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The Cover Story: Author of ‘A Year of Wednesdays’, Sonia Bahl, on what went into the beautiful, minimalist cover

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Author Sonia Bahl has always spoken about her cherished collaboration with the editor of both her novels: Pooja Dadwal, Deputy Managing Editor—Fingerprint! Publishing. We asked both of them to take us behind the scenes and unravel some of the workings of how A Year of Wednesdays came into being.

This is what Pooja Dadwal had to say.

Someone impossibly wise once said that knowing that now is all there is, and living every now for the rest of all your nows, is all there is to it. And if you do this now right, the rest will follow suit.

The story of A Year of Wednesdays began on one such now. But not between the characters. Not yet. The first now happened hundreds of Wednesdays ago, between the writer and her editor.

The editor who had collaborated with the writer on her first book. The writer who had never thought of writing a second one. And yet she did. The first book introduced the two, the second solidified their collaboration. But there was that in-between—there always is, isn’t it?— in which the editor, one fine February afternoon, finally coaxed the writer to send her anything, even a paragraph, of what she was writing next. No, not one of her screenplays, she said. (The author writes for the screen too. Or mostly for that.)

Pooja Dadwal (Editor)

The writer wasn’t, not on paper anyway—but aren’t we all writing stories in our minds and hearts always. And so the writer humored her—with an opening line sent in the space of a few minutes. Which the editor gulped down in a moment and asked for second helpings. Legend has it that the writer humored her editor again. And again. And again.

Lines, paragraphs, chapters, shared initially over WhatsApp, soon gave way to mail. The length increased, the story continued, but both never mentioned publishing. Not that it was a foregone conclusion—it wasn’t. Even though both now belonged to the same universe of books, publishing the story as a novel had never formed part of their conversation.

The story which had started as a message in February came to its conclusion in November. Only, it couldn’t. For that’s the other glorious thing about being in the now. After living in every now you manage to gather so many of them that they shine brighter than a thousand suns. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Specially so in the case of A Year of Wednesdays. It is the most superlative testament of the writer’s genius. And her heart. 

Sonia Bahl (Author)

And so the editor, who understood the literary weight of what lay in her hands, asked the writer if she’d consider bringing this out as a book. The writer, Sonia Bahl, agreed, eventually. And so started the formal literary journey of Seat 7A and Seat 7B, two strangers who meet on a flight from New Delhi to New York and end up talking through most of it. Actually all of fifteen hours and thirty minutes of it. Touchdown, and they go their separate ways . . . only, something stays. Something that refuses to leave. There are some knots which cannot be untied. Some bonds which cannot be explained away. All you can do is honour these. A Year of Wednesdays explores this very rarefied bond between people.

Heart aching and achingly familiar, the story gently manages to fuse itself not only into your thoughts but also into the very spaces between your thoughts. And in the bargain leaves you with an incredible wealth of emotions. Of being human. Of being alive. Indelible marks on ephemeral us. 🙂

A Year of Wednesdays: Behind the Cover

We asked author Sonia Bahl how the stunningly simple and Zen-like cover came into being.

“If the process of writing is a dream, the book cover represents the awakening.”

  • Jhumpa Lahiri, The Clothing of Books

The cover for A Year of Wednesdays was a protracted, meandering, getting-lost-more-than-found journey. Here I must acknowledge the design team at Fingerprint! Publishing for working with me to find my way home. We started at point A, skipped point B, forked into dramatic detours, screeched into dark alleys, changed direction, and finally reached a destination we had definitely not anticipated when the journey began.

The book held so many themes. A moment in time when two unlikely people, from polar opposite worlds and world-views, are hermetically sealed in a common world for fifteen hours. A long haul flight. A forced  interaction due to a bizarre, near-absurd reason. It’s an amalgam of crackling moments of stiletto-sharp bantering and a brazenly honest sharing of what matters and why. Mostly, an uncanny, inexplicable connect that is entirely borderless. Age, time, place, religion, childhood, financial status, marital status, likes and dislikes don’t matter when you are sealed together for fifteen hours, never to meet again. The big one, which you don’t realize until it is much too late: the person will stay with you forever . . . maybe even change you incontrovertibly. Unconsciously paying homage to the Japanese notion of ichi-go ichi-e. Every encounter comes just once in a lifetime. No one encounter can ever come back. But it could last forever.

