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An unfinished portrait

A gift book for children and teens, Another Dozen Stories is a must-read collection of 12 fascinating short stories by award-winning author Satyajit Ray.  It is our homage to this brilliant writer who has blessed us with an era of enchanting stories. Translated for the very first time into English by noted translator Indrani Majumdar, this edition is a gift for his many fans and children who are nine years old or more, on the centenary of his birth.

Another Dozen Stories brings to you the magical, bizarre, spooky and sometimes astonishing worlds created by Satyajit Ray, featuring an extraordinary bunch of characters! This collection includes twelve hair-raising stories that will leave you asking for more!

We decided to add to the gift by giving away a part of a story. If the cliff-hanger at the end piques your curiosity, you know what to do.

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Another Dozen Stories front cover
Another Dozen Stories||Satyajit Ray

Ranjan Purakayastha is a noted painter in Calcutta. Why just Calcutta? His popularity has spread way beyond Bengal, across the whole of India. He has had exhibitions in Bombay, Madras, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Ranjanbabu’s income, which is quite substantial, comes from selling his paintings. Last month in Bombay, one of his oil paintings was sold for thirty-five thousand rupees.

The painting style Ranjanbabu has adopted is modern. Very little of the real world can be associated with his work. His human figures look like puppets created by some incapable artisan; the trees resemble the twigs of a broomstick; the clouds in the sky look like floating chunks of meat; and his birds and animals have nothing to do with nature or a zoo. But as today’s art connoisseurs appreciate this kind of approach, Ranjanbabu’s earnings have not been affected. Yet I must also add, Ranjanbabu remains unrivalled in creating portraitures of people. Here he doesn’t adopt his modern style, the pictures look like real people and the likenesses are rather good too. Due to the nature of his work, Ranjanbabu needs to travel often, and that offers him a good income too. For a life-size oil painting, he charges fifteen thousand rupees, which he plans to increase to twenty-five thousand next year. Even in the age of photographs, a few wealthy people still prefer to have their portraits made, and Ranjanbabu gets to prove his expertise again and again.

One Sunday morning, a gentleman arrives at Ranjanbabu’s fancily decorated flat on Richi Road. At a glance, one can tell he is wealthy. Tall and hefty, attired in a raw silk suit, and sporting five rings on five fingers. His appearance is marked by a strapping personality. The gentleman says his name is Bilash Mallik, and he is keen to have his portrait done. When Ranjanbabu hears his name, he knows the gentleman is one of Calcutta’s most affluent businessmen. His will be a life-size portrait, and he is ready to pay any amount stipulated.

‘How much will you charge?’ Mr Mallik asks.

With a straight face, Ranjanbabu says, ‘Fifty thousand rupees.’

The client promptly agrees.

Ranjanbabu already has an incomplete work at hand, a large painting. He needs at least seven days to finish it. Accordingly, he calculates his timeframe and offers Mr Mallik a date. He will have to do a one-hour sitting every day at 9 a.m.

‘How many days will you take to finish it?’ Mr Mallik queries.

‘About a fortnight.’

‘Very well,’ says Mr Mallik. ‘It’s settled. Hmm . . . do you require an advance?’

‘No, sir.’

Before embarking on any major project, Ranjanbabu always seeks his guru’s blessings. He became Saralananda Swami’s—also known as Babaji or Swamiji—disciple ten years ago. On many occasions he takes Babaji’s advice, and the latter too is very fond of this disciple. Babaji has been bestowed with many powers, and fortune-telling is one of them.

After listening to everything his disciple tells him, Babaji meditates for three minutes and then says, ‘There is danger.’

‘What danger, Swamiji?’

‘A lot of mishaps. You didn’t do the right thing by taking up this task.’

‘Then should I refuse the gentleman?’

‘Wait.’

Babaji closes his eyes once again and begins to sway.

This continues for another five minutes, after which Babaji finally opens his eyes. Ranjanbabu is looking at his guru reverentially.

‘I can foresee you ultimately crossing all the hurdles and finding success. Don’t worry; get on with your work,’ Babaji says.

Greatly relieved, Ranjan Purakayastha touches Babaji’s feet and takes his leave.

The work on Bilash Mallik’s portrait commences on Saturday, 21 January. Mr Mallik is a jovial fellow. Right at the outset he checks if he can talk during sittings. Usually Ranjanbabu doesn’t permit this, but since this is an exceptional client, he has to say yes.

‘But you shouldn’t move your neck. If you speak, speak in one direction, that is, look at my right shoulder and then speak.’

When the first stroke of charcoal appears on the canvas, the time is 9.15 a.m.

