Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sharing: AN EXCERPT FROM MY NOVEL "MEGHNA"


Meghna is the second novel that I penned. It's an entertaining romance with a "Happily Ever After" ending. The ebook also happens to be a #Bestseller on Amazon around the world. Meghna is also available in paperback in select countries.

I remember publishing this book with a friendly warning to my readers. Here you go...

This book has been written only for the purpose of Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment! If you are looking to learn something or improve your lives after reading this work, then this book is not for you. I am not trying to get into competition with the Author Biggies of this world. I wrote this simply for the fun and joy of it. One thing I can promise the reader though: Well proof-read, perfect language that I feel is very important for every book that's written in any tongue. 


An excerpt from my book:

A tear slowly found its way down her golden face as Meghna stood at the window. She dashed an angry hand against her cheek, only to have another one coming right after the first. The shock of meeting Rahul after so many years had taken its toll.
   Life had never been the same after Rahul kissed her. Meghna unconsciously touched her lips. All these years she had waited for him to contact her. And suddenly he was here, larger than life and, she clenched her fists, teasing her mercilessly. It appeared as if the years in between ceased to exist. The tears flowed faster. 
   Rahul placed a gentle hand on Meghna’s shoulder. “Meghna.” She tried to push his hand away in vain.
   “Meghna, look at me.” Rahul right hand came out to take hold of her chin and turn her head to face him. 
   There was no reply as Meghna kept her gaze down, refusing to meet his teasing brown eyes.
   “It’s lovely. Your choice, I suppose,” said Rahul.
   Her head came up at that and she looked at him as if he had taken leave of his senses.
   “The floor - the pattern’s beautiful.” Rahul explained patiently.
   Meghna glared at him, confused.
   “Where are your wits, my darling? Weren’t you trying to draw my attention to the floor? I’m impressed. It looks great,” his expression was serious. 
   “Rahul,” said Meghna, “You’re impossible, incorrigible and, and—”
   “And?” prompted Rahul, his eyes alight with mischief.
   Meghna just managed to stop herself from saying, ‘adorable’. The devil didn’t need her to feed his already swollen ego.
   “And nothing.”
    “Nothing?” Rahul looked at the self-confident woman in front of him. He thought of the young girl - short and plump with no confidence at all - he had left behind. His lips parted in a slow smile. “Why the tears?” He asked in a sudden change of subject.
   Meghna had been watching the morning sun’s rays playing on Rahul’s handsome face, totally absorbed in the dashing figure he cut. She didn’t hear his question.
   “Meghna,” Rahul’s voice came from near her ear, curious at her wandering attention.
   She raised startled grey eyes to his face that was too close for comfort.
   “What?” 
   “Why the tears?” he repeated.
   “Forget it. It’s nothing important,” said Meghna.
   “How can I? As you mentioned earlier, it’s barely a few hours since—”
   “Please Rahul. I’m perfectly fine.” Meghna answered quickly, worried that he might leave.
   “Would you rather I stayed elsewhere?” continued Rahul, “I don’t want to upset you.”
   “Don’t be silly, Rahul. Sanjay and Bhabhi will be very upset if you stayed elsewhere.” Meghna refused to look above his shoulder.
   “And you?” A dark eyebrow rose up in query. 
   Meghna didn’t reply. She was afraid of saying the wrong thing. He had seemed like the Rahul from her childhood days in the dining room. Now he appeared to be a sophisticated stranger making demands on her that she didn’t even begin to fathom. He was like a new person. She didn’t realise that the change was more in the way she perceived things, then as a teenager and now as a young woman. 
   Rahul snapped his fingers in front of Meghna’s startled face, “Earth calling Meghna,” he said, his face breaking into a wide grin.
   Meghna brought her rambling thoughts under control and looked at him questioningly.
   Rahul sighed extravagantly. “Meghna,” he said, “Do you want me to leave?”
   “Well,” answered Meghna softly, “if you stay elsewhere, how will you find time to bug me?” She tried hard to look sad. But her twinkling eyes gave her away.
   “That’s my Meghna.” Rahul put an arm around her shoulder. Thank God!  For a minute there he thought he was going to be thrown out. 
   Meghna was just the perfect name for her. Her grey eyes reminded him of dark, rain-bearing clouds. The lightning temper in her eyes and the thunder in her expression added to his conviction. Just now the grey eyes were smiling guilelessly up at him.

