Deepavali (also known as Diwali) is celebrated by millions around the world, and the reason behind this celebration varies across the different states and cultures in India itself. This is what makes the meaning of Deepavali even more special (in my very personal opinion:D) as despite celebrating it for different reasons, the joy and festivity that comes with it are all the same, much like the other ethnicities in Singapore.

The most commonly known reason for celebrating Deepavali (mainly in Northern India) is to mark the return of Lord Rama, with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman to Ayodhya, at the end of his 14-year long exile and after defeating Ravana, the king of Lanka. To mark Lord Rama's return, his subjects in Ayodhya lit the entire kingdom with earthen lamps. If you'd like to know more of this story, click here.

With the spirit of Deepavali around us, it's the best time to know more about the Indian/Hindu culture or to just get into the Deepavali mood (which is seemingly hard due to the pandemic). Here’s a list of reads for your festive pleasure, I hope you enjoy them! 

x Maya



1. You People by Nikita Lalwani 

'A moving, authentic, humane novel which raises fundamental questions about what it means to be kind in an unkind world' - The Guardian

2. Nimita's Place by Akshita Nanda

We're HUGE fans of Akshita Nanda and her debut novel Nimita's Place. Fun fact, half the novel is based in the city of Lahore, where our founder is from.

3. Kopi, Puffs & Dreams by Pallavi Gopinath Aney

Pallavi Gopinath Aney is a partner at an international law firm in Singapore, and a mentor to young lawyers specifically focusing on diversity initiatives in a changing world. Originally from Kerala and Delhi, she has called Singapore home since 2006. Her writing often tackles the immigrant experience. Kopi, Puffs and Dreams is her first novel.

4. One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan

Aniruddhan Vasudevan’s idiomatic translation of this book preserves the mood of the original, and serves as a constant linguistic reminder that, as readers in English, we are but visitors to this realistic pre-independence Tamil world. For a book that earned its author death threats and was burned by mobs, One Part Woman is a surprisingly tranquil, sensuous read. - The Guardian

5. Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi

In Avni Doshi’s debut novel, “Burnt Sugar,” that first sentence is: “I would be lying if I said my mother’s misery has never given me pleasure.” It is wonderfully striking, direct and confident, and devilishly funny. Such a voice, from a woman, rarely makes it onto the page. Women are often made to sound nice. - The NY Times

6. What A Happy Family by Saumya Dave

Saumya has a passion for women’s mental health and wellness. She and her husband, Samir Sheth, founded thisisforHER, a nonprofit which uses art therapy to improve mental health awareness and education for women and girls in low- and middle-income countries. She is a practicing therapist, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai, where she teaches Narrative Medicine.

7. Serena Singh Flips the Script by Sonya Lalli

“Sonya Lalli’s charming novel explores how our relationships define us. Through honesty, humor, and vulnerability, Serena Singh reminds us that new, fulfilling connections are possible at any age. This equal parts relatable and entertaining story is a delight from start to finish!” - Saumya Dave, author of What A Happy Family

8. Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam

Tanwi Nandini Islam is a writer, multimedia artist, and founder of Hi Wildflower Botanica, a handcrafted natural perfume and skincare line.

9. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When asked what her weird superpower is on Twitter by her fans, Sandhya Menon responded, "I see words in my head when I talk. That’s why I’ve always been good at spelling!"


1. Brown Baby by Nikesh Shukla

His latest book, Brown Baby: A Memoir of Race, Family and Home, is addressed to his two daughters (who are now six and three years old). The book explores themes of racism, fatherhood, grief, his relationship with food, and shifting ideas of home. It is funny, sad, and deeply, deeply moving all at once. - Shondaland

2. Djinn Patrol on The Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

Djinn Patrol draws on real incidents and a spate of disappearances in metropolitan India.


1. Whorls Within by Nandini Sen Mehra

We hosted the launch of Whorls Within at The Moon earlier this year!

Short Story

1. Galpa: Short Stories from Women in Bangladesh by Niaz Zaman & Firdous Azim

Firdous Azim is Professor of English at BRAC University in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  She is an active member of Naripokkho, a woman’s activist group in Bangladesh, and is currently working on a women activists’ memoir project.