Chirdeep Malhotra . Updated: 2/18/2020 10:34:43 AM Books and Authors

By Chirdeep Malhotra

The first edition of YAYAVAR- Jammu Literary Festival was held in December 2019. A lot of books graced the literary shelves in this celebration of Literature. In case you missed this, want to know about some interesting reads, or are confused about which book to pick up next, the following is an eclectic list of books from diverse genres which were featured in Yayavar. The list includes books by debutant authors, and those by literary doyens and doyennes. Many authors have many books to their credit, and we have included one book by each author. Pick up any book that interests you and immerse yourself in reading pleasure. Happy Reading!


1) “Red Maize” by Danesh Rana is set in the hamlet of Morha Madana in Doda district of Jammu, and delves into the militancy onslaught faced by the region as gun-toting militants of the Tanzeem swarm this hamlet. The book follows Kausar Jan, who is caught in the crossfire between the militants and the army when Shakeel, second of her three sons, becomes Morha Madana's first mujahid and the Tanzeem's dreaded area commander. While in the Indian Army camp in the village, Major Rathore decides that Shakeel's decimation is his ticket back to a peace station. The book blurb reads- ‘This book is a searing chronicle of the relentless siege of Kashmir, of the human cost of war, and of a way of life, forever lost.’

2) “Lights! Scalpel! Romance!” by Dr. Jas Kohli is a book which invites readers to become a part of the fun side of hospital life, where a surgeon’s routine is akin to driving in a Formula One race every day. The book follows Nipun, the eternal prankster and Nishtha, the strong-headed beauty, who join the MS (surgery) course. Freaky situations and spicy incidents become the norm when their worlds collide. Readers will be hooked to this book and will be eager to know if Fiasco King Nipun will attain his two degrees—MS in surgery and pass certificate in romance.

3) “Yakshini” by Neil D’Silva is the story of a girl named Meenakshi growing up in a male-dominated rural society and facing the brunt of it. However, Meenakshi has a secret—there is the spirit of a Yakshini inside her. With its fantastic creatures and unforgettable characters, the book highlights the tussle between the supernatural and the human, sure to enchant all readers.

4) “Shakuntala” by Utkarsh Patel is a unique retelling of the story of Shakuntala that portrays the heroine in a very different way from the popular story. It brings to the fore the original heroine, the bold and beautiful daughter of Menaka and Vishwamitra who fights to get herself and her son the recognition they deserve. This book is a compelling page turner that will keep the reader hooked.

5) “The Temple Stop” by Harinder Cheema is a story of all those soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in the service of the nation. The book starts with a poem and ends with a poem and throughout the story, strong emotional scenes have been expressed through poetic verses.

6) “Walking with my Soul” by Jasbeer Singh is a book of stories and poems full of inspiration. The book blurb describes the book as “the story of dreams and emotions”, and the stories follow Sehaj and how he is able to overcome from his fears and stress. It is the story of achieving dreams by sheer willpower and a holistic blending of hard work and emotional intelligence. Every chapter in this book is loaded with motivation which is helpful in comprehending and navigating challenges and struggles that life throws our way.


1) “The Story of Kashmir” by David Devadas published in 2019 expands and updates “In Search of a Future, the Story of Kashmir”, published in 2007 by him. The subtitle of the book ‘Geopolitics, Politics, Society, Culture and Changing Aspirations’ is very apt, as it not only illuminates the socio-economic, geopolitical and ideological causes of violence from 1931 to 2016, but also aspects of Kashmiri reality that are rarely discussed like the impact of land reforms and the apple trade, religion-based political mobilization in both Pakistan and India, and Kashmiri caste consciousness. The book presents a blow by blow account of the intrigues, wars and transformative societal changes of the past century in Kashmir, and traces the patterns that unite recent times with Kashmir’s tumultuous history. In particular, it draws out the common patterns of Kashmir’s uprisings in 1931, 1990, 2010 and 2016.

2) “What Happened To Netaji?” by Anuj Dhar is regarding the controversy surrounding the fate of Subhas Chandra Bose and lights the factual position with regard to the air crash that reportedly killed Netaji in 1945. What really happened to Netaji? Who was Gumnami Baba of Faizabad and if indeed he was Netaji, why did he not surface? The book delves into many such questions about Netaji.

3) “K File: The Conspiracy of Silence” by Bashir Assad is an insider’s account of Kashmir. In the book, Bashir Assad argues that there is never going to be a resolution of conflict in Kashmir and return to peace unless all stakeholders get together and negotiate peace. With the ideology of holy jihad gaining force and the political problem changing to a religious matter, this all needs to be understood and strategically challenged, the activist-journalist says in this book.