Day by day, Mr Mallik’s face begins to emerge. There’s no doubt that Ranjanbabu is a very skilful artist, but at this juncture the only person who can see his work is the artist himself. The person whose portrait is being created will get to see it only after it’s completed. Even though this condition wasn’t discussed beforehand, Mr Mallik doesn’t have any objections.

It’s the twelfth day, and the portrait is nearing completion. After half an hour of sitting, Mr Mallik says he’s feeling dizzy.

Ranjanbabu stops and says, ‘Please go home. In any case, the portrait is almost complete. If you feel better, please come back tomorrow morning.’

But Mr Mallik doesn’t feel any better the next day. In fact, his fever goes up to 103 degrees. On the third day, things turn even more serious and he is shifted to a hospital.

Ranjan Purakayastha removes the portrait from the easel, puts it aside and fixes a brand-new canvas on it. Then he starts to work on a landscape with a modern touch.

After spending one-and-a half months in hospital, when Mr Bilash Mallik finally returns home, he no longer carries any resemblance to his former self. He has lost weight—down to seventy-two kilos from ninety. His cheeks are now hollow and his eyes sunken. He sends word to Ranjan Purakayastha that the portrait can wait. When his appearance becomes a little better, he can once again come for a sitting.

A month later, Mr Bilash Mallik begins to look better. Yet there’s no resemblance between his former and present selves. Doctors have advised him to control his diet. With the result, his weight can never go beyond eighty kilos.

Mallik says, ‘Let’s do a new portrait in my present state.’

Ranjan Purakayastha places a fresh canvas on his easel. Mr Mallik has altered his clothes to fit his reduced frame. But it’s a fact that he no longer looks unwell.

After four days of sketching, Ranjanbabu goes shopping to New Market in his Fiat one evening. On the way back, as soon as he crosses the turn at Park Street, a mini bus coming at high speed rams into the car from the right.

Of course, the Fiat is damaged, but along with it, Ranjanbabu’s right hand is severely battered. In the

hospital, the X-ray reveals multiple fractures on his elbow, wrist and the right thumb.

Once the cast on his hand is taken off after two months, Ranjanbabu discovers that he will never regain the same level of artistic expertise as he had before the accident. The most critical issue is his thumb. One can create modern art by holding a brush between the index and middle fingers,

but not a natural portrait.

This causes a huge trauma in Ranjanbabu’s life. He stops all work and goes on a pilgrimage. After spending three months travelling in Kashi, Haridwar, Rishikesh and Lakshman Jhula, he returns home and starts painting again using two fingers. The work produced looks slack and the appearance of his work completely changes. Ranjanbabu can now no longer demand thirty to forty thousand rupees for a painting. He needs to re-establish his market.

Meanwhile, Mr Bilash Mallik enquires about him, extends his sympathies and deeply regrets that he can now no longer have a Ranjan Purakayastha portrait in his house.

After trying for three months, using the paintbrush with only two fingers, Ranjanbabu manages to evolve a style that eventually earns him an endorsement in the art market. One Sunday morning, the retainer comes to his studio to announce the arrival of a gentleman.

‘You know him,’ the retainer remarks.

‘May’ the odds and the books be ever in your favour

‘May’ is a word filled with promises and possibilities. It is also a word that conveys blessings and best wishes. These are emotions the entire human race has been expressing and feeling toward one another constantly through this difficult period that has spanned over a year. A homograph to this word that is so laden with potential and compassion, is the month we have now stepped into. May ‘may’ have a lot to offer you in terms of comfort and relief, but what we certainly have to offer you this month is an array of our latest releases. May they bring a little light, love, laughter, knowledge and hope into your lives.

 

Front cover of Hisila
Hisila||Hisila Yami

Hisila

In this fascinating book, Hisila Yami traces her journey from being a young Nepali student of architecture in Delhi in the early eighties to becoming a Maoist revolutionary engaging in guerrilla warfare in Nepal. Yami was one of two women leaders who were a part of the politburo of the Communist Party of Nepal, which led the revolutionary People’s War.
This lucidly written political memoir may talk about gaining political awareness, joining protests, being imprisoned, participating in the People’s War, and later her experiences as the first lady and a minister. But, at the same time, it’s also a narrative that offers glimpses of her personal life. She candidly writes about falling in love and marrying a fellow politician, Baburam Bhattarai, who went on to become the prime minister of Nepal. From how she balanced her political life with motherhood to what it meant to be a woman in the communist party that launched a civil war, Yami narrates an unforgettable account of a remarkable life.

