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Absorb Yourself Into Amit Majumdar’s Retelling Of Ramayana: Sitayana

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It’s a common story. Nothing special about mine, except that it takes place in a palace. An ageing wife gives up her figure for the sake of the kids and never gets it back. She has pride of place in the household, but she’s humiliated in her absence by mistress after mistress, weekly. 
Like this new one, an authentically fair-skinned north Indian, no talcum powder needed. He must have been thrilled to find her that far south. He always had a taste for fair skin, flying his aerial chariot past the Himalayas to scavenge for milkmaids. Some of the girls he brings home look as white as albinos, with bizarre, sea-coloured eyes and hair the colour of dandelions.
How could I have ever satisfied, all by myself, with this one body made of nutmeg and sunset, ten husbands in one? Even one king would have kept a quota of co-queens and concubines. With Ravana, multiply that by ten. 
Multiply by ten, too, a woman’s pleasure in his arms and arms and arms. One night, two whole years into our love, he finally felt close enough to me to show me his heads. He locked the door, clasped his hands, chewed his lower lip. He couldn’t bear to look me in the eye. ‘Ravana,’ I said, ‘tell me what is wrong.’ He said he wanted to show me his real form, but he feared my reaction. I said he could take off his face like a helmet and show me the head of a donkey, and I would kiss him on the lips. 
Weeping with shame and hope, trusting me and me alone—none of the others; only me—he brought them all out. They slid out of his neck and lined up like books on the shelf of his shoulders. When they had all emerged, the row curved a little, extending well beyond his shoulders. They stayed together, against gravity, by the same miracle of physics that suspends a brick arch. He explained to me later how every head exerted a force on the ones next to it, and how the two bookend heads were conjoint at the earlobes. 
I kissed each face on the mouth because they were all his. He was Brahma’s great-grandson. The trait of four heads had gotten amplified in him, thanks to the fresh infusion of his mother’s demonic blood. I knew—and he knew, after those ten true love kisses—that what he felt for his other women wasn’t love. This was love: Me luxuriating on my back, arms straight overhead, feet flexed; him turning himself so his leftmost head kissed my hands and his rightmost kissed my feet, and the heads in between kissed every other part of me. The arms came out a few minutes later. Several of his hands hadsixth, seventh, sometimes eighth digits—at the ends of his spider legs, smaller spiders. His twenty hands stroked all my skin at once, no part of me neglected. Loving Ravana in that form, I touched pleasure’s ceiling. My body’s sum total of nerves could take in, at one time, no sensations more numerous or more intense. Beyond that bliss lay moksha. I was yoked to him forever. 
 I wonder if this latest beauty, Sita, knows what she is missing by holding out. So many mistresses have come and gone, and my silly jealousy doesn’t get any better. Why be jealous at these transients when I stay on? She is holding out on him, and that inflames his desire. 
She lifts her face from her hands and gasps at my dark face and arms. 
‘You have nothing to fear from me, Princess Sita. I am Mandodari, Queen of Lanka.’ I wait. ‘No matter, you don’t have to stand.’ 
‘Is he here?’
‘You mean my husband?’
‘Yes.’
‘You were expecting a visit from him?’
‘Dreading one, more like it.’
‘You have nothing to fear from him.’ My eyes devourher 
face with envy. Unplucked eyebrows, peeling sunburn on her arms, and she is still exquisite, like some illiterate village girl on a mountain path. ‘Of course, you know that. You seem to have gained a great deal of control over him.’ 
‘I live here in constant danger.’ 
‘Of what? Mosquito bites?’ I don’t like how she talks up her plight. 
‘Of your husband.’ 
‘My husband? Has he so much as kissed you? Answer me.’ 
‘No.’ 
You held out, you made all these self-destructive requests, went on hunger strikes—and hehonoured all of your requests. He didn’t touch you. A man as impressive as he is . . . You should be ashamed.’ 
