Nimmi: A Box of Fun

September 11, 2020

Eleven-year-old Nimmi Daruwala does not like her last name at all; but loves inventing utterly unusual words. Her best friend Sophia is now part of mean girl Alisha Dubash’s Evil Threevils, and the new drama teacher Miss Aatmaja has branded her the Troublemaker of Grade 6! But she finds unlikely friends by her side in the class nerds Diya and Kavya and the mysterious new student from America, Kabir. Join Nimmi as she gets into all sorts of adventures that will leave you guffawing+chortling=gaffortling.

Nimmi’s Spectabulous Schooldays: Will Grade 6 be as spectacular+fabulous=spectabulous as Nimmi thinks it will be?

Nimmi’s Dreadtastic Detective Days: Time for Nimmi to have a dreadful+fantastic=dreadtastic adventure as she learns to cook and solves a very mysterious mystery!

Nimmi’s Bizuper Birthday: A bizarre+super=bizuper twelfth birthday awaits Nimmi!

Bride of the Forest: The Untold Story of Yayati’s Daughter

September 11, 2020

The myth of Drishadvati appears in the Mahabharata as the ‘story of the salvation of kings by a maiden’. While tales of surrogacy abound in the Indian epics, this is the first known example of a womb-on-rent. This strange story—of a girl whose fertility was bartered repeatedly in exchange for priceless horses—has intrigued modern scholars, playwrights and authors for its cultural significance. While earlier adaptations have cast its theme as the exploitation of a helpless woman, Bride of the Forest presents it as the story of girl who is surprisingly radical in her ultimate rejection of patriarchy.

Staying true to the original myths and springing entirely from the world of the Mahabharata, the novel brings to life several other characters: Garuda, the divine bird who flies Lord Vishnu around the world: the proud kings of Ayodhya, Pratisthan and Kashi; the arrogant queen, Devayani, and her duplicitous maid—whose stories reveal an intricate tapestry of human and divine relationships. Intertwined in the tales of traditional rivalries is the age-old war between the asuras and the devas that gave rise to the perennial male quest for immortality, transmuted into the human desire for sons that lies at the root of commercial surrogacy even today. However, it is the story of Drishadvati, her sacrifice and her nobility, that will enchant the reader.

Big Cat Tales: Vintage Encounters and Stories

September 11, 2020

‘Pleasure at having secured a magnificent trophy was not unmixed with regret, for never again would the jungle folk and I listen with held breath to his deep-throated call resounding through the foothills, and never again would his familiar pug-marks show on the game paths that he and I had trodden for fifteen years.’

After fifteen years of watching him grow into youth and old age in the forests of Kumaon, Jim Corbett, the fabled hunter-naturalist and writer, shoots a tiger who has become a man-eater. His pleasure-mixed-with-regret at this victory which is also, in the end, murder is the central paradox that makes self-aware shikar literature a compelling exploration of our epic and imperfect existence. This collection of non-fiction and fiction about encounters between humans and big cats in the Indian subcontinent and Africa brings us the best of this genre of literature, with its gripping narratives, unforgettable images and splendid descriptions of wild nature.

Besides Corbett, it includes masters of the genre like J.H. Patterson, who writes about the terror of lions and men in Kenya during the laying of railway lines in the 1890s; Hugh Allen, who had thrilling adventures with tigers and leopards in central India; and Augustus Somerville, who wrote the neglected classic At Midnight Comes the Killer. There are also surprising gems: lyrical and humorous real-life and imagined stories by Mrs W.W. Baillie and Mrs M.A. Handley—two unusual women of the Raj; the naturalist EHA (a founding member of the Bombay Natural History Society); and writers Saki and Dhan Gopal Mukerji. And lest we forget that reluctant hunters were the exception and hunting was mainly about ‘sportsmen’ who delighted in chase and slaughter, there are also accounts of the horrors of shikar.

Compiled by a group of wildlife enthusiasts, this anthology showcases brilliant, old-fashioned storytelling, and some of the finest writing on adventure and wildlife produced over a century.

The Teenage Diaries Of Princesses and Queens

September 11, 2020

Weaving fact and fiction, this series recreates the growing-up years of some of Indian history’s most famous queens and princesses in their own voices. This is history made entertaining and intimate.

