It was a chilly evening outside, but the guests gathered under the sparkling chandeliers of the Raj Bhavan's Banquet Hall were full of warm wishes on Monday, December 20 as the moment arrived for the unveiling of 'The Raj Bhavan Karnataka- Through the Ages' by His Excellency Dr. H.R. Bhardwaj, Governor of Karnataka in the presence of distinguished guests. Seen above are Sandhya Mendonca, Managing Director Raintree Media, Dr. H.R. Bhardwaj, Governor of Karnataka, Prof. Sandeep Shastri, Pro Vice-Chancellor Jain University and Mr. G.V. Krishna Rau, IAS, Principal Secretary to Governor of Karnataka (l-r).
And here is the team behind the book: Antony Anjee (event photography), Asha Thadani (principal photography), Mishta Roy (design) and the editorial team, Rajagopal, Raghunandan, Aditya Mendonca and Remuna Rai and Sandhya Mendonca (clockwise from bottom left) with the Governor.
Follow links to local press coverage of the book launch and reviews of the book:
How many times have you driven past the gently curving walls of the Raj Bhavan and wondered at what’s inside? Now here’s a book that gives you a rare glimpse in to the premises of this august institution alongside a walk through the historical highlights of the state.
“Although I was in some measure prepared to receive this communication, yet when it came, the sensation it produced in me was inexpressibly distressing and painful… more so as it conveyed the intimation that your departure from the country was to be without a personal interview with me and without the last interchange of a friendly farewell.”
- Maharaja of Mysore state, Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, in his farewell letter to Commissioner of Mysore Sir Mark Cubbon  who built what is now known as the Raj Bhavan in 1840
Excerpt from ‘The Raj Bhavan Karnataka – Through the Ages’, the latest in our prestigious portfolio of classy coffee table books.
Liberally sprinkled with colourful illustrations and photographs, some from archives and most that were specially commissioned, the elegant 200 page book is an eloquent and cogent account of the growth of Karnataka from the days of the Kingly fiefdom, through its rise as the progressive Mysore State, the British Raj, until it became Karnataka. Leaders who influenced the state’s history from Tipu Sultan to the Wodeyars add relevance to the book, as do the illustrious personalities who occupied the post of the Resident from the days of Mark Cubbon to the present incumbent His Excellency HR Bhardwaj.
The book is a product of diligent research, composition, writing and editing by the Raintree Media team and is backed with scholarly contributions from guest writers like Suresh Jayaram, art historian and Vijay Thiruvady, Trustee, Bangalore Environment Trust. The book is designed by Mishta Roy, illustrated by Jai Iyer and Baadal Majumdar and photographs by Asha Thadani and Antony Anjee.
Charting the birth of an institution as hallowed as the Raj Bhavan is a challenging journey. Poring through the misty pages of history, shining light on obscure facts and threading together a readable story that is relevant to a contemporary audience was an exercise that we found thoroughly enjoyable.
One of the few good things that's happened on poor battered MG Road is the Kannan building which has been rebuilt to retain the lovely colonial flavour of many old buildings that existed there until characterless concrete blocks came up. Many solid brands such as GK Vale, Lawrence & Mayo and Jamals are back at their old locations within this building. A most welcome addition is a newbie book store - Page Turners. Cosy and warm, it goes up two floors and tries to afford the quintessential Bangalore experience through the many books on its shelves and a compact performance space to boot.
Our books - Best of Bangalore, Best of Goa, Best of Chennai and Allen Mendonca's seminal novel Sentinel House - adorn the shelves along with the works of other literary luminaries like Girish Karnad, Amitav Ghosh and a host of Penguin authors from across India.
We highly recommend browsing in Page Turners to book lovers - a store dedicated to books, books and more books - no tacky 'novelty' gift items and sundry merchandise here. Thank God and young entrepreneur Abishek Laxminarayan for this.
If you long to tell a story in your own words but have been unsure about how to go about it, here’s your chance to learn how.
While most writers have a natural flair with words, telling a tale is a craft like any other. And like any craft, it can be learnt. With a little effort and application, your inclination to be a writer can become a reality.
Raintree Media, Bangalore’s premier boutique publishing and content company, is offering a short story writing workshop for aspiring writers who want to make the creative journey into the world of the written word.
