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APRIL 2020

STORIZEN

The Audacious Writer SHOBHA NIHALANI Exclusive Feature on PAGE 8


Now Available on:Â


Cover Story

Book Reviews Swapna Peri

Unique Ways of Staying Mindful While Writing

Himani Gupta

Brand Partners

Editors

Bloomsbury India Fingerprint Publishing Hachette India HarperCollinsIndia

Pria Raiyani Saurabh Chawla

For Advertising, Contact us attalktous@storizen.com

Pan Macmillan India Penguin India Roli Books Westland (An Amazon Company)

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 7

EDITOR'S NOTE

8

COVER STORY The Audacious Writer Shobha Nihalani - Pria

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- Hachette India

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HOT OFF THE PRESS THE MINORITY CONUNDRUM: Living in Majoritarian Times by Tanweer Fazal

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HOT OFF THE PRESS The Corona Virus: What you need to know about the gobal pandemic

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- Bloomsbury India

- Penguin India HOT OFF THE PRESS

- Bloomsbury India

- Hachette India HOT OFF THE PRESS The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai - Hachette India

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HOT OFF THE PRESS Stress Diaries by Rachna Khanna Singh

HOT OFF THE PRESS Fate of Eight by Dheeraj Singh

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

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HOT OFF THE PRESS Amma Mia by Esha Deol Takhtani - Penguin India

- Penguin India

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HOT OFF THE PRESS The Reckoning by John Grisham

HOT OFF THE PRESS Tyll by Kehlmann is on the booker Prize Longlist - Hachette India

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STORIZEN INTERVIEW Sameer Arshad Khatlani, Author - The Other Side of the Divide - Swapna Peri


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STORIZEN REVIEW

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Fast, Cheap and Viral by Aashish Chopra

The Other Side of the Divide by Sameer Arshad Khatani

- Swapna Peri

- Swapna Peri

STORIZEN REVIEW Amma Mia by Esha Deol Takhtani

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- Sumana Bhattacharya

STORIZEN REVIEW Made in China by Parinda Joshi

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STORIZEN REVIEW The Rules of Contagion by Adam Kucharski - Swapna Peri

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STORIZEN REVIEW The Blue Jade by Shobha Nihalani - Swapna Peri

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STORIZEN REVIEW Gravepyres School for the Recently Deceased by Anita Roy - Swapna Peri

STORIZEN POETRY The Other Side of the Divide by Sameer Arshad Khatani

- Swapna Peri

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STORIZEN POETRY When The wait Is Over

- Swapna Peri

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STORIZEN REVIEW

- Swapna Peri

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STORIZEN POETRY The Other Side of the Divide by Sameer Arshad Khatani - Swapna Peri


To read Storizen on the web, visit storizen.com. Follow Storizen on Instagram @storizenmagazine.

THE READING SHELF

Storizen March 2020

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from the editor

calling all writers!

DO YOU WANT TO BE A PART OF STORIZEN FAMILY? You can also be a contributor. Mail us your entries at talktous@storizen.com. Your smart ideas and inputs help us create our informative issues.

are two perspectives when it comes to the time of crisis T HERE like the COVID19 at present, either you can learn and grow or keep worrying about what could happen in the future? Who knows what the future holds? Nobody can predict the same. We at Storizen, extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the professionals working round the clock fighting for us with the risk to their own lives. It's a humble appeal to each and everyone around the globe to please support them and realize that they are doing this for all of us, so that we can see another day. This issue is dedicated to the life and death with survivors, and the saviors! The future holds suspense, maybe some thrills and chills down the spine. So we thought to get on board someone who is not afraid to write on any genre without having the fear of being fairer sex! We are delighted to feature” The Audacious Writer - Shobha Nihalani“, who speaks about her love for thrillers and the journey so far. Who doesn't like reading especially in this lockdown period? We are glad and we welcome our new tie-ups with two of the biggest publishing houses this month viz. Bloomsbury India & Westland (an Amazon Company). Keep that reading worm alive in you and check out the hot new releases from Penguin India, Hachette India, HarperCollns India, ........ and read-worthy books inside! Despite controversies and strained ties with our neighbor, there is always a string that holds us together - Sameer Arshad Khatlani, author - The Other Side of the Divide shares his account of experiences in a special interview. Don't miss reading it! As the bookworm residing in us, we have been reading a lot during these times. Don't forget to check out the Book Reviews column inside. Perhaps, you could get something eye catchy to read! Finally, before signing off, I would request everyone to keep yourselves updated about the Coronavirus Pandemic and please stay safe! Happy Reading! We are Storizen would like to request each and everyone to Stay Safe and Stay Home! Follow all mandatory guidelines issued by WHO and the Government. We also take this opportunity to thank all those people who have been working round the clock to save the spread and in turn save us! Heartfelt Gratitude to all“ Professionals” big or small for making sure that our families and we are safe! Tough time it is yet together we shall strive! Also, Please avoid spreading rumours!

editor@storizen.com Saurabh Chawla, Editor in Chief


COVER STORY

THE AUDACIOUS WRITER

Shobha Nihalani A Storizen Exclusive Feature After writing many adventure and thrillers including the NINE trilogy and Unresolved, a psychological thriller, Shobha Nihalani is back with his latest thriller, The Blue Jade What inspired her to write thrillers and the love for them, the author tells Pria.

by Pria

It's been around seven years when the first book in the NINE Series was released in 2013. I have always been a fan of Thrillers. She said, "Thank you for your continued support! Yes, you are right, I love writing thrillers. It is also my favorite genre of books to read." She continued as I could sense the enthusiasm in her voice, "Thrillers are like a magnet for me, I am pulled into the 8

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storyline. I have always been enthusiastic about fast-paced suspense stories. Even with films, I prefer action and thriller types of energetic plots." Ever since I got hold of her book, I wanted to interview Shobha and was waiting for the right moment. Recently when I got to know about her latest book, The Blue Jade, another thriller from her, I became irresistible for me. It was a Friday morning when

APRIL 2020


Intertwining history with mystery, Blue Jade is a captivating story about historical artefacts falling into the wrong hands. Neelam, starting her career as an art curator, discovers a precious relic hidden inside a statue of Mirabai, the legendary Rajasthani princess-saint. The relic turns out to be the most sought-after blue jade pendant, long declared lost.Neelam must complete her family’s unfinished mission of returning the jade safely to the Indian monument where it belongs. But this is no simple task – Neelam must outrun a deadly ring of smugglers who are after the prized blue jade. As she travels through India, she trails the fabled journey of Mirabai, in a mystical link of history and present day.The Blue Jade is a thrilling adventure in the murky world of blackmarket art set against the historical backdrop of the legendary princess-saint Mirabai.


COVER STORY

the weather was at the brim of calmness, and everybody inside in the comfort of their homes, thanks to the turmoil created by the COVID19, I called Shobha to know how did she write such riveting thrillers.

THE READING WORM I was curious to know what led her to write and it was not a surprise by knowing that reading was in her blood since her childhood. "As an only child, I loved books, they created a whole new world in my head. I just loved to read all the time. This continued for many years. Later, in my twenties, I felt the urge to write stories," she beamed.

As the love for thrillers and suspense struck a chord in me too, and as she writes thrillers, it was quite evident that she loved reading thrillers as well! I was ready with the next question in my mind and I asked her. "Thrillers are my favorite. Frankly, I don’t mind reading any genre as long as it has got me hooked. I read a number of non-fiction books too." She answered. She was somewhat getting to know me very well and as we both were trying to know each other, I sensed that she knew the next question that was about to pop. Yes, her favorite authors! The answer to this was quite a surprise to me

Thrillers are like a magnet for me, I am pulled into the storyline. I have always been enthusiastic about fast-paced suspense stories. Even with films, I prefer action and thriller types of energetic plots.

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COVER STORY

though! "I read new and upcoming authors, and they are from different parts of the world. I learn a lot from their techniques. I have been reading a couple of Japanese and Australian authors. Their techniques of creating tension and building suspense are excellent." Not to forget the name of her favorite author, Jane Austen which she quotes as her all-time favorite authors. "Any specific reason for that?" I asked. "Yes, her books were a great influence in my formative years." she replied instantly.

