‘The Carrie Bradshaw of Indian Writing’


Hello & Welcome Back Book lovers.  202

Hope you having a joyous season.

We always try and get you candid with author’s who write on different genres, their private and serene lifestyles, their quirky habits and what makes them an author. Hope we are doing a good job of it and living up to the expectations of our readers.

Today on the Hot Seat we have a Fabulously Gorgeous, Boldly Articulate & a Page Turning vivacious author.

All those who love chick flick novels that make you laugh, cry, confused and leave you with illusions of Mr Right and love, you need to read Madhuri Banerjee’s Books. Her take on love, life, sex and men will take you on roller-coaster ride of emotions. If you loved the ladies and the stories of Sex and The City you will love her books.

Madhuri’s frank  and impudent writing has made her first book “Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas” a runaway bestseller. Her 2nd Book “Mistakes Like Love and Sex” was released last month and is already on its way to become a bestselling book. The 2nd book is a sequel.

A complete movie buff at heart, Madhuri also has a background of Film and TV having worked with Zoom and various Production Houses. She holds an English Honours degree of Lady Shri Ram College Delhi. She spends most of her leisure time reading, travelling around the world and having a good time with her friends.

Here is an extract of her interview.

1.Your books have such catchy titles that grab quick attention. Do you come up with the names for your books & Do they help in grabbing a Reader’s attention while buying?

Yes I do come up with the names for my books. They do help in catching some attention. But they also limit the readership. Conservative people won’t pick up the book even if it’s about simple relationships and love stories. So it’s a catch 22.

2. Is your character Kaveri anything like you? Did you discover your journey of life while writing this book?

Kaveri is a lot like me but not completely. I am extremely head strong, focussed and determined. Kaveri goes with the flow. She may be super intelligent and well travelled but she fumbles when it comes to love. The only similarity between her and me is that we’re both very loyal to our friends and we adore our parents.

3.Tell us how has Kaveri evolved in the 2nd book..Has she become even more bolder and wiser in the 2nd book?

Kaveri definitely has more sex in the second novel!. She makes new friends and sheds inhibitions about love and life. But she still makes mistakes. She’s sensible enough to acknowledge them and owns up to them. That shows growth of character in her. But she still goes with her heart on most things. She’s still the same girl who’s looking for someone to love her. In Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas she believes she needs a man to complete her. In Mistakes Like Love And Sex she looks for someone to complement her.

4. Are you a reclusive writer or you prefer going out and drawing inspirations from your experiences?

I go out, meet new people, catch up with old friends, and listen to their stories. So I might be inspired by their body language,their opinions on things and incorporate a bit of that in a character in my book. However, as for scenes, situations, plots, character growth and climax, that’s just my imagination going wild! 

5.You books are very Spicy, Animated, Comically funny at times…Any plans of making a film on it?

Inshallah! I do hope to make my books into films. Every author would love to see his idea on celluloid. If a filmmaker can do justice to it then I would be very happy to see my book as a film.

6. Your favourite Chick Flick Novels?

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak.

7. Your ideal Man is..

an amalgamation of Arjun, Aaron, Ray, Siddharth and Ayaan. J

8. Your awkward moments..

Oh so many! Every day! I kept calling someone Arjun and he kept reminding me that was not his name but for me he fitted into that character in Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas.

9. Favourite City & Food –

Delhi for the food.

10. Do you believe in love stories –

Of course. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write them!

11. Your Opinion on The Indian writing & Indian Publishing. –

Many people are being published nowadays. The market has opened up to people wanting to read about something familiar and find identifiable characters in books. Indian writing has really come of age and many publishing houses are opening their doors to Indian writers rather than courting the West. It’s a wonderful time to be an author.

Price: Rs 199

Publisher: Penguin Books India

Signing Off For Now..

Until Next Time Geeks

Happy Reading!

Crossword Bookstores

To give your feedback and complaints please write to crosswordconnect@gmail.com

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The Name is Bond…


 

Away from the noises of city life in the hilly green areas of Mussoorie lives the beloved Rusty.He enjoys short naps, long walk beside the hills and his room full of books.   

 

Most of our Readers would have read his stories as kids either in their textbooks or would have watched movies based on his books (Saat Khoon Maaf,Junoon, )This Beloved Children’s author who is nearly 80 years old will make you laugh and smile with his witty humour, spell bounding storytelling and his mischievous smile.

