Breathe into the Silences of the Mahabharata: The Queens of Hastinapur


Ganga. When she speaks, we must listen.

For she is the giver of life, the oldest, kindest, wisest of mothers. She has seen this land take form, swell with power. She has witnessed people pillage it, and bring about the end to the age of kings in a great, futile war.

The battle of Kurukshetra may have lasted a mere eighteen days, but its seeds were sown during the long years leading up to it, on mountain slopes, in hermitages, behind curtained palace doors.

And Ganga narrates the tale from the beginning, as she saw it happen.

In The Queens of Hastinapur, the Lady of the River must learn when to withdraw from the realm in which the Goddess holds sway. Jarasandha, the king of Magadha, is preparing to take Mathura by force in his quest for expansion into the middle kingdoms, but must the Meru people intervene? Or should they let matters take their course?

Meanwhile, a few thousand leagues to the north, two young princesses enter the royal house of Kuru, one wedded to the king, the other to a blind prince, both beginning on the tortuous paths that would shape their destinies.

This is the Mahabharata like you’ve never seen it before. Riveting, heart-rending and intensely human.

Ganga is about to speak, and we must listen.

Book Details

Welcome to the preorder page of Book 3 of the Hastinapur series: The Queens of Hastinapur.

For those of you who don’t know, the first two books of the series are called The Winds of Hastinapur (2013) and The Rise of Hastinapur (2015). This one rounds off the trilogy. Here’s how it looks at the moment:

Please note: the Hastinapur series is NOT a retelling of the Mahabharata. It is a recounting of the many silences in the epic. For instance:

  • Do you know what Devavrata’s childhood was like in the first fifteen years of his life, before Ganga brought him to Shantanu? You can read about it in Winds.
  • Do you know what Gandhari did in her childhood and youth? The story of Amba’s transformation from princess to priestess? What about Kunti’s early life, before she met Surya? Rise has all these tales.
  • Do you know the secret story of Krishna’s birth, and how he came to be in Vrindavan? Do you know the role Gandhari plays in the inner workings of Hastinapur’s royal palace? These two form the crux of Queens.

The Mahabharata is the ‘story of pauses’, long periods of inaction punctuating bursts of intense drama. With the Hastinapur series, I have taken it upon myself to speak into the pauses, the stories that have never been told before.

Why should you preorder?

Two reasons:

  • You get 20% off the price of the book.
  • You also get to avail four exclusive bonuses (valued at over 2000 INR) just by emailing me your preorder evidence.

First, a sample.

Before we move to the bonuses, here’s a downloadable PDF sample of the first three chapters of Queens of Hastinapur. I’m a reader myself, and I know how weird I feel when I cannot sample a book before I decide whether I want to purchase it or not.

So here it is. If it makes you want more, scroll right ahead and look at the bonuses I have for you.

The Queens of Hastinapur – The First Three Chapters

Some Early Reader Reviews

Readers’ reviews are trickling in as we speak, and a bunch of them have collected over at Goodreads. If you’d like to know what other readers are saying about the book, head on out to the link below. It might help you make up your mind.

Queens of Hastinapur – Early Reviews

Now for the bonuses.

Right, if you’re reading this section, it means you’re thinking of reading the book. What follows is a list of bonuses that you will be eligible for by the simple act of purchasing the book on preorder.

That’s it. No tricks. No hidden terms. Preorder the book. Send me the evidence. You will receive the bonuses.

This offer will be valid until 10 October, 2017.

Bonus 1: Thirty exclusive bookplates

I have a set of thirty beautiful bookplates for those of you who love adorning their books with personalized content. These are hi-res, ready-to-print, and come with complete instructions. Thirty cool ways by which you can transform your entire book collection, and they come in five categories.

  • Fairy Tales
  • Mythology
  • Quotables
  • Silhouettes
  • Vintage

Below is the complete set. You can click on the image for a closer look. Now you can have themed, customized bookplates for just about any occasion. Transform your library with a personal touch.

(Design and illustration by Medha Gupta)

Bonus 2: Discover The Author Bundle

I have put together six books from my backlist that I think are representative of my work. One novel, four short nonfiction works, and one collection of short stories. You will get PDF, ePub and Kindle versions of all six books for free.

  • Murder in Amaravati (Commonwealth Book Prize Longlist, 2013)
  • 51 Lesser Known Tales From the Mahabharata
  • 17 Fascinating Women from the Mahabharata
  • Dear Sakhi: The Lost Journals of the Ladies of Hastinapur
  • How to Survive in Hastinapur: A Practical Person’s Guide
  • Stories of 2017 Biannual Digest Volume 1 (A 500-page collection of 30 brand new short stories from different genres)

Hours of reading pleasure, and you discover the work of a new author. What’s not to like?

Bonus 3: Sneak Peek at Hastinapur Book 4

You will get a three-chapter sneak peek at the first book of the next Hastinapur book, The Song of Vrindavan. This is the Radha-Krishna story like you’ve never seen it before, and it is due to be out late 2018.