LIFE AS A WRITER As I waited for my coffee to be ready with about a couple of minutes remaining, the flow of questions changed towards her life as a writer. A female writing a thriller is somewhat still a far fetched thing with only a few like Agatha Christie in the league, the inner writer

APRIL 2020

in me was also screaming. How? I started with her NINE trilogies and compared it with Blue Jade. Shobha was seemingly aware of my inner doubts and the questions I had. Maybe she faced this earlier too! Her reply was with a calm smile, " The Blue Jade is quite different in its structure and plot. It is not an adventurefantasy like the NINE trilogies, but more of a fast-paced chase and an inner journey. I wanted to layer the story of The Blue Jade with a few themes that are close to my heart. I love Mirabai, and I wanted to share her life story. Also, I am fascinated by India’s history and heritage, and the intricate artworks and sculptures of ancient sites. That is another aspect that I wanted to include in the book. At the same time, I wanted to express my indignation about the hundreds of artifacts and relics that have been stolen from India. I didn’t want it to

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be a preachy novel, but more of a thrilling adventure with a strong female lead character. To include all these themes into a seamless plotline, it took some time to structure and write The Blue Jade." Coming to the question of did she start with short stories and learning from the mistakes every new writer makes, Shobha was quite open about admitting the same. "Early on, around 2002, I joined Hong Kong Writers’ Circle, where I met other upcoming writers. I felt that in a writer’s group I would meet like-minded people and be able to exchange ideas and problems. We used to 12

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meet regularly to critique each other’s work. Yes, we all started out with writing short stories. The Hong Kong Writers’ Circle had its own publication and our stories were published there and sold in local book stores. It was a great feeling. After that, there was no stopping me! I kept on writing with a passion and learned from my mistakes." "After writing my first book, I thought I could sit back and relax. I assumed all the hard work was over, but no! There is a lot more to do, in terms of editing, rewriting, publishing and marketing." Switching to Non-Fiction - Halfway through my coffee, The questions APRIL 2020


COVER STORY

kept pouring in my head. One was her book on Dada Vaswani and I wasted to know that whether this switch was an experiment or did she wanted to venture into nonfiction writing? She explained it beautifully!

Jade has covered all my favorite topics: Mirabai’s story, a strong female character, and art crime. I have managed to pull them all into a story that I hope is a thrilling and exciting read."

"In 2017, when I started writing Dada Vaswani – A Life in Spirituality, I was learning a whole new way of structuring a biography. It was challenging to switch from fiction to non-fiction. I was overwhelmed, but I wanted to write a book. By writing Dada Vaswani’s story which depicts his life as a great saint and humanitarian, I felt that I was going through subtle inner changes. His teachings had a profound effect on me, and without realizing it I felt a shift in my perceptions. I am not an ardent follower, but I feel that Dada Vaswani’s wisdom and teachings are practical and applicable in daily life. In that sense, writing brings clarity to an inner journey."

THE FLAWED CHARACTERS

Coming to her latest book, The Blue Jade, she said, "The Blue APRIL 2020

Every writer I have read writes impeccable characters but I personally feel that somewhat there is some flaw too while putting life in the character. every character even in the fantasy novel draws inspiration from some real-life person. "Characters have to believable and flawed, they have to be relatable to the readers so that they can connect and empathize with them. For me, well-written characters are extremely important to lift the story. Before I start to write, my priority is to work on the character sketches. I spend time deciding on their temperament, likes and dislikes, behavior, personality, childhood trauma, phobias, hobbies, and so on. Even if I STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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After writing my first book, I thought I could sit back and relax. I assumed all the hard work was over, but no! There is a lot more to do, in terms of editing, rewriting, publishing and marketing.


COVER STORY

don’t use all these elements in the book, I create fully fleshed-out characters before I sit down and write." Our thoughts matched in this aspect! CHILLS AND THRILLS As I sipped my coffee, I asked her that is it possible every time to keep the flavor new and different in the storyline? "I jot down ideas for stories that I feel I will enjoy writing about. Then I work around building a particular structure. I don’t consciously plan to be different from other authors. Every writer has a unique way of perceiving the world. I, too, develop stories from my own perspectives. I read a lot of thrillers and learn from other authors who have a knack to create different levels of tension, and build suspense in a very clever way. As an author, I am always learning new techniques and developing my skills." She snapped. With a pause, she also said, "Writing thrillers is not effortless. Creating suspense and thrills takes a lot of practice in the craft of writing. It takes time to develop the style." APRIL 2020

STAYING AHEAD? "I believe that in the creative world there is enough space for everyone. All authors have a unique way of expressing themselves, and we are all essentially doing that. So it’s not competitive but we as authors are providing a variety of stories. The tastes of readers vary, not all will want to read thrillers and many prefer other genres. So I don’t feel there is competition. In fact, I feel happy when my fellow authors are doing well and their books are well-received." PROMOTING HER WORK "Nowadays, just having a published book is not enough, we need to make an effort to make it visible and available. I share my books on social media and with friends. Ideally, an author should be available to attend literary festivals and book signing events. I have elderly parents, and I cannot commit to any of

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these long-term fixed dates. I prefer to focus on writing, and yes, marketing does take away my focus from writing. I outsource a marketing company to handle the promotions."

ON EBOOKS BOOKS...

VS

PRINT

"Many readers prefer to hold a paperback in their hands, and many like to keep a copy on their bookshelf. In recent times, with the growth of digital devices, many readers are starting to appreciate ebooks. I also feel that ebooks are a great way to encourage readers to read different kinds of authors from all over the world. Both ways of publishing are very relevant. Traditional and alternative publishing methods have their pros and cons. I believe that alternative methods of publishing have leveled the playing field so that many first-time authors have succeeded in getting published."

I believe that in the creative world there is enough space for everyone. All authors have a unique way of expressing themselves, and we are all essentially doing that.

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COVER STORY

THE LEARNING As I took the last sip of my coffee, I asked her the final question about the learning which she was glad to share her inputs on, "Learning to write with sincerity and making the characters realistic, these are what I found most useful. The least useful is the advice was given to ‘write what you know’. Instead, I feel that anyone can choose whatever they want to write about, and not be limited to what they know. In fact, writing about what you don’t know is even more exciting, because by doing research, you learn so much about this new topic." I thanked Shobha for her time and her insights about her journey in writing thrillers and wished her best of luck or her upcoming thriller romance novel before disconnecting the video call.

About Pria - Young mesmerizing freelance blogger, social enthusiast, an economics graduate from Jharkhand University with Master in Child Psychology. She is hardworking yet crazy, a passionate reader, an ardent music fanatic, an avid caffeine lover, and a maniacal animal lover too. She has been a part of numerous anthologies, articles, and write-ups for newspapers and magazines which are multi-linguistic. She has also written screenplays for YouTube series.

(As told to Pria) (pria@storizen.com) (Visit www.storizen.com for the full coverage!) APRIL 2020

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STORIZENEVENTS

HOT OFF THE PRESS The second volume in the Rethinking India series explicates what it means to be a minority in majoritarian times. The contributors identify vulnerabilities that encumber the quest for the realization of substantive citizenship by minority groups.

The second volume in the Rethinking India series explicates what it means to be a minority in majoritarian times. The contributors identify vulnerabilities that encumber the quest for the realization of substantive citizenship by minority groups. The essays deal with educational attainments, employment prospects in a liberalized economy, possibilities of equal opportunity, violence of the state and vigilante groups, emerging questions of citizenship and employment, linking language with the material life of its speakers, and the receding political voice of minorities amidst a majoritarian upswing. Also examined is the concept of minority being inextricably bound with two allied ideas equally foundational to the vision of the Indian Republic: secularism and nationalism. The three together form a conceptual whole to the extent that none finds its manifestation without reference to the other two. The take-offs of

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the minority question in India include the archetypal nationalist's disapproval of the very endurance of the subject postIndependence. The secular-modernists and the Hindutva nationalists converge in prescribing assimilation-one into a modernist project, the other into a national culture defined by Sanskritic Hinduism-while the pluralist vision, tolerant of divergent practices, follies in assuming cultures and religious observances as frozen. This, along with several allied issues, forms the heart of this thought-provoking volume.

APRIL 2020


The second volume in the Rethinking India series explicates what it means to be a minority in majoritarian times. The contributors identify vulnerabilities that encumber the quest for the realization of substantive citizenship by minority groups.


