Tag Archives: Book Launch

Book Launch of “Sun Tzu- The Art of War”

Thursday, 5th April, 2012
RSI, Pune

But life takes you places – and mine saw me attend an informal book unveiling and discussion event at the RSI, amidst renown and senior (in rank and age) Armed Forces Officials on a pleasant Thursday evening.

Col. Vinay B. Dalvi‘s debut non-fiction “Sun-Tzu: The Art of War” is dedicated to the Indian Army. For those who don’t know, Sun Tzu wrote the Art of War in China 2500 years ago!
It is the earliest known treatise on the subject of war which has never been surpassed in comprehensiveness and depth of understanding.

The evening saw Col. Vinay B. Dalvi give his audience an outline of the 13 chapters and as many as 389 thoughts penned in the book.
“But the one thought I’d like to share with you all is this: If you know your enemy, you’ve won 50% of the battle; If you know yourself you’ve won 50% of the battle. So if you know your enemy and yourself, you’ve won 100% of the battle,” he pointed out.

He had the audience in splits when he commented, “Oh and yes, this doesn’t work on your better half!”

We then saw Vice Admiral SCS Bangara and Lt. Gen. Ashok Joshi unveil the book, along with the author and Mr. Rajan Arya (CEO- Pentagon Press).

The noted dignitary spoke about the book and its content to quite an extent, and it indeed was enlightening. Though I don’t have an army background, I have a lot of friends who do. And I could relate to a lot of their stories about life at the NDA. The discussion saw the veterans speak about Leadership amongst Officers and how the NDA is a platform to groom and polish and recognize them. Maj Gen V.K. Madhok’s absence was extremely noticeable (due to unavoidable personal reasons he couldn’t make it to the launch), but his support was heartily appreciated by the author in his address.

 

(L-R: Vice Admiral SCS Bangara, Lt. Gen. Ashok Joshi, author Col. Vinay B. Dalvi, Mr. Rajan Arya- CEO Pentagon Press)

 

One noteworthy thing about the evening was the presence of Mr. Rajan Arya at the event. Its not often that publishers accompany the author for a book launch, but having read about Mr. Arya I was pleasantly taken aback at his modesty and enthusiasm of promoting new authors, and his willingness to publish books that are essentially non-fiction, and more so of political/relevant issues of concern today.

Maj Gen (Dr) G.D. Bakshi, SM, VSM (Retd) has written the foreword while Maj Gen Raj Mehta, AVSM, VSM, (Retd) has written the afterword for the book. And both of them have provided quite a clear and comprehensive idea about The Art of War, summarizing with its influence and applications.

I personally feel this book is beyond boundaries of any particular subject. It should be read by all. After all, Leaders are not just born. Sometimes they need to be groomed and polished and guided.

This (book) does go up in my “to read” list right away!

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Book Launch of Urban Shots Crossroads and Urban Shots Brightlights

Friday, 20th January, 2012
Landmark, Pune:
I was recently invited to the book launch of two of the most awaited anthologies –  Urban Shots Crossroads and Urban Shots Brightlights.

I walked in to the store, towards the book launch area, recognizing a few familiar faces, and smiling at the new ones.
I could sense the excitement. It reminded me of the launch of the first Urban Shots anthology by Grey Oaks and the launch of Down the Road that followed about a few months thereafter.

The evening began with the screening of a short film, based on a short story written by Paritosh UttamBetween Friends.
After the screening, the contributors of Urban Shots Brightlights took their seat to address the audience. The panel saw (R-L) Jehangir Kerawala, Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan, Paritosh Uttam and Ahmed Faiyaz, in conversation with Lipi Mehta.
Sharing a few anecdotes and their experience of contributing to the anthology, the writers briefed the audience about the stories they have penned.
The second part of the session saw the launch of Urban Shots Crossroads. On the panel were popular bloggers and contributing writers –(L-R) Rohini Kejriwal, Pranav Mukul, Malcolm Carvalho, Anita Satyajit, Rohan Swamy and Avani Rajesh.
They too shared their thoughts on their stories and the experience of being associated with the Urban Shots series.