 

He prefers maintaining a low profile and confines himself to the greener pastures of Mussoorie .Not very fond of travelling he prefers only to get out of his comfort zone only to meet his readers and audience. A Bona fide lazy person as he calls himself his daily routine consists of eat sleep and read.

His New Fiction book Titles Maharani has recently released by Penguin India across stores.

 

When we put him in hot seat, here’s what he had to say..

 

You have stayed in Mussoorie for so many years. Whereas authors prefer to travel a lot to draw inspiration. Does the city of hills make you a better author?

I have been living here since 50 year now. Love the greenery around me.  Have grown trees here and watch them grow. I enjoy spending time writing here by the hill side.  My adopted family is here and they take good care of me here. One of the major reasons I moved to Mussoorie was in 60’s I had just left Delhi to be  a free-lance writer and Mussoorie seemed the natural option to shift because of the proximity. Also I am in love with the city and don’t feel like going anywhere.

 

How much of your self do you portray in your books?

I am a very subjective writer. For me Fiction always overtakes reality. Of what I write 2/3 accounts for fiction and the rest all are experiences I draw from my own life. Most of my stories are written in the first person context so people tend to conclude the stories are based on my life. My writings draw inspirations from childhood memories and people who I have met over the years. I  suffer from vivid imaginations which are purely fictitious.

 

Your new book Maharani talks about love and friendship. How does the Mr Ruskin Bond perceive love to be?

(Laughing) Well I have always been in love.. I was in love in 20’s in my 30’s in my 40’s. I have never stopped falling out of love. I have just stopped  expecting the same intensity of love that I feel. My expectations and imagination of love is always high due to which I have had some disappointments in life. Probably one of the reasons I never got married.  I think I am charming, cynical at times,  not  bad catch after all.

 

Tell us some peculiar characteristics about Maharani ?

Bold..Unconventional..Strong Minded..Entertaining..Smart..Has had Many affairs in the past.. She is somebody who will keep you glued to the book.

 

Your Favourite reads..

I have grown up reading books that were written in 40’s and the 50’s,.. I like to read a lot of Detective fiction and Crime Novels by Peter Robinson, Robert Gordon. My favourite book currently is ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte. I read it some 60 years back and it had kept me up all night and when I picked the book again to read it currently it again kept me up all night.. That to me is a test of a good novel. Plus the characters in the book are very strong and gripping. Also Emily Bronte writing is very passionate.

 

In the days when authors and publishers are catching on social media bandwagon and promoting themselves heavily you choose to stay aloof from all of it..your views..?

I think it’s the need of the hour since there are some writers and publishing houses spread all across. And competition is increasing. When I had starting writing I use to send the books out to the world hoping that somebody will read.. Scenarios have changed a lot today the backgrounds of my time were different and of today are different.. I grew up during the British Raj and today kids grow up with mobile, internet, tv and much more. The only thing constant is the writing values that a writer possesses. These days’ writers talk about their book on Facebook and all. But for me I prefer the old fashion way.. I keep away from the limelight. I always prefer to connect to my readers face to face.. I stay away from literary festivals as there are more so over for authors to meet together. Also I prefer stepping out and do a bookstore reading or session for my readers. You see we authors have big egos and we need to be pleased all the time through different mediums… even though I have a big ego, my way of life is very reserved to my readers and family and I prefer it that way. You can call me an old school person.

 

About Maharani:

Maharani who drink too much, the real story of Jim Corbett, and friendly ghosts – a magical novella from Ruskin Bond! 

H.H. is the spoilt, selfish, beautiful widow of the Maharajah of Mastipur. She lives with her dogs and her caretaker, Hans, in an enormous old house in Mussorie, taking lovers and discarding them, drinking too much, and fending off her reckless sons who are waiting hungrily for their inheritance. The seasons come and go, hotels burns down, cinemas shut shop, and people leave the hill station never to return. But H.H. remains constant and indomitable. Observing her antics, often with disapproval, is her old friend Ruskin, who can never quite cut himself off from her. Melancholic, wry and full of charm, Maharani is a delightful novella about love, death and friendship. 

About The Author
Ruskin Bond is the acclaimed author of over five hundred novellas, stories, essays and poetry, all of which has established him as one of the India’s most beloved writers. His most recent work are Secrets and Susannas Seven Husbands which was turned into the film Saat Khoon Maaf. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1993 and the Padma Shri in 1999.

 

Price: Rs 299  

 

Signing off for Now..

 

Until Next time Geeks.

 

Happy Reading!

 

Crossword Bookstores.