 

Front cover of Three Rays
Three Rays||Satyajit Ray

Three Rays

Satyajit Ray (1921-1992), through his life, philosophy and works offered a unique aesthetic sensibility, which took our cinema, art and literature to a new height. Ray, an ace designer, music composer, illustrator and a gifted writer, gave us the iconic Feluda and Professor Shonku, loved and revered by millions of readers.

Celebrating his centenary birth anniversary, Three Rays: Stories from Satyajit Ray, the first book in ‘The Penguin Ray Library’ series, opens a window to his brilliance. With more than forty previously unpublished stories, autobiographical writings and illustrations by Ray, this volume opens a window to the Master’s creative genius.

 

 

Front cover of Secrets of Devine love
Secrets of Devine Love||A.Helwa

Secrets of Divine Love

Secrets of Divine Love draws upon the spiritual secrets of the Qu’ran, mystical poetry and stories from the world’s greatest prophets and spiritual masters to help you reignite your faith, overcome your doubts and deepen your connection with God. Practical exercises and guided meditations will help you develop the tools and awareness to overcome the inner critic that prevents you from experiencing God’s all-encompassing love.
Through the principles and practices of Islam, you will learn how to unlock your spiritual potential and your divine purpose. This insightful book uses a rational yet heart-based approach towards the Qu’ran that enlightens and inspires towards a deeper intimacy with God.

 

 

 

Front cover of Believe
Believe||Suresh Raina, Bharat Sundaresan

Believe

Believe, Sachin Tendulkar told him – and he took it to heart, getting the word etched on his arm as a tattoo.

In this book, Suresh Raina takes us through the challenges he faced as a young cricketer. He was bullied as a child, but he overcame every adversity life threw at him and never gave up. This is the story of the lessons he learnt and the friendships he built.

Peppered with invaluable insights – about the game and about life – that Raina acquired from senior colleagues, this book will make you believe in the power of hard work, love, luck, hope and camaraderie. It is a journey through the highs and lows in the career of a man who saw his world fall apart and yet became one of the most influential white-ball cricketers India has ever seen.

 

 

Front cover of Languages of Truth
Languages of Truth||Salman Rushdie

Languages of Truth

Salman Rushdie is celebrated as a storyteller of the highest order, illuminating truths about our society and culture through his gorgeous prose. In his latest collection of nonfiction, he brings together insightful essays and speeches that focus on his relationship with the written word and reinforce him as one of the most original thinkers of our time.

Gathering pieces written from 2003 to 2020, Languages of Truth chronicles Rushdie’s intellectual engagement with a period of momentous cultural shifts. He delves into the nature of storytelling as a human need in what emerges as a love letter to literature. Rushdie explores what the work of authors from Shakespeare and Cervantes to Samuel Beckett, Eudora Welty, and Toni Morrison mean to him. He delves deep into the nature of ‘truth’, revels in the vibrant malleability of language, the creative lines that join art and life, and looks anew at migration, multiculturalism and censorship.

Enlivened by Rushdie’s signature wit, Languages of Truth offers his piercingly analytical views on the evolution of literature and culture as he takes us on a tour of his own exuberant imagination.

 

Front cover of Nehru, Tibet and China
Nehru, Tibet and China||Avtar Singh Bhasin

Nehru, Tibet and China

On 1 October 1949, the People’s Republic of China came into being. Power moved from the hands of the nationalist Kuomintang government to the Communist Party of China headed by Mao Tse Tung. All of a sudden, it was not only a new China that India had to deal with but also a Tibet which was under increasing pressure.

Clearly, newly independent India, with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru at its helm, was navigating choppy waters. Its relations with China deteriorated, eventually leading to the Indo-China war in 1962. Today, more than six decades after the war, we are still face border disputes with China that seem to routinely grab headlines. It leads one to question what exactly went on during the emergence of a new China and why have we repeatedly failed to arrive at a solution?

Based on meticulous archival research, this book analyses the events from 1949 to the Indo-China war in 1962 and its aftermath to uncover answers to these burning questions.

 

Front cover of A Childhood in Tibet
A Childhood in Tibet||Thérèse Obrecht Hodler

A Childhood in Tibet

Tendöl Namling turned 60 in 2019. She was born at the time the Dalai Lama fled from Lhasa and the uprising of his people by the Chinese People’s Army was brutally suppressed. She lived 22 years under Chinese rule. As daughter of a high government official, she underwent the ordeal of ‘re-education’ with full force. All she had from these years are painful memories and crumpled photographs of her with friends and cousins in Lhasa, smiling as if nothing happened. When Tendöl turned 10 her brother was arrested and her mother sentenced to ten years in prison. Tendöl was sent to work in road construction for several years, following which she was allowed to start an apprenticeship as motor mechanic. Thanks to the efforts of her family in exile, Tendöl was able to leave Tibet in 1982. After twenty years of hardship she landed in prosperous Switzerland. She struggled to start her life all over again, but never gave up.

