must tell you, it has really surprised me. Why? It was such a big realization to understand that PWE is such a big thing for few people that they went ahead and wrote something with all their heart in the form of poems. Whenever any person – artistic or non-artistic – thinks of creating any poem or poetry in their mind – it is only because of something that has hit them hard and they have a touchy way of expressing themselves through rhyming sentences in few words. This tells us how lonely PWEs get that they end up writing about their condition and silently asking Universe to do something for them so that they can stand again on their feet without any seizure attacks and move ahead in life like everyone else. All the poems in this book are of very high quality and it has amazed me because most of them are written by non-writers.


In the last 2/3rd part of the book, we get to see the creative side of Preeti Singh as she has written several short stories based on the subject of epilepsy itself. I was very sceptic about them in the beginning because after reading the personal accounts of real people, I thought what difference these short stories will make in the end. But while reading them I realized author wanted to make us understand how the conversations happen with PWEs when they talk to their family members or doctors or people they are trying to make understand about their situation for acceptance etc. And it has been conveyed appreciably as I was able to comprehend the mindset of the protagonists in all the stories. Most of the stories talk about how finding a partner becomes difficult for PWEs and even if they get one, how their marriage suffers some or the other way because of their regular worsening situations. All the stories let us know how the wish to get an understanding and supporting partner becomes a painful prayer for the PWEs.


Overall, this book is a very nice attempt in educating all of us about what epilepsy is and how their patients’ needs to be taken care of. Before this book, I knew nothing about this subject but now I know so much. I have got acquainted with so many terms like PWE, AED, EEG test, seizure attacks, SUDEP, Purple Day etc. which makes me little more confident that whenever I’ll find any epilepsy patient in my life, I would be able to help them better rather than getting scared of their fits and attacks. Preeti Singh’s efforts are really commendable in getting in touch with such inspirational PWEs and compiling such inspiring and transforming stories. Even a person like me who is away from epilepsy got so much motivation from them to lead my life courageously irrespective of whatever situations I may face in life. I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5 and recommend it to everyone.




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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Sita: Now you know me by Sini Panicker (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!


15th Book of 2021


I am a big fan of our ancient history- you talk of Ramayan or Mahabharat, I just love reading about them as many times as possible. I just can’t get bored of them at all. And if I have to choose from both of them, I always prefer Ramayan because of my devotion towards Lord Ram. I just can’t get enough of his tales and righteousness. Most books that I have read till now have always concentrated on Shri Ram except one written by Amish which was based on life of Sita Mata – which is the 2nd book in his The Ram Chandra series. But because that story was more of a fiction than reality, I didn’t enjoy it a bit but the book I just completed reading has made me so close to the character of Sita Mata that every time I’ll hear her name, I am going to feel pain as I do when I hear the name of Ram who had to go through so much in their life.


“Sita: Now you know me” written by the debutante authoress, Sini Panicker, in around 334 pages is published by Rupa publications. The approach of Sini has been evident right from the 1st chapter that the book is solely going to be about Sita from Ramayan and no one else. I must applaud author the way she has been able to keep the focus on her character in spite of having Ram so closely associated with her. I always feel that you can’t write any book on Ramayan without basing it equally on both the characters but the way Panicker has managed the same is commendable.


The writing style of Sini is very simple and straightforward. In spite of having good command on the language, the way she manages to keep her sentences and philosophies easy to understand throughout the book is appreciable. Anyone who is a starter will also find going through this book and story easy and smooth. It is very necessary to write about the tales of Ramayan and Mahabharat in easy language as our current generation is less aware about our culture and they should feel motivated to pick up such books. Author’s intention is very clear about the same.


I would also like to mention another good quality about Sini- her research. Yes! The way she has written the whole story from Sita’s perspective, it needs a lot of information because most of the books talk mostly about Ayodhya and Ram. Hence, what was Sita going through in her childhood and what she must have felt with so much happening in their life is very hard to know through the available texts. Also, author has not based the whole story only on one version of Ramayan but multiple of them. You will disagree with her on many events that this is wrongly told but it is because we are familiar with only one or two Ramayan versions. Hence, it might seem wrong at places but it opens our perspective on other ways for telling of Ramayan too.