If you enjoyed reading the excerpt, you can purchase your copy here: Meghna on Amazon #KDP 




Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Blog Tour: JUST ME, THE SINK & THE POT by Sudesna Ghosh

Are you a fan of the #Romance genre? Click here to know more...



JUST ME, THE SINK & THE POT
by
Sudesna Ghosh



Blurb

Meet Pamela, an overweight girl who's looking back at her school days. From longing for a Valentine to dealing with a sibling who hates her, Pamela has a lot to deal with. She even has a special bunch of friends at home who she can turn to - but they aren't the kind of friends you'd expect. Life sucks when you're fat. Can Pamela ever be happy?

Read an excerpt of the book here...

One day a classmate asked me, “Where is your lunch?” I told her that I had already had it and went back to my fake laughter and smiles. The others chatted and laughed while they ate from their tiffin boxes. Some brought samosas or ice cream from outside the gate. My hunger pangs got worse as I saw all the food and smelt the delicious odours around me.

The ice cream cart was run by a sweet old man who knew me since I’d started school. He would ask me some days, “Child, you don’t want your favourite orange stick?” I would say no thank you and smile before running away from him and his cart. One day he seemed to be desperate to make me have an ice cream. “Child! Come here and have an ice cream. You don’t have to pay me,” he called out. I smiled, turned around and went to hide in an empty classroom. Two minutes later, I shrieked; the old man had found me. He was carrying a dripping ice cream for me. I started laughing. Then I started running away from him. The old man started running after me!

My classmates were shocked. The sports teacher was happy to see me run for the first time – I had never run before because fat moves when you run. Everybody would laugh. The lunch break ended with me accepting the mostly melted orange stick from the kind ice cream man. We were too tired to talk about the whole event. But it did make me a bit popular that year, with the school Yearbook including the story and a picture of me running away from a 6 feet tall man holding an ice cream.

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About the author



Sudesna (Sue) Ghosh is a writer based in Kolkata. She was born in the United States and moved to India when she was 9. After completing high school there, she went back to the US for her higher education at the University of Rochester. She has also penned What Would I Tell Her @ 13 and News Now, along with several short stories. When Sudesna isn’t writing, she tries to do her bit for animal welfare.
       

                          

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Blog Tour: THE WRONG TURN by Sanjay Chopra & Namita Roy Ghose

Are you a fan of the #Romance genre? Click here to know more...




THE WRONG TURN:
Love and Betrayal in the Time of Netaji
by
Sanjay Chopra & Namita Roy Ghose



Blurb

1944, Kohima — a small, sleepy town in northeast India. Subhash Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army (INA) along with the Japanese, are on the brink of bringing the Empire to its knees and forcing the British out of India. But, inexplicably, the tables turn. The INA’s advance is thwarted and the victory march to Delhi is halted. Seventy years later, the British admit that the Battle of Kohima was the greatest battle they had ever fought. Even more so than the battles of Waterloo and Dunkirk. Was it then that old Indian curse — betrayal? Someone from within Netaji’s own ranks? Were there forces other than the British, waiting in the shadows closer to home, who stood to gain even more from the INA’s defeat? Or was it just love that irrevocably altered the course of India’s destiny? The Wrong Turn: Love and Betrayal in the Time of Netaji, is a sweeping tale of passion set against the freedom struggle. Debraj, the rakish playboy and scion of a distinguished Calcutta family, and Nishonko, the fiery revolutionary sworn to the cause of the INA, must not only fight their common enemy, but also for the love of Aditi, the rebel with the healing touch. A haunting tale of love, friendship and betrayal of an entire nation, The Wrong Turn veers inexorably towards a poignant redemption.

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About the authors


The Wrong Turn is a story that traverses the cities of Calcutta, Singapore, Rangoon and Kohima caught up in the blaze of the Second World War. It is about the clash of four desperate forces as they come together in Kohima to vie for the brightest jewel in the crown -- India. Victory will come to those who possess not just the coldest steel but even colder hearts.”

SANJAY CHOPRA is an airline pilot and author of two collections of short stories.  Said and Done and Tailspin stories . He believes that his  office forty thousand feet in the sky and his travels provide him with a view that fuels his vivid storytelling that cuts a wide arc through time and space.