The cover art’s journey was almost as multi-diverse in thought as the journey of the two protagonists. It began with images of the sky. We worked relentlessly to communicate why it means much more than just the literal meaning of a plane in the sky. No matter which way we visualized it, it lacked in the richness, the fullness of the story. There were obvious, sometimes unimaginative, attempts to play with seats on a plane. Or a plane window juxtaposed with an unexpected view. Everything ended up being uni-dimensional, showing exactly what we were saying. Unable to create the perfect equation where one plus one will add up to the ah-ha of three. Seat 7B’s favourite number. Still, it felt imperative to acknowledge the sky. How could we not? There was such an undeniable role played by stars in their lives (without revealing too much). So we kept clocking up miles, kept moving down the star-studded flight path. The arresting beauty of a night sky, a stylised star map, a view of the changing skies across a long haul flight . . . all visually staggering. Some covers looked clichéd, others looked like they were textbook pictures for celestial lovers. We acknowledged it was time to opt for a dramatically different change in direction to get out of the loop we’d gotten stuck in.

Where was our true north? It’s A Year of Wednesdays. What can organically and emblematically embody the moving of time: one whole year? A year can contain multitudes. The passage of time, transformation, the cyclical nature of life, the ups and downs, the routine, the unexpected curve balls in the routines, birthdays, celebrations, important dates, daily minutiae, love, loss, redemption. And the inevitability of things. 

Nature. It says it every day, every month, every year. Naturally, eloquently, immutably. An artist’s impression of a leaf changing through the year became the understated, poignant symbol of all that we wanted to say. A subtle grey background, gave us the minimalist, Japanese aesthetic. A quiet nod to ichi-go ichi-e. The gold signature by the author, a suggestion from the editor, was used instead of typical font, to make the intimate story even more intimate.

We had landed. Home. To use Jhumpa Lahiri’s words, again: “The right cover is like a beautiful coat, elegant and warm, wrapping my words as they travel through the world, on their way to keep an appointment with my readers.”

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Books & Authors

Top 10 Fiction Books Of The Month | June [Editor’s Choice]

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Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

Now that the sun is making an appearance (bad times are over!), there’s nothing better than relaxing in the garden with a good book.

Whether you want a page-turning thriller, a gripping historical novel, or a feel-good read, we’ve got some great choices in the Fiction top 10 out this month. 🙂


1. The Hidden Hindu by Akshat Gupta

Prithvi, a twenty-one-year-old, is searching for a mysterious middle-aged aghori (Shiva devotee), Om Shastri, who was traced more than 200 years ago before he was captured and transported to a high-tech facility on an isolated Indian island.

When the aghori was drugged and hypnotized for interrogation by a team of specialists, he claimed to have witnessed all four yugas (the epochs in Hinduism) and even participated in both Ramayana and Mahabharata. Om’s revelations of his incredible past that defied the nature of mortality left everyone baffled. The team also discovers that Om had been in search of the other immortals from every yuga. These bizarre secrets could shake up Read More..

2. Accidental Husband by M.V. Kasi

Priya is about to get engaged when she shockingly finds out she is married. Three years ago, she had impulsively married a handsome stranger, only to run away hours after the wedding. With the recent discovery of a mistake in the annulment, she must now quickly make a secretive trip to a small town in India to find the man she married. The problem?

Arjun Pratap, her accidental husband doesn’t want to sign the divorce papers! And worse, he’s even challenged that within a month, he would make her fall in love and stay married to him.

With stolen kisses in the wide open fields, adventurous tractor rides and camping under the stars—can she resist her Read More..

3. Once Upon A Mistake by Shilpa Suraj

Five years ago, an accident changed Maya’s life forever. From an engaged, MBA graduate with her entire life in front of her, she’d ended up dumped, bedridden, and in enough debt to drown her and her family.

Five years ago, Yash had been looking forward to marrying the woman of his dreams. Then his father died, he lost his job and his fiancée dumped him over a text.

Neither have forgiven each other and neither has forgotten the other. When their paths cross at Il Cuore, a vineyard owned by common friends, sparks fly, past hurts are stoked Read More..

