Mridu Shailaj

As an avid foodie, I have been mentally processing food since I was 8 and then reproducing it to the delight of my family and friends. Recipe books are the product of this fixation.


Sun Sign


Three things people don’t know about you?

I am an open book so no mysteries surround me. However I have stepped on all of the 5 continents – with a bit of cheating though, for I have equated New Zealand to Australia

What’s your greatest fear?

Being dependant on others – financially or physically

What is your greatest achievement?

For 4 years managing a school for children from the slum communities in Dhaka

High point of your life?

While bringing up 2 children, at the age of 40 and 46 I got my BA & MA degrees

Low point of your life

When researching for the book ‘Our lives Our Hopes: Beyond Statistics and Reports’ about children living in poverty, I visited some of the children in their homes and saw the depravation and dire poverty they live inat close hand and then came back to my upscale apartment in Dhaka. The unfairness and injustice bothered me then and still troubles me.

Which living person do you most admire?

Vandana Shiva – for her ground breaking work in agriculture and her ideology of ecofeminism

Who is your favorite fictional hero?

Shuruti Kakkar (BBB) – she is cleaver, confident, determined and an achiever yet grounded. But she is also fallible, made aware of it and therefore prepared to compromise

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

None – but I do admire bank robbers!

Who are your favorite authors?

Edward Said – his book Orientalism is a must to understand colonialism and the colonised Zadie Smith – Her range is tremendous and a touch of humour makes the stories more real

What are your 5 favorite books of all time?

Mahabharat – never ending stories within stories My family and other animals – seriously funny A suitable boy – each family has its own sagas and intrigues Ecology as politics – written in 1980, the ideas are still valid today Blood sympathy – black detective, his cat, his aunt and his friends all so plausible and amusing

Is there a book you love to reread?

Mahabharat - and reread

What are your 5 favorite movies of all time?

Pyasa, Guide, The producers, Well Done Abba, Women at the edge of nervous breakdown

One Superpower you wish you had?

See my readers enjoy the books I have written

Your epitaph would read? /Last line in your biography would be?

She died eating - heaven!

If you had a time machine to take you back to any country and any time period, where would you choose to be for your childhood, adolosent , adult life and silver years?

Go back to Baripada (Orissa) – if it is still the same green, tranquil place and not a concrete jungle. I had some carefree years there surrounded by my grand-parents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

Turn my thoughts and ideas into eloquent writing

Which book you wish you had written ?


When and where do you write ?

Mainly in the morning at my desk

Silence or music?

Excuses, cups of coffee, aimless walking

Do you have a writing ritual / superstition?


What’s your guilty reading pleasure?

Tucked in bed - daytime or night

Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

Tucked in bed - daytime or night

Mridu Shailaj Thanki was born in India and lives in the UK. She raised her two children while working in the public and voluntary sectors at a senior level. Her passion for cookery goes back to her childhood. Mridu’s extensive travels exposed her to diverse cultures and cuisines while honing her culinary skills. She has run cookery classes in different parts of the world and has appeared on British Television. In 2009, she published her first book on vegetarian food, Feasts of India. She has also co-authored a book on children living in poverty, Our Lives and Hopes; Beyond Statistics and Reports (2006).

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Debashis Biswas

With more than 15 years of experience in book sales and distribution, Debashis currently oversees Leadstart’s business activities in eastern India and neighbouring countries. He has previously worked with several leading book publishers and distributors.

Walid Jalal

Walid has 7 years experience in online listing & marketing Working in SEO firm & Publishing sector. He worked in a Restaurant as a Manager in Sharjah for two years. He loves cricket & cooking.

Jayati Sarkar

Jayati has been into literature studies and has pursued her Mphil in Australian Aboriginal Poetry from the University of Calcutta. She is an avid reader and her love for books has brought her to the field of Publishing. For years she has explored the other side of the book as a reader and now she works with Leadstart as the Senior Executive in the Editorial Department. Her work profile includes working closely with Authors, managing the projects from end to end and also working with national and international publishers for management of Secondary Rights.

Ashwini Jadhav

Ashwini has about a decade’s experience in design. She is a Master of Commercial Art, who has worked in the publishing and advertising sectors as a visualiser & designer. She was judged as the third best in the state, when she finished her foundation course in applied art. She is a practicing calligrapher in Modi Lipi (a script in the Marathi language) and is a Rangoli artist who has won several accolades in those domains. During the popular Ganesh Chaturthi festival, several idols of Ganesha in varying sizes get made, one the most important finishing touches to the idol is that of painting the eyes, which Ashwini has practiced to perfection and does it for hundreds of idols every year. In addition to the above, she is also a trained classical dancer, a national level Kabaddi player and loves cooking.