‘Ashamed of what?’ 
Playing innocent, is she? Ravana would never force her— it would humiliate him—so she knows she is safe, knows she can play games. 
‘Let’s talk about something else. Do you have any children, Sita?’ 
She doesn’t answer me.‘I have two. Indrajit and Akshaye.’‘Why are you here?’
‘I wanted to see you. I know he took a considerablerisk 
bringing you here. I had to see what you looked like.’ ‘You have no idea what kind of risk he took.’ ‘You are well worth it.’ ‘Help me escape.’ 
Her audacity stares me in the eyes. ‘Escape? But this is paradise compared to where you were before.’ 
‘I don’t care about the pretty scenery. Help me get back home.’ 
What is her game here? She confuses me, not just with her words but her frenzied look. ‘Why would you want to leave Lanka?’ 
She shakes her head in disbelief and frustration. ‘Because I’m being held here against my will!’ 
‘I will not allow you to spread false stories about my husband.’ 
‘You know he kidnapped me, right? He threw me over his shoulder and flew off with me.’ 
‘A man as impressive as Ravana doesn’t need to kidnap women, married or unmarried.’ 
‘How is he so “impressive”? He visits me every so often and tells me the stories behind his scars. I’m not impressed.’ 
‘That jawline of his,’ I say defiantly. ‘The symmetry of his face. Admit it.’ 
‘You know what else is symmetrical? Karma. A bad king with a strong jawline will end up getting punched in the face by a good king with a strong arm. Karma is coming for him. Rama is coming for him.’ 
‘I think I will leave now, Princess Sita.’ 
‘Why did you come here in the first place? You can’t possibly be happy about my arrival here. You came here to see your latest competitor for the king’s time. His new obsession.’ 
‘Don’t flatter yourself. He is not obsessed with you.’ 
‘Does he visit you every afternoon? Does he spend two hours talking at the wall of your disregard? I don’t say a word to that boastful demon. “I beat Indra.” “I captured the Seven Sages.” Do I care? I’d catch a nap, but I don’t trust him.’ 
‘How—how rude!’‘Look there. More fresh flowers.’‘Roses,’ I whisper, by reflex.‘I keep them to feed the deer. How many times has he 
betrayed you, in all your years of marriage?’
‘All your years? I stroke reflexively the places where I havecoloured my greys. Do I look so old?‘This once, Queen Mandodari, why not betray him? And better yet, by betraying him, you’ll be saving Lanka. If you don’t care for that cause, consider how you’ll be saving your marriage, too. Because if I don’t get out of here and back to my husband in time, you’re going to end up a widow.’ 
‘Rama has no reason to harm my husband. You came here of your own will, after all.’ 
Sita rises to her feet, flushed and feigning indignation. ‘That is not true!’ 
‘My husband offered to take you up in his sky chariot— none of you young girls can resist it—and you agreed. Everyone in Lanka knows it. As soon as you got here, you insisted on holding out. What are your demands, anyway? Do you want him to make you First Queen of Lanka in my place? Keep waiting. It’ll take more than a mouthy Indian slut to oust me!’ 
‘Lanka is yours to rule over, you credulous idiot. Those are all lies! Who’d you get them from? Ravana?’ 
‘It’s common knowledge!’ I resist the urge to slap her effrontery; she has a feral look and a murky unwashed smell, and I fear my hand might end up bitten. ‘You were stuck in that cottage after your husband dragged you along into fourteen years of exile! You two were only married for what—two years? Not enough time to have a baby. If you’d had one, you could have forced Rama to let you stay back, for the baby’s sake, in the palace. But you didn’t have a choice, did you? Naturally, you were thrilled when a rich, six-foot-seven stranger offered to whisk you away. No one blames you for that. It’s this perverse holding out that strikes everyone asbase and scheming.’ 
‘I had a choice. I chose to join Rama in exile, just as Lakshman did. My sister was going to come, too, but Lakshman begged her not to—he feared she might divide his devotion. No, Mandodari. The only place I got dragged to was Lanka. Your husband abducted me. And he’s going to get his comeuppance soon. Nobody’s safe from karma!’