The book might sound stretchy with its 334 pages but let me tell you, author has been very specific about what she wants to tell. She has not wasted any of our time in useless descriptions or unwanted specifications. We are just taken as deep as possible into her mind and heart which makes us become one with Sita. We are told about how strong she used to be in her childhood that her father had decided to make her the ruler of Mithila but as soon as her marriage got in between, the way her life transformed where she had to make unlimited number of compromises which kept on messing up with her dreams, ambitions and will.


Later, in the book, we get to know about her sufferings during the exile with Ram and Lakshman and later, alone at the Valmiki’s ashram pregnant with her twins. I will not lie but I must have cried 100 of times while reading this book; and I have never cried so much while reading any book ever. The way Sita carries herself in Ravan’s abduction is something very painful to read but you get to understand the strength she had within her to fight against such a powerful and ferocious king like Ravan. Another mention I would like to mention about how author has been able to make us understand about other characters also in limited words that we don’t find them a complete stranger but understand their back stories too.


There are many events where Sita’s small and big sacrifices are discussed which makes us understand how she has been treated as a shadow whenever Ramayan comes into the picture. The book becomes more powerful in its last 2/3rd part where the story starts coming to the closure. After completing the book and revisiting everything I went through in the book while writing summary in my journal, I just couldn’t comprehend how could author cover it in less than 350 pages as this seems to be the stuff of 3-4 books together. Overall, this is a very nice read and one needs to have a strong heart and mind to read it as it becomes extremely painful and depressing at times – because such has been life of Sita Mata.


Now, talking about the drawbacks, I must say that my review is surely biased because of my love for Ramayan and Siya Ram but there are surely some issues with the author’s version of Ramayan. Firstly, I feel that author has become very critical of Ram. Anyone who would be reading Ramayan for the 1st time through this book will find Ram to be bigger villain than Ravan, unfortunately. Secondly, I must say that few events of Ramayan are completely twisted in order to make Sita’s life look more miserable than it actually was. Author has purposely picked up the specific tales from several versions wherever Sita’s plight is immense. I believe there should have been some balance.


Thirdly, whenever we read about ancient history or such strong and legendary characters, we expect philosophy in between. This book tries at some places but majorly, there are no philosophical approach at all. You wouldn’t get many quotes to keep with yourself as learnings from this book. Lastly, I believe that book focuses too much on Sita only. I just wanted to read about other characters as much as I wanted to read about Sita. Again, a balance is needed even if the subject of your book is based on one character. Though I would appreciate the way Sita’s beautiful relation with her father, Lakshman, Hanuman, Lopamudra, Urmi and other characters are portrayed.


Overall, this is one of the books I’ll always remember and recommend. Reading this has been an emotional journey for me. It has definitely become memorable. Kudos to Sini Panicker for writing it so beautifully. I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5.




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Monday, April 26, 2021

Marriage in the time of Corona by Arbind Bhatia (Book Preview) !!!


14th Book of 2021


Since Coronavirus pandemic has begun, specifically, in India, the major concern for few people apart from surviving this disease has been managing the wedding ceremonies. Government came up with the guidelines that marriage can’t happen with more than 50 guests. Now, considering that a family has 2 parent members and 2 siblings, the invitees from each party could only be 21 members. Counting 2-3 photographers, 2 priests and other important relatives, you just can’t invite even all of your relatives and closest friends. I have seen many people getting married in my acquaintances during this lockdown period comprising of last one year and I still see many marriages happening in my circle. This book that I am going to talk about; “Marriage in the time of Corona” written by Arbind Bhatia discusses one such marriage that takes place during lockdown.


This is a short book of less than 100 pages so you can easily complete it within a sitting or so. The writing style is little advanced so may be the beginners will have to put more concentration than others but people into reading would be able to grasp the story at the fullest. The book talks about the full cycle that takes place in an Indian marriage circle – right from the moment of proposal till the honeymoon. Occasionally, author keeps on discussing the challenges that keeps interrupting the families and their preparations time to time. This is the purpose with which the book has been written.


There are seven chapters where each one of them talks about a ceremony related to the Indian marriage which involves inter-religion match and hundreds of legal and document issues that comes with it. You can relate with few characters as one can trace them somewhere in their respective family too. This is basically a preview of the book hence I won’t be talking about the drawbacks and other factors. I would like you to read it yourself and let me know what you think of this book which talks of pain of every Indian family who were and are planning marriage during the lockdown phase.






Sunday, April 25, 2021

The Golden Book of Business Presentation Skills by Prajeet Budhale (Book Review: 4*/5) !!!


