An Unsuitable boy by Karan Johar 

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I just finished reading this book. It took me 2-3 days to finish. Let me start by saying that the book is very badly written. I don’t like how the sentences have been framed, they have a blog like feel. I had expected to get annoyed and leave it half way but the book surprised me. 

While Karan Johar does come across as frivolous, he has spoken from his heart. It has a child like quality to it. I didn’t take him and his movies very seriously before and this book does not change that. He has not spoken about his sexuality. Rather, he has been as explicit as he can be without getting arrested. There was a lot of debate online about his chickening out of it but I don’t understand why should he be a poster boys or homosexuality. The times are not right for it and he has a company to run. 

Some people speak up about causes and some don’t. The problem arises when people pretend to care about social causes. 

All in all, the book is an easy read and not bore you. It isn’t the most well written book on this planet. 


Teesta Setalvad

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I just finished reading the recent book written by her and it has shaken me up. Whatever she has said is not new information, I have read, seen and watched enough to be able to imagine the details of the 2002 Gujarat riots and its aftermath.

What shook me up was this:IMG_20170128_232401_948

According to Teesta, the grounds for what happened in 2002 was set years in advance in Gujarat and the same is happening in India right now.

The fact that Gujarat and its residents are anti Muslims/minorities is not a secret but a fact. I hail from that state and have heard anti Muslims rhetoric over the years. Sure, my father is in a partnership with a Muslim man and this person comes home for chai and a chat with my mom. That means nothing.

There are 3 incidents which I provide as evidence:

  • When I was a kid and asked my mom why she didn’t trust Muslims, she would tell me about the riots and how Muslims killed Hindus in her neighbourhood. I don’t remember which riots these were but nobody in my family was personally affected by them. My response was “Well, Hindus killed Muslims too”, her answer was very evasive. Please note that I was still in school and not a teenager yet when this conversation occurred. How would I have shaped up as an adult if my schooling hadn’t been in a Christian boarding school away from home?
  • In 5th std, I spent a year in a school in A’bad. Few days before exams I had lent my Hindi workbook to Zainab. She, conveniently, forgot to return it even one day before the exam. Now this is a common thing in Gujarat (maybe other states too) where there is a strong undercurrent of jealously, unhealthy competition and unhelpfulness in school and colleges. Everyone is very guarded about revealing how much they study and helping anyone else out. Thankfully, the boarding school I shifted to after this has/had the opposite environment. Anyway, I went home and told my mom what happened. Her anger exacerbated when she realised that the book had been loaned to a Muslim and what else was I expecting.
  • I have mentioned this earlier on the blog. You can search for the conversation with a family friend’s daughter who had horrible things to say about Muslims. Despite repeated warnings that I do not subscribe to such views and she is making me sick, she wouldn’t shut up. I had to block her on facebook, messenger, instagram and then put the conversation on the blog so she would leave me alone. Then she contacted my brother and asked him to tell me to delete the post. He, being the sensible types, told her he can’t ask me to do that since her name is not mentioned in the post and nobody reads the blog anyway. (Kidding about that part).

I am afraid of the future. Indians really need to stop worrying about Trump and focus on what is happening in the country and around us.

Sharing snippets from the book.

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The Last Mughal : The fall of a dynasty, 1857 by William Dalrympyle

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I started this book, then moved to another one and decided to finish reading it. I think a friend recommended the author (not sure though) or maybe because so much of Delhi is courtesy of the Mughals that I picked up this book.

As the title mentions, the book is about Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor and talks about the revolt of 1857. I realised how little I knew about the Revolt of 1857. What I’ve read in my history textbooks is a condensed version. William Dalrymple fills in all the gaps and vividly describes the events. I could imagine the battle and my loyalties kept shifting between the ‘Rebels’ and the British. The book has more of first person account of the British because they have written about the events, kept notes and mentioned them in letters. The author had to connect the dots and try to figure out about what the Indians were doing and thinking.

