Lean in to relationships by Rishabh Jhol: Book Blast

About the Book:

Doubt
has pivoted many a relationship across the centuries. Whether it is Othello
suspicious of Desdemona or through the rise of paranoia as a trope in twentieth
century writings. While paranoia naturally suggests the vulnerability of
individual mind to social rhetoric, it is also the space for deep interrogation
of the individual that renders him/her to paranoia. This novel presents that
doubt has the potential to be a space of liberation.
Madeeha
works in Jordan to rehabilitate Syrian refugees. Zehen, a political analyst
from India, meets her in the US during their social impact program. He is
intrigued and charmed by her, and falls deeply in love. But the world political
climate, with its accompanying cultural narratives about terror and pain, infects
Zehen’s mind. Zehen begins to suspect Madeeha as a possible mujahid. Will he
find his truth?
Fear
doesn’t devastate; it stirs the inner pot. It is a tender love story that
triumphs heartbreaks and sets the foundation of deep lasting future relationships
– a delightful emancipation from social intrigues and cultural constraints.


Read an Excerpt:

Zehen
was experiencing sweet joy in his heart. Memories bustled in the head.
When
did he first see her? Zehen searched his head madly. Orientation session?
Corridor to the classroom? However, he tried, he couldn’t pinpoint the moment.
A whirr of images, of moments, yet-to-be collaged. And a heart that already had
a narrative, waiting to be inset.
We
imagine that all romantic stories will have a sigh-worthy romantic beginning.
But beginnings are when the heart awakens, when the soul remembers. A presence
stills and emerges from the shadows of time.
His
first memory was when she introduced herself in the class. They had gathered at
Presidium University for a one-year course on Social Impact Leadership. Outside,
the white fringe tree was laden with its grape-like fruits. The pine, oak and
spruce waited for winter to tell the world how unchangeable they were. And the
old Redwood stood proud like the institution itself. Inside, in the warm
classroom, students from various cultures across the world had gathered.
Icebreaker session was on and the usual round of introductions.
Introduction
is a ritual. A cumbersome ritual. How does one reduce the tapestry of one’s
entire existence, the colors, and the many weaves into a single palatable
thread?


The Book is Free on Amazon on 29th & 30th September. Grab it here: Amazon
Anecdote
I
published my first book in 2015 and my second book in early 2016. I was single
at the time and using dating apps to meet other single people. I met a girl in
mid-2016 who took fancy to my dating profile, especially that I am an author.
After a couple of meetings, She demanded that I write about her. I jokingly
told her that I am a Phoenix writer, i.e., I fall in love, get dumped, and
write about my failed relationship. She broke-up with me, and still invariably pings
whether I am including ‘her and our relationship’ in my upcoming book(s).
———————-
The
genesis of this book came about while I was on a cross-country train ride in
the US. I met Mark who had been a successful marketing professional with considerable
international marketing experience. He had travelled to all of Asia and
understood the regional peculiarities.
He
was later diagnosed with lung cancer. By the time, it was detected, it was
stage 3. He was put under radiation and intensive chemotherapy. He went in for
three other opinions. All of them agreed that the cancer was aggressive and
spreading fast. He searched for the latest treatments and sought to enter
clinical trials. The process lasted for two years.
In
the meantime, the cancer advanced. The doctors said the cancer was incurable
and he didn’t have long to live. It took him weeks of denial to come around to
the truth – he didn’t have long to live.
He
returned home from a long walk one evening and asked himself a crucial
question: “If I am going to die, then I might as well die straight away. What
is point of waiting for death to show up?”
That
evening he ate well, watched a movie with his girlfriend, poured himself a rare
scotch and sat at his study. It was time. He wrote out his letter – love and
wishes to his family, loved ones and friends, his last wishes about funeral,
information on his will, and a general note thanking all. He placed it in an
envelope. He planned to kill himself early morning. He finished his scotch,
brushed and went to bed.
In
the middle of night, he woke up to a noise. The light was on in the study and
he could hear sniffles. He walked cautiously up and there in the study, his
girlfriend was holding his suicide letter and crying. He watched her as her
body crumpled and sink into chair. Her face contorted in agony. In her face, he
saw what was the consequence of his action. The penny dropped.
I
paled and listened in horror. Mark continued, “I realized that our life is
never ours. We are nothing but a bundle of emotions for the people who love us
and the people we love. The meaning of life is to optimize for the happiness of
such people. There’s nothing more to living.
That
day on, I have been living for maximizing the happiness of my loved ones”
That’s
how I stumbled on lean in to relationships; it has become my life philosophy.
About
the Author
 

