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Dream Debuts
Published: Volume 19, Issue 1, January, 2011

Kick-start the New Year with these fresh reads Ė some are informative, some quirky and some are outright hilarious Ė as debut authors claim their spotlight on the literary stage

Urban shots: Twenty-nine Urban Tales by 13 writers
Edited by Paritosh Uttam
Grey Oak Publishing

Aptly titled, these are simple, short stories of love and life, mostly written by first-time authors. Set in metros, they focus on different aspects of urban relationships and capture the city in its many colours. Some of these stories intrude into the readerís thought process, thankfully, in a creative way.

How the Banana Goes to Heaven
Ratna Rajaiah
Westland Ltd.

Go back in time with Verve contributor and author as she takes us to her motherís and grandmotherís kitchen. She recalls the sights and aromas of the ingredients which make more than just comfort food. Filled with mouthwatering recipes and facts, this book is an ode to effortless, traditional food.

On Top of the World: My Everest Adventure
Arjun Vajpai
Penguin India

Accompany 16-year-old Arjun Vajpai on an adventure of a lifetime as the youngest Indian to have conquered Mount Everest tells you about his incredible ascent. This is his story in his own words, written a month after he had set out and stood on top of the world.

Prophecy: The Rise of The Sword
Priya K
Leadstart Publishing

Dive into a fascinating blend of fantasy, drama and humour as the protagonist sets off to search for Lemuria, the last land of Atlantis. Inside the islandís flourishing, vibrant life lies politics, power-play, suspense and a prophecy that sucks her right into the heart of it all.

Madhouse: True Stories of the Inmates of Hostel 4, IIT-B
Edited by Urmilla Deshpande and Bakul Desai
Westland Ltd.
Alumni of IIT-Bombayís Hostel 4 have immortalised their memories in the form of anecdotes. These candid and sometimes provocative accounts are laced with emotions and wit. One thingís for sureÖthe renditions will certainly tickle your funny bone.

Kaleidoscopic Reflections
Sindhu Rajasekaran
Leadstart Publishing

The author, a 23-year-old engineer-turned-writer, tells the story of a Tamil family, spanning five generations, and how its providence is harmoniously linked to the destiny of India. Whatís also interesting is the quirky glossary in the end that acquaints you with Tamil vocabulary that is used throughout. An informative read.

Q & A

In Leading Ladies: Women Who Inspire India, author Sudha Menon persuades her subjects to share some really private views and experiences.... In a Q&A with the writer

What was your yardstick for selecting the women in the book?
It was more difficult than I thought. The initial list of possible women who could feature in the book ran up to a hundred, and yet I wouldnít have even skimmed the surface of the thousands of inspiring Indian women. Initially I wrote to them and met them. There are so many untold stories of these women that I think Iíve found my calling in just discovering and telling them to the world.

How did you manage to get them to reveal their private thoughts?
The first hour or so was a bit tough because they gauged and tried to figure out if they could trust me and also my ability to put down their thoughts in the way they meant it to be conveyed. Once they were convinced that I was not looking at sensationalising their stories, they were more than willing to open up. There were more reminiscences and lots of nostalgia, some teary-eyed moments (on both sides) about some long-forgotten incidents. In the end, I came back with a fascinating collage that the women themselves painted.

How did you come up with the idea of translating these stories into a book?
Writing this book was a natural progression of my life as a business journalist for 22 years. I have met more than my share of talented, bright, accomplished women and each time I met one, I would put a reminder in my head to come back and find out more about their journey. Iíve been fascinated as a journalist and also as a mother who has walked the tightrope walk for years, balancing bringing up a child as best as I could, with the demands of a career Iím passionate about.

Whatís next?
My mind is already working on Volume 2 and racing ahead with other ideas too. I want to do more meaningful writing and if it means the opportunity to meet people who have transformed me the way the women in my first book has, then that is what I want to do for the next few years.

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