Himanshi Bahuguna


A Delhi University pass out student, Satyarth Nayak’s book has been praised by the likes of Amish Tripathi and Ashwin Sanghi who called it ‘a fantastic blend of myth and imagination’ and ‘Intelligent, intriguing, intense’ respectively. Hindustan Times and The Hindu also have similar rave reviews for the book. The Emperor’s Riddle has topped several national bestsellers list and The Asian Age Top 10 Bestseller chart ranking #1 for four consecutive weeks and is also being considered for a thriller feature film.

Author Satyarth Nayak answers some of our questions regarding being a new age writer in India, the growing publishing industry of India and his experience as a DU alumnus.

1. Let’s begin with your journey of becoming the country’s bestselling author. Tell us something about from where you began.

A. I am a Delhi based author, script writer and a former Correspondent with CNN-IBN, Delhi. I love the thriller genre and always knew that my first book would invariably be a mystery novel. I call my book a freak act of nature. One fine evening after re-reading one of Dan Brown’s novels, I had this sudden curiosity to know if we have any similar esoteric mysteries or secrets in our Indian history and culture. It was a random search on the Net during which I stumbled across this beautiful story associated with one of our most iconic Indian Emperors. The man’s vision mesmerized me. The more I read about the Emperor’s fascinating deed thousands of years ago, the more I knew that I had to tell this story. That’s how this journey began and I am glad the book has become a bestselling thriller and praised by writers like Amish Tripathi & Ashwin Sanghi.

2. For those who are yet to read The Emperor’s Riddles, what would you describe it as? Tell us what it’s about.

A. The media is calling this a history meets mystery since they are both parallel tracks in the novel. The present day track has my main lead walking a trail of cryptic riddles scattered all over the country that they must solve one by one to reach the final enigma while the historical track involves the evolution of an Emperor. The legend used in the book involves a fascinating historical secret of one of our greatest and most celebrated Indian emperors. It’s also probably the first Indian thriller to use Buddhist iconography and mythology. If you love murder mysteries, myths and legends, intriguing investigation and that twist in the end, you will love my book. And there are plenty of riddles to solve. The path beckons…can you crack them all?

3. Being a new age writer, what do you have to say about the upcoming publishing industry and the growing concept of literary agencies?

A. The best thing about the Indian publishing industry today is that it has expanded massively to incorporate writers from every nook and corner of the country. Writing is no longer an elitist exercise. Today many Indian publishers are open to new talent and new writings. Self publishing and e-publishing have also emerged as new options to put your work out there for the world to read. Literary agencies in India are still in the fledgling stage but surely a viable option especially for debut writers. Agencies edit & polish your manuscript, pitch it to publishing houses and negotiate the best deals. However keep in mind that a genuine literary agency does not charge for any of these initial services and take their cut only when the book starts to make money.

4. Your works have been compared to the likes of Dan Brown. How does that feel? Tell us about the inspiration behind your writing.

A. As I told you the book happened because of Dan Brown so being compared to him is probably the ultimate compliment I can get. It feels wonderful to be put in the same category but I cannot allow that to make me complacent. It feels great to have made a successful debut but I still have miles to go and many more books to write. I have grown up reading and admiring the greats like Poe, Holmes, Christie, Wallace and Dan Brown. I have secretly wanted to emulate them and toy with the minds of the readers like they do.

5. You are a Delhi University pass out. What do you have to say about the kind of platforms DU gives to asppiring writers?

A. Yes, I graduated from Venky and did Masters in English Literature from Stephen’s. The fact that DU now offers a course in Creative Writing is such a welcome development. I wish I had that opportunity when I was a student. This will certainly go a long way in nurturing young and aspiring talent. Also the various college fests provide excellent writing competitions which are a fabulous platform for upcoming writers to test their skills.

6. Do you plan to write a sequel to The Emperor’s Riddle, or perhaps a screenplay?

A. There’s no sequel planned but one of my characters in The Emperor’s Riddles will embark upon another adventure in my next book. We do have an interest from Bollywood to convert the thriller into a film. Screen adaptation is always an exciting option though it will be a challenge to condense the book into a two hour format. The book will have to be modified accordingly and the screenplay is being written as we speak. Let’s see how it shapes up.

7. A lot of writers prefer sticking to the same genre of their bestselling works. Will you prefer writing thrillers like The Emperor’s Riddle or would you like to explore some other genres as well in the future?