The Teenage Diary of Nur Jahan by Deepa Agarwal: An absorbing account of the adolescent years of the most influential Mughal empress.

The Teenage Diary of Razia Sultan by Anitha Murthy: The tender and stirring story of the brave girl who defied the orthodoxy to become the ruler of the Delhi Sultanate.

The Teenage Dairy of Rani Laxmibai by Tanushree Podder: An inspiring portrait of the girl who would grow up to become the legendary warrior-queen of Jhansi.

The Teenage Diary of Jodh Bai by Subhadra Sen Gupta: A heartfelt story of a young Rajput princess who became one of the greatest queens of the Mughal empire.

The Teenage Diary of Jahanara by Subhadra Sen Gupta: A gripping and lyrical diary of Emperor Shah Jahan’s daughter who witnessed both the terror and the majesty of a great empire.

Turmeric Nation a Passage Through India’s Tastes

August 20, 2020

What exactly is ‘Indian’ food? Can it be classified by region, or religion, or ritual? What are the culinary commonalities across the Indian subcontinent? Do we Indians have a sense of collective self when it comes to cuisine? Or is the pluralism in our food habits and choices the only identity we have ever needed?

Turmeric Nation is an ambitious and insightful project which answers these questions, and then quite a few more. Through a series of fascinating essays—delving into geography, history, myth, sociology, film, literature and personal experience—Shylashri Shankar traces the myriad patterns that have formed Indian food cultures, taste preferences and cooking traditions. From Dalit ‘haldiya dal’ to the last meal of the Buddha; from aphrodisiacs listed in the Kama Sutra to sacred foods offered to gods and prophets; from the use of food as a means of state control in contemporary India to the role of lemonade in stoking rebellion in 19th-century Bengal; from the connection between death and feasting and between fasting and pleasure, this book offers a layered and revealing portrait of India, as a society and a nation, through its enduring relationship with food.

The Lost Heroine

August 20, 2020

About the Book

Growing up in a district in Kerala, spinning idle dreams as she worked in the fields, Rosy had never been to the cinema. Her only brush with fame had been to act in the local Kakkarissi plays. So when Johnson Sir, her well-to-do neighbour, asked if she would like to play the role of heroine in a movie his friend Daniel was making, Rosy could scarcely believe it.

In a matter of weeks, Rosy, a poor Dalit Christian girl of the Pulaya caste, was transformed into Sarojini—the beautiful Nair girl who lived in a grand tharavad, wore mundus and blouses of the finest silk and gold jewellery from head to toe. Sarojini, with whom the handsome Jayachandran falls in love at first sight as she sits at her window playing the veena.

Rosy’s dreamworld comes to an end when the last scene is shot. A harsh reality awaits her when the film is screened at the Capitol Theatre in Trivandrum. There is shock and horror in the audience as the film rolls.
All hell breaks loose, and Rosy narrowly escapes death only to spend the rest of her life in anonymity. It is only in a forgotten roll of film that her story lives on. The story of Vighathakumaran (The Lost Child), the first film ever to be made in Malayalam, in the year 1928.

This poignant translation by C.S. Venkiteswaran and Arathy Ashok brings alive the world of early Malayalam cinema and the people who pioneered it, weaving within it a universal story of ambition, desire and the faultlines of caste and religious bigotry.

Dilli ki Shaan: Discover Delhi: The Heritage of India’s Capital City

August 20, 2020

About the Book:

Delhi, the capital city of India, is a land of rich and unique heritage. With the Yamuna river flowing through it and the forested Ridge area providing diverse flora and fauna, it is home to a splendid natural heritage. Entire cities have been built within Delhi over the centuries, and each of these cities is filled with distinct architectural marvels. Delhi also has varied and ever-evolving arts, crafts, customs and language, which are its valuable living heritage.

Find out all about Delhi and its thriving heritage in this book. Full of interesting information and exciting activities, Dilli ki Shaan is a must read for everybody.

Shaheen Bagh and the Idea of India: Writings on a Movement for Justice, Liberty and Equality

July 2, 2020

Blurb:

The first comprehensive book on one of the most importantcivil rights movements in the history of Independent India.

