Booknomics

Publishing, Print on Demand, Self-publishing in India from Pothi.com Team

March 14, 2019
by Neelima
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Interview: Anvita and Anika Agarwal

Today, we feature two young authors. Anvita and Anika are sisters, currently studying for their 8th and 6th-grade exams, respectively. They are two-and-a-half years apart and separated in temperament by several yugas. They were twelve and ten, respectively, when they started reading the abridged translations of the Puranas in 2017. Their interests are reading, music, binge-watching Netflix, and painting. For a year they also published monthly book newsletters. Their favorite pastime, however, is driving their mother up the wall in any free time that remains.

Follow them on Twitter @SistersWhoRead and their blogs anvita.abhinavagarwal.net and anika.abhinavagarwal.net.

A Year With The Maha Puranas is a book by these girls, a compilation of reviews of the abridged English translations of the Mahapuranas written by Sri Bibek Debroy. These reviews were written over the course of a year. The book includes the authors’ favorite stories from the Puranas, including interesting bits and different versions of commonly narrated tales. We talked to the girls about the writing process.

A Year with the Maha Puranas

 

Tell us the process of framing this book. How did you do your reference and how did you share your work between yourselves? Since you read multiple Puranas, how were you able to keep track of the multiple shlokas, stories and explanations?

We never planned on writing a book. We never even wrote the reviews with the purpose of including them in our book. It was just meant to be put up on our blog. Once we were done with all the reviews, our father came up with the idea of compiling the reviews into a book. Our references were taken from the abridged translations by Sri Bibek Debroy and in a few circumstances, from the original translations of the Puranas as well. We didn’t share our work with each other. Since we have only included two-three favorite stories each, whoever wrote the review of the Purana first got to pick their stories first. Only in a few of the Puranas, you will be able to notice that we have repeated a few stories. As we were reading the Puranas, we would highlight the parts we found interesting and make notes as well to keep track of the shlokas and stories.

Now that you have understood the gist of the Puranas, do you intend to read them all in detail?

We hadn’t actually thought about it, but it very well could be a future project. As the short versions of the Puranas were a very good read, one can only imagine the joy of reading the Puranas in detail.

Tell your readers about some of your favorite stories from the Puranas.

This is a hard question to answer. There are so many stories I would like to share with you, but if we had to select a few, they would be:

-How Ganesha’s head was cut off (Brahmavaivarta Purana)
-Sita who was an illusion (Kurma Purana)
-How Saraswati, Lakshmi and Ganga became rivers (Brahmavaivarta Purana)
-The Ketaki Flower (Shiva Purana)

How do you balance academics, research and writing?

We didn’t try to rush ourselves. While reading and reviewing the Puranas, we would give ourselves enough time – about two weeks to complete each Purana, which meant that we would have two weeks to read and review the Purana. As each Purana was only about 80-100 pages each, it took us only a couple of days to read and understand it. This left us one week to write, edit and complete the review. We spent at least one hour each day, reading the Puranas and then we would write the review on the weekend. This left us with plenty of time for our other hobbies and academics. As both academics and writing are important to us, we try to give ample time to both.

What are you reading now?

We have read a couple of books recently. My sister Anvita, has recently read Draupadi: The Tale of an Empress’ by Saiswaroopa Iyer and the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. I read the Magisterium series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare and am currently reading ‘The Vedas and Upanishads (For Children)’ by Roopa Pai.

Which writers have influenced you the most?

The writers who have influenced me are Roopa Pai and Rick Riordan. Roopa Pai has the knack of making her stories simple and entertaining. She also interacts with her readers which makes you want to read more. Rick Riordan writes fascinating books that are packed with action. His ideas are simple yet he spins these into bestsellers. For example, using Greek myths to create such an amazing series was something very original and also helps you learn about the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians and the Norse gods. I am really inspired by his creativity.

