In My Hands Today…

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure – Sarah Macdonald

3858In her twenties, journalist Sarah Macdonald backpacked around India and came away with a lasting impression of heat, pollution and poverty. So when an airport beggar read her palm and told her she would return to India—and for love—she screamed, “Never!” and gave the country, and him, the finger.

But eleven years later, the prophecy comes true. When the love of Sarah’s life is posted to India, she quits her dream job to move to the most polluted city on earth, New Delhi. For Sarah this seems like the ultimate sacrifice for love, and it almost kills her, literally. Just settled, she falls dangerously ill with double pneumonia, an experience that compels her to face some serious questions about her own fragile mortality and inner spiritual void. “I must find peace in the only place possible in India,” she concludes. “Within.” Thus begins her journey of discovery through India in search of the meaning of life and death.

Holy Cow is Macdonald’s often hilarious chronicle of her adventures in a land of chaos and contradiction, of encounters with Hinduism, Islam and Jainism, Sufis, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians and a kaleidoscope of yogis, swamis and Bollywood stars. From spiritual retreats and crumbling nirvanas to war zones and New Delhi nightclubs, it is a journey that only a woman on a mission to save her soul, her love life—and her sanity—can survive.

In My Hands Today…

The Mine – Arnab Ray

13409307At a secret mining facility somewhere in the deserts of Rajasthan, an ancient place of worship, with disturbing carvings on its dome, is discovered buried deep inside the earth. Soon the miners find themselves in the grip of terrifying waking nightmares. One tries to mutilate himself. Worse follows.

Five experts are called in to investigate these strange occurrences. Sucked into a nightmare deep underground, they embark on a perilous journey; a journey that will change them forever, bringing them face-to-face with the most shattering truth of them all…

The greatest evil lies deep inside.

In My Hands Today…

To The Elephant Graveyard – Tarquin Hall

713076On India’s northeast frontier, a killer elephant is on the rampage, stalking Assam’s paddy fields and murdering dozens of farmers. Local forestry officials, powerless to stop the elephant, call in one of India’s last licensed elephant hunters and issue a warrant for the rogue’s destruction. Reading about the ensuing hunt in a Delhi newspaper, journalist Tarquin Hall flies to Assam to investigate. To the Elephant Graveyard is the compelling account of the search for a killer elephant in the northeast corner of India, and a vivid portrait of the Khasi tribe, who live intimately with the elephants. Though it seems a world of peaceful coexistence between man and beast, Hall begins to see that the elephants are suffering, having lost their natural habitat to the destruction of the forests and modernization. Hungry, confused, and with little forest left to hide in, herds of elephants are slowly adapting to domestication, but many are resolute and furious.

In My Hands Today…

Bombay Duck Is A Fish – Kanika Dhillon

11393736When Neki Brar moves to Mumbai to make it as a film-maker in Bollywood, little does she suspect that she will find herself standing on the terrace of her building, a bottle of wine and her diary in hand, plotting how best to jump. A small town girl, Neki has one ambition: to live in Mumbai and make it big as a film-maker. As she comes closer to her dream, she is also faced with a new reality.

The make-believe sets of Bollywood, the cramped existence with her three roommates and the battle for power on the sets of her debut film as an assistant director force her to understand the ground rules here if you don t learn the art of survival, the train back home is your only option.

Falling in love with the second lead actor, the charming Ranvir Khanna, further complicates her life, along with the realisation that she seems to have a unique ability to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and in the middle of every disaster that happens on the film sets. Battling political games, rivalry, love, betrayal and burning egos of film stars, she discovers the beauty of her own ambition and the ugliness of true love. The stakes are high. The dreams are big. The pressure is tremendous. If unfulfilled dreams keep you alive, can broken dreams push you to end it all?

In My Hands Today…

Secrets and Lies – Jaishree Misra

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Anita, Zeba, Bubbles and Sam have a friendship that spans 20 years – a friendship born out of their years at a private girls school in Delhi in the early 90s. Beautiful, intelligent and secretive, they were the top clique; the girls that everyone wanted to impress – until the arrival of a newcomer to the school.

In My Hands Today…

Delhi By Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller – Raza Rumi

18001385Why, asks Raza Rumi, does the capital of another country feel like home? How is it that a man from Pakistan can cross the border into ‘hostile’ territory and yet not feel ‘foreign’? Is it the geography, the architecture, the food? Or is it the streets, the festivals and the colours of the subcontinent, so familiar and yes, beloved…

As he takes in the sights, from the Sufi shrines in the south to the markets of Old Delhi, from Lutyens’ stately mansions to Ghalib’s crumbling abode, Raza uncovers the many layers of the city. He connects with the richness of the Urdu language, observes the syncretic evolution of mystical Islam in India and its deep connections with Hindustani classical music – so much a part of his own selfhood. And every so often, he returns to the refuge of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, the twelfth-century pir, whose dargah still reverberates with music and prayer every evening.

His wanderings through Delhi lead Raza back in time to recollections of a long-forgotten Hindu ancestry and to comparisons with his own city of Lahore – in many ways a mirror image of Delhi. They also lead to reflections on the nature of the modern city, the inherent conflict between the native and the immigrant and, inevitably, to an inquiry into his own identity as a South Asian Muslim.

Rich with history and anecdote, and conversations with Dilliwalas known and unknown,Delhi By Heart offers an unusual perspective and unexpected insights into the political and cultural capital of India.

In My Hands Today…

I, Phoolan Devi – Phoolan Devi

509631Phoolan Devi was born into a poor, low-caste family in Uttar Pradesh, living in a world that gave more respect to a stray dog than to a woman. At 11, she was married off and endured beatings, rapes and persecution. She survived being kidnapped by bandits and became one of them, learning how to shoot like a man. She also found love for the first time, but her lover was brutally murdered. Without his protection, she was paraded naked through villages and gang-raped; but she survived and for three years claimed retribution for herself and all low-caste women, before negotiating her own surrender. After 11 years in prison, she is now free to tell her own story.