Saturday, March 10, 2018

Crossword Bookstores Brings the Enthralling Poetry of Rupi Kaur to Mumbai.

On 8th March 2018, International Women's day, Crossword Bookstores hosted an extraordinary evening with international bestseller Rupi Kaur at Nehru Auditorium, Worli.  

Rupi Kaur is a poet, artist, and performer.  Author of two books, Milk and Honey’New Yorks bestselling book of 2017 and The Sun and Her  Flowers’,Rupi speaks with spiritual calm, when she says , “ I am the product of all the ancestors getting together and deciding these stories need to be told.”

At the age of 5, her mother handed her a paintbrush and asked her to “draw her heart out”. 

At 17, she happened to attend a local open mic night where she performed her first spoken word poem. She fell in love with performance poetry that night. Rupi continued performing across Canada, while building a community of readers and poetry enthusiasts.

Her debut book,Milk and Honey’ became an international phenomenon. It  sold over 2.5 million copies, was translated into more than 30 languages, and landed as a #1 New York Times Bestseller for innumerable weeks. She explores evocative themes, ranging from love, loss, trauma, healing, femininity, migration. Her work and her passion are spellbinding.

Maulik Desai, Head of Crossword Bookstores, the host for Rupi Kaur’s performance in Mumbai says, Anyone who has watched Rupi Kaur perform, will vouch for her captivating expressiveness. Rupi has performed her poetry across the world. Her stature is unique, because after you watch her perform, you want to read more of her writing. Crossword is excited to host Rupi and stock her wonderful books as well.”

Her books The Sun and Her Flowers & Milk and Honey published & distributed by Simon & Schuster India and available at Crossword Bookstores.

Post her cathartic performance to a houseful audience, Rupi said,I thank Crossword Bookstores and Simon & Schuster India for this opportunity. I feel a sublime connect to India, and it has been exhilarating to interact with this marvellous, sensitive audience.”

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Author In Spotlight: Megha Patni

I recently read the book "And She Rises" by Megha Patni (review here: and I fell in love with her writing style. Those who are following us regularly here and on social media need no introduction to her writing, which is the best in the genre "humor", at par and even surpassing the best selling writers we know. This was her first book in a series to come and I cant really wait to read the next one. With the hope of getting some idea about when can that happen, I had a conversation with her, trying to understand her journey and what lies ahead. Here is the conversation....

Q.      Tell us about your journey into writing?
It has been long time since I started to write, it started with writing a diary at the age of 13, writing simple poetry to writing emotional and touchy letters to loved ones. Then I wrote my first crime story Face in the Window – psychological short story of a schizophrenic girl. I did my post graduation in Journalism, but didn’t turn up to be hardcore journalist but worked as a features writer with popular magazines and portals. It was after marriage that I thought of penning down a book.

    Q. Is it in any part autobiographical? Or Are there similarities between people you know and the characters?
The story isn’t autobiographical, but is almost every girl’s story. Many women would relate to it be it as Falguni or as Disha or for that matter having a boyfriend like Avi.

      Q.     Humor to my mind is one of the most difficult forms of writing so what made you choose it?
I like sarcasm, dark humor. And I tend to see it in every aspect but never expressed it so openly. I do but as they say when writing, pour your heart out into it. And that’s what I exactly did. There are some things to which you don’t agree on, like the way women are treated no matter in urban or rural but when you can’t express it openly you take the road less traveled!

     Q.     What is your opinion about status of Indian women in society today? 
Indian women still do not have a say or their opinion still does not count no matter how educated she is. She is still looked down as a person who looks after the house and children. The thought that – that is what she is born to do housework and not take decisions still exists and is prevalent in higher echelons of the society as well.  Yes thinking is changing, there are men who also do household work, etc. but they are just a handful of them.  Smaller cities, rural areas – in these places majority of women do not have a say in any regards. And even if she does create a difference or a mark she isn’t given enough credit. As women, we always wish to be appreciated or encouraged in tiny little ways. Who doesn’t like a friendly pat on the back?

      Q.     What do you think should change in the situation above and why?
To other women out there, please support and help other women in need of it. Remember initially you had to struggle to where you have reached today. And if that unity of women supporting women will become strong, believe me even men may bow down to it and follow suit. Frankly speaking, if you are a newcomer, you are not welcomed much. Famous people are famous. It is of no use trying to play their bugle. This then leads to unhappiness, depression, frustration, etc. The competitive spirit is no longer competitive, it turns ugly, jealousy and envy takes place which is not healthy. We send each other Happy Women's Day messages but think do we really mean it?

