Himalaya Bound: An American’s Journey with Nomads in North India

Himalaya Bound

Status: Read from Apr 7 to Apr 8, 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 208
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Michael Benanav


For forty-four days, Michael Benanav, an American writer and freelance photographer for The New York Times, lived and travelled with the Van Gujjars, a forest-dwelling tribe of nomadic buffalo herders in northern India, on their annual spring migration to the Himalayas. He went to document their traditional way of life, but there was trouble on the trail: the Uttarakhand forest department threatened to block nomadic families, whose ancestral summer meadows are within Govind National Park, from the pastures they rely on for the survival of their herds.

A fascinating account of life on the road with nomads, this book tells the story of one family’s quest to save its buffaloes, and itself. More than a rare glimpse into the hidden world of a tribe of vegetarian Muslims who risk their lives for their animals, this is an intimate picture of the hopes, fears, hardships and joys of people who wonder if there’s still a place for them on this planet. It’s an important exploration of the relationship between humankind and wild lands – and a tale of friendship that bridges two very different cultures.


Van Gujjar are nomadic water buffalo herders, who are still able to practice their traditional way of life. They live year-round in the wilderness, grazing their livestock on the vegetation that grows in the jungles and mountains of northern India. The tribe spends winters, from October to April, in the Shivalik Hills – a low but rugged range that arcs through parts of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh. In the month of March, however, heat begins to sear the Shivaliks. By mid-April, temperatures soar to 45 degrees. With little left for their buffaloes to eat or drink, the Van Gujjars pack their entire households onto horses and bulls and hike their herds up to the Himalayas, aiming for high alpine meadows that are flush with grass throughout the summer. They stay in the mountains until autumn. Then, with temperatures plunging and snow beginning to fall, they retreat back down to the Shivaliks.

Michael met one of the Van Gujjar family in 2009 with the help of SOPHIA (Society for the Promotion of Himalayan Indigenous Activities), a small Dehradun-based non-profit organization that works with the Van Gujjars. He travelled with them for 44 days, on their annual spring migration to the Himalayas and documented their traditional way of life and culture, the hardships in the jungle and the treats from the forming of national parks.

Today, its estimated, 30000 Van Gujjars dwell in wilderness, moving seasonally between the Shivaliks and the Himalayas, speak their native dialect, Gujari, which is a linguistic fusion of Dogri and Punjabi. Van Gujjars, though Muslims, are traditionally vegetarian. Some scholars suggest that this may be a cultural remnant from the days before the Mughal period, when the Van Gujjars probably converted from Hinduism to Islam. But Van Gujjars are say they think animals as fellow living beings and they normally don’t hunt.

Michhael also highlighted the treat the Van Gujjars are facing from the Uttarakhand government due to establishment of National Parks. They fear that their seasonal migration would cease, and their traditional way of life would fade away. In the name of protecting wildlife habitat, these nomads are pressured to abandon the wild lands on which they had lived for countless generations, to settle in villages and give up their buffalo herds. National Parks are meant to preserve things that are fragile and endangered, and in this case they would also be threatening the Van Gujjars’ unique culture.

The books gives an deep insight on the lives of these mountain dwelling nomads, their love for their animals and also brings into light the threat these buffalo herders are facing since 1992. The book is a fast read and brings in the lively picture of the life, culture and hardship of these forest dwelling vegetarian Muslims,  where men and women share the work equally. Also gives an ample information of various organizations, national and international, who are trying to preserve this unique culture of Van Gujjars and brining into light how the seasonal migration of these herders helps forest to regenerate balancing the ecosystem. The family tree and the map provided in the beginning of the book are very helpful to understand the members of the Gujjar family and the path they traversed to reach the Himalayas. The book is a good mixture of travelogue and cultural/social life of nomads. The pictures only shows how these people are very compassionate towards their animals.

About the Author:

michael benanav

Michael Benanav is a writer and photographer  whose work appears in The New York Times, Geographical Magazine, Lonely Planet Guidebooks, CNN.com, and other publications. He is the author of two previous, critically acclaimed books: Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold, and The Luck of the Jews: An Incredible Story of Loss, Love, and Survival in the Holocaust. He lives in a small village not far from Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the southwestern United States. He visits India frequently.

PS: The pictures of book cover and the author are taken from net. The other pictures are from the book Himalaya Bound.

Curfewed Night

Curfewed night

Status: Read from Oct 17 to Oct 21, 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 248
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Basharat Peer


Basharat Peer was a teenager when the separatist movement exploded in Kashmir in 1989. Over the following years countless young men, seduced by the romance of the militant, fueled by feelings of injustice, crossed over the Line of Control to train in Pakistani army camps. Peer was sent off to boarding school in Aligarh to keep out of trouble. He finished college and became a journalist in Delhi. But Kashmir—angrier, more violent, more hopeless—was never far away. In 2003, the young journalist left his job and returned to his homeland to search out the stories and the people which had haunted him. In Curfewed Night he draws a harrowing portrait of Kashmir and its people. Here are stories of a young man’s initiation into a Pakistani training camp; a mother who watches her son forced to hold an exploding bomb; a poet who finds religion when his entire family is killed. Of politicians living in refurbished torture chambers and former militants dreaming of discotheques; of idyllic villages rigged with landmines, temples which have become army bunkers, and ancient sufi shrines decapitated in bomb blasts. And here is finally the old story of the return home—and the discovery that there may not be any redemption in it.


I read Our Moon Has Blood Clots by Rahul Pandita, where the plight of Kashmiri Pandits was narrated extensively. To get the story of both sides, I picked this book by Basharat Peer. If you notice, both the authors are Kashmiri, one is Kashmiri Pandit and the other a Muslim from Kashmir. Both authors have shared the stories as they saw it. Both the books capture the forgotten pain of Kashmiri’s we can’t even imagine. Injustice was done not only to the Pandits but also to the Muslims in Kashmir. Kashmiri Pandits had to leave their land to save their lives, Muslims stayed back, but always in constant fear, both from the militants and the Indian Army. Kashmiris’ faced violence, irrespective of their religion.

