About the Team
Dr Rishi Handa BSc (Hons), MA, PhD
Co-Author of Diwali, Holi, The Ramayana and The Hanuman Chalisa for Children
Dr Rishi Handa graduated from University College London with a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics with theoretical Physics, and thereafter qualified as a secondary school teacher. Following that, he completed his MA in South Asian Area Studies at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African studies (SOAS) in which he studied Hindu jurisprudence, Indian philosophy and Sanskrit. Rishi also completed a PhD in the Study of Religions focusing on the construction of religious identities in India. Rishi is currently Head of Sanskrit at St James Independent School for boys where he teaches the classical language along with religious studies.
Although Rishi had assisted with language books for children before, collaborating with the Jai Jais were his first story books. He was delighted to be involved in a resource educating young generations about the devis and devas within the Hindu universe. He was able to contribute his vast experience in Indology as well as his knowledge of the stories from binging on Amar Chitra Katha comics with his brother, as a child. Rishi has found his Jai Jais experience insightful because his worked involved a recourse to the original texts in Sanskrit or Sanskrit’s derivative languages. He particularly enjoyed looking at texts he had not before because he believes accuracy is paramount in relaying an authentic re-telling to the Jai Jais audience that is true to the stories.
Nirav Gudhka M. Eng
Co-Author of Mahavir
Nirav Gudhka is a professional in the Automotive industry with a passion for the Jain Religion. Nirav teaches Jainism to his own two children and to the community via a religious Sunday School he runs every week, delivering Jain concepts in easily digestible ways using: songs, games, storytelling and textbook learning. Nirav had enjoyed English at school and had a particular interest in creative writing; still using those skills today in his teaching, especially when developing skits for the children to perform during events.
When Sunita advertised for a co-author for her first book Mahvir, Nirav knew this was something he wanted to be a part of. Writing Mahvir with Sunita and working with James allowed him to express his creative flair and write about something he is a true advocate of. He has used his teaching exposure as a platform to write a new Jain book, that gives a simple and easy to understand representation of what the religion is all about. Dedicating the book to his son Veer and being able to donate some of the proceeds to charity, was the icing on the cake to his wonderful Jai Jais experience.
Co-Author of the Hanuman Chalisa
Malvi, alongside her husband, founded Poojan Samagri in early 2020; its aim is to make religious content available from the comfort of your home. The Jai Jais brand and Sunita’s vision resonated with Malvi which prompted her to showcase some of the Jai Jais books on her page – she loved the how the Jai Jais were teaching a generation. After a short time knowing each other, their exciting journey began, and they decided to collaborate and co-write Hanuman Chalisa. Hanuman Chalisa is dedicated to the greatness of Lord Hanuman. It describes the strength, generosity, intelligence and devotion towards Lord Rama and fearlessness of Lord Hanuman. It is believed that chanting Hanuman Chalisa brings positive energy and strength.
Malvi comes from a practicing Brahmin household where her parents taught her about dharma from a very young age. Sunita’s expertise in teaching kids, Malvi’s religious background and James’s modern illustrations culminated in a perfect and beautiful combination. Sunita and Malvi used to write mostly in the evenings once their children had gone to bed; even on the days Malvi was working they would have a quick recap session. Malvi continues to teach the importance of Hindu dharma and its foundations from a young age.
Co-Author of Yoga and Mindfulness Cards
Deepa Shah has a passion for working with children and helping them to learn and grow in a creative way. Deepa has been studying, practising and teaching yoga for 12 years. She believes it can help everyone find their own wisdom and ‘hidden treasure’. Deepa has been a key influence in creating The Jai Jais Yoga and Mindfulness cards, and written poetry expressing positive intentions and mindfulness for each of the cards.
Working with the Jai Jais Podcasts
Bijal Shah is a bibliotherapist, counsellor, author and poet. She is the founder of Book Therapy, which offers individual, couple’s and group bibliotherapy, literary curation and personalised reading services as well as bibliotherapy training. Bijal’s book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice and various other publications. She is a member of the International Federation of Library Associations and the American Library Association. She is also the author of the non-fiction book, "The Happiness Mindset”, which has received more than 50 reviews on Amazon with a 5 star rating.
Bijal has enjoyed collaborating with the Jai Jais on all the episodes of the Raising A Reader & Storyteller Podcast in her capacity as an author, bibliotherapist and mother; providing parents with information on how to develop young readers and storytellers through bibliotherapy, and how literature can have a positive impact on young people's mental health. Bijal believes the Jai Jais bring much-needed diversity in children’s literature while taking a refreshing look at Hindu mythology and cultural stories, in a way that children can resonate with, making these generational old stories memorable.
Bijal currently resides in Hampstead, London with her husband and two children.
Developing Yoga Teaching Videos
Reena Vekaria is a qualified Yoga Instructor from Wembley. Reena developed a love for Yoga during her teenage years and after getting her Masters in English Literature and teaching the subject in a Secondary School for four years, she decided to take her passion further and qualified as a Yoga Instructor from Bangalore, India in 2014. Voluntarily, she has also taught English, Gujarati and Hinduism at her local HYA (Hindu Youth Association) and HSS (Hindu Sevika Samiti), a women's charity organisation, nurturing children in the importance of our Dharma and knowing Hindu Gods and Goddesses, which heightened her love for teaching.
Reena has been teaching Yoga ever since 2014, and currently working in local schools, gyms and with the community, her passion for teaching Yoga to children has grown over the years immensely. A child’s mental and physical health is vital to their well-being and she strongly believes that this can be nurtured through Yoga. A good child is a happy child, and a happy child will always prosper!
Girish Naker FCMA CGMA MBA
Print & Distribution
Girish is a qualified Accountant with over 40 years’ experience in the printing, packaging and publishing. He started work in family-owned print business in 1979 and has been responsible for Operations, Administration and Accounts.
In November 2019, the Jai Jai’s team successfully launched the Jai Jais Yoga and Mindfulness cards using crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. With 238 backers £16842 was raised. Girish was involved in the entire process from its initial inception to delivering the marketing, the promotion and finally the communications to all the backers.
Girish brings wealth of experience of commercial environment in addition to the in depth understanding and knowledge of publishing and printing.
Nemash Patel Bsc (Hons), Computer Systems for Business
Social Media and E-Commerce
Nemash began his career at the luxury department store, Harrods, where he started out as a Business Analyst working on various projects throughout the store. He spent much of his time working on projects within the direct mail and distribution departments. During the later part of his time at Harrods, Nemash took on the role as Internet Services Project Manager, where he was responsible for overseeing Harrods.com.
Nemash has also spent time as Web Media Manager for one the UK's largest Housing Associations; where he was responsible for the managing the organisations numerous websites and the corporate Intranet. He went on to become an Online Business Specialist, where is was responsible for developing and rolling out the businesses first online portal; which enabled residents to login and view rent statements, repairs etc, as well as making payments and submitting requests.
Nemash has been responsible of Digital and Social Media Marketing for Luxury, Business and Lifestyle publication Asian Wealth Magazine, since its creation over 7 years. In addition, he has been a partner in an eCommerce business and now works in the social media space; focusing on paid social ads using Facebook and Instagram.
Nemash met Sunita at the end of December 2015, when he came across the first of The Jai Jai's books on social. He was so impressed with the book and the concept, that he contacted Sunita through a mutual friend, with a view to helping promote the books via social media. Nemash has gone onto support the not only the social media for The Jai Jais but also to develop the eCommerce website.