STORIZENEVENTS

HOT OFF THE PRESS On the eve of 31 December 2019, as the world celebrated the start of a new decade, the province of Wuhan alerted the World Health Organization of several 'flu-like' cases.

ABOUT THE BOOK On the eve of 31 December 2019, as the world celebrated the start of a new decade, the province of Wuhan alerted the World Health Organization of several 'flu-like' cases. Less than a week later, a novel coronavirus, was identified. In February, the disease it caused was named COVID-19. Even now, as the global infection rate crosses one million and the death toll surpasses 50,000, we are yet to understand this new coronavirus. There is no vaccination to prevent it, and no antiviral to cure the sick. While high numbers are being reported daily, agencies may still be unaware of many cases.The symptoms of Coronavirus are dangerously similar to that of the common flu: fever, coughing, breathlessness, tiredness, headache and muscle pain. But in India, with the high population density, we will have to do more than stick to Namaste to greet each other. While some of us may find it easier to resign ourselves to fate, what we need is 20 |

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credible and comprehensive information from professionals that can help us understand what the Coronavirus is, and how we can protect ourselves against it. This deeply researched book with over 200 sources fulfils that need.

APRIL 2020


On the eve of 31 December 2019, as the world celebrated the start of a new decade, the province of Wuhan alerted the World Health Organization of several 'flu-like' cases.


STORIZENEVENTS

HOT OFF THE PRESS From the number one bestselling author of The Notebook and Two by Two comes an unforgettable tale of enduring love . . .

ABOUT THE BOOK Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. After six years with her boyfriend, she is no longer sure what she wants, and when her father becomes ill she heads to her family's cottage at Sunset Beach in North Carolina to make some difficult decisions. Tru Walls has been summoned across an ocean from where he was born and raised in Zimbabwe by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. In journeying to Sunset Beach, Tru hopes to unravel the mystery surrounding his mother's life, but the letter will lead him in an unexpected direction.When these two strangers' paths cross, their chance encounter sets in motion a heart-breaking story - one that will transcend decades, continents and the workings of fate.

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From the number one bestselling author of The Notebook and Two by Two comes an unforgettable tale of enduring love . . .


STORIZENEVENTS

HOT OFF THE PRESS Swipe right on this irresistible romcom!

ABOUT THE BOOK Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionised romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career - and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:- Nude pics are by invitation only- If someone stands you up, block them- Protect your heart. Only there aren't any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former sports star Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night... and then disappears.

physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that's too high a risk...

Rhi thought she'd buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful - and in league with a business rival. He says he won't fumble their second chance, but she's wary. A temporary

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APRIL 2020


Swipe right on this irresistible romcom!


STORIZENEVENTS

HOT OFF THE PRESS The 2020 International Booker Prize Longlist has just been announced and we’re thrilled to announce that the wonderful Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann is on it!

ABOUT THE BOOK He’s a trickster, a player, a jester. His handshake’s like a pact with the devil, his smile like a crack in the clouds; he’s watching you now and he’s gone when you turn. Tyll Ulenspiegel is here! In a village like every other village in Germany, a scrawny boy balances on a rope between two trees. He’s practising. He practises by the mill, by the blacksmiths; he practises in the forest at night, where the Cold Woman whispers and goblins roam. When he comes out, he will never be the same. Tyll will escape the ordinary villages. In the mines he will defy death. On the battlefield he will run faster than cannonballs. In the courts he will trick the heads of state. As a travelling entertainer, his journey will take him across the land and into the heart of a never-ending war. A prince’s doomed acceptance of the Bohemian throne has

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European armies lurching brutally for dominion and now the Winter King casts a sunless pall. Between the quests of fat counts, witchhunters and scheming queens, Tyll dances his mocking fugue; exposing the folly of kings and the wisdom of fools. With macabre humour and moving humanity, Daniel Kehlmann lifts this legend from medieval German folklore and enters him on the stage of the Thirty Years’ War. When citizens become the playthings of politics and puppetry, Tyll, in his demonic grace and his thirst for freedom, is the very spirit of rebellion – a cork in water, a laugh in the dark, a hero for all time.

APRIL 2020


The 2020 International Booker Prize Longlist has just been announced and we’re thrilled to announce that the wonderful Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann is on it!


STORIZENEVENTS

HOT OFF THE PRESS John Grisham returns to Clanton, Mississippi, to tell the story of an unthinkable murder, the bizarre trial that followed it, and its profound and lasting effect on the people of Ford County.

ABOUT THE BOOK The Sunday Times bestseller from international bestseller John Grisham. John Gris ham returns to Clanton, Mississippi, to tell the story of an unthinkable murder, the bizarre trial that followed it, and its profound and lasting effect on the people of Ford County. Pete Banning was Clanton's favorite son, a returning war hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbor, and a faithful member of the Methodist church. Then one cool October morning in 1946. he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed the Reverend Dexter Bell. As if the murder wasn't shocking enough, it was even more baffling that Pete's only statement about it to the sheriff, to his defence attorney, to the judge, to his family and

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friends, and to the people of Clanton - was 'I have nothing to say'. And so the murder of the esteemed Reverend Bell became the most mysterious and unforgettable crime Ford County had ever known.

APRIL 2020


John Grisham returns to Clanton, Mississippi, to tell the story of an unthinkable murder, the bizarre trial that followed it, and its profound and lasting effect on the people of Ford County.


STORIZENEVENTS

HOT OFF THE PRESS Packed with advice, tips, stories and easy and delicious recipes for toddlers. Amma Mia reflects the personal journey of one woman's transformation into a mother

ABOUT THE BOOK Is my baby not well?When can I introduce my baby to solid foods? Becoming a new mother can be an exciting yet overwhelming time. No matter how prepared you are, there will always be many confusing moments, opinions and a whole lot of drama! And just like any other new mom, Esha Deol Takhtani was faced with many such questions soon after the birth of her two daughters-Radhya and Miraya.One day, when one of her baby girls was throwing a tantrum, Esha decided to come up with a plan, one that would ensure her child eats right and is happy in the process! And thus began her adventures in motherhood. With the help of her cook, nurse and some of the best paediatricians in Mumbai, she set off on a journey to document her experiences in motherhood in the hope that it would help other mothers too.Packed with advice, tips, stories

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and easy and delicious recipes for toddlers, Amma Mia reflects thepersonal journey of one woman's transformation into a mother. Informative and easy to follow, this book will help new mothers navigate the ups and downs of raising a healthy toddler and make their child fall in love with food. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Esha Deol Takhtani is an Indian film actor with hits such as Dhoom, Na Tum Jaano Na Hum, Yuva, No Entry and Dus to her credit. She recently portrayed the role of a chef in the short film Cakewalk, which was released globally on a digital platform and has won a cascade of awards worldwide.

APRIL 2020


Packed with advice, tips, stories and easy and delicious recipes for toddlers. Amma Mia reflects the personal journey of one woman's transformation into a mother


STORIZENEVENTS

HOT OFF THE PRESS An interactive self-help book, Stress Diaries narrates reallife stories of people’s struggles in their work environment and relationships, and how they eventually overcame these with the help of therapy.

ABOUT THE BOOK Are you stressed? Is maintaining a healthy lifestyle becoming a challenge for you? Do you have a tough boss to deal with? Should you please your parents-in-law or pursue your career? Have you ever been caught in the whirlpool of office gossip or politics? Has anybody behaved inappropriately with you at work? Do you think your partner is having an affair?

unhappiness at work and a consequent state of distress are not unheard of. It is, therefore, imperative to deal with this new upcoming epidemic.

Do you find it difficult to control your temper? If you relate to any of the above questions, then this book is just for you! In today’s time and age, life is fast, and we juggle several roles at the same time. No one is free of stress and emotional troubles, and this trend is increasingly surfacing in the workspace, threatening work–life balance. Issues in the professional sphere, the fear of resignation,

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APRIL 2020


An interactive self-help book, Stress Diaries narrates reallife stories of people’s struggles in their work environment and relationships, and how they eventually overcame these with the help of therapy.


STORIZENEVENTS

HOT OFF THE PRESS A riveting thriller, Fate of Eight tells the story of eight people whose lives are entwined through the three key milestones of one’s life: birth, marriage and death.