I have come across few people who could not appreciate the book, for presenting a negative image of the Indian Army. Also, because the Author is known for voicing his support for Pakistan openly. But, lets accept the truth. Even today one can find many Kashmiri Muslims supporting Pakistan and are very vocal about it. When there is cricket match between India and Pakistan, the Muslims belonging to India supports Indian team, whereas the Kashmiri Muslims supports Pakistan. When India celebrates its Independence on 15th August, Kashmiri Muslims celebrate the Independence Day of Pakistan.

Kashmir was the largest of the approximately five hundred princely states under British sovereignty. It was predominately Muslim but ruled by a Hindu Maharaj, Hari Singh. When India was violently partitioned in 1947, Kashmir stayed neutral to remain independent, neither joining Pakistan or India. But when tribesman from North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, supported by the Pakistani army, invaded Kashmir, Hari Singh decided to join India. The fighting stopped in 1949, after the intervention of UN and endorsed a plebiscite for Kashmir to determine which country they wanted to belong to and created a ceasefire line. It still divides Kashmir into Pakistan-controlled and India-controlled parts, and is known as the Line of Control (LoC). Since, then Kashmir has remained as turbulent terrain. While Pakistan is still fighting to take control of parts of it, India holds that Kashmir is part of India and granted its autonomy. Amidst all this the Kashmiri’s want ‘Independence’. The books provide a clear picture of the ongoing violence in Kashmir through the author’s writing.

For a teenager, Basharat Peer, has seen his glorious days change into nightmare with the begin of insurgency in the state. Suddenly, he found his Hindu friends stopped coming to school. Later he found that they have left the valley for their safety. Basharat gives a clear account of the brutality by the Indian army raining bullets finding something amiss by the militants, killing many innocent lives including children. The children in Kashmir getting fascinated by the uniforms and the Kalashnikova carried by the militants, dream to fight for the freedom of Kashmir. Many teenagers cross the Line of Control, to train in Pakistani army camps. As a teenager, even Basharat had the similar dream. But he was sent to school in Aligarh, to stay away from the violence in Kashmir. After his graduation, he takes up a job at a local newspaper as a journalist. But his childhood memories and the ongoing violence keeps him pulling towards Srinagar. Finally, he quits his job to interview the people, who suffered by insurgent in Kashmir.

Basharat starts narrating the story from the memories of his childhood days in Kashmir and history of Kashmir. He interviewed many people, who either had lost someone to the militant attacks or army attacks, who survived those attacks and seen the militants and Indian army in action raining bullets, someone who lost their young son who crossed the LoC to join the militants, or those who surrendered to Indian Army after being with the militants for a short while. The stories from this war inflicted region shows the agony of the people staying in this beautiful valley. The stories picturing the enticing landscape of Kashmir valley slowly start to show the dark side of the valley filled with army bunkers, patrolling cars and army personnel guarding and checking the common Kashmiri folks disturbing the normalcy in their lives.

The stories in the book does not have normal flow. The stories jump from one incident to another. But, nonetheless, the books remain outstanding bringing the true state of matter in Kashmir, which we people staying outside, could never even fathom to imagine.

About the Author:


Basharat Peer was born in Kashmir in 1977. He studied political science at Aligarh Muslim University and journalism  at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He has worked as an editor at Foreign Affairs and served as a correspondent at Tehelka, India’s leading English language weekly. His work has appeared in The Guardian, New Statesman, The Nation, Financial Times Magazine, N+1, and Columbia Journalism Review, among other publications. Curfewed Night, his first book, won one of India’s top literary awards, the Vodafone Crossword Book Award for English Non Fiction. He has also written the screenplay for the bollywood movie Haider, along with Vishal Bhardwaj. Peer is a Fellow at Open Society Institute and lives in New York.

P.S: Author introduction is take from goodreads.

The wandering Falcon

The wandering Falcon

Status: Read from Nov 22 to Nov 25, 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 181
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Jamil Ahmad


The Wandering Falcon is the unforgettable story of a boy known as Tor Baz – the black falcon – who wanders between tribes in the remote tribal areas where Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan meet, defying his fate and surviving against all odds. The world he inhabits if fragile and unforgiving, one that is fast changing as it confronts modernity. In Jamil Ahmad’s award-winning debut, this highly traditional, honour-bound culture is revealed from the inside for the first time with vivid colour and imagination.


Jamil Ahmad is known as a gifted story teller and excellent writer. The story began with a good start, giving the vivid picture of the hardships at the deserts of Afghanistan. I wanted the story to follow the path of this young child Tor-Baz, who was born on an unfamiliar land among the strangers. His parents were stoned to death to disobey and dishonor the norms of the tribe and the boy was left orphaned. He grows up as an nomad in the unforgiving lands with harsh climate, rough terrain and brutal justice reigns. Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran have no defying border line and nomads are free to move from one country to the other with change in climate with their life stocks. But recently, the government officials have enforced fixed boundaries.

After being passed from one ‘caregiver’ to another, Tor-Baz grows up as an nomadic wanderer moving across the deserts crossing the boundaries of these countries. The story continues, till Tor-Baz decides that it’s time for him to marry and settle down with a family.


There was as such no character development in the book or any specific event to highlight in the life of Tor-Baz. The story isn’t magical or haunting but rather simple.

This book gives a good insight into the customs and traditions of tribes. The plus points about the book was the picturesque description of the desserts of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan and glimpse to the hardship of the nomadic life of people in these countries.

About the Author:

Jamil Ahmad

Jamil Ahmad was one of the few English writers of Pakistani origin to have garnered attention outside his country. Though his body of work was small and limited to one book, the Wandering Falcon and a short story, The Sins of the Mother, he is considered as a major writer among Pakistani writers of English fiction.