In Tendöl’s words, ‘this little book is dedicated to all the Tibetans who continue to rebel against the Chinese occupation’.

 

Front cover of The Light of Asia
The Light of Asia||Jairam Ramesh

The Light of Asia

‘The Light of Asia’ is an epic poem by Sir Edwin Arnold that was first published in 1879. It quickly became a huge sensation and has continued to resonate powerfully across the world over the last century and a half. Weaving together literary, cultural, political and social history, Jairam Ramesh uncovers and narrates the fascinating story of this deeply consequential and compelling poem that has shaped our thinking of an ancient sage and his teachings. He brings into this unusual narrative the life of the multi-faceted poet himself who, among other things, was steeped in Sanskrit literature.

Sir Edwin Arnold’s English rendering of the Bhagavad Gita was one of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourites. He was also in many ways the man who may have shaped Bodh Gaya as we know it today.

 

 

Front cover of China Room
China Room||Sunjeev Sahota

China Room

A multigenerational novel of love, oppression, trauma and the pursuit of freedom, inspired in part by the author’s own family history, China Room twines together the stories of a woman and a man separated by more than half a century but united by blood.

Mehar, a young bride in the rural Punjab of 1929, is trying to discover the identity of her new husband. She and her sisters-in-law, married to three brothers in a single ceremony, spend their days working in the family’s ‘china room’, separated from the men. When Mehar develops a theory as to which of them is hers, a passion is ignited that puts more than one life at risk.

Spiralling around Mehar’s story is that of a young man who, in 1999, travels from England to a deserted farm, its ‘china room’ locked and barred. In enforced flight from the traumas of his adolescence-his experiences of addiction, racism and estrangement from the culture of his birth-he spends a summer in painful contemplation and recovery, before finally finding the strength to return home.

 

Front cover of Amader Shantiniketan
Amader Shantiniketan||Shivani, Ira Pande

Amader Shantiniketan

Padma Shri and late Hindi author Shivani’s memoirs of studying at the experimental school set up by Rabindranath Tagore, the Ashram, this charming memoir is a loving homage to a grand institution and its legendary gurus. Written from the perspective of a child, it retains the freshness and innocence of an age when experimental education was not merely a trendy movement. Shivani’s vivid pictures of the Ashram and portraits of her teachers and fellow students remain as alive as they seemed when she first wrote this memoir nearly fifty years ago.

Along with the moving tributes she wrote when some of her beloved contemporaries passed away, this slim memoir is a sort of diptych that captures the spirit of the Ashram and the liveliness of its inmates, many of whom went on to become iconic. Shivani’s recall of her time there takes the reader into an enchanted garden that remains as inspirational to her as it was when she went there a lifetime ago.

 

Front cover of The Spirit of Enquiry
The Spirit of Enquiry||T.M. Krishna

The Spirit of Enquiry

As a vocalist in the Karnatik tradition, T.M. Krishna eludes standard analyses. Uncommon in his rendition of music and his interpretation of it, Krishna is at once strong and subtle, manifestly traditional and stunningly innovative. His work is spread across the whole spectrum of music and culture, politics and the social sphere; he is at once philosophical, aesthetic and sociopolitical. He asks important questions about how art is made, performed and disseminated. Unabashedly given to rethinking classical paradigms, he addresses crucial issues of caste, class and gender with nuance and openness.

T.M. Krishna’s key writings have been put together for the first time in this extraordinary collection. The Spirit of Enquiry: Dissent as an Art Form draws from his rich body of work, thematically divided into five key sections: art and artistes; the nation state; the theatre of secularism; savage inequalities; and in memoriam. This collection reflects the critical and cultural engagement of one of our finest thinkers, public intellectuals and practitioners of art.

Celebrate Satyajit Ray with some of his best literary works

Satyajit Ray hardly needs an introduction. Regarded as one of the greatest film-makers of our times, he received the Oscar for Lifetime Achievement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1992 and was honoured with the Bharat Ratna in the same year.

He was also an ace designer, illustrator, music composer and to celebrate 100 years of the man, we share a list of books by him you’re bound to love, whether you’re new to his work, or are a long-term appreciator.