4. Royal Vows by Madhuri Tamse

Ruhi Singh: Happily-Ever-After is not what I was looking for after a heart-breaking love tragedy in my life 9 years ago. I still believe in love but it’s simply not for me anymore. Burying the demons that scared me, I have stepped into a new world to make a fresh identity and only when I thought things will sort out for me now, I get an invitation from the Royals of Mahalpur for teaching Painting to someone from their family. I take it up as they are ready to pay me a huge sum for this three-month tutoring.

Least did I know life was throwing a challenge named Raunak Malhotra, the eldest son of the Royal family at me, who had an attitude as high as Mt Everest and anger which could Read More..

5. Ruin of the scarred by Medha Nagur

Bidisha, a 17-year-old braveheart, has lived all her life in hiding since she is the daughter of the most wanted woman in Bishnupur. In the calm of the British Raj, Bidisha embarks on the quest to free her mother from the false accusation. But for that, she needs to challenge the royals who dare not stand against the British.

And when she enters the palace, she encounters the power-hungry Yuvaraja Trinabh and his twisted mother, the Rani Maa. Rani Maa despises her dutiful but meek step-son Yuvaraja Prabir and his hound Debesh Das, a Yodha who is his master’s protector. And so, she assigns Bidisha a job to spy.

But hearts entwine, and love meddles their path in Read More..

6. It’s too big to grab by Rex Jovakim Joseph

If “weird” is a way to describe a person well, let it be him. Alexander Joseph was no one, to begin with when David first met him as his co-passenger. Just like the words ‘curiosity is what sustains the media would’, David was indeed curious about the man sitting next to him looking like a second-generation prince. But the wind doesn’t blow as David expected with Alex. His story was different, weird.

This story is about him, a man David met on his flight to Dubai who lives an extraordinary life in an ordinary way. His love, perseverance, regrets, happiness, and success are the story’s life. We introduce you to Mr. Alexander Joseph, the Read More..

7. Wedding Plans By Shobana Mahadevan

She falls in love with the one man who is absolutely forbidden – her sister’s fiancé. And what’s worse? He reciprocates.

At twenty-seven years, the handsome and charming Viraj is on the verge of taking over the reins of Shakuntala Industries from his grandfather. Unfortunately for him, his grandfather imposes one last condition for him to do that – Viraj must marry Chaaya.

Chaaya is the beautiful heiress of the New-Tech Industries. Any person would be lucky to marry her as her spouse is expected to take over and run their business in the future. But Chaaya is hell-bent on marrying Viraj. The only problem is that Viraj is not willing to marry her. With Viraj and his grandfather Read More..

8. The Smitten Husband by Sundari Venkatraman

Ram Maheshwari is a successful jewelry designer who has a huge showroom on MI Road, Jaipur. He’s tall, dark, handsome and a billionaire to boot. He’s twenty-nine and falls in with his parents’ wishes when they try to arrange his marriage.

The lovely, stormy-eyed Sapna Purohit is from Pushkar. She’s managed to finish school and makes a living by doing mehendi designs during weddings. She’s always dreamt of a Prince on a white horse, sweeping her off her feet.

One look into Sapna’s grey eyes and Ram is lost. Only, Sapna’s unable to see her Prince in Ram. Being from a poor family, she has no choice but to go along with the tide when the Read More..

9. Unsuitable Husband by Anika Rao

To escape an unwanted marriage, she married her best friend’s handsome brother who agreed to help her. But her uncle doesn’t believe her marriage is real.

So, she has to live with her temporary husband to prove her marriage is not fake.

Living in close quarters with the handsome man she used to have a crush on isn’t easy.

Especially when all their interactions indicate that her unsuitable husband is actually the most suitable one. Can she come out of her fake marriage without falling in love with her Read More..

10. The Right Kind of Wrong by Shilpa Suraj

He’s dangerous, damaged and doomed but he’s hers…
With no name, no medical history, multiple gunshot wounds and enough security to rival the Prime Minister’s, Dr Aria Dubey’s new patient is something more than she asked for. And everything she might just need.

Intelligence Officer Karan Bhatnagar has only vengeance on his mind. Nothing will stop him from seeking justice for his murdered parents.