     Q.     To your mind what is equality / freedom for a woman? Do you think there will ever be a time when there will be true equality of the sexes?
Women have already started working in male dominated fields which are obviously met with uneasy stares and discomfort – thinking why her and why not me? Why should I take orders from her?  But this is just the beginning and we still have a long way to go for equality.
 When you say freedom for woman, at this point of time what comes to my mind is that she should be able to go out without a fear in her mind of getting robbed, raped, and kidnapped or getting attacked by acid!

      Q.     Apart from writing are you involved with other women-centric projects?
Yes starting this woman’s day, I will be launching a campaign called as Happy Go Lucky ME!!! (Creating Happy Minds) which is all about finding that inner happiness and satisfaction within yourself.  If nobody appreciates you, you do it yourself. Don’t wait for anybody to water your garden. Do it yourself.  This campaign has workshops which are conducted by me and it’s not just about lecturing but involves lot of exercises and interaction with each other. It’s not a self help workshop – rather it’s helping yourself!

     Q.     How many volumes does this series have and how far have you come along with the second book? Do we have a release date?
There are three volumes in this series. The second one is called, And She Rises – From Ashes to Glory. The third book is And She Rises – Her Rise. Am in middle of writing the second part as well and hopefully this time it will be a printed edition. It will be released in next three months time – around July.

      Q.     Why such a small book (67 pages only)?
Curiosity is such an amazing human emotion that you don’t need to tell a very long story to keep your readers hooked onto your book. I felt since it’s my debut, readers should connect with the story that I want to tell and keep them thinking. 

      Q.     Why did you decide to publish with Juggernaut?
Since Juggernaut is the most sought out eBook platform and they do give new authors a break I decided to launch my book with them.  Initially I faced technical glitches which were a bit frustrating because my friends and family were excited to read the book and unfortunately they couldn’t download it. But the Juggernaut team was very helpful and they solved it.

      Q.     What is the most difficult aspect of writing a book for you? How do you tackle it?
The difficult aspect of writing is hoping that your readers stay stuck to your book and the other difficult part is that they don’t find your humor dry. It’s like trying to make them laugh forcefully, which is where your humor aspect fails.

      Q.     What are your favourite writers and quotes?

Ayn Rand, John Grisham, Jeffery Archer, Patricia Cornwell, Sidney Sheldon, Robin Cook, Anais Nin, Paulo Coelho, Stephen King and not to forget JK Rowling.

“To achieve, you need thought. You have to know what you are doing and that’s real power.” – Ayn Rand.

“How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself.”- Anais Nin

“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience. – Paulo Coelho

“You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.” – Stephen King

      Q.     Your most favourite quote from a book?
My all time favourite Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban one where Professor Dumbledore says, “But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.”

      Q.     A few lines about The Readers Cosmos…
The Readers Cosmos is a platform that every new author should seek because they are very forthcoming and helpful. Even if you are confused on how to market yourself they guide you to help you make your book successful. 

The Readers Cosmos team thanks Megha for her time and for this lovely interaction. We wish her great luck in all her endeavors ahead.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

And She Rises by Megha Patni

Title: And She Rises (Introduction)   Author: Megha Patni
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Juggernaut
Price: Free on the juggernaut app
Pages: 67

This is a story of an Indian girl, a woe tale, with a humorous twist. For those who are alien to Indian culture,  there are certain aspects in our culture, mindset and perspective about women in our nation which are evolving slowly, compared to the developed world. Also India is a continent in every aspect, be it religion, caste, culture, food and even in the minute sectors; today you will find examples (though relatively low) of single mothers or couples living-in, but that is not a vast majority. In an average Indian family arranged marriage is the favored norm even today, well not to discredit it entirely since the divorce rates are lower in this old-fashioned mode of operation.