13th Book of 2021

I remember reading Prajeet Budhale’s first book named “Infin-Eight” and I really liked the eight principles shared by the author to gain professional success. This was way back in 2019. After two years, I again get a chance to read a new book by the author named “The Golden Book of Business Presentation Skills” which shares the quick and easy tips to make powerful presentations. The book is of around 120 pages and doesn’t waste much time in speaking what it is meant to. I liked the way author has discussed the topic right from the first page and makes us understand what the book is going to be about.


Author maintains the fact that he is not going to tell us how to make MS Powerpoint presentations but about how to present ourselves while giving a presentation to an audience. Most of us have stage-fright, anxiety or nervousness before we have to deliver any presentation or speech on stage to a set of audience. Author’s effort with this book has been to assure that half of our problems with preparing for our presentation gets over just by preparing in the right way.


The book shares 7 gold standards for developing good business presentation skills reading which I really felt that they are substantial and practical. I have been a student of two Master degrees and even as a professional, I have to present our software module and requirement to my team members and clients. With my experience of giving number of presentations in last 10 years, I found the concepts shared in the book good to know for anyone who is preparing for an important presentation. Every chapter is divided in two parts – “Know” and “How”. “Know” section shares with us the concepts and fundamentals related to presentation skills whereas “How” section asks us to answer several set of questions which makes it easy for us to apply it in our next and future presentations that we are working upon.


I liked how author managed to cover the interpretation of all the key actors in a presentation such as Presenter, Listener and Questioner. Also, it made me think again when author told a reality that our presentation is always meant for one of the three purposes – informing, influencing or inspiring. This is so true because I don’t think we make a presentation for any other reason at all. Author provides a very good formula for building core presentations abbreviated as DIET which talks about using Data Points, impacting the listener, connecting emotionally with our audience and trail close for acceptance. I won’t talk much about it as it’s one of the main parts in the book and I would like you to go through it yourself.


Further, author also helps us understand how to answer the questions of the questioner and audience by using the three critical components of another formula named ARC which stands for Acknowledge, Respond or Answer and Check for Closure. Lastly, author helps us in ways how we can summarize our presentation in the end and gives us a very new perspective where in the world of presentation, the Last Impression is the Impression audience take away with them rather than the First. Such insights by the author makes this book a recommended one for the new business leaders and freshers getting into the world of presenting.


Overall, this book discusses many such pointers, bullets and tabular data which helps us understand the art of presenting. Every sentence shows the author’s experience put into words. I really liked the approach and tendency of the author because it is really a selfless effort in the way this book is written. I would request all the readers who would be picking this book to really go through “How” section by seriously filling it rather than skipping it. It will really transform your outlook towards something you are yourself creating without knowing the importance of it. I give this book 4 stars out of 5. Please go for it.






Sunday, April 18, 2021

Death in Colaba Bay by Ambika Subramanian (Book Review: 2.75*/5) !!!

12th Book of 2021

Any reference to Mumbai makes me curious to pick up the book and know about my city and the story which can thrive here. This made me pick up a book named “Death in Colaba Bay” written by the debutante author, Ambika Subramanian. This book belongs to the thriller genre and is summed up in around 140 pages. Generally, when we read thrillers, it is quite long in around 300+ pages but I am glad that we are getting more Indian authors who are trying to write short thrillers rather than narrating useless sub-plots just to keep the book long. Ambika is another one in this list who knows how much to write for a story which has a basic plot around which the whole investigation shall be taking place.


The writing style is good and I didn’t feel that the author is a debutante considering the way she has managed to pick up a topic which isn’t very easy to write. Like, a thriller in the very first attempt is very difficult to scribble because if it isn’t good and your readers end up guessing the criminal in the first few pages itself, your book is a big flop. Secondly, taking the charge of writing it in as less as 140 pages only. Thirdly, basing it in Mumbai of 1800s which requires a lot of efforts as you need to know the locale and modus operandi of how things worked during that era. Hence, the way she has tried to maintain the balance considering all these factors is appreciable.


The story moves very crisply in the first half of the book and you just get excited to know how these multiple plots will land up together eventually solving the cases of abduction of 3 girls out of whom one girl is found to be dead. The character development of Tara and Arun is very nicely done such that you are able to relate with them. Tara resolving the case in order to help the police has been handled beautifully as you are able to digest that a common person is doing all of this so easily. The way royal family is involved in this plot from the central provinces keeps you excited as you wish to know what the role of Prince is in this whole abduction and murder story based in Mumbai.