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Books & Authors

Books Of The Year 2022 [Editor’s Choice]

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Each fall, the editors of the Delhi Wire select the best fiction and nonfiction titles of the year. Our editors read, nominate, discuss, and debate the merits of each year’s books, working together to land on our list.

From authors, both established and new, our favorite books of the year meditate on everything from life online to life in the intersections of identity. Set everywhere from the all-too-real world or solely in the mind, the distant past, or the speculative future, these books offer escape, education, and spiritual enlargement—whatever you’re looking for.

With such an embarrassment of riches on offer, ranking these books is a downright impossible task, so we present our selections in no particular order. In this singularly strange and challenging year, books comforted us, allowed us to travel even when borders were closed, and ultimately, kept us sane. We made it to the end of this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, and we’re still reading. Congratulate yourself for that—and don’t waste any time stocking up your “to be read” pile.


Celebrating the year’s end, celebrating you, the authors & the extraordinary books that defined 2022.

 


1. 7 Mindsets for Success, Happiness, and Fulfilment by Swami Mukundananda
2. Doglapan by Ashneer Grover
3. Where the Sun Never Sets by Stuti Changle
4. The Wisdom Bridge by Kamlesh D. Patel
5. When I Am With You by Durjoy Datta

6. You Are Still the One by Himanshu Rai
7. NINE by Vineet Singh Hukmani
8. Build, Don’t Talk by Raj Shamani
9. The Magic of the Lost Story by Sudha Murty
10. The 1st Assassin by Mainak Dhar

11. A Price to Love by Smita Das Jain
12. A Tale of Arranged Marriage by Pranav Rao
13. Unbroken by Pawan Verma
14. The Curse of Kukkutarma by Prateep Roy
15. Emotional Mastery by Navana Kundu

16. Beauty and the Vampires by Sukriti Jaswal
17. Kashmir! Kashmir! by Deepa Agarwal
18. SELF-ish by Sanjay K Srivastava
19. The Coterie by Vinod Kaul
20. An Imperishable Promise by Sarathi Sabyasachi Sahoo

21. Lets Rise in love by Tanishka Juneja
22. Billion Suns Rising by Aarathi Bellary
23. 75 Wasted Years, Let us Catch Up and Leapfrog by Vikram Sinha
24. Parker Beverly and the Tale of Six Cheques by Panav Bali
25. To Beyond and Back by Riya Kewalramani

26. Young Detective by Sumita Bose
27. The Art of Winging It by Dr. Kaushik Sridhar
28. Lulla Bai by Anuj Tikku
29. Aching Joys by Arni
30. MEMOries by Satyen Chattopadhyay

31. Twelve World Religions by K. Ravindran
32. Benedictions by Vandana Rathi
33. A Happier You by Dr. Mukesh Jain
34. Hans Akela by Beji Jaison
35. Holy Lands of Abrahamic Religions by K Ravindran

36. Love Joy by Prabhakar Deshpande
37. A Map to the Pinnacle of Success by Soobrata Dutta
38. Facets by A. Venkatasubramanian
39. Talk a Little More by Gulsum Basheer
40. The Ink of An Amateur Poet by Otul Jerang

41. The Legacy of Ignorance by Aastha Singh
42. All His Scars by Amit Aryan
43. Esoteric by Mahek Hitesh Tanna
44. Lost Horoscope & Other New Poems by Yuyutsu Sharma
45. Of Dreams And Assumptions by Angana Bharali Das

46. Teesta Diaries by Swapan Karmakar
47. Dark Star by Ranbir Sidhu
48. Quarantine by Jui Patil
49. Rangroot by Prince Avinash
50. Battles of Crisis by Anika Reddy Gaddam

Thanks for reading. 🙂

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Books & Authors

Top 50 Most Influential Authors of 2022

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So this is the time of the year again when you get to know about the authors who had done wonders.

Be it historical, fiction, poetry, self-help, or any other genre these authors have left their prominent mark.

So here we present you the Top 50 Influential Authors of 2022. ?


1. Ashneer Grover, Author of Doglapan.
2. Amish Tripathi, Author of War of Lanka.
3. Shwetabh Gangwar, Author of The Rudest Book Ever.
4. Chetan Bhagat, Author of One Indian Girl.
5. Stuti Changle, Author of You Only Live Once by Stuti Changle.

6. Ankur Warikoo, Author of Get Epic Shit Done.
7. Raj Shamani, Author of Build, Don’t Talk.
8. Saksham Garg, Author of Samsara.
9. Karan Bajaj, Author of The Freedom Manifesto.
10. Sapna Bhog, Author of My Sinner.

11. Rashmi Trivedi, Author of Ashes To Dreams.
12. Arthy S L, Author of Fate or Destiny.
13. Heena Singhal, Author of Songs of the Reed.
14. Aurijit Ganguli, Author of The Mystery Mountains.
15. Dr. Sheetal Nair, Author of The Subtle Art of Not Thinking.

16. Atul Prabha, Author of Teri Meri Kahaani Hai.
17. Arushi Vats, Author of The Royal Peacock Crown.
18. Shrutee Choudhary, Author of A Garage Sale of Lovelorn Things.
19. Dhanashree Bhatkal, Author of Money – What’s Left What’s Right.
20. Upasana Majumdar, Author of Red World.

21. Harjeet Khanduja, Author of How Leaders Decide.
22. Rohit Prasad, Author of The Pilgrim.
23. Nandita Chakraborty, Author of Dirty Little Secrets.
24. Dr Suresh Chari, Author of Don’t Wait, Make Things Happen.
25. Dr. Debi Prasad Acharjya, Author of Hydrate to Elevate.

26. Chattanathan D, Author of Anjanamma.
27. Jyoti Malhotra, Author of Teenager Tales.
28. Madhukant Acharya, Author of Corporate Eagle.
29. Ajay Chowdhary, Author of Marham.
30. Kanishq Banka, Author of Stirrer.

