is an award-winning journalist who has been published in several countries. He began his career, which spans over three decades, with The Times of India in Mumbai. He has launched and edited magazines, written four books on different aspects of healing, and freelanced for the BBC, UNFPA, France 2, Ray of Hope, Teacher’s Training Centre, Tralee, Ireland, Gulf News and several other international media organisations.
He has co-authored books on AIDS and prostitution in South-Asia, been Executive Editor of three journals on the technical and human aspects of HIV/AIDS, and written extensively on the subject. The street is his muse. He also walks endlessly, drinks tea, reads Sri Aurobindo, does yoga, comments on sport, breeds snails and watches life with some irreverence. He lives and works in Mumbai, India.
Special interests include walking, pets, travel, yoga, exercise, collecting precious and semi-precious stones, alternate healing and lifestyles, massage, meditation, offbeat communities and people, sport, mentoring, cow products, silence, tea, astrology, numbers, aura reading, rudraksha power and spirituality. Would love to connect with people of diverse interests, shadows and consciousness.
Travelled extensively through India, Asia and parts of Europe.
Export batiks, wall hangings, jewellery of all kinds, Thangka and Mughal paintings, antiquities, cotton garments, sarongs, embroidered skirts, bed linen and upholstery, scarves, shawls, silk garments, leather goods, peepal leaf paintings, dolls, puppets, paper and other bric a brac. Sourced directly from the manufacturer at wholesale rates. Arts and crafts are a passion.
Projects on hand include a book on AIDS & Sexuality in India, a book on chakra healing, a book on the powers of rudrakshas, a book of short, erotic stories and more hands-on research of marginalised existence.
Freelanced for the BBC, Channel 4, France 2, UNFPA, Ray of Hope, ARCON Centre, Tralee Teachers' Centre, Ireland, Gulf News and several other international media organisations.
Have a unique body of work on gypsies, street life, HIV/AIDS, prostitution in south Asia, yoga, alternate health and erotic fiction.
Lectured on Indian affairs in Europe.
Won the first Lilian Khare Award for Rehabilitation Journalism for a series of articles on the challenges of physical disability.
Was Sports Editor of Youth Times and Yachting Correspondent of The Times of India, The Daily and Amrita Bazar Patrika, and Editor of Parade. Also Sub-Editor and Reporter TOI, Features Editor The Daily, and South India Bureau Chief of the Blitz group.
Launched and edited journals of different genres: from general interest to martial arts to health, hospitality, adult and social issues including three newsletters on HIV/AIDS and one on Ayurveda.
Biography of Dhanvantari Award winner, the late Dr.Jussawalla, 2012-13.
Ghost written and edited over 97 books/pocket books.
Yoga Stories: Included in an anthology of 90 yogis and yoginis from around the world. Published in the USA in 2012-13.
Co-editor Wisdom of our Mothers, Indian edition, 2012.
One of 88 global writers in Wisdom of our Mothers, a collection of essays to commemorate Mother's Day, 2010.
International film projects based on the book are also being worked through.
Karma Sutra - Adventures Of A Street Bum, my new book, packs 20 years research on HIV/AIDS, TB, street, brothel and high end prostitution, child labour, homosexuality, Devadasis, Hijras, drug and alcohol abuse, the trafficking of women from Nepal to India including the famed Tulasa Thapa saga, the first 'recognised' HIV/AIDS case in Goa, and corruption, despair and desolation on the Indian street. Kannada and Italian editions to be released soon among a number of other languages. The unedited version titled Karma Sutra - Essays from The Margin was first published by Saga Books, Canada, in 2007.
Been a part of several international television documentaries on marginalised living.
Over 3,000 articles in more than 30 journals in 5 countries and 15 books, authored, co-authored, included in anthologies, or researched, in print. Began my career with The Times of India in Bombay (now Mumbai), India.
Over three decades of expertise in writing, editing, printing, and exports of exquisite Indian arts and crafts.
Rajendar Menen is a journalist I admire.Dominique Lapierre, Celebrated author of Freedom at Midnight, City of Joy, Is Paris Burning?, O Jerusalem, And I will Dress you in Mourning and a number of other books.