On 15 December 2019, police in riot gear stormed Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University and attacked unarmed students protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which makes religion a factor in the process of granting Indian citizenship. In neighbouring Shaheen Bagh, mothers and other relatives and friends of the students came out into the streets in outrage and anguish. They sat on a main road demanding repeal of the CAA, which, twinned with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), could make Indian Muslims aliens in theirown homeland. Within days, similar protests broke out across the country. Free India had never seen anything like it.

Shaheen Bagh and the Idea of India examines how the sit-in by a small group of Muslim women—many of whom had stepped out of their homes alone for the first time—united millions of Indians of different faiths and ideologies in defence of the principles of liberty, equality and secularism enshrined in our Constitution. It also throws up many important questions: Can the Shaheen Bagh protests reverse the damage done to our democracy in recent years? How did the non-violent movement sustain itself despite vilification, threats and persecution by the establishment? Is this movement the beginning of new solidarities in our society? Will it survive the aftermath of the communal violence that devastated northeast Delhi in February 2020, and the witch-hunt that was launched under cover of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown?

This necessary collection comprises interviews with some of the brave women at the core of the protests; ground reports and photographs by journalists like Seema Mustafa, Seemi Pasha, Nazes Afroz and Mustafa Quraishi; and essays by thinkers, writers, lawyers and activists, including Nayantara Sahgal, Harsh Mander, Subhashini Ali, Nandita Haksar, Zoya Hasan, Apoorvanand, Enakshi Ganguly, Sharik Laliwala and Nizam Pasha. It is a book that must be read by everyone who cares about India’s democracy and its future.

Love Is Not a Word: The Culture and Politics of Desire

July 2, 2020

Blurb:

Insightful, informative and entertaining, this is a book that gives a true picture of love and relationships as they exist in India today, and have done over the centuries, from the Kama Sutra to the time of Tinder.
A collection of twelve keen and insightful essays on love and desire. The book gives historical and cultural perspectives on Indian love (swayamvara, arranged marriages, and desi romance); the immortal love of Radha and Krishna that transcends theology; the story of a powerful, sexually desiring and desired courtesan/nagarvadhu. The politics of love is discussed and debated from a variety of angles: from the love jihad campaign against inter-religious marriage, to a critique of the savarna gaze in Indian cultural iconography and its meaning for Dalit women’s bodies and inter-caste love, to India’s legal battle to decriminalize same-sex love, to the subversive threat in single women’s self-love. The book includes intriguing and exquisite portrayals of love in literature, from Urdu shayari and bhasha writing, to the city fictions of love through Rome, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, and back to Delhi, the ancient echoing through the modern. With essays from some of the best writers of our times, including Makarand Paranjpe, Alka Pande, Malashri Lal, Rakshanda Jalil, Mehr Farooqi and Zafar Anjum, this delightful volume certainly suggests that love is not just a word.

Gone Away: An Indian Journal

July 2, 2020

Blurb:

One of the most unconventional travelogues ever written, Gone Away covers three months of Dom Moraes’ life spent in the subcontinent at the time of the Chinese incursions on the Tibetan border in 1959. In that short time, a remarkable number of memorable things happened to him, some of them the sort of fantastic situations that could only enmesh a poet, perhaps only a young poet – a visit to a speak-easy in Bombay; an interview with Nehru and an hour spent closeted with the Dalai Lama in Delhi; and a meeting with the great Nepalese poet, Devkota, whom he found already laid out to die by the side of the holy river Basumati. After a short stay in Calcutta, where he tried, with limited success, to investigate the lives of prostitutes, he went up to Sikkim, the north-eastern border state into which no visiting writer had been allowed for almost a year. Having made his way by jeep right up to the frontier, he ran into a Chinese detachment and was shot at, but escaped to safety.
Full of humour, felicity of phrase and oddity of behaviour, Gone Away communicates the special excitement of the traveller on every page. Unforgettably funny is the account of the Sikkimese soccer match played in an impenetrable mist and involving the loss of several footballs kicked over an adjoining cliff. Yet, though humour and irreverence prevail through the pages, this is a book which catches and holds the mood of modern India and illuminates as much as it entertains.

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