Book Review: ‘Pax Indica: India and the World in the 21st Century’


Hello & Welcome Back Book Lovers

We are back with your dose of Bookipedia.

Today we have a very interesting and in depth review written by Our new Guest Geek Blogger Katherine Abraham (Lets hear some applause).

A Bright and Talented Young Reader, She has beautifully articulated the book for us.

 Do Read the Review below and drop in your Comments.

 And all those who still want to be part of our Crossword Geek Blogger Program do write to us at crosswordconnect@gmail.com.

 

India’s Diplomatic Conundrum: Pax Indica

“Pax Indica” is the thirteenth feather in the cap of the Author- Diplomat turned Politician Shashi Tharoor. This engaging read stretches over 11 chapters and 428 pages, written with precision, clarity and an idea to introduce Indians and non- Indians to the concept, crux and complexities of India’s Foreign Policy.

At first sight the image on the book jacket which depicts an Indian Elephant trudging over the Globe may render the reader a feeling that the book is sure to lead the argument on the hallowed Indian ‘Superpower’. However the very first few pages make it amply clear that the Author has no remote inclination of declaring India as a Superpower just yet. Page 351 of the book dispels all doubts on this issue in a single question, “Can we be taken seriously as a potential world leader in the 21st century if we do not develop develop the institutions, the practices, the personnel and the mind-set required to lead in the global arena?”

The Latin title ‘Pax Indica’ literally translates as ‘Peace – India.’ One is forced to contemplate if there should in fact be a question mark at the end of that phrase because as one reads through, the views evinced come off as rather tangential, as it highlights the reasons India is struggling with to make Peace in its neighbourhood.

Staying true to the Historian in him Shashi Tharoor begins by re- visiting the past, reminiscing the tenets of the Nehruvian policy and then poses the question, “What would a ‘Pax Indica’ look like?” The answer to this is found in the ensuing chapters.

Eliciting views comes naturally for someone who has spent more than half his life in the global arena. The superiority of this book lies in the fact that each chapter begins with a briefing on the historical ties that each of these countries shares with India while gradually steering its way to the present situation and the current posit of these relations. The book which serves as an exposé goes on to elaborate on the capricious Indo- Pak relationship laying the bare facts without feigning optimism. While the author talks of the need for better relations, the book poses a lot of questions with fewer answers. One would expect a diplomat to share his blueprint for solutions to the same.

The author adopts a positive note on Afghanistan’s ability to develop as a hub of trade which will prove instrumental in connecting central and south Asia. The Author refers to his tenure as the Minister of State for External Affairs while subtly dropping a line on the superficiality of the Indian Foreign Policy when he uses the phrase ‘Official India’ on page 89.

The Grand Finale in the book namely its last two chapters are expansive, educative, eye- openers on questions a lot of IFS aspirants have been asking and the lacuna that exist in the Indian Executive.

As to the question on NRIs Shashi Tharoor very aptly sums their importance in three simple words : Pride, Support and Investments. The author continues to give the readers the idea of Dem0cracy and Diversity.

Structurally, the book is well divided. Each paragraph centres around a single thought. The paragraph ends and so does the point of focus.

It is commendable that the Author ensures to draw the attention of readers to the neglected Indian Foreign Service and weaves the past problems encountered by various Ministers and the laxity on the part of successive governments although he himself is a part of the system.

The book however falls short in a few places especially when dealing with Indo- Maldivean relations. One gets the feel that the passage has almost been hastily jotted down, perhaps in the quest to avoid leaving any country. Given the author’s current political standing one can only presume that a policy of caution has been maintained consistently.. At many levels the Author’s hopes for a shared world vision and a Multi polar world is appreciable but rather a distant dream as of now.

The essence of the book lies in the Author’s statement, “Diplomatic initiatives need to be converted into commercial, touristic and investment opportunities.”

A recommended read for all, those expecting the book to be a deep and intense analysis of Indian Foreign Policy must read the Author’s Acknowledgments where he explicitly states that ‘Pax Indica’ is an ‘extended analytical essay devoid of footnotes and reference material.’

The size of the book need not intimidate any reader worried about a heavy read. The target audience in this case is rather wide because the wealth of information is of interest for young readers while the nuances of Foreign Policy making are sure to attract older readers.
With a perfect blend of history, culture and diplomacy, Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century, is a light enjoyable read on a rather heavy topic!

Giving it a 4/5 for its style of writing and 3.5/5 for its content.

Publisher : Penguin India

Author: Shashi Tharoor

Price: Rs 799