ABOUT THE BOOK A riveting thriller, Fate of Eight tells the story of eight people whose lives are entwined through the three key milestones of one’s life: birth, marriage and death. Diya, Mira, Pratima and Radhika are four strong women, each embodying a trait designed by God herself. Their destinies are linked to the unique personalities of four other men— Venkat, Guru, Jagdambe and Rahim. Birth, marriage and death are the common destiny points for this chosen group of eight, the only condition God sets out for their souls. What happens in between is a saga of choice and fate. They all cross each other’s path in the course of their lives—as lovers, spouses, siblings, friends, sworn enemies. Some relationships last for life and some break off in between. And not all survive the trials of destiny. Who amongst the eight will be linked together in the final

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destination of death? Who will have the true love that lasts forever? Where does God’s plan finally lead to? An absolute page-turner, Fate of Eight is a gripping story of human relationships and fate, of success and failure, culminating into a murder and a thrilling search for the killer!

APRIL 2020


A riveting thriller, Fate of Eight tells the story of eight people whose lives are entwined through the three key milestones of one’s life: birth, marriage and death.


STORIZENINTERVIEW

Sameer Arshad Khatlani Author, The Other Side of the Divide


STORIZEN INTERVIEW

AUTHOR INTERVIEWS Apart from your professional career and life, tell us about Sameer as a person. I am shy and reserved, and sometimes overly sensitive. I would also like to believe that I am an uncomplicated person, who trusts people easily. I make very few friends but when I do, I put in my heart and soul into those relationships. And, I am not a very social person, so in the present context, social distancing is coming easy. I am usually on the extremes: I can sleep for more than 15 and can also sit at one place and write for as long. I love home-cooked biryani and can relish on it for weeks without getting bored. When and how did the idea of writing a book on this topic arise?

APRIL 2020

I always wanted to be an author and it was a matter of when I would write a book. In 2013, I read Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi’s book Delhi By Heart on his discovery of the Indian capital and thought it was the kind of book I wanted to write as well. The following year, when I visited Lahore, I had made up my mind about writing The Other Side of The Divide before actually embarking on the trip. It was meant to be my second book. The first book was supposed to published—as I always wanted it to be—before I turned 30. But then I realized writing and publishing books is not as easy as I thought. The experience of writing my first unpublished book stood me in good stead. I learnt from the mistakes I made and importantly avoided the information overload that I felt made the narrative laborious earlier.

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STORIZENÂ INTERVIEW

AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

What kind of research and detailed study have you done in getting all the information? A lot of research went into writing the Other Side of the Divide since Pakistan is an extremely sensitive subject. I had to substantiate every little detail I was giving. In fact, I often over research and being a news person desk person trained to be the last line of defense, I edited and edited the manuscript over and over again, plugging as many information gaps as possible.

There must have been emotional threats or displeasure among the family or close ones with your decision to travel to Lahore. How did you deal with all those? By reasoning with them that the trip was important and good for my career as a journalist. What exactly was your feeling the moment you have had your first foot after alighting the flight? I actually crossed over on foot. I was just making mental notes about everything I was seeing because I had to write the book.

The experience of writing my first unpublished book stood me in good stead. I learnt from the mistakes I made and importantly avoided the information overload that I felt made the narrative laborious earlier. 38

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STORIZEN INTERVIEW

AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

Did you feel indifference while walking on the roads there? Can you explain what was running in your mind?

What are your favorite books and do you recommend them?

Not at all. The people I met were very welcoming and I experienced the usual stuff—shopkeepers refusing to charge you money etc.

Nisid Hajari's Midnight's Furies is my all-time favourite and I often recommend it for the sheer beauty of his writing.

How was the publishing journey and did you feel any discomfort during the process?

Which genres you enjoy reading the most? Which you don’t enjoy at all?

I had my share of problems but overall, my experience has been great so far. What more stories did you get to hear during the research process? I learned a lot during the research including the fact that Asghar Khan, who is known as the father of Pakistan’s Air Force and was highly-decorated, was a bitter critic of his country’s wars with India and yet remains an iconic figure there. Many such surprising stories emerged during the writing of this book.

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I enjoy politics, history, travel writings, biographies and autobiographies. I find reading fiction difficult. But one can really improve one’s writing by reading non-fiction.

I always wanted to be an author and it was a matter of when I would write a book.

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Pegged on journalist Sameer Arshad Khatlani's visit to Pakistan, this book provides insights into the country beyond what we already know about it. These include details on the impact of India's soft power, thanks to Bollywood, and the remnants of Pakistan's multireligious past, and how it frittered away advantages of impressive growth in the first three decades of its existence by embracing religious conservatism.


STORIZENÂ INTERVIEW

What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time? I am very shy of self-promotion and that is not a good thing. I am trying to overcome my reluctance and try to promote my book via social media. It can be a distraction but you have to do it. What projects are you working on at the present? When can we expect a new fiction/non- fiction book from you? I am working on a couple of projects. Hopefully, my second book should be out in two years.

AUTHOR INTERVIEWS What do your plans for future projects include? Any plans for a motion picture/web series based on your book(s) The latter would be very ambitious now. I am not thinking that far and just focusing on writing for now. How do you feel about eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing? E-books are fine. But I still prefer the real books that are the print books and conventional books with lots of editorial control and scrutiny.

I enjoy politics, history, travel writings, biographies and autobiographies. I find reading fiction difficult. But one can really improve one’s writing by reading non-fiction.

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AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing? Nisid Hajari's Midnight's Furies and Rana Dasgupta's Capital really inspired me. They are not just rich in details but as lucid as books can get. What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

The most useful is to read good writers and actually know what good writing is. Rapid Fire with Sameer Your all-time favorite author/writer? Reza Aslan and Nisid Hajari Do you believe in writer's block? Did you have it anytime or not? Yes, I do. Several times.

My intention is always to tell the untold stories and I would like to believe I have been able to achieve that in The Other Side of The Divide.

Your favorite place to write your book(s)? I can write anywhere. Writing is my bread and butter.

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

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STORIZENÂ INTERVIEW

Research and then write or research while writing? Which one you prefer? Research while writing What do you do in your free time? Nothing; just laze around How many hours a day do you write? I have written for up to 12 to 14 hours daily Do you Google yourself? Yes. Sometimes. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? Not really. If you didn’t write, what would you do for work? Writing is the only skill I have.

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AUTHOR INTERVIEWS About the AuthorSameer Arshad Khatlani is a journalist with Hindustan Times. He was a senior assistant editor with the Indian Express until June 2018. Born and raised in Kashmir, Khatlani began his career with the now-defunct Bengaluru-based Vijay Times in 2005 as its national affairs correspondent. He joined the Times of India in 2007. Over the next nine years, he was part of the newspaper's national and international news-gathering team. Khatlani has reported from Iraq and Pakistan, and covered elections and national disasters. He has a master's degree in history from Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi and is a fellow with the Hawaii-based American East-West Center, which was established by the United States Congress in 1960 to promote better relations with Asian and Pacific countries. (Interviewed by Swapna Peri)

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Fast, Cheap and Viral

BOOK REVIEW

by Aashish Chopra

by Swapna Peri

H is video has gone viral, her photo

has gone viral are the lines that are heard often these days. What does viral mean? It means the speed with which the information is being passed on but not like in some movie the man thinks it is about viral fever! Back in days, women were teased to be the carriers of news faster than the B.B.C. channel. Thanks to the internet which has lashed out this myth. Now everyone is equally participating in sharing news and thus making it viral. More than mouth publicity it is the internet that is responsible for the spread of news and information at a faster speed. In this book, the author

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explains how to create viral content and especially viral videos that have quality content with maximum information within the very minute span of time. Somewhere in the chapters, he quotes it takes 8 seconds for a viewer to decide whether the video is worth watching or not. Because of the Brahmastra called swiping up and down on a touch screen phone, the viewer has full control over his choice and decision of what to watch and what not to. Thus, the below main topics are being sorted out to pioneer in the world of competition. The points like 1. Making the content shareworthy is one of the finest topics the author has discussed in part #2. It is the users who can create anything viral and big but not the creators. And hence, the focus must be on the creators who have to create. The quality content saves distribution costs instead of the users paying to watch it. APRIL 2020


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3. For getting instant attention and impression creating worthy thumbnails is most important is what the author says in his next chapter. He stresses here on the time the user gets connected with the thumbnail. Therefore the aesthetics to be used in creating a nice thumbnail is very important. 4. Though the video lasts for a few seconds it is the storytelling in it is an important aspect. When people watch the video on mute, the content must portray the intention. 5. Aashish also gives the easiest way of creating good content using mobile phones themselves. Also, he gives an explanation in giving the differences between square and rectangular videos.