31. Ashutosh Joshi, Author of Unfathomable Feelings.
32. Dr. Shadab Ahmed & Dr. Mallwika Sisodiya, Authors of A Quatrain of Moods.
33. Priyanka Dewan, Author of Unlayered.
34. Mustafa Mun, Author of Mindful Wealth.
35. Shilpa Suraj, Author of Once Upon A Mistake.

36. Rooprashi, Author of Our Non-fairy Tale Life.
37. Colonel Harpreet Singh Kohli, Author of The Other Side of a Soldier.
38. Debabrata Ghosh, Author of Masterstroke.
39. Akriti Sharma, Author of Married on Paper.
40. Dr. Sumit Goel, Author of I Wanna Grow Up Once Again.

41. Deepak Rosha, Author of The College Conventions.
42. Lokesh Babu, Author of The True Self.
43. Satish Shitut, Author of Effective R.U.L.E.
44. Rajeev Nanda, Author of RISE.
45. Ruchi Chandra Verma, Author of It has always been you!.

46. Pesi J Padshah, Author of A Mixture as Never Before.
47. Mahendra Arya, Author of Kaikayi.
48. Naysa Nambiar Seth, Constellation of Letters.
49. Manu Nellutla, Author of Janya Bharata.
50. G. Ashish Kalra, Author of The Zero Covid Solution.


 

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Books & Authors

Exclusive Interview of Dr. Shadab Ahmed & Dr. Malwiika Sisodiya | Authors of A Quatrain of Moods

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We here at Delhi Wire are here with Dr. Shadab Ahmed again, but this time for his other book A Quatrain of Moods, and this time with him we also have his co-author Dr. Malwiika Sisodiya.

Although, both the doctors have very busy schedules yet, they managed some time to give us their interview. We had a great time having a chit-chat with them and here it is for you to enjoy it.

Also, Don’t miss out their new book, ‘A Quatrain of Moods‘, it is available on Amazon now.

About the authors:

Dr. Shadab Ahmed was born and brought up in the resilient and magical North-East India, growing up between guns and roses. Moving pan-India at various ages, his voracious appetite for knowledge and wisdom led him into books, refining his perception and comprehension about the good, bad and wicked in life. He retains an inner child and has a combustible imagination. He is more adept into the administrative side of things and keeps a heavy hand and heart, though surgeons were always meant to be delicate and refined.

Dr. Malwiika Sisodiya Hails from the tribal, Naxalite infested & forested areas of Central India. She is naturally a keen observer and grew up having seen the good and bad in life. Despite all this, she is a big dreamer and nothing satiates her curiosity and perception towards the various bright and grey shades of life. She is a fashionista and retains both a strong and delicate feminine side as well as a vigorous and robust rugged heart. She is a pan-romantic, left-winged feminist vegan. She is an outstanding clinician and academician, boasting of national and international published researches corresponding to her specialisation.

Some glimpses of our conversation with Dr. Shadab Ahmed & Dr. Malwiika Sisodiya 🙂


1. If you had to give up either snacks or drinks during writing sessions, or music, which would you find more difficult to say goodbye to?

Dr. Shadab Ahmed – I would find it difficult to give up on drinks, I need the “Aqua Vitae” to keep my senses calmed down and to keep my writing skills refined and distilled. Guess I am letting go of my snacks and music then.
Dr. Malwiika Sisodiya – I like to sip on Lassi and Fruit Juices when am working, I think I will let go on snacks for the duration. Am a big music buff, but thankfully, keep music off when am working or writing.

2. Which is your favourite season to write in, and why?

Dr. Shadab Ahmed – Given freedom of choice, I would select winters and numbing cold, when the soul is in hibernation and entranced. You sense both genuine and delusional things then, and those things proposes new ideas. The ideas become a concept. But irrespective of season, I need downright solitude to write and think rationally.
Dr. Malwiika Sisodiya – My analytic powers are pronounced when it rains, I am a rain lover. It gotta be my favorite season to write in.

3. If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

Dr. Shadab Ahmed – I would anyday select the good ol’ North-Eastern Indian mountain ranges to settle down for pursuing my cerebral interests. I started my first book here, I made candid observations on life here. I learned the good, bad and wicked here. There is always something new to see, something new to percept. My first family, my first love, my first success, my first failure. It has got to be the North-East India.
Dr. Malwiika Sisodiya – I am more of a civilized person, unlike Shad. If I get the opportunity, I will head to the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region in France for an year. I do have this nagging concept of a fiction in my mind, which I want to succulently put down in words, but the mood is not just clicking in. Maybe those cheese and baguettes there will help some bit.

