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Find yourself through “The Rock Babas and Other Stories”: A review

Where do we look when we have to take complicated decisions? What do we seek when we are at the crossroads of transformation? We seek what’s within, we look deep inside ourselves; or we look at forms of art that act as mirror for self and allow us to peek inside who we are.

The debut book by Ameya Prabhu, published by Westland, attempts to be that mirror and does a commendable job of becoming the same within the limited reach of an anthology of 9 stories; where each story is a study of layers of human capabilities and flaws, tied together with the thread of importance of perception without judgement.

When the reader gets a glimpse into the life of a dictator in the “Memories of a Dictator”, they see the African dictator telling his side of the story of his life, and the reader finds themselves either empathizing with or even loathing the dictator, depending on their experiences in their lives. This is what Prabhu has achieved through his simple storytelling, by setting his stories in different parts of the world and showing to its reader that there are certain realities of human beings that transcend cultures and geographies, and we can find ourselves everywhere.

By carefully bringing together real scenarios, historical settings, and even inspired semi-biographical retellings, while keeping the lens of fiction “on” in every word, Prabhu manages to make the readers identify with the characters while maintaining the required mysticism to make them seek something deeper. While reading through the life of “The Broken Nightingale” or wondering about the mystery behind “The Man with the Beard”, you are bound to wonder how truth merges with fiction to make us introspect our beliefs.

Every reader may have their own favorites and weak links while going through the stories. In the current situation that the world has forced us into, with the power of decision making getting clouded with fear and paranoia surrounding the pandemic, we need to find straws that can help us elevate our thoughts and consciousness, and this collection provides many such straws if we open our worlds to these stories and let them in.

Find yourself traversing through Japan in “The Accidental Philanthropist”, through the deserts of Nevada in “Manifestations of Anpao”, through the streets of Georgia in “Agent Holder” and through the Himalayas in “The Rock Babas”. Explore the familiarity of human emotions across all parts of the world, and prepare to go through a myriad of sub-genres of mystery, drama, and love, while seeking yourself.

“Sometimes even a sheep must guide the shepherd that threatens to go astray” is the line that this reviewer takes away, to apply in his businesses aimed at changing the world. What is the line that you take away from this promising work?

About the author

Ashwin Srivastava

Ashwin Srivastava is the founder and CEO of Sapio Analytics, a data driven government advisory firm with head offices in Mumbai, USA and UK. The company uses data analytics and artificial intelligence to help provide decision making support to policy makers, and has multiple divisions, in form of healthcare, law enforcement and intelligence, MSME & economic growth, rural development, urban local bodies, heritage and culture, transport, and others.

He is also the co-founder of Great Manager Institute (GMI), a leading multinational people management consultancy firm based out of India, that uses A.I. to provide lifetime coaching for people managers. GMI boasts of more than 1300 unique clients spread across different industries.

He also co-owns Cancer Rounds, a comprehensive virtual cancer care hospital, and a brand of nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals for cancer patients through Princeton Healthcare. He sits on the Advisory Board of venture capital firm Crucible Venture Advisors, a domestic venture fund focused on companies in the new-age tech particularly involving data and also advises UAE-based Idein Ventures, currently focused on growth capital advisory (having co-founded it earlier in its then avatar as a seed stage VC firm). He is also an Advisor to ICMR TCC and is a special advisor to the Government of Guinea Bissau.

He is also the co-owner of a London based media network called Ajanta HC (headquartered in Mayfair), focused on ancient Indian culture.

As a Regional Mentor of Change in the Atal Innovation Mission of NITI Aayog (India’s apex body on policy making), he is responsible for mentoring 115+ mentors of change in the Mission.

Besides the same, he has also worked in various official and unofficial capacities with different bodies of governments across the globe, advising the Government of Uttar Pradesh, Government of India, Government of Telangana among others, in India.

Recipient of the Forbes Asia 30 under 30 honor in 2017, he has previously been awarded and featured by leading media publications. He has led and/or invested in companies such as Plancess, Infurnia, Qriyo, Incept, among others.

Currently, in the financial sector, he advises a growing startup called GramePay. He is also working with the Government of Uttar Pradesh on an in-progress Direct Benefits Transfer scheme.

A graduate from IIT Bombay (Dual Degree, 2006-2011), he has been actively involved in technology entrepreneurship from the first year of his college and has been a critical part of the growth of the startup ecosystem in India. Data Analytics focused products are his expertise and passion.

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