 

Childhood Days

Childhood Days The Penguin Ray Library
Childhood Days | | Satyajit Ray

 Childhood Days is a biography of Satyajit Ray, which he wrote on his own. Through this book, readers will come to know about the people who were around him during his childhood years, where he spent the early years of his life and who Satyajit Ray was, the man who we now know as an artist, music composer, director and writer. This book enables readers to take a look at a different side of Satyajit Ray, which is affectionate, tender and humorous, quite different from the person everyone knows, who is a serious man who keeps himself isolated from the world.

 

Classic Satyajit Ray

Ray’s short stories often explore the macabre and the supernatural, and Gopa Majumdar marked by the Translated from the Bengali by the author and are sharp characterization and trademark wit that characterizes his films. Cover illustration by Isa Esai This collection brings together Ray’s best short stories – including such read more timeless gems as ‘Khagam’, ‘Indigo’, ‘Fritz’, ‘Bhuto’, ‘The Pterodactyl’s Egg’, ‘Big Bill’, ‘Patol Babu, Film Star’ and ‘The Hungry Septopus’ – which readers of all ages will enjoy.

 

The Collected Short Stories (City Plans)

Best known for his immensely popular Feluda mysteries and the adventures of Professor Shonku, Satyajit Ray was also one of the most skilful short story writers of his generation. Ray’s short stories often explore the macabre and the supernatural, and are marked by the sharp characterization and trademark wit that distinguishes his films. This collection brings together Ray’s best short stories—including such timeless gems as ‘Khagam’, ‘Indigo’, ‘Fritz’, ‘Bhuto’, ‘The Pterodactyl’s Egg’, ‘Big Bill’, ‘Patol Babu, Film Star’ and ‘The Hungry Septopus’—which readers of all ages will enjoy.

 

My Years With Apu

The Indian film-maker Satyajit Ray tells the story behind the making of his three films, the “Apu” trilogy. Completed shortly before his death, the memoir covers the key aspects of his career: his decision to give up a lucrative job in advertising in order to make his first film, early setbacks, a chronic shortage of funds, the guidance and support of directors such as Jean Renoir, his solutions to problems, and the acclaim for his films at home and abroad.

 

Speaking of Films

Exactly fifty years ago, in 1955, the release of Pather Panchali heralded the arrival of a master in the world of cinema. Over the next forty years, Satyajit Ray came to be regarded as one of the world’s finest film-makers ever. Speaking of Films brings together some of Ray’s most memorable writings on film and film-making. With the masterly precision and clarity that characterize his films, Ray discusses a wide array of subjects: the structure and language of cinema with special reference to his adaptations of Tagore and Bibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay, the appropriate use of background music and dialogue in films, the relationship between a film-maker and a film critic, and important developments in cinema like the advent of sound and color. He also writes about his own experiences, the challenges of working with rank amateurs, and the innovations called for when making a film in the face of technological, financial and logistical constraints.

 

Indigo

Spine-tingling tales from the other side of midnight. Indigo is the mood in this new collection of stories about the supernatural, the peculiar and the inexplicable from Satyajit Ray, one of the best-loved writers of our times. There are tales here of dark horror, fantasy and adventure along with heartwarmingly funny stories about ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Indigo is a veritable treasure trove especially for those who like a taste of the unusual in a short story and an unexpected twist at the end. Translated from the Bengali by the author and Gopa Majumdar.

 

The Complete Adventures of Feluda Vol. 1

This omnibus edition features the ever-popular adventures of Satyajit Ray’s enduring creation, the professional sleuth Pradosh C. Mitter (Feluda). In his escapades, Feluda is accompanied by his cousin Topshe and the bumbling crime writer Lalmohan Ganguly (Jatayu). From Jaisalmer to Simla, from the Ellora Caves to Varanasi, the trio traverse fascinating locales to unravel one devious crime after another.

 

The Complete Adventures of Feluda Vol. 2

For readers who enjoyed The Adventures of Feluda in Volume 1, this second omnibus volume holds more delights. Accompanied by his cousin Topshe and the bumbling crime writer Lalmohan Ganguly (Jatayu), Feluda travels from Puri to Kedarnath, from Kathmandu to London in his pursuit of culprits; he tracks down Napoleon’s last letter, a forgotten painting by Tintoretto and a stolen manuscript.

 

Magnificent reads for young readers for the month of April

As days get longer and warmer, we find ourselves cooped up in our homes, avoiding the scorching heat and that deadly virus no one should name. But time indoors doesn’t have to feel like a chore necessarily, thanks to our age-old friends—books.

Here’s a list of refreshing reads to keep you engrossed and entertained through the long, sunny days of April.