My blood boils at the thought that people today malign Mughal Emperors who did more for Hindu Muslim unity than any other King. And how did we forgive the British so easily? They tried to raze the entire city of Delhi. Just the thought of that makes me want to discriminate against them.

This book is a must read if history interests you. I have been wondering what reading goals I should take up in 2017. Let me admit that reading 100 books is impossible. So, am going to read good books even if they are classics and am not reading any new authors. 


NOT a group person

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In the 3rd year of our marriage, and the first year that we started living together, KC and I took a trip to Leh Ladakh with his friends and their spouses. It was a traumatic trip (worst one till date) and a turning point in our relationship. It is so significant that we don’t talk about it, like all the other significant things in a marriage.

It was also my first trip in a group and until then I hadn’t realized am not a group person because I have only been in smaller groups of 2-3, never more. I won’t get into what happened on that trip but I couldn’t connect or gel with anyone. Which is weird because I have met all of these people individually or with their spouses since then and like all of them. Since that trip, I have felt like a bad, anti social person. The book ‘Introvert Power’ is making me aware that am not a fault, the expectations of the people around me is the problem. Don’t force me into uncomfortable situations and am awesome company but put me in a group and watch me withdraw, become mum and ‘anti social’.

Of course, things have changed since then. This is the conversation we had last night.

Him – So, I will go for a party at A’s house on Friday night at 10/10.30 pm after dinner with you

Me – It’s ok if you want to go earlier. I can catch up with someone over dinner or just stay home. You can go ahead

Him – No. No. I want to have dinner with you.

Me – Ok. I can come along if you want

Him – Rehne do. All these posts about introversion are getting to me. Though my friends were saying they want to meet you.

Me – I can come for an hour but I won’t drink or eat junk and want to sleep by 10/10.30 am because of early morning run.

Him – Sure, no problem. I will drop you home by 10 pm and then go back to the party.

Me – It’s ok. I can drive myself back. You should take an Uber back since you will drink

Him – Arre, S and I will come to drop you back for your safety

Me- I am fitter than both of you put together. I don’t need your protection.

I guess some kind of balance and understanding has been reached. But mostly, am at peace with myself. So NOT a group person.

 


Last place I was comfortably introverted

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The last place on this planet where I wasn’t judged for my introversion was my school. It still amazes me on how much alone time I could get in a place where everyone was cooped up in 4 walls. Of course, those 4 walls extended to a huge amount of space and consisted of – a huge playground, skating rink, school for the younger kids, school for older kids, an area for recreation, a slope for entering and exiting, library, so many classrooms, a grotto, chapel, huge area to play kho kho, a graveyard (not kidding. You could jump over a low wall and enter it), another playground for younger kids. AND for boarders there were various dormitories, study room, refectories (for meals).

I wasn’t the only one, most of the girls would spend time on their own and it wasn’t weird. You could study alone or in groups. Just walk alone or in a group. Read alone or in groups.

The problem started once I left school. I was thrown into the world of extroverts. My mother comes from a family of extroverts (mainly) who are loud, love to gossip and celebrate all festivals together. This was a far cry from her current nuclear family which included an introverted husband and 3 weird kids who just wanted to stay home.

Anyway, I have spent all my life since school apologizing , justifying or rebelling for my basic nature. I need alone time. I need to come back home and read. When am forced to party till late night, it unnerves me because the conversation adds no value to my life. I keep wishing I’d stayed home instead and read. I don’t want to do this ALL THE TIME but there has to be a balance.

Reading ‘Introvert Power’ is making me realize how much I have been trying to justify and apologize for who I am.

Running has been a BIG help. It is a time I spend with myself, thinking random stuff. So, when I have to justify WHY I run alone, it seems unfair.

More ranting coming up as I read the book.


I rock

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I started reading the book ‘Introvert Power’ right now. It has been on my ‘to be read’ shelf for 2-3 years. The book talks about introverts. Every page has me hooked and I keep exclaiming ‘that is SO me’. Someone gets it. Someone doesn’t think am antisocial or a psychopath or a danger to society. Some days I get really tired of playing that role.

