Neem Dreams neemdreams.jpg


Now in a new paper edition from Local Time Publishing.
Set in southern India in the mid 1990s. Four strangers are on quests related to India’s neem tree. Meenakshi runs a village-based women’s project. Pandora is an eco scientist looking for a story. Jade wants natural products for a New York store. Andy hopes to find a cure for HiV/AIDS. The neem has been used since ancient times for household, medicinal and agricultural purposes and now is the centre of the clash between tradition and modernisation.

In This Novel

When first published in India in 2003 Neem Dreams was widely acclaimed for the accuracy of observation and the pitch perfect depiction of the various characters. (Scroll down for reviews.)


New edition with new afterword published by Local Time Publishing 2014

First published by Rupa (Delhi) 2003

Errors in first Edition


Local Time Publishing edition  ISBN 978-1-304-76587-1

Rupa edition ISBN 81-291-0217-X

Buy This Book

Buy beautiful Local Time Publishing edition directly from Lulu

Also available at other book retailers. I prefer you to buy from or directly from me.


Neem Dreams is available as an ebook from and usual ebook sellers. The ebook includes a new Afterword by the author. Kindle edition available.

Copies of the Rupa hard copy edition can be found online.






Neem Dreams

Despite the neo-hippy vibe of its title Neem Dreams is not your average culture cuisine, the how I got the shits in Shilpi kind of novel about white people who find themselves leper-hugging in India before they return to their monotonous life-sentences in Manchester or Melbourne, immersed in mortgage and middle-managerhood. Woven around four characters and a neem tree, this is a novel about globalisation, corporate rapacity, environmental annihilation and political villainy. The novel’s four central characters Pandora, Meenakshi, Andy and Jade (Australian, Indian, British and Australian-American) come together as a result of capricious twists of fate: an article in a magazine, a chance encounter at a cafe and finally, a community project in a village centered on a factory producing neem products. Neem was the village dispensary, known to ancient civilizations whose refinement was undreamt of by a still barbarous, distant Europe slowly evolving towards its imperialist technologies. The neem project promised to give each of the four what they had been looking for : Meenakshi needed something worthwhile, something more than her marriage to sustain here: Pandora longed to be an instrument of justice and vengeance: Andy needed a miracle cure: and Jade wanted to source skin-care products for an exclusive New York store. It is a grassroots project, it is socially conscious, it is morally responsible, but, of course, something dark lurks beneath. The tree stands as an antithesis to all that is wrong with humanity. To top it all, a number of multi-national companies are now looking to patent it.

-Tara Sahgal, India Today September 1, 2003

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Neem Dreams

There are many good reasons why I would wholeheartedly recommend Inez Baranay’s latest novel Neem Dreams to anyone. Here are some of them: Though more of a fringe writer, Inez Baranay is Australian and Australian literature in English is here to stay. It has come of age in patterns similar to Indian writing in English. … Its location in India is not your usual outsider’s perspective on India. Rather it strikes a chord in the completely familiar way both natural landscapes and those of the human mind are painted in verbal pictures. It is easy for example to identify with Prashant and Meenakshi’s anxiety at the time of the Ayodhya dispute (while they were students in America) We can no longer assume our attitude is obvious, reasonable, widely shared. Can you believe what’s happening? Political leaders with the loudest voices are echoed by resonating chants of crowds of increasing, maniacal magnitude, proclaiming that India is only Bharat, only Hindustan. A secular, tolerant, democratic India, that is the vision we have been born to inherit. Our pious Hindu ancestors would be appalled at the suggestion that any one Indian tradition was more indigenous than any other. Yet it is in their name that the so-called Hindu nationalists exhort the domination, the elimination, of others. Hinduize politics and militarize Hinduism: the old slogan is revived and now within the context of an increasingly apparent organizational complex embracing the phenomenon of mass communalism. Prashant begins to speak of returning not only to India but to his rural home.

-Swati Pal, The Sunday Pioneer September 14, 2003

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Neem Dreams

There is no one India or, you can’t know all of India. It refuses to be fixed in a theme.

-Inez Baranay

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Neem Dreams

Baranay has risen above her feminine voice and foreigner perspective to strike a neutral unbiased language as far as basic values and issues are concerned. She uncannily conjures splashes of Indian reactions, attitudes or relationships with as much authenticity as she does the American, Australian and British ethos. What makes the novel endearing is the high voltage resonance of the poignant tales of the protagonists woven around the theme of globalisation, leaving a sea wave effect on the readers long after they have finished the read.

-Padmini Devarajan / The Hindu

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