My sister likes the writings of Saiswaroopa Iyer and Eoin Colfer. She likes Eoin Colfer’s sense of humor, his originality and his fascination with Irish myths. She likes Saiswaroopa Iyer for many reasons, particularly the author’s choice of protagonists for her books – strong female characters who are both flawed and have their strengths. It taught her how flaws could be corrected and turned into strengths. Apart from this, she also likes Saiswaroopa Iyer’s unique style and the suspense that lasted till the end.

Are you working on any new books?

As of now, we are not really working on anything new, but we might think about new projects in the future.

Was lovely talking to you, Anika and Anvita! All the best for your exams and future projects!

We also spoke to Abhinav Agarwal, their father.

What’s your favorite Purana in the book?

I would say the Bhagavata Purana would be it, but it’s a favorite of many. The other would be the Skanda Purana, which is also the longest Purana, at eighty-one thousand verses, making it longer than even the Mahabharata! I am reading the unabridged translation these days.

What’s your advice for young readers today? Not many of them know about the Puranas.

It is indeed a tragedy of sorts that not only children but many parents also have grown up so disconnected with their literature. My advice for young readers and their parents would be this: make books and reading a part of your lives. Read books, buy books, go to bookstores, shop online or at physical stores, talk about books, discuss books, write about books, write your own book(!), go to old bookstores like Blossom and interact with other book-lovers. Remember the famous lines from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad:

“We are said to be what our deep, driving, desire is. As our desire is, so is our will. As our will, so are our acts. As we act, so we become.”

As a specific example, if you are a young reader, start with Amar Chitra Kathas. There are, literally, hundreds of them! Ask your mother, father, or elder brother/sister, to read them to you. Follow the pictures and words. See which other Amar Chitra Kathas contain stories from the Puranas, and from which Puranas. Hope this helps.

Thanks Abhinav for sharing your thoughts!

March 8, 2019
by Neelima
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That’s the Word for It: Adjudicate

 

The word adjudicate comes from the Latin root ‘judex’, the word for law. This word is part of legalese and is also used in terminology associated with construction, background investigations and emergency response.

Here are some instances in literature where this verb has been used.

“To me, the thing about friendship that makes it so singular is that it’s a relationship that’s central to our identity in that it doesn’t necessarily benefit us in any tangible way. It’s a relationship we don’t have to pursue – if we decide to stop being friends one day, nothing will happen, no one’s there to legislate or adjudicate it. It’s two people who every day choose to keep it going, and in that way it’s very powerful because it’s one you choose to work on, and you choose to without any agreement; it’s an unspoken bond.”
― Hanya Yanagihara

“Men have been adjudicating on what women are, and how they should behave, for millennia through the institutions of social control such as religion, the medical profession, psychoanalysis, the sex industry. Feminists have fought to remove the definition of what a woman is from these masculine institutions and develop their own understandings.”
― Sheila Jeffreys, Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism

 

March 1, 2019
by Neelima
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Interview: Nitheesh Reddy Gaddam

We spoke to the poet Nitheesh Reddy Gaddam.

Nitheesh Reddy Gaddam was born in Mamidipally, Telangana. He currently works as a software engineer in Atlanta, USA. He is popularly known as niteesh_writings on Instagram. His writing style is unique, particularly due to his original technique of writing on pieces of torn paper.  His first book Two Hearts & Two Bodies Part 1 was released on June 25th, 2018 in USA and Jan 15th, 2019 in India. More about the poet here.

 

Tell us about your writing process.

My writing process is simple. I always carry a pen and paper. Every time I feel sad or happy, I put my feelings on a piece of paper and I attach all those papers on my wall.

Two Hearts & Two Bodies Part 1When you started posting your poems on Instagram, did you expect such a positive response?