This workshop will guide you in choosing a theme, working a plot and completing a story which will be published as a compilation of the stories of all participants at the end of the course. Each participant will get 50 copies of the book.
Mentored by Sandhya Mendonca, Editor -in -Chief of Raintree Media, the workshop is conceptualized in an easy to handle on-line module.
Start date: October 1*
Duration: 8 weeks
1. Personal Introduction & Interaction:
2. Online help and mentoring: Weekly updates, with personal supervision of progress by the Editor and interaction with the Editorial team.
3. Completing the writing: 6 weeks
4. Editing/ Re-writing/ Review: 2 weeks
5. Conclusion: Books and Certificates of completion will be handed out to each brand new author.
The workshop will be in English and requires participants to have a reasonable command of the language.
Age group: 18 +
Cost: Rs.20,000/- per participant
a. Participants might be required to write a language ability test before enrolment.
b. *The course will start when 10 participants sign up.
To enroll, please mail: email@example.com with the subject line: “I want to be a writer”.
We are proud to announce that Raintree Media has now become a member of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and The Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP).
CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organisation seeking to play a proactive role in India’s development process. The CII membership means that Raintree Media will now have access to publications and reports on a wide range of subjects, directory of members with company profile, monthly and quarterly journals - a development that we hope will help us in our goal of achieving excellence in everything we do.
The Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) is the representative body of publishers in English, Hindi and other regional languages from all over India, representing more than 80 percent of the publishing industry. All the leading publishers of the country are its direct members, other publishers being represented through various local associations. As a publishing house, Raintree Media is proud to become a FIP member and the recognition comes as a huge boost to our efforts to excel in this field.
The eve of World No Tobacco Day (Sunday, May 30) turned out to be a fun-filled laugh riot at Casa del Sol. Smoke Signals (frequently mistaken for a play when in fact, it is a heady mixture of quotes, short stories, speeches, limericks, jokes, songs and anecdotes that are destined to burn a hole in your stomach faster than any cigarette) was performed to an enthusiastic crowd by the Madras Players who walked in looking like Cherokee Indians from the plains of Native America.
The opening note from the bull horn played by Bangalore's Alan Rego set the tone for the rest of the evening which started with the song of Hiawatha. Without any vestiges of preaching, Smoke Signals takes the audience through a mad trip, replete with the conversation between Alice and the caterpillar that smokes a hookah (Alice in Wonderland) and a chewing gum that comes alive and chews a little boy (a short story by John Steinbeck). Mithran Devanesen, whom Bangaloreans will remember for his Mamma Mia! and Midnight Hotel, and his young protege, Sharanya Nair, brought alive the crazy wonderland of Lewis Carroll, while the stalwart, PC Ramakrishna, gripped everyone's attention with his baritone rendition of King James's speech and Steinbeck's story.
Alan Rego, sporting a mohawk and holding a peace pipe, sang Smoke gets in your eyes and Smoke that cigarette, both of which set the audience tapping their feet. His joie de vivre was instantly contagious and soon, Sharanya Nair stunned the crowd with her soulful rendition of It's a wonderful world, accompanied by Alan.
With another great event decorating our cap, thanks to Casa del Sol and the ACTS group, Under the Raintree is growing every day, with more artists showing interest in these creative ventures. We are only too thrilled to have had the opportunity of presenting such great talent to you all. Until next time, as the Siwash Indians used to say, peace be with you.
The CEO Lifestyle Expo that took place from April 30 to May 2 saw great brands and companies showcasing their best at the superb KTPO Trade Center in ITPL in luxe Whitefield. And when we talk about the best, it goes without saying that we were there too, with the Best of series of elegant business atlases in a coffee table book format.
CEOs and high-fliers are now eagerly awaiting the release of the next in the series Best of Mumbai Vol 1and Best of Bangalore Vol. 2 which will roll out shortly. If you would like your company to be featured in this premium series, do write to us or to firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of Bangalore on display at the CEO Lifestyle Expo
Under the raintree on Sunday, in the warm afterglow of summer, something beautiful happened. It wasn’t really a raintree – it was under a cherry tree that Allen Mendonca had planted a year ago to attract more birds to our courtyard.
