Writing their way for a better tomorrow: Pune authors who made an impact in 2018 - Hindustan Times

Writing their way for a better tomorrow: Pune authors who made an impact in 2018

Hindustan Times, Pune | ByAnjali Shetty
Dec 23, 2018 03:08 PM IST

Pune authors are known for their bold concepts and even stronger opinions. 2018, saw authors go all out and explore genres and subjects that added feathers to their caps. From age-defying concepts to fiction, we bring to you authors who made a mark this year

Sudha Menon

Sudha Menon, author of Feisty at Fifty(HT/PHOTO)
Sudha Menon, author of Feisty at Fifty(HT/PHOTO)

Name of the book: Feisty At Fifty

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About the book: If you ever thought that women in their 50s must lead dull, boring lives, Feisty At Fifty busts your myths and shows you that life, indeed begins at fifty. Join this witty fifty-something woman who is pursuing middle-aged sexiness, nailing the work-life balance, taking on the FOMO (fear of missing out), celebrating mid-life discoveries and generally feeling great about ourselves. Hilarious yet poignant, Feisty at Fifty, is both a moving personal story and the ultimate guide to making the fifties the most fabulous decade of your life.

About the author: Recently turned fifty herself, Sudha Menon, a former journalist, is the author of five non-fiction books, a motivational speaker, founder of writing workshop series Get Writing and Writing With Women and a speaker on gender, diversity and inclusion. Now that she has hit the Big Five-Oh, she has started dabbling in other creative pursuits such as learning to dance, sing and trying her hands at other stuff like clay mask painting. On her bucket list? A trip to Spain with her two sisters, daughter, niece and mom where the all-girls group dream of sitting in pretty cafes, drink wine, watch the flamenco dancers and probably learn salsa from a handsome hunk. Also, she means to pursue her secret dream of acting.

Why this subject? Sudha says, “When you have spent a quarter of a century as a journalist, observing things and recording it in your mind, you become almost instinctive. As I headed towards my 50s, I found myself watching the changes that were happening in my own body and my emotions from a distance. I wrote Feisty At Fifty because I wanted to let other women in this age group and even the men who read the book that your fifties can be a party if you just let loose a bit, let go of the baggage and decide to look at life through happier lenses.”

Manjiri Prabhu (HT/PHOTO)
Manjiri Prabhu (HT/PHOTO)

Manjiri Prabhu

Name of the book: Voice of the Runes

About the book: Voice of the Runes is a spine-tingling international mystery of love, honour and revenge, which unfolds in 36 hours and races to a thrilling finale. Lund University of Sweden is celebrating its 350th year and investigative journalist Re Parkar has been specially invited to be a part of the grand ceremony in Lund Cathedral. But on the evening before his arrival, Parkar experiences a psychic ‘vision’ of an evil presence permeating the hallowed walls of the Cathedral and he knows that something terrible is going to happen in the next 36 hours at the university.

About the author: Manjiri Prabhu holds a doctorate in communication science and is an independent film-maker for television, a writer/ novelist in English and also the founder of a literary festival. She has directed over 200 children’s TV programmes, more than 50 short fiction and travel films and has authored 11 books. Her unpublished psychological thriller novel was adapted into a Hindi feature film by National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC), titled Kuchh Dil Ne Kaha. Her thesis, converted into a book, titled Roles: Reel and Real, has become a rare reference book for students of Hindi cinema.She has recently been awarded ‘inspirational women of Maharashtra -excellence in the field of writing’ (2017) and ‘most admired leader of Maharashtra’ by ERTC Global Herald (2017) . She was also awarded the rex karmaveer gold medal award (2016) instituted by iCONGO and the UN. She is also an animal welfare activist promoting caring and adoption of street dogs.

Why the subject: The first book in the destination series with Re Parkar, The trail of four took place in Salzburg, Austria. The second book needed to be different in terms of landscape and backdrop and yet evoke an aura of mystical European relevance. Manjiri says, “I thought that the awe-inspiring and magical runes and runestones steeped in Scandinavian culture were the perfect features for a destination thriller. Also, Sweden and Lund University in its 350th year were the perfect locations for the next Re Parkar novel. But this book is also Magdalena Lindberg’s haunting love story that unfolds in 36 hours along with the mystery. It is her first-person narration and as an author I got to tell and live my story through her. The novel is a powerful love story of souls meeting and the consequences of a deep love, making the book a destination thriller which explores destined paths that each one travels.”

Salil Desai (HT/PHOTO)
Salil Desai (HT/PHOTO)

Salil Desai

Name of the book: The Sane Psychopath

About the book: Are some crimes unpardonable? A young lawyer is about to find out. It was just another day in Pune. Just another morning. Until a man decided otherwise and left an entire city horrified, scared, angry and baying for blood. This is the story of Shankar Lande, driver of a state transport bus, who goes on a bone-chilling hour-long rampage on the streets of Pune—killing 10, maiming 70, and damaging over 100 vehicles, before he is captured. In this case of Shankar Lande vs the city of Pune, the difference between the criminal and the victims is clear as night and day. But a young idealistic lawyer, Varun Gupte, a Punekar, still decides to defend Lande. And in the process seeks help from a psychiatrist, a man who lost his son to the same incident. Caught in the pincer grip of their dilemmas, do the two men crumble? Do they unearth the truth? And does the truth absolve Lande? Inspired by a real incident, The Sane Psychopath is a fictional exploration of a frightening murderous phenomenon of our times.