Coming from such a regular family is the protagonist Falguni. When she reaches a marriageable age, the entire society's  especially her relatives only job suddenly shifts to "getting her married". So she does, not without having her own share of experiences. The remarkable quality of her's is sense of humor, the words she chooses to frame her thoughts which the writer aces at. Everything is depicted in a manner that despite what happens in the story, it makes you laugh. Like when Falguni learns her best friend Disha decides to run away from home and marry her boyfriend, her wise advise is "marriages are made in heaven, not on marathon tracks".  This is just the beginning of many more that just spring up in the most bizarre manner.

This book, the first in the series gives us the pre- and post marriage, glimpse of Falguni's life and versions of her personality. It is a primer for the complete woe tale to unfold. Any marriage, love or arranged, changes the lives of the two people involved, more so of the girl, especially because she has to adjust to completely new set of surroundings. When it is arranged, even the groom is unknown and its a gamble that can turn out lucky or otherwise. The book is extremely relatable for anyone who is a woman or has a friend going through these circumstances. This 67 page book is a quick read, you will not even realize ended. It is just a glimpse to a lot that seems the writer wishes to address about the life of Indian girl in so called "modern India" today. With humor and sarcasm as a tool, I am sure it will be an interesting and emphatic one.

I so wished the book was longer for the writing is so sharp, just what you need after a long tiring day. With lives being more demanding, humor as a genre is picking up. The success of Twinkle Khanna's books are a great proof of that. However personally I found her writing distasteful and derogatory at some points. The con-side of writing humor is a fine balance not many can strike. However, Megha has done it effortlessly and the book in no manner seems that of a debutante.

RC Rating: 4.5/5. Waiting for the next book. Highly recommended! Read it right now on your mobile phone with the Juggernaut App.

About the Author: Megha Patni is an avid writer and a mother to two adorable kids! Apart from writing she also makes chocolate and wishes to open up a bakery some day! Megha also writes for kids and has tried her ahdn in crime story as well.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Teen author Abhishek Roy launches his 2nd book “Land of the Gods”

Ashish Vidhyarthi and Ravi Subramanian launched teen authors Abhishek Roy's second book "Land of Gods" at Crossword Bookstores, Kemps Corner on 27th February 2018.

Land of the Gods is a sequel to which Father of the Gods was published in the year 2015. The author has planned a trilogy to complete the story of Mathias and Ram.

While the ‘Father of  the Gods’ talked about the journey of Mathias, Ram and Vivek to reach the true destination of the Gods, believed to be Asr-Gawa , this book “Land of the Gods” takes the story forward by revealing Ram's and Mathias's discovery of lesser known secrets about planet Earth.

The book unravels Mathias’s discovery of mind blowing secrets about the development of Earth’s civilisation and the truth about its birth. The plot has many dimensions, there are ancient myths which collide with science and the classic journey of discoveries, this will keep one engaged and pull them deeper into an unknown world.

Launching the book, Author Abhishek Roy said "It took me two and a half years to write both the books. Writing mythology history required a lot of research which I could do by spending time in the museum.

"Before the books was launched I was an introvert but the success of my first book has given me immense exposure" adds the young author.

The book is published by The Write Place, a publishing initiative of Crossword Bookstores. 

Anup Jerajani, Head of The Write Place says,  in the growing market for fast reads, we are happy to publish this book “Land of the Gods”, an exciting book by a very young author. With his second book, Abhishek has demonstrated that he’s here for the long run.”

A spokesperson for Crossword bookstores added, "Nowadays many young budding writers in the age group of 14-18 years are actively perusing their passion and The Write Place provides them the apt platform.”

The Write Place publishing initiative was started in the year 2014 with the aim to enable aspiring authors and connect them to the right audience.

Also present at the launch were Ashish Vidhyarthi, a national award winning actor and Ravi Subramanian who is an award winning author. 

They were also seen in a conversation with the author.

Interacting with the author, Ashish Vidyarthi said "When you see a banker here who writes and a student who writes, we discover different aspects of ourselves".

“Both of these books are not just ordinary books. These are books which have a great in-depth meaning. These are books which are written after a huge amount of research and these are books you will love reading" said Ravi Subramanian, whose daughter  is also a teenage author.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Book Review: The Buddha of The Brothel by Kris Advaya

Title: The Buddha of the Brothel          Author: Kris Advaya
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Fingerprint Publishers
Price: 209
Pages: 336

The first impression this book has on you, is through its blurb which bears similarities and states out-rightly and surprisingly, that the book would appeal to "Shantaram" lovers. Though similar broadly, the trajectory of this book is very different. The blurb does no justice to its contents except for its declaration of being a "true story". That combined with the writing style was the reason I decided to review it.

