Stillborn Season opens with the assassination of Indira Gandhi in October 1984. Brilliantly evoking the homicidal madness of the days which followed, the novel traces the fates of individual and intermeshed lives as mobs spill out onto the streets of Delhi, hunting, maiming and killing Sikh men and women in revenge.
Raiders come at midnight for Jaspreet Singh, an elderly gentleman from South Delhi, and he narrowly escapes with his life after his granddaughter Amrit thinks up an unusual disguise for him. Hari, part of a mob, invades an upscale restaurant in Connaught Place and helps burn the proprietor alive before demanding a bespoke meal from the chef. Balbir, hiding inside a cabinet in his store in Punjabi Bagh, bears witness to Hari being gunned down by his store-assistant. And Bhola, a young disabled beggar at the busy Bhikaji Cama intersection, keeps a Sikh father and son from being lynched.
Then, moving forward in time, the novel finds Amrit, now a young journalist, talking to people to understand the violence that scarred her childhood. She learns how the books of Nai Sarak were saved because Rikhi Chacha, a Sikh book-lover, gave up his life for them. At the house of Satwant, a Sikh taxi-driver, she pays the cost of dredging up memories in people who would rather forget them. And Balwant Mann, a retired constable of Delhi Police, divulges more about his role in the riots to her than he intends to.
Rarely has a work of fiction captured the violence of 1984 with as much empathy and on such an expansive canvas. Stillborn Season is a must read.
A prince sets out on an adventure and is joined by a talking parrot and the ‘Ant-Raja’. Together, can they win the heart of the beautiful Princess Labam?
Gangazara, the soothsayer’s son, rescues the tiger-king, the serpent-king and the rat-king from a well. But did he make a grave mistake when he also rescued the cunning goldsmith?
A boy is born with the mark of the moon on his forehead and a star on his chin but his enemies want to kill him as soon as he is born. Can he overcome his cruel destiny and return to his rightful kingdom?
Also in these pages are stories about animals both wise and cruel—a tiger tricked into returning to his cage by a jackal, a crane outwitted by a crab, and the cat, dog and mice who pit their wits against crafty humans.
Brave girls, adventurous men, wily tricksters and loyal friends populate this book, bringing alive an imagined world from long, long ago. Beautifully illustrated in colour and introduced by Jerry Pinto, these fairy tales are as unique as they are unforgettable and will ignite the imagination of a new generation of readers.
Partition, Independence, democracy—near simultaneous events that changed India irrevocably. My Temples, Too—Qurratulain Hyder’s transcreation of her masterly early novel Mere Bhi Sanamkhane—examines the promise and disillusionment that came with the birth of two new nations, through the lives and deaths of the young citizens of the fabled city of Lucknow. Set in the 1940s, it tells the story of Rakshanda and her brother Peechu—children of privilege—and their friends Kiran, Vimal, Salim, Christabel. They are the ‘Gang’ of Lucknow; idealistic, nationalistic, liberal and rational. They meet in coffee houses, run a progressive magazine, fall in love, and dream of building a brave new world. But with the turbulence of Partition and Independence, the quiet rhythm of their lives is brutally disrupted. New animosities replace old loyalties, and the merry ‘Gang’ is torn apart as the old order begins to fragment.
The song of the boatman on the Padma, a green haze of rice fields turning to gold in the light of the setting sun, the romance of Bengal caught and held in the silvery net of a fisherman. Ambitious, subtle and intricately structured, Fireflies in the Mist—Hyder’s transcreation of her Urdu novel Akhir-e-Shab ke Humsafar—spans nearly four decades of East Bengal’s history, from the dawn of nationalism in the 1930s to the restless aftermath of the bloody struggle for an independent Bangladesh. At the centre of the novel is Deepali Sarkar, a young Hindu attracted to the extreme left wing of the nationalist movement, and Rehan Ahmed, a Muslim radical of Marxist inclinations who introduces her to the life of the rural deprived. Their common political engagement draws them into a quietly doomed love affair. Through their relationship, Hyder explores the growth of tension between Bengal’s Hindus and Muslims—who had once shared a culture and a history—as they try to come to terms with Bengal’s and India’s shifting fortunes.