I
was born into poverty. At the time of my birth, my parents shared a one -room
hut with six other family members in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Delhi.
It
was a hot day in the month of March 1995. I was in standard 4th and had an
examination the following day. As was regular in that locality, we didn’t have
electricity that day. I couldn’t study or sleep properly. One of the watershed
moments happened when I came back from school the next day. We had an inverter
installed at home. I knew we couldn’t afford an inverter. But my dad was always
convinced that the way out of poverty for our family is through education. 
Despite
an interest in creative writing, I chose to study a subject that society values
more – Finance.  Later, I got into one of
the top colleges for finance in the country. My first salary out of college (in
2007, when I was 20 years old) was higher than that of my dad’s salary at the time.
When
I was 24 years old, I had everything that makes one happy – loving parents,
great partner, close-knit group of friends, and career path that exceeded every
goal. Yet, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t sad either; but it never felt like my life.
I had carefully and meticulously built that life though. Contextually, it was
the safe thing to do.
Following
year though, I had to deal with the loss of my 7 year old relationship and of
my 5 year old job. My identity was crushed. My biggest lesson was that you can
fail at what you don’t want, and what you consider safe; you might as well take
a chance at what you truly want.
Next
year, I got my ‘ideal’ job but walked away from it. Failure had taught me to be
more ambitious and audacious. I had reached a point in my life where I wanted
my work to have more meaning; and to stand for something more important than
myself.
I
started a political consulting company to maneuver social ascendance of
marginalized communities by equalizing access to political capital.  I primarily did topical research for MPs for
their debates in the parliament and on TV shows.  Partial project list includes:
1.  
Providing 108 rape survivors with medical,
legal, financial, and social support over six months through one of my client’s
NGO
2.  
Getting amendments passed in the communal
violence bill that tackle systemic bias towards Muslims
3.  
Helping three social entrepreneurs raise a
combined total of INR 43 lakhs from their MP for community initiatives
Along
with running my own company, I focused on my passion for writing and traveling
as well.  I solo travelled to all seven
wonders of the world, and did two-cross country trips by train in India and in
the US.  I have also written and
published three fiction novels.


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Angad Hasija back on Waaris!!!

All the ladies, gentlemen and the daily soap junkies, Good news!!! Is Waaris on &TV, one of your favourite shows? Then get ready for some action packed entertainment on your weekdays. The handsome hunk Angad Hasija, who captivated the audience with his negative character of Chandar in the popular show of Waaris on &TV is making a comeback. Angad will be back with a deadly plan to seek revenge for what happened a decade back in the show.

This time, he is going to be even more evil as he is full of vengeance. Chandar’s comeback is in the role of a baba who revives young girls from their ill health. Excited with his comeback, Chandar shares “I am extremely thrilled to come back on the show. While working on Waaris I bonded well with all the co-stars and the director. They all are really happy to see me again. My character of Chandar is more dangerous and furious than before. You will see his darker side this time as he intends to take revenge. One thing which really excites me most is that I am completely opposite to the character which makes it more challenging and fun to play. I am really geared up for this role.”

To catch Chandar back in action, keep watching Waaris at 10 pm, Monday to Friday only on &TV.

Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer: Release day blitz

~ Release Day Blitz ~
Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer
12th August, 2017
Long before the times of Draupadi and Sita
Immortalised in the hymns of the Rig Veda
But largely forgotten to the memory of India
Is the Warrior Queen with an iron leg, Vishpala
Brought up in the pristine forest school of Naimisha, Avishi reaches the republic of Ashtagani in search of her destiny. When Khela, the oppressive King of the neighbouring Vrishabhavati begins to overwhelm and invade Ashtagani, Avishi rises to protect her settlement. But peril pursues her everywhere.
Separated from her love, her settlement broken, with a brutal injury needing amputation of her leg, can Avishi overcome Khela?
Read an Excerpt
“I am the Queen! This will be my throne!” The seven-year-old chirped leaping from the middle of the porch towards the broken mortar which served as a mock throne. “You will be my guard!”
“Guard?” the man pondered scratching his unkempt beard.
“No.” He shook his head and smiled seeing her indignant eyes. “I will be the Queen’s elephant.” He beamed.
Sukratu stepped out of the house to see his daughter in action, perching herself on the tramp Loha’s back, pretending in all earnestness that he was her elephant. He smiled and was about to set out for his duty as the night guard of the King. A sudden lightning appeared in the eastern skies. Sukratu had barely walked a few paces when a deafening thunder made him instinctively turn towards home. He heaved a sigh, finding Loha shielding the girl as if he would, his own child.
“Father, don’t go.” The girl pleaded.
Sukratu smiled and shifted his gaze towards the sky. He saw dark clouds loom over the city. The monsoon winds had started to make their presence felt. He had to reach the palace soon. “Isn’t my little Queen brave?” He called out.
The girl nodded. He saw the fear fade. From her eyes. From her heart. She knew she was the queen! Pride filled his heart. His mind ached to stay home but duty beckoned. Tearing his gaze away from the one he treasured the most in his life, braving the drizzle that would soon turn into a storm, he unwillingly walked towards the King’s residence. Sukratu’s house was in the third ring of the concentric structure of Vrishabhavati. In the centre, was the structure, that served as the residence of the king and as the centre of all trade activity of the city. Here no wealth or goods could change hands without the king’s knowledge and approval. The residences of the noblemen formed the two rings around it. The guards and soldiers forming the outermost circle with the citizens living around them.
As per the protocol, Sukratu approached General Ugra’s residence quite ahead of his reporting time— an hour before the moonrise. He walked into the empty courtyard. But the rain made it impossible for him to stand there any longer. He knocked at the giant wooden door fervently. The doors creaked as a strange woman clad in a dark indigo garment opened them and glared at him with a frown on her forehead.
General Ugra, Sukratu knew was never faithful to one woman. His superior’s romantic exploits were not his concern either. But something about the woman at the door disconcerted him. “Please let General Ugra know that…”
“He has already left for the palace!” The woman frowned before attempting to shut the door.
“What? How ca…” Sukratu’s words hung in air as the door slammed on his face and the woman disappeared from his line of vision all of a sudden. Something did not feel right. He knocked at the door again. Firmly this time, as though seeking answers. Any change in the reporting time would have been announced the day before and he remembered that nothing of the sort had happened. His knocks went unanswered. Frowning and muttering under his breath, Sukratu hurried towards an empty cowshed three houses away from Ugra’s place hoping to catch his companions who he knew would be equally surprised.
The first to arrive was Khela, the eighteen-year-old guard, holding a metal shield above his head. The newest addition to the King’s guard, Khela was related to General Ugra and Sukratu felt that his position in the King’s guard was largely a result of undue favours that Ugra showered upon an otherwise impudent boy.
“Sukratu! By the great Varuna, I should have come to you earlier!” Khela hurried towards him. Pausing for breath, he added. “Our platoon has been given a relief tonight! It was a sudden decision and I personally informed all the others.”
“Relief for tonight? That happens only when…”
“Our guarding hours change from night to day!” Khela completed in a hurry. “Now, come with me.” He turned towards the western direction and the javelin he held started to sway dangerously and came close to grazing Sukratu’s arm.
The older guard’s instincts made him dodge the cut. “Where?” Sukratu hissed, visibly annoyed, first with the fact that he was kept in dark about the change in guarding hours and then about Khela’s irreverent behaviour. “And watch who your weapon hurts, boy.”
Khela shrugged and changed the position of his weapon. “We are now going to the place.” He winked, stretching his hand in the direction. “Follow me, this is the only night we get to have some fun.”
Sukratu did not move. The place he knew implied the tavern where wine was served. “We cannot drink tonight, Khela. When do we have to report tomorrow? By sunrise?”
“You ask too many questions. The rest of us are there too!”
“That does not answer my question.”
“Well, I don’t know, and I don’t care to. The palace is paying for the wine. Are you coming or not?”