Not even almost losing his own life. And certainly not the doctor who healed but couldn’t save him. The woman Read More..

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Top 10 Self-Help Books Of The Month | June [Editor’s Choice]

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Whether you want to feel more courageous, implement new habits for your daily routine, stop worrying or become more productive, self-help books have the ability to help you unlock your potential, and have you feeling happier and healthier.

This is where self-help books shine. Self-help books can help guide you as you seek to make changes to your day-to-day life while giving you the freedom to make those changes at your own pace.

If you are ready to start making changes, here are the Top 10 self-help books that you need to read this month! 🙂


1. Daily Routine Mastery by Dominic Mann

One of the things that the world’s most successful and productive people have in common is that they all have ultra-effective daily routines.

From energizing morning routines to insanely efficient work routines to empowering evening rituals, the ultra-successful structure their days to utilize every last waking minute to its fullest potential.

And in this book, you will learn how to do the same.

Inside the book: The secret to creating the ultimate morning routine so you can have your best day every day Read More..

2. The Art Of Management by Shiv Shivakumar

Careers are changing, and the capabilities required to stay relevant are changing even more rapidly. We seem to have endless choices, at least at the beginning of a career, but these start narrowing after middle management. How does one think about one’s own life and career in this changing decade?

The whole discipline of career management now has three elements to it:

Managing yourself;
Managing your team; and
Managing your business Read More..

3. Think like The Minimalist by Chirag Gander

In a world full of clutter, thought-provoking design can become a key point of differentiation. In Think Like The Minimalist, Chirag Gander and Sahil Vaidya introduce their unique philosophy of Minimalist thinking that has taken the world of creativity by storm.

With a simple four-step process and well-defined techniques from the Minimalist toolkit, this book provides actionable insights that marketers, brand managers, and design leaders can leverage to produce inventive ideas.

This is an essential read for students, practitioners, Read More..

4. Our Non-fairy Tale Life by Rooprashi

Daksh, a successful corporate professional loses his sparkling family to his obsession. When his obsession topples over, what is there to hold on to. Maybe a girl called Nandini has the answer to it but her own demons have been scaring her for years.

When the universe places them in each other’s path, the other characters demand a place of their own too. Akshay needs his father, Daksh, and his mother, Sumedha to complete his happy picture. Everyone has their own personal struggle, and they all are scared of failure, broken by their ego.

What will it take for their souls to shine on? Read More..

5. The Other Side of a Soldier by Colonel Harpreet Singh Kohli

This book is an attempt by the Author to bring out a relatively unknown facet of soldiering – that of the human being behind the uniform. The author does this by telling stories about the various emotions, the strong bonds, and the sheer intensity that goes into the profession of arms.

These stories are from the author’s own life as a military man spanning more than two decades and range from his earliest days of training to more recent instances. Each story is also accompanied by the author’s insights into the circumstances that he writes about, as well as deep life lessons that he manages to bring out for those in the uniform and beyond as well. Read More..

6. Life Camera Action by Veena Dhandhia

Who doesn’t want to be happy? Who doesn’t want to observe the main areas of his life, and feel content and satisfied? Who doesn’t want to keep increasing his happiness quotient in each area? Who doesn’t want to know how to go about this?

There you go. A multitude of answers practical DIY tips and techniques are inviting you to the pages in this book and weave through the areas of self-growth, health, and wellness, relationships, passions-social life, and career finances.

From knowing what to add, to what to remove, to what to change, to what to keep, feel a holistic transformation. Read More..

7. Masterstroke by Debabrata Ghosh

It is not possible for someone to taste the success of life without proper knowledge of some subjects like sports, entertainment, history, geography, etc. This proper knowledge not only makes a person successful but also makes them mentally strong enough to face the challenges of this competitive world.

Keeping these things in mind the author brings this treasure of knowledge “Masterstroke Vol. 1” in front of you. In this book, you will get more than 900 questions on various subjects such as Advertisements, Flags, Cricket, Entertainment, History, Cartoons, and many more along with interesting facts and photos. We hope this book definitely helps you in your future life. Read More..

8. How to Buy Time by Devbrath Gupta

Freedom is all about having options in life.

