Saturday, January 30, 2016

Book Review: Jangshersingh.com by Vishal Bhatia

Title: Jangshersingh.com
Author: Vishal Bhatia
Publisher: Quixotic Options Pvt. Ltd.
Genre: Fiction
Date:  2015
Price: Rs.350
Pages: 238

The story begins with a very young Jangsher romancing in the picturesque backdrop of the lush green fields of Punjab with his first love, Reet. It gives him scars both outside and within, rather outside-in when her brothers beat him and take her away. Swish past this part we witness a budding champion on a tennis court making his opponent bleed, before he claims victory. Jangsher Singh, now the pride of his grandfather, the asset of his mother and the love of his girlfreind Sally; is the wild card entry from India into the Grand Slam held at Australia. 

On a parallel lane two Indian cousins Yug and Aman, get on a weekend getaway to watch the finals of the Grand Slam in a very expensive, borrowed Audi R8, aptly called "Flame". What they get into is a greater adventure as upon collision with a goon, on the way, they loose the car to him. On one hand the car which is to be returned to their owner, on another the goon wishes to extort money creates a walk on a tightrope situation. However being from a country where crisis drives innovation they make a plan to rescue them both. As always will their plans lead them to a greater action than the one they plan? 

When I picked up this book I thought it was the story of man hailing from India, with his own demons, past, trying to make it big in the world of sports. However I was amazed by the writing style which is very unique. If I can justify it, it has a zing to it much like what a story such as this would need; else it would be "just another book" and not sporting enough to get you interested in to the story and not just the backdrop that is "tennis". However the amalgamation of the language especially in the Aman-Yug -Gangster story with Jangsher facing the greatest world champions of grandslam makes a concoction that makes you ask "what next" through each chapter.

A lot of books that we read ask us many questions, some our very own identity, However a few stories are a mirror that move so close to you that reflect your life, your demons and the way they influence your present. The best part about this book was the realistic picturization of the challenge as Jangsher moves from being considered as "just the wild card" to "he who must be feared, his demons were the ones within him and not the ones outside. They say some demons always stay and I am sure every reader reading this book will identify more with the person that is Jangshersingh than the player, for many times while facing tough times you would have gone through the same. Will he win over them? Over the current ones? Will he be a champion inside-out? Well go read the book for that.

The story in essence is entertaining, writing witty and insightful and the  editing crisp making it simply difficult to put down. 

Jangshersigh.com by Vishal Bhatia a book for everyone. A must read for those who savor the variety in the style of the written word. Vishal Bhatia definitely a budding writer to watch out for. 

Rating: 4/5.

About The Author: Vishal Bhatia lives and writes in Mumbai, India, where he manages a small portfolio of funds and is running a start-up focused on men’s lifestyle products. In his previous life, he was an IT consultant at banks in San Francisco and Sydney.

JANGSHERSINGH.COM is his first novel. He is working on his second—A memoir—about his journey from heart failure to supreme fitness.
Grab a copy now!!! http://www.amazon.in/jangshersingh-com-Vishal-Bhatia-ebook/dp/B013UEMPTQhttp://www.amazon.in/jangshersingh-com-Vishal-Bhatia-ebook/dp/B013UEMPTQ

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Unseen Child of Afghanistan ...... My Inspiration from 2015 for Life

It was the month of May in Delhi. In the scorching heat, I was thinking whether or not to go check out the art display by NGO's that worked in different underdeveloped nation. I hadn't been out for almost a month as a recent failure in life had it. It seemed that life would never be the same again, I had lost complete faith in myself. Though I tried to motivate myself every small disappointment at work, even some negative comments by colleagues reminded me of only one fact "I had failed" in what I wanted for myself in life.  

 The lady from the agency who looked after the press called again to confirm if I was coming. Considering how much effort had been put up and the fact that she reminded me that most of them was by women, the feminist and the art-lover in me won the battle. I therefore decided to go. Sometimes the universe does conspire for you towards things you dont know will help you in the long run. Now that I think of that day, it conspired hugely to leave a lasting impression on my mind, one that will motivate me for life.

The exhibition was held at The Ashok. I reached the venue in the evening when it had become a little more cooler. The vendors/volunteers were at their respective stalls trying their best to talk to each person visiting their stall and as it was all handicraft, be it food, jewellery or art they explained how everything was made. That aided both publicity and sales. I loved most of the things there. The ambience of the place, full of light, colours and aroma uplifted the spirits of everyone. The energy of the place was vibrating like it had a life of its own.