A. Thriller is my favourite genre and as of now I intend to stick with it. There are quite a bunch of wicked ideas in my head that are clamouring to be turned into books. Having said that I also love history and am deliberating over a historical epic based on a fascinating character from Indian regional history. Cinema writing also interests me and I might do something in that direction as well.

8. With the increased exposure on social media, self publishing of the books, do you think it has become easier for writers to break into the market?

A. It has made life easier to some extent but it has also opened the floodgates for more and more writers clamouring for attention. With so many people writing and so many books getting published, you will have to be exceptional to stand out. Social media draws out more talent but also intensifies the competition.

9. Anything you’d like to say to your readers for the response they have given to your book? Any news regarding when they’d get to read something more from you?

A. I would obviously thank all my readers for their leap of faith in picking up the book of a debut author and bringing us this far. I now owe it to them to make sure that my next book is even better. My second book is also a mystery thriller but I am exploring mythical fantasy and sci-fi in this one. A cinema book based on one of the most iconic films of Bollywood is also on the cards.

10. Would you like to say something to aspiring writers in Delhi University?

A. I would advise them to write only when they get an idea that absolutely grabs them by the neck and makes them sit and write. Only when they have that one idea that makes them want to do nothing but write should they begin. It’s also imperative that debut authors promote their book as much as possible. The publishers will certainly do their bit but authors these days also need to spread the word about their book. Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads are excellent social networking tools to make readers aware of your books. And enjoy the process of writing. Unless you have fun writing, readers won’t have fun reading!

The year of 2014 saw many shades in the music industry, from drop in sales to new artists and bands which made breakthroughs with their albums. While relatively new acts like British rock band 1975 and Australian boy band 5 Seconds Of Summer released albums which were loved by millions, old acts like Coldplay and Beyonce also released hit records.

Now as 2014 nears its end, we bring you eight of the many albums which made a critical as well as commercial impact in music this year.

1. X (or Multiply) by Ed Sheeran

Sheeran’s X is currently topping year end charts and sales in UK. X also ranked number one in The Daily Telegraph’s list of Best 50 Albums of 2014. Apart from the international recognition and commercial success, X launched Sheeran into the mainstream market. The album gave hit and memorable singles like Don’t Sing, Thinking Out Loud, Sing and Afire Love. This is definitely the musical masterpiece of 2014.

2. In the Lonely Hour by Sam Smith

Another British artist in the list, Sam Smith’s studio debut album In the Lonely Hour was a surprise 2014 hit. Spawning five chartbusting singles – Lay Me Down, Money on My Mind, Stay with Me, I’m Not the Only One and Like I Can, the album was a commercial success and topped charts in many countries. Although the album received mixed reviews from the critics, it was a noticeable work of this year.

3. Ultraviolence by Lana Del Ray

Ultraviolence, apart from Lana’s third noticeable studio album, was also a big 2014 hit. The album showed Lana’s impressive vocal range and charted songs like Shades of Cool, West Coast and Ultraviolence.

4. Royal Blood by Royal Blood

Formed in 2013 in Brighton, this garage and blues rock band released a significant eponymous debut album this year. The album was successful in garnering substantial critical acclaim both lyrically and musically. Out of the ten song long track list, some of the noteworthy tracks in this album are Out of the Black, Come on Over and Ten Tonne Skeleton.

5. Ghost Stories by Coldplay

The sixth studio album by Coldplay was one of the most waited for releases of 2014. Ghost Stories got critical as well as commercial acclaim and topped charts in more than 20 countries. Tracks like Magic, Midnight, A Sky Full of Stars, True Love and Ink were remarkable hits by the band.

6. 5 Seconds of Summer by 5 Seconds of Summer

This Australian pop punk/ pop rock band’s debut album rocketed the act to international fame and acclaim. The album released five hit singles including international hits like She Looks So Perfect and What I Like About You. The band has emerged to be a noteworthy act of 2014.

7. The 1975 by 1975

Another prominent debut record of 2014, the English indie rock band’s eponymous album also made the act come in the public eye. Six singles from the album including The City and Girls were able to get charted on Billboard.

8. 1989 by Taylor Swift

The transition from country to pop made Swift’s fifth studio album an international chart topper, debuting at number one in over 10 countries. Till now, 1989 has charted two number one hit singles – Shake it Off and Blank Space. It also became the album of 2014 to hit the platinum mark in its first week of release.

During the Biology exam in SGTB Khalsa College on Monday, 8th December 2014, six students were caught cheating, pointing at paper leak possibilities. The Delhi University officials have received the information about the cheating case.

