Spotlight of Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer

 

 
AVISHI
by
Saiswaroopa Iyer
 
Blurb
 
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?


If stories about ancient India, especially those with strong women characters interest you, then Avishi is a story you must read!

 
Read an excerpt here:
The structure under the outcast control looked like an autonomous garrison. It was on the Southwestern corner of Vrishabhavati hidden by wild growth and as heavily guarded as the city square. Avishi counted two doors as Vyala carried her inside. From the inside, it did not look as dilapidated as from outside. The guards here were the ‘out-casts’ as the world called them. Unlike the guards of the city, they did not cover themselves with leather torso. Instead they wore loin cloth in various darker shades. Small and big weapons, strings made up of various animal teeth, tusk work and beads made up their ‘jewellery’. To Avishi, it looked atrociously out of proportion. But she also noticed the level of coordination with which the ‘out-casts’ functioned. Like they were trained to fight in an army.

“Untie her.” Vyala instructed Manduka, his forehead revealing wrinkles of dilemma. Manduka was happy to comply. Except for a few scars on his shoulder, the man had an enviable physique. But it was his nose that Avishi felt was the pronounced feature of his face. It was as though it was abruptly turned crooked by his right nostril. She could see that the Outcast Lord made no attempt to hide his displeasure about the predicament she presented him. What worried her more was that she found herself incapable of even walking to the closest stone seat and had to limp leaning on Manduka. The wound seemed deeper than she had imagined it.

“We don’t kill women.” He began and paused noticing her unimpressed glare.

“Is that supposed to impress me? Is that supposed to cover up the other crimes you commit for that monster Khela?”

Vyala shook his head, a resentful smile appearing on his lips, but for only a moment. “Whatever we, the outcasts do would be a crime in the eyes of others…you are?”

“Avishi, the Ganamukhyaa of Ashtagani.”

“But he said that you are a traitor’s…”

Avishi glared back at him showing no inclination to explain. She saw Vyala sit on the stone seat next to where she sat.

“If Khela does not find a proof of your death soon, we would have to incur his wrath! An atrocity against the outcasts would not even be seen as a transgression by anyone.” His lips pursed for a long moment.

Avishi wondered if he expected a solution from her. Something she would have to help him out if she had to escape alive. But before she or Vyala could speak, a sound of heavy anklets was heard. Avishi turned to her right and saw a young woman, not older than seventeen autumns scurry and then clutch at her bulging belly. Her arrival only seemed to increase the gloom on the faces of both the men.

“Brother Vyala, did he not come with you?” Her shrill voice made Avishi think she was even younger than she looked. And impregnated at this age?

“Go back to your room, Majjari.” Vyala hissed.

But Majjari was in no mood to heed her brother’s words. She eyed Avishi, her head tilted to left and brows knitting. Her eyes then brightened.

“So, he sent me a slave!”

“Majjari!”

“Slave, do you know how to groom my hair the way Queens do?” Majjari approached Avishi taking her arm. “And mind you, slaves don’t sit when their mistress stands!”

Avishi had decided that her patience was at its tail end when she saw Vyala hurry and pull Majjari away, making her wince at his grip.

“Listen, you disgrace! Nobody is going to slave for you! Scurry back to your room and dare not show that inauspicious face of yours again!”

Majjari shook his arm away with a hiss. “Wait till I become the Queen, you, worthless dog!” Her tone broke. “I shall make Khela punish you! I bear his prince! Mind you!” The fierce frown stayed on her forehead long after she countered her brother. Avishi saw Manduka intervene and lead Majjari away with endearments that one would use with a toddler.

Vyala’s shoulders slumped.

“You let Khela impregnate your own sister.” Avishi shook her head at Vyala. “Lord Vyala, where do I even begin?”

“You are nobody to judge us Ganamukhyaa. Khela promised us a slow integration with his military if…”

“You loot and kill for him? He gets the spoils hiding behind the dread of Dandaka?”