While relishing all of it and felling better after days, I spotted a stall where a handsome young gentleman with a warm smile was welcoming everyone to look at art from Afghanistan. The land has fascinated me in Khaled Hosseini's writings. Its beauty in wilderness. The land which Babur longed, Humayun wanted India to be and Akbar tried replicating. It was a ric country once but like everything beautiful is scarred by the human race, this country is sadly now in ruins. My feet took me there and I went as if in trance. I started looking at all the creations in awee. It was on wood as well as on paper. Each of it had such vibrant colours that I was surprised. How a land that has been a victim of such serious war reflect such liveliness. The handsome Britisher understood my confusion from my expression I suppose and started talking.

I asked him if this was by people from Afghanistan currently living there? He smiled and nodded yes. My next question was asked by him, "Are your surprised with the use of such vibrant colours?" I was ashamed at first for thinking in that manner but he smiled calmly and told me that when he visited the country first he thought like me but working for their upliftment had taught him at the spirit in those people was as live as their colours and reflected in their creation. I was dumbfounded, speechless and stood there wondering. He then asked me to look at some paintings. I liked a few of them, which were rough but had truth, honesty and they spoke, as if they had a story. 

The most striking painting that day is something as clear as my own reflection. It was a regular day painted and there was a cricket ground. A group of boys were playing on ground and smiling and half the painting had black smoke receding and the sun trying to peep through. The batsman in the painting had one mechanical leg. I was told it was a ten year old who had painted it. He had lost the leg during a bombing incident and hence the batsman was so, but he hoped one day when the dark clouds of hatred would leave the land, the sun will shine and he will achieve his dream of playing cricket like before with his friends. I was in tears when I heard the story. The young man told me this was the story of most children there, their body parts are amputated, they beg for food , they do not know what would happen tomorrow but in the midst of all of this what comes out from them, their actions are as if they will live to see a normal day, free from all of this. Their spirit is undying and that makes them go on.

Unable to contain myself longer I thanked the gentleman and headed straight home. It was a very overwhelming experience for me. Here I was crying for loosing one thing that mattered, but for that child everything he had today may not be there another day. He understood this, as he lost his own leg, yet he thought he would get an artificial leg and play cricket. He had such positive spirit for a simple dream he wanted in his life and I here was crying when my life had no such threat. I could still restart and do things differently. Every resource was at my disposal and nobody was bombing my nation, there was no uncertainty that I might get killed in my sleep and no wake up to see another day.

The lesson learnt was "there is someone who has seen worse than you, yet smiles and hopes for a better tomorrow, why cant you then?"

Since that day I stopped sulking for all minor and some major disappointments, knowing that as long as I am alive I can do a lot to change my reality. The beginning of which is my attitude towards life and its situations and I choose to be that child who taught me at the end of the day if you love cricket, play it, no matter what and there will be a sunny day so never sulk, smile and be positive. A ten year old child in war torn country can and so can I.

Inspiration comes from the simplest human beings like us, for more inspiring stories log on to 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Educate Your Daughter Series: Part 2: The Lost Classroom


It was to be my wedding day,
like every girl I had dreamt of it,
a person to share thoughts love and life,
I donot say it was something I didnt know was coming,
it however came sooner than I thought,
I was just out of school and missed the classroom, the blackboard and even exams;
but I trusted my parents had thought the best for I was also their child.
As I sat before the holy fire that was lit to purify the bond,
the mantras being chanted to ward of all ill and slowly build relationships of love,
though it was the only the two of us who sat there to be united as one,
in a few moments many relationships were to be formed,
I was going to be a part of a another family now,
a part of my name to be changed, a part of my identity,
I raised my eyelids where the dreams lay, to see him,
he looked at his father instead who nodded a "no",
he got up on the next cue and they left,
without looking at me even once,
my father with his turban in his hands kept requesting, begging and pleading,
they didnt care for him, his respect, his emotions;
it seemed the holy chant of mantras, the holy fire and invocation to Gods was not all,
these bondages for the next seven lives were sealed by
paper notes printed by man,
I was not sure who was wrong?
my father for cutting my wings or the man who had wronged him,
neither had thought about me afterall,
I sat there longing for the lost classroom, my notebook and pen....