Beautifully written, extensive description of a side of India that most are blind to, excellent creative vocabulary and usage of the English language. The reader is transferred to be right in the middle of the scene which can sometimes be quite unnerving and scary. The author is a master in his style of writing, absolutely superb, he plays and tosses ordinary words around to give the reader a vivid scene that either breaks your heart or makes you giggle. Yes, even amidst some heart wrenching scenes, I was surprised that I caught myself smiling or even laughing. Every Indian who can read should read this book, and every non-Indian who is interested in India should read this book. Every writer should read this too, there is much to learn from here on the art of writing. I know that when I travel to India again, I shall see it with completely different eyes. Incredible, fantastic, ailing, dynamic India! It is said that before one can find a solution to a problem one has to face the problem, recognize it and accept it, then one is half way through to finding the solution! The rich and powerful, the educated and the dynamic youth of India should read this, then perhaps they can be moved to do something about it. Bravo to the author for this unique enlightening piece of work. An applause is well earned.Dr.Margo Kirtikar, Writer, author of Cosmic and Universal Laws. counsellor, guide, traveller, spiritual teacher, artist, trainer in personal evolution, continuous education and in self-transformation, mind and consciousness expansion, lives and works in Vevey, Switzerland.
I just finished reading "Karma Sutra: Essays from the Margin", by Rajender Menen. It exposes life on the underside of Mumbai, India; the prostitutes, brothels, pimps, eunuchs, drugs, kidnappings, criminals, police, the beach crowd, all of it. The most important thing about this book is that it is "real". It is autobiographical. Raj not only wrote this book; he lived it. He was able to get the stories and interviews other journalists could not obtain,often at great personal risk. Raj has a lively, clever, engaging writing style. You will be taken in by it. It lends erudition to the otherwise brutal subject matter. The stories are as amazing as they are shocking. It is astonishing how people can survive and even adapt to such unenviable and hopeless circumstances. I don't know if I could make it through even one week in the world Raj describes. I wrote to Raj every day while I was reading his book, giving him updates, and he constantly asked me for criticism. But I couldn't fault the content (since I don't live there!) or the writing itself. It is just an incredible narrative of a desperate sector of Indian society. If you are reading this site, I recommend that you get your hands on a copy of Raj's book. If you're not sure, buy a used copy! But read it! Your time will not be wasted!Bob Snyder, American postal service, interested in eastern philosophy, travel, yoga, fitness, politics, investments.
The book is a fascinating read. Its gripping layers open up flexible entrypoints. It is open ended for interpretation as it is deeply researched. It is insightful and involves many voices from the network of margins apparently unyielding and dark. It is not dramatic, but reflects the hard work behind each encounter the writer must have undertaken. If urban non-fiction can bring about social change, this book can!Shubhalakshmi Shukla, Writer, art critic and visiting faculty at Rachna Sansad Academy of Fine Arts, Mumbai.
Your book moved me to tears and laughter. I will recommend it to all those I know. The book is wonderful in evoking, even for the most thick skinned, the dire misery of the poor. On that level it is up there with the works of Henry Mayhew -- London's Poor -- and Dickens in his less sentimental moods - Little Dorrit -- and Sinclair Lewis in his less hysterical mode. But it is seriously flawed insofar as it is deeply fragmented and lacks the necessary co-ordination of your substantial materials: twenty years of first hand experience and a real gift in wielding language. Your book could have been one of the most powerful works since those works I have mentioned above, but you published too soon. Unlike those men, you didn't marshal the materials into one cohesive vision of outrage and compassion.Gail Grant, Teacher of English, Drama, Music and "other mysteries", traveler and social worker, Switzerland.
Good, original work. Could have even been made into two books: one on prostitution and another on street life.Naresh Kaushik, Asia watcher, BBC, London
Menen's exemplary and animated writing makes Karma Sutra one of the most interesting books of recent times. The book has a unique emotional appeal and reflects the reality of the streets of Mumbai. I am personally impressed by the research done by Menen and his exceptional narrative skills. I have recommended this book, from time to time, as additional reading for students studying issues around prostitution in India.Sharvari Karandikar-Chheda, Professor, Ohio State University.
I really enjoyed the vivid and thoughtful style with which you write. You obviously spent a significant amount of time collecting your observations and experiences in order to create such an impressive account of the realities facing men and women on the streets of Bombay. I saw a lot of parallels between AIDS Sutra edited by Amartya Sen and many of the experiences and observations you describe in your book.Timothy P.Williams, Harvard University, and Researcher, Massachusetts General Hospital.