Jamil Ahmad was born in Punjab, in the erstwhile undivided India, in 1931. After early education in Lahore, he joined the civil service in 1954,and worked in the Swat valley, a remote Hindu Kush area, near Afghan border. During his career, he worked at various remote areas such as the Frontier Province, Quetta, Chaghi, Khyber and Malakand. He served for two decades among the nomadic tribes who inhabit one of the world’s harshest and most geopolitically sensitive regions. With his mesmerizing and lyrical tales, Ahmad illuminated the tribes’ fascinating attitudes and taboos, their ancient customs and traditions, and their fiercely held codes of honor. He also served as the a minister at the Paksitani embassy in Kabul during the Sovient invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

He married Helga whom he met during his London years, who was critical of his early attempts at poetry but diligently tried to promote his work. She painstakingly typed his handwritten manuscript on a typewriter with German keys. The Wandering Falcon, published when he was 79, was nominated for Man Asian Prize in 2011. He lived in Islamabad, Pakistan at the time of his death in July, 2014.

PS: Author intro taken from goodreads.

The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

Status: Read from Dec 8 to Dec 10, 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 206
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow


A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture”. Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave – ‘Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams’ – wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because time is all we have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think ). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration, and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.


What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?”

This was the question that Randy had, when he was asked to give the Last Lecture. Like other professors, he didn’t had to imagine it as his last, because it was his last as he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Those who doesn’t know, Randy Pausch was a Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. In August, 2006 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. During this time he was approached to give ‘The Last Lecture’.

Randy wanted his children to know who their father was. He wanted to pass on all the wisdom he collected from his father and his own experiences.  Being a professor, he felt this is the only way he can leave a print, for his children, by giving a lecture. The lecture he gave was full of optimism, hope, inspiration and humor. He tried to give the lecture full of snippets of stories and experiences from his own life, providing moral and inspiration. He had that charm to add humor to even a very serious topic. Some of the advises may make you feel that, he was from upper middle class family and he always got the support from his family and friends around. He was a person who had a very clear picture of what he expected and learned from life and what he was willing to share with the world. He always lived by the principles he believed and shared in the hope that others would benefit from it.

Many books dealing with terminal illness become famous because of gaining sympathy from readers. But this book is different. It’s not about dying or the emotional roller coaster the family undergoes when one member of the family has terminal illness. This book is about living. After knowing about his cancer, Randy didn’t brood about it, instead faced moment very optimistically. He was thankful to God that he had got some time to prepare about what he wants to leave as a legacy.

The book is full of inspirational quotes and inspiring stories. He talked about honesty, integrity, gratitude and the things that are dear to him. He lectured about the joy of life and how much he appreciated life, even with so little time left. He mentioned about living the childhood dream, how to achieve the childhood dream and how to enable the dream of many others.

Being a Computer Science lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University, he set up a virtual reality lab, where he taught ‘Building Virtual Worlds’. In 1998, along with Don Marinelli, he set up the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), to focus on educational goals and creative development in students. Randy also started Alice. Alice is a free download, innovative software tool that allows students who have never programmed before to easily create animations for telling stories, creating interactive games etc,.

You might not agree with all of Randy’s lessons, but you will be left with choosing to live with fun and optimism.

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand’.

” There’s a decision we all have to make, and it seems perfectly captured in the Winnie-the-Pooh characters created by A.A.Milne. Each of us must decide: Am I a fun-loving Tigger or am I a sad-sack Eeyore?”

After reading the book, i watched the video of his last lecture. I would suggest everyone to watch this video.

” The brick walls are there for a reason. They’re not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.  The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.”

About the Author:

Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch was a Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States and a best-selling author, who achieved worldwide fame for his “The Last Lecture” speech on September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University.

In August 2006, Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He pursued a very aggressive cancer treatment that included Whipple procedure surgery and experimental chemotherapy; however, in August 2007, he was told the cancer had metastasized to his liver and spleen, which meant it was terminal. He then started palliative chemotherapy, intended to extend his life as long as possible. At that time, doctors estimated he would remain healthy for another three to six months. On May 2, 2008, a PET scan showed that his cancer had spread to his lungs, some lymph nodes in his chest and that he had some metastases in his peritoneum and retroperitoneum.

On June 26, 2008, Pausch indicated that he was considering stopping further chemotherapy because of the potential adverse side effects. He was, however, considering some immuno-therapy-based approaches.

On July 24, 2008, on behalf of Pausch, his friend (anonymous) posted a message on Pausch’s webpage indicating cancer progression further than what was expected from recent PET scans and Pausch becoming more sick than ever. It was announced that his family had sent him into a hospice program — palliative care to those at the end of life.

On July 25, 2008, Diane Sawyer announced on Good Morning America that Pausch had died earlier that morning.


In A Forest, A Deer

In A Forest, A Deer

Status: Read from Nov 8 to Nov 11, 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 207
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Ambai, Translated by Lakshmi Holmström


Winner of the Hutch Crossword Translation Award 2006, this collection of stories revolves around personal loss, sexuality, and identity and selfhood. A sense of longing for meaning in a fluid world, In a Forest, a Deer articulates the real experience of women and communicates their silences in words and images.

Translated by Lakshmi Holmström, this work will be rewarding for anybody who enjoys good writing and will appeal to students and scholars of Indian writing, comparative literature, and translation, cultural, and gender studies.


I am a person who is not a fan of short stories (yes i do like short stories by Oscar Wild, O.Henry, and few indian authors like Premchand) and rarely a person to give 5 starts to any book of short story collections. But this book is extremely well written reaching extraordinary heights. Beautifully translated from Tamil, without losing the essence of the original language. All the stories in the book has a touch and essence of Indian life and culture. There is feminism with almost every story with a female protagonist. Ambai voices egalitarianism and compassion in her stories. I loved reading every single story in the book, few are my favorite as well. Journey 1, Paraskti and Others in a Plastic Box, Vaaganam, In a Forest, a Deer, Unpublished Manuscript, A Saffron –  coloured Ganesha on the Seashore, A Movement, a Folder, some Tears.