Overall, this book is a light read for the people who get scared to pick up a thriller book thinking that it might be difficult for them to understand the murder mystery and several characters getting introduced here and there. Ambika has assured that once she is done introducing her characters in the initial pages, she will not add up any other character in the book for no reason. All the characters are introduced and used properly. The book doesn’t have any violent or vulgar scenes which are often added in thrillers to make them sound interesting. This tells about author’s conviction and belief in her story.


Now, talking about the drawbacks, I must say that there are many editing mistakes in the book. I don’t know how the writer and editor missed it even in such a short book. Talking about the story based in 1800s’ Mumbai, I must say that there isn’t much talked about the way Mumbai looked or lived during that era which makes you worry why the story is even based in that era except that it involves some trading which could have been easily replaced with today’s world. Also, even though the author has certain twists and turns to bring in the story, she couldn’t write them in a way that could make you jump or open your mouth in astonishment. They are written quite plainly as if someone is narrating a romantic tale to you. There could have been a lot that could have been done with this plot. It is quite an average book in terms of the offering it promises in the synopsis.


I give this book 2.75* out of 5.





Tuesday, April 6, 2021

HINDUISM: Spirituality For Leadership & Success by Pranay (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!

11th Book of 2021


There are several books releasing since past few years on Hinduism and texts related to Sanatan Dharm and I try to find time to read most of them. In majority of Hindu families, we aren’t taught our religion at all. Even when we are told some rituals and we ask why it is done so, our parents don’t have the answer. We are told “Just do the way you are told to”. Haha! This made someone like me very restless and curious about what my religion actually is and why is it called the oldest religion giving infinite knowledge with which we can live our life happily and blissfully. The quest towards this made me pick up the book called “Hinduism: Spirituality for Leadership & Success” written by the author, Pranay, in around 140 pages. The book is published by Fingerprint publisher – one of the publishers who gave us another spiritual author, Shubha Vilas, who makes difficult spiritual concepts easier for us.


TO start with, the cover page of the book is very beautiful: In the white background, the rushes of colors in between which has the image of Lord Ganesh – again in white colour which really gives you a very peaceful feeling on holding this book. The book is divided in 21 different chapters where each of them talks about a concept and how Hinduism teaches us a perspective towards that. This is one of the very simple book for beginners who really want to understand our religion and culture and the lessons we get from it.


Author Pranay has not complicated anything. He keeps things very basic for us to understand. He doesn’t go on displaying his command over language and concepts. His intent towards writing is evident in every sentence as it is framed only from the point of view to make his readers aware about – Ramayan and Mahabharat and what it teaches through its events and dialogues. Over this, author has tried to further focus the book towards the lessons that these spiritual texts give us in reference to Leadership, Entrepreneurship and how to successful as a leader or influencer. The italic text in beginning of each chapters is the crux of the whole section reading which you’ll get enough motivation to understand what you need to change in your life.


The 1st chapter itself talks about how leadership needs to be egoless and selfless by giving references of Shri Ram and other religion’s references too. Then, in another chapter, author very beautifully compares both- Eastern and Western approach towards spirituality and life and explains how we can learn from both and implement in our life. Author does it so wittily that he doesn’t give any approach more weightage than other but extracts the key lessons from both. A chapter on “Adaptability and Flexibility” gives reference of river and lake in terms of what Hinduism is which is so meaningful that you’ll understand why we need to be like a river which finally finds it higher purpose. The same chapter has references of resurrection, Indian Vedanta, Sankhya philosophy where author let us know the different perspectives such as purusha and prakriti, yin and yang etc.


A chapter on “Self-belief” is one of the most powerful chapter which speaks about how life can be seen with eyes of hope and self-belief in whatever we do. That chapter certainly brought some change in how I perceive myself. Further, in another chapter, author tells us how to develop integrity as a leader through our conduct and communication. There are many such chapters that teaches you a lot. Some of them are-

-          The Power of Acceptance: It tells us how after accepting our situation and present, we move further towards bettering our future rather than spending time in self-pity and getting affected by it.

-          Karma Yoga: It tells us how we have to be dedicated and submerged in our work without expecting any result out of it because then our conduct towards the work we are performing gets corrupted.

-          Leela: The Art of Playfulness: This chapters helps us understand that in order to be a good leader we don’t have to become very strict and boring. We can be humorous and keep the mood light so that people get positivity by our presence.