The stories in both the books are quite racy, compelling and heart rending. Certainly worth reading/reviewing.

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Book Launch Of “Two Fates: The Story Of My Divorce”, By Judy Balan

Book Launch Of Two Fates: The Story Of My Divorce, By Judy Balan

 

As I walked in to Landmark for the book launch and reading session of Judy Balan’s debut novel – Two Fates: The Story Of My Divorce, I looked around to see if I could spot her. Amidst the crowd she easily passed off as a kid…alright a teenager! Yes, you read me right. A teenager. A young, chirpy one (and I’m tempted to add bubbly too) at that. Her smile, definitely infectious…and her book – oh! So lovable!!!

 

The session had an equally excited young moderator interacting with Judy. Answering the volley of questions with ease, Judy let us on some fun facts too. “This is more of a parody on Two States: The Story Of My Marriage, by Chetan Bhagat,” she confessed. 

 

“Yes, I’m divorced but this is not my story at all. The story of my divorce would turn out like one of Stephen King’s novels!” she laughed.

 

Taking digs at the typical character traits of some of the South Indian aunties she has come across in real life, Judy spoke about her experience of penning the novel and how things somewhat fell in place within a short frame. “It feels like a Cinderella moment, honestly.”

 

Judy read out about a page or two from her book. And I believe no one spaced out. In fact, I am sure, people who heard her read out the passage must’ve run to get themselves a copy of the book. The staccato writing style, I noticed, is one major factor that brings alive the fun that the auhtor intends to present to her readers.

After the interactive bit, she signed a few copies for the eager audience and of course smiled for the shutterbugs. 

  

Thankfully I had enough time to interview her, which you all will read soon. But for now, let me confess, I had a great time at the launch interacting with this fun spirited cherub. And her book is a must read for everyone!

 

P.S – there is no compulsion in wrapping up the book within two hours, really. Though many have done it.

(*Pic of Judy Balan by Siddhesh Kabe)

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Thou Shall Read. Everyday.

There are a lot many distractions nowadays for everyone. Work, Internet, Playstation, Xbox, or simply the idiot box. Who has the time or patience to read? Right??

But if you put your mind to it, you’d see it’s not that difficult. Here are some pointers to help you:

Gather good reading material: There is no dearth if you just look around. With so many books stores, book stalls (those small road-side vendors have to make a living too and more often than not, you are sure to find a book of your liking instantly!), and yes abundant ebooks. Books are all around us. All we have to do is look. And pick up the ones that interest us.

Always carry a book: You never can say where you can get stranded. And a book becomes a boon at such times. Even while traveling for that matter.


Make a Reading List:
Make a list of all the books you want to read or bestsellers suggested by friends/family. Add to the list when you hear about a good book. And strike out the ones you have read.


Get yourself enrolled in a library:
Libraries might be almost facing neglect. But each city at least one library that hoards volumes of reading material –some which you wouldn’t have even heard of. If you happen to find a small library close to your house, give it a try. The enrollment fee is never too much considering the deals you get in return.

Set aside your reading hour: Create a reading ritual of sorts. Everyday for an hour or so, make sure you read, without interruptions. Preferably a book. Else a magazine or the newspaper. Or if not an hour, break it down into 10-15 minute spans between other activities.
You could also encourage your kids to read with you and discuss things out. Sometime company does matter. Joint reading sessions with friends or family members will help you push yourself that extra bit to read ahead.

Time Management: We all have busy schedules, no doubt, but we also are efficient time managers. Utilize this skill to set your reading schedule. If you can’t think where to squeeze in a book, reduce TV/Internet time and use it for reading. Problem solved!