The last sentence sounded more like a threat than an invite. Sukratu had all the mind to give the youth a piece of his mind and storm back home. His daughter would be overjoyed to see him before she went to sleep. It gnawed at Sukratu’s heart every day to leave her under the care of Loha— the tramp who had begged him for shelter about six months ago and then became a part of his life. The girl liked him instantly and had begged Sukratu to let Loha live with them and he, despite his misgivings about the tramp’s origins and his unkempt appearance, could not refuse his only daughter. Over time, Sukratu felt grateful for Loha’s company. Now his daughter did not have to be all by herself every night. The guard’s home would have been unguarded if not for that stranger. Sukratu brushed aside these thoughts and had almost decided to go home when the thought of meeting other senior guards and clarifying the confusion struck him. He followed Khela’s lead, making no attempt to hide his displeasure.
When they reached the tavern, Sukratu to his dismay, found many of his brothers in arms deeply drunk. “When did they reach here and when did they…”
“Quite some time before. I just forgot to tell you in advance!”
Sukratu’s eyes scrutinized the men and women of the tavern who were serving wine to the guards. There were no other citizens or travellers in the tavern.
“Just for us, the whole night!” Khela said as if reading his thoughts, bringing him an earthen goblet.
The older guard accepted the goblet taking his first sip with a sense of foreboding.
“Where were you all the time, old friend?” The voice belonged to Tunga one of the senior guards in the platoon.
The grin on his friend’s face brought a smile to Sukratu’s lips. “Tunga, what is this about the sudden change in our guarding hours?”
“The King… that imbecile, has finally remembered that we are human too!” Tunga guffawed, emptying his goblet, waving vigorously at a woman of the tavern who obliged with a seductive wink.
She approached them, skilfully distributing her attention between both the men, winking at Tunga and pouting her lips at Sukratu. Her brows rose at Sukratu’s filled cup. “Don’t keep the Sura nor this Sundari waiting, my love…” Serving Tunga his wine, she placed her fingers upon Sukratu’s shoulders, digging her nails into his skin for a moment locking her gaze with his and turned around swiftly, letting her light upper garment rest on his face for a fleeting moment.
It was a wilful invitation and Sukratu knew it. His attention though was caught by the colour of the garment. The Indigo hued garment! All the women of the tavern wore clothes of the same colour. So did the woman he saw in General Ugra’s house! Was Ugra at home while the woman lied that he was at the palace? If the General and the whole platoon of the night guard were lying down drunk, who was minding the security of the King? Sukratu looked at the rest of the guards. No one seemed sober enough to talk. The only sober man Khela had disappeared!
“By the great Varuna!” Sukratu exclaimed aloud and rushed out, pushing the woman who tried to stop him away.
He raced to the King’s residence, as fast as his legs could carry him. The huge wooden gates of the structure were closed and secured from inside. The rain lashed drowning his cries. Misgivings regarding the King’s welfare made him shudder. He had to meet General Ugra. Something told him that the General had his own reasons to send the whole platoon of guards to enjoy a drunk night. He was a guard who had sworn to protect the King with his life. The general owed him an answer. Sukratu rushed to General Ugra’s house determined to confront him.
That, Sukratu realized was the biggest mistake of his life.
At the gates of the general’s residence he saw a familiar figure hurrying out of his house, a heavy bundle on his shoulders. “General Ugra!” he called out, feeling relieved.
The figure started, and the bundle fell to the ground. Sukratu came to a sudden halt as he realized it wasn’t a bundle after all, but a blood-drenched corpse. A stroke of lightning from the sky revealed the face and the very familiar greying curls. Sukratu froze for a long moment before he could speak.
 “K… King…”
Something hit him on the head even before he could utter the name. Sukratu staggered, reeling at the impact, clutching at his long sword in a vain attempt to defend the next move.
“Finish him!” The General shout behind him.
Before he turned around, Sukratu felt the cold metal tear into his back. Lightning struck revealing the contours of the person. Khela! The javelin stabbed him again. Thunder drowned his screams. Falling to the ground with the weapon still stuck to his back, Sukratu lifted his sword and managed to slash Khela’s palm though the latter, unlike him was vigilant and alert. Crawling away from the menacing duo, knowing very well that he could not last more than a few moments, Sukratu’s thoughts, went to his innocent daughter. She would now languish as an orphan remaining in dark about the monsters who killed her father. Or would they kill her too?
Sukratu would never know.
About the Author:
Saiswaroopa is an IITian and a former investment analyst turned author. Her keen interest in ancient Indian history, literature and culture made her take to writing. Her debut novel Abhaya, set in the times of Mahabharata was published in 2015. Avishi, her second novel set in Vedic India explores the legend of India’s first mentioned female warrior queen Vishpala.
She holds a certificate in Puranas from Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She is also trained in Carnatic Classical music and has won a state level gold medal from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.

