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Gitanjali J. B. is a lot of different things — an MBA and a science graduate, an Odissi dancer and a ballerina (who trains in Russia for a month every year), a wife and a mother, and a karate black belt as well. But there’s one goal she’d set for herself a long time ago that she didn’t achieve until recently — to become a publisher and bring out the sort of books she wanted to read but didn’t find in bookstores.

That’s how Helios Books, Chennai’s newest independent publishing house, came into existence, last year. Its maiden publication, “The Wind and the Rain”, an evocative period novel set in God’s Own Country, and written by the late George K. Mathew, former head, Department of English, Madras Christian College, was recently launched before a packed audience by the Madras Book Club. But bringing out quality English literary fiction is just one of Gitanjali’s ambitions for Helios.

“Our vision is also to rediscover the forgotten values of Indian culture in a modern context,” she says. “What do we know of the Vedas and the Upanishads and their relevance to our world today?”

Gitanjali, as you might have gathered by now, is not one to do things in half measures. So not only does she have in-house researchers — fully funded by Helios — working on this vast project (“we’re planning to bring out 40 volumes on Vedic symbolism”), she’s also enrolled in a PhD programme to learn more herself.


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