A true story- a depiction of life is a fine concoction of a bland and as tasteful in different pockets, as life itself. This book does complete justice to this balance, that being its greatest merit. It unlike movies or some books that aim to make the reader enjoy, make a true story larger than life, the irony of which I could never appreciate. This is the story of the author, Kris from Slovenia, an emotional being troubled by his own share of life experiences comes to India to learn Ayurvedic massage. On this path to spirituality, he has practiced celibacy for years and yet one glance on Radha, a prostitute in Pune's red-light area, makes him fall in love. Love in these circumstances too is depicted in its reality, beginning with desire, growing further towards dreams of ever-lasting companionship. His mind is however not conflicted by feelings of being in love after ages, but the demons lie in the world his lady-love resides in. He tests his feelings on multiple levels and finds it to be true, however the inner workings of this world aren't as simple or solvable. Kris will have to, on every stage do a lot of questioning within himself, to come up with answers, for life. This is his life most critical and difficult mission. 

His journey through mostly the west and south India takes us sometimes to beautiful landscapes, and the travel writing was refreshingly good, making the reader travel. Though the repetitions of train journeys, each time could be avoided. In some part the book will delve deep, while the authors is in 'self-thinking" mode, and these are the most well written parts, the rest of it fades in comparison. The depths of Indian ashrams, sex market in the country, etc. is written about but these aspects aren't written in depths Shantaram went into with Mumbai underworld. If that is what you are looking for this book isn't for you.

The book is a journey of finding oneself and love. It as all the elements of confusion, self questioning, experimentation, discovery, love, realizations and to some extent action. It is beautiful for it is relatable, for each of us at some stage of life or another (not as bizarre or dangerous as Kris's) have gone through this period of deep self questioning, self doubt and signals from the universe. We have received love from the barren lands, a warm smile from tormented lives and beauty in ugliest settings of the world. A few pages from a fellow beings life is what you will live through this book called - The Buddha of the Brothel.

RC Rating: 4/5.  A life story is always better than fiction. Recommended especially for lovers of the written word. The language is your treat, the metaphors your balm and wound too. 

About the Author: Kris Advaya emerged from the void in Yugoslavia in the spring of 1976. After crawling his way through a stint in the military, and already multilingual, he spent five years studying French, Russian, and literature at the University of Ljubljana. Always artistic, he spent most of these years writing songs and abusing an electric guitar while playing with his alternative rock band. Soon afterwards, life took him to India and its enticing ways, and he’s been trying to cure himself of nomadism ever since.

Grab a Copy:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

'AAP & Down' by Mayank Gandhi launched at Crossword Bookstores Kemps Corner

Crossword Bookstores, Kemps Corner came alive with a throwback to one of the largest movements Indian democracy has seen since independence; the mad righteous frenzy whipped up by the Aam Aadmi party in 2011 to end corruption from politics.

Present at the bookstore, were authors Mayank Gandhi, one of the chief architects of AAP and  co-author Shrey Shah, with their book ‘AAP &Down’, published by Simon & Schuster India, presenting  an insiders story of the rise and dismantling of a party that captured the nations imagination, but failed to truly capitalise on it. Veteran journalist Nikhil Wagle was present to moderate a conversation and launch the book.

Largely intense and serious, the book has its  lighter moments too, making it an engaging, fast read.  For eg; Statements such as the only reason India is poor is because we eat paani-puri,’ or the rhetorical question

Q: How many Indians does it take to change a light bulb

Ans: 500. 1 to change the bulb, 49 to stand and watch, 50 to make suggestions and 400 to tell him it cant be done, mark the initial pages of the book. Mayank Gandhi reveals at the very beginning of his book, that he had known Arvind Kejriwal since 2003, due to his work with Anna Hazare for the passing of Maharashtra RTI.

From tales of Anna Hazare leading the charge, to a candid assessment of Arvind Kejriwal, the current CM of Delhi after a landslide victory in Feb 2015, the book chronicles an important period of recent Indian history. Upto his eventual resignation in November 2015, Mayank Gandhi shares his view of the evolution of AAP as a party, throwing in heady doses of disdain for  personality driven politics, high command approach and other things he experienced. This reaches a crescendo with his question

“How did a man, who was once my hero- become the most disliked Indian?”