Reading Space:
If it helps, choose a reading corner for yourself. Certain spaces give you more peace and relaxation. It could be corner in your house or your room, or a park bench, or roof, anywhere. If there is no quiet space around you, go ahead –create one!

 

Join a book club: This is one of the most important points, I feel, that helps you get into the grove of reading. Be it an online or an offline book club, join it. Read the book within the timeline set by the members and indulge in discussions. You will be surprised with the results.


Indulge in discussions: Even if you are not a part of a book club, indulging in a book discussion is an asset. If you have a partner who you can talk to about the book, the plot, the characters, the ideation, the author and the entire gamut, it would add to your fondness for reading. Tyr doing it over mealtime, you might enjoy your food more.

Associated Activities: Attend book launch events and book reading sessions. Interaction with book lovers and authors is known to open up your perspective in different ways.

 

Blog it: If you don’t have anyone to discuss it with, blog about it. Blog it all –your reading list, books you’ve read, write book reviews, or just about anything about books, authors and the like.
Oh, and don’t be surprised on being contacted by other book lovers after that.


Read, write your own stories: What better way to read books that are of personal interest. Or better still, write short stories (to begin with) about things you notice, or things you personally would like to read.

 


But remember:

You can never force yourself or someone to read. Over time if a person starts enjoying the habit of reading, it can turn out to be one of the most wondrous of all activities.
Also, don’t be over enthusiastic when you first begin. Don’t set high goals for yourself, because if not met you would end up hating the activity forever.

Books indeed are the best friends of mankind. They can be most satisfying at times, yes better than chocolate! Reading is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable of all activities.
Reading not only sharpens your thought process, but also increases your attention span. It broadens your vocabulary, your perspectives and your outlook. It boosts your imagination and creative skills. It brings you closer to people with similar taste. But most importantly, it brings you closer to yourself.

Reading (books) is one inheritance your children will cherish forever.

Read them. Love them. Treasure them.

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Book Launch of Reality Bites by Anurag Anand

5th July, Mumbai.

Landmark at Inifinity Mall was crowded as ever. But this time it was Landmark garnering most of the attention. And why not!?! Anurag Anand’s fifth novel, a fictional one, Reality Bites was launched at Landmark by eminent personalities of tinsel town – Sudhir Mishra (Director), Randeep Hooda (Actor) and reigning Pantaloons Femina Miss India World 2011, Kanishtha Dhankhar.

(L to R: Randeep Hooda, Anurag Anand, Sudhir Mishra, Kanishtha Dhankhar)

Reality Bites: a not so innocent love story, reveals the life of the protagonist Atul through his hostel and college days and his tryst with love and paternal pressure. A humorous, adventurous, contemporary love story with a myriad of emotions so relatable that you’d be hooked on to it till the very last page.
Yes, the usual gimmicks were witnessed here too: Anurag and Kanishtha were the only ones to arrive at the venue before time while the rest of celebs walked in late. But the wait was definitely worth it.

They unveiled the book at the very end, after the interactive session. Amazingly, the audience seemed quite enthusiastic about the event and shot a volley of questions as soon as the floor was set open for audience interaction. The author seemed very calm and composed, and handled the questions with much panache. Sudhir Mishra is a strong opinionated man with all the right points to make you ponder. Randeep brought in a lot of humor to the evening. For some reason, Kanishtha seemed quite formal at  her first book launch event.

Overall, quite an exciting and fun-filled evening with quips and mirth and laughter on the floor.
Anyway, I are all set to review the book soon. Let’s see you beat me to that!

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Book Launch -Down The Road by Grey Oak Publications

The road blocks (literally!), due to Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations did not deter book enthusiasts from attending the book launch of Grey Oak Publishers’ new offering – Down The Road. An electic anthology of 28 campus tales by 16 authors brings back unforgettable memories of life in the campus. We all have had our share of school and college incidents that bring out emotions and feelings attached to the carefree life we truly miss now. And reviving those memories for the audience at Landmark, were the people who made the book a success.
On the panel were – Ahmed Faiyaz, Sahil Khan, Paritosh Uttam, Rohini Kejriwal, Naman Saraiyawith me moderating the discussion. After a crisp introduction of the authors and the editors what followed was a lively dialogue with the famous five (as they would be known by now).

