DiscoverPrem Rao : Stories from a Story Teller
Prem Rao : Stories from a Story Teller
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Prem Rao : Stories from a Story Teller

Author: Prem Rao

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To write a lot, you need to read a lot! I am fond of reading so I love exploring different kinds of books, fiction as well as non-fiction.
So, here you have me- a writer- speak on writing. On my blogs and books ( published or otherwise), and on the blogs and books I read.
Also, my take on what's making news!
27 Episodes
If you are looking for light reading, seeking stories set in India, you should read, " Bifocals And A Walking Stick" by M Gopalkrishna Bhat. This is a  delightful collection of essays which captures different facets of life in India, largely set in Mumbai and Mangaluru. The author uses his keen skills of observation and his ready wit to describe real life situations which most of us come across in our day to day lives.  I wrote this book review in 2016. A lot has happened since then. I had the pleasure of meeting the author in 2019 when he visited Bengaluru where I live. A few months ago, in July 2021, Mr Bhat passed on aged 85 leaving behind ever so many admirers and friends.  In a sense, this podcast is my tribute to a fine gentleman of the old school.  --- Send in a voice message:
A fascinating publication that captures the looks and thoughts of people at large in the The Big Apple, that ever bustling epitome of cosmopolitan urban life: New York City. Brandon Stanton's amazing creation resides at the intersection of writing and photography. For the reader, this makes for very interesting reading apart from viewing the extremely engaging images of people who make up slices of life in New York City.  The initial project, says Stanton, was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the streets and get a fleeting quote from them. This grew in scope as he found people willing to talk about their lives in the city with candor.  Considering the content, I  feel, the "Humans Of New York " book/photoblog is a must for every book collector. It would be a welcome addition to libraries the world over.   --- Send in a voice message:
Harry Flashman, the bully who was expelled from Rugby in "Tom Brown's Schooldays" would have faded away into oblivion had it not been for George MacDonald Fraser! His adventures in different parts of the British Empire and beyond are captured in 12 novels written by Fraser from 1969 to 2005. As writers, we must admire Fraser's ingenious use of the "Flashman Papers" - a series of diaries- which provide the meat for the stories of this Victorian hero!  Testimony of his popularity comes from the fact that even today there are many fan clubs of Flashman all over the world.  --- Send in a voice message:
An interesting debut novel about the mental problems faced by a young lady. The author makes innovative use of a diary to move the story forward. This diary, maintained by the young lady, provides insights into her mind to her psychiatrist. Ms. Lalwani captures your interest all through her story, finishing strongly with an unexpected twist. --- Send in a voice message:
Names of people, like other facets of different cultures, make for fascinating stories! My light hearted reminiscences of a few names that have resulted in some amount of embarrassment for their owners - and a lot of laughter for others- in the United States and in India.  --- Send in a voice message:
Crafting Query Letters

Crafting Query Letters


The query letter and indeed the whole process of querying, often determines whether your book project remains a dream or gets to see the light of day by being published. Remember the world of book publishing is both crowded and competitive.    I share some tips on querying in this podcast which I am sure will benefit the budding writer, eager to get his/her book published.  --- Send in a voice message:
A tribute to a much-loved teacher, Mrs May Enos, who taught for decades at The Lawrence School, Lovedale. Recently, she celebrated her 100th birthday. Many of us who were taught by her as young kids in the Prep School remember her as vividly as we did all those decades ago.  --- Send in a voice message:
Those who have been through grief will readily relate to the story as will children who live far away from their old parents. The story is centred around the passing away of the author's Amma, her beloved mother.  Uma Girish is very good at her descriptions about things and people around her.  She knows how to maintain a charming, deft touch of humour to off set the tragic moments in her story. In this story, she deals with the guilt and other problems that beset her , as they would anyone who has lost a loved parent. She struggles with thoughts that may be they could have done more for her Amma, not just during her last days but indeed for all their lives.  She writes about how her father is forced to cope with his wife’s death. He has got accustomed to her being at his beck and call for the 47 years of their marriage. A very inspiring read in which -what in reality is a tragic topic- is handled with lots of grace and sensitivity.  --- Send in a voice message:
"One Man's Fight for the Truth about the Jallianwala Massacre" is an excellent summary of the book I review, "The Case That Shook The Empire" by Raghu and Pushpa Palat. This is the hitherto little-known but fascinating story of Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair, (1857-1934) who was a towering personality of his times. He was one of the early stalwarts of the Indian National Congress and served as its President in 1897.  Very few Indians held positions of power and high office in the British Raj especially in the India of the 19th and 20th centuries. Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair was one amongst them. He was a Judge of the Madras High Court, and later became a Member of the Viceroy's Executive Council.  He resigned in 1919 in protest following the appalling Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of that year.  --- Send in a voice message:
Farewell, Shyamgaru