Educate Your Daughter Series: Part 1: The Wish Unfulfilled



I sometimes wish to be that person who was not worldly wise,
the girl whose world began through the lanes within her eyes,
the one who could dance to any tune anywhere,
the one who would do all she dares,
Without ever bothering to care,
the one who wishes to run faster than a man,
the one who would carry her own last name,
One whom parents would look upto,
Probably trade off their sons for,
I wish to be light like a butterfly,
My wings all coloured by my desires as I set my flight,
I wish to jump cities, countries, continents and planets,
I wish to be the pride of my people
But alas,
today I was stopped from going to school,
my brother is the preferred child,
and I am the burden that will suffer probably till I die,
For my wings are clipped and hands tied.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Book Review: The Murder of Sonia Raikonnen by Salil Desai

Title: The Murder of Sonia Raikonnen
Author: Salil Desai
Publisher: Fingerprint Publishing
Genre: Murder Mystery (Fiction)
Date:  2015
Price: Rs.250
Pages: 326

The story begins with a strange incident that the author has chosen as a starter to leave the reader aghast and wondering "to themselves "did it really happen?", setting the perfect stage for the story to unfold. It then shifts to the plot where a woman's body has been found at the edge of a park near the wire mesh as if clinging for help. It is the corpse of Sonia Raikonnen, a Finnish citizen. The brutal murder of an NRI girl which looked like rape on a superficial view but only a disguise to depict that later sets in motion a hunt for her murderer. 

Inspector Salalkar gets gearing into finding who could be the killer, who could have the greatest motive in killing her. The writer chooses to move the story on multiple parallel tracks with each short chapter for a character involved which works beautifully as the multiple folds of mystery unravels. On one side one gets an insight into the life and people in Sonia's life but the writer brilliantly gives away only a little each time. Though the reader is made to think he can predict "what next" the author uses this strategy to add more layers of complication and confusion to case. As each person had a motive to kill Sonia, on one track is Badri Tiwari, a driver who runs away with Sonia's bag to his home town;on the other hand the news of her murder un-nerves a corrupt and maligned politician. Then her boyfriend Vaino tries to flee back to Finland before he is caught in the fear of being charged for killing her, as he had a big fight with Sonia visible to everyone in the hotel they were putting up at and he is sure to be a chief suspect.

Her parents are brought into picture who unravel the purpose of her repeated visits to India adds to the web woven thus far. Inspector Saralkar and his team members, each chase a different end and find each suspect equally convincing to have a motive to murder. Who actually did kill her is only unraveled much later with the writer revealing it in very clear terms.

The strategy of running on different parallel tracks yet making a puzzle appear unsolvable is a rare art and the writer exploits it completely indelible ring a book you would want to return to each time you have spare five minutes.An absolutely gripping and interesting thriller which plays on the confusion factor and takes the reader on a roller coaster ride. A recommended read in the genre. 

The writer has a flair for philosophy which is visible in his mild attempt to draw another tangent of Saralkar's wife wanting to adopt a child and Saralkar having seen a murdered child and her efforts to find her parents is not convinced. There is a tiff, confusion and conflict , but all too mild; something the writer did try but failed to shape to perfection. However at the end he goes into the logic of the whole happenings even after the case is solved and shut, and the last two chapters where he dissects and discusses the entire motive behind the murder of Sonia Raikonnnen are a delicious dessert after a good meal. 

The language is simple and the editing is crisp delivering it with no drag even for a line.Kudos to the editor here. All in all the story is like a puzzle that get miss arranged every time as anew piece is unraveled. A perfect blend for lovers of crime fiction.

Rating: 4 stars on 5

About the Author

Salil Desai is an author and film-maker. The Murder of Sonia Raikkonen is his fourth book and the second one in the Inspector Saralkar Mystery series. He has penned two more crime novels, Killing Ashish Karve and Murder on a Side Street, as well as a collection of short stories, Lost Libido and Other Gulp Fiction. His writing has been praised by well-known Indian authors Shashi Tharoor, Shobhaa De and Saaz Aggarwal, while his books have received good reviews in The Hindu, The Pioneer, DNA, First City, The Tribune, Afternoon Despatch & Courier, etc.

