Category Archives: Books

Book Launch – JOY, AWE AND TEARS

Dear Friends,

Please find below information on my “In Conversation” with the innovative classical and contemporary dancer, Uttara Asha Coorlawala.  The event, part of the NCPA Mumbai Dance Season, has been choreographed by Gauri Sharma Tripathi, noted Kathak dancer, around my book, “Joy, Awe and Tears”, which relates my forty-year experiences of artists’ management in Europe.  I am so grateful to both artists for their time and commitment to me and my book.

The event will take place on Saturday 4th February from 3 to 4.30 pm at ANKH Cube in Deonar (a thirty-five-minute run on the Eastern Expressway from Regal Cinema in south Mumbai).

We so look forward to welcoming you amidst us.  Please do forward this mail to your Mumbai contacts.

With my thanks and warm wishes – Shireen Isal

The event will cover my very personal experiences in managing Indian artists in Europe, from the giants of Indian music to young and upcoming musicians and dancers, the joy, awe and tears, as the title so aptly suggests.  I will also discuss the situation of the Indian classical performing arts – it’s scope, audiences and organisers’ reactions – on the ground in Europe.  Lastly, but not least, I will offer an overview of the profession of an impresario (for Indian artists), a fascinating but all too rare and under-represented one in both India and the west.

Poster design: Tarini Tripathi

Parsi Book – Jarthostio ni rojindgi bandagio

Our daily Kusti prayers from Khordeh Avesta are published with its explanation in Gujarati language in this little book “જરથોસ્તીઓની રોજીંદી બંદગીઓ – ખોરદહ અવસ્તા” (ગુજરાતીમાં સરળ સમજૂતી સાથે). Some of my Gujarati articles are also included in this book with a noble aim of increasing faith in our good religion.

Rayoman Ilavia

Click Here to download the book in PDF format

Ancient Parsi Recipes Come to Life in This New Cookbook From Chef Farokh Talati

“I decided to write this book out of a sense of duty,” says Farokh Talati. The head chef at London’s St. John Bread and Wine may have spent his career working in the U.K.’s most venerated kitchens (with the likes of Heston Blumenthal and Angela Hartnett, to name a couple), but Talati looks inward at his family history with this latest project—a new cookbook titled Parsi: From Persia to Bombay: Recipes & Tales from the Ancient Culture, out December 6 (Bloomsbury).

Parsi culture has early roots, dating back to the 7th century when a group of Zoroastrians, a pre-Islamic religious group, fled persecution in present-day Iran and eventually landed on the west coast of India, in the town of Sanjan. Their language, way of life, and culinary traditions mingled with local customs, creating what is today known as Parsi culture.

Talati grew up in a Parsi household in London, and his first cookbook feels like an artful heritage project—a show-and-tell of the recipes he was raised with, the dishes his parents ate in India before emigrating to the U.K., and present-day Parsi home chefs in Mumbai, where most Parsis live today. It’s inspired by his own travels back to India to learn more about his roots, but fosters a mission of showcasing and preserving Parsi cuisine—for those who’ve never heard of it, and for new generations of Parsis alike. “This book represents a very important aspect of the Parsi community and shows it to a new audience,” says Talati. “My hope is that Parsis who do not know how to cook the foods their mums, dads, and grandparents used to cook will pick up this book and learn to make these dishes and reconnect with their heritage.”

Whichever camp you fall into, the stories and 150 recipes that adorn this book’s pages offer ample inspiration. There are lamb stews, quails stuffed with biryani, mango desserts, and even tips on how to crack coconuts open at home. (Talati’s favorite recipe is Dinaz Aunty’s curry; more on that below.) There are also images of Parsi libraries and places of worship; informal breakfast cafés and markets. Importantly, though, the book provides a portrait of the Parsi community, and what their culture looks like in today’s India—not to mention the Parsi dishes to seek out on your next trip.

Below, we share a selection of images from the book, taken across the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, and the stories behind them—courtesy of Talati.

Click Here to view more, including some stunning photographs


The Parsi Religion by John Wilson


As contained in the Zand Avasta


Propounded and Defended by the Zoroastrians of India & Persia

Unfolded, Refuted and Contrasted with Christianity



President of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society and Missionary of the Church of Scotland, Bombay

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The People We Know – Farrokh Suntook

How do you cope when, overnight, you discover you never really knew the person you loved the most?