Vyala’s jaw clenched. “You’ve never been to Dandaka, Ganamukhyaa Avishi. If you did, you would… Why in the name of Mother earth am I even justifying myself to you.” Vyala gathered himself signalling at two other outcast followers. “Take her inside and treat her wound.” Turning to Avishi for a brief moment, he added with a tone of finality. “I shall do my best to not kill you, but I can’t afford Khela’s wrath on my people. Not now, Ganamukhyaa.”

Future still hung in balance. Avishi had to come to terms with the fact that any attempt to escape from here will only complicate things for her. And she truly needed her wound to be tended. The knife that wounded her might have rusted. Tears of frustration threatened to flow out of her eyes. She told herself to bide her time and regain her lost energy.

 
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About the author

 

 

 

 

Saiswaroopa Iyer is an IITian and Venture Capital professional turned author. Her debut novel Abhaya, published in 2015, was a tale set in the Mahabharata period, exploring the legend of Narakasura Vadha. She likes to focus and expand on ancient Indian stories with strong female characters.

 

 

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Book Blitz of Water Boarding by Bragadeesh Prasanna

Print Length: 292 pages
Publication Date: October 8, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B075W9WBVR

 

 

As a torture technique, Waterboarding involves the torturer to pour water over the face of the captive, over a damp towel to give a sensation of drowning. While the mind knows that he is not actually drowning, the captive’s body sends contrasting signals to the brain making it a very painful experience.Ved, who just got out of a life-changing accident finds out that he has blank spaces in his memory. He is unsure about his past and uncertain about his future but goes through with the present with the help of his friend Sara. Sara slowly builds Ved’s past, filling him with people and instances he had forgotten.

As Ved struggles with the financial strain caused by his accident and subsequent medical bills and figuring out whom to trust, Ved is forced to live in the moment, which is dark, terrifying and maddening as his past catches up with him. Will he finally know who he was and how his past actions affect his present?

It would be great if you can add this book to your TBR


Bragadeesh Prasanna is a Chennai based writer, who blogs, writes short stories and sometimes lets his stories stretch itself to become a full fledged novel.  His romance novel, 300 days, which released in 2016, received generally positive reviews.  He had also contributed to different short story anthologies like After the Floods (Published by sixth sense publication), From Chennai, with Love (Curated by Chennai Bloggers Club)
When he is not writing or dreaming about writing, he runs a marketing agency in Chennai, which specializes in digital marketing. He loves his scotch and coffee, chicken biriyani, Rose milk and Chennai. You can just type in his full name in Google search bar to reach his blog. No, seriously, try it.

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Book Blitz of Lean In To Relationships by Rishabh Jhol

Print Length: 143 pages
Language: English
ASIN: B0749CLW5G
Format: Kindle Edition

 

 

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 for a deep lasting future relationship – a delightful emancipation from social intrigues and cultural constraints.
Truly inspirational builds upon the basis of not second guessing everything, and taking risks instead of regretting not taking them. A must-read for anyone. 5 Stars. – Bill McManus, Author, and creator of the Storytime Pup

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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.
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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Spotlight of The Untold Story by Ridhi Drolia

 

Print Length: 109 pages
Publication Date: June 26, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Genre: Romance

 

 

Love comes in different forms. But in all its forms, it comes with various challenges. Only those who can combat those challenges are true lovers.The Untold Story is the tale of Vihaan and Riaa. Vihaan falls for Riaa’s charms at first sight and brings to her life crazy adventures and madness. They soon emerge as two hearts with one soul and their intimate fantasies begin to unravel in exotic places.

Their bond experience more downs than ups. These unexpected twists and turns bring Vihaan and Riaa closer and their romantic tale turn into one of lifetime bonding.

The story takes a drastic turn after the lovely couple is blessed with a baby boy. It should be a joyous moment, but instead, haunting memories of Vihaan’s own childhood break out as a fresh wound in his mind.

Read the novel to know what could make a father unhappy in the happiest moment of his life and how he combats his fear.