It certainly did attract birds of the same feather which flocked to participate in the first of the artistic dialogues initiated by a not-for-profit forum, ‘Under the Raintree’.
Some of the most talented young actors in town, did a reading of a play-in-progress – Nine faces of being, Anita Nair’s own adaptation of her novel, Mistress. A seasoned novelist, for her debut as a playwright, Anita wanted to hear the actors mouth her words and who better to take on the thespian responsibility than Arundhati Raja of ART?
In what had to be serendipity, this was just the time when we were conceptualizing the creative canopy Under the Raintree. And so, after half a dozen rehearsals with the playwright sitting in to get an insight into the direction, the evening of April 11 brought together a coalition of the creative.
The interested audience, many of them actors, directors and writers along with avid theatregoers, sat with rapt attention as the actors deconstructed human expressions, and in the interactive session that followed, analysed the presentation. which was welcome feedback for the playwright.
View Sandhya Mendonca's interview with NDTV-Hindu here
Sentinel House experienced a fabulous reception in Chennai, where the intelligentsia has always been welcoming of path-breaking efforts. The Madras Book Club rose to the occasion magnificently, and members thronged the Ballroom of the Taj Connemara on Saturday, March 27th.
Speaking at the launch, renowned journalist and historian, Mr. S. Muthaiah, said that the Sentinel House was the most relevant book of its times. “The concept that it’s not an editor but a manager who is needed in a newspaper has taken hold and the exploration of this concept is the significant contribution made by the author,” he said, praising Allen Mendonca.
Eminent theatre personality Mithran Devanesan and Mahitha Suresh did a dramatized reading of passages from the book, donning multiple roles and bringing alive the characters of the executive boardrooms and bedrooms.
On a bright Sunday morning, at the Madras Gymkhana Club, members of the Gym 3S read out excerpts at a cosy and warm session attended by Club President Arvind Ramrathnam and MD of Odyssey chain of book stores TS Ashwin among other worthies. The colonial aura in the Island Lounge added to the drama of the historic passages from the book.
Both launches were followed by Q &A with audience showing a lively interest in the story line of the novel.
Piroja Belgamvala, S. Muthaiah, Sandhya Mendonca and Mithran Devanesan releasing the book
Sentinel House continues on its road trip, and the next stop is singaara Chennai. Come the weekend, Sentinel House will be unveiled in front of book lovers and journalists at the Taj Connemara. So if you are going to be in the city over the weekend, do not miss it.
Koshy's has been the symbol of permanence in an ever-changing city, and is the icon of the true Bangalore. From eminent writers to introspective photographers; from world famous personalities to exotic mystics, Koshy's has played host to varied characters.
Raintree Media is proud to help realize a beautiful dream of a brilliant photographer - Raghav Shreyas. We are launching a photo book titled Table by the Window, in association with the Raghav Shreyas Foundation for Arts and Prem Koshy. Table by the Window is a collection of stunning photographs of the myriad characters that call Koshy's their home. With people like Girish Karnad and Ramachandra Guha captured in exquisite moments by Raghav's lens, the book is truly a collectors' piece.
Table by the Window was released by Girish Karnad at Koshy's Chill-Out on March 18, 2010.
The entire gang of Koshy's, with their usual bonhomie and camaraderie, with their quirks and their joy illuminated Koshy's Chill-Out on the rather boisterous evening of the 18th. Friends and family of Raghav Shreyas landed up to celebrate the brilliant photographer, and there was much reminiscing and recounting of funny episodes.
Girish Karnad, who launched the book, regaled the crowd with his first encounter with Mrs. Vasantha Kumari (Raghav's mother) and Prem Koshy waxed eloquently about Raghav. Mrs. Vasantha Kumari herself was ecstatic with the turn-out and found it hard to find words to express her contentment at seeing Raghav's book in its final form. Sandhya Mendonca read out the beautiful poem penned by Poile Sengupta who is also featured in the book.
The crowd even overflowed to the streets, where people sat on the sidewalk and leafed through Raghav's book. And when it was all over, it felt like one big coffee date, and the sound of laughter followed the books home to their new, proud owners.