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6. The next chapter is all about distributing the content. The effective ways of distributing without much financials included are given in the book. Many things can be learned from the following chapters about branding etc.

BOOK REVIEW

2. Selecting share-worthy topics is another important thing he mentioned. Inspirational, celebrating and timely topical content is to be more focused and with a new abbreviation (not exactly ) IUCTC is what he proposes to the readers to achieve a greater amount of user engagement.

Points I really like: 1. The intention of writing the book is pretty clear. It is to help and guide people who want to create quality content especially videos online. 2. The power of social media is well articulated. 3. The tips and tricks given are very informative and educative. 4. More than just a theoretical approach, the author has presented his own trials, failures, and experiences. 5. Subtly the author explains to his readers not to worry if a job is lost or you find yourself in the crossroads of life but be real, confident and strong. 6. Every chapter there is a takeaway either for a started or for an experienced person. 7. Almost in every chapter, it is explained how mobile phones are extremely used and how internet usage is widely spread across the country.

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BOOK REVIEW

STORIZEN REVIEW

8. The author makes you travel from Mumbai local trains till Goa with his experiences. 9. The book seems to be a light read with lots of information. 10. The importance of content in every piece of work that will go online is explained profusely. Points of concern: 1. At some points, the language is found too casual with some unwanted vocabulary. 2. In some places, the information in the book is very basic which might not please the experienced people who create online video content.

Language and Grammar A very simple language with is very casual is found in the book. What I really liked is the technical terms used, office and workplace-related vocabulary and some quote like sentences which are also mentioned as highlight points in the chapters. Book Title: The title of the book 'Fast, Cheap and Viral' is innovative and informative.

Book Cover: The cover image of the book is a solid bright yellow colored background with text in black. The bright yellow gives a punch to pick up the book.

Narration A very witty, easy, understandable and relatable narration is found in the book. Maybe the author has penned his own journey the writing seems to be honest and not fancy. The drawings in between the pages look like the author's original notes!

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Book Review

STORIZEN REVIEW

My Final Verdict A good guide for beginners who blog, vlog and create videos.

Rating Book Title: 4/5 Book Cover: 3/5 Inside the book: 3/5 Narration: 3/5 Language & Grammar: 3/5 Final Rating: 3/5

Swapna worked as SAP Consultant for 10 years in Major IT companies. Reading has always been her passion and occasional painting her hobby. She decided to quit her job, look after the family and pursue her hobby of reading and painting in a larger way. Thus, her big leap into book reviewing has paved a way and has been successful to date. Reading challenges interest her a lot and visiting book fairs is her favorite thing. She believes that there is no good back or bad book, but only books. Writing unbiased reviews is her strength and she is appreciated by fellow reviewers and readers for the same. An anthology of musings with her paintings is her pending dream!

@swapna.peri @sappy_dreamz_unlimited @swapna508

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Amma Mia: Stories, advice and recipes from one mother to another

BOOK REVIEW

by Esha Deol Takhtani

by Swapna Peri

I n this book, as a reader, everyone travels with the author right from her childhood until her being a mother. Each chapter upholds a great story of being a girl child to a star couple who live in an extremely star ridden atmosphere. Esha shares an umpteen number of memories that have been inscribed with great inspiration. The book starts off with her being a small girl child who is always fed with vegetarian and especially the mighty Tamilian food. Her food mostly contained idlis, dosa, sambhar, rasam, rice, roti, and sabzi. There are moments of 48

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laughter and childish fear mentioned in the book. Her first-time experience of eating a French Toast really amused me a lot. In this chapter, she also shares how her mother, Mrs.Hema Malini understood the child's craving for new tastes in food and helped Esha and her sister Ahana to experience new tastes. We also get to taste that ever child's childhood is the same irrespective of the house she or he is born in. There are many places s where the readers can relate to themselves. Many lighter and lovely moments with their father Shri. Dharmendra Ji who was a vegetarian at home but a ' pakka Punjabi ' having non-vegetarian during vacation, times are worth reading. Later, in the book we get to read Esha's transformation into the hot Dhoom girl avatar, the pain behind shedding the weight and toning up with a movie star kind of persona is extremely inspiring. The book then APRIL 2020


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The book's introduction and acknowledgments are extremely interesting to read. After the chapters, then comes the absolute takeaway to the readers, the in-numerous recipes that the author Esha has mentioned. It is undoubtedly a great help to all the mothers to be from the book's point of view because there are things like issues related to pre and postpregnancy, the hormone ups and downs, how to deal with all such stuff.

Book Title: The title of the book 'Amma Mia' is chirpy and very scholastic.

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ABOUT THE BOOK In this book, the author Esha Deol Takhtani shares her experiences from being a star kid till she being a mother of two kids. Also, in the book, she has beautifully incorporated several recipes and the toddler's food also.

BOOK REVIEW

also gives the readers a great lesson on how her partner Bharat, a great asset in being a friend, husband, and father and sets an example to be. Not to forget Esha's mention about her mother-in-law, Smt. Puja Takthani's contribution to her life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Esha Deol Takhtani is an Indian film actor with hits such as Dhoom, Na Tum Jaano Na Hum, Yuva, No Entry and Dus to her credit. She recently portrayed the role of a chef in the short film Cakewalk, which was released globally on a digital platform and has won a cascade of awards worldwide.

Book Cover: The cover image of the book is a beautiful candy land colored picture of the author Esha Deol Takhtani and her two daughters Radhya and Miraya.

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Book Review

STORIZEN REVIEW

My Final Verdict A beautiful book from a mother to a mother!

Swapna worked as SAP Consultant for 10 years in Major IT companies. Reading has always been her passion and occasional painting her hobby. She decided to quit her job, look after the family and pursue her hobby of reading and painting in a larger way. Thus, her big leap into book reviewing has paved a way and has been successful to date. Reading challenges interest her a lot and visiting book fairs is her favorite thing. She believes that there is no good back or bad book, but only books. Writing unbiased reviews is her strength and she is appreciated by fellow reviewers and readers for the same. An anthology of musings with her paintings is her pending dream!

@swapna.peri @sappy_dreamz_unlimited @swapna508

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Made In China

BOOK REVIEW

by Parinda Joshi

check for new opportunities there.

by Swapna Peri

The story is about Raghu, a middle-

class man, a small business owner who imports statues. He comes from Surat, Gujarat and has a small shop set up there. He often feels that he is not doing good in his business and life whereas his friends are making a good fortune. Incidentally, he starts tasting loss in his business. This is when his real struggle starts. He is married to Rukhmini, who is a perfect partner. Often Raghu feels that he is not giving her a good life though she is smart and educated. Amidst of all this mental illness, his importer decides to shut down his business. This is when Raghu meets his old friend who gives an idea to

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business

This once decision changes his life forever. Is the change good or bad? Read the book to know as this change is the essence of the story and I do not want to place the spoilers here! ABOUT THE AUTHOR Parinda Joshi was born and raised in Ahmedabad and later immigrated to Los Angeles with her new husband where she navigated the challenges of starting life from scratch in an unfamiliar milieu, enriching herself with an MS in computer science, testing her limits and redefining herself. She now resides in Silicon Valley where leads growth analytics for a startup in the fashion industry, is mother to her precocious mini-me, a budding screenwriter, a lover of modern poetry, fitness enthusiast, an avid traveler and photographer, and a APRIL 2020


STORIZENREVIEW

It has been adapted for a motion picture by Maddock Films starring Rajkummar Rao, Boman Irani, and Mouni Roy, Sumeet Vyas, and Paresh Rawal among others. Parinda has co-written the screenplay for the movie. Instagram: @parindajoshi Website: www.parindajoshi.com.

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What I like: 1. The erratic behavior of a businessman who takes a wrong step is shown well.

BOOK REVIEW

humor junkie. Her M.O. is best described by Maya Angelou's quote: 'My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.' She is the author of two novels, Live From London and Powerplay. She has also contributed to a short story anthology, The Turning Point: Best Of Young Indian Writers, and several online publications including GQ India and The South Asian Times (New York). Made in China is her third novel.