Farewell, Shyamgaru


A personal tribute to a friend - of 48 years standing- who passed away one year ago, on August 19, 2020. Dr M S Rau, PhD or Mylarapu Shyamsunder Rau was my classmate at The Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) in Jamshedpur from 1972-74 and a close friend since then. So many memories from those carefree student years flood my mind and then I realize he is no more with us.  A small tribute to a large-hearted friend.  --- Send in a voice message:
India gained Independence in 1947 at a great cost. The Partition of India did not affect people in every region equally. The irony is that while most did not face any hardship due the Partition, for others it changed their lives forever. They had to live with the bitter memories of the traumatic events that took place when India was divided into two countries by the departing British.  Many books have been written about the Partition and events following this major event in our country's history. Only a few have been written by people who actually experiences these events themselves. One such is " Now It Can Be Told" by  Prof A N Bali, then a Professor at the Lahore University of undivided India during the British times.  --- Send in a voice message:
Lovers of dogs can't miss this one! A charming story of how a stray foxhound - who was given the name Pat-  entered the lives of the Borlands and what followed from then on. Borland's delightful descriptions of nature, the bond between man and dog, and the simplicity of life in the 1950's touches your heart, even as you read the book 60 years after it was first published.  --- Send in a voice message:
Described as the Leadership Playbook of Silcon Valley’s Bill Campbell, this is the story of the legendary leadership coach. The authors - Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle- speak from personal experience. They knew him well being top executives of Google who were amongst the many successful executives to have been coached by Campbell.  You gain valuable insights not only into many lessons in leadership, but in the complex skill of coaching at a senior level.  --- Send in a voice message:
The enigmatic and dynamic Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was one of the India's greatest leaders. He founded his Indian National Army during the Second World War and allied himself with the Japanese to fight for India's independence from the British. But what became of Bose at the end of the War?  Kingshuk Nag's book, "Netaji: Living Dangerously" published in 2016, describes his story. A  "must read" for all who are interested in Indian history and politics.  --- Send in a voice message:
The fascinating story of The Man Who Never Was. One of the great successes of British Naval Intelligence in the Second Word War. The "truth is stranger than fiction" story of Major William Martin, Royal Marines. Of how it affected the German plans to defend Fortress Europe and how it paved the way for the Allied landings in Sicily in 1943.  --- Send in a voice message:
The absorbing and entertaining story of the triumphs and travails of a practicing gynaecologist spanning several continents. Written with a deft touch of humor and lots of candor. Dr Usha Mohan speaks from her heart about what made her take to the medical profession, the interesting cases she had to deal with, and her steadfast determination to live - and fully enjoy- life on her terms.  --- Send in a voice message:
"Jerusalema". The story of an amazing song that took- and is still taking- a Covid 19 pandemic struck world -by storm.  Millions around the world have danced to this song released in December 2019. It is composed by South African RJ and musician, Master KG and sung by his sister Noncebo Zikode.  This podcast is about this song with its magical foot tapping beats.  --- Send in a voice message:
If you are interested in spy thrillers, you will like this true story of George Blake, the Soviet double agent during the days of the Cold War. He worked for the SIS, Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, more commonly known as MI 6, but at the same time spied for the Russians.  " Spies, Lies, And Exile" by Simon Kuper is the life story of George Blake, who at one time, was considered the most effective of the Soviet double agents as he was the least suspected.  --- Send in a voice message:
Dr Zazulak's book, published by TCK Publishing, has been described as a science-based guide to achieve peak performance and resilience to injury. The author shares her Core BASE, an integrative, holistic guide for breathing, awareness, stability, and empowerment of your core in body, mind, and spirit. Broadly speaking, on one hand we have the Western view of fitness through the study of modern science and medicine. On the other we have the age old Oriental take on keeping well through a mix of exercise and meditation. In my view, the best part of Dr Zazulak ‘s book is her creative use of the best of both worlds. --- Send in a voice message:
Many famous British poets emerged during the First World War, such as Owen, Sassoon, Brooke, Yeats, and Hardy. Their poems captured the glories of battles and the horrors of war especially in the trenches. Chunks of some of these poems remain in my mind though I studied them over 50 years ago.  This episode is dedicated to them and to my teachers at The Lawrence School, Lovedale for instilling in me a life long interest in literature and history. --- Send in a voice message:
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