An alumnus of Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), his dramatized training videos (www.relivingindia.com) are much appreciated in the corporate world, while his short films Making Amends and To Khayega Kya have been screened at various film festivals. Salil also conducts workshops in creative writing and film making for aspiring authors at British Library and leading educational institutions. Over 400 articles, travelogues and features written by him have appeared in The Times of India, Indian Express, DNA, The Tribune, Readers Digest, etc. He lives with his wife and two sons in Pune


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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Author Interview: Indrani Singha Majumdar

In the effort to bring out stories from nascent and budding writers as they pave their way into telling their stories to the world, I collided with Indrani Singha Majumdar. Her story has a very fresh and novel plot which includes a daring move into having a transgender character live with a journalist in an unforeseen situation. The story that then unfolds in her book The Paradox of Vantage Point is the one close to human behavior, emotions, acceptance and society pressures. How much can we be the person we showcase and prophecise to be, with all our will and grandiloquence? Travelling through these rough territories the story does leave an impression on your mind and the writer behind is surprisingly very young for a plot of such intensity. We admire Indrani for she dared and therefore decided to know what makes her so. Here is the conversation with her. 

1. What does writing mean to you?
A: Till few years back I took writing as a medium to express myself. It still means the same, but the horizon has widen to the extent that now I just not want to weave a tale; I want to tell engaging stories that can bring a wave of change and from which the readers can take back something. I am not here to be a literary god. I just want to pen down a piece of literature which can help readers to get a self-check. I may or may not succeed. That is for the readers to decide. I will try to better myself with each book.

2. Describe your journey into writing?
A: I always loved writing ever since the shift from pencil to ink pen took place. I remember often my essays were read out loud in class as a mark of appreciation. That used to give me a high. I used to write diary entries for the purpose of giving words to my thoughts. However, I lost my track when I opted for Biotechnology as my graduation subject. It took me 3 long years to realize that this is not what I am meant to do. Finally, with great courage, I told my dad that I want to pursue my masters in Mass Communication. I started my career in content writing and many stories started developing in my mind. As a professional writer, writing technical things is fine for me. The Paradox of Vantage Point was an attempt to give a creative outlet to the story of social equality that I wanted to put across.

3. In your debut novel The Paradox of Vantage Point, what was conceived first: the story or its philosophy? 
A: Apart from the philosophy, it was the yearning to envision an idea that will make the readers connect to their inner horizon.  I never wanted to pen down a market driven story. I wanted to talk about the positive energy that still needs to be released from within.

4. What tempted you to write about the transgender ?
A: You know when I was in Kolkata I used to travel in local trains frequently. Every Monday morning I met a eunuch who, like many other eunuchs, used to seek money from the travelers. Some spared 10 Rs note in disgust while some used to turn their face away. That eunuch started interacting with me regarding my work and area of interest on a regular basis. It used to be a very casual chat like you would have with your friends, and the fellow passengers exchanged ‘are you crazy’ glances with me. It was kind of a reality check that even eunuchs are easy to talk. They breathe, eat, think and live just the way we do. It is only the social stigma that lets us think of them in a demeaning way. That thought kind of stayed with me for many years.
  
5. Was the story conceived from fact or was it fiction?
A: The story was entirely a work of fiction. I wanted to deliver a message without being preachy. Every writer has a unique voice and that should not be compromised in the quest for being the bestselling author of this country.

6. How difficult was it to write about the lead character who is a eunuch in your story? Did you have to resort to doing some ground research on them?
 Although The Paradox of Vantage Point is fiction, I borrowed a lot from real life incidents. Having said that, a writer should always have the ability to dream up situations and tweak those into engaging stuff.

7. Is there a message you wish to give through your story?
A: We have Manabi Bandopadhyay as the world’s first transgender principal. We have Padmini Prakash as India’s first transgender news reader. We have Madhu Kinnar as India’s first transgender Mayor. And many other people who have left behind tales of inspiration. So, you see, we have many people from transgender community who have to potential to rise above the mediocrity if given the right opportunity. But, even the people I mentioned had to undergo lot of misery because of their desire to be different. I hope my story succeeds in bringing a thought to the forefront that they are not misfit. A person’s caliber should always be kept above social expectations. They need our recognition and nothing else.

8. What is your take on the way transgender are treated in our very own country? 
A: There are two diverse pictures that I get. Few months before a group of transgender appealed to Tamil Nadu government for Mercy Killing stating that despite getting the recognition of third gender last year they still struggle everyday to lead a dignified life.  On the other hand, Kolkata welcomed first transgender idol this Durga Puja in order to question the discrimination that society throws. More than anything, I feel, the change has to come from within. We should be more responsible while sharing those “hijra jokes” or remarks. We have to put a lid on things like being judgmental and putting label on people. We will endlessly keep talking about freedom, empowerment, and my choices, but nothing will happen unless we start practicing compassion. Little changes by each one of us can bring the difference.