In Journey 1, Ambai narrates a story of a lady, who gets peed on by a child, while traveling in a bus. This narration is funny and hilariously it showed, how people scan a women by her mangalsutra or toe ring to check if she is married or not. Even she is chided by passengers for asking the mother of the child to take care of him. In Journey 2, Dinakaran prefers to identify himself as a person from Tirunelveli, instead of a Madrasi, who can start his day only after taking bath in river Tambaraparni. He is not comfortable in Delhi, and find solace only after he finds a South India lodge and eats Tamil food. One and Another describes the gay love of Methew and Arulan in a very simple and pure form. Parasakti and Others in a Plastic Box is a story, where Amma says her needs are merger and she needs only a place to keep her plastic box containing her idols of Gods and Goddess, but she’s an institution in herself. And her daughters short out how to provide Amma her own house, so that she can live happily in her house. In a Forest, a Deer is about Thangamma Athai, who fails to bear any children, but she finds a second wife for her husband, and also treats every child in the village as her own child. Though everyone has so much respect for her, but her body is considered as a hollow body which never blossomed. In Unpublished Manuscript, Tirumagal, brought up with love and care by her father, Ramasami, is a professor at Banaras University, heading the department of English. She is fond of Tamil poetry, and falls in love with a famous Tamil poet, Muthukumaram and marries her. But her married life turns into a nightmare. This story narrates how with all difficulties she takes great care of her daughter Senthaamarai, without giving up her career. In A Saffron-coloured Ganesha on the Seashore, a Christian fisher man, finds parts of Ganesh idol in the shore, that has washed and reached here after last night’s Ganesh procession. With the help of few other fisher folks, he take those pieces of the idol in his motor boat to sunk them in the sea, because after all, it’s someone’s deity. A Movement, a Folder, Some Tears is story of three women activists, their great work, but one end up committing suicide. The story shows some brutal picture of the Gujarat riots. The book also contains a story narrating about the modern day Sita.

So, you see, in a single book, Ambai has picked up so diverse plots touching every sensitive social issue delicately in Indian community bringing in the revolution. Lakshmi Holmström has done a amazing work in translating this book by keeping the traditional touch and not disrupting the revolutionary facets in the book. I again repeat, it’s a five star read for me, and i recommend this to everyone. This is a gem in Indian Literature, and i am sure you will not be disappointed.

About the Author:


Ambai is the pen name of Dr C.S. Lakshmi, a historian and a creative writer in Tamil who writes about love, relationships, quests and journeys in the Tamil region and elsewhere. She is much loved for her wit, her inventiveness, the lyrical grace of her writing, and the manner in which she challenges received notions. Ambai spent much of her childhood in her grandparents’ house in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. Her adult life, on the other hand, has been spent outside Tamil Nadu, in Delhi and in particular, Mumbai. Her stories are drawn from memories of her childhood and adult hood, and interspersed with others which are placed elsewhere – Spain, America, or imaginary and mythological places. Her stories have been translated by Lakshmi Holmström in two volumes entitled A Purple Sea and In a Forest, a Deer. Ambai was awarded the Lifetime Literary Achievement Award of Tamil Literary Garden, University of Toronto, Canada, for the year 2008. An independent researcher in Women’s Studies for the last thirty-five years, Ambai is the author of several critical books and articles. She is currently the Director of SPARROW (Sound & Picture Archives for Research on Women).


Lakshmi Holmström MBE (1 June 1935 – 6 May 2016) was an Indian-British writer, literary critic, and translator of Tamil fiction into English. Her most prominent works were her translations of short stories and novels of the contemporary writers in Tamil, such as MauniPudhumaipithanAshoka MitranSundara RamasamiC. S. LakshmiBama, and Imayam. She obtained her undergraduate degree in English Literature from the University of Madras and her postgraduate degree from University of Oxford. Her postgraduate work was on the works of R. K. Narayan. She was the founder-trustee of SALIDAA (South Asian Diaspora Literature and Arts Archive) – an organisation for archiving the works of British writers and artists of South Asian origin. She lived in the United Kingdom.

She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to literature.

She died of cancer on 6 May 2016.

This Delicious Life

This Delicious Life

Status: Read from Nov 20 to Nov 21, 2017
Format: Kindle
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Lekshmi Gopinathan


Spluttering, simmering and steaming. A story that makes you hungry and feeds your soul. From Jaffna Crab Curry to Mor Kuzhambu, Spinach Casseroles and Tiramisu, nestled in the tiny fishing village of Iraalpatinam, comes a delicious and heartwarming tale of food, life and love. Meet the valiant lady sarpanch, the food blogger in search of peace, the able District Collector, a nomadic football coach and the beautiful fisher folks of this quaint village all bound together by their love for food. A yummy story of friendship, love and spices.


For the people, whose life revolves around food and books, this is perfect read with a very lip smacking cozy feeling. The story of protagonists Radhamma and Matilda, who find a way to heal their soul through the love for food. An imaginary ideal fishing village name Iraalipatinam down south near Pondicherry, where people stay with mutual harmony and brotherhood, doing all tasks as a community under the supervision of Radhamma, the sarpanch of the village. Radhamma’s dreams of making the village a smart village in the region by facilitating all the basic amenities. For this reason, Radha meets Vishal, a District Collector, under whose wing, Iraalipatinam is one of the villages. Gerry is sent by Vishal to the village as a football coach, to hone the villages kids in the game and channel their talent. Matilda volunteers in the village.

I will suggest, not to read this book in empty stomach, as while reading you will not able to stop your foodie carvings. Every chapter is named with one delicious food item, with the list of ingredients of the recipe. It can leave you hungry. The story is not about food, but how the lives of people are connected by love for food. How strangers connect with each other for the common love for food.

The book does justice to the title. It a very simple, easy and warm read. This book can be read in one sitting. Reading Matilda’s adventure on bike, I feel like going myself for such an adventure. The description of Iraalipatinam without any flaws seems like a perfect vacation place. Pick this book up for a cheery easy read.

About the Author:

lekshmi gopinathan

Lekshmi Gopinathan is a social entrepreneur and run an art project called Project Kalayatra, where she document indigenous art forms and artisan communities in India. It’s a not for profit, its gives a platform where travelers get to meet the local artists and live with them.