Reportedly, there were two incidents, one in which two students were using unfair means of information inside the examination hall and the other six students were caught with the photographs of the same question paper in their smart phones while the exam was happening.

Malay Neerav, the media coordinator of DU told The Hindu that in the first incident, the students were found to have answers supplied to them by someone from outside. While in the second case, the students who were not even supposed to sit for exams were seen outside the examination hall. When investigated, they were caught with the copies of the question paper in their phones.

Although a no tolerance policy against the caught students has been put forward by Mr. Neerav, there hasn’t been any FIR registered on the case.

“The exam disciplinary committee will take appropriate action against the students who were found cheating inside the examination hall. But the University cannot do anything about the non-examinee students . It is a criminal activity and it is up to the college to hand over the case too an investigating authority.”  Malay told Hindustan Times.

Jaswinder Singh, the college principal has also confirmed the cheating incident.

Feature Image (representational) Credits:

Himanshi Bahuguna
[email protected]


The month long winter break that we get after the midterm semester exams is often an incentive to get done with writing answer sheets and day dream about how we are going to spend this stretched period of hibernation away from books, studies and college.

Though half of us end up being active contributors of the ‘How did you waste your break?’ conversation we can always start planning ahead about how to make a long break productive. There are almost a dozen things and plans in your bucket list whichnever materialize because of the regular college schedule. So this is the time you actually start prioritizing your interests and make the best use of the holidays.

Here are a few things to start with, in case you already don’t have any –

Outstation trip – Got some close friend who lives in some other city? Bored of your mundane life? Pack your bags and go on an outstation trip with your group of friends. Explore a new town and make a photo diary or a photo album about the experience. This change of atmosphere will probably refresh you up for the entire next semester.


travel 1

The non-outstation trip – Well, in case you cannot go out of the city, Delhi isn’t a bad option after all. In fact, Delhi can be explored best in winters with the parks, monuments and all the places which might interest you. Take your cameras and go into the tourist zone.

red fort

Internship – If you think that killing your time sitting at home is a sin of your college life and you are rather interested in making an academic or professional benefit in your holidays, join a workplace internship. It will not only keep you active but will also be a beneficial addition in your resume.



Pending book bucket list – If you are an indoor person who prefers spending sunny winter afternoons all wrapped up in blankets in your bedroom and you love reading, then buckle up to make the world jealous in the next Book Bucket challenge on Facebook. Read all the books which you’ve been planning to read but couldn’t do because of the academic texts.

  • read


Movie marathons – During the time when you cocooned yourself in the world where your only aim was to pass the semester while there was a race against time going on, you surely would have missed quite a few good movies. Now is the time when you make up for that. Watch all Alan Rickman movies, anyone?

alan rickman


Binge watching your favorite shows – This is another thing you will enjoy doing. Just make a list of some of the shows you want to see, get them from your friend who obsesses about it and see how many seasons can you complete in a day. This will also help you have amazing last bench discussions during some unbearable lectures when the colleges reopen.


With all the above mentioned things, you can make a balance of all the things that you want to do with all the things that you should do. So indulge in some hobbies and creativity while making sure that this is also the best time to gather some internship certificates.

Happy holidays!

‘Does attendance matter?’
‘Do we have marks for attendance?’
‘What’s the minimum attendance for which I will be allowed to give the exams?’

The record in our teacher’s attendance register about the number of classes we managed to grace our physical presence in the class rooms drive the subject of this article. Is attendance necessary or not?

Well, no matter how much the students hate this concept and crib about its very existence in the first place, attendance in fact is important. Yes, it is important to attend the lectures in college for a better understanding of what the textbooks and guides cannot provide. It is important to indulge in classroom discourses to formulate ideas and it is important to be there and learn the things for which we will be awarded an undergraduate degree in the future.

All of it being of utmost importance in relation with being present in the classrooms, we come to the next part of the question – is it necessary?

Is it a necessity to be present in a class when we really don’t want to study, already know or do not consider very important a particular topic? Is it necessary to mark our physical presence for an hour for the sake of the record register when we won’t be paying attention to what is being taught in the class?
The difference between important and necessary can be absolutely subjective. If I, being a student, believe that an internship and work experience will be more beneficial for me than the attendance, my personal perspective of the two terms might completely differ from a student who thinks that attending every class will contribute to better academic understanding which will further be beneficial for his/her academic goals.

