“It’s certainly a notch above most contemporary desi thrillers, polished and ringing in an assured voice. Pal’s efficient mystery taps into the horror of foeticide, adds a sharp vigilante angle to it, lit by piercing feminist rage.”  ~ Neha Bhatt, Scroll

“The novel pulses with feminine rage that those at the tilted end of the gender imbalance in India will recognise as their own. … Pal explores these grimy depths with a surgeon’s precision and a television anchor’s hyper-realism… .” ~ Paromita Chakrabarti, Indian Express

“Is Nandita Rai a monster or is she a saviour? Is Reshma Gabuji, the droll detective who is more comfortable analysing spreadsheets than interviewing suspects, correct in her intuition? We know soon enough but the simmering anger she uncovers is a joy to behold – there is nothing more magnificent than the well-earned wrath of a few good women. ” ~ Kaveree Bamzai, Daily O

“Deepanjana Pal’s Hush a Bye Baby is a remarkable debut novel that stands in stark contrast to the recent crop of Indian crime fiction.” ~ Divya Dubey, India Today

“The frequent riffs on feminine rage give heft to the narrative. From the way the story ends, we could await a sequel of sorts.” ~ Sheila Kumar, The Hindu

“A refreshing read that deals with various social issues like abortions, women’s safety, feminism, in one compact form, not getting too much into the pedantic, even moral dilemmas are given a superfast treatment.” ~ Anushree, Women’s Web

Hush A Bye Baby was also featured in Mint LoungeMid-DayPune MirrorThe Asian Age and The Reader.

A Book for Puchku is a little book about a big problem. Puchku is a bookworm and she needs a new book because she’s finished the ones she had at hand. Two things make this book special. First, the illustrations by Rajiv Eipe, who created this adorable, purple pudding of a munchkin. Every page is a delight, filled with cuteness and quirk. Second, Pratham Books’ StoryWeaver project is a freely accessible library of amazing stories for kids, in a dazzling array of Indian languages. It’s also a repository of some of the finest illustrations you’ll see and some incredible stories and it is all sorts of awesome that A Book for Puchku belongs to this library.  

A Book for Puchku is available on StoryWeaver

Puchku is back, and she’s as purple and adorable as ever. Not just that, her two friends, Boltu and Dodla, are back too. Together they’re the Brilliant Plans Department by Boltu, Puchku and Dodla (a.k.a. BPD²), and BPD² has a new project: To find a song for a lost baby bird. With illustrations by the ever-brilliant Rajiv Eipe, Puchku Seeks A Song is a story about friendship and empathy. Fair warning: Contains the word “pterodactyl”.

You can read Puchku Seeks A Song on Storyweaver.

He wasn’t really a Raja (king), even though his grand daughter would become the Maharani (queen) of the state of Travancore which is in modern-day Kerala. Ravi Varma was born into an aristocratic family in Kilimanoor, a speck of a village that is a few hours away from Thiruvananthapuram. In a time when art was considered a lowly profession, Ravi Varma resolutely decided he was going to be a painter and that he’d give the art a respectability.

By the end of his life, Ravi Varma had — in an era of steam engines and carts — travelled from the southern tip of Travancore to Lahore and further up north. He’d hobnobbed with royalty (which may be one reason why the British assumed he was a Raja) and established himself as the most highly-paid artist in the country. Decades before anyone had grasped the concept of pop art, Ravi Varma realised that art needed to be accessible and not locked away in private palaces. So he set up a printing press that would be his financial ruin, but which we can thank for creating the genre of kitschy calendar art that remains wildly popular even today.  

Set in a subcontinent that was slowly and proudly developing a sense of a united Indian identity, Ravi Varma’s life as a painter reflects a country discovering itself and modernity.


The Painter: A Life of Ravi Varma was published in 2009. It was listed among the best non-fiction books of the year by Business Standard. If you’d like to glimpse some reader reviews, take a look at its Goodreads page

Although it is technically out of print, The Painter can be spotted occasionally in second-hand book stalls. There is a Kindle version available here