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Queen of Fire

Devika Rangachari

front cover of Queen of Fire
Queen of Fire || Devika Rangachari

 

Lakshmibai, the widowed queen of Jhansi, is determined to protect her son’s right to his father’s throne and safeguard the welfare of her kingdom. Faced with machinations to take over Jhansi, at a time when all of India is rising up against the British, she has to prove her valour and sagacity time and again. But will this be enough to save all that she values?

In this gripping novel, award-winning historical novelist Devika Rangachari brings to vivid life the interior life of this nineteenth-century queen, thrust into a position she does not desire but must assume, and of her son, who is cowed by the challenges he has to face but determined to live up to his mother’s courage.

 

Satyajit Ray in 100 Anecdotes

Arthy Muthanna Singh, Mamta Nainy

front cover of Satyajit Ray in 100 Anecdotes
Satyajit Ray in 100 Anecdotes || Arthy Muthanna Singh, Mamta Nainy

 

Tracing his magnificent life with 100 little-known and inspiring incidents as well as unusual trivia, this collectible edition pays homage to the maestro on his 100th birth anniversary.

A master filmmaker, a remarkable auteur, a writer par excellence and an artist of immense reach and range, Satyajit Ray was an indefinable genius. This book is a classic tribute that celebrates his many accomplishments across literature, music, art and more.

 

Satyajit Ray
front cover of Another Dozen Stories
Another Dozen Stories || Satyajit Ray

 

Another Dozen Stories brings to you the magical, bizarre, spooky and sometimes astonishing worlds created by Satyajit Ray, featuring an extraordinary bunch of characters!

While ‘The McKenzie Fruit’ trails a humble man trying to leave his mark in history, ‘Worthless’ is a moving story about a seemingly hapless character not quite able to win the confidence of his family. Meet Professor Hijibijbij, the eccentric scientist bent on creating living replicas of peculiar creatures and follow Master Angshuman into a nail-biting and unexpected adventure on the sets of his very first film. This collection includes twelve hair-raising stories that will leave you asking for more!

 

Jamlo Walks

Samina Mishra

front cover of Jamlo Walks
Jamlo Walks || Samina Mishra

 

It is day 7 of the lockdown and everyone says the skies are blue again.
Jamlo walks. She looks straight at the road ahead. It is long.

The world has stood still. The streets lie empty and schools are closed. All work has dried up and people keep whispering the word ‘corona’ all the time. Jamlo walks down a long and hot road, alongside hundreds of other men and women and children whom Tara sees on TV. Jamlo walks as Rahul watches the streets turn quiet.

Jamlo walks and walks in a world that needs to be kind and just and equal. A world where all lives are seen as important.

 

Sita’s Chitwan

Vaishali Shroff

front cover of Sita's Chitwan
Sita’s Chitwan || Vaishali Shroff

 

As big as 1,78,000 football fields, Nepal’s first protected national park is home to over 550 species of birds; awe-inspiring animals, such as greater one-horned rhinoceroses, Bengal tigers, clouded leopards; and a confident, brave girl called Sita.

Sita dreams of being a nature guide like her baba. With a spring in her step and a group of eager tourists, she unravels the secrets of the forest. But when she wanders astray and comes face to face with a mamma rhino, will this eight-year-old be able to listen to the stillness of the jungle?

 

The Astoundingly True Adventures of Daydreamer Dev

Ken Spillman

front cover of The Astoundingly True Adventures of Daydreamer Dev
The Astoundingly True Adventures of Daydreamer Dev || Ken Spillman

 

Forever daydreaming-that’s Dev. Sitting in class or watching the clouds from the roof of Kwality Carpets, he floats off to places all over the world and has wonderful, bizarre adventures.

Mild-mannered schoolboy Dev is no stranger to survival in extreme environments. Classroom trances and home-made flights of fancy take him all over the place-what other kid could have visited Amazon rainforests, summited Mount Everest and crossed the Sahara? Along with the challenges of all this, he also needs to avoid the wrath of teachers and make Amma and Baba proud . . . Not so easy when your brain lives elsewhere!

 

The Bournvita Quiz Contest Quiz Collector’s Edition, Vol. 1

Derek O’Brien

front cover of The Bournvita Quiz Contest Quiz Collector's Edition
The Bournvita Quiz Contest Quiz Collector’s Edition || Derek O’Brien

 

The award-winning Bournvita Quiz Contest started as a radio programme in 1972, then shifted to television in the 1990s. Since 1994, it has been hosted by Asia’s best-known quizmaster, Derek O’Brien, in his inimitable style, and it holds the record for being the longest-running knowledge game show on Indian television.
This definitive edition comprises a selection of the best Q & As from this iconic children’s show. Featuring 1000 questions, carefully curated from the exhaustive twenty-year-old archives, this book is dotted with heartening anecdotes, fun trivia and thoughtful essays by people who worked on this much-loved show.