Lekshmi is a trained journalist, having produced documentaries for NDTV and also done undercover sting operations for environmental conservation. She has worked closely with publications like The Better India to spread awareness about the local dying art forms.

She quit her full time job a year ago to become a full time nomad. She travelled to four countries and thirty three cities last year. Karma’s Ukulele is inspired by her own life and stories she heard from the nomads she met as she travelled. Karma is an amalgamation of many people and yet is one single identity.

Butterflies and Barbed Wires

butterflies and barbed wires

Status: Read from Nov 15 to Nov 18, 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 268
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Vanaja Banagiri


A many-layered story that explores the conflicts of butterflies caught in barbed wires, of women who are strangers in their own homes. Beautiful and strong, they handle the dramas that life unfolds in the best way they can. For Shehzaadi and Maya, mother and daughter tragically separated during the ’78 riots in Hyderabad, it is a question of forgetting and trying to remember an elusive past. For Maya, who moves back to the city from Bangalore where she has grown up, it is a painful quest for her identity. For Shehzaadi it is a struggle to deal with old memories and the loss of her entire world.

Varsha, Maya’s best friend, attempts to tackle a separation from an indifferent husband, determined to leave love out of the picture and take hold of life in fast-paced Mumbai. Amita and Zeba, Shehzaadi’s friends live with their own ghosts; a broken marriage and a loveless one, a daughter grown up away from her mother, the importance of holding up a facade of being happy. Butterflies and Barbed Wires tells of women from two different generations grappling with a life and a society that is rapidly changing.


“What are human beings if not butterflies and their complexes, if not barbed wires.”

This is story of women protagonists, their lives and their struggle to get a grip of it and understand it. After reading the blurb and seeing that the story revolving around five women and takes place in the city Hyderabad (which I am still exploring), I got interested in the book. This book has two dimensions: first the women protagonist, who navigate their life based on their past experiences, and the second is the beauty of the Hyderabad city.

The story flash backs to the 1978 Hyderabad riots. 5th August 1978, the day that went down in history as the goriest communal carnage in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, wiping out more than half of the old city. Shehzaadi became a widow and her two year old toddler Sameera went missing in the riots.

Twenty two years later, Shehzaadi is married to Anwar and has a 22 year old son who is studying in London. She is staying in a sprawling Jubliee Hills bungaow, and spends most of her time with her two best friends Zeba and Amita. Shehzaadi lives a fairy tale life, which seems so complete with a doting husband and sensible young son. But was Shehzaadi ever able to forgive herself, for being the only one to survive the 1978 blasts? She missed her first husband and daughter. At one moment she was very cheerful and thankful to God for such a lovely family, at other moment she was in deep despair, wandering about her daughter, suffering from chronic depression. Amita and Zeba were her only friends to whom she can turn to and have a jolly time during such periods, pub-hopping and getting sozzled.

Amita and Zeba had their own difficulties in life. Zeba, 40 years old, was an architect, married to Hamid, a doctor, who treated her as a prized trophy. Zeba was a self made woman, with her hard work and talent. Her success in career catapulted her into Hyderabad high society. But she was lonely inside with husband like Hamid, who gave her a chance to belong to a world she has always yearned for, but not the love and no family to turn to. Amita was  a fashion designer, owing a boutique in the heart of Banjara Hills surrounded by five star hotels and the city’s elite residential area, a divorcee who had a teenage daughter. Amita had transformed from a wife into an incorrigible flirt. She had no respect for marriage or commitment. She entranced men and left them pining for more. For her “Borrowed husbands are better than owned husbands because all the harshness is reserved for their wives.”

Maya knows that she was adopted by her Amma and Appa, when she was just 2-years old. But she doesn’t remember anything about her biological parents. Grown up in Bangalore, after her Amma and Appa dies in accident, she moves to Hyderabad and takes up a job in Osmania University. She gives herself a year in Hyderabad in a hope to find her roots here. Her best friend Varsha, loathed Ranga Rao, her father. Her mother, a dynamic MP was indifferent towards her husband. Varsha never understood the meaning of such marriage: man and woman staying below the same roof but having no emotional attachment. When she found love in Som, she was quick to get married and have a loving family, unlike her own parents. But she ended up into a married life no different from her parents, as the communication and love vanished from Varsha and Som’s relationship. For her, what man and woman did to each other in the name of marriage was nothing short of lunacy.

The story goes deep into each of the five women, their experiences in life and how they fight their own demons while figuring out what they seek from life. The book also highlights some social stigma about how the ego gives way to misunderstanding in a relationship, how people make a notion about a person if he/she is not married for long, how people continue to live a life they are not happy with, but are afraid of change. The book shows us picture of people who always puts on a mask to show off to people their sunny side, but are lonely deep inside. It also shows people who pretend to be broad minded yet are petty and judgmental.

“Why on earth, she wondered, did people have to speculate about sexual orientation when somebody preferred to stay single? As though marriage was the ultimate goal in life.”

“They are so much fun to be with. And cheerful. That’s probably why they were called ‘gay’ in the first place. She liked men who were in touch with their feminine side. She felt it made them more sensitive than so-called ‘straight’ men.”

The beauty of the book also lies in the beautiful description of rich and cultural history of hyderabad and the hyderabadi cusines, which are very informative. This book takes us to places, starting from the history of the Qutb Shahi rulers, to the quaint Moazamjahi Market, Golconda, Charminar, Salar Jung museum, Falaknuma Palace, Himayat Sagar lake, Lad Bazaar, Pather Gatti, Banjara Hills, Jubliee Hills. The mouth watering Hyderabadi cuisines are also mentioned in various places deliberately, to let the readers know that there is more to the Hyderabadi Biryani:  Tamatar-ka-khat, kaddu-ka-dalcha, dum-ka-murgh, kheema fry with sheemal, baghara khana, double-ka-meetha, sahi tukda, qubani-ka-meetha, kacche-gosht-ki-biryani, mirch-ka-salan.