This is the crisis facing Sheela Marker, a Sikh woman confronted with a shocking revelation about her Parsi husband Cyrus. Her response is to hide what happened, but the secret weighs so heavily on her that a year later she attempts to kill herself by jumping off a cliff in Mahabaleshwar, a hill station near Bombay. Her attempt is scuppered by Clarissa and Max Alexander, an English couple who have been touring India. Sheela’s burgeoning friendship with the couple allows her finally to reveal the truth about Cyrus. But with that friendship she also finds the freedom to discover herself – and change her life – in a way she could never have imagined.

This is Farrokh Suntook’s first published novel – and it is a tour de force, delicately handling a number of shocking revelations while holding the reader in suspense while dealing with a range of family and other relationships. Easily switching between life in India and in London, we become immersed in Sheela Marker’s life – and how she learns to accept what has happened. Born into a Parsi family in Bombay, Farrokh, married with a daughter and two little grandchildren, has spent most of his life in London, barring a spell in New York, where he did his MBA at Columbia University. Most of his working life has been in marketing research and consultancy, a by-product of which was a business book, The Stakeholder Balance Sheet, published by Wiley.

The People We Know is his debut novel and it brings another dimension to the books published by Bite-Sized Books.

Here is a review by Shireen J Vakil on the debut novel in Parsiana 21st September – 6th October 2022
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Captain Jim Agnihotri and his new bride, Diana Framji, return in Nev March’s Peril at the Exposition, the follow up to March’s award-winning, Edgar finalist debut, Murder in Old Bombay.

1893: Newlyweds Captain Jim Agnihotri and Diana Framji are settling into their new home in Boston, Massachusetts, having fled the strict social rules of British Bombay. It’s a different life than what they left behind, but theirs is no ordinary marriage: Jim, now a detective at the Dupree Agency, is teaching Diana the art of deduction he’s learned from his idol, Sherlock Holmes.

Everyone is talking about the preparations for the World’s Fair in Chicago: the grandeur, the speculation, the trickery. Captain Jim will experience it first-hand: he’s being sent to Chicago to investigate the murder of a man named Thomas Grewe. As Jim probes the underbelly of Chicago’s docks, warehouses, and taverns, he discovers deep social unrest and some deadly ambitions.

When Jim goes missing, young Diana must venture to Chicago’s treacherous streets to learn what happened. But who can she trust, when a single misstep could mean disaster?

Award-winning author Nev March mesmerized readers with her Edgar finalist debut, Murder in Old Bombay. Now, in Peril at the Exposition, she wields her craft against the glittering landscape of the Gilded Age with spectacular results.

Sophia Rose’s Review

While I picked up the first book for the setting and circumstances, I continued with the series for the author’s writing, attention to historical backdrop, and the well-developed, diverse cast of characters led by the complex bi-racial, Jim Agnihotri, and his Parsi wife, Diana.

Perils at the Exposition is book two in the Captain Jim Agnihotri series.  The book works best in order, but could be read without much difficulty, standalone.

Perils at the Exposition begins when, honeymooners, Jim and Diana are settled in Boston.  Diana is adjusting to living in a tiny apartment without the comforts and social status she once had in a wealthy Zoroastrian Persian family in Bombay.  She and Jim are starting over and for all her struggles to figure out American ways, her new place and household, and being a wife, she is excited to be with Jim.  Jim has been teaching her the art of detection he learned first from his beloved Sherlock Holmes books and now his own experience studying and applying detecting skills while working for the Dupree Agency.

This is good because Diana must put her newfound knowledge to the test finding her own husband in Chicago where he was last known to be investigating a murder down on the docks.

Diana learns that behind the exciting and pretty façade of the fair, there is a dark side to wealth and progress.  Rough unions, ruthless bosses, and anarchists who want to make their mark at the fair.  Diana and Jim must follow a shadowy, path to not just a killer, but a tangled web of nefarious people to not just save other lives, but their own.

The author painted a full, rich and colorful picture of life in 1893 Chicago and America.  After the Civil War, the peace came at painful cost and still smolders in some hearts. Then there are the relatively unregulated big businessmen driving the industrial era with little notice or care for the workers who live on pittance and are put in dangerous situations that they have to accept if they want to provide any form of food and shelter to their families.  Unions are rising to counter this and the clash with the bosses is another brutal war.  Add to this, the influx of immigrants from all over the world looking for new opportunities and sometimes only finding more of what they left behind.

Diana was reared in a relatively sheltered environment, but she charges into the lower levels of Chicago to find Jim.  She meets many colorful characters in the process. For those wondering, yes, the pair do eventually join up and work the case, sharing the narration. Captain Jim appreciates his wife and respects her intelligence and abilities, but Diana’s fearless decision to involve herself had Jim struggling to not put her on the first train east and out of danger. I didn’t expect Diana to have such a strong role in the book, but welcomed getting to know her as an equal narrator with Jim.