 

The Bournvita Quiz Contest Quiz Collector’s Edition, Vol. 2

Derek O’Brien

front cover of The Bournvita Quiz Contest Quiz Collector's Edition
The Bournvita Quiz Contest Quiz Collector’s Edition || Derek O’Brien

 

Which Nobel laureate wrote articles under the name Gul Makai?
Hilsa is the national fish of which neighbouring country of India?
In which organ of the human body would you find the aqueous humour?

With fun Q&As carefully curated from the exhaustive twenty-year-old archives, this definitive book is a treat for all quiz aficionados who can choose from an array of fifty sections including:

Art and Culture
Science
Politics
Mythology
Books and Authors

**

Meet Feluda and Other Characters from Satyajit Ray's 'Feluda Omnibus'

Feluda Omnibus (Volume One) is a collection of three thrilling stories on the crafty detective, Feluda, and his loyal sidekick, Topshe. Written by the celebrated writer and filmmaker Satyajit Ray, they are filled to the brim with adventure and intrigue, promising to keep you on your toes until the very end.
In The Emperor’s Ring, Feluda and Topshe are on holiday in Lucknow when a priceless Mughal ring is stolen. While investigating the theft, Feluda finds himself in pursuit of a notorious criminal. In The Golden Fortress, Feluda and Topshe are in Rajasthan with Dr Hajra, a parapsychologist, and Mukul, a young boy who claims to remember his previous life. Their thrilling search for answers leads them to the recurring fortress of Mukul’s dreams, all the while evading dangerous men after the young boy. Finally, in Bandits of Bombay, a frightening murder during a film shoot prompts the detective duo to investigate. In true filmy style, the hair-raising climax takes place aboard a train – can Feluda save the day?
With electrifying escapades traversing the Indian landscape, Feluda Omnibus (Volume One) is a must-have for fans of detective fiction.
Here are some of the main characters from the book that you ought to know:
Feluda

Feluda is a 27- years-old Bengali private investigator with a sharp mind and knack for deduction. His acute attention to details is what makes him a brilliant private investigator. A man of numerous talents, he is ambidextrous with an eidetic memory. He solves many of his cases through the mere help of his quick-thinking and intelligent reasoning skill. No wonder there is a case awaiting him wherever he goes!
Topshe

No one knows Feluda like his sidekick and cousin, Topshe. Despite being just 14-years-old, he is a quick learner who assists Feluda in solving even the most bizarre of cases. He is a bright assistant and apprentice to Feluda, and looks up to his brainy cousin. Earnest and insightful in his own regard, he proves to be indispensable to Feluda.
 Dr Srivastava


 Dr Srivastava is an osteopath who lives in Lucknow. He knows a little bit of Bengali and is a well-read man. As a successful doctor, he makes a decent living, sometimes indulging in a bit of ostentation regarding his wealth. However, he does not bear any ill will to anyone and proves to be a crucial character in The Emperor’s Ring as the narrative progresses.
Bonobihari Babu
 
 A businessperson originally from Bengal, Bonobihari Babu comes from a long line of zamindars. After they lost their land, he turned to the business of exporting animals. Given the high demand of Indian animals for purposes like zoos, circuses, and television, he did well for himself. Bonobihari Babu is now retired in Lucknow and he is a pivotal character in The Emperor’s Ring.
Mukul

In The Golden Fortress, Mukul is an eight-year-old young boy who comes to be known as a jatismar – someone who can recall his previous life. Plagued by flashes from his past life, his claims alarm his parents who seek help from a parapsychologist. When Mukul’s life is in grave danger, his parents engage the services of Feluda for the protection of their son.
 Dr Hemanga Hajra

Dr Hemanga Hajra is a parapsychologist, a specialist in psychic phenomena. He is highly educated, with many of his articles published in journals. He offers to help Mukul in his ordeal to find out more about his previous life. On the premise of conducting research regarding the case, Hajra takes Mukul to Rajasthan to find the Golden Fortress.
Jatayu
 
 Lalmohan Ganguly, better known as Jatayu, is a published writer of Bengali crime thrillers. He is a good acquaintance of Feluda who occasionally helps him with his stories.  When one of his stories set to be adapted into a film, Jatayu is elated and journeys with Feluda and Topshe to Bombay.


Traversing fascinating landscapes and electrifying escapades, this collection is an absolute classic and a must-have for fans of detective fiction.