“How to buy Time” breaks the myth that freedom is impossible.

Not only will you learn theoretical concepts about time, money, and investments, but also some time-tested methods on how to really own your time.

The thought process imparted in this book can be acquired by anyone, at any time to gain financial wisdom and create a self-controlled vibrant life, born of freedom.

Book offers a fresh perspective on what’s important Read More..

9. Butterfly on the Old Banyan Tree by Padmaja Penmetsa

Butterfly on The Old Banyan Tree reminds us of the simple joys of everyday life that are normally lost in the chaos of human desire to become something. The concise, simple, yet exotic narrative urges the readers to delve into themselves and carry out an introspection of who they really are and who they wish to be.

In the midst of our imperfections, we are perfect is the theme of Neveah’s exotic and intriguing journey of her life wherein, Neveah transforms into a colorful and beautiful Butterfly. The novelette is flavored with the undertones of life’s philosophy. Its storyline forces the reader to enter the realms of nostalgia in her or his own life. This short and simple story could easily be the Read More..

10. Saanu Ki by Prabdeep ‘Sonny’ Behl

Happiness is a state of mind which stems from an attitude towards life. How is it that some of us are always happy and some harbor negative thoughts?

At the same time, one wonders how is it that some particular communities are generally more progressive and prosperous. Through this book, a change in mindset towards positivity and greater happiness is bound to occur and bring cheer to one’s life.

Letting go will become easier. You will stop sweating over the small stuff and feel lighter and joyous, by adopting the ‘Saanu Ki’ principle towards various facets of life, for life.

 


Book Prices

Daily Routine Mastery Rs.9867 (Paperback)
The Art of Management Rs.319 (Hardcover)
Think like The Minimalist Rs.499 (Hardcover)
Our Non-fairy Tale Life Rs.175 (Paperback)
The Other Side of a Soldier Rs.290 (Paperback)
Life Camera Action Rs.398 (Paperback)
Masterstroke Rs.340 (Paperback)
How to Buy Time Rs.149 (Paperback)
Butterfly on the Old Banyan Tree Rs.315 (Hardcover)
Saanu Ki Rs.999 (Paperback)

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Top 10 Poetry Books Of The Month | June [Editor’s Choice]

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‘Khalil Gibran once said ‘Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.’

Poetry is so important because it helps us understand and appreciate the world around us. Poetry’s strength lies in its ability to shed a “sideways” light on the world, so the truth sneaks up on you. No question about it. Poetry teaches us how to live.

This month too we went through many poetry books and then we are here with the books that you should give a read. 🙂


1. Being an Indian Teenager by Muskan Jha

In today’s world being a teenager is not really easy. There are different challenges that we have to face, decisions to make, and roads to take. The people and the environment around us greatly affect the way we think and act like teenagers. Being a teenager can be hard but at the same time, it is fun. We daily face new experiences.

At this point in our lives, we feel like we are neither children anymore nor really grown-ups too. Teenage as we all know is one of the most important and memorable periods of a person’s life. This is the period during which we face and feel a lot of things ranging from our changing physical appearance, Read More..

2. Darkness and Light by Pradeep Singh

Songs and poetry have a synergy of their own. They are both but a means to give rhyme and rhythm to reason out the obscurity of existentialism.

Darkness and Light is a collection of liberal imagery that reflects the simplicity that can be found even in the most labyrinthine emotions.

It is a refuge for the ones seeking validation for the often overlooked yet artful monotony of everyday life. This book is a bouquet of verses defining one such life.

3. Tutee by Tamanna Mishra

Young Tamanna has a dream, to study computer science in the United States.

But for a young girl in Dubai, the glitz and glamor of America are worlds away.

She needs to study hard, overcome bullies, and finish top of her class to even stand a chance.

But she is not the only one demanding a worthier life. Her school is filled with students just like her who want to escape and pursue their dream. Thus, the author meticulously crafted 33 poems about her schooling journey, where she is showcasing Read More..

4. Whispers Of Heartache by Kavya

A great poetry book for all those who want to experience the beautifully sad emotions that come along with heartbreak. What letting go feels like, how broken a person can get, how it feels to fall in love with someone, and a lot more.