2. The central character Raghu is very realistically portrayed. 3. The comedy part maintained in the book.

is

well

4. There are many places where a common man can relate to himself. What I didn't like 1. Unlike the movie, the story looks tedious in narration. 2. The climax goes haywire and there are many disjoints from the main story. 3. Slow narration Book Title: The title of the book 'Made in China' is mysterious and intriguing.

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Book Cover: The cover image of the book is a glass jar with a label named ' Made in China ' and with all the characters trapped inside the jar. The image is funny enough to understand that the story is a roller coaster of all emotions. Characters The characters are plotted well but the duration of some characters in the story was found very short and hence there felt some disconnection.

Narration Though the story line is very interesting, slow narration faded the enthusiasm to read the book.

Language and Grammar Easy language with normal vocabulary is found in the book.

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Book Review

STORIZEN REVIEW

My Final Verdict A onetime light read story.

Rating Book Title: 3/5 Book Cover: 3/5 Plot: 3/5 Characters: 3/5 Narration: 3/5 Language & Grammar: 3/5 Final Rating: 3/5

Swapna worked as SAP Consultant for 10 years in Major IT companies. Reading has always been her passion and occasional painting her hobby. She decided to quit her job, look after the family and pursue her hobby of reading and painting in a larger way. Thus, her big leap into book reviewing has paved a way and has been successful to date. Reading challenges interest her a lot and visiting book fairs is her favorite thing. She believes that there is no good back or bad book, but only books. Writing unbiased reviews is her strength and she is appreciated by fellow reviewers and readers for the same. An anthology of musings with her paintings is her pending dream!

@swapna.peri @sappy_dreamz_unlimited @swapna508

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The Rules of Contagion

BOOK REVIEW

by Adam Kucharski

by Swapna Peri

A book that must be read during the

fighting times of COVID-19 and bring a change in ourselves by not spreading false news and panic news. The book very pragmatically explains to the model of how a piece of news spreads across dangerously than the disease whether it's an epidemic or pandemic. About the author Adam Kucharski is an assistant professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, working on global outbreaks such as the Ebola epidemic, avian influenza, dengue fever, and the Zika virus. He is a TED fellow and winner of the

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2016 Rosalind Franklin Award Lecture and the 2012 Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize. He has written for the Observer, Financial Times, Scientific American, and New Statesman. He is the author of The Perfect Bet: How Science and Math Are Taking the Luck Out of Gambling. Wellcome The collection is a free museum and library that aims to challenge how we think and feel about health. Inspired by the medical objects and curiosities collected by Henry Wellcome, it connects science, medicine, life, and art. Wellcome Collection exhibitions, events, and books explore a diverse range of subjects, including consciousness, forensic medicine, emotions, sexology, identity, and death. Wellcome Collection is part of Wellcome, a global charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive, funding over 14,000 researchers and projects in more than 70 countries.

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7. The responsibility as a citizen of any nation in order not to spread or believe fake news and hold the sanctity of humanity intact is the underlying lesson of the book.

BOOK REVIEW

About the book The surprising science of contagion, and how it affects us all: from viral marketing to pandemics, financial panics, and gun violence What I like: 1. The profound explanation of what contagion is and its aftermath effects alongside the causes are explained in detail. 2. On how a conspiracy or disbelief gets spread across the world which involves a virus or the flu or some health ailment is explained well. 3. Many practical examples are coherently explained that also create awareness amongst the readers. 4. The journey of Sir. Ronald Ross and a few others are found very interesting. I say this very strongly because I live near the Fever Hospital that was started on Ross's name at Hyderabad. It feels close to know him. 5. The most important thing in the book that is to be observed is how fake news is spread and how it affects every walk of life is very well explained. 6. Every chapter and example can be related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and thus the book behaves an eye-opener. APRIL 2020

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What I didn't like At some places, I felt too much explanation is used which looked more like a textbook rather than a general book.

Language and Grammar Quality language with rich and technical vocabulary is found in the book.

Book Title: The title of the book 'The Rules of Contagion' is selfexplanatory and need for the hour. Book Cover: The cover image of the book is a minimal representation of a contagious disease that must be caged and make it disappear. Narration Though a non-fiction book, the narration stands out because of the thorough explanation and description of various incidents, people, health concerns in the past around the world, illustrations in pictures and etc., The narration definitely hooks the readers to the book.

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STORIZEN REVIEW

Book Review

My Final Verdict Right book at the right time!

Rating Book Title: 4/5 Book Cover: 4/5 Inside the book: 4/5 Narration: 4/5 Language & Grammar: 4/5 Final Rating: 4/5

Swapna worked as SAP Consultant for 10 years in Major IT companies. Reading has always been her passion and occasional painting her hobby. She decided to quit her job, look after the family and pursue her hobby of reading and painting in a larger way. Thus, her big leap into book reviewing has paved a way and has been successful to date. Reading challenges interest her a lot and visiting book fairs is her favorite thing. She believes that there is no good back or bad book, but only books. Writing unbiased reviews is her strength and she is appreciated by fellow reviewers and readers for the same. An anthology of musings with her paintings is her pending dream!

@swapna.peri @sappy_dreamz_unlimited @swapna508

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The Blue Jade

BOOK REVIEW

by Shobha Nihalani

by Swapna Peri

I remember

I have heard author Shobha's name in the year 2014 during the Annual Hyderabad Book Festival. I happen to visit one of the setup stores in the book exhibition and had a glance at the books there. A book with an interesting cover in blue color with some story in the cover itself took my attention. This happens to the second book in Nine Trilogy by Shobha Nine, Vengeance of Warrior. It was a thrilling experience as I am a fan of thriller and mystery genre with some historical aspect and well a fan of Indian writing. It was after Shiva Trilogy and The Krishna Key by other Indian authors, I have found

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this Nine Trilogy extremely captivating. Since then I have been following her articles, interviews in various sites and of course her books. Shobha has been very consistent in her really interesting plots. Her book Unresolved blew my mind off. I was traveling from Hyderabad to Kochi in Flight and also it happens to be one of the few Kindle books I bought. My flight was an awesome one. The psychological aspects of the book are extremely fantastic. It has been a while that I have read her other books. Fortunately, I have landed up with a chance to read and review ' The Blue Jade '. Oh! What a great experience I had from reading this book. Initially, it reminded me of an old Hindi movie Suryavanshi where an excavation of lost palace happens and also an English Tv series Relic Hunter. The mere mention of the word artifacts made me remember these two. Coming to the book, 'The Blue Jade ', it is the story of a young woman APRIL 2020


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What I like: 1. The storyline which starts as a simple thing gets bigger as the story progresses 2. Neelam's valor during the quest is quite interesting 3. The doubt that arises in a reader's mind if this is the person who is responsible is very entertaining. 4. The famous disciple of Lord Krishna, Mira Bai's story intertwined in the quest is interesting and informative. 5. The emotional quotient in the book is well maintained with no unwanted drama 6. The name Neelam is exactly the same in Sanskrit\Telugu or other Indian languages that means Blue Jade and thus it perfectly syncs in the book. Kudos to the author's wits. 7. From just reading the author made her readers even roam around the roads of Vrindavan and Ahmedabad. 8. The story described at Rajasthan stands out to me as I really enjoyed that part. 9. Though the story starts a bit slow, it gains a sudden momentum and thus it becomes a perfect thriller. 10. Neelam becoming the relic hunter is very novel unlike a female protagonist shown just as a glamour doll. STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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Neelam who is an art curator and finds a very rare statue of Mira Bai in her home incidentally. She finds a Blue Jade pendant and a map inside the statue when she accidentally breaks it. As the statue is her grandmother's possession she feels no harm in owning the crystal. Her senses get confused when her parents ask her to conceal the fact about the crystal after she discloses it. After a while, things get really interesting. Her parents get killed. She travels to India as she lives in Hong Kong, someone keeps a watch on her and she is not aware. Her quest in returning the Blue Jade back involves a great number of thrilling sequences, twists and unexpected incidents. She gets herself into a chain of deadly smugglers and with her intelligence and courage, she dodges all the traps hence unearths the mysteries. With a great art of storytelling, author Shobha has yet again thrilled her readers with an out and out entertainer. Nowhere in the book, the story loses its grip or the pace. The book can be read by readers of any age as it has suitable content. The book can be recommended to readers who like mystery and thriller genres.