About the author: Salil Desai is an author, columnist and film-maker based in Pune. He is best known for his much-acclaimed inspector Saralkar mystery series which includes 3 and a Half Murders (2017), The Murder of Sonia Raikkonen (2015) and Killing Ashish Karve (2014). His other popular books are Murder on a Side Street (2011) as well as a collection of short stories, Lost Libido and Other Gulp Fiction (2012). The Sane Psychopath (2018) is his sixth book. An alumnus of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Salil’s dramatised management training videos are much appreciated in the corporate world. Salil also conducts intensive workshops in creative fiction writing, story and scenario design, screenplay writing and filmmaking at leading liberal arts institutions, media and communication colleges and other renowned organisations across India. Salil was also one of the four international authors worldwide selected for the HALD International Writers’ Residency in Denmark, hosted by the Danish centre for writers and translators in June 2016.

Why the subject: Salil shares, “You might recollect that on January 25, 2012, a bus driver went berserk and drove around Pune smashing to smithereens everyone and everything that came in his way, for nearly an hour. His murderous frenzy and the mayhem he unleashed defied all reason. What intrigued me completely was that if he was insane, how come he had been employed as a public transport bus driver for several years without anyone noticing any signs? If on the other hand he had done it in rage, what was the nature of this rage that remained unabated for nearly an hour? One can understand a bout of fury lasting 10 – 15 minutes, but once having killed people and smashed vehicles for a few minutes, wouldn’t he have come back to his senses and surrendered or something? It was this bewilderment of mine to understand the sane and insane impulses behind this act of mass murder that led me to write ‘The Sane Psychopath’.”

‘The Sane Psychopath’ is a fictional exploration of the volcanic violence ticking away underneath the normal life of our society that can erupt suddenly given the socio-psychological landscape of our times. Individuals are constantly subjected to terrible stress – social, economic, psychological, existential – and not everyone has safety valves, which means these individuals can blow up any time.

Sameer Dua (HT/PHOTO)
Sameer Dua (HT/PHOTO)

Sameer Dua

Name of the book: Become

About the book: The idea of this book is to not only provide the knowledge of these conversations, but for leaders and managers to develop skills in having these conversations effectively. For that, leaders and managers will need to engage in practices that are provided at the end of each chapter. You can only get skilled ‘by doing’ the practices, and not by simply ‘knowing about’ these conversations. Please do not read this book as some book you need to get done with. Engage with this book as a conversation between you and me. Read it slowly, and allow the conversations to settle in, before moving to the next conversational domain. Take time out to journal your thoughts on our conversation through this book, and also journal what you learn from the practices.

About the Author: Sameer Dua is the founder of Institute for generative leadership, founder, of Gift your organ foundation and director and chief curator of India business literature festival.Dua has 25 years of experience in the field of management and leadership education, and worked with programme participants from 52 different countries. He has also worked with leading institutions in India and worked with top global universities from the US and the UK.

Why the subject: Dua says, “If you read the book as I have suggested and engage with the practices the way they are meant to be done, I can assure you that you will develop a new ability to not only generate extraordinary results, but also enable others around you to generate big results”.

Shivranjan Balasubramanian at his residence in Kothrud. (Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)
Shivranjan Balasubramanian at his residence in Kothrud. (Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

Shivranjan Balasubramanian

Name of the book: A Tide In The Affairs Of Men

About the book: A tide in the affairs of men’s reveals the simple truth of human existence. It enables your journeying through the terrains of the mind and jumping over the abyss of self-limiting, self-defeating thoughts which drown your dreams. When you have lost the gumption to learn, re-learn, you never find the courage to be!

About the author: Professionally qualified in human resource management from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Shivranjan has a hands on senior managerial experience in personnel administration. He has over 30 years of experiences as a human resource development (HRD) facilitator, counsellor and trainer in Dubai, Nairobi and Europe exchange programme and in India. His NLP-zen life skills have developed hundreds of achievers and leaser to smart track their careers through his learning modules that are focused on how performers make it happen the first time, every time, at all times, so they stand out and thrive in a fast changing hyper connected transparent world.

Why the subject: The vision and theme is that of how one connects to one’s self. The author believes that to be able, willing and ready to engage with life, one has to go through a series of encounters. This leads to one becoming a fully functioning mature person. He says, “Every person has to script his/her own narrative with the following questions: Who am I ?, Where am I? Where I wish to be? How do I get there? How do I know I am getting there? My response to a situation would be my action or my inaction. I am responsible for creating the consequences around me, the dynamics of living and I have to learn to connect the dots too.”

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