His stories have won the Invisible Ink, the Millennium writers and Southport awards in the UK and USA. In the words of his readers, ‘He is a storyteller like those of the old days, yet his stories are as modern as tomorrow.

He lives in Mumbai with his wife Tisca Chopra, an actress and he is currently working on a film script and a web series. 


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This was a story waiting to be told. So much about Netaji was smoke and mirrors, partial views foisted on us by the British and other vested interests. Here was a man who was a personal hero, who was part of the lore of my childhood. And here was a chance to set the narrative straight - through the lens of a very human yet universal story of love.

During a school project on ‘The most memorable day of my life’, NAMITA ROY GHOSE wrote about a Russian girl on the day WW2 ended. She got her first rejection slip from the teacher for making things up. Ever since, Namita has established her storytelling skills through her scriptwriting, screenplays poetry, fiction, legendary advertising campaigns, and as a renowned advertising film director. A Creative Director with HTA, she left after 13 years to start her own film company, White Light, one of India’s top ad film outfits. A social activist, she is the founder of Vanashakti, an NGO that works to protect the environment. Namita has done pro bono work on issues like domestic violence, child welfare, sexual harassment and forest preservation. She is an avid traveller, a photographer, foodie and teacher.

      You can stalk her @ 

                          

   Praise for the book


Vidya Balan "I like historical fiction. This one is just gripping, racing along like a thriller. I am sure people will love it and I wish Namita and Sanjay all the best for the book".

Shekhar Gupta: “Gripping reading. This is one writer duo with story-telling imagination and uncluttered turn of phrase”.

Jug Suraiya: “A sweeping saga of war, love and betrayal, set at a climactic point of India’s fight for freedom”.

Lord Meghnad Desai: “An absorbing and indeed thrilling story of one of the most crucial events in India’s history”.

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Blog Tour: HALF PANTS, FULL PANTS REAL LIFE: TALES FROM SHIMOGA by Anand Suspi




HALF PANTS, FULL PANTS
REAL LIFE TALES FROM SHIMOGA
by
Anand Suspi



Blurb

Half Pants Full Pants is a sort of childhood autobiography set in Shimoga of the 70s and 80s. Given the era and milieu that he grew up in, it carries a flavor similar to that of Malgudi Days. All the characters in the book are real and most of them are still in Shimoga, of course now in their mid-40s. Quite a few are from prominent families and are now active and important members of Shimoga. The book vividly captures the real childhood adventures of this generation of people in Shimoga. It’s a glorious reminiscence as well as a tribute to this wonderful town.

R. Balki says

“After Malgudi Days, I could never imagine that someone could create a childhood classic for adults to regain their innocence even for a few hours. Suspi’s tales would have made R K Narayan smile. Oh! That beautiful Kannadiga gene!”

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About the author


An advertising writer for over 20 years, he started with Mudra, Mumbai in 1995 and subsequently spent a large part of his career in Lowe Lintas working under Balki. He was the Creative Head of Lowe Delhi between 2007 and 2010. Currently, he lives in Gurgaon and is the co-founder of an ad agency called AndAnd Brand Partners.

Half Pants Full Pants is his first book, a sort of childhood autobiography set in Shimoga of the 70s and 80s. Given the era and milieu that he grew up in, it carries a flavor similar to that of Malgudi Days. The notable difference would be that every story is real and the characters are all in their mid-40s now, often reminiscing about the gloriousness of their growing up years.

Featured in New Indian Express


The Hindu


Times of India


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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sharing: A DAUGHTER'S RESPONSE TO HER MOTHER

                                  28th May, Global Menstrual Hygiene Day 


It all began a year ago, on May 28, 2016, when I posted this article on Menstruation awareness, from my own life experiences. Click here to read the article...

And what you see below is my daughter Vinitha's response to what I had written:
                                        
Thank you Ma for not being silent 
Thank you Ma for making it your mission to speak to me when I was 10
Thank you Ma for not making me feel that it was ‘dirty’
Thank you Ma for protecting me from the religious dogma around menstruation 
Thank you Ma for telling me about menstruation through the birds and bees story that made it all the more interesting   
Thank you Ma for inspiring me to talk to my girlfriends, normalizing menstruation for them  
Thank you Ma for making ‘getting your chums’ something to look forward to 
Thank you Ma for being you 

I wish every girl had a mother like you!