The mystery was complicated by many characters and many motives. Learning what was going on and who was involved was as big a mystery as the murders, which only got solved when Jim and Diana worked out what was happening in the bigger picture. There was wonderful heart-stopping action at times for both of them.

All in all, it was a solid follow up entry in the series and I sincerely hope there are more mysteries for Jim and Diana to tackle. Historical mystery lovers sit up and take notice.

Peril at the Exposition by Nev March

Amazon | Audible


New Book – Finding your Balance – by Dr. Nozer Sheriar

This book written by Dr Nozer Sheriar and Shonali Sabherwal is relevant not only for every woman leading up to menopause but also for those women who have gone through it and still dealing with its after effects. Treat it the way you want: its conversational, clinical, philosophical, and medical approach is meant to be light yet filled with information in bite-sized nuggets.

Here is the pre-order link and post your review too later

New Book by Bomi Doctor

I Believe: I Will I Can Paperback – 27 July 2022

by Bomi Doctor (Author)

This is the perfect book to kick start your quest to become a successful person. The author prescribes a time-tested recipe to develop inner strength and self-belief. Devoid of these ingredients it seems impossible for one to achieve any form of success. Digging deep into the recesses of his own treasure trove of experience with personal, and professional obstacles and cancer, he offers the reader hope and strength to face their own demons, victoriously. Highly recommended for those who need to believe in themselves.

You can get the book on Amazon at:

A Peek Into The Institution That Birthed Tata Leaders – Tata Administrative Service

Here is an excerpt from the book:

JRD had been deeply influenced by John Peterson who had worked for the ICS (Indian Civil Service) before joining the Tatas. His own experience as an Executive Assistant to the Britisher planted the idea in JRD’s mind that the Tatas needed something that would be akin to an ‘ICS for the Tatas’.

A cadre-based system like the ICS, or the IAS as the service was renamed after Independence, appealed to JRD. He had spent his early years in France and had also served in the French Army. In French society, cadres had come to represent a kind of social reference point. Some cadres also had military antecedents, but their collective identity had jumped the divide from being purely professional to commanding social position and status.

In French society, cadres had become aspirational social groups and part of the French elite. Moreover, the social esteem enjoyed by cadres was not shallow, merely based on titles. Instead, it was linked to a rigorous education system; premier educational institutions (the ‘Grandes Écoles’ were able to attract the best students) and the most reputed companies, chose to come to these institutions to look for bright managers. Over time, a virtuous circle developed—the institutions would select the best students, and the best French companies would recruit them, leading to these Grandes Écoles becoming the destinations of choice for more young bright students.

The concept of a cadre-based administrative system has also been part of Indian society for thousands of years. Kautilya’s famous text, Arthashastra, talks about a large and complex bureaucracy as a remarkable feature of the governance structure within the Mauryan empire. This was a well-organized, hierarchical, and cadre-based administrative system, which allowed the government to regulate the economic life of the kingdom. It was hugely aspirational for the common people to be part of this elite cadre. Kautilya laid down guidelines and qualifications for people who could be part of this cadre. The cadre envisioned by JRD had features of both the French and the Indian systems. JRD and the Superior Staff Recruitment Committee proposed the recruitment of young people from the best universities around the world, including Oxbridge. The importance of choosing officers for the cadre from ‘good families’, with an appropriate work ethic and values, was emphasized.

The Committee’s desire to recruit from well-known universities was also linked to the fact that there were no management institutes in India in the 1950s. Most people started to work straight after their graduation and worked their way up the corporate ladder. But JRD was clear in his direction to the Committee. He was looking for future leaders— people who would not only grow in the Group to take on leadership positions but also individuals who would perpetuate the Tata values across the Group companies. JRD envisaged that the members of the Tata cadre would be encouraged to move between different Tata companies and functional areas before settling down in one company. JRD was also mindful of the fact that the IAS was the most aspirational civil services cadre in India. It drew the best and the brightest from across the country. IAS officers, immediately after their induction, were given positions of considerable responsibility and power, and regularly moved between various departments/ministries of the Government of India. Those selected were looked upon as men and women of caliber and integrity by others. The administrative framework was described by India’s first Home Minister, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, as the ‘Steel Frame’ for governance in India.

By 1956, JRD had the recommendations of the Superior Staff Recruitment Committee before him, as well as the myriad inputs he had gleaned from a variety of sources in India, Britain, and France. He recognized the value of the equivalent of the ‘Steel Frame’—the Indian Administrative Service—represented for the Tata Group. The Tatas were not as complex or disparate as India, but JRD was convinced that the time had come for such a cadre to be put into place.

Buy this book at Amazon –


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