It is like being in a cinema and watching a film on the topic. But this film is not an easy one, it will involve all your senses, you will feel like you are in the middle of everyday life.Bolla Hajnal, Interpreter of English, Russian, Bulgarian and Hungarian.
A powerful and wonderfully balanced book that reminds us of the inner strength and beauty that all people have inside, as well as the ugliness and cruelty that still has not been addressed in the world. A must read for anyone with a soul.Rowan E. Wagner, CEO/co-founder Istiqbul Dilnoza and Senior Lecturer at Westminster International University in Tashkent.
A real insight into street life. I love the way Raj writes --- I can almost hear the characters speak! His personal insights and those of his street 'friends' struck me with their wisdom and hope.Carolinda Witt, Author of T5T, The Five Tibetan Exercise Rites & The 10-Minute Rejuvenation Plan.
A fascinating documentation of survival in a mixed world. The rich language captures street life vividly.Annisya Nisya, Spiritual healer.
A brilliant, touching, candid and extremely interesting expose of street life which most of us are totally oblivious of. A must read to learn and understand the realities of life.Hormazdiyaar Vakil, Photographer, chronicler of street life and eminent solicitor.
It is real life. I am translating Karma Sutra into Kannada.Ravi Belagere, Award winning writer, editor, author, publisher, actor, producer and director who lives and works with an offbeat edge.
Truly phenomenal work!Nirmal Shekar, Author, editor and celebrated sports writer.
Urban studies often sanitise sites of pleasure --- gardens, parks, even red-light districts. Menen, on the contrary, makes desire and the transactions of desire, central to his book. That, in my opinion, is one his chief strengths.Adil Jussawalla, Well known author, editor, influential poet and critic.
I love Rajendar Menen's approach in Karma Sutra to the daily struggle of the homeless and the dying. Despite it all, these men and women still manage to keep their strength to love and to forgive. Menen's approach is fascinating.Larry Levene, Award winning filmmaker with a special focus on India, China and Spain, and President of ADHN, the Spanish Association of documentary producers and filmmakers.
Excellent writing, superb vocabulary (Karma Sutra).I only wish the characters portrayed were more fleshed out!Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski, Pioneering photo-journalist of eminence with several designer books to his credit, who lives and works all around the world like a permanent pilgrim.
Read your book (Karma Sutra) while I was in Bombay and liked it. It provided a running narrative for what I saw through the window of my car. All the people I talked to (for my new book) were varying degrees of rich. The contrast that you so defty and graphically capture in your book was a real part of my visit. You have to be congratulated for the courage you displayed.Jerry Hopkins, Renowned journalist and author of over 30 books, several of them international bestsellers, including the official biography of rock star Jim Morrison which was made into a film.
It is a pleasure working with him. His knowledge is immense, and his energy is another thing altogether. He never says never.Thomas Kelly, Freelance photojournalist for National Geographic,the UN and a number of other agencies as well as author/editor of several pictorial books.Based in Nepal, he traverses the globe.
Rajendar Menen is a gifted writer. His accounts of Kamathipura are unsurpassed. His excellent writing skills are helped by his enormous knowledge of the subject. Have read Karma Sutra several times. It is, probably, the last word on the subject!John Frederick, Editor of Fallen Angels and other books, and freelance writer and consultant for the UN and many international agencies. Expert on human trafficking and sex work in South Asia.
Knows Bombay like no one else. Every vendor and every sex worker on the street is his friend. Walking around with him in Bombay is like shaking hands with the city. He writes with great passion. Just read Karma Sutra. I can feel his perspiration running through the pages!Javier Moro, Internationally acclaimed Spanish journalist and co-author with Dominique Lapierre on the well known book on the Bhopal gas tragedy - It Was Five Past Midnight in Bhopal. Author of the bestsellers Passion India (being made into a film) and Red Saree, the new book on Sonia Gandhi and the Nehru family.