With 54% girls saying that mothers are the main source of information regarding menstruation and over 50% of girls unaware prior to menstruating, it is imperative to throw light on the time, content and delivery of information.

Yes, it is significant for girls to KNOW about menstruation before they get it 
It is imperative that the information is ACCURATE and girls know how to MANAGE it  
It is equally vital that every girl is made to FEEL GOOD about getting her chums  

While I believe in every girl’s right to information about menstruation – that she must be empowered with knowledge and ‘right emotion’ towards it, let’s take a moment to look at the controversial perspective. Sometimes I wonder, why so much hue and cry around something so natural, a biological phenomenon that 100% of women are faced with (there is no probability there), an occurrence that is part of every girl's growing up. Hence the questions - What is so special? Why so much discussion? Are we not sensationalizing the issue? Is it really needed?  It is arguable that if women have faced it for generations, why the emphasis now? 

Here is the answer:

With 70% of mothers thinking that menstruation is dirty, we have a whole lot of work to do. It is time to talk, initiate a dialogue and have a conversation. 

Normalizing menstruation, breaking the taboo and getting people to talk is half the battle won. Because when women (or even men for that matter) start talking and break away from the concepts of impurity and shame associated with the topic, it opens up a world of information before them, information that they will be ready to listen to, accept and comprehend. It opens up possibilities like never before.  While there is enough controversy around the topic – it doesn’t take away from the fact that the menstrual health and management value chain is key: 

Awareness: Girls must be aware before their time, and feel right about it 
Access: Girls and their mothers must have access to sanitary pads or other bio degradable products - it should be available, affordable, they should know where to get it 
Use: Knowledge on how to use pads / alternate products and maintenance of hygiene is key 
Waste Management: With huge environmental implications, awareness on disposal is imperative 

Let us rise together for better menstrual health and hygiene management. 

Globally, 28th May is observed as Menstrual Hygiene Day to call attention to and normalize menstruation.                                                                                                 


Let’s demystify! Let’s talk!  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Book Review: THE INDUS CHALLENGE by R. Durgadoss


My Review:

The first thing that attracted my attention towards the book is the gorgeous cover. It made me want to read the blurb and I was hooked.

The story is a weave of history, mythology and fiction and has obviously been extremely well-researched. It brings forth the history from both Indian as well as Greek point of view during Alexander’s invasion.

I have read quite a few books where Chanakya plays a pivotal role. The Indus Challenge brings forth yet another angle to the kingmaker.

Rudra is a fascinating character and I am already curious to know about the story of his next janam (birth).

When I read the book, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the command that the author wields over the English language.

I don’t want to say more about the story to avoid spoilers.


VERDICT: A must read if you are a fan of this genre.



The Blurb:

Bharat is in chaos. While the kingdoms fight each other, Alexander’s forces gather for the assault, their leader lured by tales of supernatural weapons and the elixir of immortality. Only one man can save the subcontinent from domination by the Greeks: the young Chandragupta Maurya, trained under the aegis of the ‘dark brahmin’, Chanakya.

When an ancient seal is found, sharing the secrets of the brahmastra, the redoubtable weapon of the Mahabharat, it is up to Rudra, young commander of the Mauryan Nava Yuva Sena and lifelong friend and confidante of Chandragupta, to decode it. Along with his fellow commandos, and with the able guidance of his guru, Rudra embarks on a quest that takes him from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the seas of Rameshwaram, hunting the clues that will lead him to the brahmastra. On the way, he meets the Chiranjivis, ancient beings tasked with divine duties, and learns the secrets behind his own birth and his mysterious powers.

But Rudra must be careful, for not all enemies were dispersed with the death of the mighty Alexander. Treachery lurks in the home, and when Rudra is framed for the attempted murder of his sovereign, he must pull every trick at his disposal to reveal the enemy, and save his kingdom from plunging, once more, into bloodshed and chaos.