1) “NUMI: The Guarded Loop” by Nupur Sandhu, who is the Festival Director of Yayavar- Jammu Literary Festival, is a book in the genre of realistic fiction and Self-Help. It takes us through the mystic, beautiful and intriguing journey of Nuha, a sensitive young girl who continues to look for the oasis, searching within her soulful realms for vistas unknown. In the story, her trysts with the mystical lead her to making soul-stirring revelations and she morphs from a jovial youngster to an enlightened soul, having inculcated the art of being in sync with the supreme Creator.

2) “Mind, Life and Reflections” by Payal Jain, is a book on self-discovery which explores the lessons penetrating the emotions we feel, through the perceptions of our mind about the experiences of life and how the same reflect on us shadowing or revealing our true self giving meaning to our existence.

3) “The Veil” by Minal Arora is a collection of beautiful soul stirring stories that are inspired by the past lives revealed by Minal’s clients in their past life regression sessions. Exploring themes revolving around love, soulmate relationships, war, loss, reunion, spirituality, mythology and parenting, the book also features some very ethereal and soulful poetry by Kirti Dixit Narang.

4) “Nirvana in a Corporate Suit” by Runjhun Noopur is a wild and hilarious book that looks beyond the solemnity of self-help and offers a take on principles of happiness that is as unique as it is life-changing. If you feel trapped in a daily rut, or if you simply seek a fulfilling life, Nirvana may just be the answer you were always looking for. But only if you dare to join this crazy ride, as the book blurb says.


1) “The Deadly Dozen: India's Most Notorious Serial Killers” by Anirban Bhattacharyya, who is the co-creator and producer of Savdhaan India, includes bone-chilling stories and true accounts which will take you into the hearts and heads of India's most devious murderers and schemers, exploring what made them kill and why? If you thought serial killers were a Western phenomenon, this book will make you think again!

2) “Hold That Breath” by Abhirup Dhar is a treat for fans of the horror genre, and has been described as ‘a book with wonderfully creepy stories with an international flavour’. Dig into this book for a fun, simple, relaxing and a little spooky read!

3) “Rings of Life” by Dr. Kanwalpreet is a collection of thirteen fictional short stories which are crisp. The protagonists are people who normally go about life but one is drawn towards them, and they breathe life into the stories. Each story starts with a small quote, setting the tone. The number of stories are thirteen, as the number is dear to the first guru of the Sikhs—Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

4) “Incidentals: Tales from a town called Koodala!” by Vinayak Pattar is set in a fictitious village called Koodala. The book cover is reminiscent of ‘Malgudi Days’. The book has 17 short stories that touch your chords of nostalgia, love, relationship, humour, childhood, adventure, culture, and superstitions.


1) “Silent Sun” by Ayushman Jamwal is a poetry collection which is a celebration of the silent sun in all of us, the countless voiceless tales beckoned to the universe, and the spirit that elevates us above our primordial origins. The author says in the book blurb ‘We walk this Earth forging and re-forging ourselves. Just like the sun, we do beautiful and unfortunate things in that constant struggle to be a little more than nothing. It is what makes us human’. Pick up this book for absorption into mellifluous poetry. Or as the book blurb says, in this book, find your fire between the lines.

2) “Petals of Reminiscence” by Pankhuri Aggarwal is a poetic voyage, which takes you through all the shades of life encapsulating love, companionship, bliss, triumph to anxiety, distress, heartache, death, loss, rejection, and redemption. So, pour yourself some coffee and curl up with this book to let yourself feel something striking and exquisite.

3) “Her Random Thoughts” by Jagriti Roy is a poetry book focused on the emotional ups and downs of a very girl who is pensive from inside though jovial and naive from outside. She is an introvert but with the help of her pen, she can say it all- her thoughts, emotions, sadness, love, happiness and memories.

4) “Chup Ka Geet” by Jaspreet Kaur Falak is a Hindi poetry book. The author, through the poetry wants to embrace the whole world in its arms, and the reader will enjoy reading this soulful poetry.

5) “The Other Side” by Eisha Gohil contains poems which are the reflection of those emotions which remain latent from the world outside because of the fear of being judged, which pervades every mind in today's society.


1) “The Scrutiny” by Ashish Kumbhare is an investigation of the proofs of God’s existence in both science and religion. For centuries now, scientists have been trying to find a science surrounding religion. But in this book, we will find the science that is coded within religion. If you pick up this book, buckle up, as you are in for one crazy ride.

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