4. How many drafts do your books generally to through before publication?

Dr. Shadab Ahmed – Usually, my books go through 3 draft revisions. The first revision is for grammatical errors and misprints, the second emendation is generally for alignment imprints. The final draft revision is post type-setting, positioning and sequencing. The book goes to the marketing phase then.
Dr. Malwiika Sisodiya – My books get edited a lot more frequently, since I mostly do academic book pertaining to my specialization. Once I have the draft ready and type-setted, I go through it frequently for some days, and keep making subtle revisions/corrections. There is always something new to put, new to share. I don’t regret it though.

5. How did you get the idea to write the book ‘A Quatrain of Moods’?

Dr. Shadab Ahmed – I have been composing poems and quatrains since long, maybe almost 10 years now. I wrote as a hobby, and the words often got submerged within the pages of some diary, where it was conveniently forgotten and live moved on one city to another, one hospital to another. Then Covid-19 came and with it came sudden lockdowns. At that time, the institution we both were working in saw startling and shocking number of Covid cases, and before we could comprehend “what and how”, the students and faculties were abruptly back home and life was in disarray. A handful of us faculties decided to stay back, we rose up to the challenge and uncertainty of those times. At one point in the lockdown period, probably it was a cold chilly Diwali night, Dr Malwiika snitched my diary and she triggered the decision which will subsequently become “A Quatrain of Moods”. We collaborated criminally and she took over the designing and art for the book, I concentrated on composing the quatrains. The idea was born, the waypoints were prepared and discussed. Today, we humbly present you the book.
Dr. Malwiika Sisodiya – Yes, I remember that lockdown period too, and Shad has described the notion of the book beautifully. That is how the idea of book was conceived. I did the cover designs and art myself. I totally loved it, I found a hobby and an interest. We both have never looked back since, and our criminal enterprise got established.

6. How do you think being an author of this book has helped you as a person?

Dr. Shadab Ahmed – Being an author comes with a certain level of challenge. The challenge to write more and expressively, to stick to your dedicated cognitive deadlines. This stimulates a certain level of self-discipline in your personality. When you improve the quality of your life, your overall quality improves as well. You make an impact around your environment as well. When people who don’t know me on a personal level come to know that am an author of several published books, they are genuinely surprised and acknowledge the fact with a sudden warm smile. In that tiny fraction of time, I see their own dreams and desires flashing in their eyes, resolving to be completed. Without a word exchanged, the message is conveyed. That is the beauty of the human emotions.
Dr. Malwiika Sisodiya – I found the tag of the “author” to be more exciting. What Shad wrote is true. When my old friends from school and college find out am an author, they are genuinely surprised and happy for me. To be honest, everyone wants to be an author, but seldom get the chance. Writing is easy, but to know what to write is the most challenging part.

Dr. Malwiika Sisodiya & Dr. Shadab Ahmed

7. What is the significance of the title of your book ‘A Quatrain of Moods’?

Dr. Shadab Ahmed – As this is my first published book, this book is exclusively special to me. I drafted and composed this book in the form of quatrains, using images/pictures to disclose the story. Each picture in the book conveys a subtle message in itself, keeping the story sporadically abstruse. The interpretation is left open to the readers, different individuals will expound and perceive
the anecdotes in conflicting ways. What makes this book unique is the fact that a majority of moods & emotions divulged in this book are actual life events, which happened with someone somewhere.
Dr. Malwiika Sisodiya – We both spent so many days selecting the title of the book. The title signifies the intention of the authors. The book is dedicated to the versatility of the human moods and emotions, their joys and happiness, their pains and sorrows. Let’s say it celebrates human life in general.

8. Last question, how would you define success as a writer?

Dr. Shadab Ahmed – I am far too humble to proclaim myself as a successful writer. Yes, several copies of my book has been sold. I have got warm and sultry reviews from strangers and friends alike, both nationally and internationally. My readers come from diverse multi-cultural socio-economic background. In their expressed cordial words, my raison d’etre is complete. I don’t write to monetize, I write for self-development and to sustain creation of knowledge.
Dr. Malwiika Sisodiya – I find success as an author beautiful and exciting. I like it when random strangers compliment me on my books. It is a different kind of feeling, something which not the money in the world can buy. Like Shad said, creation is beautiful. I do hope and pray someday I become an award-winning author. Shad never monetizes his work, so I keep that money safe with me.


Buy Our Book

Title: A Quatrain of Moods
Author: Dr. Shadab Ahmed & Dr. Malwiika Sisodiya
Publisher: Notion Press
Price: Rs.209 (Kindle)
Pages 200
Ebook? Available
Buy Now Amazon

 

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