Here is a secret- I DON’T hate people. I love interacting with (some) people. I don’t know anyone else who meets so many new people, especially strangers from the internet (except for the people am meeting because they are also having similar interactions through the internet).

Let me tell you some things about myself:

I am a very thoughtful person. I will remember that the 2nd time we met a year back, you wanted to eat blueberry cheesecake because you love it and that’s what I will carry to your house when I drop in. I will look for the perfect birthday gift, and if I don’t know you well enough, I will get you something I like. And if it’s not in stock, I will turn up empty handed but send it through amazon few days later. When you visit my house, I will always drop you till your car/auto on the road. You won’t leave my house alone. If you are in the USA, I will take your address from your husband and send you flowers on your birthday. Even if you have been my boss for a month, I will be able to pick the perfect gift for you. I will remember conversations. I will pick up on cues. I will think about them later, analyse them and decide whether I like you or not, whether I want to take the interaction forward in real life or restrict it to the internet or back out.

The disclaimer is that the interaction has to be genuine. I want to be sure you are conversing WITH me and not AT me. If I feel like what you discuss with me is something that you would discuss with anyone else, that my being there has zero value addition, I will lose interest and not give a damn. Then I will avoid meeting up, make excuses and never ever ask you to meet. If I do turn up, it is because I couldn’t say ‘No’.

Got to sleep since I want to wake up at 5.30 am. The earlier I wake up, the more time I have on the weekend and more things I can fit into the day. Ciao.


Lean In by Sherly Sandberg

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I am reading this book right now and am floored. Every page speaks to me and I want to facepalm because this is all so true. This is what it’s like being a woman in the corporate world and I seem to be making the same mistakes all the other women are. But we are not talking about it to each other so we don’t know we are doing something wrong. In the process, the men win and we lose out on leadership positions.

I work in a male dominated FMCG company where the TARGET diversity ratio is 10%. I laughed when I heard that. “10% is your target? What is the actual ratio?” I asked. My question to my manager was “I understand why there has never been a female sales director or even marketing. Because the two potential females in marketing either quit or moved to another country because of their spouses. But why haven’t you had a female HR head or legal head or finance head or supply chain head? What is the constraint in those roles?” He said the company is making an effort to recruit more females.

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My first reaction when I was offered the promotion wasn’t “Finally. It is high time”. It was “Are you sure? You think I can do this?”. When I read the above paragraph in the book, I realised am not the only one. I can tell you why I doubt my abilities or capabilities because while my parents wanted me to get good grades, their ambition for me was limited to finding a good husband. In today’s times, good grades lead to a decent, non ambitious job which leads to a good husband who wants a working wife. And so, I never had big ambitions. I wanted to do well but I have never eyed a leadership role. In fact, 6 years back my ex-colleague (same year MBA passout) had been bragged about pitching for the senior role am joining now. I hadn’t even thought that far. I didn’t even have a 5 year plan in mind. Men, 4 years junior to me, have started pitching for senior roles and I didn’t.

I met my counterpart working with my favourite client and since this is our last formal meeting, we talked about other things. This was one of the topics of discussion and I realised that:

  • Most females in the corporate are aggressive and ALL of them are asked to tone it down. I have never heard of a male colleague being called ‘too’ aggressive
  • While men can bond over smoking, drinking, general chit chat; most females avoid it because of safety and the fact that it takes us time to get comfortable with anyone. Our caution comes across as unfriendliness and ‘stuck up’ behaviour
  • I am not a naturally friendly person in real life. I only speak to a stranger when he/she approaches me else am quite happy not making the first move. Even when we were on the cycling trip where everyone knew everyone, G came over and said ‘It looks like you and me are the only ones without a companion’. I am so grateful she spoke to me.
  • We also agreed that once someone works with us for sometime, they appreciate our professionalism and no nonsense attitude. People around them know exactly where they stand.
  • My ex colleague recently told me am the ‘coldest person’ on this planet. Most days, am the nicest person I know. But since we have worked together, he is right. I am cold because am cautious. Because my emotional side could be considered a weakness at work. I am extra tough at work because I don’t want to be seen as soft.
  • 2 years back my manager told me “I think of you as one of the boys/men only”. I took it as a compliment. When I put it up on facebook, many women said that is sexist and I shouldn’t be happy about it. Well, here is the thing. I don’t see any female role models around me, in my industry. Until then, being called a ‘man’ is a compliment. The good news is that from “I don’t want females in my team” 3 years back, we are at “I am going to try and look for a female for the opening right now because I have no doubts that a female can do this job as well as a male and I have interviewed some great women candidates”.