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BOOK REVIEW

What I didn't like There is nothing to be disliked. Book Title: The title of the book 'The Blue Jade' is scintillating and interesting. Book Cover: The cover image of the book is an interesting image with the story in a gist. Well, a reader must read the whole book to understand how the image is the gist. With a Blue Jade jewel, an abandoned building, a young woman's face and a compass kind instrumental impression, the cover image is quite interesting.

Narration With a good amount of twists layered in the story, the narration is very engaging and absolutely entertaining. Language and Grammar Impressive language with rich vocabulary is often found in Author Shobha's books. Like in her other book, the same standards of the English language with good grammatical elements are found in this book.

Characters The characters are sketched with great depth and strength. The characteristics displayed by the characters in the story and especially at the times of thrill is dynamic and intriguing.

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Book Review

STORIZEN REVIEW

My Final Verdict A book of a quest with thrills and chills

Rating Book Title: 4/5 Book Cover: 4/5 Plot: 4/5 Characters: 4/5 Narration: 4/5 Language & Grammar: 4/5 Final Rating: 4/5

Swapna worked as SAP Consultant for 10 years in Major IT companies. Reading has always been her passion and occasional painting her hobby. She decided to quit her job, look after the family and pursue her hobby of reading and painting in a larger way. Thus, her big leap into book reviewing has paved a way and has been successful to date. Reading challenges interest her a lot and visiting book fairs is her favorite thing. She believes that there is no good back or bad book, but only books. Writing unbiased reviews is her strength and she is appreciated by fellow reviewers and readers for the same. An anthology of musings with her paintings is her pending dream!

@swapna.peri @sappy_dreamz_unlimited @swapna508

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Gravepyres School for the Recently Deceased

BOOK REVIEW

by Anita Roy

by Swapna Peri

I t's been quite long maybe decades

since I last read a fantasy book and that too written for children. I was not skeptical about my wish in reading the book but the title and the cover image really attracted me. I wasn’t wrong in my assumptions as the very first few pages made me get hooked to the book. I sat straightaway for 2 hours and finished reading. Gravepyres School is a saga of emotions, responsibility, and lessons to be learned, not the academic but life lessons with many varied characters and places.The story starts with Jose discovering himself in the Gravepyre School for deceased which hints the readers that he is not

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alive. He meets Mishi there and she helps him go through the school and attend classes. The weird teachers, the weird subjects, the weird ways of teaching and learning makes Jose suffocated. He deliberately thinks he is dreaming and talks to himself. After some days he realizes that it is not a dream and he is a student rather transitioner there. But he always wishes to go back and return to his family. He then checks there is no way out there beyond the school. He learns to cross over the River of Time it is impossible. He then talks to El Condor and Perveen the mighty vultures who hint him. The lines mentioned below, an excerpt from the book show how strong his will to go back is. From then on, Jose spent every break time in the library, searching and searching – he wasn’t sure what for – a clue, or an idea, or inspiration. He consulted books on philosophy, philology, anthropology, and zoology; astrophysics and biochemistry; geometry and trigonometry. He skimmed through APRIL 2020


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that. I mean, maybe it is real, but not real, d’you see? The ending chapters are really emotional and it is a nice way to end the story is what I felt. Lastly, the plot is very novel and stands out with its unique story line, very innovative settings, and heartfelt characters. The book is recommended to readers of any age group just for few things children can take help of elders.

BOOK REVIEW

books of stories: myths and legends; folklore and fairy tales. He scanned pictures and pored over maps. He even spent some time in the gardening and cookery section. He went most often to the section marked ‘Self- help’ because he reasoned, help was what his self needed most, but apart from learning that there were (apparently) seven steps to becoming an effective leader, he came away emptyhanded. Then along with Mishi he persuades El Condor and flies to search the missing river. Perveen helps them to an extent and flies back. From here the story takes a new turn. They meet Ranjubaba and they discover 'Plasticorp ' which uses the river water and does a lot of harm to the habitat. The story is a perfect mixture of adventure, fantasy, and mystery. Below are some of my favorite lines from the book: ** Vultures feed only on dead bodies ** Little chicks dying before they’re born. Nowhere to nest, nowhere to fly, and the sickness ** ‘Ay, Chiquita.’ El Condor drew her under one enormous wing ** You Cannae believe everything you read in books, Jose, you know

Points I like: 1. A very unique plotline 2. The new vocabulary used is an interesting aspect 3. The nomenclature of the living beings at Gravepyre school is very fascinating 4. The chapters numbered in Roman Numerals gave a nice authentic feeling 5. The theme of Yeti is one of its kind that I have ever read in Indian books 6. The mention of spiritual concepts is quite interesting 7. The surprising mention of Sushruta Samhita was really surprising 8. The character Ranjubaba felt mystic and it was really entertaining to travel with him STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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9. The emotions are balanced in a mitigate manner that won't anywhere cause trouble to the reader 10. The fantasy and adventurous part is definitely attractive Points that made me think: 1. I have never read the Harry Potter series or such children's fantasy books much. I cannot really comment about what I didn't like but it takes quite an amount of imagination skills to get into the skin of the story. 2. There are some concepts mentioned like Moksha, Kundalini energy, etc. which may need elders help but this is not certain that something I disliked. Book Title: The title of the book The title of the book 'Gravepyres School for the Recently Deceased' is spooky and mysterious. Book Cover: The cover image of the book is a collection of giant vultures rested on tree branches in dark. The black and white image creates an interesting feeling to read the book.

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Narration The story oscillates between the Gravepyre school and the outside world which Jose and Mishi travel to. The whole narrative in which the story is written is emotional, thrilling, unexpected, informative and concerning. It is emotional because the school is for the deceased kids. It is thrilling because well it has a great story. It is unexpected because the characters and conversations are out of the box. It is concerning because the quest the children carry out is for the society. And the whole scenario of narration is perfectly aligned with a reader's mind. Language and Grammar This is the most difficult and amusing part of this book. Grammar Nazis have to be very liberal here. The reason? Author Anita Roy has created a new language that spells different but is pronounced as it is in the normal English language. For example, Mathematics is Mathemythics. As we read the book we find much such new spelling that will really make us smile for mistaking it. Haha!! Great writing skills by the author.

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STORIZEN REVIEW

Book Review

My Final Verdict A definite page-turner!

Rating Book Title: 4/5 Book Cover: 4/5 Plot: 4/5 Characters: 4/5 Narration: 4/5 Language & Grammar: 4/5 Final Rating: 4/5

Swapna worked as SAP Consultant for 10 years in Major IT companies. Reading has always been her passion and occasional painting her hobby. She decided to quit her job, look after the family and pursue her hobby of reading and painting in a larger way. Thus, her big leap into book reviewing has paved a way and has been successful to date. Reading challenges interest her a lot and visiting book fairs is her favorite thing. She believes that there is no good back or bad book, but only books. Writing unbiased reviews is her strength and she is appreciated by fellow reviewers and readers for the same. An anthology of musings with her paintings is her pending dream!

@swapna.peri @sappy_dreamz_unlimited @swapna508

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The Other Side Of The Divide

BOOK REVIEW

by Sameer Arshad Khatlani

by Swapna Peri

I t was during the year 1996 Pepsi

Sharjah Cup, India vs Pakistan match which ignited the 13-year-old teenager in me woke with a feminine feeling when Saqlian Mushtaq, Pakistani bowler was bowling. Since that moment I have created a huge crush on him. But, there was a Catch-22 situation that whenever there was a cricket match between Indian and Pakistan, there was a different mood in the house and inside me and never ever got a chance to express my attraction towards Saqqi. It was later during my young adulthood I could sense and understand why is this ill-feeling towards the country and the team is

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developed. It was then I got to read a book on partition in 1947. Since that day, I always had in my mind what must be in the minds of the people who follow religions other than Islam in Pakistan. Again, I had no good soul in my fraternity who would explain to me. It was in 2013, a Telugu movie named Sahasam, based on the Hinjala Devi Temple, in Pakistan took over my mind again. The temple is one of the 108 Shakti Peetas in Hindusim. When I have come to know that the temple is in Pakistan, it blew my mind off. I cursed myself for being so dumb and thus my reading about temples, Hinduism and lives of people who chose Pakistan after the partition has begun. I have followed many videos, white papers and, books based on this topic but never came across a perfectly articulated book. Every once in a while, it is not so surprising that we come across certain books that have the power to surprise or shock us. But this book that started on a different node has APRIL 2020


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What I like: 1. The misinterpretations that usually build up in one's mind about Pakistan as a country and that it that hates Indians are presented very nicely.