It would be great if you can add this book to your TBR


In the author’s own words:
“The passion of writing is deep rooted in my blood.
After completing my Global Business Management certification from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, I joined hands with a few of my friends to start my first venture.
Post my stint with the venture, I engaged myself in my lovely family life and now I present to you the author in me.”
 
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Book Blitz of Just Me, the Sink and The Pot by Sudesna Ghosh

 

 
JUST ME, THE SINK & THE POT
by
Sudesna Ghosh
 
Blurb
 
Meet Pamela, an overweight girl who’s looking back at her school days. From longing for a Valentine to dealing with a sibling who hates her, Pamela has a lot to deal with. She even has a special bunch of friends at home who she can turn to – but they aren’t the kind of friends you’d expect. Life sucks when you’re fat. Can Pamela ever be happy?
Read an excerpt of the book here…

 
One day a classmate asked me, “Where is your lunch?” I told her that I had already had it and went back to my fake laughter and smiles. The others chatted and laughed while they ate from their tiffin boxes. Some brought samosas or ice cream from outside the gate. My hunger pangs got worse as I saw all the food and smelt the delicious odours around me.
 
The ice cream cart was run by a sweet old man who knew me since I’d started school. He would ask me some days, “Child, you don’t want your favourite orange stick?” I would say no thank you and smile before running away from him and his cart. One day he seemed to be desperate to make me have an ice cream. “Child! Come here and have an ice cream. You don’t have to pay me,” he called out. I smiled, turned around and went to hide in an empty classroom. Two minutes later, I shrieked; the old man had found me. He was carrying a dripping ice cream for me. I started laughing. Then I started running away from him. The old man started running after me!

 

My classmates were shocked. The sports teacher was happy to see me run for the first time – I had never run before because fat moves when you run. Everybody would laugh. The lunch break ended with me accepting the mostly melted orange stick from the kind ice cream man. We were too tired to talk about the whole event. But it did make me a bit popular that year, with the school Yearbook including the story and a picture of me running away from a 6 feet tall man holding an ice cream.

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About the author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sudesna (Sue) Ghosh is a writer based in Kolkata. She was born in the United States and moved to India when she was 9. After completing high school there, she went back to the US for her higher education at the University of Rochester. She has also penned What Would I Tell Her @ 13 and News Now, along with several short stories. When Sudesna isn’t writing, she tries to do her bit for animal welfare.

 

 

                  

 

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Spotlight of The Wrong Turn by Sanjay Chopra , Namita Roy Ghose

THE WRONG TURN:
Love and Betrayal in the Time of Netaji
by
Sanjay Chopra & Namita Roy Ghose
 
 
 
Blurb
 
1944, Kohima — a small, sleepy town in northeast India. Subhash Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army (INA) along with the Japanese, are on the brink of bringing the Empire to its knees and forcing the British out of India. But, inexplicably, the tables turn. The INA’s advance is thwarted and the victory march to Delhi is halted. Seventy years later, the British admit that the Battle of Kohima was the greatest battle they had ever fought. Even more so than the battles of Waterloo and Dunkirk. Was it then that old Indian curse — betrayal? Someone from within Netaji’s own ranks? Were there forces other than the British, waiting in the shadows closer to home, who stood to gain even more from the INA’s defeat? Or was it just love that irrevocably altered the course of India’s destiny? The Wrong Turn: Love and Betrayal in the Time of Netaji, is a sweeping tale of passion set against the freedom struggle. Debraj, the rakish playboy and scion of a distinguished Calcutta family, and Nishonko, the fiery revolutionary sworn to the cause of the INA, must not only fight their common enemy, but also for the love of Aditi, the rebel with the healing touch. A haunting tale of love, friendship and betrayal of an entire nation, The Wrong Turn veers inexorably towards a poignant redemption.
 
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About the authors
 
 
The Wrong Turn is a story that traverses the cities of Calcutta, Singapore, Rangoon and Kohima caught up in the blaze of the Second World War. It is about the clash of four desperate forces as they come together in Kohima to vie for the brightest jewel in the crown — India. Victory will come to those who possess not just the coldest steel but even colder hearts.”
 