Ananya Subramanian

Graduation in journalism and love for books, led Ananya to take up a career in publishing. With her experience in the field, she has come to believe more and more in the power of stories and the people who tell them. She is a vegan and an animal-lover; and loves to dance, tend to her pet plants and often find solace in solo travelling.

T. Vijay Kumar

Vijay has over a decade’s experience in supply chain management working in India and the Middle East. He heads the production, supply chain and receivables management for Leadstart. Prior to his current role at Leadstart, Vijay worked in inventory management for five years, in Abu Dhabi.

Iftikar Shaikh

Iftikar has a decade & half years of experience across publishing and the banking sectors in the finance domain. He enjoys working on numbers and loves uncovering stories that the numbers tell. A fitness enthusiast, he loves trekking and travelling.

Maneesha Arun

Maneesha has an experience of over two decades in the content industry spanning over publishing, media and secondary rights business domains. She has a deep interest in psychology.

Mahendra Rawat

With more than a decade’s experience in book sales and distribution, Mahendra comes from a family immersed in the book trade. He worked with several book distributors and publishers before his current assignment with Leadstart.


With more than 15 years of experience in book sales and distribution, Debashis currently oversees Leadstart’s business activities in eastern India and neighbouring countries. He has previously worked with several leading book publishers and distributors.

Rajesh Krishnan

Rajesh comes with over 3 decades of experience spread over various business domains. He oversees Leadstart’s business development & sales across southern & western India, Sri Lanka and Middle-East. His hobbies include dancing, trekking and travelling

Pooja Dutt

Pooja has over a decade’s experience in operations, sales and people management in various business domains. She loves to interact with authors and helps them meet their publishing goals. She is fond of travelling & cooking.

Bhavika Bharambe

After completing her MBA in marketing, Bhavika has focused on roles that helped her to become an experienced marketing professional today. She has worked for brands from various industries; Educational, Tourism, Retail, Entertainment, Airlines, Banking and more. She loves to spend her time by reading books and listening to music.

Naina Solanki

Naina leads the project management and author support functions at Leadstart Publishing. She is fond of being abreast of the latest developments in technology and is a keen learner of the six sigma methodology. She loves reading and travelling.

Preeti Chib

Preeti has a decade’s experience in brand and communication management with most influential and innovative media companies. She is passionate about building brands by translating consumer insights into product innovations and campaigns. She is a compulsive reader and considers a day gone without some bit of reading a day wasted. She loves reading stories to her children every night. A lover of visual art, to delve a bit deeper into the same, she took up formal training for design as well.

Malini Nair

Malini is passionate about Literature and Business Management. After her MBA (Marketing) from St. Xavier’s, she took up roles that involved sales, marketing, costing, MIS etc. in multiple sectors like Banking, Insurance, E-broking, and even the Steel industry. Eventually, her passion for languages and books compelled her to re-route her career to literature. This led to a career break and a Masters Degree in English Literature; post which she took up a role at Wordit CDE & Leadstart, enabling her to work towards both her passions.

Chandralekha Maitra

With two decades of experience as a book publishing professional, Chandralekha began her career as a features writer and columnist, working with publications across India, before moving into book publishing full time, with India Book House. She received her training in editorial title management from Book House, London. Over the years she has worked with some of the finest publishing houses in India and overseas, and across genres and markets. She has also worked with Osian’s-Connoisseurs of Art, India’s first auction house, gaining in-depth exposure to research and publishing in the fine arts-antiquities-cultural heritage genres. Additionally she has had a parallel, specialist career in Human Resources, working at Group HR, Tata Group, among others. She continues to write, train and mentor in this domain as her publishing commitments allow.

Raj Supe

Aka Kinkar Vishwashreyananda, Raj Supe is a poet, storyteller and novelist, as well as a seeker and devotee of Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath. An MBA by education, his career spanned advertising, research and creative consulting, before devoting his time to literature and spirituality. His works include Three No Trumps (novel), Sagarika Anusagarika [Echoes of Nine Rivers] (poetry), Pilgrim of the Sky (spiritual memoir), and translations of religious texts such as Cloudburst of A Thousand Suns and Jai Jai Ram Krishna Hari. He has also worked on film scripts with Ram Gopal Verma and Ashutosh Gowariker, and on plays with Makarand Deshpande.

Dr. Rabindra Kumar Nanda

An alumnus of IIT Kanpur, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Stanford University, Dr Nanda is also a National Science Talent Search Scholar. He holds five Patents and is a published author of 50 national and 52 international research papers.

Swarup Nanda

Swarup has over a decade and half’s experience in multiple business domains related to content. Prior to his entrepreneurial ventures, he has worked with a couple of MNCs in the media space. His passion for literature and books is his motivation for building Leadstart.