A historical, mythological adventure story, The Indus Challenge is sure to appeal to readers interested in the storied past of India and the legends woven into its soil.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Blog Tour: THE INDUS CHALLENGE by R. Durgadoss



THE INDUS CHALLENGE
by
R. Durgadoss




Blurb

Bharat is in chaos. While the kingdoms fight each other, Alexander’s forces gather for the assault, their leader lured by tales of supernatural weapons and the elixir of immortality. Only one man can save the subcontinent from domination by the Greeks: the young Chandragupta Maurya, trained under the aegis of the ‘dark brahmin’, Chanakya.

When an ancient seal is found, sharing the secrets of the brahmastra, the redoubtable weapon of the Mahabharat, it is up to Rudra, young commander of the Mauryan Nava Yuva Sena and lifelong friend and confidante of Chandragupta, to decode it. Along with his fellow commandos, and with the able guidance of his guru, Rudra embarks on a quest that takes him from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the seas of Rameshwaram, hunting the clues that will lead him to the brahmastra. On the way, he meets the Chiranjivis, ancient beings tasked with divine duties, and learns the secrets behind his own birth and his mysterious powers.

But Rudra must be careful, for not all enemies were dispersed with the death of the mighty Alexander. Treachery lurks in the home, and when Rudra is framed for the attempted murder of his sovereign, he must pull every trick at his disposal to reveal the enemy, and save his kingdom from plunging, once more, into bloodshed and chaos.

A historical, mythological adventure story, The Indus Challenge is sure to appeal to readers interested in the storied past of India and the legends woven into its soil.



Read an excerpt of The Indus Challenge here:

Prologue
330 bc
The Macedonians and Greeks came with Alexander the Great to the Hindu Kush range. They were mesmerized by the land of the gods, snow-covered, forested mountains higher than Olympus. The sun rising and setting among the glistening peaks painted a breathtaking picture. They were entranced by the stories of the magical kingdoms of the air; of the heavens; of Vishnu and Shiva; of cities in the sky inhabited by sky demons. They were fascinated by the story of Surya, the sun god, who galloped across the sky each day in his golden chariot, pulled by the five horses, while down below in the dark bowels of the earth were giant serpents, red-eyed, flesh-eating demons and other creatures of the underworld.
It was at this time that the people of Bharat were looking inwards, while the Macedonians aggressively explored outwards and wanted to conquer the world. The kingdoms of Bharat were threatened by the aggressive Macedonians. No king or kingdom was free from the aggressor’s attack. Fragmented kingdoms, disunity and distrust among the rulers made these kingdoms an easy target for the Macedonians.
During this period, several events are shrouded in mystery—what brought Alexander to India? How did he die at such a young age? What were the origins of Chandragupta Maurya? How did a young lad of humble origins take on a mighty king? How did a poor Brahmin pundit help a poor young man rise to power from nowhere? What extraordinary powers did Chandragupta possess that made him so successful? Who were his key generals? Who won wars for him? The questions are endless.
There are several seemingly unconnected dots, as the history of this time is shrouded in deep mystery. Rudra effortlessly unlocks the ancient secrets and aligns the unconnected dots. Mystery unravelled; secrets decoded…
In the second avatar (Janam Two) as Rudra during the tumultuous times of Alexander and Chanakya, he offers stunning clues and revelations. His decrypting skills leave a trail that answers several mysteries in our rich history.
At last, Rudra, heading the Nine Unknown Men Army (NUM), has arrived to decode the secrets to save humanity from cataclysm and extinction.
1
Parthiva year, 306 bc, Kartika (November) month, Friday evening.
The Massaga fort in the Hindu Kush had surrendered to Rudra, the commander-in-chief of the Mauryan army. He was taking stock of the situation. At this hour, a cry hit his ears. ‘Meri raksha karo! (Please save me from the barbarians!’) A woman’s shrieking voice reverberated against the mountains.
‘Why does this lady cry so?’ asked Rudra, looking curiously at his companion. He turned in the direction from where the voice was coming. To his surprise, he saw two cages in which two persons stood, chained. There was a young woman around twenty-two years old, and in the other cage was a bright young lad.
Rudra looked at the cage closely. The woman was gorgeous, seductive, shapely. Her hair was kohl-black, and cascaded over her shoulders. She had thin eyebrows, velvety eyelashes, sea-nymph ears, a sharp nose, shiny white teeth, almond-shaped eyes and glossy skin.
She was wasp-waisted, and her pouting, luscious lips conveyed her displeasure. Her hips and bust were almost of equal size. Her perfect shape reminded him of many icons of beauty he had seen. Her fleshy rounded back attracted his attention.
Rudra realized that he was going overboard ogling at the young women. But in spite of her beautiful features, she seemed to be a fading flower, possibly due to her weakness and exhaustion.
He turned his head towards the surrendered commander of the opposing army, Dharma Sena.
‘Dharma Sena, who are these caged persons?’ asked Rudra.
‘Forget these idiots, Commander. Let me take you round the fort.’ Dharma Sena said, ‘This is Massaga, the great fort city of the Asvakas, the tribe of horsemen. To the south and west are gigantic rocks which defy climbing. To the east is the swift-flowing mountain torrent, the Masakavati river. This famous fort is situated on a hill 6,000 feet high and has a circumference of twelve miles. At the top of the fort, there is arable land requiring a thousand men to cultivate it. This land is capable of feeding more than 30,000 men indefinitely. There are also perennial springs and reservoirs. Every hill here is a natural fort, Commander. Every man here is a horse soldier, Commander. A mighty rampart of stone, brick and timber surrounds the fort, which also has a moat on three sides and the river on the fourth.
‘Commander, “Masika” means “serpent’s hole”, a name indicating the supposed impregnability of the fort and the valour of its defender.’
‘I realize how impregnable your fort is, Dharma Sena. I had to use my best skills to tame you and your fort. By the way, I am impressed by the seven gates leading to the citadel. Can you give me an overview of your fort, Dharma Sena?’
‘You have sharp eyes, Commander. You noticed our seven gates? I am impressed. Let me show you around.’