SANJAY CHOPRA is an airline pilot and author of two collections of short stories.  Said and Done and Tailspin stories . He believes that his  office forty thousand feet in the sky and his travels provide him with a view that fuels his vivid storytelling that cuts a wide arc through time and space.
 
His stories have won the Invisible Ink, the Millennium writers and Southport awards in the UK and USA. In the words of his readers, ‘He is a storyteller like those of the old days, yet his stories are as modern as tomorrow.
 
He lives in Mumbai with his wife Tisca Chopra, an actress and he is currently working on a film script and a web series. 


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This was a story waiting to be told. So much about Netaji was smoke and mirrors, partial views foisted on us by the British and other vested interests. Here was a man who was a personal hero, who was part of the lore of my childhood. And here was a chance to set the narrative straight – through the lens of a very human yet universal story of love.

During a school project on ‘The most memorable day of my life’, NAMITA ROY GHOSE wrote about a Russian girl on the day WW2 ended. She got her first rejection slip from the teacher for making things up. Ever since, Namita has established her storytelling skills through her scriptwriting, screenplays poetry, fiction, legendary advertising campaigns, and as a renowned advertising film director. A Creative Director with HTA, she left after 13 years to start her own film company, White Light, one of India’s top ad film outfits. A social activist, she is the founder of Vanashakti, an NGO that works to protect the environment. Namita has done pro bono work on issues like domestic violence, child welfare, sexual harassment and forest preservation. She is an avid traveller, a photographer, foodie and teacher.
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   Praise for the book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vidya Balan “I like historical fiction. This one is just gripping, racing along like a thriller. I am sure people will love it and I wish Namita and Sanjay all the best for the book”.

 

 

 

Shekhar Gupta: “Gripping reading. This is one writer duo with story-telling imagination and uncluttered turn of phrase”.

 

 

 

Jug Suraiya: “A sweeping saga of war, love and betrayal, set at a climactic point of India’s fight for freedom”.

 

 

 

 

Lord Meghnad Desai: “An absorbing and indeed thrilling story of one of the most crucial events in India’s history”.

 

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Spotlight of Half Pants Full Pants by Anand Suspi

 

 
 
HALF PANTS, FULL PANTS
REAL LIFE TALES FROM SHIMOGA
by
Anand Suspi
 
 
 
Blurb
 
Half Pants Full Pants is a sort of childhood autobiography set in Shimoga of the 70s and 80s. Given the era and milieu that he grew up in, it carries a flavor similar to that of Malgudi Days. All the characters in the book are real and most of them are still in Shimoga, of course now in their mid-40s. Quite a few are from prominent families and are now active and important members of Shimoga. The book vividly captures the real childhood adventures of this generation of people in Shimoga. It’s a glorious reminiscence as well as a tribute to this wonderful town.
 
R. Balki says
 
“After Malgudi Days, I could never imagine that someone could create a childhood classic for adults to regain their innocence even for a few hours. Suspi’s tales would have made R K Narayan smile. Oh! That beautiful Kannadiga gene!”
 
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About the author

 

 

 

 

 

 

An advertising writer for over 20 years, he started with Mudra, Mumbai in 1995 and subsequently spent a large part of his career in Lowe Lintas working under Balki. He was the Creative Head of Lowe Delhi between 2007 and 2010. Currently, he lives in Gurgaon and is the co-founder of an ad agency called AndAnd Brand Partners.

 

 

 

 

Half Pants Full Pants is his first book, a sort of childhood autobiography set in Shimoga of the 70s and 80s. Given the era and milieu that he grew up in, it carries a flavor similar to that of Malgudi Days. The notable difference would be that every story is real and the characters are all in their mid-40s now, often reminiscing about the gloriousness of their growing up years.

 

 

 

Featured in New Indian Express

 

 

 

 

 

The Hindu

 

 

 

 

 

 

Times of India

 

 

 

 

 

 

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