Specially mentioning the last chapter of the book which I also believe is the longest one named “Vedas, Upanishads, and Sri Ram for Leaders”. Author gets little deeper into this one and hence I could find it touching my core with every sentence. We are made to understand how we are same as the divine and how we can experience the same. How all our religion and texts explain the same is nicely conveyed in this section which will open your spiritual side to you. Anyone who has not been in spirituality or its concepts will get curious and mind-blown after reading this last chapter. The chapter mentions few concepts which Shri Ram had said which I was completely unaware of – I always thought that we are learning only through the way he lived his life but this was an eye-opener for me that like, Shri Krishna, Shri Ram also gave us lessons on concepts of spirituality and getting in touch with our divine reality.


Now, talking about few drawbacks – I felt that author has taken too simple approach to tell the concept in order to get the beginners understand the concepts. I think he should have gone little deeper in each chapter as it is mostly for leaders who are already quite matured to know what they need to do. Secondly, I felt few chapters are written more from an MBA approach than religious approach. I found many chapters not having much reference of Hinduism which disappointed me.


Overall, this is a good book for people who are new into non-fiction, spirituality and religion. Please do get this one. I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.





Friday, April 2, 2021

Douglas Misquita: "As an author you have to take bold steps..." (Interview)


I recently read a very amazing book named “Trigger Point” written by a very amazing author, Douglas Misquita. I was amazed reading the kind of information and knowledge the book had along with the story that the author was telling. It was a long book but kept me really intrigued into it. After finishing the book, when I searched about the author, I got to know that he has written many other books too. When I read about all of them, I made my mind that I need to interview and cover him on this space. Hence, the interview is posted below for all of you to read and know about him and his books.


Hi Douglas, can you please clarify if this is your real name or pen name as I got many questions from my Blog readers. :-)

It is my real name. Another surprise: I'm Indian. I was once asked to pay the 'foreigner' fee at the Kutb Minar until I convinced the guard I'm Indian by producing my driver's license :)

Tell us something about what you do when you are not writing.

Um. When I'm not writing, I'm a software product owner with a telecom company. And then, occasionally, I pick up my guitar, get on stage and jam to some ole rock n' roll tunes.

When was the 1st time that you felt you wish to be a Writer and when did you publish your 1st book?

Diwali, 1993. I'd just read Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park. And I thought: Man, that's power - to transport readers, even if for a few hours, into a world of your imagination. I wrote my first book on a 100-page school exercise book. I published in 2010 with Haunted - a Kirk Ingram action thriller.

Tell us something about your latest book - Trigger Point

Trigger Point is the culmination (for now) of Luc Fortesque's adventures. It brings things to a head. It sees the transformation of the 'bad-guy' Luc Fortesque and it's wildly explosive. It deals with religious terrorism and yet it isn't your usual terrorism book. There's a big twist and it has one of my favourite-ever action sequences - imagine a pair of black-clad priests racing superbikes through the twisting streets of Rome! It also allowed me to bring to page my 'biohazard' scenario and no, this isn't fantasy. This is real. It's as real as zombies can get! 

How long did it take you to write this book? 

4 months. Another 2 to edit.

From where did you drive inspiration to write this book as it has multiple things going all around right from the 1st page to the last?

the inspiration came one morning as I was driving to work. By the end of The Immortality Trigger (book #2 in the series), I'd left Luc Fortesque with unfinished business. I imagined he'd have to travel all the way to Germany to fulfil the promise he made to Sabina Wytchoff. And then I thought: but hey, he's got the secret of the Apocalypse and Immortality. You think the world's just gonna let him go wherever he wants? And then I visualised Fortesque on a desolate landscape with several special forces teams coming for him. And that, really was the crux. I wanted this one BIG action scene and everything just fell around it, into place. 

How hard it was to research on this book as it covers multiple countries and their respective socio-economics and other factors?

As you've read the Author's Notes, you know I did read/ research a lot. It wasn't hard; I found it exciting that there was so much happening in the world that I could easily pull into my book. Research is part of an author's job and I ensure my readers are educated and entertained. If that resonated with you, then it's mission accomplished.

How difficult was it to put your words when you were writing about religions such as Islam or Christianity as we know people get hurt very easily these days?