Since my childhood I have loved storytelling, I always like taking people to another world with my stories. It was in March 2017 that I first posted my writing on Instagram. I didn’t post it to get likes or to impress people. I posted it only to know how to use Instagram. I posted a few of my writings for a few days. My friends and the people around me laughed at my writing but I didn’t care because people are only there to make fun. In November 2017, I wrote a small story Love, Lust and Pain in four parts and that is when people started appreciating my writing. I got many messages from people from India, Nepal and Pakistan. After a few months,  students from NIFT Kannur asked me to write an article about sexual harassment of women in their college. After I wrote the article, people started respecting my writing. A few days later, I wrote a small story about how Indian parents sacrificed their dreams and goals so that their children could have better lives.  That is when people started loving my writing and started respecting me. But there are a few people who always make fun of my grammar. I don’t give up because poetry and stories are not only about great grammar. They are also about feelings, emotions, happiness, sadness, love, pain, life, tears.

                           I turned

                           my tears into letters,

                           my pain into words,

                           and my love into poetry.

Why do you write on torn bits of paper?

My heart is broken into millions of pieces and I’m fixing it by writing on each torn bit of paper. It was in June 2017. I was at a coffee shop. After I drank the coffee I held the coffee cup in my hand for a few minutes. I wrote a poem on it and posted it on Instagram. I felt it was something different and unique. I started going to the coffee shop everyday not for coffee but for the coffee cup. I used to tear the coffee cup into pieces and write on them. It is always better to put your words on a piece of paper than typing it on smartphones or laptops.

You write a lot about broken relationships and dealing with depression. Tell us more about why these topics appeal to you.

I always write about what’s been happening in my life. Human emotions should be real, not fiction. I write about relationships because I don’t want people to make the same mistakes that I had in my life. Because of my stupidity and immaturity, I lost many people in my life. I never had anyone to tell me what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong. Life teaches me everything and I’m still learning. I sometimes write about depression because most educated people think sadness is nothing but depression. But people should understand the difference between depression and sadness. If you want something and you don’t get it you feel sad for a few days and that is called sadness but depression is a disorder that can kill people sometimes.

What do you do when you are not writing poetry?

I play cricket, spend time with my dog, watch movies or travel.

Who is your favorite poet or writer?

Veturi Sundararama Murthy gaaru and Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry gaaru.

Tell us about your next project.

I am working on finishing the script for my upcoming film. I also started writing a fiction novel titled Go Alia Go about the soccer player Alia.

Was great talking to you, Niteesh!

March 1, 2019
by Neelima
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That’s the Word for It- Auscultation

Auscultation, a term introduced by René Laennec, refers to the sounds of your body from the respiratory, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems that doctors listen to via their stethoscope. Listening as a diagnostic tool has been used way back since Ancient Egypt. Look out for heart murmurs, gallops, wheezes, crepitations and crackles and bowel sounds.

Found the word in these instances:

Restlessness, dyspnea, tachypnea, use of accessory muscles of respiration are signs of respiratory distress, which should be reported. Auscultate breath sounds q6h. ― Paul D. Chan MD, Nursing Care Plans: 650 NDA Approved Care Plans

Auscultate the heart for a murmur. ― Merriam-Webster dictionary

February 22, 2019
by Neelima
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That’s the Word for It – Ebullient

An ebullient person is someone who is bubbling with excitement. This adjective originates from the Latin bullire, which means to bubble out. Ebullient also has an archaic meaning which refers to the roiling of a boiling liquid.

Here are some examples of the word found in literature:

“To the Kathakali Man these stories are his children and his childhood. He has grown up within them. They are the house he was raised in, the meadows he played in. They are his windows and his way of seeing. So when he tells a story, he handles it as he would a child of his own. He teases it. He punishes it. He sends it up like a bubble. He wrestles it to the ground and lets it go again. He laughs at it because he loves it. He can fly you across whole worlds in minutes, he can stop for hours to examine a wilting leaf. Or play with a sleeping monkey’s tail. He can turn effortlessly from the carnage of war into the felicity of a woman washing her hair in a mountain stream. From the crafty ebullience of a rakshasa with a new idea into a gossipy Malayali with a scandal to spread. From the sensuousness of a woman with a baby at her breast into the seductive mischief of Krishna’s smile. He can reveal the nugget of sorrow that happiness contains. The hidden fish of shame in a sea of glory.”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