Being in college, I perceive, the students are capable enough to know their priorities. If these students are allowed to make choices of choosing their careers and are seen capable of making the right choice, the fact that they are not given liberty to not attend classes which they think are not of importance is a self-contradictory concept in itself. In addition to that, making a certain percentage of attendance a necessity still makes sense to some extent when the college authorities do have to maintain if students are actually attending classes or not but the practice of awarding additional marks for more attendance in some colleges doesn’t make sense.

Completely getting rid of the concept of attendance is perhaps not the solution either. Removing necessity of attendance will also give liberty to that part of the crowd which is ignorant of the fact that classrooms exist. But again coming to my previous point, if a student is not willing to attend classes, even if attendance is made compulsory, they won’t suddenly start attending all classes. Certainly not with the availability of fake medical certificates. What’s good in promoting such forgery?

It is as simple as this – if someone wants to attend classes, they will. And if someone doesn’t, they will not and find ways to compensate for attendance. Making attendance a necessity will only make a slight difference which will be that the student will start attending lectures right before the exams to compensate for the low attendance. Does this serve any good to the student or contribute in any sense to his academic ability? No, because we all know how much we feel like studying when we reluctantly come to attend classes in the conclusive days of the semester. He/she will be either sleeping in the last row or scribbling designs in the last page of his/her notebook.

As an alternate solution, the minimum threshold of attendance should be reduced to a limit where students don’t feel forced to attend classes. And then again, if they don’t, it should be their choice.

November is halfway through and is being accompanied by a sharp drop in the temperature. Now opinions may differ from person to person about the famous ‘Dilli ki sardi’, but one cannot possibly escape the fun that the short span of winters bring in the otherwise scorching hot weather of Delhi.

Here are a few things which come along the cold:


1. Morning Classes Blues


Yes I know. Half of our population simply dreads the idea of letting go of the heavenly warm morning bed and that too to attend the early morning classes. A bit over sensitive to the cold, the attendance of morning lectures of these people drop faster than the temperature outside.


2. The DU winter break


If you have friends in other universities, you will certainly know how lucky you are to have an extended, nearly a month long break during winters, which most of them don’t get. So while other people are still preparing for exams, we are spending mornings in our beds, lethargically waiting for Christmas and New Year parties.


3. The Wardrobe Woes


One thing that we certainly don’t like is the piling up of fabric when it just gets too cold to handle. The worst feeling is that when you put on your battle shields to fight the weather outside and there always remains some place from where the cold manages to seep inside mocking you right in your face, almost saying, ‘You can’t escape’ with an evil smile.


4. Nescafe jams for coffee


After almost every class, you will find hoards of students jamming the college Nescafe for coffees. Holding the hot elixir in paper cups in your hands is just the best feeling you can get on a chilling foggy day.


5. Daytime outings


Has it not happened a lot of times already, that you want to go out with your friends on an outdoor trip but refrained from doing so because it’s just too hot all the time? Well! Now is coming the best time to explore the monuments, popular gardens and you will not even have to worry about the uncomfortable heat.
Go plan a trip and compile an exclusive winter playlist for it.


6. The evening college dreams


All of a sudden, the life of kids in the evening colleges starts appearing like a paradise. Every time you wake up to that alarm of 6 in the morning, you dream if you were one of those lucky ones too who have the liberty to sleep as long as they wish for.

Featured image credit:

With her fifth studio album, 1989, Taylor Swift finally departs from the country music which catapulted her to stardom in 2006’s eponymous debut album. Keeping up with the buzz that 1989 has been creating ever since its announcement in August and the high expectations in terms of sales, the album released on 27th October under much speculation as Taylor’s first ‘officially documented pop album.’
So what new does 1989 offer? Well, apart from the new pop, electro pop and bubblegum pop music, one legacy that Swift continues to take forward while leaving the sound of basses and banjos behind, is her songwriting which is one of the top reasons 1989 is going to be another milestone in her eight year long career.

The album opener, ‘Welcome to New York’ is one of the first songs through which Swift apparently shows that she is capable of amalgamating catchy pop-anthem music of drum machines with close lyrical observations.

With the next song, ‘Blank Space’, Swift has shown that she has matured and knows what she wants while she sings, ‘Cause you know I love the players and you love the game’. Swifties will find the change that she has developed in her lyrical and musical style at the most in this song while still connected with her confessional lyric writing style.