I read your pieces and am greatly moved. You are clearly on the front line. Humanity at it's most vulnerable vs evils of society and disease. You have my respect Rajendar and your writing paints a clear picture.Pete, Writer, Editor, Conscientious objector, Based in the USA
Absolutely transfixed by your book - on so many levels. It is relevant and particularly resonant within my own experience of and love affair with India. You have so adeptly articulated many of the complicated feelings I experience in India - no longer do I say 'words cannot describe' when asked why I am drawn to this place - now I will simply say 'read Karma Sutra'! I actually borrowed this book but will have to buy it to read over and over again. Thank you. You have an amazing gift.Cyndie Marler, Founder and Managing Director of Akesia Wellness. Practiced and studied yoga in the U.S., Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and India, and also worked in the nonprofit sector in the areas of program development and marketing, communications, public relations and graphic design
I read Karma Sutra with great interest. I live next to Juhu beach in Mumbai and come to the beach every day. I know Anthony Bhai and a few others mentioned in the book. I also met the author. I marvel at the way in which he has been able to get the stories from all these people who have been left behind by India's economic progress. I have seen Rajendar hanging out at the beach at odd hours and often wondered what he was up to. Now I know! Way to go!!Sunil Samant, Technocrat, Tai Chi master, experimental chef, bon vivant, linguist and global traveller
Rajendar's writing is rich, honest, heartbreaking, dark and yet beautiful. Every page is written with a deep sense of irony. I found myself smiling at something beautiful and engulfed with sadness all at once. Very very inspiring.Roopashree Jeevaji, Actress in Hollywood. Her recent works include the feature film Taco Shop which is releasing in 2012. She is also known for her television work on NBC's Outsourced and on CSI:Crime Scene Investigation
Raj has shared the in-depth trials and tribulations of a section of the Indian people. Please take the time to read. Excellent! I cried while reading the book and kept it far away from my daughter who has led such a protected life.Tamaey Gottuso, Entrepreneur, USA
Menen's book is illuminating and powerfully written. I pray to Ganesha to give this Taurean great success. The language and research are brilliant. Quotes are well used and there is great compassion for the downtrodden. I predict international acclaim.Bejan Daruwalla, World-renowned astrologer
The author has taken the lives of the marginalised people and brought them centrestage, treated them with such love and empathy that they no longer seem marginalised.Lalitha Dhara, Vice-principal, Dr.Ambedkar College, Mumbai
A very well written and researched book. Well done. Am sure you will do more books on street life with great success.Ramesh Menon, Award winning journalist, author, editor and trainer
Easily one of the best books I have ever read. I recommend it to everyone without hesitation. Karma Sutra is an incredible look at street life. We see so much around us but never give it a second thought in the hurly burly of life. Raj has not just given it a second thought but managed to delve deep into it. Congratulations.Kalpana Malani, Business person, outsourcer of bric a brac and antiquities, bird watcher and environmentalist, trekker and conscientious street watcher
Accompanying Rajendar on his journeys through this book will have you question, if not shatter, your own ideas of love and desires; virtues and vices; karma and destiny. In Rajendar’s own words, so much of life is inexplicable. How do you explain a beautiful young nurse at Asha Dan (the late Mother Teresa’s hospice in Mumbai) feeling happy, cleaning a leper’s wounds or how do you explain a sex worker who has slept with thousands of men, cooking rice for a man she loves, he says.Sarita Manu, Architect, activist, artist, poet, writer and traveller
I just finished reading sample chapters of Karma Sutra on Flipkart. Your writing shook me. It was gripping and I had a knot in my throat. I felt I was crying silently but I carried on as I could not put it down. Will buy the paper copy as I want to possess it. I am with a heavy heart. Hope I can sleep.Dr.Iqbal Malik, Noted environmentalist and animal rights' activist, founder-director of Vatavaran, an NGO which works for greener surroundings, clean air and blue sky with the help of communities, women and students; Adviser - International Primate Protection League, Member - World Wide Fund for Nature:
Karma Sutra made me weep and smile simultaneously.Weep,not out of sadness or pain,but out of sheer gratitude that I had been granted a rare peek into the lives of these tremendous survivors. And I smiled because I had just learned to appreciate life in all its colors. Unputdownable! Thank you Rajendar.Nilanjana Ghosh, Soft Skills, Personality Development and Behavioral Trainer and Consultant, who has also worked with several NGOs on women's empowerment and gender issues including juvenile rape. She is also an artist and author:
Rajendar Menen is extremely talented, the best young journalist I know. He has an ear to the ground, diverse interests and many exceptional skills.Late Dom Moraes, Indias leading author, writer, journalist and poet