9.  What are the stories brewing after this one?
 A: There are many going on right now, but I don’t want to rush into things. Unless and until I don’t have a meaningful story, I won’t come back. (Smiles)
  
10. What are your favorite books and writers?
A: There are many but if I have to pick some then I will start with Pride and Prejudice, Kite Runner, The Pursuit of Happyness and Argo. Khalid Hosseini is one writer that I really admire. I get really mesmerized by his tales of redemption and emotional richness. I took back something from each book of his.

11. Your favorite lines from a book are…. 
A: “Love is a colorless,volatile Liquid.Love ignites n burns.Love Leaves no residue neither smoke nor ash.Love is a poison masquerading as spirit of Wine”—Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair

“I liked to put young and old in the same room, because they would certainly have different takes on the same problem.”—Argo by Antonio J Mendez

12. What to you has been the most difficult part of your journey with this book? 
A: Writing is never easy. To many it looks like a glossy, celebrity-kind-of profession. I am sorry to disappoint; it isn’t. You need to practice discipline, churn out creative juices, explore different possibilities and bring the right impact. It is not at all a mechanical thing so you cannot put a time limit. It is much more than putting string of sentences together. I am already having a corporate life so coming back from office and then starting with the story was extremely difficult. The subject I was pursuing in my book was not the usual college rom-coms. I remember I stopped writing for a while after the ‘laundry scene’( if you have read the book you will understand). It was so painful that I couldn’t muster the courage to write further. There were days when I didn’t want to write and there were also days when I was so engrossed that I refused to eat/sleep/talk and just bleed in front of my laptop. In the hindsight, writing makes you grow into a purposeful person. It makes you more humble and enriched.

13.  An advice for the budding authors….
A: I am still no one to give advice to anyone. I am, in fact, a budding author (smiles). However, if I have to suggest one thing for the betterment of storytelling then it would be always keep writing in one flow. Think about editing at a later stage because emotions look best when they are raw. When edited excessively, they look crafted. Story has to be lucid even when delivering a message. 

NV: Thanks a lot Indrani for your time and extremely honest answers.
ISM: The pleasure is mine :).

Book Review: The Recession Groom by Vani

Title: The Recession Groom
Author: Vani
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing
Genre: Fiction
Date:  2015
Price: Rs.299
Pages: 299


Recently a lot of stories in books and movies have been focused on delivering a message subtly with the ingredient of comedy, flavored such that you savor it with pleasure and it touches the heart leaving a lasting impression and is imbibed by the senses for a long time. One such work of writing in this direction addressing the issues of “arranged marriage” - a norm in India is this book The Recession Groom by Vani.

This is the story of Parshuraman an IT professional settled in Toronto, Canada. He is tall, dark, handsome and most importantly an NRI; the perfect dream Indian groom as per Indian parents. Having lost parents early in childhood he is brought up by his grandmother and elder sister, and later on sent to the states and educated with the support of his aunt. He therefore falls into the mould of the traditional Indian guy with values, respect for family and is indebted to their support. His dreams are shaped by years of engraving of thoughts and wishes of his family members, carved on his innocent mind, approved by their morals transforming into a marrying a “perfect Indian bride” of their choice. He lovingly accepts the idea as his own without much thought.  The writer draws the lead character sketch clear and crisp by opening the book with a circumstance where Parshuraman is seduced by his colleague – Jennifer, a white girl, half naked in his house. He however refuses to accept the advancement making it clear that he would marry the Indian girl his family chooses.

As Parshuraman then sets off on a journey to find his soul-mate in an arranged setting, which is predominantly the Indian norm even today; we are set off on a journey that only lightly but surely undresses the hidden reality of the process. It being a trade where the lead character is sized up not so much on his abilities except for one, ‘the earning potential’, the only parameter on the score card that matters, for that is the sole measurement of the bride to be’s security and happiness. His looks, abilities, struggle and hardwork are shadowed by the digits entering his bank balance each month. He manages to score “a good catch” on the Indian score card and is noticed by everyone with daughters of a marriageable age. The neighborhood girls clinging to their windows, each time he moves out, having made a time-table of his movements, approved by their otherwise posing to be cultured parents is one of the few examples of the hilarious, light tone this book adapts to underline a greater darker truth of our society. The confusions of everyday life, the two different teams on mission bride hunt, his sister Ragini and grandmother in India on one and his high on adrenaline aunt Parvati in the U.S on the other; each trying to tie him up with the woman of their dreams keep the tone of the book cheerful.