 

“Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst – burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a stinking fortune. And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn’t open my mouth, I didn’t repaint my half of the world. I was ashamed. I was afraid, and I swallowed my shame and my fear. I said to myself: You are mad! What’s the meaning of these waves, these floods, these outbursts? Where is the ebullient, infinite woman who, immersed as she was in her naiveté, kept in the dark about herself, led into self-disdain by the great arm of parental-conjugal phallocentrism, hasn’t been ashamed of her strength?”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa

February 15, 2019
by Neelima
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That’s the Word for It- Onomastic

Onomastics refers to the broad science of naming be it toponomastics (the study of place names) or anthroponomastics (the study of personal names). Onomasticians aid in data mining and study the process of naming of persons and places in myth, literature and film too.

There are names of places that are lived in and not and names for streets, roads and water bodies. Cities are named after kings or politicians, planets are named after mythical characters, and people are named after their parents. Naming conventions differ from country to country- sometimes the family name appears first as in Chinese or the place name appears first as it does in some Keralite names. Naming can be a personal business; in many cultures around the world naming ceremonies exist. Naming can also be a political exercise especially when the names of cities are changed.

I dug around to find how this word has been used and it isn’t used much at all unless you are talking linguistics. Except here in this article which describes Charles Dickens’s prowess when it comes to naming his characters.

“Allow me to introduce Mr Plornishmaroontigoonter. Lord Podsnap, Count Smorltork, and Sir Clupkins Clogwog. Not to mention the dowager Lady Snuphanuph. As for Serjeant Buzfuz, Miss Snevellicci, Mrs. Wrymug, and the Porkenhams… who the dickens are all these people? Why do they have such weird names?

They are the best of names, they are the worst of names, from an age of onomastic wisdom and hypocoristic foolishness, an epoch of… well you get the picture. You may recognize this raggle-taggle cast of minor characters, in all their rich variety, as stemming from the fevered imaginings of one Charles Dickens.”

 

February 8, 2019
by Neelima
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That’s the Word for It – Quid Pro Quo

Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase and is most similar to the phrases ‘give and take’ and ‘tit for tat’. Initially, in the 1500s, the phrase implied substitution such as the substitution of one medicine for the other (the phrase has originally been used in late medieval pharmaceutical compilations). By the late 1600s,  the meaning of the phrase extended itself to personal gain or reciprocity. Today the phrase lends itself to legalese and business exchanges. In his book Think and Grow Rich, Andrew Carnegie has explained that quid pro quo is the law of the marketplace.
The phrase also has its negative connotations. In legalese, quid pro quo is used in reference to sexual harassment when favors are requested in return for a promotion, etc.
Here are some instances of the use of the phrase in literature:

“A pun on the Latin expression quid pro quo, meaning an equal exchange (this for that), and the British word quid, meaning a pound sterling.”

— Ambrose Bierce, The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary

“To use our individual good or bad luck as a litmus test to determine whether or not God exists constructs an illogical dichotomy that reduces our capacity for true compassion. It implies a pious quid pro quo that defies history, reality, ethics, and reason. It fails to acknowledge that the other half of rising–the very half that makes rising necessary–is having first been nailed to the cross.”
― Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

 

 

February 1, 2019
by Neelima
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That’s the Word for It- Ineffable

January 1, 2019
by Neelima
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India Public Domain 2019: Seven Indian authors whose works entered public domain in 2019

Over the years (2012,20132014, 201520162017, 2018)  Pothi.com has compiled a list of Indian authors whose work has entered public domain at the beginning of this year. The criteria for this year’s names is that the author died in the calendar year 1958 and the work was published before his death. In case the work was published after the author’s death, it will only come out of copyright after 60 years from the date of publication.

