Monthly Archives: July 2013

The #TSBC A to Z Challenge: Shinjini’s List

We asked our #TSBC participants to come up with a list of books: one book for each letter of the English Alphabet. This A to Z Challenge led to a flurry of mails, DMs on Twitter and finally lists from a few of our participants. We present to you the second of the A to Z List of Books. This one’s from Shinjini.

Shinjini is a writer and editor by profession. She loves reading, photography and travel. You can find her on Modern Gypsy (, where she showcases her love for the written word through book reviews, opinion pieces, travelogues and other randomness.

A Serpentine Affair Tina Seskis
Buck MK Asante
Curfewed Nights Basharat Perr
Da Vinci Code Dan Brown
Eat Pray Love Elizabeth Gilbert
Feast of Roses Indu Suderasan
Gone with the Wind Margret Mitchelle
Harry Potter series JK Rowling
Immortality Milan Kundera
Journal of a Solitude May Sarton
Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
Late for Tea at the Deer Palace Tamara Chalabi
Midnight’s Children Salman Rushdie
Night Circus Erin Morgenstein
One Step too Far Tina Seskis
Purple Hibiscus Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi
QB VII Leon Uris
Rage Wilbur Smith
Seven Years in Tibet Heinrich Harrer
The Wildings  Nilanjana Roy
Under The Tuscan Sun Frances Mayes
Veronica Decides to Die Paulo Coelho
What I loved Siri Hustvedt
X-Men Marvel Comics
You Believers Jane Bradley
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald Therese Anne Fowler

Thank you, Shinjini !


The #TSBC A to Z Challenge: Harshal’s List

We asked our #TSBC participants to come up with a list of books: one book for each letter of the English Alphabet. This A to Z Challenge led to a flurry of mails, DMs on Twitter and finally lists from a few of our participants. We present to you the first of the A to Z list of Books from Harshal.

Harshal is a self-confessed book nerd who has no specific reading interests — as long as there is ink on paper, he’ll be happy to read. Gleaning a gem of trivia from a mine of books is what gives him pleasure on a normal day.

Amul’s India: Based on 50 years of Amul advertising DY Works
Buy Jupiter & Other Stories Isaac Asimov
Contact Carl Sagan
Does He know a mother’s heart? Arun Shourie
English, August: An Indian Story Upamanyu Chatterjee
Forty Sufi Comics Mohammed Ali Vakil & Mohammed Arif Vakil
Goldfinger Ian Fleming
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban JK Rowling
It’s Not About The Bike Lance Armstrong
Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata Devdutt Pattanaik
Kim Rudyard Kipling
Late Night Discussions on the Theory of Constraints Eliyahu M Goldratt
Man-Eaters of Kumaon Jim Corbett
Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less Jeffrey Archer
Ogilvy on Advertising David Ogilvy
Pale Blue Dot Carl Sagan
Queen Sheba’s Ring Sir Henry Rider Haggard
Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe
Special 26 Gabriel Khan
To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee
Ulysses James Joyce
Veronika Decides To Die Paulo Coelho
While the Light Lasts Agatha Christie
Xenocide Orson Scott Card
Youth Leo Tolstoy
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Robert M Pirsig

Thank you, Harshal.

So last week I went on the Harry Potter Studio Tour

Watford seems a somewhat unlikely place for wizards and witches to assemble, but this small town, just an hour’s journey north west of central London, is where the fans Gryffindor, Ron, Hermione and Harry flock to cast spells amongst the cauldrons, broomsticks and classrooms of a little known school called Hogwarts … and find out how their favourite school they never went to was filmed amongst various other sets as a part of the famous Harry Potter series.

The Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour is a Potter fans dream day out. Housing not only sets used in the films, but props, models, artwork and a few little secrets that made the special effects that much more believable, this tour is not to be missed if you want the scoop on how your favourite wizard based book series made it to the big screen.

Harry Potter Studio Tour

The tour starts as soon as you enter the lobby.  Hanging high above your head are a series of huge posters showing how some of the film cast developed with age over the shooting of the seven films. Once you have you ticket(s) in hand you’ll have to wait in a small queue which allows for you to receive a small health and safety talk.  Once you are healthy and safe you move into a cinema room where Harry, Ron and Hermione (their real names are ** at this point) greet you and give you a very high level overview of what it was like working on the different films over the course of almost 10 years.  Once the short screening has come to an end, a little bit of magic will take place right before your eyes and you’ll soon be moving into the Hogwarts Grand Hall.

Continue reading So last week I went on the Harry Potter Studio Tour

A cup of tea

A Cup of Tea is a short story by Katherine Mansfield. First published in 1992, it remains one of Mansfield’s best known stories. The plot is fairly simple:

It is a cold and wet day in London. After a visit to the shops, Rosemary Fell is about to get into her chauffeur-driven car, when she is approached by a penniless young girl, Miss Smith, for money that would buy her a cup of tea. Rosemary is intrigued as she cannot believe that a person cannot have money to buy a cup of tea.

‘… It’s a cup of tea I want, madam.’ And she burst into tears.

Inspired to do more — she persuades the young Ms. Smith to come home with her  — she visualises transforming the poor girl’s life, and becoming the talk of the high society she moves in. When she reaches home, Philip, Rosemary’s husband, is surprised to see Ms. Smith and also hear about Rosemary’s plans for the girl’s future. He leaves  Rosemary and Ms. Smith, but not before mentioning to Rosemary that the girl was 

‘…so astonishingly pretty.’

Sometime later, Rosemary goes and tells Philip that Ms. Smith has insisted on leaving, and that she had no choice but to let her go but only after she accepted a little ‘present of money’. Rosemary then asks:

‘Philip,’ she whispered, and she pressed his head against her bosom, ‘am I pretty?’

I was about 13 years old when I read A Cup of Tea and it had quite an impact on me. I had not tasted tea till then and the Miss Smith’s desperation for a cup of tea was something that mystified and intrigued me.  I also understood feminine insecurity for the first time, as I did shallowness of the human nature. The anonymity of the poor shook me — what sort of a name was Ms. Smith? I even wrote a rather impassioned critique of the story and shared it with some of my classmates, who thought I was making too much of a chapter in my English textbook ! After all it was just a story !

But what a story it was !

A Cup of Tea was the beginning of a lifelong love for the genre of short stories. Over the years, I have read short stories from all over the world as translations, or in the original English or Hindi, discovered writers and explored whole new worlds with them. From O’Henry, Saki, Premchand, Oscar Wilde, Gitanjali Shree, Jhumpa Lahiri, Masti Venkatesh Iyengar, Rabindranath Tagore, Ramanujam, Ismat Chugtai, Manto, Kalpana Swaminathan, Edith Perlman … it is a love that has been sustained and nurtured and there are still so many writers and short stories to discover and read 🙂

For me a short story is a cup of tea and a cup of tea, a short story; they are synonymous with each other. Each cup of tea or a short story retains within it a complexity and freshness that is invigorating. This Sunday, on #TSBC, we discuss short stories and I am very excited about the event. I looking forward to connecting with those participants who love this genre and get recommendations on short stories to read and writers to follow. And for a change, instead of my regular cup of coffee, I’m going to participate in the event with a freshly brewed cup of tea. Rose tea, my favourite 🙂



@sudhagee is one of the founders of #TSBC. She is an editor and communications professional and also blogs on travel, books, music, Mumbai and sometimes, social issues.