I am on the 3rd chapter of the book and am waiting to read more. As women, we need to speak up. And we need to talk to each other more. We need to get to those leadership roles, sometimes at the cost of family. And let’s stop prioritising our husband’s careers over ours. My parents didn’t spend all that money on my education and I didn’t work so hard to support someone else before me. Let’s be a little more selfish, shall we?


Gujarat Files by Rana Ayyub

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This post is supposed to be on the other blog but something is wrong and I will rectify it once am back.

There is a lot of controversy on Twitter regarding this book. Apparently, mainstream media has not covered it’s launch. Rana Ayyub – a journalist with Tehelka stayed in Gujarat undercover pretending to be a US filmmaker shooting a movie about the state. She met many government employees – IAS officers, ministers, cops etc with the intent of uncovering what happened during the riots and in the fake encounter cases.
Let me warn you – this book isn’t very well written and is full of typos. Also, if you read the news you already know everything given in the book. It does not uncover any new facts. At the same time, reading quotes from the horse’s mouth is still shocking. Of course, all the confessions have been given once Rana gained the trust of the person who didn’t know she was a journalist.
I was glued to the book. The way politics works is scary and standing up for your principles leads to nothing but torture. Modi is the scariest man in the country and he is our PM. What does that say about the citizens?
The Gujarat riots are personal and reading about them makes me sick. How can one community hate another so much is beyond me. People who will accuse me of siding with the Muslims – none of the Muslims have come to me and bitched about Hindus but vice versa has happened more number of times than I can count. And the hating each other is for all communities.
Read this book if you know about Gujarat riots and if you don’t. If you think Modi is innocent, this book still won’t convince you otherwise but maybe, just maybe it will create a few doubts in your head.
If it helps, it is a quick read and will take a few hours only.


Books Giveaway- Finale

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Thank you for making the books giveaway a success. I would have been surprised if giving away books for free at my expense would have been difficult. In fact, I would have lost faith in this world. There are people out there who have enough hope and trust to share their home addresses with a seemingly deranged stranger.

Kidding… just kidding.

Below is the updated list of books I still have left and would like to get rid of because an empty bookshelf = potential to fill it with newer and better books

  1. Kitnay Aadmi Thay? By Diptakirti Chaudhari

  2. Om Puri by Nandita C Puri

  3. Kareena Kapoor with Rochelle Pinto

  4. I, Phoolan Devi by Phoolan Devi

  5. The arty fatty party by Pratik Basu

  6. Salaam Bombay by Mira Nair and Soni Taraporevala

  7. BPO Sutra by Sudhindra Mokshi

  8. 26/11 Mumbai attacked by Harinder Bawe

  9. Navel gazing by Anne H Putna

  10. Dilbert the joy of work by Scott Adam

  11. The brothers Bihari by Sankarshan Thakur

  12. You are here by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan

  13. Madonna like an icon Lucy O’Brien

  14. Under Delhi by Sorabh Pant

  15. Goosebumps The Haunted Mask II by R. L Stine

  16. Why I supported Emergency and other essays and stories by Khushwant Singh

  17. The heart goes last by Margaret Atwood

The preference will be given to (in that order):

  • People I know and can pick up the books from me instead of me having to speed post them
  • People who have not yet requested for books

Thank you for giving more than 100 books a home. Mucho appreciated.