We have collected the data from various sources including Wikipedia and other online sources, some which we will be linking here. The information provided is not foolproof, so if you notice any errors or are aware of other writers who died in 1958 and whose names have not been mentioned here, please let us know.

When an author enters public domain, it means that most of his works are now free to be republished, translated, and converted to different formats. This way the long-gone author breathes life again and gains new readership. Help us in our quest to conserve our rich literary culture.

Bhamidipati Kameswara Rao (1897-1958)

He was an exponent of Telugu comedy drama, an educationist and genius, also christened ‘Hasya Brahma’. His humorous plays were inspired by French writer Moliere, many of whose plays he adapted into Telugu, and Gurajada Appa Rao’s works, whose use of spoken regional dialect made a mark on him. He also wrote original prahasanas. His works have been compiled in Bhamidipati Kameswararao Rachanalu-Vols.1 and 2.Other works includeThyagaraja Atmavicaram and Bataa khani. According to his biographer Patanjali Sastry, “Though he wrote comedies, he remained an introvert and never smiled even when some one cracked a joke.” informs Patanjali Sastry. Bhamidipati was greatly influenced by Gurajada Appa Rao’s works, especially for its modernity and use of spoken regional dialect.

Sir Jadunath Sarkar CIE (1870 – 1958)

He was a prominent Indian Bengali historian who specialized particularly in the life and times of Aurangazeb. He was also the Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University. He was honored by Britain with a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire CIE and knighted in 1929. Published works by Sarkar include The India of Aurangzib (1901). His five-volume History of Aurangzib was a labour of ove that lasted twenty-five years. It took another twenty-five years to finish his four-volume Fall of the Mughal Empire in 1950. His single-volume works include Chaitanya: His Pilgrimages and Teachings (1913) and Shivaji and His Times (1919).

Mafizuddin Ahmed Hazarika (1870-1958)

He was a prominent poet belonged to the Jonaki era of Assamese Literature. He was popularly known as ‘Jnan Malinir Kobi’ among the people of Assam. He’s been called a ‘symbol of national integration’ and a person with great secular thoughts. Some of his poetic works include Jnan Malini and Totwo Parijaat.

Taraknath Das (1884 –1958)

He was an anti-British Bengali Indian revolutionary and internationalist scholar. He discussed his plans with none less than Tolstoy. He was a professor of political science at Columbia University and a visiting faculty in several other universities. He founded the Indian Independence League. He set out for Japan with the project of a vast study on Japanese Expansion and its significance in World Politics which appeared as a book in 1917 with the title, Is Japan a menace to Asia?

Teja Singh (1894-1958)

He was a writer, translator, Principal and scholar based in Punjab who pioneered the Singh Sabha literary movement.  He learnt Gurmukhi, Urdu and Persian from his local gurdwara and mosque, while grazing livestock and doing household work. After his initiation into the Khalsa fold and his formal education, he became more and more anti-British. He worked at Khalsa college, Amritsar and wrote several essays about Sikhism. Some of his books include Growth of Responsibility in Sikhism (1919), Highroads of Sikh History (1935) and A Short History of the Sikhs (1950). He wrote his autobiography Arsi and compiled  English-Panjabi and Panjabi-English Dictionaries. He was also part of creating an M.A. course in Panjabi, which he taught himself.

Vallathol Narayana Menon (1878 – 1958)

This Keralite writer also called Mahakavi was one of the triumvirate poets of modern Malayalam, along with Kumaran Asan and Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer.  His knowledge of Sanskrit was sound and from a very young age he wrote poems which were published. It was the Mahakavya Chitrayogam based on a story from the Kathasaritsagara  that shot him into the literary foreground. Shortyly after the publication of his eleven volume work commenced. Vallathol wrote on a variety of themes including the injustices that people faced, Christian symbolism, romance, Hindu mythology and his own personal health issues. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan title, India’s third highest civilian award, in 1954.  He founded the Kerala Kalamandalam and revitalised the traditional Keralite dance form known as Kathakali. Many of his books are available at Amazon. Some of them include Abhivadyam, Achanum Makalum, Badhiravilapam, Bandhanasthanaya Anirudhan, Bapuji, Bhaval Sthotramala, Sahitya Manjari – 11 Volumes and many others.