BOOK REVIEW

completely changed the tangent of thinking once I reached the end of the book. This book not only gave me so much information but also made me emotional. Each of the stories inside the book is so heartening to read that the readers inside travels along with the author and his beautiful narration. The hard truths and bitter things we usually hear from some of the media houses, people, articles and etc medium all stand obsolete once the intent of the book gets into our minds. It's all the same on the other side of the line. The author has fantastically explained his journey from the moment he applied a Visa to Lahore until he wrote this book. It's a feast to the readers who always look for an adventurous yet soulful read that will insatiate the thirst to read a ' Good Book '. This is definitely and highly recommended book and during these times of lockdown, it a must-read to understand that everyone, at last, is made up of flesh and bones and are called humans no matter whatever the situations were, are and will be. Thank you so much Author Sameer for making my reading hobby worthy and meaningful.

2. Many unknown facts that date back to times before 1947 are described interestingly. 3. The fact that there is an unknown side inside the lives of the people of Pakistan is coherently illustrated. 4. The real stories that the Author has picked up and explained in the book are things that everyone might have once thought at least for a second. 5. It is always a trivial situation where the thought of people who chose to live on the other side of partitioned land are named with unwanted names. 6. Though many people since decades have written books on Indian, Pakistan before and after partition, this book for some reason has a profound effect due to the facts mentioned. STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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BOOK REVIEW

What I didn't like: There is absolutely dislike.

nothing

to

Book Title: The title of the book 'The Other Side of the Divide - The Journey Into the Heart of Pakistan' is very emotional, intriguing and special.

Language and Grammar An impeccable language with rich vocabulary is found in the book. The flawless English language creates an extra pole of interest while reading and here the author has done exactly the same. His experience reflects in the language used in the book.

Book Cover: The cover image of the book is a beautiful art with bright colors, flowers, and leaves. The title and the image set a compulsive mood to read the book. Narration: There are some books that create a fictional world with the fictional characters of the book. There are also books that take the readers into a virtually created real world that holds great history, unknown facts and, known absurd theories. This is one of such books that took me into an illusion with reality, that is quite contradicting. This credit in a positive way goes to the author who has narrated unknown facts and aspects in the most interesting manner.

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Book Review

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My Final Verdict: An extremely interesting book about the then days before the partition.

Rating Book Title: 4/5 Book Cover: 4/5 Plot: 4/5 Characters: 4/5 Narration: 4/5 Language & Grammar: 4/5 Final Rating: 4/5

Swapna worked as SAP Consultant for 10 years in Major IT companies. Reading has always been her passion and occasional painting her hobby. She decided to quit her job, look after the family and pursue her hobby of reading and painting in a larger way. Thus, her big leap into book reviewing has paved a way and has been successful to date. Reading challenges interest her a lot and visiting book fairs is her favorite thing. She believes that there is no good back or bad book, but only books. Writing unbiased reviews is her strength and she is appreciated by fellow reviewers and readers for the same. An anthology of musings with her paintings is her pending dream!

@swapna.peri @sappy_dreamz_unlimited @swapna508

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When the Wait is Over by Sumana Bhattacharya Locked out in different cities with memories of togetherness The kiss, the touch, the time we spent together The excited cooking in the kitchen spiced up with our chemistry The lazy dreamy afternoons, just being with you, the warmth of your company The memories of how we stole those afternoons out of our busy weeks We moved to different cities then, but our love grew stronger Rushing to each other at every given chance The passion of reunion after a brief hiatus The long nights and the lazy mornings of exploring each other The childish delight of discovering a new city together The intoxicating breweries, the delicious lunches The memories of how we stole those few days out of our busy months Then came the wait, with a lockdown confining us Locked out in different cities with kilometres between us The distance that we traverse with our love and memories of togetherness

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The distance that we traverse with our eager wait of being together again The phone calls, the messages, the hearts and kisses that we lovingly send digitally The video calls, the intimacy, striving to transcend the physical distance virtually The eager wait, every day, for a few moments of feeling together The kilometres seem so long at times, the days unending The togetherness of the virtual world at times seems so lacking The memories of the kiss, the touch, the times we spent together come back flooding When the wait is over, we will meet again Our eyes will hold each other in loving gaze, our kiss will melt away these dreary days Hand in hand we will walk into a world of togetherness, forever!

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Sumana Bhattacharya is a PR practitioner by profession and a writer by passion. Her style is simple, she likes to write about things she feels deeply about.In her writings she sometimes draws from her experiences of having grown up in a small town, Agartala. She has recently started a blog The Retro Feeling, that stems from nostalgia - longing or twinge of guilt for days gone by or left behind. She is an ardent reader of poetry, fiction and mythology. Sumana is a post graduate in English from Hyderabad Central University. She works for a PR agency and lives in Gurgaon.

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Viral Love by Moinak Dutta I yearn for your simple touch on my skin, A simple tap of your fingers, quick and playful, Alas! We stay under one roof and yet Can’t even get close enough to you To get fragrance of your perfumed hair, Can’t run my fingers through your black tresses, Or put a kiss straight on your soft and glossy lips; Death we both know is lurking around Like a shadow, Mere sneezing or coughing, It could lay its hold upon us,

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Without we even knowing, Like a deep secret; So I look at you from our socially distanced positions, Three feet we measure by tape, precise, Our love making, we have surrendered at the feet of Death.

Moinak Dutta has been writing poems and stories for the last fifteen years, having many of his poems and stories finding their ways in journals, magazines, ezines, dailies, anthologies, published in India and abroad. He got two published fictions to his credit , namely 'Online@Offline' and 'In search of la radice'. His third fiction will be published soon. He is presently engaged as a teacher in a government sponsored school. Apart from writing, he enjoys traveling and doing photography.

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Kaliyuga No More by Vidya Shankar Whoever said that Time’s up? With quarantined days and death fast approaching― That our days established by morning alarms For a frantic fever pitch are numbered? That no more will we gather at lunch breaks To snatch fadstories and recipes for weight loss? That our children will no longer lead a school life Accentuated with marks and un-mindful lessons? That movie times with popcorn and family Of fizzling memories, will be a thing of the past? That the heroes of glorified sport and politics Will play in no arena audienced by frenzied money? That designer wear and diamonds, stilettos and splurges Will make not one a mondaine anymore? Whoever said that Time’s up? Time’s never up for the quarantined living Counting the moments of quarantined dread And awaiting with impatient consternation The release from socially isolated prison walls So life can be at its fear-ruled best once again. But Time definitely is up for the quarantined living Contenting the moments of quarantined blessing Accepting with calm composure a spiritual evolution And the freedom that sublime solitude bestows When fear dies and minds die

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And all of life in glorious hues bloom to happiness again― Then Time’s up for alarm clocks and weight loss diets For unmindful existence and frenzied make up For mondaines, material fantasies, and hero worship For popcorn and false family fraternity. Then Time’s up, for in the radiance of the die-mind All heaviness dissipates and moments become timeless. Asato ma sadgamaya Cast away the claustrophobic untruth to merge with the Truth Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya Extinguish the inert ignorance so the light of wisdom glows Mrtyormaamratamgamaya Overcome the fear of death and embrace immorality Om Shanti! Shanti! Shanti!

Vidya Shankar is a poet, writer, motivational speaker, yoga enthusiast, English language teacher. An active member of poetry circles, her works have appeared in national and international literary platforms and anthologies. She is the recipient of literary awards and recognitions. Vidya Shankar’s first book of poems, The Flautist of Brindaranyam is a collaborative effort with her photographer husband, Shankar Ramakrishnan. Her second book of poems The Rise of Yogamaya is an effort to create awareness about mental health. She has also been on the editorial of three anthologies. A “book” with the Human Library, Chennai Chapter, Vidya Shankar uses the power of her words, both written and spoken, to create awareness about environmental issues, mental health, and the need to break the shackles of an outdated society.

@shanvidwinsalways @vidya.shankar.author

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