The manuscript is finished, and I will let you steal a quick look at the first three chapters.

Bonus 4: Ask Me Anything

So far in my career, at various points, I have:

  • Written novels
  • Written short stories
  • Written books of nonfiction
  • Blogged
  • Published traditionally
  • Self-published
  • Edited (myself and others)
  • Advised a publishing company
  • Designed book covers
  • Been a hobby writer (2 years)
  • Been a part time writer (3 years)
  • Been a full time writer (4 years and counting)
  • Failed at writing / selling
  • Succeeded at writing / selling
  • Mentored inexperienced writers
  • Led workshops on writing and publishing

While you might find many people who have done some of the above, I’m rather unique in the Indian book scene in doing them all.

So I thought it might be useful for people to pick my brain on any of the above topics. I will collect all the questions I receive over the next month or so, and publish the answers in the form of an exclusive eBook.

And I will give all those who preorder Queens of Hastinapur a free copy.

You can ask me up to three questions in any of the above topics, or anything else that I have missed out and you’d like me to cover.

Leave your questions as comments to this blog post. That way everyone can see what has been asked before so that there won’t be many repetitions. Once the dust has settled on Queens, I will begin work on the eBook and send you a copy as soon as I finish.

Rest assured, the answers will be detailed, comprehensive, honest and helpful.

Now what do you do?

To be eligible for the four Sure Fire Bonuses, all you have to do is:

  1. Preorder the book by clicking on the button below. Make sure you preorder the paperback, not the Kindle edition. The latter won’t be available until 10 October.
  2. Email the order screenshot displaying the order number to
  3. Do this before 10 October, 2017. In fact, do it right now so that you don’t forget.

That’s it. You will receive your bonuses immediately. (We’re going to be screening the emails manually on our end, so please allow a one-day turnaround time.)


If anything in the post is not clear, just ask away in the comments or send me an email at I will be standing by.


  1. Great work with all the bonuses!


  2. 1) I see you were working in IT and quit to become a full time writer? That would have been high point in your life. What factors influenced you to make this high time decision?
    2) You told you failed at writing/selling at one point. What were your thoughts at that moment? What was your turning point to turn things around?
    3) I see you have been publishing something or the other every week. What is your source of inspiration in getting the food for your writing? What do you do in case you get stuck?
    4) When did you get an idea to write books/blog? What was your first writing to public? What encouraged you to move on?

    I know i have limit of 3. I took privilege in asking 4. If you can’t, please pick any 3 of your choice.


  3. Bhavesh Jeewani says:

    Firstly, many congratulations for the third book in the series. Look forward to reading it.
    Now, on to the questions.
    1) What are some avenues where one can write/edit and earn on the side as a part time writer?
    2) How does one go about structuring a novel from a tiny germ of an idea?
    3) Do we see you venture into poetry anytime soon? If no, why?


  4. Hello Sharath,
    I have the following questions for you:
    1. Did you self-publish your first book? How was your experience with it?
    2. How do you discipline yourself to write so much all year long, what with the Hastinapur books and the weekly short stories? Any advice?
    3. How well do you think are short stories going to fare in coming times? Will they be as appreciated as earlier – Chekhov, O. Henry, Wilde?


  5. Looking forward to the book.


  6. hey Sharath. Good luck with the book. You already know I’m very impressed with the way in which the launch is being rolled out. Re. questions – do feel free to head me off if these are too nosy and you’d prefer other questions. I always have tons.

    1. What percentage of those you’ve mentored have since been published? (I wonder if this comes across as an unfair question, considering you started early last year and publishing houses usually take a year to print. As mentioned above, please feel free to say N/A, etc)
    2. What is the process you use when you mentor, ie feedback, helping mentees stay on track, etc.?
    3. What approach do you take to your own writing in order to ensure that it continues to happen (eg. your own room with a view, a set work-time, ways to defeat the blinking cursor, etc)?

    I had a fourth question, but again ignore if pressed for time. 4. I thought Ganga’s story flowed very differently than that of Gandhari and Pritha. Did you find the first more difficult to write, or were the latter two revised/edited a lot more?

    Cheers and best regards, always,


  7. Hi, Sharath. I’d like to ask you some unique questions which i intend to feature on one of my blogs: @bookybrain on Facebook.
    1. Please tell me more about the workshops you conduct. Where, for whom, when and what is its journey?
    2. How do you, as a mythology writer, research about Indian mythology so much in depth which enables you to write so well about these untold stories? From where do you get information related to these stories?

    The third is a bit personal, but here goes:
    3. Has the birth of your daughter impacted your writing career in any way, for better or worse? How do you manage to shoulder the responsibilities of a father and author simultaneously?

    Do let me know if you don’t wish to answer any of the above questions. I will gladly pick your brain for other answers. 😃


  8. Bikramjit Singh Bedi says:

    Exceptionally Creative Work i Guess..


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