 

Vishwamitra by Vineet Aggrawal: Book Blast

Vishwamitra by Dr. Vineet Aggarwal
Indian Mythological Fiction
~ Book Blitz ~
11th August, 2017

 

When Satyavati, wife of Rishi Ruchik,
exchanges with her mother the magic potion for bearing a child, they change not
just their children’s destiny, but also the history of mankind. Born of this
mix up is Vishwamitra, the son of a Kshatriya, who strives to become a
Brahmarishi—the ultimate and most powerful of all Gurus.
Vishwamitra is the powerful story of a
brave but stubborn, haughty yet compassionate, visionary king of Aryavarta who
not only acquires material wealth through military conquests but also becomes
one of the most well-known sages of all times.
If you like… Then you will enjoy Vishwamitra
  1. If you like to read about India’s rich, ancient history, in an easy to read manner, you will love Vishwamitra
  2. If you have ever wondered if the ancients had any knowledge of space & science, you should check out Vishwamitra, the story of the man who created an entire new star system!
  3. If you like reading romance, take time to check out this unlikely love story between a human and an Apsara! Did you know Vishwamitra & Menaka lived together for ten long years?
  4. If you like reading stores that inspire –  check out Vishwamitra, the story of an ordinary man who even dared to challenge the gods!
  5. If you have liked any retelling of India’s original epic Ramayan, you should check out Vishwamitra –  the story of the man who became the guru of Rama, the Scion of Ikshvaku!

 

About the Author
Dr. Vineet
Aggarwal is described by many as a doctor by qualification, manager by
profession and artist by temperament. Born in a family of doctors, he
successfully completed an initial stint with the family occupation before
deciding to venture into pharmaceutical management and currently pursues
writing and photography as a passion.
He is the author
of popular online blogs ‘Decode Hindu Mythology’ and ‘Fraternity Against
Terrorism and Extremism’ and the author of books ‘Vishwamitra – The Man who
dared to challenge the Gods’ and ‘The Legend of Parshu-Raam’
 
 

 

Breathing two worlds by Ruchira Khanna: Book Review

Book: Breathing two worlds
Author: Ruchira Khanna
Published: 24th April, 2017
Number of pages: EBook, 181

About the book:

Neena Arya, a Delhi-born goes abroad for further studies and decides to settle down there. Determined to be a ‘somebody’ from a ‘nobody’ she blends with the Americans via the accent and their mannerisms while having a live-in relationship with her European boyfriend, Adan Somoza.

When illness hits home, Neena rushes to meet her ailing dad. Tragedy strikes and amidst the mingling with relatives and friends, she finds herself suffocated with the two different cultures that she has been breathing since she moved to the United States. How will she strike Continue reading

Ethnic wear with a twist

India is a land of diversities; diversity in the language people speak, food habits, festivals celebrated, marriage rituals, etc are the specialty of India. Festivals are like life and soul of Indian tradition. Festivals in India mean get-together with friends and relatives, cooking special dishes, lots of music, celebration, enjoyment and also shopping. Wearing ethnic clothes during festivals, marriage functions and special occasions is an integral part of such celebrations.

But, ethnic wear does not have to be the same old boring stuff. The latest modern trends are meant not only for western wear, now even our ethnic dresses are not lagging behind. You can get ethnic clothes like Saree, Lehenga Choli, Designer Sarees, Salwar suit, Anarkalies, Designer Blouses, Gowns, etc easily Continue reading