Vidyagauri Nilkanth (1876-1958)

She was one of the first two women graduates of Gujarat and she was an Indian social reformer, educationist, and writer. Along with her husband, she wrote many articles, books and jointly edited a magazine. She was immersed in social causes such as providing adult education and educating women, even widows and dropouts. She founded Lalshanker Umia Shanker Mahila Pathshala, which was later affiliated to SNDT (Karve) University. She was a prolific writer and contributed to women’s magazines such as GunsundariStreebodh, and Sharada. With her sister, she translated R.C. Dutt’s book, The Lake of Palms.

August 10, 2018
by Neelima
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Some Indian Magazines/Portals Where you can Submit Fiction and Non-fiction

There are a few places in India where you could consider submitting your fiction and non-fiction pieces. In this post, we explore a few of them; so get submitting!

hilarious kermit the frog GIF

eFiction India

eFiction India focuses on content that is linked to the Indian subcontinent in some way and publishes international writers as well. It is available online and in print.

Terms: Simultaneous submissions are acceptable but each submission should be sent separately through the submission manager.

Rights: One-month exclusivity for your story as well as first publishing rights for unpublished stories.

Payment: None.

Pros: You can submit not just short stories and poetry but also book reviews, interviews, flash fiction and non-fiction. Full-length plays and screenplays, complete with camera/stage directions, are also accepted.

Submission: http://www.efictionindia.in/submit/

Out of Print Magazine

The Out of Print Magazine is exclusively devoted to short stories and is published online every quarter (March, June, September, December).

Terms: Submitted work must not be published elsewhere. Stories should be between 1000 and 4000 words. Check these guidelines before submitting.

Rights: Copyright remains with the author.

Payment: None.

Pros: A good editorial team featuring many prominent names in the publishing industry.

Submission: Cut and paste the story into the body of an email and send to outofprintmagazine@gmail.com. The subject line should contain the word ‘submission’ only.

MITHILA REVIEW

Mithila Review is an international quarterly journal on the lookout for literary speculative fiction and poetry with emphasis on the marginal.

Terms: Use New Roman with Font Size 12. doc. And docx formats are accepted.

Rights: First world electronic rights (text), and non-exclusive audio and anthology rights for the planned annual anthology.

Payment: They pay for fiction in their upcoming anthology. If/when Patreon funds permit, $10 for original poetry, essays, flash stories (under 2.5K words), and reprints; $50 for original stories between 4-8K words or longer.

Pros: A good opportunity for speculative fiction writers.

Submission:  As part of a fundraising campaign, MITHILA REVIEW is seeking short stories and comics for ‘India 2049: Utopias and Dystopias’ from around the world. Read the guidelines.

MITHILA REVIEW is also open to poetry, fiction, and film and book reviews. Send one story, essay, film or book review or up to three poems in a single document at a time to submissions[@]mithilareview.com.

Response time is 2-8 weeks.

Open Road Review

Open Road Review publishes short fiction, including translations, creative nonfiction, poetry, interviews and artwork. Stories with an element of horror, science fiction or stories for children are not encouraged.

Terms:  Different genres are to be sent to separate emails provided in the guidelines. Any inflammatory content will be rejected.

Rights: Rights revert to the author upon publication. Open Road Review holds the right to include the works published on its website in future anthologies.

Payment: Rs 1000 for selected stories.

Pros: Multiple genres are considered.

Submission: Make sure that you go through the guidelines as depending on the kind of writing you are submitting (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, visual art), you will need to send the attachment and in the body of the email to the respective editor.

Are there any Indian magazines that you would like to recommend here?

 

Disclaimer:  The above-mentioned information should not be treated as recommendations, but only information. The reader should go through the guidelines carefully before submitting.