 


Books Giveaway

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  • Mafia queens of Mumbai by S. Hussian Zaidi (Blocked for TT)
  • The Immortals of Meluha by Amish
  • Nobody can love you more by Mayani Austen Soofi
  • The Vampire diaries The fury and the reunion by L. J Smith
  • How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie
  • Diary of a wimpy kid The third wheel by Jeff Kinney
  • Harry Potter and the deathly hollows by J. K Rowling (I have 2 copies) 1 copy left
  • Sorting out Sid by Yashodhara Lal
  • Kitnay Aadmi Thay? By Diptakirti Chaudhari
  • Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
  • The company Red by Shantanu Dhar
  • Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
  • Why we Buy by Paco Underhill
  • Losing it by Dhruv Gupta and Prachi Gupta
  • Lose a kilo a week by Nishi Grover
  • Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The pregnant King by Devdutt Pattnaik
  • Dead as a door nail by Charlaine Harris
  • The Duchess by Amanda Foreman
  • The immigrant by Manju Kapur
  • I dare by Kiran Bedi
  • Quarantine by Rahul Mehta
  • The race of my life by Milkha Singh
  • The Reluctant fundamentalitst from Book to film by Mira Nair
  • Living dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
  • From dead to worse by Charlaine Harris
  • Breathless in Bombay by Murzban F Shroff
  • New moon by Stephanie Meyer
  • Those pricey Thakur girls by Anuja Chauhan
  • Om Puri by Nandita C Puri
  • Just married, please excuse by Yashodhara Lal
  • Dork by Sidin Vadukut
  • The accidental apprentice by Vikas Swarup
  • Sethji by Shobha De
  • Diary of a wimpy kid the ugly truth by Jeff Kinney
  • Powder room by Shefalee Vasudev
  • The diary of a social butterfly by Moni Mohsin
  • Three men in a boat by Jerome K Jerome
  • Dead until dark by Charlaine Harris
  • Memoirs of a geisha by Arthur Golden
  • Q & A by Vikas Swarup
  • Mediocre but arrogant by Abhijit Bhaduri
  • Get size wise by Sheela Nambiar
  • Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup
  • The lost flamingoes of Bombay by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi
  • How to lose the last 5 kilos by Namita Jain
  • Kareena Kapoor with Rochelle Pinto
  • The Hindi bindi club by Monica Pradhan
  • Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • A storm of swords 2. Blood and gold by George R R Martin
  • P. S I love you by Cecelia Ahern
  • Club dead by Charlaine Harris
  • The average Indian male by Cyrus Broacha
  • 2 States by Chetan Bhagat
  • Eat pray love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Choice by Goldratt
  • 3 mistakes of my life by Chetan Bhagat
  • Amu by Shonali Bose
  • Lucknow Boy by Vinod Mehta
  • First day first show by Anupama Chopra
  • Women and weight loss Tamasha by Rujuta Diwekar
  • Cold feet by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Lajja by Taslima Nasrin
  • Dial D for Don by Neeraj Kumar
  • The house that BJ built by Anuja Chauhan
  • Joker in the pack by Ritesh Sharma and Neeraj Pahlajani
  • King of Bollywood SRK by Anupama Chopra
  • Delirious Delhi by Dave Prager
  • An American Brat by Bapsi Sidhwa
  • I, Phoolan Devi by Phoolan Devi
  • To kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Diary of a wimpy kid cabin fever by Jeff Kinney
  • Don’t lose out, work out by Rujuta Diwekar
  • Chowringhee by Sankar
  • Dongri to Dubai by S. Hussain Zaidi
  • Death in Mumbai by Meenal Baghel
  • Jaane bhi do Yaaron by Jai Arjun Singh
  • A storm of swords 1. Steel and Snow by George R R Martin
  • Delhi by Khushwant Singh
  • Summer and the city by Candace Bushnell
  • Delhi OMG by Vinod Nair
  • Moving on by Shashi Deshpande
  • The kite runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Zoya factor by Anuja Chauhan
  • If God was a banker by Ravi Subramanian
  • The inheritance of loss by Kiran Desai
  • The complete yes minister by Jonathan Lynn & Antony Jay
  • The secret diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend
  • All together dead by Charlaine Harris
  • The reluctant fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
  • Little women and good wives by Louisa May Alcott
  • The sunset club by Khushwant Singh
  • Tender hooks by Moni Mohsin
  • Above average by Amitabha Bagchi
  • A fine balance by Rohinton Mistry
  • How to love your body and get the body you love by Yaana Gupta
  • The live well diet by Dr Sarita Davare and Sanjeev Kapoor
  • Dead in the family by Charlaine Harris
  • The arty fatty party by Pratik Basu
  • Angel of the dark by Sidney Sheldon and Tilly Bagshawe
  • A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • Salaam Bombay by Mira Nair and Soni Taraporevala
  • The Japanese wife by Kunal Basu
  • BPO Sutra by Sudhindra Mokshi
  • The vampire diaries shadow souls by L J Smith
  • Everyone worth knowing by Lauren Weisberger
  • Almost single by Advaita Kala
  • Alice’s adventures in wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Through the looking glass by Lewis Carroll
  • Definitely dead by Charlaine Harris
  • The Kapoors by Madhu Jain
  • Remember Me? By Sophie Kinsella
  • Dilbert and the way of the weasel by Scott Adams
  • Custody by Manju Kapur
  • Medium raw by Anthony Bourdain
  • The green room by Wendell Rodricks
  • Last man in tower by Aravind Adiga
  • I’ll do it my way by Christina Daniels
  • Breaking dawn by Stephanie Meyer
  • Mini Shopholic by Sophie Kinsella
  • Shopholic and baby by Sophie Kinsella
  • Dead and gone by Charlaine Harris
  • Battle for Bittora by Anuja Chauhan
  • The Accidental billionaires by Ben Mezrich
  • Confessions of a serial dieter by Kalli Purie
  • Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
  • The adventures of an intrepid film critic by Anna MM Vetticad
  • Earning the laundry stripes by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar
  • Single in the city by Sushmita Bose
  • 26/11 Mumbai attacked by Harinder Baweja
  • The F word by Mita Kapur
  • Truly madly deadly The unofficial true blood companion by Becca Wilcott
  • Diary of a wimpy kid dog days by Jeff Kinney
  • A clash of kings by George R R Martin
  • English, August by Upamanyu Chatterjee
  • Window seat by Jahanvi Acharekar
  • Truth and lies Brad & Angelina by Chas Newkey-Burden
  • Dead to the world by Charlaine Harris
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • Moth smoke by Mohsin Hamid
  • The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest by Larsson
  • The girl who played with fire by Larsson
  • The hunger games by Suzanne Collins
  • Catching fire by Suzanne Collins
  • Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea
  • Songs of blood and sword by Fatima Bhutto
  • Navel gazing by Anne H Putnam
  • Dibert the joy of work by Scott Adams
  • Midnight’s children by Salman Rushdie
  • Sita’s Ramayan by Samhita Arni and Moyna Chitrakar
  • Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
  • In spite of Gods The rise of modern India by Edward Luce
  • The brothers Bihari by Sankarshan Thakur
  • Why I assassinated Gandhi by Nathuram Godse
  • Ladyboys by Susan Aldous and Pornchai Sereemongkonpol
  • Butter chicken in Ludhiana by Pankaj Mishra
  • Diary of a wimpy kid the last straw by Jeff Kinney
  • Diary of a wimpy kid Rodrick rules by Jeff Kinney
  • You are here by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan
  • A feast for crows by George R R Martin
  • A dance with dragons by George R R Martin
  • Maximum city by Suketu Mehta
  • The story of my assassins by Tarun Tejpal
  • Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  • Cappuccino dusk by Kankana Basu
  • Asura by Anand Neelkatan
  • Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
  • How to get filthy rich in rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid
  • Bombay duck is a fish by Kanika Dhillon
  • Beatrice and Virgil by Ayan Martel
  • Madonna like an icon Lucy O’Brien
  • Mrs funny bones by Twinkle Khanna
  • Bird in a banyan tree by Bina Ramani

Check this link for rules.