The book is beautifully written, flowing smoothly from life of one women to another and how their lives are linked to each other. An insightful read, with mix of fun and intense relationships.  At places, I felt little confused with so much happing in lives of these women, but I feel, this was because I was reading the book between breaks. Its written so amazingly, peeping into the mind of a woman, and how they think. This is a must read for women and also for men who always wonder about how to understand a woman.

About the Author:

vanaja banagiri

Vanaja Banagiri is the former editor of Hyderabad Times, the Times of India’s city edition. She has been associated with Savvy, Society, Femina, Filmfare, Health & Nutrition and the Economic Times in various editorial capacities. She has also written for the Sunday Observer, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Me and New Woman. She has won many awards for excellence during her journalistic career for her path breaking stories. At forty, she quit active journalism to pursue her long cherished dream of writing a book. Her debut novel Butterflies and Barbed Wires Published by Rupa & Co was released in 2006. She has also authored Hyderabad Hazir Hai and The Placebo Effect. She also writes poetry. She lives in Hyderabad.

One Part Woman

one part woman

Status: Read from Oct 31 to Nov 02, 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Perumal Murugan, translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan

Controversy around the Book:

The book One Part Women was published in Tamil with title Mathorubhagan. Though the book was first published in 2010, it was only at the end of 2014 the trouble started. The local caste groups protested against this book alleging that Mr. Murugan had hurt community sentiments, defamed women, and outraged religious feelings. In response to these allegations, the author signed an “unconditional apology” and agreed to withdraw all unsold copies of the novel. A case was charged in Madras High Court along with criminal complaints against the author on the grounds of obscenity, spreading disharmony between communities, blasphemy, and defamation. Petitions were also filed asking the Court to ban One Part Woman.

The Madras High Court, however, gave complete victory to Mr. Murugan, dismissing the criminal complaints against the author, and dismissed the petition seeking a ban on the book. The Court arrived on the conclusion that One Part Women did not break any laws. The court relied upon three arguments: first, that the book has won many prizes, and has gained critical acclaim; second, that Indian culture had always celebrated sexuality until the Victorian British suppressed it; and third, that read as a whole, the book is not intended to titillate or eroticise, but instead, to make a broader point about how social pressures can impact individual lives.

For more details on the controversy on this book visit the link here.


Kali and Ponna’s efforts to conceive a child have been in vain. Hounded by the taunts and insinuations of others, all their hopes come to converge on the chariot festival in the temple of Maadhorubaagan, the half-female god. Everything hinges on the one night when rules are relaxed and consensual union between any man and woman is sanctioned. This night could end the couple’s suffering and humiliation. But it will also put their marriage to the ultimate test.


“There is no female without the male, and no male without the female. The world goes on only when they come together.”

One of the most poignant stories I read in recent times. This is story about Ponna and Kali, who fail to have a child even after 12 years of their married life. This book provides the clear picture of how couples are subjected to criticism and humiliation in Indian society if they fail to conceive a child. The woman is called barren and the man is called impotent. Though the story takes place in Karattur, a small village of Salem district in Tamil Nadu, this social stigma can be seen in all places in India even in today’s date. The author has written in a way which is very reflective of how the common people speak of such things in day to day life.

“Though they might have a million things wrong with their own lives, people found great pleasure in poking and prodding other people’s miseries. Couldn’t they even remember they were in a public place? What kind of pride comes from knowing that the other person does not have what one has? Does everyone have everything? Isn’t there always something lacking?”

The author’s writing is incredible, as the story bring the picturesque view of the tamil farmer’s life, with very detailed narration of the farmyards, the cattle, the activities in fields, and the wait for water during the monsoon. With all these, the author didn’t fail to bring out the misery of the unfortunate couple who fail to have their own child. Kali and Ponna, did everything possible in their bounds, visiting and praying every deity and following every ritual, to get the blessings of the lord to conceive a child. Here the author reflects the superstitions of the villagers, that are followed blindly to fulfill the worldly desires to hold their heads high in front of the villagers. Many people say that such portal of story creates superstition in readers. But I feel that author has put these beliefs as they exist in the Tamil society (which are also followed across India).

Ponna and Kali doesn’t leave a stone unturned to have their own child. But in their failure, they have become a talk of the village, hounded by evils taunts. Kali’s acquaintances suggest him to go for a second marriage. The most suffered here is Ponna, who gets to listen taunts of being a barren woman, during all social gatherings. It has become so difficult for her to go out, without hearing a bad thing about her fate for not being able to give birth to a child.

But both Ponna and Kali are very passionately in love with each other. Even being not able to have their own child, their love for each other doesn’t lessen by any means. Kali never agrees for a second marriage even after constant pressure from his mother or relatives and friends in village. He thinks about Ponna and how difficult her life will become, if he does that. He is even afraid of the thought that, if he fails to bear a child from second woman as well, he will be teased in the village for being impotent. The story also highlights the dilemma of the couple where they try to find happiness in each other’s company, stating that they don’t need a child, they can stay happy with each other. And at other times, thinking of adopting a child, stating that God has made sure that everyone lacks something, but has given a way to fulfill it.

The character of Ponna is presented very well as a woman, who is very bold with all her flaws. She faces all the insulting remarks from the villagers but knows how to answer them back, making them shut their mouths, showing a brave attitude. Whereas Kali is a loyal husband, who does not blame her wife for not being able to give birth to a child, like the other villagers. He loves Ponna, but he always tries to stop the mouth to mouth arguments from becoming worse. Kali also knows how to brighten up Ponna’s foul mood with his light humor.

Finally, the couple find a solution to their despair and grief in the form of the annual chariot festival of goddess, Ardhanareeswara, in the temple of Maadhorubaagan, the half female God. On this one night the rules are relaxed and consensual union between any man and woman is sanctioned. This night can put an end to all the humiliation and constant grief. But this also might put a big question mark on the sustenance of their marriage. The story is left open ended for the readers to draw their own conclusions.