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About the author


A consistent Top Rank holder and a Gold Medallist throughout his academics, Mr. Durgadoss has had a career spanning 30 years comprising of depth from industry and width from management consultancy as highlights. He has held various senior management positions in top notch companies. Having travelled extensively on consulting assignments, he has interacted with prominent International Bodies like the UNIDO, Investment Bankers and companies held by Professors of Harvard Business School. He has a rare exposure to multiple cultures namely, MNCs, Home grown large groups, family concerns and public sector undertakings during his career. He is blessed with 360 degree analytical skills, which in turn emanates from his all round experience as a Functional head, General manager, Entrepreneur and a Board director. He is an advisor on the board of Directors of several companies benefiting the organizations with his remarkable cross functional skills and his up to date knowledge. Currently he is the Group Director – Finance and Strategy, House of S.T.Bhatia, United Arab Emirates (UAE). In addition he is the chief mentor, coach and Co – Promoter of Icon Management Services (IMS), UAE. Unceasing ‘Value Addition’ and not just ‘Validation’ is the mantra of success for IMS, a multi – disciplinary management consultancy organisation. He has multi-sectoral / cultural/ territorial/ functional exposure with proven track record of success. He is a PhD on Corporate Governance which involves CSR dimensions. He has delivered several lectures in various forums on Character, Competence and Consciousness (3Cs) towards the society and also has several articles to his credit.

Track travelled...

Raising the altitude from a functional entrant to a functional champion, extending his width as a management consultant of a Big 4 firm, he took up the profit centre head position, with a challenging revival assignment in the mid nineties.

Then he moved up to the entrepreneurial mode by taking up the role of a Managing Director of a new venture. Due to several macro economic factors, the venture went into deep trouble. He faced the worst disaster of his life on this venture, losing money, peace and friends, who invested along with him. From the brink of bankruptcy, he fought back to reach the basin of wisdom & wealth in the current assignment as the Director of a large group based in Dubai. The turbulence he went through during this phase tested his character & confidence. Now, along with Dr. Yerram Raju, his co-author, he has penned down this book on Character driven Competence, which elucidates practical ways of ‘Winning without Sinning’. He always says ‘Momentum leaders don’t wait for the waves; instead they build their waves and ride on them’.

After having fought the greatest wars in the deep chambers of his soul, he came triumphant, obtained his PHD in Corporate Governance and now presents the book with the worldly wisdom, gained by him during his career. 

‘Experience is the greatest from of Education’ says Dr. Durgadoss.


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