Journey to the Circuit House: ‘The Adventures of Feluda: The Golden Fortress’ — An Excerpt

Satyajit Ray’s much celebrated Bengali detective — Feluda, is now on a mission in the royal sands of Rajasthan!
In ‘The Adventures of Feluda: The Golden Fortress’, the detective dodges impostors, deadly scorpions and bullets to rescue young Mukul, a boy who can recall his past life.
Here’s a peek into Feluda’s spine-chilling chase to the end of the mystery.
The train started. Feluda took out the book on Rajasthan from his shoulder bag. I took out Newman’s Bradshaw timetable and began looking up the stations we would stop at. Each place had a strange name: Galota, Tilonia, Makrera, Vesana, Sendra. Where had these names come from? Feluda had told me once that a lot of local history was always hidden in the name given to a place. But who was going to look for the history behind these names?
The train continued to chug on its way. Suddenly, I could feel someone tugging at my shirt. I turned to find that Lalmohan Babu had gone visibly pale. When he caught my eye, he swallowed and whispered, ‘Blood!’
Blood? What was the man talking about?
Lalmohan Babu’s eyes turned to the Rajasthani. The latter was fast asleep. His head was flung back, his mouth slightly open. My eyes fell on the foot on the bench. The skin around the big toe was badly grazed. It had obviously been bleeding, but now the blood had dried. Then I realized something else. The dark stains on his clothes, which appeared to be mud stains, were, in fact, patches of dried blood.
I looked quickly at Feluda. He was reading his book, quite unconcerned. Lalmohan Babu found his nonchalance too much to bear. He spoke again, in the same choked voice, ‘Mr Mitter, suspicious blood marks on our new co-passenger!’
Feluda looked up, glanced once at the Rajasthani and said, ‘Probably caused by bugs.’
The thought that the blood was simply the result of bites from bed bugs made Lalmohan Babu look like a pricked balloon. Even so, he could not relax. He continued to sit stiffly and frown and cast the Rajasthani sidelong glances from time to time.
The train reached Marwar Junction at half past two. We had lunch in the refreshment room, and spent almost an hour walking about on the platform. When we climbed into another train at half past three to go to Jodhpur, there was no sign of that Rajasthani wearing a red shirt.
Our journey to Jodhpur lasted for two-and-a-half hours. On the way, we saw several groups of camels. Each time that happened, Lalmohan Babu grew most excited. By the time we reached Jodhpur, it was ten past six. Our train was delayed by twenty minutes. If we were still in Calcutta, the sun would have set by now, but as we were in the western part of the country, it was still shining brightly.
We had booked rooms at the Circuit House. Lalmohan Babu said he would stay at the New Bombay Lodge. ‘I’ll join you early tomorrow morning, we can all go together to see the fort,’ he said and went off towards the tongas that were standing in a row.
We found ourselves a taxi and left the station. The Circuit House wasn’t far, we were told. As we drove through the streets, I noticed a huge wall—visible through the gaps between houses—that seemed as high as a two-storeyed house. There was a time, Feluda told me, when the whole of Jodhpur was surrounded by that wall. There were gates in seven different places. If they heard of anyone coming to attack Jodhpur, all seven gates were closed.
Our car went round a bend. Feluda said at once, ‘Look, on your left!’
In the far distance, high above all the buildings in the city, stood a sprawling, sombre-looking fort—the famous fort of Jodhpur. Its rulers had once fought for the Mughals.
I was still wondering how soon I’d get to see the fort at close quarters, when we reached the Circuit House. Our taxi passed through the gate, drove up the driveway, past a garden, and stopped under a portico. We got out, collected our luggage and paid the driver.
A gentleman emerged from the building and asked us if we were from Calcutta, and whether Feluda was called Pradosh Mitter.
‘Yes, that’s right,’ Feluda acknowledged.
‘There is a double room booked in your name on the ground floor,’ the man replied.
We were handed the Visitors’ Book to sign. Only a few lines above our own names, we saw two entries: Dr H.B. Hajra and Master M. Dhar.
The Circuit House was built on a simple plan. There was a large open space as one entered. To its left were the reception and the manager’s room. In front of it was a staircase going up to the first floor, and on both sides, there were wide corridors along which stood rows of rooms. There were wicker chairs in the corridors.
A bearer came and picked up our luggage, and we followed him down the right-hand corridor to find room number 3. A middle-aged man, sporting an impressive moustache, was seated on one of the wicker chairs, chatting with a man in a Rajasthani cap. As we walked past them, the first man said, ‘Are you Bengalis?’ Feluda smiled and said, ‘Yes.’ We were then shown into our room.
We bet you can’t wait to find out what happens next! Grab your copy of ‘The Adventures of Feluda: The Golden Fortress’ today!
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