I told one of my beta readers: this is the most nervous I have been. I read and re-read those chapters and tempered my language best as I could. There's even a disclaimer. Eventually, there's just so much I can water down beyond which I've lost the crux of the story. A reader can spot if the author is holding back his / her punches. As an author you have to take bold steps, you have to mature, and you have to balance all of that with your readers' perceptions. I think I've managed it, don't you? In fact, don't you feel that the twist in the plot informs readers that I mean no offense? What's in the book is a reflection of real world religion-politics.

How soon are we going to read the next book in the "A Luc FortesqueAdventure"?

Not for a while. I've got a Escape Book#2 due out end 2021/ start 2022. Then there's my long anticipated 'Indian hero' series which I'm very excited about.

Any words for your readers who have been inspiring you to write since your 1st book.

Thank you, really, for sticking around and giving me the opportunity to entertain you again and again. Your loyalty is something I don't take lightly and you can trust that I'm always striving to outbeat the previous book. Thank you. Again!



Thursday, April 1, 2021

Bindu Tandon: "I had to keep a writing schedule, a place at my desk, a few mantras and the bell off.." (Interview)


As I wrote in one of my reviews recently that I don’t generally pick short stories or anthologies because I find it hard to connect with them but I keep trying one or the other books occasionally in order to see if any author has written a book capable of keeping me intriguing with the stories and concepts. I found one such books recently named “Of Beasts and Beauty” written by the authoress, Bindu. I really liked it and thought of knowing author’s perspective in order to understand what she thinks while writing such stories which are so different from each other. So, please go through the short interview I had with her just 2 days back….


Hi Bindu, so how do you feel now after becoming a published author finally?

Thrilled at making it. Nervous at fitting in! No longer am I a dilettante, playing with words and stories. I will be assessed. I will be required to answer questions from readers and critics.

Tell us something about since when you started writing and the first time, the thought occurred to you for writing a book.

I have an unfinished, mostly finished book lying in a bottom drawer. I wrote that a little over a decade back.


Please let us know about your anthology- "Of Beasts & Beauty".

The collection occurred in the spaces between writing the 18 chapters of my book. These 13 stories have overtaken the original conception and are my passport to completion and publication (hopefully) of the book. They are complete in themselves and owe nothing to my book. The learning from writing these stories will make my book a better book.


Why did you think of writing Short Stories and not a full-fledged novel?

Fully attributable to multiple rejections slips from the great publishers of India. So instead of falling dead at the foot of the unclimbable mountain, I found a way around it.


Will we see a full-fledged novel from you in near future?

Very soon.

Before that though Garuda Prakashan will bring out translations in Hindi, work for which is under way!


How do you manage to write along with so many personal and professional responsibilities?

Writing to a deadline is the way to go I have found.  The ideas come when you have to finish the story. But the refining of it, the search for its soul needs silence, time and mulling.

I had to keep a writing schedule, a place at my desk, a few mantras and the bell off.



Do you think spirituality helps in writing and forming better stories?

This is a lovely question. Unexpected and very perceptive.

A story must have life. Be connected to what makes life pleasurable, livable or horrible.  I found that the asymmetry of life that I explore, the hurts and the hates that I end up writing about are manageable only with reference to a strong core inside me.


How did you write these 13 stories - based on your creativity or did you get some inspiration around you?

Many of them are based on a germ of a story from real life around me. Mumbai with its vertical living seals you off from your neighbor. At the same time leaves you to imagine what might be going on. It thus provides perfect material for a story, allowing the word to be linked to reality and yet flying free.

There is inspiration for stories all around you. In the lore of Jim Corbett or the sight of a leopard and a temple, or the hobo at the seaside. Dying of a parent. Grief at the state of sculpting. Anger at sneering articles on India…

If you want to write, the material is inexhaustible.


Which is your favorite story of all from this book?

I Fell in Love with a Tipsy Gypsy.


We saw in your bio on the book that you perform meditation twice a day. What kind of benefit or changes do you find in yourself since you begun this practice?

I admit that you cannot continue to do dhyan unless it overtakes you. So as one in the clutches of dhyan, I admit that it has deepened all that was good in me and is slowly erasing that which held me back.


Any words for other aspiring authors.

Yes. Write. Don’t copy. Dream. Want it so badly that you do it.  Find people who are like-minded. Read to them. Hear them read.

I don’t watch too much cinema. I don’t want too many packaged ideas and images. I think that helps.

Don’t copy style.


Find a mentor who supports you and who can give you gyaan.





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