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a true story of love, compassion, bitterness, anger, poverty and redemption. told in almost childlike simplicity.



Dear Popples

Dear Popples and Anouradha Bakshi, nominated for the prestigious 'Golden Quill' awards in the fiction category alongwith Amitabh Ghosh and Chetan Bhagat

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Love letters from an unlikely mother

By Anouradha Bakshi

Publisher's Note                        Project WHY & Anouradha Bakshi

Support Project Why                 About Undercover Utopia

Dear Popples: Reviews

Dear Popples is a simple book. It has no clever sentences. No literary tricks. Not even a trailblazing plot. What is has - is Truth. In good measure. Written in the form of letters to her beloved Popples, whom she helped save from one of the most heartbreaking traumas, Anouradha Bakshi has written a book that will defy the way we look at stories just the way she defies all odds every day to bring smiles to the most unfortunate of children.

Here is the story of four lives intersected by time and others - a true story of love, compassion, bitterness, anger, poverty and redemption. told in almost childlike simplicity.

"The power of this book to me is in the honesty. An honest confession of love, goodness and humanity. Told with the hope that it will resonate with some forgotten abyss of our heart where we could discover love in its truest wonder."
- Anil Goel, author of the BestSelling novel Release 2.0: the Bangalore Imperative

"The stranger who pulled me from the line of a speeding truck as I meandered on a busy street was the kindest I have ever met. He saved my 2 year old life for God's sake! For no reason except he had a good heart. Which he risked for a stranger's son. And that's the man I have never thanked. Never again met. As Humans we show our best face to children. Our own. And to unknowns. But when the kids grow up they forget. Like I did. But I remembered him after all this time when I read Dear Popples. Anouradha's book will change the way you look at childhood."
- Al Raines, author of the BestSelling novels
Soul Search Engine , The Prayer and November Rain

A Note from the Publisher

There has been an interesting discussion at all levels before the publication of this book.

In many ways it is part of a discussion that started when we sponsored a Literary Festival earlier this year. It is about the definition of fiction Vis a Vis non fiction. Anil Goel, our bestselling Author of Release 2.0: The Bangalore Imperative defined it during a panel discussion @ the festival – it is the author’s prerogative in the end. If she so chooses - a true story can become fiction and what is fiction can begin to become real.

Our partner bookstores, our editors, and some of our reviewers, even us – we all found it difficult to label Dear Popples. Anouradha has written from the heart a story that she has lived with Popples – does it then become non fiction?
Here is the reason we have labelled it Fiction. Fiction: Inspirational.

To accept the real is not to accept that it is perfect. Reality is like clay. It is the starting point and not the end of things. At the beginning of the race all runners are at zero. Reality. One goes on to win. He changes reality. Shapes reality. Those who fail - accept that reality and start again on a fresh race. Everyone is back on the starting block. Reality waits to be shaped again. The race is long. And it is continuous. Every moment reality awaits our turn to shape it. To deny it is to escape into wishful inaction. To simply accept it is to stay at the starting block forever. Only way forward is to run.

When our stories become ordinary and the ordinary becomes a virtue; then virtue itself becomes ordinary and the only extraordinary thing left is murder and mayhem. For it is easy to ignore daily goodness like helping someone cross the street but crushing someone on the same street under speeding wheels is bound to generate more interest. At least in these cynical times. Which is why it is the job of stories to exemplify and exaggerate goodness.

Goodness is not sticky when it is mundane. Murder is.

If we want a society of goodness, kindness, compassion, courage and excellence we must tell stories of extraordinary goodness, compassion and excellence. And the extraordinarily good, kind, compassionate and courageous is called a hero.

We are all ordinary but it is the stories of our heroes that inspire us to rise above the ordinary when the moment demands. Without heroes, with the ordinary grey protagonist, all we find are echoes of our own fallible, flawed selves and when the moment calls - the hero within us fails to stir because all he has experienced in life as well as imagination are defeat, despair, fallibility and flaws. When the forces of murder and mayhem confront us in their dark, blacker than Black colour, we are choked in our throats with grey balls of fear and apprehension while the white light of courage and conviction ebbs away from our heart like the blood from our veins.

There are no heroes in life when there are no heroes in our stories.

For life is a story. The story!

Anouradha & Popples’ is an extraordinary story. More so because they have lived it.

Are they heroes?

That’s for you to find out.

Mrinal & Abhigyan Jha, April 2008.

About Project WHY & Anouradha Bakshi

Like you and me Anouradha Bakshi had a dream. The only difference was that Anou’s dream was to save the dreams of others. In the last 10 years hundreds of children have found their dreams coming true because of Anou and her Project WHY.

Anouradha Goburdhun Bakshi was Voted Citizen One 2005 by the India Today group and in the same year received the Red and White Silver medal for Social Bravery. With a Masters in French, she was interpreter to the likes of Indira Gandhi & Jacques Chirac. The last words of her diplomat father, “Don’t lose faith in India” - made her question the validity of an almost perfect life in an India where many ‘why’s still needed to be answered. She decided to find some of the answers by setting up Project Why in 1998. Project Why works with disadvantaged children and women in New Delhi.

Project WHY started with 40 children and spoken English classes. Today it reaches out to over 600 children and runs two early education programmes, one prep class, four Primary and one Secondary after school support programmes, a day care and life skills programme for 20 children with disabilities as well as a computer centre.

To support Project Why

– Here are a few things you can do besides giving money

Be our Friends: Anouradha Bakshi can be reached on Facebook. You can also join two Project Why Facebook groups Friends of Why and Citizen Why

Keep in touch: If you want to know more, please send your questions to Shamika: on shambakshou@yahoo.co.inand she’ll get back to you. You may drop a mail to Anou herself on anouradha.bakshi@gmail.com

Join the family:Become a Volunteer at Project Why in Delhi and help out a bit. You can also volunteer from afar. Just e-mail Shamika and she’ll put you to work.

Think happy thoughts: We can use all the positive thinking we can get around here and words of support and encouragement (whether spoken, written or thought) are always appreciated.

About Undercover Utopia

Undercover Utopia or U2, as our fans like to call us, pioneered a new genre of Indian Fiction: the Indian Pop Fiction with Al Raines’ first novel November Rain.

Then with India’s first Horror novel The Prayer, U2 catapulted to the most happening Publishing Imprint in India. Get all the information on the best and most popular collection of Indian Fiction books and trendsetting novels online at: www.undercoverutopia.com

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Dear Popples and Anouradha Bakshi, nominated for the prestigious 'Golden Quill' awards in the fiction category alongwith Amitabh Ghosh and Chetan Bhagat

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