‘If you live in the Indian hills, it is only a matter of time before you meet a ghost…’
Vintage storyteller Ruskin Bond has created many unforgettable characters in his novels and stories, but perhaps the most memorable and unusual among them are the ghosts and spirits that haunt the hills and foothills of the Himalayas—the bazaars and bungalows, jungles and gardens of Mussoorie, Shimla, Nainital, Dehradun. These ghosts are not always horrific; they are mysterious and often benevolent, or lonely creatures looking for company among humans. Collected in these pages are new stories written specifically for this volume—including Captain Young’s Ghost and The Black Bird—and classics such as A Face in the Dark and The Haunted Bicycle. Here you will find the spirit of a captain from the British army who, on some nights, returns to the town he founded and never outgrew; a little boy, long dead, who continues to guide passers-by on treacherous mountain routes; a beautiful young girl from long ago who seduces young men with her song, and another who longs for the warmth of a happy family.
Set in the hills and foothills of North India—the perfect haunt for ghosts and spirits—this collection by the master storyteller will leave you spellbound.
A man comes home to find a note from Bindo—his estranged lover—asking to meet. Everything about Bindo angers him—her beauty, pride and poise; the sexual attraction she continues to exert upon him. He recognizes in himself again the agonizing jealousy which had forced her to leave him. And he fears her uncanny ability to pierce the barriers he has erected around himself.
Yet the two meet—in each other’s houses, in restaurants and parks across Delhi—still attracted to each other but haunted by their past, still inflicting pain, locked in a battle of doomed love. But when, after a drunken evening, he wakes up in Bindo’s bed, at her feet, he finds himself stripped of all ego, and helpless.
Bold and ahead of its time, Relapse is an intense exploration of physical and emotional desire and the inscrutable ways of men and women in love. A compact love story of visceral impact, and a portrait of Delhi that now exists only in memory, Relapse is a modern classic.
Mee’s mother, Juhibaby, is the unwanted child of constantly travelling jatra artistes in rural Bengal. Growing into a ravishing sixteen-year-old, she is married off to a family in distant New Delhi, where Mee is born. Mee’s life is a far cry from Juhibaby’s, as she grows up in a respectable middle-class family and goes to an upmarket convent school. But what she inherits from her mother is a love of acting. She follows her star to Mumbai, where she becomes a successful Bollywood actress. But a failed marriage and a bruising rejection by a movie mogul derails her into a world of alcohol, promiscuity and obesity.
As she struggles to make a living as a TV writer, Mee gets to know that the mother from whom she has long been estranged is now blind and ailing, in an old age home. Mee rescues her, and mother and daughter find it in their hearts to forgive each other and forge a sort of bond before Juhibaby’s days come to an end.
In this accomplished debut novel, Susmita Mukherjee gives her characters
When the unnamed protagonist of this sparkling novel is confronted with an ultimatum—find three bestselling authors within a year or resign—the carefree future he had envisioned for himself is suddenly in jeopardy. He is twenty-nine, single, recovering, without serious injury, from a nearly failed relationship, and the commissioning editor for economics for a large British publisher’s India operation. It is a life almost blessed.
The unexpected jolt at his workplace, however, makes him seriously consider whether publishing is the perfect calling for him. But before he can decide, he still has a mission to fulfil. And so begins a search for the elusive bestselling authors—there are obdurate professors and experts to meet, journeys to take, contracts to sign. And at the same time there are girls to woo, planes to fly, good whiskey to drink, and fun to be had with friends and colleagues.
Gradually, disillusionment creeps in, and in keeping with the ironical tone of the book, our hero simply walks away, perhaps to make another life, travelling light, free of the old job, the old girlfriend, the old friends.
In Vidarbha, yet another debt-laden farmer commits suicide. His death leaves his family—especially his twenty-year-old son, Vikram Sonare—devastated and furious. But Vikram’s work with the Agricultural Technology Centre and new-found knowledge of social media inspire him to build a network with youth across India and start a silent revolt.
In Mumbai, twenty-six-year-old Mallika Joshi works with an NGO. While on assignment in Vidarbha, she meets farming families neglected by the government and suffering under the weight of increasing debts. Moved by the hardships they’ve faced, and inspired by Vikram’s efforts, she becomes an integral part of the movement.
Together they embark on an epic mission to draw attention to the plight of farmers and other underprivileged sections of society, and finally mobilize millions of people to march into the major cities of India. After the success of the march, the group transforms into a revolutionary political party. But will the existing political forces allow it to succeed?
Urgent and inspiring, The Long March is a necessary story for our time.
A young man is found dead in the toilet of Matunga Road railway station, his stomach ripped open. Retired journalist Peter Fernandes joins the investigation with his friend, Inspector Jende, and discovers a world of secret desire, greed and despair—a world that he fears his son may be a part of. Driven as much by fear and empathy as by curiosity about men who seek men, Peter tries to track down the killer, with some help from the flamboyant Leslie Siqueira, his guide to an alternate universe.