And How Do You Feel About That?: Breakdowns and Breakthroughs in the Therapy Room, Aruna Gopakumar and Yashodhara Lal

Psychotherapists Aruna Gopakumar and Yashodhara Lal bust myths about mental health and therapy to show how therapy actually works. With decades of combined experience in the field, these two therapists share fascinating stories based on their practice. Written with authenticity, warmth, and simplicity And How Do You Feel About That brings the reader an understanding of the world of possibilities that opens up when a person embark on an inner exploration – in dialogue with another.

The Hyderabad Heist: The Untold Story of India’s Biggest Museum Theft, Sharmistha Shenoy

September 3, 2018. Citizens of India woke up to the sensational news of a multimillion-dollar
theft in the Nizam’s Museum, Hyderabad. The theft of a diamond-studded, intricately designed
gold box and other artefacts speckled with emeralds and rubies caused a national and international sensation. This was no ordinary burglary.

Prince Muffakham Jah of Hyderabad, who was in London at that time, personally requested the
Commissioner of Police, Anjani Kumar, to investigate the case on priority. Hundreds of police officers were pressed into action to recover the stolen objets d’art. Unfortunately for them, the thieves had been smart and left little evidence behind them. Most clues that the police uncovered during the investigation led to more confusion instead of conclusions.

This would be a challenging proposition, given that, historically, hardly any items stolen from museums across the world had ever been recovered. The Hyderabad Heist is the story of how the Hyderabad Police worked diligently, made the most out of the little evidence available, and raced against time to recover the artefacts before these could be smuggled abroad and be lost forever.

The Broken Script: Delhi Under the East India Company and the Fall of the Mughal Dynasty, 1803-1857, Swapna Liddle

At the start of the 19th century, there was a Mughal emperor on the throne in Delhi, but the Mughal empire, in decline for almost a century, was practically gone. A new power had emerged – the British East India Company, which captured the Mughal capital in September 1803, becoming its de facto ruler. Swapna Liddle’s book is an unprecedented study of the “hybrid half-century” that followed – when the two regimes overlapped and Delhi was at the cusp of modernity, changing in profound ways.

With a ground-level view of the workings of early British rule in India, The Broken Script describes in rich detail the complex tussle between the last two Mughal emperors and the East India Company, one wielding considerable symbolic authority, and the other a fast-growing military and political power. It is, above all, the story of the people of Delhi in this period, some already well known and others who are largely forgotten: the cultural and intellectual elite, business magnates, the old landed nobility and the exotic new ruling class – the British. Through them, the book looks at the economic, social, and cultural climate that evolved over six decades.

My Subconsciously Feminist Father, Yashika Singla

My Subconsciously Feminist Father imagines a world where parents, especially fathers, yearn for and attempt to raise feminist sons. Yashika Singla writes about how she and her two siblings (a sister and brother) were accidentally raised as feminists by her very ignorant-in-the-matter father, simply because he believed in the concept of fairness and, together with her mother, made an honest attempt to raise their three children equally.

Recounting examples from her childhood and young adulthood, Yashika shows how even the smallest actions undertaken by parents can impact the world they create for their children. She discusses how the feminist ideals she unthinkingly absorbed as a child ultimately came to the fore in her adult relationships and gave her the confidence to stay true to herself. Part memoir and part manifesto, this a reminder to fathers (and mothers) that they can build a better society by inculcating the right values in their children.

Kathmandu Dilemma: Resetting India-Nepal Ties, Ranjit Rae

The first two decades of the new millennium have witnessed a dramatic socio-political transformation of Nepal. A violent Maoist insurgency ended peacefully, a new constitution abolished the monarchy and established a secular federal democratic republic. Nevertheless, political stability and a peace dividend have both remained elusive. Nepal is also buffeted by changing geopolitics, including the US-China contestation for influence and the uneasy relationship between India and China.

As a close neighbour, India has been deeply associated with the seminal changes in Nepal, and the bilateral relationship has seen many twists and turns. Partly a memoir, this book examines India’s perspective on these developments, in the context of the civilisational and economic underpinnings of the India-Nepal relationship, as well as issues that continue to prevent this relationship from exploiting its full potential.

Bells of Shangri-La: Scholars, Spies, Invaders in Tibet, Parimal Bhattacharya

Almost all of the Himalayas had been mapped by the time the Great Game – in which the British and Russian empires fought for control of Central and Southern Asia – reached its zenith in the latter half of the 19th century. Only Tibet remained unknown and unexplored, zealously guarded and closed off to everyone.

Britain sent a number of spies into this forbidden land, disguised as pilgrims and wanderers, outfitted with secret survey equipment and tasked with collecting topographical knowledge, and information about the culture and customs of Tibet. Among them was Kinthup, a tailor who went as a monk’s companion to confirm that the Tsangpo and the Brahmaputra were the same river. Sarat Chandra Das, a schoolmaster, was also sent on a clandestine mission, and came back with extensive data and a trove of ancient manuscripts and documents.

Bells of Shangri-La brings to vivid life the journeys and adventures of Kinthup, Sarat Chandra Das and others, including Eric Bailey, an officer who was part of the British invasion of Tibet in 1903. Weaving biography with history, and the memories of his own treks through the region, Bhattacharya creates a sparkling portrait of Tibet.

The Book Beautiful: A Memoir of Collecting Rare and Fine Books, Pradeep Sebastian

Until 2015, Pradeep Sebastian was a contented bibliophile, quite far from the serious book collector he is now. Things, however, took a dramatic turn when he chanced upon fine press books – printed on a handpress, from metal type pressed into dampened handmade paper, the tactility and typographic beauty of letterpress books instantly captivated him. There was no looking back.

In this book, the author retraces his fulfilling journey of collecting fine books online, his new-found love for modern calligraphic and illuminated manuscripts, and his discovery of the masters of bookmaking – be it the cloistered nuns who printed impeccable fine press books, or the famous printer who lived in a one-room apartment at a YMCA with his small handpress tucked under his bed.

Peppered with vivid anecdotes and delightful conversations, The Book Beautiful is as much about the love for fine books as it is about the pleasures of bibliophily – the camaraderie between fellow collectors and dealers, bibliographic connoisseurship, the thrill of the chase, and the joy of striking a juicy bargain.

Private and Controversial: When Public Health and Privacy Meet in India, Smriti Parsheera

The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated how actions taken for the management of a public health emergency can bear significant implications for individual liberty, dignity, and privacy. Collection of health data, contact tracing, mandatory testing, and vaccine passports are some examples of such interventions. However, these tensions are certainly not new. Nor are they limited to situations of health emergencies.

The everyday interactions between the individual, the community, and the public health ecosystem raise a number of questions about how to balance the state’s legitimate public health interests with the informational privacy, bodily integrity and decisional autonomy of citizens.

Set against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic, creation of the National Digital Health Mission, and the ongoing debate on data protection, the collection of essays in Private and Controversial explores the intersection between privacy and public health.