I have read few reviews on this book before picking it and read that its mentioned that it contains many obscene statements. I feel the author has tried to put the words in same natural way, as it would had been used in normal communication, which are very harsh and raw. True that, this book is not recommended for teenagers.

Aniruddhan Vasudevan has kept the essence of the Tamil literature alive, while translating the book. Many tamil words are used as such, without translation, which I feel will be a challenge to people not familiar with tamil, or any of the south-indian languages. I feel, a glossary of these words would had been very helpful. The name of the temples and deity mentioned in the book are true and exists in real.

About the Author:


Perumal Murugan is the star of contemporary Tamil literature, having garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success for his work. An award-winning writer, poet and scholar, he has written six novels, four short-story collections, four poetry anthologies and works of non-fiction. Some of his novels have been translated into English to immense acclaim, including Seasons of the Palm, which was shortlisted for the Kiriyama Award in 2005, and One Part Woman, his best-known work, which was shortlisted for the Crossword Award and won the prestigious ILF Samanvay Bhasha Samman in 2015. Murugan has also received awards from the Tamil Nadu government as well as from Katha Books.

Aniruddhan Vasudevan is a performer, writer and translator. He documents various public health projects and art projects, and is involved in LGBT advocacy work. He is currently a PhD student in anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin, and is also working on his first novel.

Our Moon Has Blood Clots: A Memoir of a Lost Home in Kashmir


Status: Read from Oct 08 to Oct 14, 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 258
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Rahul Pandita


Rahul Pandia was fourteen years old when he was forced to leave his home in Srinagar along with his family, who were Kashmiri Pandits – the Hindu minority within a Muslim majority Kashmir that was by 1990 becoming increasingly  agitated with the cries of ‘Azaadi’ from India.

The heartbreaking story of Kashmir has so far been told mainly through the prism of the brutality of the Indian security forces, the pro-independence demands of Muslim separatists, or India and Pakistan’s political rivalry. But there is another part of Kashmir’s history that has remained unrecorded and buried.

Our Moon Has Blood Clots is the untold chapter in the story of Kashmir, in which hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits were tortured, killed and forced to leave their homes by Islamist militants, and to spend the rest of their lives in exile in their own country. Rahul Pandita has written a deeply personal, powerful and unforgettable story of history, home and loss.


“…and an earlier time when the flowers were not stained with blood, the moon with blood clots!”      – Pablo Neruda, ‘Oh, My Lost City’

Our Moon Has Blood Clots is very insightful and gives a firsthand account of experience of the author himself, who was among the exodus of Kashmir during 1990, at an age of 14. During 1990, there was mass movement of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir to Delhi, Lucknow, Lahore and Allahabad, leaving their ancestral home, their history and culture behind. The plight of Kashmiri Pandits is now an forgotten story. Our generation will never understand or will try to find out, what made approx. 3.5 lacs Kashmiri Pandits to pack their bags and leave the valley, never to return back and stay as refugees in their own country.

After reading this book, I read Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer. Both these books are set during the same period and tells the story of Kashmir with different approach. Both the books help us to understand that not only Kashmiri Pandits had a tragic life, but also the Muslims had to suffer the brutality of both the militants and Indian Army. The brutal killings, fleeing away from home, setting up a home in a place much different in culture, language in refugee camps in Jammu, these realities are narrated with much pain.

“Our home in Kashmir had twenty-two rooms”, my mother used to say this thing to every person she met.

This narrates the experience of a mother, who was in exile, who lost her home and her pride, staying in refugee camps, in tents, sharing the tent with one other family.

The memories through a 14 year old teenager paints a vivid images. Women cramped in lorries travelling towards Jammu, a man raising his fist and telling them that, “you will die”, overhearing a conversation of a group of boys, discussing distribution of Pandit’s houses which will be empty soon.

“At least go inside and piss; like a dog, you need to mark your territory,” one of the boys tells his mate. “It’s over,” Pandit’s father, a government worker, says, “we cannot live here anymore.”

Rahul Pandita mentions in the book that he kept a record of each and every Pandit killed in the Valley during the exodus, because he wanted people to know the story of each and every Pandit killed. The government and the media completely neglected the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. In 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a Rs. 1,618 crore package to facilitate the return of the Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. Six thousand jobs were also announced for the Pandit youth in the Valley. Most of the jobs were never filled, due to the fear of being targeted by militants. The settlements provided to Kashmiri Pandits are cheap single-bedroom structures, with no drinking water facility. The real problem is harassment at work from their Muslim colleagues. Many Pandit employees don’t receive their salaries on time.

This is an excellent book, full of true tragic stories, acquainting with Hindu-Muslim brotherhood, struggles of Kashmiri Pandits that forced them to flee to Jammu.

For those, who wants to know what happened in Kashmir during 1990s, and not just Kashmiri Pandits, I will suggest to read Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer. It gives an insight on the suffering of the Kashmiri Muslims during this period, how the Indian Army as well as the militants created problems for innocent Muslims. Kashmiri Muslims lives a threatened life in Kashmir because of both the Militants and the Indian Army and are tagged as militant where ever they go for being Kashmiri Muslim. It also gives an insight about how the Kashmiri youth are misguided by the Militants to cross the border and to go to Pakistan to get trained as an militant.

A brief history of Kashmir:

Rahul Pandita has given a brief history of Kashmir, which we will never get to learn about. Kashmir was blessed with great scholar in each century. In tenth century, the great Kashmiri Pandit scholar Abhinavagupta wrote Tantraloka, a treatise on Kashmiri Shaivism, and Abhinavabharti, a splendid commentary on the Natyasastra, the seed of the Indian performing arts. The eleventh century Kashmiri Pandit poet Kshemendra wrote Brhatkathamanjari, a collection of stories representing the lost tradition of brhatkatha. The twelfth century Kashmiri Pandit scholar, Kalhana, penned the magnum opus, Rajatarangini ( River of Kings), which is counted among the world’s most extraordinary works. Kashmiri scholars made immense contributions to Buddhism, which came to Kashmir with the emperor Asoka around 250BC. It was in Kashmir that Buddhist scriptures were written in Sanskrit for the first time. Buddhism spread from Kashmir to Ceylon, Java and China. It was in 5th century in Tibet that a Pandit scholar was given the honorary title of Bhatta – which means someone who is learned.