While in India he faces specimens of women from the lingering on his moves neighborhood girls to the totally stranger girls ready to marry him just because their parents scored him well. On the other side as he begins to find his dream girl in the rich business class of Indians in the U.S, sought by his aunt, he is labeled less ambitious for settling down in Canada by the wealthy prospective father-in-law. He thus measured each time, feels like a commodity and gets tired of the process. On the other hand Jennifer after trying to make him realize her love for him, standing by him in his low times, etc. fails to move him and ultimately begins dating their common friend Bill, who is madly in love with her.

In the middle of all confusion, some settlements and a lot of judging hits recession and the inevitable strikes, people are removed from their jobs for no reason and a dark man in a foreign land is a second priority compared to their own citizens. Parshuraman therefore loses his job. The scorecard now bears the ugly red sign and the digits in the bank balance do not get added to at the end of the month. Aunt Parvati’s never say die attitude, visiting all sorts of witchcraft people and doing what traditional Indian aunts do best – worry and talk, keep the tone cheerful.

The man, an ideal desirable groom girls lined up for garlanding in their dreams as an ideal life partner is alone and has no company. He like a lot of people are ready to take up any job that comes their way only to be earning again, keeping aside the merits of the degrees they earned with such hard work. The aspiring groom now dejected and alone begins to find himself and see things in better perspective. He begins making strong and clear decisions guided by his own will above all. He faces and accepts many realizations, happy as well as unhappy only to be able to fight his circumstances and be able to find himself and his career aspirations for which he has worked. His experiences and tragedies make him more mature, so his decisions more sure than ever before. 
  
In summation the author has beautifully put forth the chaos, love, family values, tradition and process that comprise the traditional Indian wedding. The writing is lucid and draws the reader within instantly, to be hooked to the book that constantly keeps him/her laughing despite the book addressing a very serious topic is the greatest merit of the writer. The book does have certain flaws wherein the voices of certain important characters such as Jennifer or Tara do not come out well. There is also a lacuna in communication between some of them which often interrupts the flow making it a solved puzzle albeit with visible breaks between sections. On the other hand she has formulated amazing secondary characters like the delightful and supportive grandmother and the over energetic Punjabi aunt who is the winner riding the story through her unending dialogues and actions that every Indian can relate to. The author also ensures explanation of the nitty-gritty of Indian norms and therefore the book is suitable for non-Indian readers, giving them an amazing glimpse of the chaos around the “arranged marriage” setting in our nation. The twist at the end of the story is highly unexpected and takes the reader by surprise.

The book falls in line with the likes of much loved movie “Vicky Donor” or the recent blockbuster “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” that leaves the audience thinking due to the subtle art of inoculating the thought of a critical problem with a flavor of comedy. This book is an experience of a similar kind and magnitude. Recently as Indian writing matures from being dominated by “100 rupee novels” by young writers in the fiction genre, to some good quality writing, not just stories but the very art by people of the same generation, writing such as this, aid the cause.

This being her debut writing, the author Vani has set the bar for herself and emerging Indian writers very high. A read worth your time and money. 

Rating: 3.5 stars on 5

About the Author

I was born in Garian, Libya, in a traditional Hindu Punjabi family. My parents prized good education above all else and when I was still small, they decided to move base to Chandigarh, a modern city in the North of India, famed for its educational institutions. As a child, I loved reading, but writing stories of my own never occurred to me, much like everything else. Becoming a doctor wasnt an option, for the very sight of blood made me retch. Mathematics and Excel sheets bored me no end, leaving Humanities as a last resort. I could easily compete for the civil services, my parents reasoned, although, sitting for an exam with a million potential candidates vying for one job didn't make much sense to me. Fortunately, life took a better turn and it was a Masters degree in Economics alongside a programme in Mass Communications that set my foundation for a career in business journalism. Luckily, I got to work in some of the best organizations in India, like The Times of India and The Financial Express. In 2004, I was hit with the desire to write a novel. However, a few drafts and several ideas later, I gave it all up to pursue an MBA degree from Kingston University in London. Of course, I dreamt about MNC firms coveting me, the Deloittes and the McKinseys of the world chasing me with multiple job offers, the likes of Accenture begging me to work for them. The reality was quite different. The completion of my course coincided with the start of global recession and my dreams could never be realized. My situation, nevertheless, prompted me to write my first novel. So, it was all okay in the end.


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