Get this relatable poetry book as a gift and the person will surely fall in love with the poems in it.

Words are just whispers of the heartache we suffer from, we scream but our screams don’t seem to reach others. So maybe, just maybe, if we whisper our holding, our letting go, our falling, and our loving, some who listen to silence will hear what Read More..

5. Moonlit Nights by Teraza M Faulkner

Teraza Faulkner’s debut poetry book ‘Moonlit Nights’ is a collection of prose and poetry about love and heartbreak. The chapters take the reader on a journey that finally awakens the soul to the power of hope and healing. It is both a story and a discovery.

The author weaves words into meticulously crafted stories in the form of her poems. Most of the poems are short in length but manage to capture the emotion and feelings a thousandfold. She intrigues from the first go itself. Just as the title a lot of the poems include various ways in which the moon surrounds us with its beauty and soothes us. There are a few poems that Read More..

6. Darkness and Light by Mahevash Shaikh

This collection of original poetry deals with the sometimes crippling impacts of contemporary issues like depression, anxiety, trauma, capitalism, pandemic fatigue, and social media. It was serious, thought-provoking, humorous, and calming at various points. I felt like I could relate to the author’s feelings and share in their experience through the writing. This book is something very special. Based on lived experience, Mahevash’s writing is real and relatable.

Darkness And Light is a collection of poems that explores common mental health problems and the strange, dysfunctional world we live in today. After all, mental health and Read More..

7. Auto Driver by Shashvathi S Hariharan

Auto Driver is Shashvathi’s maiden poetry collection, a garland of the small nuances of everyday life, that make us a whole human. It is devoted to romanticizing the everyday ‘normal’ in this world. It explores the contexts of observational romanticism, love, philosophy, art, and the strange but beautiful, everyday condition of the human.

It expels the poet’s love for her hometown, Chennai (Madras), and the intriguing and beautiful experiences that come along with living in it. Further, this book explores the constant awe and beauty of the world we live in and how much we take it for granted, running an eternal rat race of life. Read More..

8. Perspectives by Harinie Jeevitha

Journeys are different; the destination is the same. Perspectives are different; the purpose is the same. Words are different; vision is the same. truths are different; Truth is the same.

Ever thought about Krishna explaining Arjuna to fight on the battlefield in form of a poem? Krishna and Sudhama’s story? The shiva, Shiv shakti’s union in form of poems?

Harinie does it for us. The poems are on various topics like time travel, writer’s block, self-love, hope, and perspective. My favorite part is poems based on mythology characters.

If you are someone who enjoys reading modern verse Read More..

9. A Potpourri of Poems by Ankita Sahoo

The amalgamation of subtle emotions hidden or forgotten with time carves a niche for itself in A Potpourri of Poems. Both fresh and wise, this collection houses poetry of courage, simplicity, love, loss, longing, and values.

In her debut assemblage, Ankita Sahoo takes us on a journey into her thoughts, experiences, and how the world can be more beautiful, just, and equal through her dynamic lens. Original. Authentic. A roller coaster ride into every human sentiment ever felt, this book will keep you on your toes till the end. This is her debut collection of poems. Ankita has received the prestigious PEN IN BOOKS Young Author Award 2020 for Read More..

10. Sunsets of a Lover by Akankshit Priydarshi

Sunsets of a lover are the story that follows the journey of emotions each one of us goes through in heartbreak or falling in love, to find…

What is love?
How do we fall in love?
How do we fall out of love?
How do we break our hearts?
How do we love back again?

These questions exist and so do the answers. Let’s sit together in the sunset and find the answers in the emptiness of the book with enough words to make you believe in the magic that Read More..


Book Prices

Being an Indian Teenager Rs.260 (Paperback)
Darkness and Light Rs.199 (Paperback)
Tutee Rs.399 (Paperback)
Whispers Of Heartache Rs.250 (Paperback)
Moonlit Nights Rs.450 (Paperback)
DARKNESS AND LIGHT Rs.199 (Paperback)
Auto Driver Rs.150 (Paperback)
Perspectives Rs.270 (Paperback)
A Potpourri of Poems Rs.199 (Hardcover)
Sunsets of a Lover Rs.268 (Paperback)

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