While the third song ‘Style’ carries on carries on the heavy pop element, the (rumored) Harry Styles inspired song, ‘Out of the Woods’ is quite catchy with its heavy chanting of the chorus and the ballad of the stanzas of , ‘Your necklace hanging from my neck, the night we couldn’t quite forget’.
While she explores love and power in ‘All You Had to Do Was Stay’, we come to the already Billboard number one hit single ‘Shake It Off’ which is a fine piece of writing and is a fine change from her themes of love and heartbreaks.

The other half of the album includes pop ballads and songs of breathy voclas including songs like ‘I Wish You Would’, ‘Bad Blood’, ‘Wildest Dreams’, ‘How You Get the Girl’, ‘This Love’, ‘I Know Places’ and the closing track ‘Clean’.

While she delivers a strong vocal performance in almost all the songs, the lyrics of some like ‘Clean’ and ‘Wildest Dreams’ stand out exceptionally.

Overall, 1989 is a good album with the exceptionally famous lyrics Swift is known for. For fans who don’t like the pop sound of the album and the entire transition in her music, the lyrics will surely make up for the lost country sound. The reinvention of sound, themes and persona that Swift sings in this thirteen song masterpiece will be another memoir for her fans.

India’s share of global achievers is noteworthy in all fields. The same can be seen in the Indian achievers of the much coveted Nobel Prize. The prize is given annually in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, Peace and Economics. Kailash Satyarthi was jointly presented with the Nobel Peace Prize along with Malala Yousafzai today. Mr. Satyarthi is the founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or the Save the Childhood Movement, which campaigns for child rights and an end to human trafficking.
Here are other Indians who have brought the Nobel Prize home with worldwide glory-


Rabindranath Tagore

The first non-European to win a Nobel for Literature in 1913 for ‘Geetanjali’, a collection of poems. His verses, poetry and writings have been considered phenomenal in India as well as the West.

C.V Raman

A Physicist, Raman was awarded with the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930 for his groundbreaking research and the ‘Raman Effect’ of light which was named after him.

Dr. Hargobind Khorana

India’s doctorate in Chemistry, he shared the Nobel in 1968 for Physiology or Medicine with Robert Holley and Marshall Nirenberg for his work in Human Genetic Code and its role in Protein Synthesis.

Mother Teresa

A Yogoslavian nun who later became a citizen of India, she was awarded Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979. She served people suffering from Leprosy and to those people dying in destitute through her Charitable Mission “Nirmal Hriday” at Calcutta.

Amartya Sen

A professor of Economics, Sen became the first Indian to win a Nobel for Economics in 1998 for his work in Welfare Economics contributing largely to the field of Poverty, Democracy, Development and Social Welfare.

Subrahmanyan Chandrashekhar

He shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983 with William Alfred Fowler for his theoretical studies of the ‘physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars’.


While these scientists are natives of India, there are also many other Nobel Prize winners who are of Indian descent and have made India proud by their achievements. These personalities are –

V.S Naipaul

A British writer of Indian origin, he won the Nobel for Literature in 2001. Born in Trinidad, he based his all-time popular novel, A House of Mr. Biswas, on life of an Indian immigrant in Trinidad.


 Dr. Venkataraman Ramakrishnan

An Indo-American who shared the Nobel for Chemistry in 2009 with Israel’s Thomas Steitz and Ada Yonath for their work in mapping ribosomes, the protein procucing factories within cells at the atomic level.


According to the QS World University Rankings for the year 2014-15 released on September 16th, Delhi University has been ranked number one in India in terms of ‘Employer Reputation’.

The QS World University Rankings consider many factors while compiling its annual list of world’s top universities. These factors include research quality, graduate employment, student-staff ratios, teaching standards and number of international students with major importance given to academic reputation. Around 800 universities around the world are rated by surveying the opinions of more than 60,000 academics about the merits of other academic institutions.

This year, the ranking of Delhi University based on ‘Employer Reputation’ has improved to the 122 making it 1st in India. On the basis of ‘Academic Reputation’, Delhi University has been ranked 196 which is also the highest rank achieved by an Indian university apart from some IITs. DU maintains its top position in India in the field of Social Science and Management with a rank of 166. DU’s worldwide rank in Arts and Humanities is 194 while it is 220 in the field of Natural Science.

Other than five IITs, Delhi University remains on the topmost position in India as per the released QS rankings of year 2014-15. In comparison with the previous year’s rankings, Delhi University has moved up by 20 ranks. Delhi University also remains on top in India apart from some IITs with a lead of 130 points from the University of Mumbai.