Check out this very well-written article in Bangalore Mirror about the book, along with an interview of Raghav's mother, Mrs. Vasantha Kumari. Bangalore Mirror article
‘Fifteen mantras for the empowered woman’ by Abha Sharma Rodrigues is a very clever book. All of us, men as well as women, are sure to find thoughts and actions that seem to resonate in our lives.
The author asked me to talk about my connect with the book today. The sections that struck a chord within me are the Mantra of Mind and Imagination and the Mantras of the Spoken Word.
Let me start with something simple. I got my driver’s licence when I was 19 but except for a few times when I borrowed my dad’s car, I hardly drove. By the time my husband and I bought our first car, I was 24 and pregnant. Since he gallantly dropped me to work and picked me up, often driving me to assignments too, I never got the hang of driving. I would attempt to drive on and off but never quite managed to master the skill.
Some years later, juggling between the demands of a long commute, a kid in play school and demanding careers that did not allow my husband the flexibility to pick up and drop us, I decided that I had to learn how to drive. I simply didn’t have a choice.
But facing the ever-growing chaos of Bangalore traffic was a daunting prospect. So one evening, I told myself – “Look at the guys who drive buses and autos. They are mostly uneducated, semi-literate people. If they can drive a vehicle, why can’t you?” That did it. My cousin spent the weekend sitting beside me while I drove, and viola! By Monday morning I was confident enough to drive on my own.
Since then, each year, I have attempted to do something that I have not done or to learn a new skill; one year it was a new language.
About six years ago, my husband Allen and I quit our jobs in journalism and decided to become media entrepreneurs. We started Raintree Media. This was actually my second attempt at being a businessperson. The first time around I had a small proprietary concern, Big Bean Communications. I had plenty of work but soon realized that I had a problem getting people to pay me. Disheartened, I gave up and took up an assignment at the IIMB before going back to journalism.
So what changed six years ago when we agreed to get into the business of media? What has enabled us to build a fairly successful business? The change was within my own head. This time around, I taught myself to clearly differentiate between Sandhya the individual who does not like to ask people for money and Sandhya Mendonca, the representative of Raintree Media, who will insist on timely payments. Today I am proud that our company is a singular entity – we have never sought financial assistance, have always paid our vendors on time, have grown by reinvesting profits into the business and pay our colleagues decent wages.
Time and again, we have rallied ourselves with such internal boosters. Each assignment comes with its own challenges and sometimes, when things seem daunting I recall a late afternoon in Goa.
A couple of years ago, on the 31st of December, we were on a beach and I realized that, I had not done or learnt anything new that year. My son was just about to go parasailing and on an impulse, I went along too. This from a person who is frightened of heights, even escalators in a mall give me vertigo. As I rose up in the air, the flapping of wind was like a roar in my ears. But soon there was a wonderful hush, floating so high above looking down at the setting sun, the blue water and the tiny sails was a magical feeling.
This is my visual mantra of mind and imagination, if I can call it that. Each day I conjure up that image in my mind and my cares and worries slip away as I experience that wonderful weightless feeling again. I rise energized and positive.
Never underestimate the power of the mantra of the spoken word. My husband of 20 years died very suddenly of a heart attack about four months ago. For our young son and me, the bottom fell out of our world. After a couple of weeks, as I stood weeping by his grave, I felt I heard Allen’s voice telling me to get back to work. I did, and within 2 months, we managed to publish his novel Sentinel House which has had a fabulous response. It is not easy to stay positive; the death of my beloved Allen who was my partner and my best friend has made me question the very point of life. In my darkest moments, I feel life is a cruel joke.
Then the words come spontaneously – a dear friend Rakesh Sharma, the astronaut, told me that I have to fulfill my potential as an individual. I continue to draw support from the immense pride my husband had in my abilities. Whenever I doubted myself, he said, “You can do it, go for it”. His words of encouragement are the mantra guiding me.
His Excellency H R Bhardwaj, Governor of Karnataka, was all praise for our premier publication Best of Bangalore. The book is a celebration of Bangalore with its manifold achievements in rich culture, lifestyle and people that make up this cosmopolitan city.
Seen here Sandhya Mendonca, MD, Raintree Media, presenting him with the book, as Ms. Sharada Subramaniam, Secretary to the Governor, looks on.