The evening opened with a conversation with Ahmed Faiyaz – a renowned author with two popular bestsellers to his credit – Love, Life and All That Jazz and Another Chance; and of course memorable short stories contributed to Urban Shots.

On being asked about the selection of the title, Ahmed spoke about how an online poll was conducted with a few options competing for the title position and how the most voted title was finally chosen.

“Short stories are easier to write as well as read. When we were compiling stories for Urban Shots we had a few stories set in the campus life. So we thought of compiling just such stories that brings back memories of campus life,” smiled Ahmed on being asked about the ideation of compiling short stories.

Paritosh Uttam, Pune based software engineer and the prolific author of Dreams in Prussian Blue as well as the editor of Urban Shots (and of course one of the authors of the anthology), spoke about his two short stories featuring in Down The Road. “One of them is entirely fictional and the other one is written from personal experience, but I won’t tell you which one that is,” blushed the soft spoken author.

Sharing her experience of co-editing the collection was Rohini Kerjriwal, a 19…ooppss 20 year old PYT. “Grey Oaks has been kind to give me an opportunity to co-edit the stories. It really has been a wonderful journey.”
Naman Saraiya gathered most accolades from the audience, which of course comprised more girls. Need we get into details – nahh! We’ll let Naman’s “love” stories do the talking. His story, he said, is based on a friend’s encounters. Well captured and brilliantly put.

And of course, Sahil Khan – a lifestyle activist, a hard-core foodie (don’t be fooled by his skinny appearance and innocent looks), and one of the Young Turks of Pune, shared his experience of writing his short story “That’s It?”

Reminiscing about their campus life, the panelists shared a few experiences of their “good old days” and gathered a few laughs, trying to take a dig at each other.

(L-R) Paritosh Uttam, Sahil Khan, Ahmed Faiyaz
(*Pic by Aniket Dasgupta)

Down The Road is sure to connect with each reader- be it an adult or a youngster. The entire collection brings out feelings and incidents that readers must’ve experienced at some point in their life,” affirmed Rohini and Ahmed as they spoke about the USP of the book.
Wondering about what’s next in line from the desk of these brilliant writers -this is what we found out.

Ahmed has his hands full -scripting “Another Chance” (for hopefully a movie tie-up) and working on another novel; not to forget, the next Urban Shots anthology – a “Love” collection.
Paritosh too is working on his novel which possibly would be out this year. He is also contributing to Urban Shots Love Collection.
Rohini, Naman and Sahil would definitely continue working together for TossedSalad.com as well as for Urban Shots further anthologies. We sure hope Sahil keeps his commitment to delivering a full fledged novel soon.

The evening ended with a quick book-signing session by all present on the panel and the crowd hung around for quite a while, talking to the authors.

All said and done, Down The Road is sure to strike a memorable chord in your heart. All you have to do is -read it!

Though all the short stories in here are brilliant, my preference would be:

Down The Road – By Ahmed Faiyaz

Rishi & Me – By Ira Trivedi

Sororicide – By Paritosh Uttam

One Bump Does No Harm – By Naman Saraiya

That’s It – By Sahil Khan

The Cafe With No Name – By Sneh Thakur

The Worm That Turned – By Malathi Jaikumar

Growing Up – By Rohini Kejriwal

But most importantly – go pick up Down The Road and revive your campus days memories. This one is sure to “rock”!

Oh and do not miss my essay on Page 209 – Fiction on Campus. This marks my debut as a contributing writer.

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Book Launch – Indira Gandhi -The Final Chapter

Book Launch – Indira Gandhi – The Final Chapter by Suraj ‘Eskay’ Sriram

Friday, April 29, 2011

Pune.