He ends the book with a description of his current work at Global Parli, with a hope that he will be a part of fulfilling India’s destiny again.

Speaking at the launch, Mayank Gandhi said, "There have been thousands of books written on independence struggle but nobody sat down and documented this history. I felt as an ex insider that it was my duty to put before history and people what was happening”.

"There is a spark inside every youth that this is my country and these are my people. I want to serve the people. There was a dream of a corruption-free India and those days. This passion for serving the country was one of the major reason for me getting involved" said Shrey Shah, co-author.

The book launch saw intense discussions matched by eager listeners of Indian political intrigue. Nikhil Wagle remarked, "I think this is an important book because this is a documentation of the decline of a political party in India. This party once upon a time was an idealistic party. I suppose Mayankbhai has written in this book about how the dream collapsed and crumbled".

As  a final salvo, Mayank Gandhi revealed that he  got a call from Narendra Modi's office and Rahul Gandhi's office after quitting AAP to join politics, but by then he had lost interest in politics.

Welcoming the community engagement seen during the launch, a Crossword Bookstores' spokesperson added, "The future we have envisaged for Crossword as a melting pot for conversations relevant to the community, is here. Todays book launch is proof of that."

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Why I Chose Poetry to Express the Status of Women Today?

“Some birds are free,
Some birds are caged.
This origami bird is
molded from a page.
Set her free,

Or let her be.”

A time where hashtags like #womensupportwomen and #girlpower flood social media, a simple #metoo took everyone by storm. We talk about uplifting and empowering women but at the same time not everyone believes it off social media. While that happens around the world, India is still stuck in a place where there is a whole other story playing. Here, women are worshipped in temples, but treated like slaves in bedrooms. A society that is equal parts male and female dominated is still suppressing women at the end of the day.

As someone who spent her youth years in both India and outside, being able to understand different cultures helped shaped Origami Birds. We may think women are treated in a certain way in our society, but we don’t realize what is happening elsewhere. Social media very well hides our real life, which in turn makes people believe we are all too perfect to feel stronger emotions like pain or anger. We are all trained to keep a prim and proper exterior, meanwhile our interior starts to rot. By the time you realize you need to let it out, there is no one who is going to listen to you.

When I personally reached that point where I felt I was going to explode, I used poetry to express myself. Being a private person, it was always hard to share my feelings with people, and I felt like there were more people out there who felt the same way. Over multiple coffee meets and stressful talks, I started listening, and when I did, a million stories started to unfold, which came to be the collection Origami Birds is.

“I feel cold in your warm caress.I feel scared in your security.” 

The above excerpt from Origami Birds shows how majority of poems are written metaphorically between a man and a woman, where the man is the society and the woman is all of us. Through Origami Birds I am not trying to start a pro-feminist movement, just simply sending a message out about how easy it is to let it out. The more we keep inside, the harder it gets. As the book begins, I want the reader to understand that we all as humans are just like an Origami Bird; shaped and molded by the society, but free in the essence.

By reading Origami Birds, I want the readers to be able to feel lighter. If they relate that’s great it means they want to get the heaviness off their chest and if they don’t, at least they’ll be able to help someone else out who feels that way.

When someone meets with an accident and starts to bleed, our instant reaction is to stop the bleeding. Then why now do the same when someone feels that way mentally? Our mental health is so strongly attached to our physical health, yet we don’t treat them the same way. If our minds are clear from any stress or pressure, it will show on our physical selves. Once we start to keep both in good shape, our lives will become a lot easier. It’s all about finding that person who will listen without judgement, and just listen, sometimes opinions and consolation are not needed. That’s why I encourage people to reach out to me if they would like to talk, because feeling better by talking doesn’t cost anyone anything.    

Written by Tanya jain: Tanya Jain recently graduated from Parsons The New School for Design, New York. She has been using design and writing as a means to express herself through her work. Gaining inspiration from her life and the people around her; anger, pain and suffering are the major themes in this collection. Physical wellness is as important as our mental wellness. Without being able to express all the emotions one feels, the body is simply a host where the mind resides without being connected to it. She believes in expressing the strong emotions that society prefers to keep secret. She wants her emotions to scream through words and make the reader feel it too.

Does this make you want to read the book? Grab a copy now!!!