The golden phases in Kashmir’s history were during the reigns of Lalitaditya and Avantivarman. Lalitaditya was considered a great administrator and ruled Kashmir for about four decades in the early eighth century AD. The Sun temple at Martand in south Kashmir was build during his reign. It stands even today in spite of being ravaged by invaders, and is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in India. Avantivarman ruled Kashmir for about three decades form 855 AD. He built magnificent temples and Buddhist monasteries. Kashmir prospered in his reign.

From fourteenth century onwards, Kashmir was invaded by Muslim invaders. Sultan Sikandar took over the reins of Kashmir and let loose a reign of terror and brutality against his Hindu subjects. This was followed by the reign of Mughals. During Aurangzeb’s rule, which lasted for forty-nine years from 1658 onwards, Pandits were persecuted. From 1752, the valley slipped into the hands of Afghans for seven decades. During this period there were mass conversions. The Afgan rulers would surround a group of Pandits with naked swords and ask them to convert. Those who did not comply would be put to death immediately. For the rest, a calf would be slaughtered, and they would be fed its meat and their sacred thread would be snapped. Such troubles forced the Pandits to migrate. India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru was from one such family.

Following the period of Afgan rule, the valley passed into the hands of Sikh rulers in 1819, and then to the Dogra dynasty, who bought it from the British colonialists for seventy five lakh rupees, one horse, twelve goats and three cashmere shawls.

In 1947, the last Dogra Maharaj, Hari Singh, was reluctant to join India or Pakistan. He wanted to remain independent. In October 1947, when Pakistan tried invading Kashmir by sending tribal invaders from the Northwest Frontier Province, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession and Kashmir became a part of India.

About the Author:


Rahul Pandita is an Indian author and journalist. Pandita has worked as a war correspondent, and is known for his ample news reporting from the war hit countries like Iraq and Sri Lanka. However, in the recent years, his focal point has been the Maoist movement in India’s red corridor. He has also reported from North-Eastern India. He has worked with The Hindu, Open Magazine among other media organizations. He is a 2015 Yale World Fellow. He was awarded the International Red Cross award for delivering news from war zones, in 2010.

Rahul Pandit is the author of the bestselling Hello Bastar: The Untold Story of India’s Maoist Movements (2011), Our Moon Has Blood Clots: A Memoir of a Lost Home in Kashmir (2013),  and co-authored the critically acclaimed The Absent State: Insurgency as an Excuse for Misgoverance with Neelesh Misra.



Status: Read from Oct 04 to Oct 07, 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 118
My rating:  5star/5
Author: Fakir Mohan Senapati; translated from Odia by Chandan Das


This is the first-ever English translation of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s historical novel Lachhama. Written in Rajput heroic legend style, Lachhama is stylistically different from the social realism of Senapati’s other novels. The experiment with a more ornate and dramatic form does not detract, however, from Senapati’s passionate engagement with Odia nationalism, the emancipation of women, and the day-to-day concerns of Odia people.

The overarching theme in Lachhama is Odia nationalism in the backdrop of Senapati’s efforts to preserve Odia against hegemonic attempts to subsume it within the fold of Bengali. Equally, Lachhama champions the cause of women, an enduring motif of Senapati’s work. With its liberal useage of sati, sadhba, and patibrata terminology, this may seem surprising. However, it must be evaluated in the context of the time in which it was written (between 1901 and 1903) when the spaces offered by a paternalistic society for independent women were extremely limited.

Chandan Das’s translation smoothly and skillfully retains the poetry and atypical cadence of the original.


Lachhama is first ever English translation of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s book. This book narrates the historical romance of Rajput lady Lachhama and her husband Badal Singh, in the back drop of the political disturbances between the Mughals and Marathas to gain supremacy in Odisha. The story is set in a period of early advent of the British in India during which Nawab Alibardi Khan was Governor of Bengal. The depiction of love, honor, courage and revenge of the woman protagonist Lachhama is significant. The political, economic and social anarchy in Odisha is very vividly presented. The protagonist Lachhama is shown as equal of her husband in valour. The book also emphasizes the Hindu philosophy of  Karma, dharma, kartavya, pitrusraddha etc. The brutality of Marathas and the misery of common man is presented elaborately. Quotations and allusions form religious texts are very generously used. The story gives a strong message of human optimism which can triumph against all odds. The best thing about the book is presenting the woman protagonist as a very strong optimistic individual during a time when the freedom provided to women were very limited.

The translation is very smooth and retains the poetic cadence of the original story.

The drawbacks:

1) Even being a odia i have to re-read few statements to understand. The use of few odia words may confuse the non-odia readers.

2) The narration of political drama was very elaborate that in some instances i completely forgot that the book was about the love story of Lachhama and her husband Badal Singh.

About the Author:


Social critic and reformer, poet, novelist, short story writer, translator, publisher, teacher, and administrator, Fakir Mohan Senapati (1843-1918) is widely regarded as having inaugurated and age of modern Odia prose. Senapati gave Odia literature its first major novels – Chha Mana Atha Guntha, Mamu, Lachhama, and Prayaschitta – short stories, and poems. His autobiography Atma Jibana Charita chronicles the life of his times. He is called the father of Odia nationalism and modern Odia literature. He is considered a pioneer in the field of Odia fiction. His “Rebati” published in 1898 in the first modern Odia short story. Much before social realism became the dominant mode in other literatures of the country; he had shown the way in the portrayal of life in the villages. His Chha Mana Atha Guntha is acclaimed as a modern classic.

Chandan Das teaches English at S.B.Women’s College in Cuttak, Odisha. He completed his PhD in translation studies in 2008 from Utkal University. His poems, translations, and short stories have been published in national and international journals.