Crossword, at ICC Towers, saw a houseful of audience gathered for the book launch of Suraj ‘Eskay’ Sriram’s latest book of illustrations – Indira Gandhi – The Final Chapter.

A book of illustrations, Indira Gandhi – The Last Chapter, lampoons the political figure through witty cartoons. It draws a satirical portrait of the Indian leader while humorously depicting certain behind-the-scenes political and social affairs of the country.

This was my first event as a moderator and was I nervous?! Oh yes!!!
But one entire sentence (without faltering, mind you) and I knew I could do this.

The event began with Mr. Bikash D. Niyogiwelcoming the audience and the eminent personalities of the city.

For all those wondering who is Mr. Bikash – well, he is the MD of Niyogi Books, which is amongst the reputed publishing houses of India and they are the ones to have published Suraj’s book of illustrations on Indira Gandhi. Their recent foray into publishing fiction, translations, cookery and self-help books has widened their reach.
My nervousness just lasted for the initial few minutes, but as I welcomed and introduced the distinguished personalities on the dias, I seemed to go with the flow.
The Chief Guest for the evening, Mr. Arun Bhatia and the Guest of Honor – Mr. Randhir Khareadded not just charm but a lot of insight to the occasion.
I’m sure we don’t need to tell you much about Mr. Bhatia but one thing that stands out about this courageous man is his determination and drive.Currently the President of the People’s Guardian Party, Mr. Bhatia is one man, I feel, who can rightly guide and lead the nation.

And talking about award winning  author, prolific poet, theatre personality, artist, renowned educationist and a passionate social, cultural and community worker –Mr. Randhir Khare the one thing that does come to mind is his wit and humor that lightens up even the most mundane situations.

Coming to the author – I’m sure not many would remember his work from yester years. Suraj Sriram was a freelance cartoonist in Mumbai and his editorial cartoons appeared regularly in leading newspapers and magazines from 1976 to 1984. He left for the United States in 1985 only to return recently. And what a comeback!!!
The book deserves a prominent position in everyone’s bookshelf.
After brief introduction and a warm welcome to all the panelists, by a charming little girl Karishma, (Suraj’s granddaughter) the book was officially launched and unveiled.


(L-R – Suraj ‘Eskay’ Sriram, Arun Bhatia, Randhir Khare)

We had Mr. Bhatia and Mr. Khare reminiscing and sharing their thoughts about the book and the author.

“This is our real history – right here – in this book” said Arun.
“Highlighting subjects that really matter in simple commentary, I feel this book should be a recommended or a prescribed read – like they do in schools and colleges in the US,” he added.
“We are losing humor and satire today. The critical playfulness that Suraj brings with him is all here in this book. I highly recommend everyone to pick this up,” asserted Randhir.
Humbled by the thoughts and the gesture, Suraj shared his experience of working with Indian Express in Mumbai, and he heartily thanked his family and ex-colleagues for supporting and helping him evolve over the years, by setting standards and different challenges each time for him to overcome.
A quick interaction with the trio followed. And I surely was more nervous asking them about the situation of the “aam aadmi” today.

“The aam aadmi will always remain the aam aadmi. He will always be kicked in the teeth by authorities. Unless, of course, they wake up and rise and take a stand,” said Randhir.
“The youth of the nation is aware of the situations around and also knows what is to be done. But the lack of opportunities provided lead to the set-back each time someone tries. And more than anything else – it is the “fear” that is instilled in the hearts that makes them succumb,” added Arun.

Before the discussion could go the political way, and of course due of shortage of time, I had to limit my questions and wrap up the discussion for the audience to get their signed books and interact individually with the people on the dias.
Wrapping up the evening, Mr. Bikash thanked the audience and the panelists for the lively interaction and support.

It was truly a marvelous experience for me to have moderated the event and to get to know people I’d heard of and longed to meet for a long time.

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